Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mojo Monday ~ Gerda Lerner

In 2011 women in the USA may hear of the injustices and lack of rights of women in other countries and wonder how is this possible?  Our younger generations of women residing may take many things for granted that women in this country once had to fight for and in some cases even go to jail over. 

For example in 1769 American colonies based their laws on the English common law, which was summarized in the Blackstone Commentaries. It said, “By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in the law. The very being and legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated into that of her husband under whose wing and protection she performs everything.”  

Once upon a time, women in this country, upon marrying, forfeited all their property to the ownership of their husband.  After the passing of the New York’s Married Women’s Property Act in 1848, which granted married women some control over their property and earnings, other states slowly followed suit.  

Some of these laws and events may seem like ancient history, however if one reads more about the history of women’s rights, it is shocking to learn what laws have have only been passed in recent years that protect women’s rights. I want to encourage every woman in the world to learn about the women in history who have made helped to make our world a better place for women.

This leads me to introduce you to Gerda Lerner, PhD who turned 91 years old on April 30th this year.  Gerda is the founder of women’s studies in the USA.  She was born Gerda Kronstein in Vienna, Austria on April 30, 1920, and was the first child of Ilona and Robert Kronstein, an affluent Jewish couple. Her father was a pharmacist, her mother an artist. 



Here is how Gerda describes some of her early years in her own writing:

“I was born a middle-class Jewish girl in Vienna in 1920.  My family always lived in a nest of security surrounded by the vast insecurity of a truncated former empire, repeatedly threatened by invasion and instability.  To be born and raised Jewish in a country in which Catholicism was the state religion and anti-Semitism was an honored political tradition meant, from early on, to be branded as different.  Jews were set apart, we were not ‘normal.’  Fascists and anti-Semites were organized in political parties and, in the years of my growing up, became more and more powerful.  Finally it was not a question of whether they would come to power, but when.”

“What of the life of the mind?  I received mixed messages in the family.  My father, a pharmacist, exemplified the virtues of scientific inquiry, of respect for verifiable truths and replicable experiments."

"My mother was a sort of feminist, heavily influenced by Ibsen, Scandinavian novelists, and French avante garde thinkers.  She was a self-defined Bohemian, rebelling against the bourgeois standards of propriety, advocating sexual freedom, and experimenting with all kinds of then novel practices, from vegetarianism to Yoga.  She was unhappy in her marriage and revolted against the traditional roles of housewife and mother.  She fashioned an alternate lifestyle for herself that scandalized her mother-in-law, with whom she lived in a constant state of warfare.  My mother was an artist and wanted to focus on that vocation, something she was not fully able to do until the years of emigration, when she was free of familial responsibilities.  She had a studio in the city, where she kept a kind of salon for young artists and writers.  Despite their marital difficulties, my father helped her artistic development in every way.”

Following the take over of Austria by the Nazis, she joined the anti-Nazi resistance, and spent six weeks, including her eighteenth birthday, in an Austrian jail. Her family was able to escape from Austria and persecution by the Nazis, but while they remained in Europe, Gerda with the help of a young man named Bobby Jensen, immigrated to the United States in 1939.  After working a series of jobs and marrying and divorcing Jensen, she met and married Carl Lerner, a young theater director. Gerda shares this about her life:
“At this time, when I look back on my life and my work, I see patterns and connections that were not so clearly visible at an earlier stage of my life.  The impact of outside political and social events that I experienced in childhood and as a teenager shaped my connection to history:  I was a victim of terror and persecution; my life was deeply affected by historical events.  As a witness to terrible events, I early learned that history matters.  On the other side, a childhood in which artistic creativity and expression were cherished and in which learning was considered not only a practical means of career building, but a means of finding equilibrium and meaning in life well equipped me for survival as a refuge.  The life of learning and thinking would always be connected for me with teaching others and with finding a way of applying what I knew to the problems in society.”

“Growing up under a fascist government as a young girl, I wanted to change the world.  Antifascism was real to me, a ray of hope in a hopeless environment – it meant democracy, free elections, equal rights for al citizens, freedom of thought.  During a short stay in a Nazi jail, from which at the time I had no hope of ever escaping, I learned from my cell mates that political action meant working with others.  Once could not survive alone.”

