Faith & Courage


My 2018 Holiday Message for You


Christmas 2018




Come, Come, Whoever You Are wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.
It doesn’t matter.  Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vows a thousand times
Come, yet again, come, come.            

                                                                ~ Jalaluddin Rumi

Dear friends, near and far,

I have not forgotten the troubles of the world.  I advocate and counsel and serve as ever.  I’m exploring the healing power of public storytelling.  Nevertheless, I am mindful of my need for stillness.  As the poet Hafiz said six hundred years ago:

You carry
All the ingredients
To turn your life into a nightmare—
Don’t mix them!

You have all the genius
To build a swing in your backyard
For God.                   
~ Hafiz

I grew quiet in October when my Susanna Noel died peacefully in my arms. Liliana Mistletoe, Susie’s aristocratic sister, and her little adopted sister Emma Jane remain lovingly with me.  Lily is an “upstairs cat”, intelligent and wise, content on my lap as I write.  Emma Jane, younger, sensitive, reactive and athletic is never far from her feral roots.  She tears around the house in the evening and spoons peacefully with me at night.

Now the bridge between my monkey and my queen is gone.  Susie was the glue that softened all the edges in our life together that didn’t otherwise fit. She was kind and endlessly forgiving; the “meeter and greeter” in in our house who could charm the socks off the most crusty of workman. Never one for halves, offering full fluffy tummy for a friendly scratch was simply Susie’s way of saying hello and welcome.  The downstairs is too quiet and Susie’s favorite chair too empty.

With the loss of Susie, I have grown softer and more still. It feels strange at a time in the world that calls for so much strength and action.   I don’t think it is the softness of weakness but of waiting, of listening, of preparation.  At 65 I find the cliché true, that I know less as I grow older. Yet the things I do know have deepened in certainty. The wise seek and wait in equal measure.  They initiate, going first into unknown places on faith of finding truth. They bring gifts, chosen by heart, rather than traveling empty handed in expectation.  They are humbled by and grateful for what they find, often in the most unlikely of places.  They take time to pause, to reflect, to ponder.

In the midst of this meditative time, when something speaks to me, it does so deeply.  I was moved during the funeral of GHW Bush at the mention of a plaque he had kept for many years before giving it to a friend, passing the wisdom on. “Preach Christ at all times. If necessary, use words.”

Just as in more active times than now, I use direct words of faith rarely and trust that my commitment to inclusion and compassion speaks for itself.

By whatever name the Divine is known to you, may you dwell in grace.

Always, Jeanne

Today I’m flying low and I’m
Not saying a word.
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes as it must,
The bees in the garden rumbling a little,
The fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.
But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
A terrific distance.
Stillness. One of the doors
Into the temple.

~ Mary Oliver


Though still, I’m not hard to find or follow:

Jeanne C. Folks, D.Min, LPC

CT Psychotherapeutic Resources
12 Old Farms Road  Avon, CT  06001
(860) 678-8779
Web site:

Facebook: https//

Loving in Our Strength – Strong In Our Love

Holiday Message 2017

A sailor without a destination cannot hope for a favorable wind.”

                          Leon Tec, MD, In Defense of Animals


To all I carry in my heart, both near and far,

I awakened from a dream in the early predawn this morning.  In the dream, I was attending the funeral of an infant not my own.  I left the church to sob outside.  I was grief stricken.  When I went back inside, I couldn’t find the pew I’d left in which my friends were sitting.  I’d lost my place and I hoped someone would notice my seeking and come and find me.  It was then I awoke.

Dreams are not literal.  They are full of symbols and are maps to the inner workings of our fears, longings and questions.  I’ve spent the morning reflecting on this dream of mine and it makes sense to me.

Infants in dreams often represent vulnerability, ideals and/or hopes for the future.  Clearly, as are many others, I am grieving and feeling vulnerable.  I feel a great loss.  I’ve always tried, single-mindedly to dodge or circumvent obstacles, reinvent myself when all doors seemed closed and press on.  The present social tidal wave of power used and abused confronts me.  I find myself flooded with countless recollections spanning decades of navigating through the stormy seas of verbally, energetically and physically expressed condescension, mockery, obstruction, power abusive manipulation, intimidation and dismissal, both personal and institutional.

I do not judge what others choose to do with their needs regarding healing.  Personally, I don’t feel the need to name names.  I’m not sure I’d even remember them all.  I do, however, need to name feelings and honor my experiences.  Honor how much of my journey as a woman seeking a place at the table has been uphill.  How much of my own pain I at times ignored and minimized in the name of continuing the climb. 

My “most meaningful book” recommendation for this year is Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness.  In it, Brené speaks powerfully as she observes that, “The greatest casualty of trauma is vulnerability.”  I agree.   She defines cultural privilege as a sense of entitlement that is unmerited.  She challenges each of us to examine the lens (of privilege or lack thereof) through which we look at the world and to reflect on the irreplaceable value of cultivating empathy.  To risk vulnerability in order to do so.

Brené defines power as “the ability to affect change”.  She then goes on to differentiate “power over” vs. “power with”.  She had me at “power with”.  Power that is not driven by nor does it engender shame, defensiveness or blame.  She invites us to cultivate “a hypothesis of generosity”.  To see potential good in dire circumstance and seemingly oblivious souls.  This is not to circumvent accountability, but to protect ourselves from bitterness and despair.  To always consider the possibility of redemption for self and others.

I agree with Brené as she writes, “If we own our own story, we get to write the ending.”  In my dream, after I grieve, I return and seek my friends and pray they are seeking me.  There it is.  The goal for which I strive.  The destination to which I chart my course.

I pray that we can be loving in our strength and strong in our love,      Jeanne              

Memorial Day

“We must be more than grateful for the service of our soldiers.  As individuals and as a country, we must be worthy of their sacrifice.”

                                                                         Jeanne C. Folks, DMin, LPC

The Courage to be Generous

Generosity takes courage.  As long as I’m fearful – fearful that I’ll be robbed, cheated, taken advantage of, or maybe worst of all, ignored – I’ll stay locked up, guarded and suspicious.
What would happen if I choose to be generous in spite of my fears?  What if it doesn’t even matter if a few people don’t appreciate or recognize my gifts?  What if I choose to trust that the vast majority will be touched – will be enlarged, enriched and encouraged by my heart, my truth freely given?
It will all have been worth it.  I choose to be generous.  I choose to risk my heart in order to make a difference and to share in the journey of being human.
Let’s tap on our fears and choose the liberating power of generosity.  Share an experience of your courageous generosity.  Did you speak when it was hard?  Give when no one was looking?  Offer kindness to someone you weren’t sure would understand?