by the grace of god – why i write.


Flashback: Early 80’s NYC

Walking down a dark Manhattan Street, shadows jumping at me from every direction, heart in my throat as I pass the theater district. On my way to Pennsylvania station (Penn Station) for the night, looking for any of my street siblings. I walked determinedly from 42nd street towards 34th street. As usual, I was thinking about the why’s of my life. Why me? What do I do now? Why am I alone again? Poor me, dammit, I just want a family, a home and to be somewhat understood. “Yo, Cookie… Wtf are you doing?” Blinking a few times, shocked out of my abysmal contemplations, I recognized a girl I had been in Promesa with a couple of weeks earlier… and thought quickly…


oh shit, I’m wearing this girls Adidas. DAMNIT!

She weaved toward me, her eyes empty and unfocused. I realized that she was almost unrecognizable due to the amount of weight she had lost since we had last seen each other almost two weeks before. Slurring her words slightly she said what’s up with my kicks, I said, I know, I have them on, but to be honest, I don’t have nothing else, and I’m not walking down the street barefoot. 

I was thinking damn damn, not barefoot too

She looked at me, I guess deciding if this was worth the effort of a forced retrieval. I was bigger and stronger but she was definitely a better fighter due her many years on the street and the system (I remembered some of her story from our encounter groups in Promesa). She said with a dismissive wave, “give them back next time we see each other”. I nodded apologetically with a shrug of “badass” I don’t care… I don’t really give a crap attitude, my ego protecting my back out there in the concrete jungle…

(I totally cared)

As she walked away from me, towards the shadows, I saw movement, a spectral, bony hand reaching for her head as she knelt down. My mouth fell open as I realized what she was doing… My heart beating like a frightened baby bird, I quickened my pace speeding away from her in her very own Adidas.

I never saw her again.

Fast Forward: Sitting here in a semi-public place, watching a loving family, I just wrote that feeling all up in the ‘ISness’ holding space for that young woman who was driven to her knees by her demons. I want so badly to remember her name. To hold light for who she was, who I was, who we are. In retrospect I was lucky, divinely protected ….but why?

In 1991, I was laying on my mother’s futon, talking to God, my children ages 5,4 and 3. Attending Medical assisting school in the evenings, I was single parenting while my ex was out doing his thing. I could not yet see any rhyme or reason for this tortuous path. I was more than angry, I was frustrated and laden with despair. I cried out to the heavens, tears streaming down my face, WHY???? WHAT IS IT ALL FOR???… I could feel my heart clenched in pain, my insides felt as though they were viciously twisted and knotted in agony. What the fuck do I do with THIS? How do I make this work? I felt broken, empty, angry, afraid, bereft, and still not understood, by anyone.

I heard an answer.

Three calm words…

No voice to describe… just three words ….then four.

write it down.

write it all down.

I thought what, write all that crap down and then die? Wtf? With my luck, that’s just how it would happen, leaving my children with whom???? Pfft! NO, thank you.

That was in 1991, I get it now, share everything, everything that has happened and the journey that is now unfolding. Show the messy, sometimes scary, raw process, my return to innocence, retraining one damn thought at a time. I am to flip myself inside out and show my seams, loving myself and all others during the process. Holy crapola batman!!

Yup, I AM brave, so are you, if your reading this, it’s not an accident or a coincidence, there’s something in this intersecting labyrinth that we are in together that mirrors and reflects something in your spirit. Something that you want to know. We are one.

That young woman (cannot remember her name) and I were/are one. I hope she made it, I really do. I cannot feel upset that I didn’t run back to her, because as I knew in that moment, the darkness threatened me too, what I saw could not be unseen, if I had gone back, I may not have made it. There but by the GRACE of god/dess, go I. I hope she’s okay… to that young woman who shared a room with me at Promesa,

I’m sorry I took your sneakers. I am holding light for US. Wherever you are, I remember you. I see you. Thank you.



**I hope this will reach the person who needs it, but I’m trusting universe so I know it will.” love and light my tribe.


Published by: Shanti Shaharazade

Told to write it all down, I do, finally. It took me from 1991 to now, to surrender to Universe/God/dess (insert name of choice) and to embrace this path with my soul wide open. I love sharing all of my journey with young people to demonstrate that it is possible to choose the light constantly even when face to face with your own darkness. I've used a variety of tools to shed ego's protective barriers like onion layers. I am determined to share the journey, tools and encouragement, being the change I want in the world. If something resonates, touches you, please share, it could do the same for another. Also feel free to share your thoughts, opinions or to voice your disagreement, all points of view are welcome and appreciated, at worst we can agree to disagree. Thank you for stopping by!!! Sat Nam


4 thoughts on “by the grace of god – why i write.”

  1. Though I read this before, I am impressed with it again. What a story you have! Yes, you have been spared as we both know there are many things that could have taken you out, many times over and yet you are still here. You survived the various abuses, and have not turned bitter, hard and cold, rather you have chosen to allow those things to crack you open, to soften around all the pain and to find ways to heal. I applaud that effort, for effort it is. While it is far more painful to harden and become bitter (and usually comes with some really ugly, hard lessons and often a rapid death) it is, in ways, easier, the previously mentioned pitfalls notwithstanding. Thank you for your willingness to “turn yourself inside out” to share your process with any and all who find your words. May they bring hope and healing to many. Brightest Blessings!!


    1. what stuns me honestly is that this is one of the mildest stories in the bunch. it was literally crazy, i honestly and truly do not know how i survived cept it be for the grace of… nods head. i had a purpose. what good is it if i keep all that locked up inside, toxic instead of using it to light the way for our youth?? I can help.. .why not be the change and impact my lineage while I’m at it. I’m sure it going to feel strange when I share some of the horrible things I’ve done, but the lesson in it is that we ALWAYS have the ability to MAKE NEW CHOICES and change from living from a fear driven life back to ‘innocence’, back to the loving beings we were as children.

      oh and ps. I so know you are a writer, so where is your stuff, so i can read it, because your prose is magnificent. thank you for being my ‘only’ commentator so far, you are SO hugely appreciated!!!!


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