Next year on August 18th the U.S. will celebrate 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment of the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. A couple of Western states had given women the right to vote already in 1910. Idaho and Utah had given women the right to vote at the turn of the 19th century.
It is hard for me to imagine the changes in democratic consciousness that have taken place in the last 100 years. Generations of women and men began to understand that true democracy could not exist until more people could exercise their right to representation.
Granted, some people probably wish we had gone back to a world where men were in charge and women were property. I don’t tend to hang out with people like that for obvious reasons.
I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the next year with various candidates. I’m hoping we winnow down to less than 5 options by February caucus season. I would like to follow election politics but right now it’s hard to take any candidate too seriously. Unfortunately we do not regulate campaign spending very well in this country. So the people who raise the most money tend to dominate the airwaves.
Given the shock and trauma of the election 3 years ago, and the disastrous result of electing someone who has openly bragging about assaulting women, I am ready to help with GOTV efforts. Let’s make it a celebration! 100 years – can we imagine some new leadership? I say YES WE CAN!
Last night I started creating the required 1-page handout, which will be 2-pages double-sided so I can fit in as much yummy goodness as possible.
Eventually, I will likely share that handout on this blog, but for now, let’s just say it is important to acknowledge the mentors who have “held” us in our lives. Typically these are living people who have helped guide us along our path. And sometimes they are authors, people who share their wisdom on the pages we read and digest.
As I consider how to give back in this phase of life where I feel I have been successful and want to help mentor future leaders, I am enjoying going back to what I learned and reflecting on its impact on my life. I may share some of those nuggets here as reminders to myself more than anything.
Do you have mentors who have influenced your life in a positive way? Try sending them a note or give them a call to thank them for their contributions. It will surely brighten their day to know they made a difference to you. Then pass it on, and pay it forward.
Yesterday I finished the fourth and final session of a girls’ empowerment course that I was teaching every other week for an hour at a local community center.
During the third session I had an eye-opening realization working with these young women (ages 12-14). We got into a discussion of safety and violence, and once again my privilege slapped me in the face. Many of these women had observed or experienced violence in their families or with close loved ones in ways I am unlikely to ever understand.
I had begun reading the book “My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies” by Resmaa Manakem. I wish I had discovered it when I first designed the course. There are many amazing practices that are yoga-like to help both black bodies, white bodies, and police bodies heal the trauma of racism in America.
I managed to teach “legs up the wall” pose first as a calming pose. Then we laid on the floor to do belly breathing for a couple of minutes and to notice where we felt the breath. We tried crocodile (on our bellies) to again notice where we felt the breath. After a few cat/cow transitions, there was silliness and I realized 15 minutes of yoga was the upper limit for this group on this day.
Though this group of women rejected “yoga” when I attempted it on the first class, by starting with legs up the wall, as a way to calm the nervous system, they seemed open to the other poses as well. Less talking, more demonstrating and practice in the future. Good lessons for me.
I thanked this group for being my teachers in this class. They seemed surprised that I would put it like that. But they taught me far more than I could teach them.
On the eve of another 3-day yoga teacher training weekend (#6 of 7), even if I am unable to count those hours toward my practicum requirement as initially planned, I am profoundly grateful.
I found myself with a rather odd disinclination to write on Wednesday. So I picked a strange observation and brought some curiosity to it. That’s always good for a idea; I wish I could be that swift when it comes to Toastmasters Table Topics!
I am fascinated with why the Dole company would pick Captain Marvel to advertise on a pineapple.
I guess another question is: why not?
I had not realized at first that Captain Marvel is a woman, until my husband and I went to the movie a few weeks ago, and I watched the trailer beforehand.
It reminded me of the Ted Talk I saw by Christopher Bell on needing more women superheroes as models rather than simply side-kicks and love interests, a notion with which I agree wholeheartedly.
So I did what any self-respecting internet user does when they do not know something: I googled it. It turns out that there is a campaign to honor healthy female superheroes, with specific health and wellness content. Who knew?
