Our History, Our Sorrow!

March 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

Can I tell you my worst nightmare?

So we think we live in the best and most civilized society.

But, in fact, if we dig deeply we can see lots of inequities.

And we have different celebrations to make us feel better about what ails us.

Women have been the underclass that’s caged by society and they (we) break down barriers, glass ceilings, barbed wire fences and anything that dares to keep us stuck.

Yeah.

We keep on stepping.

History does not lie. We are survivors. We rise, and we thrive!

happy-womens-day-greeting-card_Mk9wScPu_Fotor

And yet, every March, when we celebrate Women’s History Month, we are plagued, inundated, besieged with all the inequities that still exist in, not only these United States of America, but around the world.

It’s brought to our attention how many babies are being fucked by men old enough to be their grand fathers!

I’m calling it what it is, and I don’t care about culture in this instance.

The thought of an innocent little girl being defiled by her “husband” her father, her brother, her uncle, or anyone who does not recognize her body as sacred, pisses me off!

You too, should be pissed off! If you’re not..why not?

It’s only when we get mad enough that we can generate that anger into something worthwhile. Into a force that can rise up, raise hell and make a difference.

Right now I am using my fingers, and you will see the images of the letters on a page.

Stop and pretend it’s your baby that’s been defiled.

How does that make you feel? Stay with it and feel the anger rising up from your gut. If you are not angry at the image, you really need to check yourself.

The World Health Organization estimates there will be more than one hundred and forty million girls under the age of 15 who will be married between now and 2020.

The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network indicates that one in six women in America will be the victim of sexual assault. They further indicate that 15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under 12.

Human trafficking has a figure of over 27 million worldwide, and most of those are women and children. The only reason for this is the financial gains.

The unintended consequences of these abuse are drug abuse and addiction, psychological, mental and physical trauma, incarceration, low self esteem, self hatred, depression, attempted suicide and the ultimate – suicide.

This is simply a miniscule smidge about the improprieties and unjust treatment of women the world over.

I bring it to the fore so if even one person chooses to do their research and do something about it, our girls can grow up to be well adjusted women, make their mark in the world and make a difference.

My worst nightmare is that any of my three grand-daughters would be subjected to any abuse of this kind. I want to protect them, and I also want to protect every little girl. I want them to have their childhood, their innocence, and be free, and safe.

As we celebrate this month of Women’s history, let us make an effort to educate ourselves about these injustices, and get mad enough to do something about it.

I invite our upstanding men who are teaching their daughters and their sons, to also show their outrage in stamping out these abuses.

We are, after all, women, and men. We are outraged, and we want to give hope to our youngsters. We are phenomenal. Let’s prove our might by taking action.  Spread the word!

Here are some useful websites:

www.ChildrenoftheNight, 24-hour hotline, (800)-551-1300

www.rainn.org, 24 hour hotline (800-656-4673 (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)

www.who.int (World Health Organization)

http://www.thehotline.org/ Domestic Violence, 24 hour hotline (800) 799 7233

 

 

Learning to Love Yourself

July 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

(Even the Shadows)

Maybe hate is a strong word, but you get the gist.

Who among us doesn’t believe that with a little tweaking, we could be just right—self-realized, self-actualized and self-helped to just short of perfection? But, the problem for many is that all the books, self-improvement tips and positive affirmations don’t seem to make us any happier. Worst of all, the minute we “fix” one ugly piece of ourselves, another nasty monster rears it head and starts screaming for attention.

“Believing that something is wrong with us is a deep and tenacious suffering,” writes Tara Brach, in her book, Radical Acceptance. “The more we anxiously tell ourselves stories about how we might fail or what is wrong with us or with others, the more we deepen the grooves—the neural pathways—that generate feelings of deficiency.” She lists common ways people try to manage this pain of inadequacy:

•  Withdrawing from our experience of the present moment.

•  Becoming our own worst critics.

•  Anxiously embarking on one self-improvement project after another.

