In the US, I feel like 1920 was the original ‘Year of the Woman’ as we finally earned the right to vote. The Year of the Woman came up again in 1984, in 1992 and back in March of this year, Priyank Jain, a frequent speaker on the importance of girls’ and women’s empowerment globally, predicted that 2017 would be The Year of the Woman. Just three days ago, the African American Film Critics Association proclaimed 2017 The Year of the Woman. Thanks to Alyssa Milano‘s #metoo hashtag, girls and women across the globe have been inspired to rise up and speak out. #Metoo turned into #wetoo and this issue, which has been festering just under the surface for so many women for so long, is suddenly front and center. And let us not forget to thank and acknowledge and listen to Tarana Burke for lighting this fire ten years ago. If you haven’t had the chance, check out Democracy Now‘s work on this topic.
I’m borrowing the words from one of my band’s songs because I can’t seem to find a quote or poem that says what I want to say right now. Girls, boys, men and women all over the world, stay tuned for the next move and don’t let #metoo become history before we transform this fire into a new future and a stronger culture. There is an immense amount of collective energy that can taper down into an incredible metamorphosis if we continue to listen, support and act. Metamorphosis is literally the process of transformation from an immature form to an adult form in two or more distinct stages. Imagine that.
An ancient sage suddenly appeared at my feet. She placed her hand upon my heart and whispered, “This is your destiny.”
A woman in black with hair as gold as the sun took my hand. She said, “Close your eyes. Open your mind. Feel the power of this land.” She said, “Daughter of my daughter’s daughter; blood of mine. We’ve been waiting for all your life. It’s finally time to rise. It’s time to fight.”
A band of ancient shamans stopped me in my tracks. They placed their magic on me and said, “You can never go back.” They said, “Sister, on her hero’s journey, take our hands. We’ve been waiting for all our lives. Here we stand to rise.”
We can’t wait any longer. We can’t hide the fire that’s been burning ever stronger. We can’t deny. It’s time to rise. It’s time to fight.
It’s time to rise. It’s time to fight.
Brave is: Anyone who acknowledges that #metoo turned to #wetoo because we have an epidemic on our hands and the time for change is now. I mean, it was really time for change a lifetime ago, but it took women a while to realize that they should unite rather than fight. Thank you to the many brave women and men of our past, our future, and most importantly, right now. Here we stand in our high heels or combat boots, in our short skirts or suits, hand in hand at last. Let us rise up together, humanity, because as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says:
Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.
There are so many great poems on bravery out there, but one of my favorites is She Is a Brave Woman by Alexandra Gold.
“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.”
The Sonnet of the Bumblebee
You went against their theories, you broke all their rules
By soaring above them, just out of reach.
You laughed as they stared, those arrogant fools
Eager to name your scientific breach.
If you let them catch you it might be fun
Allow one to hold you; small greedy hand.
And just when he thinks the game has been won
You move forward with your martyrs stand.
You sting the bastard who’s trying to steal
The secrets behind your majestic wing.
One venomous prick, with quick pain he’ll reel
Squealing retreat from your dignified sting.
They actually thought you’d let truth be known
Uncivilized man, your secret to own?
Finally the sun disappears altogether and them the moon, shining still more brightly, proudly ascends the throne of the the sun. I greet you, Madam, the stars seem to say.
Once upon a time…
a woman and her family moved to the mountains of Montana before she succumbed to the ratrace of Portland. She could see mountain peaks from every window of her house and was just minutes from a trailhead. Stepping outside and breathing in the bitterly cold air, she felt her soul burst forth from the grimy shell inside which it had been slowly choking. Eyes lifted to the glorious sun and arms outstretched to the majestic winds, she felt the Great Spirit Mother wash over her as if she stood under a waterfall.
She was now utterly convinced that Rembrandt had it right:
“Choose only one master – Nature”
“The melodious song mesmerized me and cloaked my soul in a most liberating embrace I had never known. The emotion enveloped me, and smothered the emptiness.”
― J.D. Stroube,
I just read theSkimm’s take on Weinstein. I don’t mean to come across as a man hater with this post. I’ve seen both men and women do horrible things to others because they had the power to do so. And although most of us don’t have as much power as a Hollywood exec like Weinstein, a yogi mogul like Bikram, or even an attorney who would do anything to destroy those around her, many of us actually hold power over someone. There are more and more conversations about the challenge of staying ‘good’ as your power grows.
In Jack Stern’s The Right Not to Remain Silent: Living Morally in a Complex World, he has a chapter on the use of power. At the end of the chapter, he shares his translation of the prayer, Aleinu. I am neither Jewish nor Spiritual in the traditional go-to-church-every-Sunday sort of way, but I am sincerely interested in living the best life I can and treating others with love and respect. These words touched my heart with their simple brilliance.
That on this earth we are all kings and queens and princes and princesses in the personal places of our power, whether we corrupt it or ennoble it or both…May God bless us with a true knowledge of our powers. May God give us the courage to ennoble and not to corrupt. May God give us the strength to stand before God and render an account of our powerful and powerless selves on this day and all the days of our lives. Amen.
Yes, we live in a society where men are typically the ones with the most power and yes, it seems like the mistreated are feeling more and more empowered to stand up for themselves. That takes courage and I am grateful for anyone who has the courage to stand up and speak up for injustice. It also takes courage to remain vigilant of corruption within ourselves. I am grateful for so many friends, family members and strangers who put the extra effort into remaining good people. You are role models for a beautiful future and you give me hope.
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
― Abraham Lincoln
There are days in which I am inspired by the exceptional beauty of nature – like an exquisite waterfall at the end of a long hike. Then on my way back down the trail, my curiosity and anticipation satiated, I happen to notice the exceptional beauty I passed along the way without a second glance. Even while beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the eye must be open to perceive and behold that beauty.