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Feminist Herstory

We offer the various stories of our past as a way of honouring, acknowledging and feeling the herstory of our ancestors; their creativity, willingness, struggle, and evolution.

A  young wife sat on a sofa on a hot humid day, drinking iced tea and visiting with her mother. As they talked about life, about marriage, about the responsibilities of  life and the obligations of adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her glass thoughtfully and turned a clear, sober glance upon her daughter…'Don't forget your  sisters,' she advised, swirling the tea leaves to the bottom of her glass. 'They'll be more important as you get older. No matter how much you love your husband, no matter how much you love the children you may have, you are still going to need sisters. Remember to go places with them now and then; do things with them.' Remember that 'sisters' means ALL the women...your girlfriends, your daughters, and all your other women relatives too. 'You'll need other women. Women always do.'

What a funny piece of advice!' the young woman thought. Haven't I just gotten married? Haven't I just joined the couple-world? I'm now a married woman, for goodness sake! A grownup! Surely my husband and the family we may start will be all I need to make my life worthwhile!' But she listened to her mother. She kept contact with her sisters and made more women friends each year. As the years tumbled by, one after another, she gradually came to understand that her mother really knew what she was talking about.  As time and nature work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman, sisters are the mainstays of her life.

After more than 50 years of living in this world, here is what I've learned:

Time passes.

Life happens.

Distance separates.

Children grow up.

Jobs come and go.

Love waxes and wanes.

Men don't do what they're supposed to do.

Hearts break.

Parents die.

Colleagues forget favors.

Careers end.

BUT.........

Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters, daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, Mothers, Grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, and extended family: all bless our life! The world wouldn't be the same without women, and neither would we.… When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other. Every day, we need each other still.. Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you. A girl friend is never farther away than needing her can reach.

When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open  arms at the valley's end. Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you....Or come in and carry you out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WOMEN’S  RITUALS

One day I came home from a quilting bee, where 12 women, ages twenty-two to eighty-five had sat around a large quilting frame, working, chatting, and gossiping, to find seven women gathered in my own kitchen.  A party was underway….Sue Bender. ( Plain & Simple )

Women have traditionally sought out other women, benefitting from the enjoyment of one another’s company. Even when leisure time was nonexistent and home was the exclusive province of women’s lives, women devised projects that would bring them together….quilting bees, canning vegetables, going to the marketplace to find food, doing laundry by the river.

While we may no longer need to sew out own blankets for the warmth or can food to survive the winter, women still need feminine companionship, and today’s women have devised a number of activities around which to gather.

Shared rituals, pot-lucks, various “showers”, book-clubs, the girls night out, the shopping sprees, out for lunch, coffee at the neighbour’s, writing letters, family traditions…need to create one?

We are social creatures and the bonds go deep.  Without fail there is always something in common, at the moment, whether it leads to a lasting friendship or “it was nice to meet you”.  

Connecting is one of our greatest strengths...it leads to creating dialogues, nurturing children, teaching, healing, empowering, deep listening, creating ideas and art and connecting at the heart level.

WE ARE FABULOUS!!!!.....Reach out and SHARE YOU!   

 

Sooner or later a person begins to notice that everything that happens to her is perfect; relates directly to who she is, had to happen, was meant to happen, plays its little role in fulfilling her destiny.

When she encounters difficulty, it no longer occurs to her to complain…she had learned to expect nothing has learned that loss and frustration are a part of life, and come at their  proper time…instead she asks herself, why is this happening? ...by which she means, what can I learn from this, how will it strengthen me, make me more aware?  She lets herself be strengthened, lets herself grow, just as she lets herself relax and enjoy (and grow) when life is gentle to her.

Strengthened by this simple notion, simple awareness, that life is perfect, that all things come at the proper moment and that she is always the perfect person for the situation she finds herself in, a person begins to find it easier and easier to do what she knows is right. All chance events appear to her to be intended; all intentional actions she clearly perceives as part of the workings of Chance. Anxiety seldom troubles her; she knows her death will come at the proper moment; she knows her actions are right and therefore whatever comes to pass as a result of them will be what is meant to happen. When she does feel anxiety, she realizes it is because of that thing she’s been meaning to do but hasn’t done, some unfilled relationship she’s been aware of, but…She perceives the anxiety as a message that she’ll have to stop hesitating if she want to stay high...She knows that she is out of tune because she’s let herself get out of tune; and because she knows she can, she begins to take action, She enjoys her high life; does not enjoy anxiety;  so she stops hesitating and does what she has to do.

