Sunday, February 12, 2012

Never more true than now

I purchased these postcards several years ago, but recently found them collecting dust on a bookshelf. With the ease and speed of the world wide interweb, this poem has been posted on several sites and reached many more amazing women. Here is my small effort to reach more.

Imagine a Woman

Imagine a woman who believes it is right and good she is a woman.
A woman who honors her experience and tells her stories.
Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.

Imagine a woman who trusts and respects herself.
A woman who listens to her needs and desires.
Who meets them with tenderness and grace.

Imagine a woman who acknowledges the past's influence on the present.
A woman who has walked through her past.
Who has healed into the present.

Imagine a woman who authors her own life.
A woman who exerts, initiates, and moves on her own behalf.
Who refuses to surrender except to her truest self and wisest voice.

Imagine a woman who names her own gods.
A woman who imagines the divine in her image and likeness.
Who designs a personal spirituality to inform her daily life.

Imagine a woman in love with her own body.
A woman who believes her body is enough, just as it is.
Who celebrates its rhythms and cycles as an exquisite resource.

Imagine a woman who honors the body of the Goddess in her changing body. A woman who celebrates the accumulation of her years and wisdom. Who refuses to use her energy disguising the changes in her body and life.

Imagine a woman who values the women in her life.
A woman who sits in circles of women.
Who is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.

Imagine yourself as this woman.

“Imagine a Woman” © Patricia Lynn Reilly, 1995
Imagine a Woman in Love with Herself (Conari, 1999)
I Promise Myself (Conari, 2000)

Monday, November 15, 2010

The passion of the...

Passion (from the Latin verb patior meaning to suffer or to endure) is an emotion applied to a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion compelling feeling, enthusiasm, or desire for something. The term is also often applied to a lively or eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, cause, or activity or love. Passion can be expressed as a felling of unusual excitement, enthusiasm or compelling emotion towards a subject, idea, person, or object. A person is said to have a passion for something when he has a strong positive affinity for it. A love for something and a passion for something are often used synonymously. - Definition of "passion" from Wikipedia

A pretty straight forward description. Nothing obscure. However, there is one thing in the above definition that stood out to me – "the term is often applied to... ." I don't know anyone who doesn't have a passion for something. At least, they refer to it as "passion." But is it? Per the definition, the term "passion" is often used to describe something we feel strongly about, but when is "passion" misused as a term?

I always believed passion to be a good thing. I am passionate about sports. I am passionate about my cats. I am passionate about doing a good job... whatever that job is. But what if I was so passionate about these things, I started being angry at others for not sharing that passion? If other fans aren't cheering exactly the way I am, or staying up late watching the game, does that make them any less passionate? If I'm putting in more volunteer hours than my neighbor, does that mean I'm more passionate about giving back to the community?

That's a big "NO," ghost rider. Having passion for something does not give us superiority over others, nor does it give us the right to judge others and put our standards onto them. I had lunch with someone today who, at the end of the meal, thanked me for letting him get on his soapbox about an issue he is particularly passionate about. There was absolutely no apology necessary. It's passion like that that inspires others to get involved. When passion takes a hard left turn is when it is used a measuring stick. My passion as a Spurs fan doesn't give me the right to judge people who leave the arena early to avoid traffic. My passion for cats doesn't give me the right to look down my nose at people who own dogs. My passions are just that... MY passions. And those emotions are no excuse for bad behavior.

So, the next time you feel yourself getting frustrated at someone because they don't share your passions and aren't doing things the same way you would, please remember that "passion" is no excuse for impatience. Those people are simply passionate about something else.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I hate flying, part I

Will: "I'll be happy when this whole bullfight with gravity is over."
From The West Wing episode - Angel Maintenance

I don't fly often. There's a reason. I hate it. OK, hate is a strong word. I don't mind landing, because that means that the flight is over. There are times I don't mind take-off, usually because it means I'm going home. And I actually like traveling to other places, especially if I can drive there. When traveling with others, I've always been grateful when they've indulged my fear and endured a long car ride over a trip to the airport. Alas, there are just some destinations where it doesn't make sense to drive. And so, I put myself through the exercise of terror that begins with the flight reservations.

