Dispelling Self-Doubt, Disrupting the myth of ‘other’

I’d like for you to watch this Tara Brach talk:

Healing Self-Doubt

What I take from her talk at this moment is that we have find a new way to think, to heal from thinking of men and people who disagree with us as being ‘other’. Because, they are human. When we can all hear each other, we can bring peace into situations. Relentless effort, unfathomable peace. It takes commitment to bring about peace and it takes acknowledging humanity in everyone.

Fear engenders only fear. And the extreme manifestation of fear is hate. We are more powerful than that today, and more humble. It is a sad conceit to believe that one is truly better than others. I intend to be humble today, and stronger because of it. I challenge you to put away your anger, fear, or whatever is tying you to the belief of there being ‘others’ today. We are all human, at our deepest levels.

Look into each other’s eyes. Drop the walls in your heart. Walls there only make us more vulnerable anyway, and we are as a movement committed to showing we are strong.

Please listen to the talk at the link I posted. It will begin to heal you if you let it. It’s helping me.

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Setting my Standards

I’ve been wondering…. who sets the standard of “beauty”?

Who says it’s shaved legs?

  1. the photos in fashion magazines?
  2. the pornographers?
  3. the women who don’t dare miss a day of shaving their legs?
  4. the men who require their girlfriend or wife to shave her legs?

Who says it’s high heels?

  1. the corporations who sell high heels, but could sell something else if they chose to?
  2. the pornographers?
  3. the women who wear high heels because they ‘want to look sexy’ and don’t think they do in flats?
  4. the men who give lots of attention to women wearing heels?

What do you actually want to wear on your feet? For comfort’s sake? For safety’s sake?

Have you ever actually tried growing out your leg hair? Have you tried loving yourself despite long hair on your legs? Have you? Because I promise you it is possible.

Here’s my proof.

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I’m heterosexual, and brush my teeth every day, and love myself completely. It’s totally possible- in fact, it’s true. And I spent 6 months without shaving.

How to Survive Valentines Day

I used to be the first to assert that ‘holiday pressure’ didn’t get to me, and yet, it has been doing so lately. I’ve decided that for Valentines day, which can be one of the most pressured of the year for many people, I am going to be my own Valentine.

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I have always been one to go a little overboard for a holiday which is all hearts and flowers! Once I designed a lovely bouquet at a florist’s shop, and gave a ring and several mix CDs to a beau. Another time I made a youtube playlist, gave an artistic and highly-personalized handmade card, baked something sweet, and spent a sweet evening watching a favorite movie together. For a third and non-romantic example, I made three watercolored hearts and added glitter and kind messages of thanks and friendly adoration. All I want is for someone to show the same devoted attention to me! So I am.

  • Baking a banana bread for myself
  • And a cupcake, with frosting of course, and totally allergen-free
  • Making a lovely handmade and glitter-full card for myself, which says sweet things
  • Watching a favorite movie or show (Downton Abbey? Stardust? haven’t decided yet)
  • I considered buying myself a red rose, and then nixed the idea for now.
  • Letting myself off the hook. I am not obligated to do any of this for anyone. I’m doing it for myself to show myself how worthy and loved I am.

I’m doing what I’ve wanted to do for years; show myself the same love and consideration I show to other people, and doing so because of me. Simple as that. I always used to develop a reason related to someone else if I were to do something kind for myself, and now the reason is me. I deserve kindness, simply because I am.

Women are so cool.

Some articles that appeal to me:

26, Unmarried, and Childless : Hear hear! I am doing awesome things, too! This article rocks my socks. There are other women out there like myself. I would love to be married and holding my kids in my arms by now, that would be great. But other wonderful, necessary, important things are actually happening Right Now. Personally, I try to live in reality, not regret nor fantasy.

Jesus Feminist : Jesus treated women as his equals, forgave wrongs done by women and by men, and had female as well as male friends. I am worthy just because I am (and so are you!), and that worth is entirely independent of any relationships or personal qualities or achievements. I am wonderful and I do my best to live in a way that supports values of love, honesty, faith, peace, and integrity. I especially love the following quote:

“So the Kingdom of God stands in sharp contrast to the ways of the world. The church has not always stood in sharp contrast. Yet the Kingdom of God is bigger even than the Church’s failures and successes, disappointments and triumphs. As the people of God, we proclaim and we dare to live out the truth for us all: you are valuable, you are free, you are loved.”

And finally, writings of the funny brilliant genius who used to be my neighbor before she moved halfway across the country.

Women are pretty amazingly radically mind-bendingly life-alteringly cool, aren’t we!

Notice how not-a-question that statement was. I’m feeling good about being so cool.

 “I know it’s important to be honest; to honour the stories of hurt and pain, but it is just as important to tell and hear the good stories of the people of God.  I believe we can be critical thinkers without a critical spirit.”  ~Sarah Bessey, ‘Jesus Feminist’

Healing The Feminist Movement

Feminism doesn’t need :yelling as much as it needs nourishment, healing, and soulfulness

:boldness as much as it needs safety, security, and sanity

:rebellion as much as it needs a simple release from dogma and a movement toward an equal and high level of responsibility, respect, and concern for the well-being of all.

photo by Mia Enns

photo by Mia Enns

I have compassion for those who violently lash out, speaking ‘change’ and effecting backlash. I have love for those who have been hurt, and act in ways society cannot understand, because of that deep hurt they do not yet truly acknowledge. Women and men need safe spaces to speak to their hurt and pain, to feel it, to notice its true effect on our lives and relationships, and to accept it. We all need safe space to heal from the raw wounds of living with others who have been harmed, who then harm others because they know how to, and also do not know how to tolerate their emotions.

I encourage you, today, to seek safe space for yourself. This can be wherever You feel safe and nourished. Do you have a space among friends or on your own? Within your family or a nourishing community? Do you know of a public space that brings you out of your thoughts and into complete presence in the present moment?

If all of this seems too much for you, or even if it doesn’t, I invite you to listen to some of these: http://www.tarabrach.com/audioarchives-guided-meditations.html

One per day could heal a soul. One per day could radically heal the feminist movement, one person at a time.

This is what I’m feeling good about today.

~M

Tranquil Space Foundation

This sort of thing is exactly what I began this blog to promote and support:

http://www.tranquilspacefoundation.org/

The Tranquil Space Foundation “expands opportunities for girls and women to develop their inner voice through yoga, creativity, and leadership activities.”

E-mail: info@tranquilspacefoundation.org
Twitter: @tsfound
YouTube: youtube.com/tsfound
Facebook: facebook.com/tranquilspacefoundation

Let’s support and promote this organization! I want to hear how you choose to support TSF: will you ‘like’ their facebook page? add them on Twitter and retweet their twitter posts? Will you post their youtube videos to your facebook or email them to your friends? Will you tell the people in your life who know teen girls about the workshops for girls in grades 9-12?

Thank you so much!!! Your voice matters!!

I Support Women.

Ohhhhh this topic. It’s so fraught, so controversial, so buzz-wordy and ‘evil’ and a matter of choice and rights, and entangled in dogma but not in faith…. And I’m tackling it to the ground today.

Feminism is too-often equated with ‘support for abortion’. If I can do something to change that idea, it is my responsibility to try. Feminism is support for women.

As a feminist, I do not support abortion, yet I do support women who have them. See the difference?

By supporting women, loving them as human and worthy, by understanding that difficult choices are often made with the very best of intentions, I am a feminist.

I’m not talking about laws. Abortion IS an option: regardless of what you think ‘legalizing’ does for abortion, a clinic is safe, and therefore a necessary alternative. There are home remedies that have existed since the beginning of time, are cheaper, and cannot be removed by ‘de-legalizing’ them. And some women in dire situations will use those remedies, as they have from the beginning of time. I do not wish harm upon anyone, even people who make choices that I do not agree with.

Do I want my fellow women to go through the pain of abortion? Of course not. Emotional pain, physical pain and discomfort, social stigma and the fear of social stigma are all wrapped up into the package of the choice that is abortion. The very same fears of ostracization (rejection by one’s community and culture), physical pain, and emotional turmoil go hand in hand with childbirth, for many.

Abortion is a tough decision. It’s an expensive decision. Yet, it’s far less expensive than raising a child. Abortion, like child-bearing, is a decision that will last forever. Once you give birth, you can’t un-give-birth. Once you abort, you can’t un-abort.

When parenting, a parent makes choices. Men and Women both make choices which influence a child’s life, such as which school the child will attend, what neighborhood the child grows up in, what foods the child eats, what friends the child is encouraged to hang out with, whether a child is exposed to alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes at home, and more. Who has control over those choices? Parents. Not you, not the government, not your system of belief. People make vastly differing choices for their children. What illusion of control do you think you have over other people’s choices?

And for those who use Christian religion as an excuse to frighten and traumatize people with nasty photos; to yell at, insult and exclude unwed mothers and women who’ve had an abortion; or any other manner of cruelty, please understand you are going *against* the teachings of Jesus. Jesus accepted and loved women, and those who were perceived to be ‘sinners’. Fear is not love, and does not disguise well.

Not every human being has adequate resources, or the love for themself, trust in themself, and faith that the world will be kind to them and to their child that it takes to lovingly bring a human being into the world, much less raise one. Once the wage gap disappears, discrimination is denounced at every turn until it vanishes, and women are treated as viable respectable participants in society, the previous sentence can hope to be corrected.

Decisions of this sort are intensely personal. Instead of assuming that you (the outsider) know best and are the authority over other people’s decisions (you’re not. you never are. you make your own decisions), why not become someone who promotes and protects women? How about if you put work and time and care into helping women feel safe? Why not ask what women need in order to feel safe?

What do you need?

Do you feel safe?

How can I help?

Tell me about your life?

You’ll find out, if you listen.

Donate to a women’s shelter or abuse prevention center yearly, weekly, monthly. Volunteer your time and talents. Spend less time lecturing and more time listening.

If you had a fear greater than you felt you could manage, would someone yelling at you, insulting you, and harassing you reduce your fear? If you are addressed with kindness and understanding of where you’re coming from, do you think that would make it safer and more peaceful to make a choice that is healthy for you? Learn to let go; potential parents can make good choices.

I’m feeling good about helping women feel safe, unconditionally.