She does not live in a state of bliss, though perhaps she feels herself moving toward one...or toward something, she doesn’t know what it is but it is the way she has to go, the journey towards it is the only life she enjoys. It is hard; it is exciting; it is satisfying, lonely, joyous, frustrating, puzzling, enlightening, real, it is her life; that’s all. She accepts it.

Sooner or later a person begins to notice….. 

...Paul Williams, Das Energi 

 

 

 

 

 

bridge

Vacations…The Minitransitions

The trouble is” said Laura, “walking in Venice becomes compulsive once you start. Just over the next bridge you say and then the next one beckons.”           ….Daphne du Maurier

 

Nobody ought to be too old to improve; I should be sorry if I was; and I flatter myself that I have already improved considerably by my travels.   ….Anne Letitia Barbauld (1985)

 

Some transitions change the direction of the rest of your lives.  Others head us temporarily into a new geographical direction. These are commonly referred to as vacations.

 

When we travel with a friend we share the universe with her. Every other thing fades away and we become concerned,as a team about the basic needs in life…where to eat, where to sleep, where to park the car, where to find a restroom, what to do for fun that day, and where to find that “perfect” thingie.  Sometimes we “see” the other differently as they live their life, make things happen for them and realize that there is a whole other person that we have never seen before…and remember they are also having a new experience of you!!!   Maybe the relationship will deepen and blossom because of the experience and maybe not!

       ……Girlfriends: Invisible Bonds, Enduring Ties…Berry & Traeder     

       

 

No matter by which culture a woman is influenced,

                she undersdtands the words "wild" and "woman" intuitively.

...Clarissa Pinkola Estes


Of course you can go home again..you just look in your heart for your old best friend!

...Helen Moss


PSSS..what about sex??


Girlhood...is the intellectual phase of a woman's life, that time when, unencumbered by social expectations or hormonal rages, one may pursue any curiosity from the mysteries of the yo-yo to the meaning of infinity.These two particular pursuits were where I left off in the fifth grade when I discovered a hair growing in the wrong place and all hell broke loose.


...AliceKahn 

 

Girlfriendswomen friends

Ask any woman and she will tell you that her friendships with other women are among the most important relationships in her life.

 

My mother is a poem I will never be able to write,

Though everything I write is a poem to my mother.

                                                             ….Tillie Olsen

 

Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping and then with the breathe of kindness, blow the rest away.

                                                                                 … Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

I trust my friends.  They force me to examine and encourage me to grow.

                                                                                 …Cher

I friend doesn’t go on a diet because you are fat. A friend never defends a husband who gets his wife an electric skillet for her birthday. I friend will tell you she saw your old boyfriend...and he’s a priest!

                                                                               ….Erma Brombeck

 

Share a grandmother’s story this International Women's Day.

Grandmothers

International Women’s Day is a moment to celebrate the power of women and to reflect on the long struggle behind and before us for gender equality the world-over.

In truth, every day ought to be international women’s day – and no one embodies the reality of global sisterhood more for the Stephen Lewis Foundation than the Grandmothers of Africa and Canada!

Every day we honour the remarkable and indefatigable grandmothers of Africa, who have become the lynch pin of survival for their families and communities in the midst of the AIDS pandemic in Africa.

Every day we marvel at the sisterhood and tireless commitment of Canadian grandmothers who stand in solidarity with them.

On this important day we take a moment to invite everyone to share your story of how grandmothers inspire YOU!

Email a note, tweet a message, post a story on Facebook, share a photo or create a video to tell us how you have been inspired by the African grandmothers at the frontlines of the AIDS pandemic, the Canadian Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, your grandmother, or another grandmother who has had a profound impact on your life.

Join us in celebrating the 6-year anniversary of the birth of a new social movement – the Grandmothers’ Campaign – and help us give tribute to the powerful elder-stateswomen in our lives, and the inspiring and moving leadership of grandmothers in Africa in the work to turn the tide of AIDS, and to raise millions of orphaned grandchildren with love and passion for a healthy and happy future.

We’ve already received scores of heartfelt submissions, which we’re sharing on the Foundation’s Blog, Facebook and Twitter (using the hashtag #granspiration). We’ll be sharing your stories across Canada and Africa.

Happy International Women’s Day!  ‘Granspiration’ indeed!

