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: http://CounselingWithDrFolks.com

Blog: https://tappingprayerfully.com
Facebook: https//www.facebook.com/drjeannefolks
Email: DrFolks@TappingPrayerfully.com

Kiss the Ground

This book recommendation came to me from my friends at Flamig Farm.  I send it on to you with a holiday prayer that this New Year will be filled with the joy and rewards of good stewardship of our bodies and our planet home.

Be well!  Jeanne

Dirt (and us) to the Rescue!

We can do this! We must do this! A book I highly recommend you get and read by a mentor of mine, Josh Tickle, is called Kiss the Ground  and is subtitled,  “How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body and Reverse Climate Change.”  Our modern day agriculture system is BROKEN.  Our government policies are a major part of the problem, and due to our agricultural practices, North America is teetering on the verge of becoming the world’s next desert, all while corporations that provide “inputs” (fertilizer, herbicides, pesticides, and genetically modified seeds) are getting richer and farmers are going broke. Civilizations have collapsed due to their agricultural practices, and we need to change ours if we are to survive.  Nevin Flamig, Flamig Farm, W Simsbury, CT

Receiving and Giving – an Easter Reflection

Last night was Maundy Thursday.  In the Christian Tradition, of which I am a part, it is the night when we celebrate Jesus’ last night with his disciples before his arrest and crucifixion on Good Friday, looking forward to Easter.   It is the night Jesus shared bread and wine with his followers to deepen their memory of him.  It is also the night he washed the feet of his disciples.  He said he did this to set an example of servanthood for them.

Christians of many denominations all over the world attended services last evening that incorporated foot washing.  At the service I attended, each person who chose to participate came to the front pew and had their feet washed in a basin by a person kneeling in front of them.  When finished, the one who did the washing returned to their original seat in the congregation. The person whose feet had just been washed then turned around and knelt waiting for the next person to sit before them.

The power and implications of this experience are many for me.  Not everyone chose to participate which is fine.   Bearing witness and offering support is important.   I’m glad, however, that I did go up.  Getting to my feet (pun intended) was the only hard part.  Like so much in life, getting started is half the battle.

Once I sat down in front of a radiantly smiling woman whom I did not know, I entered an experience that was full of kindness, relaxation and friendship.  In fact, it felt like the whole congregation was entering a companionable meditation.  It was perfect in its imperfection.  The person designated to hand out the towels for drying, got distracted and my servant and I were briefly marooned.    I leaned over and gave her arms a little squeeze.  We smiled broadly at each other.  Servanthood doesn’t always go according to plan, but we are still serving.

By the time I’d switched and was kneeling and waiting, I was looking forward to my turn.  I wanted to do this for someone else.  As a distinguished member of the congregation sat down in front of me, all I felt was joy.  I noticed her bunion, and wondered if it gave her pain.  I felt strength and sturdiness flowing from her body.  I poured water over her feet from a plastic pitcher clearly conscripted from someone’s kitchen for the occasion.  We worked together like we’d done this a hundred times before.  I was gentle and loving, but there was also a practical, workmanlike process that didn’t take long.

Dare I say I had fun?  If fun is measured by the urge, “Let’s do this again!”, then yes, I had fun.  Foot washing during Maundy Thursday services is a tangible enactment of profound spiritual principles.  It is a great equalizer, demonstrating the circle of serving and being served.  It shows us the importance of receiving first, to better equip us to serve. We are reminded that giving and receiving can’t be separated.  That each role brings equal joy and strength and that it is natural to flow back and forth between being giver and receiver.  But, receive first.  Let our gifts to others flow from our own hearts being filled.  That’s what makes it fun.


A Reason For Hope

img_2718hre-22016 Holiday Season

“Not being too certain that ‘never again’ can truly be achieved, I still believe that we must continue to educate the next generations about the dangers of wrongly understood nationalism.”
Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, professor and Nobel Laureate. Died in July at the age of 87

How am I going to manage in a world with Elie Wiesel no longer in it? I long to hear his voice, crystalline in perception and unwavering, speaking of this moment in history. I want him here to point out the North Star by which we can navigate our tossed and tiny ships. Still, he left a powerful legacy. His essence and wisdom are here.

This year has been an uproar leaving many disconnected and afraid; women who are distrustful and jaded of men, children who are distracted and confused, men who have lost their centered sense of personal power. People disenfranchised. The moral compass spinning.
The distinguished and wise poet/philosopher, Mark Nepo, with whom I studied this year, said to me recently, “Don’t write about what you know. Write about what you want to understand.” I will be writing more.

How do I hold my center in a world in upheaval? How do I have confidence amid fear and worry. How do I feel safe? Perhaps, sometimes, I don’t. Perhaps it’s about returning, again and again to my heart. Perhaps it is the cultivation, on a daily basis, of moral courage and fierce determination; to not linger in strange waters when I’m knocked off course.

Despite turbulence, each of our lives continues. We will each choose where we place our energies, time and talents. This year, I completed my certification in Accelerated Resolution Therapy. Yet another tool for facilitating recovery from trauma more deeply and efficiently. I’m adding to my public Facebook page more faithfully. Please come visit for encouragement and a respectful dialog. I’ve also indexed my blog so that you can find support by category. My advocacy for all captivates, human or animal, continues. One of my deepest commitments. Lily, Susie and Emma Jane, my own dear fur girls, remain always my sustaining treasures.

