What Does It Really Mean to Show Up?

A conversation with Judith Jordan Kalush

“Listen, listen, listen. How will I write anything if I don’t listen?” —Judith Jordan Kalush

Preview: Episode 52 on how we bring our whole lives to our creative practice

Our conversation with poet, dreamworker, playwright, novelist and student of divinity Judith Jordan Kalush is part of our ongoing endeavor to interview some of the creatives who have most influenced Rosemerry and Christie on their own creative paths. In this episode, we discuss the treasure in moving through tough times, how our health and wholeness are in service not only to ourselves but to all, how easy it is to be distracted, and how important it is to show up and face the world as it is. Oh yeah, and falling into holes.

Judith Jordan Kalush is an unpindownable wonder of a human who was raised in Brazil where her father was a Baptist minister and missionary. In 2005, she received her Master’s Degree in Creation Spirituality from Naropa University. As she says,” As far as I can tell the world is held together by a glue called LOVE. The oneness of everything.” She was the founder and director of Colorado’s performance poetry festival, SPARROWS, which was held 1999-2007 and now creates poetry videos for her youtube channel, PoetJude. For decades, she has led dreamwork circles and classes and in recent years opened a Fair Trade business. She and her wife, Micah, are presently living in California. 

What We’re Reading and Listening to:


  • How differently might you treat a stranger if you knew that you would be the last person they interacted with before they died? That’s the premise of this powerful poem by Ellen Bass, “If You Knew.”

  • And along those same lines, imagine the person you are engaging with right now will someday not be here. How does invoking that knowledge inform the present? I love the way Carrie Green explores this in her poem “Robbing the Bees,” posted in American Life in Poetry.


  • I snagged my mom’s copy of The Almost Legendary Morris Sisters: a True Story of Family Fiction by Julie Klam and read it in two days. The book explores how the falsehoods and embellishments embedded in family legends shape us and what they can reveal about our histories and ourselves.

  • When Arielle Duhaime-Ross learned that her cousin had been posthumously baptizing her dead relatives into the Mormon church, it bothered her. A lot. In this episode of the Vice News Reports podcast, Duhaime-Ross talks to her cousin about why he has been doing this, and why it gives her pause. Over the course of the episode, she eloquently explores what makes the practice of posthumous baptism so troubling and why it was important to her that her cousin and others in the church know that she does not consent to it.

Riding to New Life on the Dark Night of the Soul

(Instructions 1-8 by Julian of Norwich Mystic born 1342 Author of the first book in English) Interpretation by Matthew Fox, “Medicine for Trauma,” in Oneing,” Editor Venessa Guerin.

This poem has 8 statements of Julian of Norwich beginning each stanza. Some of them slightly rephrased. Her instructions begin each stanza.

For the video version, please visit Jude’s YouTube Channel

1.Do not go into denial---face the darkness and suffering.

Because the skin

Of my soul has

Been torn open,

I have no covering

No protection

I am naked. 

My brother’s Pandemic death

Joins hands with the shots

Of my insane neighbor 

And these horrors

Lie in bed with me

I know intimately 

Friends who carry

Deeper pain and sorrows

I’m pushed to make peace

As we open the door

To excruciating pain

Only when I work poetry

Does my anger fly out

Crashing and flashing

Like lightening

On clouds too 

Dry for rain

i feel like sin

In my sleep i am trying

To rise from filth or

Step down into real dirt.

2. Focus on the goodness, joy and awe which are also all around us-----”the first good thing is nature.

Then a eucalyptus tree

Calls my name shimmering

Peace leaves in a strange land

There god names me again

My feet feel dirt birthing a million

Beings to heal the world I cry out to

My beloved son who comes just

Because i have need of him

We sup together binding the wounds

Of my heart feeling God with skin on

In Piccino’s over pizza and hugs

3. Resist all dualism even within yourself between body and soul. God is in our sensuality.

My lover comes to me scattering

Fear in the great moment of “nothing-

Else-matters” though we are in the throws

Of moving and leaving and loving don’t come easy

Our song birds and the screaming neighbors

Become one as I pull them 

Into my body remembering, Oneing.

I remember who I am and every other beloved

Human, tree and rock I know how each of us

Has lived dozens of lives and survived 

Each in her own inimitable way

From birth to now, still here as always.

I feel this forever in my bones.

4. Move beyond patriarchy that is essentially dualistic. See God as mother, mother, mother.

I nurture myself in the mirror of  seeing god there

Open myself to the need only a real mother can supply

Cry again now with abandon touching my own face

To soothe my broken heart, salving my bleeding soul.

Kiss, kiss, kiss I say into the silence of the dark 

Night feeling god’s skin touching the wonder of

Universes, trees and me . My BE LOVED ones Bodies 

Wrapped into One Love I begin to ease my

Separation syndrome how could there be

Abandonment and separation if there is only One?

5. Learn trust.

I have learned to trust here

Even though i am blind in the dark

Feeling the cradle of Love rocking me

And she who holds planets in place

Holds me in this space a wonder

Of Oneness. Trusting I throw myself

Into the abyss falling, falling falling

And still all is well. All is Well All IS WELL

I have never fallen out of HER. 

6. Trust that All things are in God and God whom we do not see is in us.

I scream to heaven and then laugh

At myself and scream louder into

My own living room on the couch

Help, I Say, Can You Help ME?????

I sense Her like a strong flashing wind

Because even though I walk through

The shadow of the valley of death

I will fear no evil for LOVE is with

Me and I am with making LOVE 

My poetry turns into video and

In creations wake I realize there is

Gift here, for me there is something

Bringing something into being

Relieving anxiety, dancing a little.

7. Embody compassion and serve as a good mother serves.

I find a way to fund some food for those who

Live in Brazil where my brother died. A mother

Who was once his mother-in-law joins me

And we distribute food to families suffering from Covid’s wrath

Where fathers and mothers break into tears and praise God that

Food has come for their hungry families 

I do this for myself and in return I am returned to 

The language of my childhood full of love flowering

With compassion and joy words from this other 

Mother’s Brazilian tongue

We are all mothers of God.

All is One All is One All is One

8. Know that Love conquers evil and even laughs at it.

I hear Her belly laugh when i point out the beady eyes 

Of some devil i have devised from my fear. I scream

For LOVE and She laughs again, but holds my hand

So that I can feel this other way of being.

Evil She says is just a charade hoping to take

The power of your love and make it HIS. Turn

The other way and you will get the joke!

In that direction, i see Nothing following me.

We can’t control our laughter as the spook

Disappears and LOVE walks in the door holding

The WORLD in Her WeMother Hands Of Forever LOVE.

And I know now that a good joke comes directly from God Herself.

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Two Questions:

(share your answers with us here on Substack or in our FB group)

  1. When you realize you’re distracted, how do you bring yourself back to your creative practice?

  2. Who is one of your greatest mentors for your creative practice?