P.S. If you would like to make a donation to recognize and honour Canadian and African grandmothers, we can send a tribute card (either an e-card or a printed card via Canada Post) to your loved one on your behalf. Click here for more information: http://www.stephenlewisfoundation.org/ways-to-give/give-in-honour-or-in-memory

 

 

Irena SendlerWhat one woman can do with courage...

Irena Sendler

Died: May 12, 2008 (aged 98)

Warsaw, Poland



During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive.

Irena smuggled Jewish infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried. She also carried a burlap sack in the back of her truck, for larger kids.

Irena kept a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto. The soldiers, of course, wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids/infants noises.

During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants.

Ultimately, she was caught, however, and the Nazi's broke both of her legs and arms and beat her severely.

Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she had smuggled out, in a glass jar that she buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived and tried to reunite the family. Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

In 2007 Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected. Al Gore won, for a slide show on Global Warming.

 

I never had to become a feminist;

I was born Liberated.    ...Grace Slick

       

                                        The especial genius of women

                                 I believe to be electrical in movement,

                                 intuitive in function, spiritual in tendency.   ...Margaret Fuller

 

When she stopped conforming to the conventional picture of femininity

She finally began to enjoy being a woman   …Betty Friedan

 

I feel that there is something unexplored about a woman

     that only a woman can explore    …Georgia O’Keeffe

 

OSLO — Three women who fought injustice, dictatorship and sexual violence in Liberia and Yemen received the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in the Norwegian capital on Saturday.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, her compatriot Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen collected their Nobel diplomas and medals to applause at Oslo’s City Hall.

Prize committee Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said the three women represent the struggle for “human rights in general and of women for equality and peace in particular.”

No woman or sub-Saharan African had won the prize since 2004, when the committee honoured Wangari Maathai of Kenya, who mobilized poor women to fight deforestation by planting trees.

By selecting Karman the prize committee also recognized the Arab Spring movement championed by often anonymous activists from Tunisia to Syria.

Sirleaf was elected president of Liberia in 2005 and won re-election in October. She is widely credited with helping her country emerge from an especially brutal civil war.

The 39-year-old Gbowee long campaigned for the rights of women and against rape, challenging Liberia’s warlords. In 2003, she led hundreds of female protesters through Monrovia to demand swift disarmament of fighters, who continued to prey on women, despite a peace deal that should have ended the 14-year civil war.

Karman, a journalist and member of the Islamic party Islah, is the first Arab woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and at 32, the youngest peace laureate ever. She also heads the human rights group Women Journalists without Chains.

Last year’s peace prize went to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who was represented by an empty chair at the awards ceremony as an infuriated China would not allow him to travel to Norway.

The other Nobel Prizes — in medicine, chemistry, physics and literature, and the Nobel Memorial Prize in economic sciences — were to be handed out at a separate ceremony Saturday in Stockholm.

Worth 10 million kronor ($1.5 million) each, the Nobel Prizes are always handed out on the anniversary OSLO — Three women who fought injustice, dictatorship and sexual violence in Liberia and Yemen received the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in the Norwegian capital on Saturday.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, her compatriot Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen collected their Nobel diplomas and medals to applause at Oslo’s City Hall.

Prize committee Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said the three women represent the struggle for “human rights in general and of women for equality and peace in particular.”

No woman or sub-Saharan African had won the prize since 2004, when the committee honoured Wangari Maathai of Kenya, who mobilized poor women to fight deforestation by planting trees.

By selecting Karman the prize committee also recognized the Arab Spring movement championed by often anonymous activists from Tunisia to Syria.

Sirleaf was elected president of Liberia in 2005 and won re-election in October. She is widely credited with helping her country emerge from an especially brutal civil war.

The 39-year-old Gbowee long campaigned for the rights of women and against rape, challenging Liberia’s warlords. In 2003, she led hundreds of female protesters through Monrovia to demand swift disarmament of fighters, who continued to prey on women, despite a peace deal that should have ended the 14-year civil war.

Karman, a journalist and member of the Islamic party Islah, is the first Arab woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and at 32, the youngest peace laureate ever. She also heads the human rights group Women Journalists without Chains.

Last year’s peace prize went to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who was represented by an empty chair at the awards ceremony as an infuriated China would not allow him to travel to Norway.

The other Nobel Prizes — in medicine, chemistry, physics and literature, and the Nobel Memorial Prize in economic sciences — were to be handed out at a separate ceremony Saturday in Stockholm.


