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Under the Same Sky

Hummingbird: I am full of joy! When Sarah and I drive into her driveway I see two big beautiful Kurdish and American flags fluttering in the breeze together, and then two big, beautiful dogs! Sarah’s husband welcomes me with a big hug and the dogs try to hug me too. I find a warm, artistic house, each corner reflecting positive energy. There is harmony here, and it rejuvenates my soul. It feels like my home-away-from-home.

Sarah: It’s September of 2013. I will be a Voices of Our Future Vision Mentor for the third year. Hummingbird is applying for a year-long residency at Harvard. Will she walk under trees that my father might have walked under all those decades ago, when the world looked so different? We do not know yet. But we know that she and I walk under the same sky.

Hummingbird: In Syria, the wheel of death is still rolling, faster and faster and even more violent than before. On the 21st of August, 2013, I was devastated to learn that regime forces had used chemical weapons in the Damascus countryside, killing fourteen hundred people according to minimum estimations, including hundreds of children. Though it was not the first genocide to happen in this relentless conflict, it was the most vicious and brutal. Again, my people thought the world would do something, but it seems that we are a subject for regional and international bargains, turning our quest for freedom and dignity into a proxy war. Still, even as they face starvation, many Syrians are fighting back against the evil hands destroying our future. Those who just want to be allowed to live their lives in peace have only each other. We all have only each other. The fight of innocent Syrians is giving me power to fight my own battles. Their shining souls are lighting my way.

Sarah: On September 8 2013, my sister Annie suddenly dies. She has been an indelible influence creatively, intellectually, as a mother, wife and sister, with an outrageous sense of humor punctuated by hellish depression. She is too young to be taken from us, but her heart has had enough and just stops. Her instantaneous departure leaves a gaping hole in the fabric of my life and the lives of all who loved her. My husband holds me and cries with me as I howl at the Heavens, My sister! My sister!

How does one heal? I ask Hummingbird.

Hummingbird: I believe every being has a unique way to heal. My way is to keep on fighting with my voice, always reaching out in new ways to be heard, and to love as much as I can. To listen to the stories of other women all over the world who share our deepest desires for an end to cruelty. And animals heal us, as you told me. My cats soothe me every day. And what about you, my dear friend?

Sarah: I’ll shout my sorrow to the sky and whisper the names of my lost loved ones into the velvet ears of my dogs. I’ll listen and read on World Pulse as more and more women raise their strong voices, determined to make a positive difference in the world. I’ll go to our humane society and give the lonesome dogs love and engagement and connection, and take them outside to let them run free so that we can heal together. And let’s write the story of our friendship, my sweet friend. That will be a great comfort.

And so we do.

HummingbirdBy early adulthood Sarah Whitten-Grigsby realized she'd been put on this earth to follow her own path. As a result of experiencing breast cancer, Sarah created and performed a one-woman show to provide information, humor, support and comfort to women with cancer. This led to keynote, and motivational speaking. In 2005 she graduated from the Empowerment Institute and has since led numerous empowerment workshops for young women. Her current works, both written and spoken, focus on leadership through empowerment. After attending The New Seminary in New York City, she was ordained as an Interfaith minister in order to pursue both crisis and search & rescue ministry. In addition to being a nominee for the Lance Armstrong Spirit of Survivorship Award, she has received awards from the National Council on Family Relations, the National Educational Media Association, the Long Island Film Festival, the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal Studios Florida and others. She has been a United Nations delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women. Having remained standing in the face of some very strong winds, she now considers it a privilege to guide others to empowerment. Connect with Sarah.

HummingbirdAs her country sinks into violence, Hummingbird has broken through fear to find her voice. A member of Syria's Kurdish minority, she calls for an end to the horrors of a war where children are massacred in the streets by government forces. Her dream is to use digital media to transform Syria by unleashing women's concealed aspirations and wisdom to awaken the world to alternate paths to the nightmare unfolding across her country. Connect with Hummingbird.


Nusrat Ara's picture

Thank you so much for sharing

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It touches ones heartstrings. It makes one believe that we all can contribute in our own ways to make this world a better place, with sisterhood it can get just a bit easier.



Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Amen, Nusrat!

Dear Nusrat,

Yes! With Sisterhood, making the world a better place can become easier.

Thank you for those wise and beautiful words.

With Comfort and Joy,


Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Karly N's picture

Thank you :)

What a beautiful, hopeful, inspiring story of love, connection and healing. Thank you so much for sharing this with us and the WorldPulse community! Learning so much from you beautiful women.

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Thank YOU, Karly!

And I learn, we all learn, from your generous expressions of gratitude.