I just thought it was strange that we were handed a pineapple in the store at Leuken’s in Bemidji this past weekend, and it was discounted but not presented as something we could refuse. I do not normally buy pineapples – they seem a hassle to process.
We swim in tide of media that is controlled by 6 large corporations making 9 out of every 10 movies. This narrative-driven industry perpetuates myths and stereotypes about gender, which devalue the contributions of girls and women, selling them princesses while boys get the hero action figures. Is it any wonder that self-confidence plummets about the time girls reach adolescence?
The beauty of Captain Marvel is that she is unapologetic about her strengths and her power. She owns her power, and for me that is a joy to watch. She swims against the tide. But hey, some of us are strong swimmers, and challenges make us resilient. Just something to keep in mind as we consider any voices of doubt in our heads and from whence they came: just about every cultural message we absorb every day.
Abby Wambach’s new book, Wolfpack, is short but full of actionable advice. She illustrates with stories from her own experience, and she unapologetically makes the case for a sisterhood of women supporting each other.
I have two favorite chapters. From Chapter Three: Lead from the Bench:
Old Rule: Wait for permission to lead.
New Rule: Lead now – from wherever you are
This is a woman after my own heart. I’m fairly sure she did not read my manifesto, and yet her words really speak to my philosophy as well.
In Chapter Seven: Bring it All, she tells us:
Old Rule: Lead with dominance. Create Followers.
New Rule: Lead with humanity. Cultivate Leaders.
Yes. Leaders all around us. People who are awake, aware, conscious and engaged in what is meaningful to them.
I look forward to new models of leadership in the world, more inclusive and supportive than the models of the past. We are ready for a fresh approach. The old way we have followed results in stress, burnout, environmental distress and war.
We cannot solve problems with the same level of consciousness that created those problems. Instead, we must rally the Pack toward our shared destiny. Amen, Abby!
This post originally appeared about a year ago, March of 2019, written from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I was traveling at the time. The Sunday haiku is taking a hiatus as I review some posts that are relevant to a larger work I am putting together.
Yesterday I read a line from a book by Sue Monk Kidd’s “Dance of the Dissident Daughter” that gave me a chill. It describes something about the transition state where I am in life right now and it summed up my feeling so perfectly.
When you can’t go forward and you can’t go backward and you can’t stay where you are without killing off what is deep and vital in yourself, you are on the edge of creation (page 100).
I took a deep breath when I read those words. Yes! Yes! She is describing how I feel right now. This was the end of her chapter on “Awakening” where she describes her journey out of a patriarchal understanding of her world and her religion into something deeper and mysterious.
There are times in our life when we may recognize there is something deep and mysterious calling to us. We sense that we are less of a “fit” with our old lives, and the systems in which we play a role. We know we will make a change of radical proportions, but we seek to understand the implications in our lives.
We begin to understand that wisdom is not something “out there” that we must find, or receive from someone else. Wisdom is here, inside of us, calling to us as though from an ancient source. When we begin to access that source, it has powerful consequences.
For so long, with images of God portrayed as a masculine figure in the sky, and religions that ordain men and not women, we as women begin to shrink from our own wisdom. We forget to question how patriarchy and dominant religion are entwined. In many indigenous spiritual traditions there are divine feminine and divine masculine figures. They coexist together, yin and yang energy.
To me, that is a more natural sense of divine presence. When I feel disconnected from source, I realize I have cut off my feminine wisdom that exists within my heart and my soul. Perfectly understandable, I suppose. The culture might radically change if we honored both masculine and feminine qualities, in a divine dance, rather than always viewing one as “in charge.”
Even that very model, as a hierarchy rather than a partnership, as top-down rather than in a network form, seems artificial and constructed to me. As a scientist, always questioning what nature might reveal to us if we were to pay attention to her, I realize my spirituality is undergoing profound change. Paying attention to this inner wisdom rather than subscribing to a “Father knows best” world means taking responsibility for my life.
Nobody else can tell me where my soul needs to go. But I know at a fundamental level, paying attention to her is what I must to do honor what is deep and vital in myself. In time, she will reveal what is next. There is no hurry, but I am ready to listen.