Some people book flight departures based on work or traffic schedules. I book based on stress level. What time of day will the airport be the least crazy. What time of day will the world be the least crazy. It's comforting to see a certain measure of security, but there is something unnerving about trying to remember to take the bag of liquids out of the suitcase, the laptop, the shoes... even more unnerving when you've got a line of impatient people behind you who have somehow gotten this routine down to an exact science. So, if this means booking a flight that requires me to be at the airport before dawn, it ain't no thang. An added benefit – listening to Pink Floyd's Shine On You Crazy Diamond while flying with the sunrise. If there is a calm moment to be had, this is it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fear is the mindkiller

"So many so-called leaders are trying to fill up our imaginations with scary visions and angry emotions. They want us to buy into their visions that the sky is falling."
- Rob Brezsny, excerpt from Fear vs. Intuition

Coincidence is something I don't take lightly. Just yesterday, my friend, Josh, told me the story of how he was deciding between two job offers. One was from Jefferson High School and the other from a different school. As he was leaving his office downtown and pondering which offer to choose, he came around the corner, looked up and saw a street sign that said – JEFFERSON. His office threw him a wonderful going-away party, completely supporting his decision to become a teacher. How often is it that we can walk into our current employer's office, tell them that we want to try something new, and get their unequivocal support?

Which brings me to the quote above. I scour blogs and have a library of books on leadership, hoping that, somehow, I can absorb enough and implement enough good practices to provide the leadership that many are looking for. If anything, I've learned that there is no perfect formula and that even those we consider to be the best examples of leadership are constantly seeking ways to get better.

Of everything I have read, from stories that friends and colleagues have told me, and from personal experience, I have learned that, as Rob Brezsny touched on, fear is a tool too often used these days by those who should be raising hopes instead of dashing them. The economic tornado, while being scary enough on it's own, somehow opened up a terror tacklebox filled with warnings like, "There are a lot of people out there looking for work who would gladly do your job for less money." Unfortunately, many folks took the bait.

In a recent blog post, Scott Eblin talked about "Seven Simple Rules to Create a Fear Based Culture." The interesting, and sad, part of this article is that he didn't come up with these seven rules on his own. They came from reader comments that he's received. My friend, Josh, just left one of the best companies in town. A company known for truly appreciating their employees and promoting a work/life balance. I know so many people who yearn to work at such a place, where leaders applaud your love of life and the many directions it can take you. Changing careers can be extremely scary. Can you imagine a current employer not only supporting you in your decision, but offering you encouragement every step of the way?

As we slowly, but surely, peak our heads out of the recession cloud and people are finally wiping off the goo of fear, it's been interesting to see articles that, while still exercising caution, are spreading a little hope. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that more people will summon the strength to follow their bliss... and throw the tacklebox overboard.

Friday, July 30, 2010

True Blood vs. Twilight

No conversation needed. No debate necessary. True Blood wins for a number of reasons, but we'll put Joe Manganiello at the top of the list. That is all.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

This is the voice of your conscience, baby.

Toby: I think what he's asking is why, on most other nights, do you think the world's going to hell in a hula hoop, but tonight...
We dip twice and eat gefilte fish?
Suzy Creamcheese, do not attempt the Haggadah.
C.J.: I know how to bless the soup, too.
From The West Wing episode - Evidence of Things Not Seen

What does any of that mean? Unless you're even remotely familiar with Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention, which most people aren't, you won't have a clue. Welcome to the mind of Aaron Sorkin. If you're anything like me, it's a mind that you want to lick over and over to absorb all of the intelligence and sharp wit. Hence why I've pseudo-named this blog, "Everything I know I learned from The West Wing."

Will this blog be all about one of the best television series ever? No, but I will invoke quotes from the seven seasons often. While we can gain inspiration from the occasional movie – or more often, a book – it is rare that we find anything more than temporary entertainment within the small screen. For me, it was seldom that I would turn the tv off, after that anticipated hour, and not be affected by the passion of the characters and their quest to serve. It was then, and continues to be, a source of inspiration... an ideal... that everyone can set their sights on the highest of goals and, with hard work, determination – and a little luck – we can all make the world a better place.

Lofty? Perhaps. Overly dramatic? Maybe. But as the song goes, "Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends."