Posts Tagged ‘unity

28
Jan
15

Get out of your way!

Get out of your wayDo you find that most of the time the thing that stops you from pursuing your dreams or reaching your fullest potential is yourself?

It’s that one voice inside that tends to drown out all the others with words like can’t, don’t , shouldn’t, wouldn’t.  It tells us not to do it.  What is “it”?  Well, think back…when was the last time you wanted to do something that would help you grow or take risk (that wasn’t about being practical and responsible) and you didn’t do it?  Whatever it was, that was the “it.”  It could have been signing up for a class, starting a business or simply choosing to spend time or money investing in your own personal growth.

There are so many things that I want to do and experience in my life that I fear I won’t have the time to do them all.  I certainly don’t need to put another obstacle in my way, but it continues to be a battle to drown out that inner voice of doubt and judgment.  However, I recognize that I am not alone.  The universal power of this conflict was once again brought to my attention while reading a book about women in the mid 1960’s.  The overriding struggle of the women in the book was with that voice, but for them the voice was also more externally pronounced.  In the time during and after the Cold War, many women felt trapped by prescribed social roles and didn’t pursue their dreams for fear of looking like a bad mother, doing something at the expense of their family’s well-being or seeming unfeminine.  Does this still sound familiar?

Despite the fact that that way of thinking was over fifty years ago, it was still only fifty years ago.  In other words, it takes time to change the thinking and/or perception of a society’s gender norms.  And that change begins and ends with us.  We must be the first to believe and say “no” to that voice from the past which tells us no!  It’s a constant battle to retrain the brain.  Why does it seem easier to tell others what they should think or do?  Most times we can see things more clearly from the outside of a situation which is why it is vital to have trusted friends who can encourage us to combat old patterns of thinking.

We can’t erase the past, but we can recognize and identify our mistakes and learn from them.  Sometimes it can be easier and safer to listen to that inner voice.  However, if we do, we not only deny  our true selves, but we perpetuate a false social philosophy which prevents us from obtaining the freedom which we all deserve.  If we are torn within ourselves, we will not be unified outwardly with others.

So let’s get out of our own way!

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08
Jan
15

Let’s get busy!

let's get busyMake any New Year’s resolutions?  I did.  Actually, I’ve been thinking of it for quite some time and began it with my last post made in December.  “What was it?” you may ask.  It was to get busy!

The book and motion picture “Wild,” has been getting a lot of attention.   Society’s response to a strong female and her journey through grief to self-discovery has been encouraging.  It’s also been an awakening to the media for the need for more pivotal female roles on the page, stage and screen.  During a radio interview with Reese Witherspoon, the star and producer of the film adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s book, “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” Witherspoon referenced the lack of complex roles for women and responded by not only saying, but putting into action her comment:  “…nobody is doing this work.  I might as well get busy and do it myself.”

Obviously we don’t all have the resources like Witherspoon, but we do share the same perspective.  As a result, instead of expecting others to address the needs which have already been identified, I have decided to join Witherspoon and “get busy.”  What does this mean?  I believe that in each of our lives in our own way, we can make a difference to bring about change for gender equality.  From standing up for ourselves or others when confronted by sexism or working to make more opportunities for women available, we all contribute to society’s transformation.  No action is too small, so we must not minimize our efforts.  It’s changing our very way of thinking as a community; embracing our egalitarianism.

Awareness, education and recognition are vital.  However, without following that up with action in our daily lives, our society tends to find contentment with labeling gender discrimination as simply one of many issues which need addressing.  “Issues” tend not to have the same concern as crisis.  Why is it not a national crisis that women do not receive equal pay for equal work?  Why is it not a global crisis that women are surrounded and trapped by violence, rape and sex trafficking?  When perceived as an issue, it weakens the urgency of our condition.   This is nothing less than a crisis which demands action.

So let’s get busy!

Read interview with Reese Witherspoon

 

Support women artists by buying the book “Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed and see the movie.