With Comfort & Joy,


Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Y's picture

How inspiring. I see that the

How inspiring. I see that the two of you have found many ways to "go forth, be fruitful and multiply" The Sacred Spirit that is manifest in yourselves. What a beautiful relationship you have. Thank you for sharing.


Susan K.A.'s picture

The power of Love

Dear Sarah and Hummingbird,

Thank you for sharing your stories with us.

You move us with the ferocity of your courage, even in the face of such grief.

You inspire us with the profound intelligence of your love.

You show us the healing power of our connection.

I pray that we all have faith in this power, and that we find own courage in the midst of life's incredible sorrows.

As you say, Hummingbird, we only have each other.


"I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being."

. . . once again is a balm for the soul. Your magnanimous appreciation, so eloquently expressed, brings tears to my eyes.

I send you love across the miles,

- Sarah

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Greengirl's picture

Beautiful Connection

Thank you Sarah and Hummingbird for sharing your journey of sisterhood and togetherness with us. The bond you share is truly divine. Shine on!

In admiration,

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Greengirl! Love to you!

You shrine on, too, oh, Magnificent Woman!

- Sarah

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Mukut's picture


Such an incredible story. So moving and full of love. We are indeed lucky to witness such love in an equally empowering and loving family of World Pulse.

Thank you for sharing this story. Am touched.

Thank you beautiful Sarah and Hummingbird for telling your story.

Love and hugs to both.

Mukut Ray

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Yes, "an empowering family!"

Hail, Dear Mukut!

Thank you for your words of love, added to ours!

- Sarah

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Phinnie's picture

The Power of Friendship

Thank-you for sharing this powerful story of the pain, and hope, and joys that you have shared with one another as you have experienced loss and fear...I believe in the power of connection and the healing that occurs when we feel listened to...May your friendship continue to grow and nurture!



Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Hello, Phinnie!

Yes the power of friendship is a strong, enduring source of support. And the power of listening and feeling listened to is without equal!

Thank your for your remarkable comments and we send you comfort and joy!

- Sarah & Hummingbird

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Phinnie's picture


Great to hear from you! Wishing you a year of hope and healing!

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Same to you,

. . . Dear Phinnie!

- Sarah

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Hideko N.'s picture

Sarah, I have found you again

Sarah, I have found you again unexpectedly while I was browsing through some articles. You are amazing person who is capable of extending your hands to the needful. And Hummingbird, your story is not remote from my own experience. My daughter still is in the country that is very corrupt. I am doing all I can now to getting her back. I don't know how, but the most important thing is the empowerment for me to stand up and utter my voice outloud. It took me for sometimes to gather such courage because I was tormented so much physically and psychologically after years of abuse... Gaining courage and confidence after being abused really depends on those around you who have Godly mercy to encourage you.
Thank you for sharing the wonderful story...

Love, Hideko N.

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Hello, Dear Hideko!

Hello, Dear Hideko!

So glad to see you on this page and thank you for reading the story. I think of you and your daughter and cannot imagine how you've endured the separation. I pray that you'll be reunited before long.

Stay strong and hopeful, and know that I send you extra love across the miles.

I know we'll continue to keep in touch, and that is a comfort.

- Sarah

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Dearest Hummingbird, Dearest Sarah,

I will never forget being in that university conference room witnessing the moment you both met and the mutual radiance and joy of your embrace! You have both crafted the most tender and powerful expression of true reciprocal healing that is at the core of our community. I wept will reading every word. In you both lives a deep empathy, the known depths of extreme sorrow and the determination to be fierce advocates for a just and joyful life. Thank you for uplifting all of us and providing a path of shared wisdom and sacred friendship.

With love and deep respect,

Kika Sylvie Katchunga's picture

C'est bon

Merci beaucoup de cette histoire que Dieu vous bénisse


Keating's picture

Your Strength

Dear Sister ...

I have no words that can help of this situation; but I can assure you that your story is awe inspiring.

With those like you and your friend, other women would not know how to fin the strength in their vulnerability.

All power to you <3

You both are inspiring messengers for others to stand up and know they are not alone.

Feast your eyes on a hummingbird
humming through the sky
a window drawn for a look to see
a peep from the inside
messenger has arrived
messenger has arrived
messenger in disguise
see the eagle and the hummingbird
as they fly by through the clouds
a window drawn for a look to see
and wash away all your doubts
messenger has arrived
messenger has arrived
so high
so high
so high
messenger has arrived
so high
so high
so high

You share the hardships and show others that they too can put their self doubt aside and believe in themselves to stand up for simple human rights.

With Love


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