“Later, in America, as an unskilled immigrant worker, I learned firsthand what it meant to be poor and without a support network.  I had lived my childhood and adolescence in middle-class comfort; now I was on my own in a labor market in which women were restricted to only the most undesirable jobs.  I worked as a domestic, as an office worker, as a salesgirl, and, after a year of training, as a medical technician --- always at minimum wages and without job security.  During job searches and on the job I experienced discrimination against women –pervasive, sometimes subtle, often open.  At times it was mixed with other forms of discrimination.  I applied for a job as a switchboard operator at the New York Telephone company.  I never made it past the first interview.  ‘We don’t hire Jewish girls,’ she informed me.  ‘Why?’ ‘Their arms are too short to reach the switches.’ That was a new one…

Gerda and Carl Lerner had two children and remained married until his death in 1976.  It wasn’t until she had raised her children that she decided to go to college.  Here is how she describes the experience:

“In the Fall of ’63 I entered Columbia University.  I was forty-three years old; my daughter was in college and my son was in high-school.  My husband was busy with a successful career as a film-maker and teacher of film.  I had shopped around before selecting a graduate school in order to be allowed to do a biography of the Grimke sisters, the only Southern women to become agents and lecturers of the American Anti-Slavery Society, as my dissertation.  Columbia was the only place where the department chairman was willing to bend the institutional regulations so as to meet my needs.  The topic, on which I had already been working for four years, was approved for my dissertation, even before I had fulfilled my orals requirements.  Due to this flexibility, I was able to earn both the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in three years from the time I entered, while also teaching part-time at the New School and for the final year at Long Island University in Brooklyn.”
 
“In a way, my three years of graduate study were the happiest years of my life.  It was the first time in my adult life I had time and space for thinking and learning.  Greedy for knowledge, the way only people who have long been denied an education can be, I gave up all recreation, social life, and other interests.  More than anything else I was driven by an urgency to learn what I needed to know in order to carry out a passionate ambition, which by then had take concrete shape in my mind.”

“During the interview at Columbia prior to my admission to the Ph.D. program, I was asked a standard question: Why did I take up the study of history?  Without hesitation, I replied that I wanted to put women into history.  No, I corrected myself, not put them into history, because they are already in it.  I want to complete the work begun by Mary Beard.  This announcement was, not surprisingly, greeted by astonishment.  Just what did I have in mind?  And anyway, what was Women’s History?  The question set me off into a lengthy explanation, on which I have played variations for the past forty years.  I ended in somewhat utopian fashion: ‘I want Women’s History to be legitimate, to be part of every curriculum on every level, and I want people to be able to take Ph.D.s in the subject and not have to say they are doing something else.”

“As if my age and unusual background did not sufficiently mark me as ‘different’ from other students, I set myself further apart with this little speech, as being opinionated and having grandiose ambitions.  But my real difficulty in graduate school was not so much style as substance – I could not accept the content of the curriculum, the worldview I was being taught.”

“In the twenty-five years since I had left school in Vienna, I had been an unskilled and later semi-skilled worker, a housewife, a mother, a community activist.  In all these roles I met an active group of women, who worked quietly and without public recognition, usually without pay and frequently without an awareness of the significance of the work they were doing.  Political organizations were influenced by their work, yet no one would ever know of their existence through the writings of historians or through the media.”

“Now, in one of the best graduate schools in the country I was presented with a history of the past in which women did not seem to exist, except for a few rulers or some who created disturbances.  What I was learning in graduate school did not so much leave out continents and their people, as had my Viennese education, as it left out half the human race, women.”

“I found it impossible to accept such a version of the past as truth.  I questioned it in seminars and in private discussions with faculty, and I was quickly made the target of ridicule by my teachers and classmates.  Had I been a young woman just out of college, I probably could not have withstood this social pressure.  Still, after a while, I made a place for myself and even won the respect of some of the faculty for my specialized knowledge.  I learned sometimes from my professors, often against them, and much by trail and error, but always I tested what I was learning against what I already knew form living.  What I brought as a person to history was inseparable from my intellectual approach to the subject; I never accepted the need for a separation of theory and practice.  My passionate commitment to Women’s History was grounded in my life.”

