Welcome to The Women Behind The Poetry, where we feature the women from the 'Journey of The Heart: Women's Spiritual Poetry Project'!
Today we offer you Sandra Allagapen's heartfelt experience of participating in the creating and publishing of our second volume of poems.
Four months ago, I opened an email inviting me to join this group of amazing women from all over the world, to produce the second volume of poems from the Journey of the Heart Women’s Spiritual Poetry Project.
I don't think anyone knew the specifics of how this would or could work. It took a woman with a great vision and an even bigger heart to crystallize that vision for us. That woman is Catherine Ghosh. What unfolded is a story that gives me hope, and this is why I wish to share it with all of you today.
Battered as we are daily by bad news in the media, it's tempting to think: "Oh this sounds too good to be true!" whenever an opportunity arises and to doubt. We may think we are hiding behind the facade of security, when in fact, we do not dare believe in something so good, lest we appear foolish to others if something goes wrong! Yes, there comes a time when one puts all reservations aside and just jumps in! So that’s what we did.
It all happened via a Facebook group that we created to produce the book.
It consisted of nearly 30 women from several countries, yet everyone contributed whenever they could, in their own time zones. Together we brainstormed and came up with the book’s title, its layout, the chapter themes and lots more, just within a couple of weeks. Discussions and votes took place with grace and respect and we were so inspired by each other, that there was no place for self-consciousness or false modesty. Anything we had to give we offered it to the project simply; be it our time, ideas, our talents or skills.
|Ruth, Catherine and Sandra in London|
I remember sitting in front of my computer, reading a request from Catherine for volunteers to write the introductions to the various chapters. I watched that post for an hour. My instinct told me which chapter I should offer to write the introduction to. My mind told me that I had no idea what to write or how to even begin! My heart simply asked me: "If this chapter is taken, how would you feel?" and the answer was: "Disappointed in myself". So I watched myself putting my name forward. I was still clueless but strangely not petrified.
It is easier to step up when surrounded by people who bring out the best in you.
It was humbling to see everyone step forward and offer their gifts to the group. Shailie Dubois shared a painting she did, as inspired by the energy of our group, and it was so deeply perfect, we chose it as our cover. She drew another one to give us a choice. We chose that one too!! They now proudly grace the front and back covers.
Then came the time to find a publisher, and someone else in the group, Alice of Golden Dragonfly Press came forward to offer her services freely. Julia Pankratova drew magical mandalas for every single chapter, making them even more unique and sacred. Shailie created a book trailer, and Catherine another, engaging their many creative talents.
In the beginning, some asked me how much I was going to have to invest in this project, and I replied: “Only my time!” They seemed dubious, yet none of us had to pay anything. If they were to ask me today, my answer would be different: “I also invested my heart”.
Four months ago, a group of women came together and shared whatever they already had: skills, talents, time and above all the love that they are. What emerged amazed us all!
Our new book Where Journeys Meet: The Voice of Women’s Poetry is the result of that. It was released yesterday as we watched it climb to number one on the New Releases in poetry by Women on Amazon, and #2 in the general poetry by women category, right next to Mary Oliver!
All proceeds from our book sales are going to WriteGirl, a nonprofit organization for teenage girls centered on the craft of creative writing and empowerment through self-expression, based in Los Angeles.
The reason I am sharing all of this with you, is that every single one of us is not more deserving of such an opportunity than anyone else. We were simply willing to trust and to work together without ego.
Our prayer is that our poetry book and how it came about inspires you to find your own voice.
My prayer is that this whole project ripples out and inspires other groups to form and share their gifts whatever they may be! Because, as I experienced it, this book proves that all we need is love…and the willingness to trust. And when we do, wonderful and unexpected things happen! I know that now.
Sandra Allagapen: I am originally from Mauritius but now live in London UK. I am an accountant as well as an alternative therapist. I find balance in variety. I love reading, jewellery-making, reading, spending time with my loved ones, reading, writing and reading. I am hopeful that one day I’ll be spending more time writing than reading! I love bright colours, crystals, books, trees, people who are not afraid to speak their minds, and so much more on this gorgeous planet of ours. You may contact me on Facebook .