I've never been into feminism. In part, because I never really needed it. Not that feminism isn't needed. No one can deny how many women experience sexual violence, lack political, social, and economic rights. I'm just saying that I'm one of those lucky women standing on the shoulders off all the great women and men who have made women's equality a reality at least for some. I was lucky enough to have a father who would be elated if I were Secretary of State or Britney Spears. When my parents remarried, I gained a step-father who encouraged me patiently and consistently for 15+ years to get a PhD. No, the men in my family were cheerleaders. They opened doors.
And in the work place, I found myself having more challenges with senior women. In most cases, however, my challenges in the work place were simply my own. I've probably missed more opportunities because of sour thinking, self-righteous attitudes, fear, ignorance, and small thinking than because of my gender.
Yup. I finally got it that I was responsible for my own thriving.
One of my colleagues, a woman in the military, really cannot believe me. But it feels true. Maybe it was the all girls camp I went to where we learned to shoot a 22. We competed with boys camps and 99% of the time, we won. If I ever meet you, tell me to sing you our rifle team song, it's so cheerful.
So, all this to say I have never taken a women studies course. The closet I came was an independent study my final summer at UPenn with now Harvard President, Drew Faust. I wanted to study Penn women in the 60s. So, I interviewed a bunch of these women to find out about their experiences. They were not "feminists" in their minds, they were simply women who wanted to pursue biochemistry, etc. They were driven by their desire to pursue something and for the women with whom I spoke, that "something" was never women's rights.
This inspired me. Yes, I thought, this is what I like...spending time around women pursuing what means something to them...exhilarating.
I have often found feminist theory angry. I would complete the book or article feeling more oppressed than I had before reading it. So, I steered clear and instead sought role models and fellow travelers.
That worked until my period stopped. Not pregnancy just imbalance and thanks to some amazing Network Spinal Analysis practitioners who could bring my period in one visit..life took another turn. A few precise pokes on the sacrum and the feminine river of life began to flow again.
What I found through Network and other modalities was not that I needed more feminism to regain my bodies natural balance, I needed more feminine. Now I wear pink..actually writing this in pink pajamas. But It's not all about pink in spite of what some 7 year olds might say. It's the freedom of movement, dance, the permission to be, to feel to flow. So thanks to some of the work of Tony & Sage Robbins (ironically a man) and many in the healing arts, I have come to rejoice again in the feminine.
Fluidity, being, joy, enthusiasm, color, movement...
I've been at this for awhile and it's starting to become a bit more integrated. And yesterday, it didn't occur to me when dressing for a Gender conference held at our university that I would don a suit.
It was a glorious spring day yesterday in DC. It's cherry blossom season. Everything is in bloom and I felt myself blooming with it. So on went the white pants, pale blue sweater and pink scarf....and because I was running late...the rollerblades
In a slight panic trying to find the floor (I can be a bit maniacal about being on time-- sometimes), I finally arrive, and roll-- literally-- right into the conference. I see roughly seven women in suits getting their breakfast. Suits? Really? I guess so. It's a conference and people wear suits. I was the odd ball. But I thought "gender conference" liberation! Celebration..safe to "be" in the world. Safe to "be" what we are-- feminine, masculine, and all the other LBTQ...possible combinations.
Have western women won if they have to wear grey suits to a gender conference on one of the most beautiful DC days of the year? On a Saturday?
Now, I could be off base here..I understand that folks deserve to be heard...Note I did not say "taken seriously" because I think DC is serious enough. Don't we more easily see each other's humanity when we are dressed for a BBQ than for a meeting?
Suits have their place..but I don't feel like I'm stepping into the full expression of the feminine when I step into one. And I did for 10 years working for an advertising company.
For me the goal of "feminism" would be making it safe to be feminine -- to "be" is enough.
"When I am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple" as Jenny Joseph said. For moi, while I am still relatively young, I shall keep considering pink..even for a conference. Leave the suits to Don Draper. He looks fabulous in one.
Hi all, yes, this is my first attempt at audio recording the blog. Please bare with the occasional stutter. I really can't blame the technology. Things are getting so relatively easy in that regard.
This is about the noticing the violence in our discourse. You may not be able to prevent violence in Syria, but you can't stop "throwing the baby out with the bathwater"
Sitting here eating some tomato soup flipping through Time, the magazine maybe still celebrating the demise of Newsweek. I see an interview with the Twilight series author Stephanie Meyer. Now, I liked the books, read them (in French which I feel makes it more ok) and enjoyed the movies. Anyway, she has a new book and a new character named Melanie. Time asked her what kind of role model Melanie was to young people. She replied, "I don't really think we should be looking for our role models in fiction."
