Feminism, Yoga

Hurricanes, Office Fashion and the Crazy Professor in the Women’s Studies Department

You can take the yoga teacher out of the yoga room, but…

Fashion Kitteh hates Yoga slobs….

For the past 5 or so years my daily wardrobe has consisted of yoga pants, organic tees and cozy wraps. When I started working full time again I definitely needed to make some shifts to my wardrobe.  You just can’t get away with yoga pants and wraps in the office, well maybe on Friday, but certainly not daily.  When I left my corporate pharma job, I vowed to never wear panty hose again.  Attire at the University is business casual for the most part, suits on meeting days, jeans on Fridays.  And yea, I have poured myself into panty hose more times in the past 3 months than I had in the past 6 years. The adjustment was brutal.

The curse of hurricane Sandy left me with a little blessing in disguise. It blessed me with a new wardrobe.

On the first night of the storm, portions of our roof blew off. We sustained water damage in nearly every room.  Other than the soggy carpets, the first thing I noticed was our office.  All of my yoga training binders and half of my yoga library were ruined. The piles of shoes not so neatly stacked in the corner, water logged.  Without power, we escaped to Vermont for 3 days of comfort. Upon our return, we began cleaning and taking inventory of the damaged items. That’s when I noticed the smell.  That musty-not-so-fresh-there-is-mold-growing-somewhere-smell.  My nose directed me straight to my closet. I opened the doors and found 75% of my clothes on the hangers damp and stinky. Leather boots, furry Uggs, a wardrobe of Lululemon, my favorite (still haven’t replaced them) jeans, a few suits and all the professional clothing I had begrudgingly put together for my new job.

Moldy. Stinky.

Stuffed in trash bags and sent to the dumpster. Gone.

Thankfully, Hubby is the more practical one in our relationship, so we were covered by insurance.

The thought of replacing a wardrobe was daunting to me.  I hate Jersey malls. [who the hell puts on make up and heels to go to the mall anyway? So rude!]  I haven’t been a big shopper since college where I successfully racked up over $5000 in debt to Victoria Secret, Urban Outfitters and Tower Records.  It took me years to pull my credit out of the Newbury Street gutter, and while I flirt with it often, I never want to climb back in. These days I spend my money on books, online programming (health, business, coaching, cooking), workshops,  kitchen tools and every so often, some new yoga junk.  I am not used to shopping for whole wardrobes that aren’t black and in a good organic + spandex blend.

The answer to my shopping woes was pretty simple….online.  Saved by the internets yet again! Thank you, Al Gore!

Etsy. Overstock. Bluefly.  +  45 mintues at the Jersey Shore outlets.  I successfully pieced together a new, professional-I-work-9-5-again wardrobe.   My shopping spree even included 4 new suits and dear God I hate suits!  I thought I did a pretty good job.  Then my perfectly pleasant, perfectly coiffed, always in the perfect pants suit co-worker commented…

“you always look so pretty…and flowy”

Fashion kiss of death.

Flowy…is most definitely a yogic adjective, not a corporate, I mean business one.

And then today, the IP Program Coordinator said, “I love your sweater. Damn, you have the wrap market cornered!” My only response was…I like to be cozy.  I think I should have consulted my Jersey-born, LBI raised niece. She would have forced me to stop being a yoga slob. Maybe the moral of the story is that I am meant to get my Ph.D. I can become that crazy professor with long silver hair, flowy skirts and obnoxious, chunky jewelry hand made from some tribe in Africa.  I will teach EcoFeminist Activism and go on tirades about how the patriarchy has violently caused a separation from nature. The 18 year old undergrads will talk about the crazy hippie, tree hugger  in the Women’s Studies department that does yoga in her office.

I will still wear a bra though.

Or I could ditch this whole corporate thing (again) and go back to teaching yoga. 🙂

Advocacy, Feminism, Health

There’s a fork in the blogging road.

There’s a bunch of stuff that I have been meaning to write about, but haven’t found the time words. I really want to talk about how I broke up with yoga in 2012, but I am just not there yet. Perhaps next week. We have a first date scheduled.  I miss my mat. Perhaps I will be graced with all the loveliness of a first kiss and it will begin to flow.

I want to write about school. The excitement, the anxiety, the inability to narrow down my research focus. Politics. Campaigns. Modern EcoFeminism. Environmental Communications. Equality. Women’s Rights. Environmental Justice. Social Justice. Activist Rhetoric. Branding for Campaigns. How the hell do I weave this tapestry together?

I want to write about conception and pregnancy, without my Health Coach hat on. It’s ridiculously personal. Do I want it on this blog?  Do I use this blog to talk about finding inner peace, being healthy, getting bendy and getting politically active? A how-to of sorts? Am I a seasoned guide and teacher or am I as much of a student as anyone else? Judgement.  (that first date really can’t come soon enough!)

I want to write about the projects and crafts that I am working on. But I’m not working on them. I am a crafting, DIY rock star….in my mind. I have most the knowledge. A lot of the tools. A good amount of ideas (not even swiped from Pintrest), yet none of the follow through.  I blame most of it not on the lack of hours in the day, but the lack of craft space and clutter in our apartment….which leads me to the next topic.

I want to write about home renovations. YUP! We’re buying a house! It’s nauseating and dizzying and exhilarating all at the same time. We’re scheduled to close February 14th. Happy Valentines day to us! But there’s still one outstanding matter that needs to be resolved for our underwriter to sign off. (It could ruin it all. It’s related to my prior business, and I am infuriated about it so I am definitely NOT blogging about it right now).

I keep telling myself when I have more space and less clutter (and we’re not living out of boxes) I will have more time to learn, create, write, grow.

If there’s more time, what do I write about? Is is this blog personal? Is it educational? Is it business of some variety?

Do I talk about yoga? Environmental Politics?  Feminism? Picking, interior design and home renovations?  Does it have to be any one thing?

I certainly hope not. As a scanner, I will never be able to stick to any one thing. It’s the curse of the disturbingly curious mind.

Feminism, Inspiration

Finding Your Tribe

Find Your Tribe
Find Your Tribe

Sometimes you move through life with a powerful tribe. Sometimes you quietly stand in the shadows of many. And sometimes you move from tribe to tribe, gathering what nurtures you most.  Right now, I am somewhere in between tribes; lurking in the shadows of some and trying to shine the light on another.

It has been my experience that there are generally two varieties of women in this world: women who surround themselves with other women, women that form and join tribes and those that don’t (I call them the nomads).  I am the former and have had the pleasure of being a member in many tribes of women.  Some short lived, some long lasting, some by necessity and some going through more than one revival.

I am a woman of many tribes.

In high school, I was shunned for speaking my mind and within a day, another tribe of women took me in. In college I was ostracized while studying abroad (for reasons I still don’t know) and again, instantly another tribe took me in. Post college, I wandered around tribeless trying to figure out what the hell I was doing with my life. I bounced from bad relationship to bad relationship until I finally found yet another tribe.

The beautiful thing about finding your tribe is its plurality and its fluidity. It ebbs and flows.  You never have to be part of just one tribe. Throughout your life you’ll have many tribes and they will fill what you need most in that moment.

This past spring I went to BSchool with Marie Forleo , in one of the online forums a woman posted :

I’m feeling so much love for all of you already! Having come from years of operating at a competitive level [deletion], it is a first for me to find women supporting each other!!! It is so different from what I had experienced in the past years, were the few women focused in professional [deletion] would never open a door for another woman! They could not see that there is a piece of the pie for everyone and that’s why I started to fade away from doing the [deletion] at that level!  This community is a JOY! I am expanding into a sisterhood for the first time in my life! 🙂 Thanks for being here!

(deletions for anonymity)

The Forleo online tribe is one of my many tribes. It rocks more than I have words for.  It’s the first business tribe I have been a part of that is competition free, to the core. Even my yoga tribe isn’t competition free. While I haven’t been active in the forums for a months, I know that if I were to post there, needing help, encouragement, my online tribe would have my back.

This summer I broke up with yoga (more on that later) and left my business. The two together have left me feeling as if I lost my yoga tribe. In reality, I know it’s not lost. It just needs cultivation.  Sometimes it takes a while to get over a break up.

Do you come from one or many tribes?

Advocacy, Feminism, Inspiration

Acceptance, Finding My Path and Winning the Lottery

Change
Change

For those of you that don’t already know, in October, I stepped down as co-owner of Live. Breathe. Grow.  I haven’t talked about it, because it has been an extremely painful process for me.  I have been struggling with my emotional response. Breaking up with a business partner is pretty analogous to divorce; it has all the pain, disappointment and regret.  I’ve also felt exceptionally isolated. Our lives and friendships are so intertwined, leaving me with very few shoulders to cry on or women to commune with.  I haven’t felt this isolated in a very, very long time…college maybe?

Those that know me best,  know that I am not an introverted person. I wear my heart on my sleeve and express my feelings and opinions openly [to anyone who will listen]. When I’m happy, you know about it and when I’m hurting, you hear about it.  In the past year or two, I haven’t been able to do this. I’ve been tight lipped about my gut feelings, and emotions, unable to voice them or take charge in a(ny) direction with confidence. After a number of weeks of introspection, a little digging back into the Firestarter Sessions and Desire Mapping [thank you, Danielle] I now realize I stifled my emotional voice (and my power) because I was following someone else’s footsteps. I was walking on a path and living a dream that wasn’t my own.

My business partner and I originally connected because we are feminists and passionate do-gooders (that like yoga a whole lot).  We believe that women deserve and require a community of other women. We believe that women’s strength is immeasurable and given the ability we will change the world in drastic ways.  It’s such a core part of our belief system that we began developing a non-profit organization;  program workshops and a forum for underprivileged women to commune, to transform and to create change.  That organization never came to fruition because I joined LBG.

As I immersed myself in the trenches of LBG,  I moved further away from my path, my core desires and losing a little bit of myself in the process.   When you’re following someone else’s dream, you don’t have the confidence to step forward boldly.  You need reassurance. You seek approval. You forget what you’re truly good at.  You forget what lights you up and what makes you tick.  You survive on the passion of the other person until one day, there just isn’t enough left for the both of you.

introspection
introspection

(and eventually, you open your eyes to the NEON signs the Universe had been sending you the entire time).

Walking away from a business doesn’t feel like an accomplishment. You don’t get paid for your blood, sweat and tears. You don’t get an acknowledgement or a thank you note and a hug for all your hard work and sacrifice. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s a cold separation. It feels like failure.   And then you wander around, lost, trying to remember what your dream was or what it is I you’re good at.

In my youth, I wanted to be a Broadway actress, an ecologist and  a Senator.   I dreamed of hiking the 46 before my 25th birthday. I dreamed of prominently displaying my first Tony in my office in the Russel Senate Office Building. The walls were painted light blue and lined with pictures of my hiking boots atop the surveyor button; posing with Anne Labastille, Gloria Steinem, Teddy Kennedy.  It was a big dream. It was diverse. It was environment, politics and oratory (of sorts) but it never involved tee shirts, look books, trunk shows or sales. I never dreamed of creating tee shirts to inspire women. The path was fun for a while, but it wasn’t my dream.

I always said if I won the lottery, I would go to school forever (that choice and my love of grapefruit makes me weird). I wouldn’t spend money on clothing or luxuries. I would spend it on tuition (traditional and non-traditional) and books. Right now, I’m working at an institution of higher learning, my benefits include tuition remission, 100% tuition remission.  I literally won the education lottery. It just took the feeling of failure (and 30 days of Gratitude in pictures) for me to realize it.  So, I’m getting a PhD.  First comes MCIS (Environmental Communications) and then comes the PhD (American Politics/Women & Politics/Environmental/Social Movements).

I had to develop a list of my accomplishments and academic resume for my former manager so she could write a letter of recommendation. Here it is:

I have a B.S.Sp. in Political Communication/Campaign Management and a minor in Women’s Studies. My senior thesis was a campaign analysis of the 1970s Equal Rights Amendment.  I was a Student Government Association Senator for 3 years, appointed to the College Judicial Board by the Dean of Students, President of my National Sorority, President of the Association for Women Students at Emerson and Secretary of the Communications Politics and Law Association. I interned for the DNC, AIDS Action and I was the Greater Boston university and college liaison for the National Organization for Women.   (Oh and I started off as a musical theatre major). I went to law school,  won the American Jurisprudence Award for Excellence in the Regulation of Toxic and Hazardous Substances, and worked for 3 years as a research assistant and  Student Attorney for the Mid Atlantic Environmental Law Center. I earned an LL.M in  in Environmental and Natural Resource Law,  my thesis was published and has since been cited by numerous scholars including the United Nations Environmental Programme.

You may wonder why I just listed all of that in this blog entry. It’s totally superfluous, what’s the point, right? The point is, remembering that list,  physically writing that list was the first time in the past 6 months that I realized I wasn’t a failure.  I deserve that feeling. Every person does.  You should get a pen and write out your list of accomplishments (when you’re finished reading and commenting on this blog, of course). Remind yourself.

The past 2 1/2 months have been remarkable. As a country, we had vaginas with ways of “shutting that whole thing down”,  binders filled with women, a presidential election and a super storm exacerbated by climate change. As an individual, I left a business and a version of my identity,  was ‘de-friended‘ for my opinion, reminded that sisterhood is powerful and I dug inside the creeky spaces of my heart and mind searching for my path and illumination.

I also found acceptance.

In myself….and in the form of a letter from the Dean of Graduate Admissions at Rutgers University.

Advocacy, Feminism

Once, Always.

In 1994, I was a sophomore at Emerson College. Emerson was weird, artsy and quirky. There wasn’t a “quad” there was “the wall.” There wasn’t homecoming, there was the Evvy’s. And there were a group of women who wanted to do their own thing.

Traditional Greek Life wasn’t for the women who were to become the founders of the Theta Kappa Chapter of Phi Sigma Sigma. We didn’t fit the traditional sorority mold (or what I thought it was then).  We didn’t dress alike, we weren’t all the same major, we didn’t look alike and we didn’t share the same faiths. We were however, the most ambitious, independent, outspoken group of women perhaps I have ever known.  We started our chapter because we wanted something different. We wanted something our own.

Phi Sigma Sigma badge

I will never forget that day in April 1994, on the third floor of the student union, dressed in white when we built to the walls of the Phi Sigma Sigma pyramid.  When I graduated in 1996, I retired my letters and put my beautiful gold pyramid pin in its original box and tucked it away in a drawer.

10 years later, I was in a dark place. I left San Francisco to move home, broke up with a man I thought I was going to marry, struggled with depression and turned 30. I landed in a place where the only support and friendship I felt I had was my great dane, Cheyenne.  Craving a community of women, I reached out to the Phi Sigma Sigma headquarters, joined a local alumnae group and began volunteering.

It was during that time, not my college years, that I truly began to understand the meaning of being a member of a sorority and the words Once a Phi Sigma Sigma, Always a Phi Sigma Sigma.

In the years that I volunteered for Phi Sigma Sigma, first as the International Standards Board Coordinator and then as a Chapter Key Advisor, I began to apply and live our core values; lifelong learning, inclusiveness and leadership through service.  By becoming an active volunteer, I learned to thrive again. My confidence was renewed and began to aim high.

Today marks 99 years of sisterhood in Phi Sigma Sigma. When I read the email from our Grand Archon this morning, and she wrote: “10 young women decided the friendship they shared transcended the opportunity to join existing sororities” it made me smile and think of Emerson.  While nearly all of my Theta Kappa sisters packed away their letters after graduation, just as I did, whether or not they realize it, each of them lives by the Creed of Phi Sigma Sigma.

Each of them are women of substance, character and influence. However many years have passed and miles there are between us, I am happy to have shared the experience with them. We chose Phis Sigma Sigma and Phi Sigma Sigma chose us for a reason.  As for me, it’s time to volunteer again. I can’t think of a better way to continue to improve myself, than to surround myself with women who are the strongest, most passionate leaders I know and  continue in every facet of their life to aim high.

Happy Founders Day.

Diokete Hupsala!

Advocacy, et al, Feminism

Seduction of the unknown

Today is the first week, in over 8 years that the only responsibility I have (outside my home and husband) is to go to work from 8:30am – 5:00pm. There’s no class to teach or training to go to. No homework to complete. No clients to meet with.  No website to update. No  shirts to sell.  There’s no multitasking. No conference call. Doing one thing, in one place for an extended period of time is new, and oddly uncomfortable.

My entire life I craved challenge of change and was fed, even fueled by the seduction of the unknown and unpredictable.  In my 20’s I satiated this desire by moving every 1-2 years. Not just moving from apartment to apartment, within the confines of a city limit, but big, vast moves that required new jobs, new space and new friends.  From Boston to Portland (almost) to Albany to New Orleans to El Paso to New Orleans to the burbs of Philadelphia to San Francisco to Philadelphia (almost) to Vermont and back to Boston.  Each time I began to feel itchy, uncomfortable stagnation, I moved.