Lastly here are some of Gerda’s thoughts on the importance of recognizing women in history:

“In U.S. historiography, as in American popular culture, historians have tended to over-emphasize the role of the individual in history.  Great men are identified as founders and leaders; they become the virtual representatives of the movement: William Lloyd Garrison for abolition, Eugene Debs for the socialist movement, Martin Luther King Jr. for the civil rights movement.  In fact, no mass movement of any significance is carried forward by and dependent upon on leader, or one symbol.  There are always leaders of subgroups, of local and regional organizations, competing leaders representing differing viewpoints, an, of course, the ground troops of anonymous activists.  And, as can be shown in each of the above cases, emphasis on the ‘great man’ omits women, minorities, many of the actual agents of social change.  In so doing it gives a partial, an erroneous picture of how social change was actually achieved in the past and thereby fosters apathy and confusion about how social change can be made in the present.”

“When I undertook to study the past of women I did not know that I would have to learn more than several advanced academic degrees could encompass.  I would have to learn to think in opposition; to free myself from patriarchal thought and constrains; to learn to withstand ridicule, contempt, and obstinate resistance.”

Dr. Gerda Lerner on her 90th Birthday (April 2010)
Gerda Lerner has published a significant number of books.  Her first book was written in 1955.  The most recent publication was released in 2003. Her writings have continually recognized the importance of women in history. In 1981 Dr. Lerner became the first woman in fifty years to be elected president of the Organization of American Historians. Gerda Lerner has created a lasting legacy. We must be the ones to ensure that a women such as Dr. Gerda Lerner is not forgotten and that her name and contributions are recorded in history books of the future.

How do you think we can ensure that more people learn about women like Gerda Lerner?  

What are your thoughts about Gerda Lerner's life?

Did it surprise or shock you that Gerda Lerner met with resistance to developing women's studies and women's history courses at the university level?

Some of Gerda Lerner's Professional Accomplishments:

Musical

  • Singing of Women (1951, with Eve Merriam)

Screenplays

  • Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom (1957)
  • Black Like Me (1964)
  • Home for Easter (n.d.)

Books

  • No Farewell (1955) an autobiographical novel
  • The Grimk√© Sisters from South Carolina: Rebels against Authority (1967)
  • The Woman in American History [ed.] (1971)
  • Black Women in White America: A Documentary History (1972)
  • The Female Experience: An American Documentary (1976)
  • A Death of One's Own (1978/2006)
  • The Majority Finds Its Past: Placing Women in History (1979)
  • Teaching Women's History (1981)
  • Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey (1982)
  • The Creation of Patriarchy (1986)
  • Why History Matters (1997)
  • The Creation of Feminist Consciousness (1993)
  • Scholarship in Women's History Rediscovered & New (1994)
  • Fireweed: A Political Autobiography (2003)










Here is a video of Gerda Lerner, PhD being interviewed:



    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    Mojo Monday ~ Forgiveness


    The dictionary defines forgiveness as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, and/or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. 

    Author Don Miguel Ruiz wrote The Four Agreements, The Fifth Agreement, The Mastery of Love and The Voice of Knowledge.  One of Don Miguel Ruiz's thoughts on forgiveness is featured in the image above.  The art and writing is from one of the cards from his Mastery of Love deck.  One of his other quotes about forgiveness is as follows: 

    The supreme act of forgiveness is when
    you can forgive yourself for 
    all the wounds you've created in your own life.
    Forgiveness is an act of self-love.
    When you forgive yourself, 
    self-acceptance begins and self-love grows. 

    Ruiz was even recognized by an organization called The Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance.  Many of his training courses incorporate the act of forgiveness as one of the tools that teach people how to overcome their destructive behaviors and move to higher, more effective levels of consciousness.  

    You can learn more about the inspiring Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance and their brilliant mission by visiting this web site:  http://www.forgivenessalliance.org/aboutus.html

    Ann Frank is another individual who exhibited an amazing ability to forgive and perhaps see a bigger picture.  This excerpt from her diary is especially inspiring:
      It’s a wonder I haven’t abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart. It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more. 

