Performance Art

Into the Mystic:

Answering the Call that Is Your Own



“The Pickaxe” by Rumi
Music by Richard Williams & Elias Alexander
August 11, 2013  Ashland, Oregon

 “Your timing and expressive recitation captured the spirit of the poetry and created a new experience, unique and special. You were in your element . . . the event was healing for us both.”

                                                                                    --Suzanne B.

“I was hanging onto every word, completely forgot I was in a room full of people. It was magical and mystical and profound. Please, please, please do another performance sometime soon.”

                                                                                    --Margaret M.

“I wouldn't have missed last night for anything—it was the
most lovely evening in true Rumi tradition of Sabat. I thought that only Coleman Barks was capable in this country BUT, last night, an
ascendant star took his place (in my estimation, anyway)!
You were beautiful and powerful in theway that strong, passionate women are, yet there was a vulnerability and delicacy underlying the
strength which lent it depth and breadth.”

                                                                                  —S. Newby

Taking Our Life:
Suicide, Ecocide, and Daring to Live

Is humanity suicidal? Maybe it is reasonable to ask this question as we stand on the brink of the Sixth Mass Extinction and face the dangers of global warming. Simultaneous with these threats to Life as we know it, the number of suicides globally has more than doubled over the past fifty years. Are ecocide and suicide connected? Taking Our Life places the audience up against the truth that life is a choice, and to be truly alive means following our own individual call—that juncture where the world’s need and our own longing meet.


The play interweaves the story of losing my sister to suicide with that of Chad, a marine veteran living on the streets of Seattle, calling into a suicide hotline staffed by Lily, a Native American who had once considered suicide herself. An Angel/Spirit-Person as Watcher grows increasingly involved with the fate of these lives. Intermittent video “newscasts” provide a historical and environmental commentary on these stories. The overall arc of the play emphasizes a call to life and living, as we witness these three characters choosing life. Music and song throughout carry the upward motion.


Creation (an excerpt from “Taking Our Lives”)

In the beginning is the Word / And the word begets the world /
And the world is in the beginning / With the Earth. / In them is Life, and Life /
Is the light of the world. / And the light shines in the darkness . . .

And on the First Day

the throbbing force of

14 billion year old stardust,

beats inside us

as the beginning and the heart of Life.

And we see that it is good.


On the Second Day

the pulsing cloud of every atom,

Sees and hears,

Touches and feels,

Smells and tastes

Loves and yearns

In us as us.

And we see that it is good.

And this is the evening and morning

of the Second Day.


On the Third Day

We stand before the altar of our heart

and breathe in the suffering of the Earth,

of bewildered beasts as forests fall

and honeybees lose their queen

and salmon lose their way.

We breathe in the pain

of those in war

and chaos in the mind,

the ache of those who long

to hear the voice that calls them.

We breathe in the

named and unnamed

and offer it all

here on the altar of the heart,

and so breathe out,

into the weave of Life,

relief and comfort,

compassion and joy.

And thus we proclaim

the evening and morning

of the Third Day,

and it is good.


On the Fourth Day

the people and nations stand

before the World Court,

and they begin:

France apologizes to Africa

Spain and Portugal to South America

Russia to Eastern Europe

Spain to Jews

Jews to Arabs

Arabs to the Middle East

China to Tibet

The US and Canada to Native Americans

The US to Africa’s descendents,

to Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Nicaragua,

Afghanistan, Iraq . . .

England to nearly everyone else

and nearly everyone else to each other

and to the Earth,

as forgiveness slowly rises

in the promise of a new world.

And this is the evening and morning

of the Fourth Day.


And on the Fifth Day

We take our life

In our hands

declaring, Here I am.


And then we live

in such a way

that our final gift to those we love

and to Life itself

is in the way we die.

And this is the evening and morning

Of the Fifth Day.

And it is good.

On the Sixth Day

We bow low on the earth

with lifted palms

earth to Earth

in gratitude for this

that we are made in the image of,

in endless change of shape and form.

And we ourselves at last

beyond the borders of good and evil

and gods that divide us,

bowing down to the one and only

holy blessed earth.

And this is the evening and morning

of the Sixth Day.

And it is good. All of it

is good.


And on the Seventh Day,

we rest in wonder,

not knowing whether

we’re at the beginning of the story

or in the middle

or at the end.

Not knowing where it came from

or what it is or where it’s going,

But only that we are here

And we carry it on.

From “Taking Our Lives”

© Shoshana Alexander 2015

Radio Interview: Healing from Suicide Loss

This week Shoshana Alexander joins Julie and Susanne to share her story about suicide loss and what helped her healing process.

Courageous Grief Talk  – KSKQ 89.5 community radio