Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mojo Monday ~ Dear Santa

Today my 4 year old twin daughters wrote letters to Santa Claus asking for particular gifts for Christmas.  They let me know before we stared that we needed to include pictures for Santa Claus.

After they completed their letters and I explained that I would mail them to Santa Claus I sat there pondering what my letter to Santa would include this year if I still wrote one.  Then I considered why not write my own letter to Santa. 

There is a song I know called My Grown Up Christmas List that captures many things I would ask for as an adult and you can watch a video and read the lyrics below. 

Yet what about my inner child? What if I was 4 years old again or maybe 12? What about fun and adventure?

My 4 year old self would ask for that race track I always wanted and never got.
My 12 year old self would ask for records to play on my stereo.
My 41 year old self would ask for some fun and fancy paints from Dharma Trading so I can paint my black boots with a wild kick-ass design, an iTunes gift card (because I do so LOVE music), as well as ask for a greater power to help me not feel scared so much and help me embrace being courageous this next year. A bonus list would include a request for more time for creating and more peace in my home, which is sometimes challenged by the moods of my twin 4-year-olds.

What about YOU?
What would your 4 year old self want Santa to bring?
What about your 12 year old self?
What about this year? What would you put in your letter?

Lyrics to My Grown Up Christmas List
By Jane Monheit

Do you remember me
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you
With childhood fantasies

Well, I'm all grown up now
And still need help somehow
I'm not a child
But my heart still can dream

So here's my lifelong wish
My grown up Christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need

No more lives torn apart
And wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up Christmas list

As children we believed
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely
Wrapped beneath our tree

Well heaven only knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal
A hurting human soul

No more lives torn apart
And wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up Christmas list

What is this illusion called the innocence of youth
Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth

No more lives torn apart
And wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown up Christmas list
This is my only lifelong wish
This is my grown up Christmas list

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Zainab Salbi ~ Powerful Insight About War

In war we often see only the frontline stories of soldiers and combat. At TEDGlobal 2010, Zainab Salbi tells powerful "backline" stories of women who keep everyday life going during conflicts, and calls for women to have a place at the negotiating table once fighting is over.

About Zainab Salbi
Iraqi-born Zainab Salbi founded and runs Women for Women International, and has dedicated her life to helping women in war-torn regions rebuild their lives and communities.

This is a MUST-SEE video.

Some of the powerful moments that hit me is when she describes how a woman who was raped and mutilated in front of her children and also had to watch as her husband and her 9-year-old son were killed worries that her surviving children will have hate in their hearts and that they will grow up and want to fight the killers of their father and brother.

The tears flowed when Zainab shared how these women who have survived horrible wars are still dancing and singing everyday.  They are women standing on their feet in spite of their circumstances. 

She ends with a beautiful quote from Rumi "Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I will meet you there." 

She then asks us all to meet one another there.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mojo Monday ~ Giving Thanks

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melodie Beattie

Here is a wonderful photo montage that plays to a beautiful song called I Give Thanks by the talented Kathryn Mostow.

This week the majority of people in the USA will gather on Thursday for a holiday called Thanksgiving.  The origins of the holiday may have a complicated historical past, yet the idea of families and friends gathering together to share in a day of Giving Thanks and expressing their Gratitude is inspiring.    

I have been in some circles where we have gone around the dining table in order for each person to express his/her gratitude.  I have also experienced meals where we each wrote down something for which we were thankful on a piece of paper and then they were all read at the table.

Share with us here on the Red Boa what you will be Giving Thanks for this year.

“Embrace your ordinary life, whatever its wrapping, for in the embrace you will hear the whisper of Gratitude. Listen for her in the ordinary activities of your day, in the ordinary encounters with loved ones, and in the ordinary challenges that greet you each morning. She speaks from the depths of you, in the voice of your ordinary life.” —Patricia Lynn Reilly

Thursday, November 18, 2010

If I Were Brave

Jana Stanfield is an inspiring speaker, singer and songwriter.  You can learn more about her on her website by clicking here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mojo Monday ~ I Promise Myself

Patricia Lynn Reilly, theologian, women’s empowerment pioneer, and author of Imagine a Woman in Love with Herself, contends that a woman’s relationship with herself is the source of all personal power and relational success. In I Promise Myself: Making a Commitment to Yourself and Your Dreams, she offers step-by-step support to make a vow of faithfulness to yourself and your dreams – the first essential step to achieving meaningful and reciprocal relationships with others. Author SARK, describes the book as “A profound and deeply illuminating guide to magnifying self-love.” And adds that “Patricia’s work is wise and resonant.”