    Another organization that is doing amazing work regarding forgiveness is The Forgiveness ProjectFounder Marina Cantacuzino shares that "Forgiveness is an inspiring, complex, exasperating subject, which provokes strong feeling in just about everyone. Having spent all of 2003 collecting stories of reconciliation and forgiveness for an exhibition of words and images which I created with the photographer, Brian Moody, I began to see that for many people forgiveness is no soft option, but  rather the ultimate revenge. For many it is a liberating route out of victimhood; a choice, a process, the final victory over those who have done you harm. As Mariane Pearl, the wife of murdered journalist Daniel Pearl, said of her husband’s killers, 'The only way to oppose them is by demonstrating the strength that they think they have taken from you.'"

    The exhibition tells some extraordinary stories – stories of victims who have become friends with perpetrators, murderers who have turned their mind to peace building.  I read in awe the story about Linda and Peter Biehl and how they found it within their hearts to forgive and befriend the young men who murdered their daughter Amy, an American Fulbright scholar working in South Africa against apartheid.  They started a foundation in their daughter's name and two of the young men even went to work for the foundation.  Linda shares how she came to "believe passionately in restorative justice. It’s what Desmond Tutu calls ‘ubuntu’: to choose to forgive rather than demand retribution, a belief that “my humanity is inextricably caught up in yours.”


    Within our lifetimes we will all need to ask for forgiveness or find it within ourselves to forgive another.  Sometimes you forgive people simply because you still want them in your life.
     
    Consider creating an art piece about forgiveness and what it means to you.   

    Here is a beautiful rendition I found on-line by a woman named Ramona.  She combined a Scrap Therapy Layout on Self-forgiveness with a Hopes for the New Year Layout and created a beautiful journaling art piece.  Here is the journaling excerpt from the image: 

    For this new year, I would like to be free.   Free from feeling bad or obsessing about when the next time the blackness will come.  Free from feeling like I am never good enough. Not smart enough, thin enough, nice enough, whatever enough. I would like to be free from feeling like a bad mother when I am simply too tired to cook, or clean, or check homework.   I want to honor the light within me that longs to shine brightly.  For the whole world to see that I am good enough.  Simply because I am me.  To do this, I need to begin to practice forgiveness, and change my internal dialogue.  To a dialogue of love, light truth and peace.

    What are your thoughts about forgiveness?

    Do you have any stories of forgiveness to share?  

    If you create an art piece or write a poem about forgiveness please share it.

    To the right is a simple art piece I did for forgiveness.








    Looking for more inspiration regarding forgiveness?  Here is a video on the subject.





    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Mojo Monday ~ All I Really Need to Know I Learned In Kindergarten





    My twin daughters started Kindergarten this morning. Such a milestone for us all that they are starting school.  Various emotions fill my heart and complicated thoughts fill my mind.  I am excited for them, as well as a little scared and sad.  They are entering a more public world.  Our well protected daughters will be going on field trips without us sometimes.  They have moved beyond their small homey daycare to a more demanding and sometimes challenging endeavor of learning more and expanding their social circle.  They are ready in so many ways, but I also sense that there will some difficulties to be faced.  That is the way of life. 

    It seemed fitting to share a wonderful piece written by Robert Fulghum called All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. What we are taught as children applies to our adult lives.  Fulgham pulled it all together quite nicely for us as a wise reminder.

    All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
    (a guide for Global Leadership)

    All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.

    These are the things I learned:

    Share everything.

    Play fair.

    Don't hit people.

    Put things back where you found them.

    Clean up your own mess.

    Don't take things that aren't yours.

    Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.

    Wash your hands before you eat.

    Flush.

    Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.


    Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
    Take a nap every afternoon.

    When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.

    Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.


    Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.


    And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.

    Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

    Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

    And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

    You can visit Robert Fulgham's web site at http://www.robertfulghum.com/

    Sunday, August 7, 2011

    Mojo Monday ~ When I Loved Myself Enough

     When I Loved Myself Enough began as one woman's gift to the world, hand made by Kim McMillen and given to her friends.  As word spread, its heartfelt honesty won it a growing following.

