Conversations with Dead People: A Series – Courage

Post Series: Conversations with Dead People

Pen to Paper, 20 Minute Writing


He is holding Rumi in his lap, petting her neck, her eyelids closing up.

“Yes, Kristina?” Joseph Campbell asks.

“I’m hurting,” I say.

“Yes, I know,” he says, as he studies the chicken’s eyelid.

“Do you hold your chickens, Kristina? Do you spend the time to look into their eyes, to see how there is only one eyelid, and this eyelid rises up?” he asks me.

“Yes, I do, silly,” I say, “I taught you about the chickens and their eyelids. Don’t you remember?”

He doesn’t like this question so he ignores me. “But do you study her black feathers? Do you see how they shine in translucent green on her sides, translucent purple on her back, and translucent orange-red on her front?”

“Yes, the colors are healing, but this pain…” I say.

“Are we fighting death again? You know we all have to die?” Joseph says tenderly, he knows I know the answer all too well in my body.

“Yes, Joseph, I do know. I feel as if I am not fighting death, but I am drowning in a fear of dying alone. Did you hear me sobbing in the field behind Olbrich Gardens, on Friday?” I reply.

“Yes, I did. We humans can not avoid it, ” Joseph says.

“What do you mean?” I ask as I stand up, grab my chicken Honey and sit back down, placing the golden chicken in my lap to settle myself.

“Original experience can not be interpreted for you; you’ve got to work out your life for yourself. This includes your continual dying, during life.”

I am really hating him. His archetype bullshit annoying me, but I collect myself. “It surprised me, what arose as I cried, Joseph. At first, loneliness. Then after a few minutes of hard sobbing, I came to an ache, like a bullet to my belly, the entire suffering of this world. The deeper I go…” I begin, then pause, gently scratching at the base of Honey’s eye, watching as the one eyelid closes up, opens down, closes up.

“That’s courage,” Joseph smiles up at me, as he encourages the black chicken down with his hands. Then as he rises up off the white square bucket full of sunflower seeds, the old man arches back, skeletal hands on his low back, stretching.

Rumi stands where he set her, opens her feathers to twice her size and shakes her body.

“Crying, in a field. Sobbing, in public. Allowing yourself to simply feel what you feel when you feel it. That is the hero’s journey.” Joseph says.

We both watch as Rumi and Yolko fattened their feathers and run at each other, circling, lifting into flight, then running in opposite directions in the yard. We walk hand in hand to the house.



Conversations with Dead People is a series of stories which show up in my meditative practice, Contemplative Writing. With this practice I sit with pen and paper, twenty minutes, and write to a prompt from a meditative space. I share these stories with minimal edits to share the depth, the directness, the deep body sense, I experience with my teachers.

Albert Einstein pops into my writing often, we hang out, giving us both a direct chance to explore the illusion of time. Albert feeds me tremendous encouragement to trust the irresistible urge I have to grieve, and heal, through death.

We also meet Thomas Merton, Georgia O’Keeffe, Carl Jung, and more through this weekly blog, Conversations with Dead People: A Series. Please join us each week.

~Kristina Amelong



This Post Has One Comment

  1. Kristina,
    You were meant for me to discover. I am seeped in gratitude for your existence. Thank you for your life and your work. I will follow and learn…
    I would love to know you more and for now I will learn through your blog.
    I’ve dreamed of creating what you have. I feel more courageous this morning…. ??

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