Accepting ourselves does not mean self-indulgence or being passive. Rather it means turning off the shameful, negative, self-loathing tapes within ourselves and just relaxing. The blaring voices of our culture certainly don’t help, with promises that buying, owning,  achieving something will make us better people; that success is measured by looks, wealth or possessions.

Sometimes it is our so-called faults that can actually lead us to a healthier life. In the New York Times best selling book “The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self” (Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford, Marianne Williamson) , Debbie Ford says “In trying to express only those aspects of ourselves that we believe will guarantee us the acceptance of others, we suppress some of our most valuable features and sentence ourselves to a life of reenacting the same drama with the same outworn script.”

Seligman lists some characteristics that are easier to change, such as everyday anxiety, specific phobias, panic, anger and certain beliefs about life. He advises people to discard the notion of changing that which hurts the most (for example, your extra weight) and instead concentrating on those parts of yourself that will respond most successfully to your efforts to change them (for example, your shyness or impatience with your spouse). In the end, all the energy we put out to change ourselves may just take us back to where we started—to ourselves. And if we can truly accept ourselves as we are, that’s the best place to be.

Your thoughts and comments are always appreciated. If you’re still feeling insecure, and need to be supported as you confront your shadow sides, email me for a free 30 minute consultation.

 

 

An Ode to Change

April 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

Reflection is a good thing. I remember cutting a one pound note in two, giving one piece to a lover, and keeping the other half for myself. It was a pact that we would meet at some time in
the future, and the two halves of the note would be joined together. To become whole. To be one. Perhaps somewhere in our
wild imaginings, we thought we would also be rejoined.

Well, I don’t even remember his name, and it’s been quite a number of years, and we haven’t rejoined. I am almost one hundred percent positive we will never meet again. If we did. There would be no way of recognizing each other.

I have changed in so very many ways. I suspect he has as well. Whatever his name is.

I mentioned reflection, because it is only in reflection that we get a true sense of the journey we’ve been on. Who we are, or where we’ve been. The trials, tribulations, joys, laughter, missteps, challenges and everything that’s made us wholly who we are right now.

Who I am in this moment is not the person I was yesterday, or even a week ago. I am in constant motion of becoming, and I am enjoying the journey.

Having clarity of mind, thought and purpose has not always been a given – for me. I mention clarity of mind, though I must admit the filing cabinet in my brain gets a little disorganized,
distorted, or maybe items are simply misfiled. What I mean is that being a woman of a certain age, I do not always have instant recall. I do not immediately remember things. I like to believe
that I keep the things that are of great importance close at hand, and the inconsequential things will disappear into the files marked “archives.”

Self delusion or self preservation? Whichever. It works for
me.

One could not be a person of a certain age and not have experienced life’s disappointments. I like to think all the challenges and aches of the heart, the mind, the psyche, the body have been preparing me for NOW. Really, NOW is all that matters. In an instant, this moment will be history. I am pleased with my ability to be philosophical about the process and passage of time
for me. It gives me a sense of well being. A sense of accomplishment. A sense of fulfillment. A sense of worth. A sense of value. I had never consciously thought about any of this until THIS MOMENT.

These thoughts are fresh, ripe, right and spontaneous. What freedom!

Today, as a Life Coach, I realize all those experiences have made me more masterful at the craft. I have more empathy. I suspend judgments. I embrace and respect our similarities and our
differences. I listen more deeply. I guide more lovingly. I am appreciative of all that life has to offer. I give willingly, and I serve gracefully. My voice is my own. It is strong, purposeful and authentic.

I am me. Total. Whole and complete. I am grateful.

Name Change – Game Change

January 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

When my daughter decided to change her name, many members of my family, my friends and contemporaries, heavily criticized her. I will not mention who she is, because this blog is not about her (I do respect her privacy). It is looking at the ability to make choices, the reason behind the choices and the personal, psychic, psychological and social ramifications.

It is never questioned when a woman marries, and chooses her husband’s name. I know of some same gender couples that’ve chosen one or the other spouse’s name. No one ever questions that.

I can speak to my personal feelings about her decisions to change from what was ostensibly an Anglo-sounding name (her words). She wanted a name that was more reflective of her African heritage.

