happy birthday, women writing for (a) change!

It has been my intention to post something each Friday relating to the conscious feminine. My introduction to that concept – as a practice in paradoxical living, as a path to claiming my own feminine nature, as a parental model for child-bearing – started two decades back with Women Writing for (a) Change. It seems fitting to devote today’s post to this incredible entity on her 21st birthday.

In a letter just-penned to my writing sisters, I wrote: “Tomorrow you all will gather to celebrate the maturity of Women Writing for (a) Change, without which I can no more imagine my life than without my children.

We each have our own story of how we came to be part of this sisterhood; what it has meant to our individual journey; how it has impacted the lives with which we intersect and interact; where we are with it now in our own life. I imagine you all sharing some of these stories as you gather in Cincinnati tomorrow to celebrate the coming –of – age of the unfolded and manifested vision-turned-movement that started with Mary Pierce Brosmer; and has evolved into recognizable offspring across the country. Continue reading

integrating the feminine

Aside

My mentor, Mary Pierce Brosmer – author, fearless feminist, wise leader, founder of Women Writing for (a) Change, and long-time friend – is embarking on her own conscious feminine experiment. I offer here a link describing in part a new course she will be teaching in Cincinnati: ‘ a Co-ED apprenticeship in the integration of the feminine into organizational life.’  Perhaps these ‘what-if’s’ will spark discussion here as well, online or in our own writing circles.

What if I said “leader” and it evoked an image of someone who always kept sight of: What’s in the middle? What are we gathered here to give life to? 
 
What if she told her own stories and made space for yours? and asked, “What can we make of this?” rather than “Whose fault is it?” 
 
What if she didn’t privilege some stories over others for the sake of political correctness or the need to appear cool or in the know? 
 
What if she had the courage to ask, “What’s going on in the room right now? What isn’t being said? What am I feeling? What are others feeling?” 
 
What if she spent time and energy creating spaces for people to generate meaning, to learn to take risks, to tell the truth, to make commitments? 
What if she were courageous enough to integrate life-giving and soulful tools into his practice – circles, silence, flowers, poetry, stories, knowing that it might expose him to ridicule, knowing that it would expose her to ridicule (if the leader is a woman)? 

What if she had enough integrity and imagination to connect measurement with meaning, innovation with tradition, growth with periods of rest (knowing, all the while, that the culture reveres and rewards disconnection, “pure genius” “scholarship”)?

both . . . and

Fire & Ice

Fire & Ice (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

Robert Frost’s ‘Fire and Ice’ begins, “Some say the world will end in fire, some say in  ice.” I have been thinking about fire lately. A lot. About the paradox of flame, how quickly it can shift from nurture to destruction.

At the extreme fire becomes the negative of what, in moderation, is its best feature. Which makes me understand better, deeper, again the problem with either/or thinking. ‘If you’re not with me, you are against me’ is a simplistic formula for polarization, leaving no room whatever for the very real shades of gray in which we in fact live.

Just because I may not share your opinion does not mean I am going to take action against you. A great illness in our private attitude and public discourse has, in recent years, arisen from this toxic formula for intolerance. It implies enforced homogeneity, an unsettling dismissal of the very melting pot of difference that has kept us strong, innovative, tolerant.

fire and ice

fire and ice (Photo credit: Jasmic)

The conscious feminine offers a simple antidote by holding the paradox of the both/and. This energy – available to men and women alike – says, ‘there is room for your belief AND room for mine.’ Difference does not equal wrong or bad. Difference is not a square extreme trying to fit into an either/or hole. Difference is just difference. If we could hold mutual respect in our hearts for the fact of difference absent judgment and labels, how much more civil our discourse; how much richer our resources of understanding, compassion, creativity. How much fuller our lives lived from abundant goodwill rather than the scarcity of ‘other is wrong/bad.’

what is the conscious feminine?

Quote

Cover of "Coming Home to Myself: Reflecti...

Cover via Amazon

The feminine
has slower rhythms,
meanders,
moves in spirals,
turns back on herself,
finds what is meaningful to her,
and plays
.

– Marion Woodman, Coming Home to Myself; Reflections for Nurturing a Woman’s Body and Soul