Cherishing the Moments I Work with Women

I facilitated an expressive writing class today.  There were to be ten people attending. Only a few women showed up. It didn’t matter. I love working with women as there is much in their experience that is difficult, if not impossible to get into when men are in the group.

I understand that men have their traumas and their pain, and indeed, we are all human and can share the pain. However, for women struggling to make sense of their pain, shame, and guilt, having a single sex group is helpful.

I enjoy engaging with women. The irony of that statement is grounded in my youthful dislike of women. I didn’t know then what I understand now. That is not to say that I have patience for those females who are superficial, mean-spirited, or airheads. Listen, I never said I wasn’t judgmental.

We learn from the stories other women share with us. Years ago, I wrote a non-fiction book on women and creativity. The stories that were offered to me during those interviews were precious. For the most part, after speaking for a short time, the raw stories of these women tumbled out. I was honored that they shared so openly with me.

I have taught many workshops, most of them to women and every time, the sharing has had a profound impact upon me and others. I cherish those women, their honesty, their courage and their willingness to share.

 

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The sight of serenity

I return to this blog after a long hiatus. Why so long? I get involved with things in my life and don’t see the value in visiting my blog. I haven’t worked the blog as it should be worked. I haven’t connected with other bloggers. Why? Just part of my journey. I find myself, as my last blog stated, in transition once again. This transition, while not of my choosing, is better for my psyche. I was working in an environment that was toxic. No longer.

But, today I am faced with starting over again. Something I have done a good deal. Perhaps I need to accept more of my choice to live as a freelancer than I have. I like some structure and routine, but I like to be able to change within the structure and alter the routine.

The photo of the serene lake on the home page of my blog gave me a moment of wishfulness. I love to travel and be in nature. I get stimulated by nature and travel. That does give me a sense of peace.

I have neglected this blog and my own writings, and now in this transition I will seek serenity in working on my writing.

AT TIMES

 

 

Sometimes I run so fast I can’t see where I am going

Sometimes, I walk forward but twisted with my gaze backwards

Mourning all that I have missed

At times I am propelled in this or that direction lost in my confusion

I miss the path that takes me forward closer to my destination

 

Sometimes I walk but my gaze is down and once again I have missed where I have been

Other times I manage to move forward with eyes absorbing everything around me

At times, my soul is lifted by my surroundings; feelings of elation about the journey and my present fill me with peace

I know these moments well, I have memorized their sensations still I wonder off the path forward and struggle to return again.

I wonder why I do not stay where my feet are moving and keep my glance here within and without me

At times I am amazed at far I will go tormenting myself before I take the next step forward and lift my eyes to see and return to the path I am on now

Women’s Voice

After all these years, women still struggle to have access to express their voice in the public sphere. Not only are they not present, for the most part, they are not even considered. Issues relating to family, work, right to choose, and motherhood are still framed within the context of the male dominated perspective.

I am not a male hater, as those who fought for women’s rights used to be labeled, but I do believe that women perceive relationships differently than men. That difference, though some argue is not essential but taught, is real. So, what over 50 percent of the population thinks and how they envision change might just be significant. 

All right, I will admit that women are not a single group with a single voice. But, then neither are men. However, the opportunity for women to express their voices in this country and other places in the world still remains locked in a Victorian perspective. 

The challenge is to meet the 21-century using a diversity of views and creative perspectives both male and female. Without the female voice, in all its manifestations, the problems will continue unresolved as they have for so long now. 

The Feminist Revolution

We gain power and we loose power. I am not sure how 5 women in the Senate voted against equal pay. What is so threatening about women being paid the same wage for the same job? Once, people thought that men needed to earn more because they were the sole wage earners. That might never really have been the case, but it was what the media led us to believe in the 50s. In reality, women had been a huge part of keeping the economy going both here and in Europe during and after WWII.

Then, the feminist revolution occurred again (having happened in the late 1800s and the early 1900s) and we made progress. That progress was hard fought but progress was made. Images did change. Though these last few decades the progress was supplanted by misinformation and fear about the role of women and family etc. Young women entered new fields previously barred to them, but left early to have families. College women began to take these opportunities as a given and began talking about being anti-feminists. That was always disheartening to me as young girls are fed last, beaten, and killed at birth because of gender. I digress…

So, here we are watching the war against women continue. Several years ago, the bankruptcy laws were made more difficult. It really was a punitive action since the majority of those in debt were single mothers. And, unlike the image of carefree spend thrists, these were hard working women. But, the banking lobby prevailed. Of course, we know that regardless of what happens, the banking lobby prevails. Is it not shocking that the numbers living in poverty are greater now then they were when the feminist revolution emerged in the 60s and 70s?

Today, 49 million children live with their single, hard working moms. And the Senate  voted against equal pay. Where are the family values in that action? Where is the core of American values when the plight of families, which seem to be headed by single women are hurt by inequality? How does equal pay  hurt productivity or the economic well being of the country? And, how does fostering poverty help the wellbeing of our American family and the health of women and children? For all the talk about family values in this country, we rank pathetically low on world neonatal healthcare and tragically high on infant mortality. Imagine that! So, shame on you Senators! Shame on all of you who voted against the children of this country.

Away She Goes

My daughter is going off to college in a couple of weeks. That in and of its self is strange to me. I am not one of those overly protective moms. Nor, am I one of those moms who is in my daughter’s business 24 hrs a day. I actually fancy myself as a unique mom, properly involved, supportive etc. I suspect that my daughter views me quite differently. And, truth be told, it hurts.

I have worked hard as a mom to inspire and to make possibilities available for both my children. They are very different, and as can be expected they respond to me differently. So, this AM we went to the doctor’s for a well visit . She required a shot. I was outside of the patient room most of the visit. She is of legal age now. But, being there made me feel better. Now, this afternoon, she has a dental appt. about her wisdom teeth. She wanted to go alone. I guess I used a bit of guilt to get her to say I could meet her there. It is strange. My son would not have balked at my coming to his doctor’s appts. He probably would assume I would go with him.

He has just graduated college and is off on his own now. My daughter has been dying to get away to college. Perhaps, I am more overbearing then I realize and that is painful as well.

I really only want the best for my daughter. I accept that she has her path to follow. I just wish I could share some of the journey with her before she completely flies away. Like a bird, she must lift off and spread her wings. That is nature. And, if we did our jobs well, she will do that successfully. Still, there is a longing to be part of the flight…More lessons to be learned both for her and for me before and after she goes away.

The wind in my face

Wow. This is great. I went to a women’s challenge day this past weekend. It was billed as an empowerment day. I was skeptical. I guess all these years of going to awareness workshops , reading, talking, and yes therapy have provided me with a keen sense about myself.

That sense of myself does not relieve me from succumbing to my fears or insecurities it just provides me with an awareness that any particular moment I am acting crazy. 🙂

Any way, the day began with the instructors being introduced. What did I do? I sat there and beat myself up for not having organized such events. Blah, blah, blah.

We moved into the mornings challenges which were based upon team efforts. They were fun and in the end not terribly threatening. Hmmm.

After lunch we began our personal challenges. Climb a rock wall, something called the bridge walk (walking across a cable sooooooooo many feet above the ground, and a trust walk. I didn’t get to do the trust walk, I ran out of time.

I began with the rock wall. Years ago, I had done the rock wall more than once because my kids were doing it. And, because for most of that time I was in shape reaching the top was not a problem. I volunteered to go first. I climbed up the first half then on to a ledge to begin the second half of the climb. I got a bit caught up in the first few foot steps, I am not sure what they are called, but there I was holding on to the wall trying to figure out what to do next. The instructor yelled “don’t stay still too long, just keep moving.” I wanted to but couldn’t figure out where to go next. I placed my foot on this thing that was angled so I could only be there a second and had to move on. Yes, did that. People below cheered. I was shaking now. Moved up again and then lost my hold and flew backward. I caught the wall again but my fear conquered my will to keep going. The instructor yelled “do you want to come down?” “Yes, yes. yes.” I cried out. “OK , put your feet flat on the wall and lower yourself down.’

It was not a very graceful descent but I got to the ground. Cheers and congrats were forth coming. But I was disappointed in myself. No, don’t focus on the accomplishment. Focus on the failure. What failure…. I stayed on at that event and helped with the security rope and cheering others on. Two made it to the top in my group, impressive, most didn’t make it half way, but they all tried.

I next went to the bridge cable walk. I stayed working the ropes at this event for a while getting a sense of it and watching other women conquer their fears. Then I decided to go. Before me were two women who I had moved worked with in the morning. One started to cry as she was getting her security rope attached. The trainer said “do you want to do this?” “yes,” the young woman answered. “GOod. You look at me” the trainer said “before you go up the ladder, then listen to my voice when you are walking on the cable. If you want to come down just let us know.” I was this woman’s ladder spotter. Up she went, tears and all and across the cable.

Next woman began her preparation with fear and saying “I failed at this 20 years ago.” I said “today is a new day. Doesn’t matter what you did 20 years ago!” I am such a big shot sometimes, especially when it doesn’t concern me. Then my turn. I decided once I started climbing up the ladder, up the pole on the stakes there was no turning back.”Don’t look down, just keep going.” I told myself. Up the ladder, “transition one” I yelled, Up the pole, “transition 2” then up on the log to step on to the cable. The wind was very strong. I looked around a bit, not down but I was scared. I needed to keep moving. No looking down. But an occasional “WOOW!” escaped my mouth to let out some anxiety and to let the world know I was all the way up there. Across the cable. No thinking just doing. And I did it.

Releasing my self, “fall backwards hold the rope and we will lower you down” Not as easy as it sounds. Trust, trust trust. That was the crucial issue. Trust myself to do it , trust the women on the ground holding the safety rope that they will not let me crash to the ground. I am here to testify they did their jobs well and so did I. I was soooo high after that. I no longer cared that I did not make it up to the top of the wall. I had climbed the pole and walked across the cable. What a glorious feeling that sense of power. I hope to remember it when my fears tell me otherwise.