The currency of forgiveness won’t always feed the hungry, but choosing compassion over condemnation is the right price for a meal.

It happened so quickly. One second I was pouring coffee from the spigot, the next wondering where I had placed my breakfast. An employee mumbled something, and then a gruff cop asked if I wanted to press charges for theft.

Poverty a.k.a. desperation wore a threadbare jogging suit in winter, sported a scruffy beard, and sat surrounded by two police officers. We locked eyes.

I saw him.

And so many souls in him: he was all men, speaking silently to me, the face of raw, chronic disappointment, ragged with despair. He could go to jail or to the hospital. …


Diane Rehm’s book shored up my own memories of caregiving and the dilemma of letting go

“Me quiero morir.”

Bedridden in a nursing home, my 80-something father yelled “I want to die” from the pit of his throat with what little strength he had left in his body. I remember the raspy trail of the last syllable, echoing into soft, high-pitched sobbing that began with a firm, commanding baritone.

I remember this cadence of unspeakable suffering as if it were an easily recalled melody — always happening, recursive. His plea shook me to the core, pierced my heart and pissed me off. …


Women bared their souls and more on the steps of the Supreme Court when a judge confirmed spelled the dismissal of women’s pain.

The phalanx of women at the bottom of the Supreme Court steps at Saturday’s protest.

Witnessing history yesterday was something I'll not soon forget. After the bare-breasted woman was symbolically arrested, one, then two, then three women walked up the steps of the Supreme Court of the United States. I was about to leave when the sidewalk barricade was breached and the protesters walked up to the towering columns. Not sure why security stood back all of a sudden ... and there we were, mere footsteps from the stately front door, with Kavanaugh on the other side, being confirmed.

No matter what side you are on, this really is what democracy looks like. Interestingly, I…


If the “land of the free and home of the brave” is to be anything but a sham, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” should also means freedom from rape.

Cover for TIME magazine by John Mavroudis

The history of misogyny is as old as humanity, and today, October 5th, marks the one-year anniversary of the New York Times bombshell that exposed allegations of sexual harassment against film mogul Harvey Weinstein. The veil of silence torn apart, a wound exposed, the collective pain body of woman earth-quaked and raged on with a tsunami that has hardly receded. The Weinstein era shored up #MeToo and #TimesUp — a social media revolution that manifested a legal defense fund on behalf of women from all walks of life — from Latina farmworker to A-list celebrity.

In the aftershock of Weinstein…


Gillen’s case is just one of many in a banner year for women’s rights, and what a week for CBS on the eve of the one-year anniversary marking the Harvey Weinstein bombshell that gave rise to the #MeToo movement.

Gillen at CBS 4 in 2014.

When is it OK to discuss menstruation cycles in the newsroom or boardroom? Never. That’s what investigative reporter Michele Gillen implies in an age and gender discrimination lawsuit her attorneys filed Friday at a federal district court against her former employer Miami’s CBS WFOR-TV and its parent network.

Gillen’s career spans more than two decades earning accolades for her work at Miami’s CBS 4, during which time she garnered 25 regional Emmy Awards and 46 nominations for investigative series that included forays into the underbelly of Miami’s human trafficking and prison world. The veteran reporter is one of a handful…


Open yourself up to the challenge of a diagnosis.

Caregivers often ask me about dealing with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and while it’s important to understand memory disorders clinically, it’s even more important to understand the role of this diagnosis in your own spiritual growth.

The science of medical research will only see the patient, as it should, through the more impartial eye of specialist wearing a lab coat. …


America will never be even remotely great if it abuses its women and truth tellers.

The stare of horror: the wife holds the Handmaid down while the husband plants his seed.

Recent headlines in a nation that’s normalizing horror: a cold comfort Supreme Court judge retires, women are arrested at the Senate while protesting peacefully in a plea for compassion, immigrant families are ripped apart, children of a tender age suffer, journalists are shot in a newsroom, and a First Lady, a former model known for her stilettos as much for her steely aplomb, wears a cheap jacket emblazoned with the message I don’t care, do you?

These scenes are not from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale, turned into a broadcast series on Hulu for two seasons now…


When children are put in cages and separated from parents, we know who’s really trash.

Sophie’s Choice, 1982. Upon arrival at Auschwitz, Polish immigrant Sophie is forced to choose which one of her two children would go to the gas chamber or labor camp.

The Trump administration has implemented — or re-implemented, depending on the news source — a “zero tolerance” policy of criminalizing seekers of asylum that’s separating children from parents at the Mexico border. The usual bickering and scapegoating between left and right is trying to distract us from what we’re witnessing, which isn’t border control — it’s the bottoming out of barbarism. We’ve gone lower than low, hurling tiny bodies into cages — thousands of innocent hearts sent careening into the horror of an unknown.

All the women in me are tired. All the women in the world are tired. In…


When I became a caregiver to my father, visits to his nursing home shored up memories of childhood adventures. Alzheimer’s robbed him of memory, but gave back love.

I felt so small, with nothing but a wooden bridge separating my little body from the roiling water flowing furiously out to sea, waves swooshing in a grey confluence of foam. The briny air filled my lungs. Slimy black ink oozed out of the squid daddy cut up for bait. Oh, this was no ordinary fishing adventure. No place here for the world of baby dolls and pretty pink dresses. Perched at the edge of something unknown, I sensed all would soon be different in the reverie of becoming a big girl.

I tugged at the line daddy handed to…


This week’s celebrity suicides are a reminder of how fragile our ties are to the body, and a moment to shift into a practice of love.

Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully in The X-Files Season Two episode “One Breath”

RIP Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, my old friend Jackie, my friend’s son, millions of others and a dying part of myself that let go so I could hold on …

This week’s celebrity suicides are a reminder of how fragile our ties are to the mortal flesh — this crazy scary and yet wonderful flash of being human on a (seemingly) unknown journey. It makes no sense to be in consciousness, and yet there we are. “Here I AM.” And truly, that is the only “job” we have on this earth — to simply be.

I learn of these suicides…

Vice-Queen Maria

Spiritual entrepreneur, award-winning indie writer, journalist, teacher in Washington, DC. Founder #heartcenteredmedia and heartcenteredDC podcast.

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