As most of you know, I love novels. I learn so much about human woundedness, frailty and strength from them. I get to observe in a morality play the way some decisions take a generation, or many generations, to come full circle and be made right. One of the most powerful that I read this year is Amy Tan’s The Valley of Amazement. In it she writes, “Neglect is a surreptitious slayer of the heart. It has as its accomplice carelessness.” May we not let worry cause us to be neglectful. May we not grow careless through the distraction of perceived powerlessness or fear. God is still God. The world is still beautiful. The human heart is still capable of magnificent striving.

An article in the Washington Post said of Elie Wiesel recently, “In his lectures, he often looked small and fragile behind the heavy lectern. He commented that he hoped not to live long enough to be the last survivor because the burden would be too great.” We will carry on his legacy. May we follow his example to speak and love again and again and again.

Don’t give up. Keep growing. Keep giving. Keep believing.

Be blessed and be brave, Jeanne

“The Earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it.”

Chief Joseph, Nez Perce

Trusting Healing

It can take a long time for some emotional wounds to form.  It can also be surprisingly hard to know for sure when a wound is healing, especially at the beginning.

Let’s think for a moment how these many wounds happen. Frequently they’re cumulative.  A number of similar experiences or habits repeating over and over.  Chronic criticism over many years can evolve into you then continuing now to remind yourself your needs don’t matter or admitting defeat after you’ve just barely started something bold and new, to name just a few.

Think about it physically, one action, word or thought, like one quick swipe of sandpaper across your skin, it wouldn’t feel good, but it also probably wouldn’t do much damage.  If you keep rubbing the same place with the sandpaper over and over, after a while, the wound will be very big and painful.  So, I think you’d agree that step one would be “ditch the sandpaper”.  Good idea, but the wound still looks awful.  Some people might think “the sandpaper wasn’t the problem, look at this terrible wound!”  True, but you only stopped rubbing a minuet ago.  What might happen to the wound after a day, a week, a month with no new wounding?  It could be profoundly better (especially with a little TLC thrown in like keeping it clean and a nice, soft bandage).

I can be touch to ditch the sandpaper.  We might now know it IS sandpaper and/or it might feel so familiar that it’s strangely hard to stop rubbing. Maybe it’s always using the word “should” instead of “could”.  Maybe it’s looking at the world with a critical eye, seeing what’s wrong rather than what’s right, or a hundred other possibilities that leave us with wounds of  discouragement, fear or defeat.   It’s a leap of faith to allow time for healing to show – to give it time to prove it was the sandpaper after all and that healing can happen.

Someone I knew a long time ago always used to say, “It’s a great life as long as you don’t weaken!”    He had big wounds of disappointment and discouragement with life that never seemed to diminish.  There had been a lot of sandpaper moments in his childhood, but he kept the sandpaper and kept using it on himself long after he could have thrown it away and let his woulds heal.  Far longer than it needed to be, life continued to feel like a battle to him.

What’s your sandpaper?  Be on lookout for it.  A common thought.  A frequent phrase you use.  It’s entirely possible that it’s unconscious, swiping away at a wound that’s never had the chance to heal.  Find it the sandpaper, let go of it, add a little TLC (mindfulness, loving kindness meditation, tapping, etc.) and trust the healing will happen as you return to your true, unwounded self.

This meditation may help (remember that “home” is your own deepest true self).


There are reasons to hope

“If you don’t know what to do, do nothing . . . except listen.” Maya Angelou

What a year it has been. Violence, turmoil and chaos. So many reasons to be afraid, to hide, to despair. As I write this, 14 more people have died, this time, in San Bernadino. Guns blaze and people hurry to buy more guns. What do we do?

In a lecture several years ago, one of my lifelong role models, Jane Goodall, reflected on making decisions. She opined that making decisions solely from the mind addresses immediate concerns. Such decisions tend to be reactive and possibly impulsive. Decisions made from the heart tend to take a longer view; factor in long term consequences.

I think we get confused about strength and weakness. We often think that swift decisions and actions equate to strength (sometimes they do) and thoughtful consideration is naive or timid (often it’s not). I also know in my own life that the difference between swift and considered can be a timespan as short as a breath. In that breath, it’s possible to drop into one’s heart. A chance to listen.

It’s hard in the face of panic and anger. So many times in my life I’ve reacted reflexively. Said or done something defensively, impulsively. It almost never turns out well. Most often, I’m left with more mess to clean up. When I take that breath, wait, and sense what is alive in me, I have more choices – better choices. For me, these have been far more often the choices holding the potential for healing and hope.

When I take that breath and drop into my heart I hear God whisper to me, “I’ve got you”. I feel held and I know I’m not alone. I realize that the world is more than I see. These are the same three words that Shannon Johnson, a former truck driver and San Bernadino Public Health Department worker said to Denise Peraza, the young woman he held close and shielded with his body during the attack. “I’ve got you.” Sadly, Shannon didn’t survive, but his words continue to inspire and encourage. I believe he took a breath.

My commitment in the coming year is to contribute more regularly through my websites and Facebook to the dialogue of courage and peace. I hope you’ll join me. To love truth is to love God. To seek the truth is the literal definition of a saint.

Don’t lose heart,  Jeanne