 

Womanhood must be reinvented. Woman has too long been content to accept as fundamental the dependant condition of her sex. We avoid aggressive behavior, fear autonomy, feel incomplete without the social status only a man can bestow. In the past those women who have made their way successfully in to the male-dominated worlds of business, the arts, or the professions have done so as honorary men, neither admiring or bonding with other women, offering no encouragement to those who might come after them, preserving the socially required “femininity” but sacrificing their own womanhood.

I do not speak here of those women whose deeds mark every period of feminist advance. We must understand that such women were helped to act because they drew strength from the movement as it gathered force in the 1960s and 1970s.

In looking beyond periods that might be called ”high feminism,” I wish to examine those factors that enabled women who had no feminist or other group support to achieve, against all social odds, a position of autonomy in male-dominated worlds. Although these women were on the whole unable to imagine other women as accomplished as themselves, they may provide a clue as to these qualities essential to female achievement.

What becomes evident in studying women who moved against the current of their times, is that the condition of their lives insulated them from society’s expectations and gave them a source of energy, even a sense of destiny, which would not permit them to accept the conventional female role.

Some condition of being an outsider gave them the courage to be themselves.

…Carolyn G. Heilbrun, from “Reinventing Womanhood” 

 

Cinderella

The fairy tale of the cinder-maid originated as an anti-ecclesiastical allegory repeated by real “fairies”—that is pagans. Ella was Hel, or Helle, daughter of Mother Earth, the Goddess with her regenerative fires reduced to cinders. Her ugly stepmother was the new church. Her ugly stepsisters were the church’s darlings; the military, aristocracy and the clergy.

 The early German version of the story said Cinderella’s real mother the Earth, though dead, sent from her grave a fairy tree in answer to her daughter’s prayer. This tree produced golden apples, fine clothes, and other gifts. Thus the “fairy godmother” of later versions seems to have been a ghost of the mother, the disposed Great Goddess in retirement underground.

Beautified with her new riches, Cinderella won the “prince” (mankind), ever easily impressed by the display of finery. Their union was symbolized by fitting her foot into a shoe, a common sexual allegory (to this day !). The Eleusinian Mysteries signified sacred marriage by working a phallic object in a woman’s shoe. The glass slipper perhaps stood for the Crystal Cave by which pagan heroes entered the ultimate underworld.

Like other secret medieval prophecies of the overthrow of the rich, powerful theocracy, the downfall of Cinderella’s ugly stepmother and stepsisters may have been intended as a prophecy.  

…The Woman’s Book of Myths & Secrets …. by Barbara G. Walker

 

(With all the various “takes” on the supposed changes and shifts regarding December 2012 I have researched some comments from our “Cosmic Mother. While I am sure there are many informational sites I know that all is illusionary and we need to take heed and remember our own innate wisdom, even though this “way” has been shouted down for centuries if not millennia.)

The only way for human beings to survive the end is to return to the beginning. Women,designed by evolution as the links between spirit and flesh, are perhaps also designed by the cosmos to lead the human world back, now, to the great celebration of the reconciliation of flesh and spirit. Thus, at the very edge of death we will return to the beginning. That is we will return to the “ways” of the Great Mother of All Life as her magic children. Thus we complete a circle, but on a spiral, we revolve to a larger circle.

Now is the time to make again sacred our experience.

Returning is not a backward trip through space or time.The human race cannot really return to infancy, we are too far gone for that. We return to the Cosmic Mother by remembering, redefining, respelling.

The universe is undergoing ecstatic exponential expansion into eleven or more dimensions. Surely three-dimensional organizations cannot keep us in touch with this expanding and growing universe. We return to the cosmos only by becoming lovers and supports of Life, not as victims, voyeurs or policemen.

The patriarchal God has only one commandment: Punish Life for being what it is.

The Cosmic Mother also has only one commandment: Love Life, for it is what it is.

Out original state of being is ecstasy! What is ecstasy? It is the conscious expansion of the universe into a multitude of interconnected dimensions and forms.

It is the human female who was designed by evolution itself as the link between sexuality and spirit. between biological energy and the cosmic soul. It is the human female, as the leading edge of earthly evolution, who was specifically, neurologically structured for the experience of ecstasy.

For this reason, the first religions on earth were designed by women, for women, and in celebration of femaleness. For this reason matrifocal cultures had no reason to need or deny “the Other” ---for all “otherness” was a part of the Mother. In ecstasy, all “otherness” becomes the self, the One.