Hers was a name that was chosen at the moment she entered this world. Her father saw her before I did. It has to do with the configuration of the body and the birthing process. He saw her, and in his words, she whispered her name to him. Sounds magical, huh!

There is magic in that phrase, especially as I now know that my daughter has never shared the names of her children with anyone, but her husband. It is then first whispered in the child’s ears, immediately after birth. After the skin to skin, heart to heart embrace with mother and baby. The process is anyone after that can be privy to that most noble handle we all hold so dear – our names.

In retrospect, she’s done something unique to her family, but the ritual came before. That ritual heralded her presence into this world.

She decided to have a name that befits her. The energy, the personality, the passion. Everything that says I am my own person!

I think I was somewhat disappointed when she made the decision to change her name. I rather liked the other name we had chosen for her. As a mother, I believed it suited her personality. Of course, the personality developed AFTER the naming. After the growing. After the becoming.

I often lapse into calling her by her “given” name, and when I catch myself, I recognize the disservice and the seeming disrespect to her.

As I reflect on the words of the eminent poet, philosopher and artist, Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) – “Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”

Many people have changed their names. For example:

Mother Theresa was Agnes Bojaxhiu
Al Jolson was Asa Yoelson
Snoop Dogg was Calvin Broadus
Whoopi Goldberg was Caryn Johnson
Toni Morrison was Chloe Wofford
Queen Latifah was Dana Owens
Mos Def was Dante Smith
Billie Holiday was Eleanor Harris
Tyler Perry was Emmitt Perry
Jamie Foxx was Eric Bishop
Malcolm X was Malcolm Little

Each individual has a story. A reason. Does the new name change the personality? Does it inhibit or expand the person? Does the change happen at a cellular level, or is it more superficial?

Being mother to a strong, independent, determined woman, allows me many opportunities to learn, let go, grow, reflect, cherish, honor the authentic being that she is. With all the strength and bravado, there’s vulnerability. Our greatest assets can often be our ability to be vulnerable, and then rise!

I wonder how the name change has impacted all these people? Have they become “more?” I could ask my daughter, but, like I said, this is not her story.

I believe we grow to fit our names. The name I bear has been with me for longer than my given name at birth, or should I say my father’s name. Though I am no longer attached to the man whose name I use, it feels right for me. It has, or I have become interconnected with it. It feels like me. It is I. It is the name by which I’m known. It’s a glove that fits well.

What are your thoughts? Will your game change without your name?

ENDINGS……LESSONS…..NEW BEGINNINGS!

December 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

As we bid farewell to 2012 and enter a new year, just about everyone is scurrying around frantically to get his or her resolutions named, noted, and perhaps shared.

Oh, so much busy-ness! It almost makes me dizzy.

No one ever bucks tradition, preferring, of course to do what is tried and true, what is safe. What is acceptable?

Newspapers, magazines, blogs, radio shows and social site comments are all focused on The New Year Resolutions.

There is nothing wrong with that. Absolutely nothing. I’m just saying. Get out of the blooming box! However you can, crawl out of the box. You must!!

It’s for your sake. Not mine. It’s time to have the courage to face and overcome inner obstacles.

I am sitting here on this beautiful sunny December afternoon, and I realize how many people are crippled by fear. Shame. Un-worthiness and disquiet.

This will not speak to everyone, but for the folks, with whom this resonates, listen up!

If you are desperately wanting to be in a relationship – get a relationship! You might have to begin with you but that’s all right! In fact it’s more than all right. It’s the only place to begin.

If you want out of a relationship – get the heck out, if it’s not serving you or the other person. Relationships begin and they end.

Stop being a wuss! Enough already. Walk away.

Don’t stay for the children. The children know it’s jacked up. They are also unhappy.

Don’t stay because of finances. Get some backbone and be ok with starting over. It’s not easy. It’s possible.

Are the material possessions and status more important than your peace of mind? Only you can answer that. But it requires honesty!

You’ve lost all your friends, because you’re now penniless. Jump for joy!