    The introduction to When I Loved Myself Enough by Kim McMillen begins this way:

    For many years I lived with a guarded heart.  I did not know how to extend love and compassion to myself.  In my fortieth year that began changing.








    In April of 2009 I had turned forty.  There were events going on in my life at that particular time that were very difficult.  In May, just weeks after my birthday, I won this book from a web site called Intrinsic. It was mailed to me all the way from Australia, yet in some ways it seemed more like a gift from the Universe, as it contained a message I so desperately needed to hear. 

    The author's introduction continues:
    As I grew to love all of who I am, life started changing in beautiful and mysterious ways.  My heart softened and I began to see through very different eyes.  

    My commitment to follow this calling grew strong and in the process a divine intelligence came to guide my life.  I believe this ever-present resource is grace, and is available to us all.

    For the past twelve years I have been learning to recognize and accept this gift.  Cultivating love and compassion for myself made it possible.

    The following steps are uniquely mine.  Yours will look different.  But I do hope mine give voice to a hunger you may share.

    I ended up gifting this book to about fifteen women the summer of 2009.  I wanted to share the profoundly simple message it contained within with both friends and family.  

    And so it begins...

    When I loved myself enough
    I quit settling for too little.

    And so it continues...

    When I loved myself enough
    I came to know my own goodness.

    When I loved myself enough
    I began taking the gift of life seriously and gratefully.

    When I loved myself enough
    I began to know I was in the right place at the right time and I could relax.

    When I loved myself enough
    I felt compelled to slow down - way down.  And that has made all the difference.

    When I loved myself enough
    I bought a feather bed.

    When I loved myself enough
    I came to love being alone, surrounded by silence, awed by its spell, listening to inner space.

    When I loved myself enough
    I came to see I am not special but I am unique.

    When I loved myself enough
    I redefined success and life became simple.  Oh, the pleasure of that.

    When I loved myself enough
    I came to know I am worthy of knowing God directly.

    When I loved myself enough
    I gave up the belief that life is hard.

    When I loved myself enough
    I came to see emotional pain is a signal I am operating outside truth.

    When I loved myself enough
    I learned to meet my own needs and not call it selfish.

    When I loved myself enough
    The parts of me long-ignored, the orphans of my soul, quit vying for attention.  That was the beginning of inner peace.  Then I began seeing clearly.

    When I loved myself enough 
    I quit ignoring or tolerating my pain.

    When I loved myself enough
    I started feeling all my feelings, not analyzing them -- really feeling them.  When I do, something amazing happens.  Try it.  You will see.

    When I loved myself enough
    My hear became so tender it could welcome joy and sorrow equally.

    When I loved myself enough 
    I came to feel like a gift to the world and I collected beautiful ribbons and bows.  They still hang on my wall to remind me.
    Self Love by Rhonda Gray
    When I loved myself enough
    I learned to ask 'Who in me is feeling this way?' when I feel anxious, angry, restless or sad.  If I listen patiently I discover who needs my love.

    When I loved myself enough
    I no longer needed things or people to make me feel safe.

    When I loved myself enough
    I quite wishing my life looked some other way and began to see that as it is, my life serves my evolution.








    When I loved myself enough
    I began to feel a divine presence in me and hear its guidance.  I am learning to trust this and live from it.

     When I loved myself enough
    I quit exhausting myself by trying so hard.

    When I loved myself enough 
    I began to feel a community within.  This inner team with diverse talents and idiosyncrasies is my strength and my potential.  We hold team meetings.

    When I loved myself enough
    I began walking and taking the stairs every chance I got, and choosing the scenic route.

    When I loved myself enough
    I became my own authority by listening to the wisdom of my heart.  This is how God speaks to me.  This is intuition.

    When I loved myself enough
    I began feeling such relief.

    When I loved myself enough
    The impulsive part of me learned to wait for the right time.  Then I became clear and unafraid.

    When I loved myself enough
    I began leaving whatever wasn't healthy.  This meant people, jobs, my own beliefs and habits -- anything that kept me small.  My judgement called it disloyal.  Now I see it as self-loving.