Ancient women could not have invented, because they had no need for, paranoid divisions between psyche and body, power-hungry manipulations of spirit versus matter, dualistic exploitations of flesh versus soul. They were the “undivided ones” tapping into unhindered flows of ecstasy energy which is both “spiritual” and “biological” of earthly soil and cosmic thought together. Women’s cultures would not have needed to maintain themselves by energy-repressive systems, by coercive and punitive surveillance systems based on social caste, or economic status, or skin colour, or eye colour or dress---nor would there be any need for hierarchic organization, tyrannical terrors, or political frauds.

All these aforementioned patriarchal accoutrements are necessary to enforce a mechanical order on the absence of organic state. All these patriarchal machineries are necessary to enforce the repression of common ecstasy—an ecstasy indigenous to all cultures that exist to realize, rather than to deny, the “One-at-the-Heart-of-All”.

(dialog to be continued)

…The Great Cosmic Mother (Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth) M.Sjoo & B. Mor

 

"The reason I never married is that I never found a man who deserved me."

.....Annie M. Noseworthy (my aged aunt & past Professor of English at Smith College)

 

The affirmation of one’s own life – the acceptance of one’s destiny as it manifests in each moment – is the supreme act of faith.

It’s incredibly fucking easy.

It’s a hell of a commitment.

...???

 

To call women the weaker sex is a libel; it is man’s injustice to women.

The wife is not the husband’s bond-slave but his companion and his help-mate and an equal partner in all his joys and sorrows...as free as the husband to choose her own path.

“ You will guard your wife’s honour and be not her master, but her true friend. You will hold her body and her soul as sacred as I trust she will hold your body and your soul. To that end you will have to live a life of prayerful toil, and simplicity and self-restraint. Let not either of you regard another as the object of his or her lust.”

,,,The Words of “Gandhi’

 

Spirituality and Feminism

Carol Lee Flinders has lived most of the adult life is a spiritual community in Western Marin County (just north of San Francisco) founded by Eknath Easwaren, While her life has been deeply rooted in a meditative community, she has been out in the world as the author of Enduring Grace: Living Portraits of Seven Mystic Women, as co-author of Laurel’s Kitchen, as a syndicated food columnist, and as a professor of creative riting and mystical literature at U.C.-Berkeley. She has also regarded herself as a committed feminist.

A few years ago Flinders began to question whether a spiritual life freed or simply subordinated women, and whether spirituality and feminism are compatible or at odds.

The results of her own thinking and research are presented in her new book, At the Root of This Longing: Reconciling a Spiritual Hunger with a Feminist Thirst, which is a brilliant exploration of the apparent conflicts between feminism and spirituality and a guide to their integration.

What Flinders first confronted was the fact that running through most meditative spiritual practices (whether cased in Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or other religions) were four common precepts that have little appeal to women, at least on the surface. These precepts require that practitioner to be silent (curb speech and still the mind), to put yourself last, to resist and re-channel your desires and to turn inward and discharge yourself from external activity.

These precepts sound disturbingly like the terms of subordination for women, who aren’t in a position to voluntarily renounce these privileges if they’ve had them in the first place. They seem to run directly counter to contemporary feminist thought, which is to find your voice and make yourself heard, know who you are, reclaim your body and it’s desires, and move about feely in this world.

This is the essential dilemma that Flinders seeks to resolve, and she does so by examining its historical and mythical contexts, drawing from the feminist theory, history and psychology, the voices of women mystics, the teachings of Gandhi, anthropology, con-temporary fiction, film and events. All of these strands, or threads, combine in a way to show that women can reclaim the sacred feminine.

For Flinders, spirituality and feminism become two halves of one reality. A spiritual practice is for her essential to the creation of a society that honours women, rather than commodifying them. Rituals or ceremonies that focus on the connection between women and the sacred, especially at the pivotal time when young girls become women, should incorporate the four precepts of meditation in a way that makes them a positive force for a spirituality-based feminism. This, she believes, will set the stage for a resistance movement of feminism as powerful as the movement Gandhi led to free India from the yoke of colonial oppression.

.....Frances Werner

 

 

The most dangerous woman on the planet is "a woman of a certain age, unattached and with her own money" !!

........?????

 

What does it mean to be an elder in this culture? What are my new responsibilities? What has to be let go to make room for the transformations of energy that are ready to pour through the body-soul? ...Marion Woodman

 

Men have monopolized human experience; leaving women unable to imagine themselves as both ambitious and female. If I imagine myself (woman has always asked) whole, active, a self, will I not cease, in some profound was, to be a women?