The introduction to I Promise Myself begins like this:

An Invitation to Be True to Yourself

Imagine a woman who has grown in knowledge and love of herself.
A woman who has vowed faithfulness to her life and capacities.
Who remains loyal to herself. Regardless.
Imagine yourself as this woman.

For more than a decade, I have invited women to journey with me from self-loathing to self-love, from self-criticism to self-celebration. Along the way it has been necessary for us to dismantle the disempowering questions, “What’s wrong with me?” and “Who will save me?” As these questions are ousted from our lives, we return home to ourselves, reclaiming our natural resources and capacities; we author our own lives, participating fully in life’s gifts and challenges; and we remain loyal to ourselves even in the face of challenge and opposition. The journey transforms our inner landscapes and reframes our relationships to the world around us. To deepen these fundamental shifts in self-understanding within women’s hearts, minds and bodies, I have refashioned the wedding vow and wedding ceremony into transformational resources for making a lifelong commitment to ourselves. Each woman’s journey culminates in the composition of a “vow of faithfulness” to herself, which is then witnessed at a commitment ceremony…

Women of all ages, from all walks of life, are vowing faithfulness to their own lives. As a result, they are refusing to ask the questions “What’s wrong with me?” and “Who will save me?” Instead, they make powerful statements with every thought they share, every feeling they express, and every action they take on their own behalf. They use their personal and communal resources to give birth to woman-affirming rites of passage and ceremonies of transformation for their daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and for themselves. They are women ~ full of themselves!

…Pause for a moment and imagine growing in knowledge and love of yourself, vowing faithfulness to your own life and capacities, and remaining loyal to yourself ~ regardless. Imagine a life in which you deepen your relationship to your natural vitality, resilience, and sense of self. Imagine a ceremony of commitment to yourself, culminating with these words of self-blessing: “This is it. This is my life. Nothing to wait for. Nowhere else to go. No one to make it all different. What a relief to have finally landed here….now. Blessed be my life!

Did reading these excerpts from Patricia Lynn Reilly’s book conjure up any particular thoughts or feelings?

Is there something in particular you want to promise yourself?

Consider writing a ceremonial vow for yourself this week.

If you feel inclined to share, come back to the discussion and post your promises and/or vows of commitment to yourself.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Mojo Monday ~ Wabi-sabi

"Usefulness is not impaired by imperfection. You can still drink from a chipped cup."
~ Greta K. Nagel

Wabi-sabi means to appreciate or see the beauty and harmony in imperfection and simplicity. It originates in Japan, where artists will often leave a crack in a piece of pottery or a flaw in the design of a kimono as a reminder of the wabi-sabi nature of life. Wabi-sabi recognizes that all of life is in a constant state of change, and that decay is as much a part of life as growth.

"Wabi-sabi is a concept that originated in sixteenth-century Japan with the tea ceremony, a ritual that provided a way to step out of the chaos of daily life and reconnect with that which was simple and tranquil," says Diane Durston, author of Wabi-Sabi: The Art of Everyday Life and curator of culture, art, and education at the Portland Japanese Garden. "Through the centuries wabi-sabi came to mean an approach to life and art that is in harmony with nature, one that values the handmade and rustic and that recognizes the impermanence of life. It encourages us to be respectful of age, both in things and in ourselves, and it counsels us to be content with what we have rather than always striving for more. It's a hard concept to define in words, because it's about emotion as much as philosophy. Wabi-sabi has a hint of wistfulness about it."

 Lori Erickson wrote in her article called The Joy of Imperfection, which appeared in Woman’s Day Magazine, “Not long ago, I realized something as I stood in front of the mirror. Even if I squinted hard, even if the light was just right, even if I was wearing make-up and a flattering outfit, no one was ever going to mistake me for a sweet young thing anymore. I saw that the lines around my eyes didn't disappear when I stopped smiling. I admitted that I was the sort of woman who looked perfectly at home in a mini-van. And as I stood there, contemplating the changes that had somehow snuck up on me, at first I felt a twinge of sorrow for my lost youth (Where did it go? Where did I go?) — and then I began to appreciate how wabi-sabi my face looked. The concept of wabi sabi is one that I think every woman (and man) should have in her mental bag of tricks, particularly after time's winged chariot has pulled into the driveway.”

 Photo by Matt Hoyle

Here is an artistic video about wabi-sabi

Take a look in your space right now. What do you see that you would consider wabi-sabi?

Take a look in the mirror. What do you see? Do you immediately see flaws and tend to criticize your appearance? Or perhaps you like what you see and look at yourself with love and acceptance. 

Does the idea of looking at yourself and life with a wabi-sabi philosophy that there is great beauty in imperfection change anything for you?

"The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise."
~ Alden Nowlan