Once I hit 30 I started testing the settling down waters. Perhaps it was the ticking of some internal clock or maybe the Virgo in me was finally surfacing and demanding stability.  I stayed in Boston for 4 years and while keeping the same job, transferred to the Jersey Shore.  But geography doesn’t necessarily equate stability. I satiated my wanderlust with a different variety of unknown and unpredictable, education and entrepreneurship. I volunteered for my national sorority as an International Standards Board Member and Chapter Key Advisor. I went to yoga school, I went to nutrition school.  I became a doula and even contemplated midwifery school.  I became certified in Hoop-Dance Fusion, Mayan Abdominal Massage and became a Reiki Master and Life Coach. I birthed two thriving businesses and joined as partner in a third.

Each time I started something new, I let the previous fall from the spotlight a bit like the Velveteen Rabbit. My need  for the exhilaration of the unknown has an unparalleled list of casualties; 30+ hula hoops in storage, no less than 15 yoga mats and a library filled with yogic philosophy, 4 half completed websites, 3 blogs and about $500 in inventory of semi-precious stones and unmade fertility malas. I even closed my thriving health coaching practice with a waiting list of doula clients for the excitement of something new.  My latest casualty? A closet filled with organic tee shirts and the aftertaste of disappointment and regret. When I sit back and think of all I have accomplished and things I have tried, it’s dizzying. My curiosity and wanderlust is a bewitching mistress. It’s an energy within me that I haven’t figured out how to tame. And quite frankly, I don’t want to tame it, I just need to harness it.

It’s obviously time to pause and contemplate.

Advocacy, Feminism, Politics

The Politics of Facebook Memes.

This morning I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and came across a post that made me sit back and think. Oftentimes I find myself on Facebook clicking “likes” without really opining on the words. Usually it’s just a pretty picture.  Perhaps it was the dirty chai or listening to Sirius POTUS (somewhat  crushing on, addicted to and obsessing over Pete Dominick these days, don’t tell my husband) during my hour long commute, but today I stopped and actually thought about the words. And for the first time in quite a while, I wished there were a dislike button for Facebook.  While I don’t want to perpetuate the message of this meme/picture. I do think it’s important to post it to understand why it made me pause, and then disagree. It was originally posted by a 17-year old Philippine girl and then re-posted by the Fanpage of  a women-owned small business,  the call to action “click like if you agree

Click like if you DISAGREE.

At first blush, I was like oooh yeah, Chick Power Meme, Like!  Then I read it again.  And again. And came to one conclusion.

NOPE.

I do not want to look like a girl. I am a 38 year old woman.  I like looking like a woman. I do not fit into the media-perpetuated rail thin, boy like version of beauty.  I have voluptuous breasts and a soft buddha belly. I am confident in who and what I am. When I did look like a girl (because I was in fact, a girl) I had little confidence and loathed my growing breasts. It took over 15 years of yoga to correct the posture that tried so hard to hide them.  I will not regress back to that.

I do not want to act like a lady. There is a time and a place for lady-like, however in my outspoken, sometimes crass, never demure,  occasionally immature opinion it certainly isn’t 100% of the time.  I think this is where my Adirondack heritage, sprinkled with a little NOLA and San Fran shines. Usually when I cross my legs, its in easy sitting pose, shoes off.  Even in public places (restaurants!!). My lady friends south of the Mason Dixon line would be appalled. Hell, women I adore and respect, in heels and lipstick may be appalled. Acting lady like, feels like you’re trying to put me in a box of what I can and cannot be.  There’s a certain undertone that wants to drag me back to 1950. Aside from the amazing vintage Airstreams and stellar coifs, I won’t have it.  If I had been a voting adult in the 70s I would have burned my bra and tattooed ‘ERA’  on my ass (or better yet, my forearm, so people could actually see it). I am firmly planted in the Clair McCaskill camp. Remember, well behaved women rarely make history. Eleanor, you’re a rock-star.  Meow. (brazen ‘wildcat’ reference).

I do NOT want to think like a man.  I mean, really. This is self explanatory, right?? If not, please comment below and I will happily update an entire blog post on why I am completely satisfied and utterly delighted to think like a human being who has their reproductive attributes on the inside.