The answer must be, imagine; and the old idea of womanhood be damned....Let us imagine ourselbves as selves, as at once striving and female. Womanhood can be what we say it is, not what they (culture, religions, family, society) have always told is it was.

...Carolyn G. Heilbrun

 

Think of my marrying you to be kept by you. Monsieur ! I could not do it; and how dull my days would be!...I like an active life better; I must act in some way, and act with you.I have taken notice, Monsieur, that people who are only in each other’s company for amusement, never really like each other so well. or esteem each other so highly, as those who work together, and perhaps suffer together.

....Charlotte Bronte ( The Professor)

 

Self Esteem, A Declaration

I am me

In all the world

there is no one else like me.

There are persons who have some parts like me

but no one adds up exactly like me.

Therefore everything that comes out of me

is authentically mine

because I alone chose it.

 

My own personal standard is that I will be courteous and truthful

and that I will be congruent.

 

Virginia Satir, Author

 

 

An act of power is essential. An act of power provides mirrors that nothing else can give you, and those mirrors do not lie. You discover who you really are. Without an act of power you just slide through life.

 

We need to manifest feminine consciousness in the world in order to heal this planet. The medicine that is needed is feminine consciousness in all of its aspects: harmonizing with nature, balancing the ecology with human life, and a conscious use of money and goods. Balance of the physical and spiritual is needed. We have to learn to tend our garden, or we aren’t going to have one.

 

Lynn Andrews, Author




Recognize That You Are Lost

 

A full life requires cultivation. The minute we take our hands off the plough, fail to reseed, forget to fertilize, we’ve lost our crop. And yet most women I know have, in the service of some greater good, let their very lives wilt on the vine.

Having been taught the fine art of accommodation, most of us have developed a knack for selfless behaviour. We’ve dulled our personal lives while propping up everyone else’s and we’re no longer able to even imagine having any sort of adventure, romance, meaning or purpose for ourselves.

 

Joan Anderson, Author
 

The Feminine is

Inclusive: recognizing the value and worth of all people and things,

Honouring of Process: able to allow circumstances, ideas and experiences to unfold,

Empowered: with steeled softness, she champions the weak and vulnerable and stands firm for what is right,

Intuitive: holistic, accessing immediate perception rather than rational thinking,

Compassionate: empathetic, warm, openhearted,

Complementary: lives in concert with others, augmenting the whole with her presence;

Connective: desiring to link hands with hearts,

Cooperative: able to work with others without needing to be in control,

Diffuse: perceives and understands a wide range of stimuli,

Relational: interested in preserving and deepening relationships,

Gentle: able to live gently with herself and others,

Receptive: open to receive the new, different and wondrous,

Empowering: awakens others to their potential,

Forgiving: realizes that we are all imperfect and that non-forgiveness dams the natural flow of spirit,

A “Be”-er: introspective, drawn to the spiritual and the philosophical,

Healing: carries the ability to heal body, mind and spirit through a talent for listening deeply to her internal, inherent wisdom.

Over the past several hundred years, our societies, both consciously and unconsciously, have attempted to freeze-dry feminine power, and bury it in the remote recesses of a dark cavern. Society has devalued and denigrated the many attributes of the Sacred Feminine by relegating them to second-class areas of servitude and sacrifice.

…….Sue Patton Thoele

 

…It is not surprising that there are two times of crisis in a woman’s life: when she enters that social role in adolescence, and when it abandons her at around fifty. Perhaps one day, we will have changed society enough so women are never asked to submerge their true self. Until then, those early years are the best guide to the person we can become in the last third of life.

In photos of prehistoric archaeological finds the heart once symbolized female power. It was a procreative, genital symbol: the female version of the phallic symbol. Though

trivialized into romance and deprived of it’s power by centuries of patriarchy, the heart still belongs to us. Remember when little girls incorporated “hearts as “ i ” into their signatures?

In a way, history has progressed oddly like a woman’s life: first a time when we were powerful and ourselves, then a long period of patriarch and forgetting, and now with this worldwide wave of feminism, as era of rediscovering our power in a new way.

……..Gloria Steinem

Revolution From Within
 

When a woman has trouble letting go of anger or rage, it’s often because she’s using the rage to empower herself. While that may have been wisdom at the beginning, now she must be careful, for outgoing rage is a fire that burns her own primary energy.

The fierceness of rage is not to be mistaken for a substitute for a passionate life. It is not life at its best; it is a defence. After a time it burns interminably hot, pollutes our ideas with its black smoke, and occludes other ways of seeing and apprehending.

_________________________

 

Trying to be good, orderly and compliant in the face of inner or outer peril or in order to hide a critical psychic or real-life situation de-souls a women. It cuts her from her knowledge, it cuts her from her ability to act. She looses her self-protective instinct.

 

I stand in the ring

in the dead city

And tie on the red shoes…

They are not mine.

They are my mother’s.

Her mother’s before.

Handed down like an heirloom

But hidden like shameful letters.

The house and the street where they belong

are hidden and all the women, too,

are hidden.

The Red Shoes, Ann Sexton

 

Normalizing the abnormal, causes the spirit, which would normally leap to correct the situation, to instead sink into ennui, complacency, and eventually into blindness.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD

…..Women Who Run With the Wolves

 

 

The patriarchal God has only one commandment: Punish Life for being what it is.

The Goddess also has only one commandment: Love Life, for it is what it is.

 

Women, designed by evolution as the links between spirit and flesh, are perhaps also designed by the cosmos to lead the human world back, now, to the great celebration of the reconciliation of flesh and spirit. Thus, at the very edge of death, we will return to the beginning. In a round world, the only way for human beings to survive the end is to return to the beginning. Thus we complete a circle, but on a spiral, we revolve to a larger circle

Now is the time to make again sacred our experience.

Monica Sjoo & Barbara Mor

… The Great Cosmic Mother

 

 

The women’s movement grew out of consciousness-raising groups, and consciousness-raising groups grew into the women’s movement, round and round: something new grew out of women telling each other true stories, real feelings and finding strengths, vulnerabilities, character, anger and courage to act, in each other and in themselves.

Sharing books, articles, information and experience Women contribute sustain and energize the dialogs and very lives of each other. In-mid life it is often the time when one has the time and the notion of forming/being part of a circle. It is often motivated by supporting a friend thru an illness; a wish to be in the company of women who have a spiritual and psychological depth.

Whether they are called a council, wisdom group or a circle; they become a place where women witness each other’s lives and serve as role models for aspects of each other. Support to be fully themselves grows out of the practice of meeting together and being real.

 

The great teachings of all time tell us that whatever we put out, we are receiving back at the very same time Too often these days we find numerous and sufficient reasons not to share our love and thus bring more consciousness into our daily lives. Whether it be race or colour or tribe or class or locale, we find ourselves excluding others. The cycle of victimization and violence has become too much a part of us. We make war on others through conflict, anger, judgment, negative energy exclusion, yet think we find peace even though we are living in a war zone of our own making. How harshly judgment comes back on us when we presume to judge others.

The energy we put out is perceived. Sending love to the “other” is a way to receive and lighten our own hearts. What a wonderful gift to give ourselves !

Brooke Medicine Eagle

......Creating a Path of Beauty

 

"Promise that you will do something outrageous every day…(like.. pick it up yourself” )! With that simple phrase, a major change in a woman’s significant relationship could begin. Cultural changes often begin on small acts of courage.

Gloria Steinem

....... Revolution From Within

The women’s movement and psychiatric observations made me realize the destructive effect of patriarchy…or hierarchy in relationships and institutions, including the family. When it is not safe to express what we perceive or what we feel, then power, not love is the ruling principle in that relationship. If we are punished for this in an intimate relationship, we are not in a safe place. Instead we are in our own private version of patriarchy.

Cultural assumptions change one person at a time. Therefore, if…finally a woman gets fed up with obeying someone else, or carrying out directives that run counter to her own wisdom and compassion, her interior change marks a significant beginning.

When she speaks up or acts on what she knows, she is challenging the patriarchal underpinnings of her personal life or the old way business is done and making it possible for others to change and evolve.

Jean Shinoda Bolen M.D.

........ Questing for Wholeness

 

December 2010

Many women speak of themselves as the midwives of a “new age”; a “new paradigm shift”. I would like to believe in this belief. It seems to me that shifting the paradigm requires a conscience as well as a consciousness. This shift must carry a sense of responsibility for acknowledging and understanding the inequities and injustices of the past. There must be a willingness and an ability to imagine ourselves different Beings. And from that imagining, to think and act differently. We would change from a dominating commodity culture into one of true exchange in which we learn from each other in humility and respect.

