i’ll stay dumb, thanks so much

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My 'antique' cell phone

It may be dumb, but it still works just fine!

Every time folks look at my cell phone, they have a hard time suppressing the expression on their faces that says, ‘How do you get that antique to work, anyway?‘ When I patiently remind my students to email me the night before group to inform me of the next day’s absence – because I have neither internet at the writing studio, nor smart phone – they do not seem to register my meaning. Even last week, when I was at the Verizon store purchasing a smart phone for my daughter, she, the salesman and my husband tried their best to persuade me to buy one for myself. I simply could not figure out a reason to do so.

OK, maybe I am the dinosaur here. Continue reading

heart suspended

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Touch drawing image

courtesy Deborah Koff-Chapin

I peer into the depths to see myself
slowly waken, pulse slowed by cold
as my hands hold my heart suspended

for the moments of winter to pass into warmth
and light, to bring me fully out of the womb-cave of darkness, reflecting

back to me the lessons learned
from winter visions that long to merge
with the light springing into life

swb

the incredible power of women’s wisdom

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“The vision statement of Gather the Women Global Matrix concludes with the line, “Together we can activate the incredible power of women’s wisdom on a planetary scale.” I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. Women are speaking out against rape in India. Women are vaccinating children against polio in Afghanistan and, shockingly, paying for it with their lives. Women are brave souls.

As we start the new year, let us honor ourselves and all women for what we do. When we gather in our circles of women, let us take time to acknowledge our activism, our contributions, our nurturing, our humor, our wisdom, and anything else that we value. For once, set the self-deprecation aside. Speak up. Be true to yourself.” from ‘Activating the incredible power of women’s wisdom’ posted 1/7/13 by Barbara Belnap on Gather the Women’s blog (the name of the group comes from Jean Shinoda Bolen’s book of the same title, Urgent Message from Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World.)  A fabulous book, by the way, well worth reading. Again and again.

And, of course yesterday, February 14th, was One Billion Rising. Smack dab in the middle of our writing circle yesterday morning, we rose up and danced around the room joining our determined energy with women around the globe to stop violence against women and girls. While true, of course, that a small group of women dancing in an obscure writing studio in northwest Vermont in and of itself will not change anything, the symbolism is undeniable: change starts with each one of us, women and men.

Whatever it takes, we must change beliefs that permit females of all ages to be sexually abused, to be routine targets of senseless violence. There is much to say on the subject, and I for one shall continue to do so. Meanwhile, check out some of the video clips of the day’s Risings around the globe. Read Annie Finch’s Invocation for the One Billion Rising, premiered in Portland ME yesterday. Raise your voice. Write your stories. Contact your leaders. Get involved. Don’t stop dancing and rising and demanding – now is the time and WE ARE THE ONES we have been waiting for (thank you, Sweet Honey in the Rock!).

the practice of gratitude

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credit: drchristinahibbert

credit: drchristinahibbert

“I want to stay in love when fear drives me to hate and judgement. I want to practice gratitude and cultivate joy in the darkness. That doesn’t mean that I can’t be afraid or sad or vulnerable, it simply means that reacting to tragedy by living in fear doesn’t create empathy, it breeds more fear.” Brene Brown, inspired by Martin Luther King

This practice of gratitude is a daily intention, a prayer for living, hopefully even a way of life. There is much to be grateful for and many ways to find it, from a simple meditation to a five-minute entry in a Gratitude Journal before going to sleep at night. When I first tried this practice, it felt, frankly, a bit awkward and even forced. I found myself penning gratitude for the same things over and over.

While this is great – to appreciate what I have in my life – it quickly became apparent that there was so much more I could reflect upon. And with each reflection, the gratitude went deeper and wider, until it spread to an ongoing perception of abundance in even the smallest of events, moments, observations. When filled with gratitude, it is hard to retreat in fear. Somehow, it becomes easier to carry fear without becoming fear-filled. Might this then be the foundation of empathy?

Try it. Perhaps you will find yourself moved from abundance to empathy, letting fear take a back seat to your day. And then, please share your gratitude moment(s) here.