Now I don't know this new Melanie character, I just question Meyer's call that we ought not look to fictional characters as role models. Didn't we learn from Dorothy that "there's no place like home?" Why are fictional people less likely to be candidates than "real" people? Some French finance minister was just found today to have been hiding millions in Swiss Bank accounts to avoid taxation. I think we ought to grab role models where we can get them. More importantly, fiction is one of the very important mediums through which we can imagine different futures for ourselves.
Sometimes I borrow a little bravery from Lara Croft, why not? Anne, of Anne of Green Gables fame, helped me figure out growing up. I also grab the boy role models. We need to be Ferris Bueller for a day or mess with the rules of time like Marty McFly. I think we're just as likely to find role models in fiction as in the world and I don't want to let more authors off the hook letting them continue to create weak characters that do not evolve. Maybe this is why television tends to bore me. For example, watched "the Good Wife" recently with my family. How did I like it? I said,, "well, it's okay, but I didn't really find myself liking anyone." He responded with something to the effect, "Yeah, they're all rotten." But he likes that. He also liked that about Seinfeld. They were all so shallow and selfish. Some say I just cannot relax, but I like fiction with great acts of bravery, help me see new ways of conceptualizing identity, and living even more extraordinary lives than my own. I like you Meyer, but I'm still committed to finding the heros. If there aren't any, I'll make them up myself.
This exchange between "Abraham" and a psychotherapist demonstrates how legitimizing where someone else is from a place of sincere appreciation can be an invitation to them to seek more for themselves. I'll leave it to you to find out more about "abraham" --for now, just enjoy. This can serve as a really useful model to those working in conflict groups, with those recovering from truma
My grandfather used to say that. Or at least the family lore is that my grandfather used to say it.
For some reason, it stuck. Sad...you can imagine all the brilliant learning I did in high school physics that I've not retained, but those cows.. still have 'em.
Well, it turns out that metaphors have become a part of my profession, so perhaps my remembering the joke was prophetic (though I wouldn't mind teaching some high school physics).
Two weeks ago in Toronto a friend handed me a book called "The Journey from the Center of the Page: Yoga Philosophies and Practices as Muse for Authentic Writing" by Jeff Davis. My friend writes for Yoga Journal so a very apt book. Especially timely because I have been under the impression that my academic writing was still as good at is was in 1998, but it seems it has not. 10 years in business and 4 years in Integrative medicine seem to have muddied up a bit of my rational argumentation abilities --(in terms of what scholarly journals require). So, I'm on a quest to reclaim my writing but with even more authenticity than I was able at age 20.
The book is deep as well as handy. I'm not going to write a book report here, but suffice it to say he has some good writing rituals -- like asking "what am I writing for?" at the beginning of each writing session.
Today, I'm writing because I'm inspired to talk about metaphors. You use them in coaching all the time....you listen for people's metaphors and then use them as a basis for discussion, elaboration and reframing. An example would be if someone said, "I feel backed up against a wall" you can talk about this feeling and maybe build an escape hatch, secret door or a ladder to set the person free. This may sound silly, but firstly it works and secondly that they are symbolic representations of what's happening in someone's life or their experience of what's happening.
Metaphors are no more symbolic than words. All language is symbolic and metaphorical. Davis (2005) reminds us,
"All language is metaphorical. A story among some Northeastern American Indian tribes tells of a young man asking a wise-woman
"What does the earth rest on?"
"A turtle's shell," she said.
"And what does the turtle stand on?"
"Another turtle," she said. "It's turtles all the way down."
He says language is the same way. Turtles/symbols all the way down.
When conducting narrative intervention or when coaching, metaphors are far easier to work with than words as symbolic expressions. It can be kind of hard to convince someone that their "mother" is really an abstraction. It's much easier to talk about how "she talks your ear off" and go from there.
What I really loved about Davis' segment on this is that he talks about the body as "one complex, shapeshifting metaphor."
We're so often in our heads, I'm infused with delight to consider this body this way. Of course, a man committed to yoga would make such a connection. This is a very important connection especially when moving into a discussion of abuse, violence, and trauma that marks the body and tells a story when words disappear.
Davis, Jeff. The Journey from the Center to the Page. Yoga Philosophies and Practices as Muse for Authentic Writing. New York: Gotham Books, 2005.