…Luisah Teish The Fabric of the Future

Reclaiming Gaia, Reclaiming Life
Queen of Heaven, Goddess of the Universe,
The One who walked in terrible chaos
and brought life by the law of love
and out of chaos brought us harmony.
From chaos She has led us by the hand…..

...witten of Ishtar, Goddess of Babylon, 5000 B.C.E.

In this new millennium…this new paradigm…who will be this goddess? Who will lead us by the hand through our terrible chaos? Who will bring us to life by the law of love?

...Margaret J. Wheatley, author
A Simpler Way

The New Heroine’s journey begins when our unique creativity is aroused, when we commit to giving birth to our full potential selves with the same devotion with which we say yes to the nurturing and care of a child, when we discover our vocation, our calling; and begin upon the path of realizing our full potential in the world through creative action.

We are at the threshold of the emergence of a new archetype on Earth…the feminine co-creator. The co-creative woman is one who is activated by spirit, awakened in the heart to express her unique creativity in loving action which evolves both herself and the world. Co-creating is self-actualizing.
…Barbara Marx Hubbard
The Foundation for Conscious Evolution

 

 

November 2010


I think that women have a mission to survive…to be whole people. I believe that this can save the world, but I don’t think that women have a mission to clean up after men’s messes. I think we have to save the world by doing it for ourselves…for all women…and I don’t mean some narrow, restricted notion of who women are…, only white, only middle-class, only Western. 
…Adrienne Rich

When Sleeping Beauty wakes up, she is almost fifty years old.
…Maxine Kumin

Time and Trouble will tame an advanced young woman, but an advanced old woman is uncontrollable by any earthly force.
… Dorothy L. Sayers

Premises of instinctual life is necessary in order that a woman be not just a surviving woman, but a thriving woman;
All women are born gifted.
The gifted women is an endangered species.
Too often she is silent or silenced.
The ability to know one’s own thoughts, know one’s own mind, grow and develop according to one’s own and most unique soul patterning is not a choice, but a psychological imperative.
All creative life, emotional life, spiritual life, sexual life, rational life, moves in cycles of darkness and light, loss and return.
There are feral women, who have been so long captured that when they are freed, their injuries to instinct cause them to no longer have the proper radar to defend themselves from excesses and poor judgement. Their injured instincts must be assessed and repaired.
The “normalization of violence”, a phenomenon observed in animal studies, applies also to human women who seemingly volunteer to remain caged even though they are able to flee.
Solitude is a psychological necessity.
A woman’s life is at it’s best when it is made by hand, when she refutes the latest fad in psychic shortcuts, when she surrounds her life and her art with those who support it rather than oppose it.
(excerpts from 52 premises set forth in Women Who Run With The Wolves)

…Clarissa Pinkola Estes PhD

 

 

October 2010


Women as Cultural Creators
When we say that women created most of early human culture, we are not trying to sound radical. The evidence is there. We realize how many of life’s basic industries were the inventions of women--- cooking, food processing and storage, ceramics, weaving, textiles and design, tanning and dying, everything related to fire, the medicinal arts, language itself and the first scripts and glyphs, grain domestication, animal domestication, religious imagery and ritual, domestic and sacred architecture, the first calendars and the origins of astronomy and on and on. After thousands of years of patriarchal exploitation most of these inventions are now mass-market profiteering industries. We must remember that these were once warm, loving tended arts and crafts, originated and sustained by early communities of women.

While some information may be viewed as “radical” ( actually from radix…meaning “going to the root of things”, these cultural inventions of early women were at the very root of human existence and created what we know as human life.

…………..The Great Cosmic Mother


 

 

 

September 2010


Canada was built on the back of strong women: the Europeans who colonized it and the Native Indians who resisted that colonization. All over the country there are powerful women who know how to “make do” in their private domains. Many women fear the label of “feminism” as a concern of alienating men, antagonizing religion and being politically incorrect. It is urgent that we own our own herstory, the strengths and ingenuities passed from mother to daughter in our herstory; and join women everywhere in the journey of discovering our own strengths and determining the course of our lives, and in the process we might even manage to keep this planet alive.

………………….Sisterhood is Global

She is more that Wisdom…her name is Outrage…her name is Mirth…her name is Compassion…her name is Creator… In the end, the changed life for a woman will be marked …by laughter. It is the unfailing key to the new kind of life…It is the laughter of women that is the revealing sign, the spontaneous recognition of insight and love and freedom.

……Carolyn G. Heilburn

 
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