I don’t really want to work like a boss.  Ok, this one really made me pause. (Mostly because They Might Be Giants were dancing like a marching band through my head).  I don’t want to be bossed around. Being bossed around sucks. We all have bossy friends and really, they’re jerks, right? We don’t honestly like them. I can say this because I used to be one.  I was one of the bossy girls in high school and I’ve worked hard on evolving out of that. Creative intellects that effect change and make a difference are not bossy.  Yes, there is of course a semantic distinction between work and act, but this is a short, sweet Facebook Meme, designed to evoke emotion. The emotion that “work like a boss” evokes from me is not positive. I picture a starched uncomfortable suit, vagina suffocating panty hose, hair perfectly coiffed into a bun and sharp, manicured red nails pointing to a spreadsheet one of my minions is looking at, barking about how they just didn’t get it right.  My brain went to an ugly place.  Maybe it’s my bossy roots.  I don’t want to work like a boss. I want to work like a visionary. A innovator. A creative. A designer, creative, founder, maker, mover, changer and shaker.  The thing about working like that, you need a team of amazing to do it.

Lotus Mantra – I AM ME Collection

Listen, I am this weird breed of a 3rd wave feminist. I think our mom’s got it wrong when they said we could be a CEO and a mommy at the same time. I want to shatter the glass ceiling that to this day holds us back? YES. I think I can be a CEO. I think I can be a mommy. I think I can be anything I want to be. I don’t subscribe to the SCUM Manifesto.  I value and appreciate the male perspective.  But I don’t want to be a man. I don’t want to be compared to a man. I don’t want to be held to some arbitrary standard of what a woman should be; ladylike, soft spoken, what the hell ever.

I just want to be me. Through and through.

I want to live from the IN-Side Out.

I want to cultivate.

I want to Live. Breathe. Grow. into who I am meant to be.


Advocacy, Feminism

International Women’s Day: Perspective on Change.

When I was a Senior in college, majoring in Political Communication and Campaign Management I wrote my thesis on the 1970s ERA Campaign. (For those of you that have no idea what I am talking about when I say ERA please educate yourself here. Cliff’s notes version: Equal Rights Amendment was a Constitutional Amendment proposed in 1923 to grant women equal rights under the law. In 1972 the ERA died in Congress after being ratified by only 35 of the 38 required states).

I immersed myself in feminist culture. I volunteered for NOW, I was a member of the Association for Women Student’s at Emerson. I had posters of Gloria Steinem on my wall and I listened to Ani Di Franco and Liz Phair. I had the opportunity to meet amazingly influential women like Maya Angelou, Sarah Ragle Weddington and even Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. If I could have had a Women’s Studies minor at Emerson, I would have. I was all about women power. I distinctly remember being shocked that the ERA never passed and equal rights for women made a Constitutional right. Yet at the same time I was almost apathetic about it, it was the early 90s and women presumably had it all. We were being elected to office in record numbers thanks to organizations like Emily’s List, birth control was safe and accessible and it was possible for us to become doctor’s lawyers and CEOs. We didn’t really need the ERA….did we?

This morning I read an article from Elephantjournal.com: Take Off Your Fake (Face). It was a simple little article about not using makeup riddled with chemicals to hide your radiance. I am one of those women that just doesn’t bother with make-up 90% of the time. The other 10% I may remember to add mascara and a little blush, but almost never a full face. I wish I could say that my lack of makeup is a conscious, eco-health choice but in reality, it’s not a conscious choice. Half the time I am in a rush to get to the next meeting, yoga class, appointment, whatever and realize when I look in the rearview mirror of my car that my face is naked. It’s just not high on my priority list. I don’t think it’s simply because I’m married, I’ve always been that way. This former tom-boy, Adirondack Mountain girl just can’t be bothered.

The article then links to pictures on Daily News, Stars Without Makeup: The Real Face of Fame. I of course clicked through to Daily News to see the photos. The photos of stars in that link were filled with comments like:

she “Looks a little tired..”

she “looks like she needs a day off from filming”

She’s “little too busy to put on some concealer?”

She “Looks more washed out than rocking out”

“Scarier with or without makeup?”

“Dancing with the Stars does a body, not a face good”

She “looks a hot mess sans eyeliner.”

“why so glum? is it because you got caught bare – and red – faced?”

She “should really ditch that large coffee and hit her bed instead.”