If they were your friends when you had money, they will be your friends when you are broke. Friendship is not predicated on what you have. It’s about who you are. If they’ve stayed away. Perhaps it’s time to say good riddance.

Feeling insecure because you’ve made several attempts at the perfect job or the next business, and they’ve all failed? Time for rejoicing.

Failure is not for the faint of heart. Failure is for the ones, who will fall down, get bruised, get up, and start again. And again. And again.

As long as you’re not dead – you CAN begin again. Ask any person who is enjoying success. They’ll tell you about their miss-steps and learnings.

Ever notice how when you’re “successful” you’re more attractive?

Heaven help you if you’ve lost your house to foreclosure, or a divorce. You’re avoided like the plague. Your best friend might suddenly be more possessive of their husband while in your presence.

You’ll get some sympathy if you’ve lost everything in a hurricane, a fire, a tornado or other “Acts of God.”

Makes me wonder if God is selective about the Acts, or are they random? That’s a whole other discussion.

Are your creditors calling and demanding payment? But you don’t have the money? Heck, if the United States can’t get its fiscal house in order, cut yourself some slack. Being in debt is not the end of the world! Who isn’t in debt?

They’ll have to wait. They can wait. They will wait, and they can make your life hell – if you let them.

Folks, I’m not saying it’s easy. In fact, it’s down right hard. Life has challenges.

Shift Happens all the time.

Make your intentions for 2013 be about honesty. Be honest to yourself.
Let go of the shame. Let go of the feelings of un-deservedness. Learn from the failures (there’s really no such thing as failure).

Choose to be phenomenal, despite the odds. Choose to be magnificent, you are. Choose to be relevant. You’re here. Choose to grow from your mistakes. You have. Choose to welcome your misfortunes. They’ve made who you are….. becoming. You are the light. Shine brightly in 2013.

There, doesn’t that feel like you’ve shed some very heavy weight. Lighten the burden. This is your beginning. You are perfect, AND there’s work to be done.

This is not about resolutions. It’s about Shift.

It’s Happening!

Connected by Anger, Pain, Fear – Saved by Grace, Love, Action

December 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Holiday season can be stress-filled because of expectations, obligations, consumerism, shoulds and oughts. Whether your celebrations and beliefs are secular or religious, there is an impact.

In this time of gloom and sadness, we need a huge sprinkling of love to bring light into our midst, and to lift our spirits.

The World has not ended – yet – so we have work to do. Hurts to mend. Wrongs to right. Forgiveness of ourselves and others. Actions to take.

Today, as I write, I mention 27 names:

Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeline, Catherine, Chase, Jessie, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Benjamin, Allison, Rachel, Dawn, Nancy, Anne, Lauren, Mary, Victoria

These names are important because in giving a name, instead of a number, means they are (were) a person. They matter. These are the people who lost their lives in Newtown, Connecticut a week ago. Calling them by name, keeps their spirits alive.

Is this tragedy more horrific than other tragedies?

Yes, and no. It depends which side of the fence you’re on. Yes, we do take sides. We have perspectives, judgments, prejudices. We pontificate.

I believe, there will be other tragedies. Other lives lost senselessly. More outrage. More anger. More sadness.

And yes, more love, more joy, more laughter. Hope keeps us alive!

If I had just lost one of my grand children (and I will mention their names because they matter very much – to me and my family): Senay, Malik, Fiyah, Isis, Omega, Pharoah, Saba – I would be saddened and outraged and angered, but in a different way. The loss would be more personal to me and my immediate family and friends.

I pray, it will NEVER BE MY EXPERIENCE.

There would likely be an outpouring of sympathy and condolences. And life would continue on. Our lives are continuing, because it’s what we do. We go on. And we forget.

At our core, we humans are not violent. Our true nature, I believe, is love. If it takes an act of violence to connect our hearts, then we are the person who died. We are the person who pulled the trigger.

Transformation of energies, touch the human heart. We are somehow connected in the face of this tragedy.

I leave you to ponder the words of Martin Niemoller (1892-1984) A Protestant Pastor:

“First they came for the Socialists,
and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists,
and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–
and there was no one left to speak for me.”

You can substitute Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Muslim, Christian, Scientologist, Socialist, Capitalist, Gay, or any group you choose………

You get the meaning.

Are you willing to stand for Love, Peace, Compassion and Action so Your voice will be heard? Will Your action make a difference?

It’s the only way Shift Happens!

Are you willing to be disturbed?

November 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

What are you willing to die for?

Perhaps the more important question is What are you willing to live for?

I realize that some of the most profound questions come out of a place of sadness, or perhaps stillness. The answers are another thing.

It is a gloomy day. This end of November in Northern California. My mood is equally gloomy. I could pretend I am happy, uplifted and in a positive mind frame, or I could simply feel what I’m feeling – sad. Yes, sad. Totally without apology I admit I am sad.

My choice is to get totally immersed in the sadness. It will not be forever. I have been gloomy before, and it did not last forever. Of that, I am 100% sure.

Some might say, as a life coach I “should” not allow this side of me to be visible. I say bah ham bug to that. Perhaps, we spend so much time in “shoulding” on ourselves and each other; pretending we are other than we are, that we never know when we are experiencing something real. As a thinking feeling, enlivened and evolved being, I have shifting moods and perspectives. I am basking in my humanity! And yes, my sadness.

So whilst basking in this mood of, I receive a call from Blood Source. As a life long blood donor, I’m often called for a “life-saving blood donation.” Those four words shifted my reality. I have never given any thought to who gets my blood. It’s a habit I’ve engaged in for a number of years without too much thought. I asked myself “why do you give blood?” The only answer I came up with is “because I can.”

That simple, self-less act can, and does make a difference to someone other than me.

For a moment I am not quite so gloomy. I was not thinking about me.

As my mind meanders from one thought to the next, I wonder what am I willing to notice in my world. Put another way, what do I stand for?

Coming from a gloomy space – whoa – that’s a kick-ass question! My answer, were I in a more uplifted mood might be different. Today, however, I stand for being real. I stand for being intimate with the discomfort of sadness. I stand for love, and respect for all beings. I stand for forgiveness. I stand for being present to NOW.

It is easy to distance ourselves from grief and pain. Mine or someone else’s. The more we run and try to hide, the more traction the pain gets. The pain becomes lodged in our bodies, our consciousness. It is better, I believe to be fully enveloped in pain, and as the time is right, release. Of course, if the consciousness is out to lunch, the pain will remain until some unsuspecting time when, like a rabid dog, it nips quite viciously at you.

This blog is not about instructions to be rid of pain.

It’s about acknowledging and being PRESENT!

If I step out on a limb, I’d say the whole world is in pain. We might not, on one level have any interest in saving the world, or being aware of the worlds’ pain. We might start by noticing our own feelings. Our own pain. And then we might wonder how other people are feeling. Maybe, just maybe, in the midst of our wondering, we might connect through thoughts. Through words. Through behavior. Through intuition..

We all need the companionship. The conversations. The caring, The open-hearted love to soothe our pain.

In the end, love is what we need for shift to happen.

HOW PRECIOUS ARE YOU?

October 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

One of the things I do a few times every week is to spend time with a very delightful young man.

Owen is 6 years old, and he has the most beautiful and arresting smile. His nature is kind. He is boisterous, outspoken, inquisitive, jovial and very much a boy. I take much delight in being in his presence.

His parents leave for work at 6 a.m., and so it is my responsibility to awaken him – although he is always awake by the time I arrive at his house. I must also add that he is NEVER in a bad mood!!

I fix him breakfast and take him to school.

Our mornings invariably consist of coloring, playing with some of his wondrous and amazing toys, listening to music, dancing, reading – he and I, coloring, and always talking about whatever happens to be on our minds at the time.

This is a relationship that is very special to me, and I treasure it (the relationship) and he (the young man).

On this particular day on our trip to school, we were coming up with random letters, and I would create words, sometimes a complete sentence, based on the letters. One such letter was a P.

Not for Pauline. Not for Petulant. Not for Powerful. Not for Practice, but I chose Precious. He wanted to know what that meant. I replied, special, rare, beautiful, a jewel – like you. He beamed his special smile.

He might have forgotten the conversation by the time we arrived at his classroom. It was, after all, show and tell day, and he was pretty jazzed about sharing the poster of Tim Lincecum, the starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants.

Owen is a die-hard Giants fan, and they have just won the World Series.

When I got home, his smile was still with me, and I started thinking about what is precious to me. I consulted my trusty mini Oxford Dictionary, and this is their definition:
Of great value. Beloved. Affectedly refined. Valuable. Treasured. Prized. Priceless. Rare.

I relished the thought of having injected those thoughts, ideas in the mind of one so young, on a gray autumn day in Sacramento. He might forget the conversation, but it certainly stirred something in me. The look of joy and pure delight was worth savoring!

My mind wondered to something much bigger than this conversation, and it occurred to me that people everywhere must feel strongly that they are precious. That life itself is mostly precious.

In the unfoldment of our lives – our precious lives – we are so much more than our possessions. No matter how precious those possessions may be! We are more than our degrees. We are more than our zip codes. We are more than our bank accounts and our investments.
The busy-ness of our daily lives distracts us from what’s important.

Right now we are caught up in the energy of the upcoming elections. The candidates. The personalities. The issues. The lies. The truths. The half-truths. The innuendos. The blaming. The disrespect. We are so intent on pontificating and wishing to seem informed, important, relevant, that the precious parts of our selves can go unnoticed. Unacknowledged. The outer war seem to have taken the place of inner peace.

The complexities of our modern world demand much of us. And we, in turn, give much.

All things in our world hold some degree of relevance. Of importance.

How do we measure that relevance?

If today were your very last day on earth, would it matter who won the election?

Would it matter if YOU won or lost in whatever game you are involved in?

How would you categorize your PRECIOUS life?

Are you content in the choices you make?

In the words you use?

In the connections you make?

You are always at choice, and there is power behind your choices. The respect and reverence you bring to your daily activities can enhance the quality of your life, which is inherently precious! Reflect on your unique preciousness every day. And remember words can be magic.

Change of Seasons, Change of YOU!

September 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

Most of us cringe at the thought of change whilst others thrive on the sheer joys or mere anticipation of it. Clearly, the latter group are the ones who find it easier to move forward and are making the most of life!

Summer is giving way to autumn, even though our California weather is deceiving us. I am reveling in this tiny shift. The cooler mornings. Getting up when it’s still dark. All the things that let me know, a change is a coming!

I know that way too soon, I will join others in the complaints about the cold, the rain, the fallen leaves……

So in keeping with change, I decided the other day to give myself over to technology completely. Ok, so I may be a little behind the times with this. But I decided to trust my GPS (Going Painfully Slow) to take me somewhere that I had been to many times before. I decided that I would pretend I had no idea where I was going, and be led by this trusty device.

I plugged in the destination, and followed the instructions. I was actually in Fair Oaks, and my destination was Folsom. That is about a 12-15 minute drive. I set out, being careful to follow the instructions.

Ok, it was a test!! A test of my patience. A test of change that is unknown. A change of simply doing something different.

The trusty directionally challenged device took me to I-80. I complied. It then took me to I-5. It was instructing me to go to Highway 99 when I decided that this change – this compliance with this device was for the birds! It was taking me in the completely opposite direction to where I wanted to go.

I navigated my way towards Highway 50, via downtown, and finally got to my destination. NOT, with any special assist from that device.

When I arrived, I had to laugh at my stupidity. Yes, stupidity. I trusted this thing to take me on a not too scenic route of Sacramento. Luckily, it was not during the rush hour. I simply wanted to see what it was like to acquiesce to this object that’s designed for convenience, speed, and comfort.

Since on this occasion it was not convenient, it did not get me there in a timely manner, nor was it comfortable. If I were unfamiliar with Sacramento, I would be simply up the creek.

The object lesson was, do not trust your life to inanimate objects. Let your knowledge and intuition be your guide