Monday, September 15, 2008

Women and Courage Conference 9/12 - 9/14 .. my reflections

from my notes --

Nitric Oxide is the biochemistry of joy, orgasm, and the white light seen at death (...) Joy doesn't mean nothing bad will ever happen(...)feminine energy sucks in and repairs everything around it (...) let yourself be excited. Don't put off your life(...) You are what the Divine wanted to experience. --- Dr. Christiane Northrup

The kind of leadership that nurtures, empowers, protects is the form of leadership that we are going to need going forward (...) how do I foster change without betraying my essential self (...) it is a confusing time and it is okay to be confused (...) allow yourself to be a participant in the evolution of human consciousness and the creation of a new myth (...) the Mamisima --- Elizabeth Lesser

We are the birthers of humanity. --- Queen Afua

The world is separated into facts, but we live most of our lives in our emotions (...) Rewrite the trauma. -- Loung Ung

Wake up from the Trance of Unworthyness (...) we take false refuge in busyness (...) and that everything is really important and I have to make the right decisions (...) find where we blame and come back into our body, agree to what's happening, and bring compassion and wisdom into the next moment(...) allow situations to unravel themselves(...) vengance is a lazy form of grief(...) ---Tara Brach

We do not need to ask for permission(...) with men as editors, museum curators, they act as "gatekeepers", who get to choose what is the best of the best (...) there is a biological difference in what men and women find humorous (different parts of the brain light up) but with a 50% female readership, the New Yorker only has 18% of its editorial cartoons done by women (...) take ownership of accomplishments (...) there is no right way to be a strong woman ---Sarah Peter

The mud, seeds, and worms of an unhappy childhood makes for creativity. I don't want to go to therapy to have that cleaned up (...) (regarding her book, Daughter of Fortune) "she's not looking for adventure she's looking for sex." (...) (on getting through writers block) I had a dream where I put Antonio Banderas on a tortilla, covered him in guacamole and salsa and ate him up. The next night I dreamed of Antonio Banderas in a bowl of rice pudding. The next night my husband suggested therapy. (...) Lust and gluttony are the only deadly sins worth the trouble --- Isabel Allende

How can a person wrap words around an experience? Any experience?

(and what happens when your pen isn't working, and you just can't scribble fast enough???)

This was a rather big experience, in a two day package.

Let me attempt to give you the gesture drawing of it, in words.

This was the Women and Courage conference, held at The Omega Institute in Rhinebeck NY. Omega is a bit like a yoga summer camp for grownups, with food much better than I remember from summer camp (and all vegetarian!).

I signed up on the day before the conference, prodded by my intuition to simply go, uncertain what this was going to be about. I turned over my credit card number for my room, train tickets, and conference, and before I knew it, I found that I was staying in a dorm called Nirvana in a quiet and green place, doing my best to settle my energy and listen and be present to what was around me.

The conference "weavers" called our presence with a drummer named Ubaka Hill, calling us like a town crier, a priestess, at the beginning of each session. There was something so sensible about using a drum, and the beautiful rhythms of it to call people together. Communication through sound that carries deep and far...

I became the unwitting and accidental (serendipitous??) representative "pole dancer" (the only S-Factor student... (Represent! I hear myself think...)) among these women... as Dr. Northrup and her daughters demonstrated hip circles on friday night... and then went elsewhere, not staying for the rest of the conference! I was wearing my S-factor long sleeve t-shirts both days of the conference, and was approached by several women wanting more... asking if the S could be brought to a womens conference in Indiana... another saying that "my hips don't move" and having the opportunity to tell her that is a very common thing with women... sharing how much emotion we keep trapped in our hip joints and how to move, pleasurably, not forcing it, and imagine scraping peanut butter off of the walls of the room... settling into Ruby's Pose... and to let the emotion come when it does... demonstrating more hip circles to an interested woman, and then getting many more questions from others, who were apparently paying attention! ...

During Queen Afua's presentation, we sang (chanted, maybe?) and harmonized the word for "magic word" in an african tongue. The two-hundred (I think it was more!) women present toning the word that was more sound than language, and it truly was magic...

We learned some of the history of feminist art in the U.S... all of which was unknown to me, in a movie presentation by Lynn Hershman Leeson... we laughed at the Target: Women Yogurt Edition (seriously HILARIOUS)... we connected with All Of Us (which will be on Showtime) and made the connection between childhood sexual abuse, promiscuity, lack of education, and incidence of HIV, (which now that I write it... OF COURSE there's a connection)... but then... and here's the kicker... they make the connection of the compromising of women's values and safety in the bedroom... across ALL socioeconomic classes...

What did I see? What did I learn?

That the leaders among women are not always well known.

That the angry feminism attributed as feminism is rapidly disappearing.

And its about time. We have more important things to do.

The voices of women, and of people whose skin doesn't look like mine, and of any underrepresented groups is essential to the fabric of a healthy society.

That these missing pieces in many cases are not necessarily the conscious decisions of exclusion, but that in every aspect where it occurs, it does a serious disservice to the excluded... and... to the included as well.

That these women are as funny, as wise, as self-possessed, as women who don't hold up the card that says, "I am a feminist"... and much of the time, moreso.

That to be a leader, you really Cannot give a s#it what people think of you. This I saw more from the presence of each of the speakers. You cannot get up in front of a group of people and do and say what they do, with a lot of ego. You cannot get your point across if you are worrying about what people are going to think about you wearing a white feather in your hair. Or talking about something as shocking as pleasure while doing hip circles with your daughters.

Also, there is no well-worn path! To be a leader requires courage that may come from a place of stillness and balance. And you cannot honestly find it by latching onto someone else's wisdom.

And... there is plenty of room to be a leader. To be centered in oneself. To have courage, the root of which is "the heart".

I am So going back next year...

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