As I scrolled through them (all 92 of them) I began to feel/see/notice 2 things; first, disparaging comments about women are given nonchalantly, the media is downright mean and second, I began to start feeling badly about myself. Was I just lazy or indifferent about my appearance because I don’t wear makeup? Am I less than feminine because I don’t get my hair, nails, toes done regularly? Is there something wrong with me? Daily News sure made me think so.

Isn’t it amazing that an entertainment news/celebrity gossip site can make this seemingly confident, non-celebrity feel like crap? If a one-dimensional website can make someone feel this, what happens in our everyday interactions with real, live people? Are we as women, supporting one another, or are we tearing each other down? Are we celebrating our differences, rejoicing in our similarities? What are we doing to make life better for one another?

This past week my Facebook feed was filled with “Happy International Women’s Day!” posts. MindBodyGreen and Elephant Journal had articles about “Mean Girls” and “Don’t Judge a Yogi by their Pose.” It’s nice that a designated day can provoke such thoughtful articles, but it shouldn’t take a designated day for this. As women we can’t just sit by as our perfectly manicured nails click to the next article about being a better person. This is something we need to work on every single day. It’s 2012, we’re in an economic, political and social recession and things need to change. It starts with kindness, it starts with compassion. It starts with you.

This blog isn’t a call to action to revive the ERA (though I DO thing that should be done!). It IS a call to action to women everywhere to let go of our labels and realize that we are all divine beings. The labels and titles we “wear” are not who we truly are.

It’s time for us to INspire Peace, Practice Compassion and Choose Gratitude.

Feminism

Strong Women

Strong Women are those who know the road ahead will be strewn with obstacles, but they still choose to walk it because it’s the right one for them.

Strong Women are those who make mistakes, who admit to them, learn from those failures, and then use that knowledge.

Strong Women are easily hurt, but they still extend their hearts and hands, knowing the risk and accepting the pain when it comes.

Strong Women are sometimes beat down by life, but they still stand back up and step forward again.

Strong Women are afraid.They face fear and move ahead to the future, as uncertain as it may be.

Strong Women are not those who succeed the first time. They’re the ones who fail time and time again, but still keep trying until they succeed.

Strong Women face teh daily trials of life, sometimes with a tear, but always with their heads held high as a new day dawns.

~Brenda Hager~

Feminism, Health

I’m a Doula!

Last week I spent 3 days training with film maker, author and doula Debra Pascali-Bonaro and 21 amazing women from Northern Jersey and CT for my DONA training. I have been trying to figure out how to put this experience into words…and it isn’t easy. I am a doula, a ‘woman’s servant’ a trained professional who brings emotional and physical support to a birthing woman. I am her personal advocate and her stability.


I would love to come up with my own words for this experience but I still can’t wrap my brain around it. The best I can do for now is repost a beautiful entry by Nicole Deelah from Bellies and Babies.


“I don’t practice medicine; I don’t do medical exams or perform medical tasks. I am in the business of support, education, and natural, normal birth.

I believe that childbirth is a natural and normal event. Variations in birth do occur; but, with proper support and advocacy, even those variations can be looked upon as satisfying and empowering events. I am an advocate of natural childbirth, but work to empower women to make their own educated decisions regarding labor and birth. I firmly practice the advocacy of informed choice.

Pregnancy and childbirth is a time when women can be motivated or de-motivated to fulfilling their roles as strong, capable and competent individuals, which then translates into their mothering roles after birth. The difference often lies in how they are treated during their pregnancy and birthing time.

Empowering women with options and support enables them to take ownership for their healthcare and their bodies, which, later, gives them the confidence to take responsibility as mothers. A doula-relationship allows for that mental and emotional wellbeing while also freeing the medical professional to focus solely on the physical wellbeing. This holistic approach to pregnancy and birth has been proven to be the safest and most satisfactory approach for all involved.

I believe that a doula can help a woman to reclaim the beauty, strength, and humble respect of the rite of passage to motherhood called childbirth.”


I couldn’t have found better words…not yet anyway. I have wanted to take the DONA training for many years, I knew that it was the perfect addition to my health coaching and my yoga training…yet I wasn’t sure if I actually wanted to be a doula. Now I know that my instinct was right. I needed this training to round out my training, experience and vision of where I am going. Being a doula will be one aspect of my practice and it will bring so much more to my coaching and teaching.

I can’t begin to express the gratitude I have for Debra and my fellow trainees for reminding me of this light and inner power.

Keep it Fresh!
~Terra