17
Nov
14

the right to be you

the right to be youI have been on a hiatus of sorts.  It’s not because I haven’t had any thoughts, concerns or opinions about life.  I guess I just found myself coming up against the same roadblocks, questioning the source, perhaps a common one, of these consistent struggles.

Just the other night I was out with a beautiful artist.  I have seen her work many times and she is a kind-hearted, loving individual.  Yet I hear her say the very words which plague my own heart: can I do it?  Do I have any talent?  Am I beautiful?  I know the answer to all of these questions, but when we are alone with ourselves, we tend to create a comparison which always leaves us feeling less than.  Our society, especially American society, thrives on doing and results.  The expectations placed on us, especially women, make it almost impossible to find satisfaction and pride in oneself.

Society tells women that they must achieve an idyllic beauty which requires youth.  Obviously, this is impossible as we all age, but because so many others strive to reach this imposed rule, we do everything in our power to fulfill it.  Countless, beautiful, brilliant women of all ages with whom I’ve had the pleasure to know, have shared their fear of aging and remaining physically attractive.  The constant fear of gaining even a few pounds or showing signs of a wrinkle plagues their existence.

Then there’s the expectation that women should have it all; if they don’t have both a successful career and children, they disappoint someone.  Many women work hard to obtain an education and use it to compete in an unequal marketplace which not only expects them to give as much, but for less compensation.  Simultaneously, society also places pressure on women to have children whilst making it virtually impossible to maintain the same level of job performance.  Meanwhile, if they do give attention to their work, they may feel guilt or anxiety over their parental role.

As a result, society continues to place women in positions which inevitably cause them to seemingly fall short of its expectations in one area or another.  Personally, I’m tired of never feeling like enough.  No matter how much personal fulfillment I may find apart from society, as soon as I step off my island, I am reminded of my failures.

So how do we break this pattern?  How do we defy these expectations and create ones which build us up rather than tear each other down?  It is hard to walk this path against the grain alone and I don’t believe we are meant to go it alone.  Life is short.  Can we come together and simply claim the right to be ourselves?

28
May
14

it’s a big world after all

it's a big world after allIt’s a small world when we consider our degrees of separation shrinking as a result of technology.  However, despite all of the information and communication highways, it can be easy to remain enclosed in a community without allowing anything beyond to penetrate it.

Then all of a sudden the doors of reality burst open multiplying the size of the world.  For the past four years I’ve been consumed by a place which simultaneously opened the world to me.  In many ways it introduced me to new ideas and possibilities while at the same time directing all of the stimulated energy back into that same community.   Now, peering beyond, I find the world not so small after all.  Wondering how can I, one small person make a difference on a planet where people kidnap hundreds of little girls and threaten the life of a woman for being greeted by an elderly gentleman with an innocent kiss on the cheek.

It would be much easier to turn back inward to that safe community which makes more sense than this big, challenging world.  But upon launching from the society I’ve been part of for the past several years, I was given one last lesson which prepared me more than anything for which I’ve been tested.  The final lecture did not overwhelm with numerous facts or outline clear cut instructions for success.  Instead, it posed a question: what do I believe?  An inquiry not in the religious sense, though that could be influential in the answer, but one that digs deeply into our souls in order to uncover our true identities: not simply what we do, but who we imagine ourselves to be-the vision of the future.  The bottom line: what does one believe is possible?  For ourselves, for our community/society, for the world?

If we can’t even believe that something is conceivable, do we even have a chance?  I’m beginning to understand that what I believe is just as important as what I do.  And I don’t even know if the truth has anything to do with it.  For so long I pursued the truth, finding that the reality of the truth can be more painful and discouraging of hope than choosing to believe a falsehood.  Not that I condone lying to anyone, especially oneself, but how does one learn to dream and see beyond the surface if not to believe in something that may be perceived by others as impossible?  Things like world peace and an end to starvation and inequality-we’re working towards this end but it is not our current reality.  So how long will it take for it to become a reality?  Never?   What would happen if we stopped believing it was possible?