    When I loved myself enough
    I gave up perfectionism - that killer of joy.

    When I loved myself enough
    Forgiving others became irrelevant.

    When I loved myself enough 
    I started writing about my life and views because I knew this was my right and my responsibility.

    When I loved myself enough
    I began to see my purpose and gently wean myself from distractions.

    When I loved myself enough
    I learned to say no when I want to and yes when I want to.

    When I loved myself enough
    I could see how funny life is, how funny I am and how funny you are.

    I recognized my courage and fear, my naivety and wisdom, and I make a place for each at my table.

    When I loved myself enough
    I started treating myself to a massage at least once a month.

    When I loved myself enough
    I realized I am never alone.

    When I loved myself enough
    I stopped fearing empty time and quit making plans.  Now I do what feels right and am in step with my own rhythms.  Delicious!

    When I loved myself enough
    I quit trying to be a savior for others.

    When I loved myself enough
    I lost my fear of speaking my truth for I have come to see how good it is.

    When I loved myself enough 
    I began pouring my feeling into my journals.  These loving companions speak my language.  No translation needed.

    When I loved myself enough
    I stopped seeking 'experts' and started living my life.

    When I loved myself enough
    I could be at ease with the comings and goings of judgment and despair.

    When I loved myself enough
    I quit having to be right which makes being wrong meaningless.

    When I loved myself enough 
    I learned to grieve for the hurts in life when they happen instead of making my heart heavy from lugging them around.

    When I loved myself enough
    I forgave myself for all the times I thought I wasn't good enough.

    When I loved myself enough
    I began listening to the wisdom of my body.  It speaks so clearly through its fatigue, sensitivities, aversions and hungers.

    When I loved myself
    I quit fearing my fear.

    When I loved myself enough 
    I quit rehashing the past and worrying about the future which keeps me in the present where aliveness lives.

    When I loved myself enough
    I began to taste freedom.


    And so it ends...
    When I loved myself enough
    I found my voice and wrote this little book.


    Expressions of Self Love by Rita Loyd
    I have included much of the book in this post, but not all.  There are more nuggets of wisdom in the book that you may wish to explore on your own.
    Do you find yourself connecting with some of the author's statements?  Which ones?

    Try writing some of your own declarations by starting with When I loved myself enough...

    The author shares at the very end when she loved herself enough she found her voice and wrote this little book. What would you do if you loved yourself enough?

    If you were going to write a book what would you call it?






    A message from the author's daughter Alison McMillen ~ January 2001:

    My mother died in September of 1996, at he age of 52, only a few short months after writing this book.  She was not ill and did not know that she was going to die.  Her death was sudden and it deeply shocked everyone who knew her.  It has been very difficult for me, as well as her friends and family, to cope with life without her.  She died too young, and I am aware of her absence every waking moment.

    One thing that has made grieving for her more tolerable has been this book.  Following her lead, I continued to publish it out of my home.  It has been extremely rewarding work.  I have received countless letters and phone calls from people all over the world who have been touched by the wisdom of my mom's words.  They tell me that they feel as though, through the book, they have come to know Kim McMillen.  I could not agree more.

    This book is my mother.  It's message is what she spent years meditating on, reading and writing about, and experiencing.  It is everything she believed in, and everything she brought me up to believe in.  It is her autobiography, her declaration, her soul.

    Even though she didn't know she was nearing the end of her life, she knew on some level that she had to express the things that she had learned to be true.  After many years filled with self-doubt and self-criticism, she decided to devote herself to finding self-compassion.  When she did, and was able to write her findings down for others to read, her life was complete, and sadly came to an end.  

    I have a constant ache in my heart, a longing to see her again in this world.  She was an amazing mother, friend, writer, business consultant, chaplain, river runner, dog lover, neighbor and woman.  Although I miss her terribly, I am comforted by the knowledge that, as this book is the truest expression of who my mom was, in its continued existence what she had to offer to the world will live on.

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    Mojo Monday ~ Gift of Acceptance

    India.Arie is one of my absolute favorite musical artists.  She has been working on new music with composer Idan Raichel.  Here is a video of a song they wrote together called Gift of Acceptance that was performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert.