I met Ingrid Goff-Maidoff in college. Kenyon is small liberal arts college – a little hamlet in the middle-of-nowhere Ohio – surrounded by farms and fields, and hidden ponds and streams. If you went to Kenyon, you were part of an intimate community…mostly because there wasn’t anywhere else to go. About an hour north-east of Columbus, students lived on campus, walked up and down Middle Path (photo above) to eat in campus dining halls, to study in the library, and socialize. All at this little campus on the hill.
Ingrid was younger than I – two years I think – but we both traveled around in theater circles. I remember a number of sweet conversations that went a little deeper than the average college chats, but in college, those two years difference often feel like a chasm, and though I’d call her friend, I remember thinking of her almost like she was a little sister.
Soon after she graduated, she sent me an invitation to her wedding. I was working in non-profit theater at the time, and I wasn’t making much of a profit, so there wasn’t any disposable income to speak of to make the trip (to…was it martha’s vinyard? or somewhere on the cape in massachusetts?). I remember being so touched to be invited, and I was bummed that I couldn’t go.
We lost touch not terribly long after that, as people do when lives spin off away from college. From time to time I’d wonder how she was. She had been a wonderful actress, a lovely singer, and a sweet and thoughtful “kid.” I wondered where she wound up. (strangely, i never bothered to look her up through alumni channels, and, when the google thang came into being, i never got around to googling her.) Then, one day, when checking out Jen Louden’s Teach Now program, I saw her face attached to a testimonial on the site. I clicked the link in the testimonial, and…it turns out, she was still living in Massachusetts with her husband – and now: two children. And she’s a poet and artist. Not just any poet either; a modern-day Rumi-like poet if you asked me (and yeah, i know you didn’t, but you’re reading, so, y’know, tough.) 🙂 (but i digress…).
Ingrid has a way of diving in to the mysteries and beauty of the universe and surfacing with soulful understanding and expressions that are nothing short of sacred.
(and no, i’m really not exaggerating.)
As you can tell, I’m a fan.
I think you will be too. Read the poem below, and then check out her website. Be sure to sign up for her email list; trust me, it will be one you’ll definitely look forward to opening.
Befriending the Soul
Befriending the soul, you say,
Come now partner, Buddy up.
Befriending the soul, you say,
Where have you been all my life?
And you begin to remember
How to really listen.
When she comes to you, she brings gifts:
The broken cup of childhood;
The aroma of your grandmother’s kitchen;
A dream you have forgotten;
A wound you have forsworn.
These all belong in the wholeness, she says,
These are all the wonder of you.
Look, she shows you a diamond ~
A diamond with ten thousand sides.
All of these I am polishing, she says,
The beautiful, the betrayed,
The banished, the un-forgiven.
See, friend, she holds it ~
I accept and attend with love to them all.
She holds a mirror to your face.
Looking into it you see the whole universe:
Forests, mountains, rivers, sky, lakes, gardens,
Villages throbbing with life…
Sun, moon, emptiness, galaxies full of stars…