A Letter to a Mariupol Woman

We All Live Under One Moon
©Janis Dehler

A Letter to a Mariupol Woman

We don’t know each other but I heard your story on the radio, your voice, 
your journey. I was going about my ordinary day of errands and a dental appointment and you entered my world. Like a carrier pigeon, now with a message banded to me, I must write to you and tell you that I received your message. I will carry it forward as you have entrusted me. 

I hear your pain, your fear, your shock as your world crumbles around you. You said, “No one can imagine what it is like here. We have little food, no water, gas, or electric or heat. Bombs drop constantly.” You are right, I do not know what your life is like, my imagination is, in this regard, incomplete. In all honesty, I hope I never have to know. No one, including you, should have to know this. 

I know fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, and debilitating grief; I know to give myself to the unknown, but I do not know this terror that brings you fleeing. I do not know the intense ache of starvation, the helplessness you describe as a mother-in-law goes out to try and find a bit of food and does not return, how you try to cook a few morsels with bombs and dirt falling on everything, how you decide to cram 13 people into two small cars and flee with just the clothes on your backs, driving through a checkpoint where the soldiers could choose to instantly kill you. I don’t know what it is like to arrive in another country with a different language, desperately seeking shelter, to be fully dependent on a stranger to feed and protect me in a land that is not my own. 

There is little I can give you today in exchange for your story. I only know how to hold your story like the flowered ceramic bowl in the center of my grandmothers table that held the boiled red potatoes or the creamed garden peas, a container of sustenance and nurturing love. There is much I do not know but if I sit quiet, I can feel your heartbeat, I can feel you in your raw fear, in your scream of loss. I know how to honor your story and allow the words you speak enter me and touch my humanity. I can tell you; I believe you. 

Maybe if enough of us listen, listen fully from our hearts, we can build a bridge of listening hearts to your heart. Might we all offer that bit to an unseen fleeing woman, children, families pleading for help. Might your suffering become ours. Might our humanity expand through our awareness. 

Sincerely yours,
A Listener


“We will not learn to live together by killing each other’s children.”

Jimmy Carter

“War does not determine who is right—only who is left.”

Bertrand Russell

“War: a massacre of people who don’t know each other for the profit of people who know each other but don’t massacre each other.”

Paul Valery

Ongoing Resource List

  • The Four Agreements: A Toltec Book of Wisdom by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Mindfulness and Grief by Heather Stang
  • How We Live Is How We Die by Pema Chödron
  • The Bhagavad Gita, Translated by Eknath Easwaran
  • St Francis of Assisi: Brother of Creation by Mirabai Starr
  • Wild Wisdom Edited by Neil Douglas-Klotz
  • Earth Prayers From Around The World, Ed by Elizabeth Roberts & Elias Amidon
  • The Tao of Relationships by Ray Grigg
  • Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O’Donohue
  • Unconditional Love and Forgiveness by Edith R. Stauffer, Ph.D.
  • Keep Going: The Art of Perseverance by Joseph M. Marshall III
  • Art & Fear by David Bayless & Ted Orland
  • Quantum-Touch by Richard Gordon
  • The Van Gogh Blues: The Creative Persons Path Through Depression by Eric Maisel, PhD
  • The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
  • Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris
  • Forever Ours: Real Stories of Immortality and Living by Janis Amatuzio
  • Personal Power Through Awareness by Sanaya Roman
  • Violence & Compassion by His Holiness the Dahlai Lama
  • Teachings on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Devotions by Mary Oliver
  • To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donohue
  • Meditations From the Mat by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison
  • The House of Belonging: poems by David Whyte
  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
  • Soul an Archaeology Edited by Phil Cousineau
  • A Path With Heart by Jack Kornfield
  • Listening Point by Sigurd Olson
  • I Sit Listening to the Wind by Judith Duerk
  • Dancing Moons by Nancy Wood
  • The Soul of Rumi, Translations by Coleman Barks
  • Keep Going by Joseph M. Marshall III
  • Arriving at your own Door by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
  • The Hidden Secrets of Water by Paolo Consigli
  • Conquest of Mind by Eknath Easwaran
  • Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay
  • Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) by Brene Brown
  • Practicing Peace in Times of War by Pema Chodron
  • When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron
  • On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
  • Unattended Sorrow by Stephen Levine
  • Joy in Loving, Mother Theresa
  • The Joy of Living by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
  • Let Your LIfe Speak by Parker Palmer
  • Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • The Essence of the Upanishads by Eknath Easwaran
  • Welcoming the Unwelcome by Pema Chodron
  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through The Ways Of Animals by Jamie Sams and David Carson

Author: Mindful Contemplations

A weekly blog, in prose, poetry, or memoir, finding the sacred within the ordinary day to day experience. I offer inspiration and contemplation on the soul journey of the human spirit, diving deep and surfacing with hope.

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