Saving Grace

detail of painting "YES", 2003, m/m

detail of painting "YES", 2003, m/m


Last night I watched a film in which James Earl Jones’ character spoke of being ‘saved’ three times in his life.

He told the stories of each which were significant moments of support or compassion or something very life-changing that allowed him to continue on the path to becoming the best man he could be.

Some obstacle was removed by another to let him open to his fullest self.

That scene got me wondering about those who have ‘saved’ me….

Here they are:


She essentially brought me up and tended my spirit. Showed me a secure and loving place to feel safe to begin ‘becoming’. I loved her.

2. TISH VELMETTI, grade school teacher

She took me under her wing as a burgeoning artist from 2nd through 6th grade.
I began to have a glimmer of self-worth because of her care and patient support.

3. LARRY REESIDE, principal of Kingswood school

Mr. Reeside was a first love. He GOT me. I was a depressed and delinquent kid in a girl’s school. I skipped more classes than I went to and disappeared into the neighboring woods to get high with the boys from across the lake. Mr. Reeside was well aware of my antics and lent me a blind eye but his heart was very knowing where I was concerned.

4. JOE LALLY, Boston police officer

I was raped in Boston in 1988. Joe put all the evidence together in a water tight case and the guy was sent to prison for 28 years. He died of a herion overdose two years ago. Joe is now a part of the homicide department because of the work he did on my case. We are still good friends and email regularly.

5. NEW MEXICO began her work on me in 1989 when I left Boston.

She has healed me, kept me company, helped me find ‘home’, let me use her for my art and a good deal of who I am is because of her.

6.   ERICH SCHIFFMANN, yoga instructor

I met Erich when I first moved to Santa Fe in a workshop he taught.  At the end of the weekend, I left to get into my car and began crying and couldn’t stop.  I finally figured out that being in his presence felt like HOME with a big ‘H’.  He somehow helped me experience the largest part of myself and my ‘core of goodness’ as he puts it.

7. CYNTHIA, my mentor

Because of her immense wisdom and guidance I have been able to peel away most of my inauthentic self and now feel like one of the healthiest people I know. I love my life as a direct result of the love and care and teachings she has shared with me.

8. My chihuahua, OLIVIA

Honestly, I don’t really think I knew what true love was until Livvy came into my life. She is a constant teacher, confidant and partner in the light and shadow.
She helps my light burn bright.

9. Cathy Aten, woman becoming..
I will include myself on this list as I now have enough solidity to my being to know a lot of the time how to make choices which move me toward a thriving existence.


One Response to “Saving Grace”

  1. Barry on January 15th, 2010

    Although I fully appreciate and am grateful for the support of others in our lives, when I began reading the first entry on your list, I said to myself I hope she’s included herself. So I smiled when there you were at the bottom of the list.

    best, Barry

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