Are we shutting out possibilities with our lack of belief, hope or possibility?  Is it what you do as important as what you believe?  Isn’t one an outflow of another?  So what do you believe?

11
May
14

helping or hurting?

helping or hurtingDoes America really help or hurt refugees?

After recently watching a documentary on the Lost boys of Sudan, I couldn’t help but question if America is really helping them?  There seems to be a miscommunication between what the boys expect and what is being offered.  Most of the boys are encouraged by their peers and elders to get education in order to bring it back to the rest of their country.  However, that is not what they are given.

Instead, they are set up for a few months in order to find a job.  Because of their need to learn the language and lack of marketable skills, their eligibility for jobs which pay more than just the rent is difficult to secure.  They find themselves stranded in the area they are assigned due to no mobility both figuratively and literally.  In the end, they end up more alone here than when they were back home in the refugee camp.

One of the primary comments the boys had about life in America was that one has to make it alone.  There is not sense of community which they used to have, despite losing their parents.  How unnerving is it that a parentless child feels more alone in America, the land of opportunity, than in a war torn land.  What does that say about our country?   What opportunities are we giving them?  Ones that help them barely “make it” in our world and culture or those that they can take home and make the life of their people better?

Who are we really helping?  Do we just want to make ourselves feel better about a situation which we do not control?  Are we taking the time to really listen to what they need?  Are we helping or hurting them?

 

03
May
14

broken record

broken recordEver feel like you’re just saying the same things over and over again?

I’ve been looking back over this almost year of blogging (just about every single day) and I can’t help but see a pattern.  The same issues keep rearing their ugly heads and I keep asking the same questions.  Will I ever learn?  Will I ever make a difference?  Do I have something new to say today?

Perhaps the answer is always going to be “no.”  I’m not saying what someone else hasn’t already said.  So does that mean it’s not worth saying in my own way and from my own experience?  Do we exhaust issues to the point that nobody wants to hear about them anymore or we figure that we’ve said it once, so it need not be mentioned again?

This has been on my mind a great deal lately as I’ve considered decreasing my blogs to once a week.  I feel like I don’t always have something to say; something new or at least present it in a new way.  However, I realized that if I am hitting my head against the same societal issues over and over again that this is an indication of what needs to be addressed.  In fact, I am merely reporting the frequency that one confronts certain conflicts present in society.

So I suppose I wanted to check in with myself (and my readers) and refocus my purpose.  I still want to empower and unite women and men as we fight for equality for all human beings.  I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but until change occurs, I will play on and continue to hope that I will not be alone as we not only question society, but demand answers.

01
May
14

go ahead, just give up on humanity!

go ahead, give up on humanityGo ahead, just give up!  It’s not worth it!

Is that how you feel when you try to change things?  It’s so much easier to follow along with the status quo, but when we suffer the effects of our flawed society, we rethink our position.  Take for example our restricted binary gender roles and systems.  Why do we accept only two definitions of what it means to be a male and female/masculine and feminine?  Why do we even have to categorize it at all?

But instead of making the effort to expand our minds about humanity, we remain limited.  It’s too much work.  And why change it?  That’s the easy out attitude.  But what if you were transgender or someone who doesn’t fit into the either or system?  You’d feel rejected by society as even our language has nothing to communicate or identify oneself.  Even if your identity does happen to accommodate the current departmentalizing system, it still continues to force you to define yourself in a very confining way.

Will we ever redefine our society, our culture, our language to include everyone?  Many believe we’ve come so far but when I have friends who do not identify with the he or she pronoun, how can we say we’ve arrived?  We’re not even close.  People fear what they cannot classify.  But I believe that that only prevents us from growing and becoming so much more as human beings; not caught up in putting each other in a box but celebrating and exploring more and more of who we are and can become.

So is humanity worth it?  We must be the change.  Let’s keep fighting for it together.