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Posts Tagged ‘Women’

International-Womens-Day-2013

Photo courtesy of http://www.levo.com.

Today is the International Day of Women, and so I thought I would mention just a few of the women who have made a major impact on my life. Of course, this is going to leave out a lot of women I know and consider important to me (that’s all the women I know, or have known over the years), and for that I apologize. However, this post would be really, really long if I named them all. 

Going back to the beginning there was my mother Sheila, a beautiful Irish woman if there ever was one, who loved life and her children with equal measure. Her faith engendered mine, and it was she who introduced me to interspirituality and showed me my path to enlightenment. And there was my grandmother, Violet, whose image of a strong, competent business woman I admired then and continue to emulate today.

With the first job I had in the corporate world my supervisor’s name was Sheryl. I did not know much about Sheryl, except that I could see she was quietly making her way in the (man’s) world of finance and big business. I admired her management style—quite different and much more effective than any of the male supervisors. Sheryl was also the first woman I knew who had breast cancer. This was back in the early ‘70’s, way before women’s issues were openly discussed in public, and her willingness to candidly share what was going on with her showed a strength and determination I remember and admire to this day. Sheryl showed me how to walk my path grace-fully.

My first real mentor was Priscilla, my advisor at Prescott College. Priscilla came to me during my darkest days, and her loving kindness sustained me through a period when I felt I had no one else. Her wisdom kept me hanging in at a time when all I wanted was to let go; her support kept me looking for a way back. And it was Priscilla’s probing insight that helped find my path again. “What will it take to make you happy?” she asked me. My search for the answer to that question has given my life purpose ever since that day. If I had to narrow my list of important people in my life down to just one, that one would be Priscilla.

Nowadays Leslie keeps me on track. Mentor, spiritual director, colleague, friend – whichever hat she’s wearing Leslie is my rock. If I am happy, she’s happy; if I am sad or angry, she is still happy! And she does her best to show me how to regain my equilibrium and get back to a state of . . . well, if not joy, at least contentment. My path is smoother and moving along a lot faster with Leslie on it with me.

So many others I could name. My mother-in-law Tee–open-mindedness and unconditional love personified. Karen, whose willingness to let me join her on her path showed me where mine lay. Jeanne, who walked with me so we could laugh and cry together for a little while. My sisters-in-law Tina and Theresa, who for me exemplify living a life of love and compassion. My sisters at One Spirit and One World, my priestess sisters, and all my many sisters who reside in my world. Historical women, contemporary women, feminists, teachers, friends, family. All those women authors whose writing guided me, uplifted me, taught me, and gave me light along the way. All the unnamed and unknown women I meet every day, whose lessons go unacknowledged but not unappreciated. They all are sisters, my friends, my mentors and teachers; they all are valued and cherished.

international-womens-dayPlease know that I know this above all else: I would not be who I am now if not for all the people in my life. But it is especially all those wonderful, supportive, lovely, and irreplaceable women I have known over the years—named or not—who have made my life richer, have taught me the meaning of living with grace and love.

This is the International Day of Women. Don’t forget the women in your life.

Many good thoughts and blessings,

This Old Crone

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Mary Engelbreit

“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”  Mary Engelbreit, author, illustrator, and founder of The Mary Engelbreit Studios

Change!  What a scary word. Most of us claim to want it, but so few of us seem to be able to affect it. “I want to change my life!” we cry, only to fall back into the same old habits. They are comfortable, these old habits; they lull us into a sense of security. But change happens. (Does that remind you of another, similar phrase?) It goes on around us every moment of every day.

Change is often amazing and unbelievable to our senses. I remember one October, right about this time of year on Halloween weekend, I was living in Wisconsin not too far from Lake Superior. It was very cool—even cold—but with no snow yet. Then a huge storm blew in unexpectedly, and—overnight,while nobody was watching—there were several feet of snow on the ground, and the small but deep lake where we lived froze overnight. To me, this was a mind-boggling event. To have the whole lake frozen hard enough in just a few hours for the ice fishermen to be out the next day was practically unheard of. Yet, there they were! I guess it is true that seeing is believing.

Sometimes change gives the impression of being so quick that it seems instantaneous. Have you ever watched a flower open in slow motion photography? The changes the flower undergoes as it progresses from the tiniest sprout to a mature blossom are incredible to observe. Yet, when we see a flower in our garden we can only marvel at how just this morning that bud was hardly noticeable, and this evening it is in full bloom. To our eyes, because the flower’s transformation is so gradual, it’s blooming seems almost instantaneous, while in reality, it was a measured sequence of minuscule changes that resulted in total transformation.

“Change” and “time” seem to go together. I was discussing the concept of time the other day with a young woman in the dentist’s office. She mentioned that she was thinking “It’s only Wednesday!”, while I was thinking “It’s already Wednesday!” It seems like our perception of time itself can change, depending on our particular perspective.

For instance, do you remember an occasion when you ran into someone you had not seen for a long time? I attended a family reunion recently, and nieces and nephews who were just children the last time I saw them are now grown and have children of their own! How did this happen? How could these tiny tots have turned into adults overnight? My eyes could see the growth that occurred over time, but my mind found it hard to comprehend. It seemed like time had stopped for me when those children left my sight, and resumed the moment I saw them again.

Change comes hard to many people. I think it may be because change denotes a departure from the tried and true as well as the passing of time. Change can force you out of a particular comfort level into an area of uncertainty, and when it comes upon us unexpectedly, it can be all the more shocking, difficult, and even devastating.

Yet not all change is dreadful or unwanted. Sometimes we need change to make things better, like making little additions to a recipe, or getting a new hair cut. To me, though, the changes that seems the hardest are the changes we want immediately but that of necessity take a long time, like our economic recovery, or overhauling the health care system—or losing weight.

How change affect us is, after all, a matter of how we think about it, and how we think about anything is a matter of choice. The key to accepting or implementing change is to take it slow. Take the time to apply little changes rather than quick, drastic alterations so that change does not seem so overwhelming. Personally, I try to focus only on what makes me feel good from minute to minute—impossible as that seems. This way, I am better able to handle challenges as they come along by breaking them down to one moment at a time and focusing on what is good about a changing situation instead of what is troublesome, sad, or difficult.

We are always in control of our thoughts, so this is not an unreachable goal, just sometimes a difficult one.

Blessings,

This Old Crone

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”
Gail Sheehy, best-selling author of 16 books, including Passages and The Silent Passage.

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