Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Being of Service

It is so exciting to witness how many people are involved in service, volunteer and charity work. I especially love when children learn from a young age that they can be helpful to someone less fortunate. We are all in this together and we can all do something to ease another's burdens. It just starts with compassion. We can't do everything but we can start by asking ourselves what we care about. What are you drawn to? These tough times can be daunting, but if you are feeling down, try doing something for someone else, you'll feel better and they will too.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dream Power!

I have entered the hot-flash phase of life.
One of the symptoms that goes along with the hot-flashes is something called "fuzzy-thinking." We’ve probably all walked into a room and once there realized that we had no idea what we came there to do...right? We can all relate to that. Well, fuzzy-thinking takes it up a notch, you go to your computer to send an e-mail and once you sit down, you have no idea of who you need to e-mail or what about...so I related when I hard this story:
Two elderly women were sitting in the park, enjoying the sunshine as they had on every good-weather day for 10 years. After a while one women looked at the other and said, "Now dear, please don’t be mad at me, but I’ve been sitting here trying to think of your name and it just won’t come to mind, what is it?" The other woman stared at her with a scowl on her face for a couple of minutes, and then a tear rolled down her cheek and she asked"How soon do you need to know?"
The title of my book, is Dream Power, and it instructs readers in remembering and interpreting the dreams that we have at night, involuntarily, to stimulate creativity, solve problems and as a barometer of what is going on in our psyches, in the subconscious aspect of our minds. Our night dreams can alert us, when we need to take a stand and they can also empower us by demonstrating our strengths. I invite you to think of the other definition of the word "DREAM" dreams as our goals, intentions and the vision we hold of the world we want to live in.
Mahatma Gandhi said:
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
I agree of course, but I’d like to phrase it differently; We get to be the change we seek for the world.
WE, women, mothers, daughters, girls, we get to be the change. How do we do it? Turns out, by being ourselves. Through our natural leadership, by living as an example of strength and compassion. By doing what women do, nurturing, supporting, celebrating, and yes, working hard.
Times have changed and it has become abundantly clear that it is up to the women to be the change we urgently need for the world.
"Margaret Mead, the famous anthropologist said "Men have always been afraid that women could get along without them."
Well, of course we can, most of us don’t want to, we love and appreciate our fathers, husbands, boyfriends and so on, but it is time for each of us to recognize her own skills, talents and abilities and to contribute them to our communities, families and futures.
First Imagine what you want your life to look like. When I was in high school, my humanities teacher, Mrs. Wren, said that she had three choices as a career minded woman, Nurse, Secretary or Teacher. She fainted at the site of blood, so nursing was out, and she figured that having a husband already gave her one boss, why take on another and so secretary was not a good choice for her, and she became a teacher. Something I am very grateful for. By the way; Today, the only job that a woman isn’t qualified for is sperm donor!
My family didn’t have a lot of money, both my parents worked; dad was a deputy sheriff, mom a bank teller, but there were 5 of us kids. We were told that there would be no money from my parents for college. I desperately wanted an education. So when my friends suggested that I enter the Jr. Miss Pageant my senior year of high school I was excited, after all the prize was a scholarship. But when Mrs. Wren heard that I was rehearsing for the pageant, she was angry. She handed me a copy of the Feminine Mystic by Betty Fredan. How dare her student slap feminism in the face with a swim suit competition. Well, there was no swim-suit competition in the Jr, Miss Pageant. there was a "youth fitness" demonstration that just as well could’ve been. However 50% of the scoring was based on academics and 20% on personality based on an interview with the judges; the remaining points were accrued by a measure of our talent, I danced the Charleston, which my grandmother had taught me, When I won, no one was shocked more than my mother, she said, "I can’t believe that you won, I thought Valerie Klein was going to win, she has such beautiful long hair and she plays piano!"
Now the mother and daughter dynamic is something else, but my point here is that as females of all ages we need to support each other and stick together. There is power in numbers.
In elementary school I was privileged to be in an experimental class for what were termed "Gifted Children" It was a combined class of 5th & 6th graders, 9 girls and 8 boys. Each month we voted on a Judge for that month in the event that we needed to discuss any problems that came up in the class. We had lots of freedom it was a very progressive system where each child’s interests were used in the process of teaching. It was a wonderful experience. Instead of a standard book report, we could create a board game based on the book, or paint a poster inspired by what we had gleaned from the story. But here’s the important thing that I learned. Each month the Judge, whom we all voted for by secret ballot, was a boy! It took several months for me to realize what was happening. The boys nominated one candidate from the 5th grade and one from the 6th as did the girls, however the boys secretly decided in advance which boy to vote for and just so that everyone agreed they took turns between the 5th grade candidate and the 6th grade boy. In contrast, the 6th grade girls, including myself the second year I was in the program, wouldn’t be caught dead voting for a 5th grader. So the girls vote was always divided and the boys always won.
If you take one thing away from my part of this day, please know that the more people that you help to achieve their goals, the more will help you and the closer you’ll be to living the life you dream of.
What makes you smile, what gets your creativity flowing and your passion going. And don’t think it’s too late. Even if you only had one more day on the planet, wouldn’t you want to live it doing what you truly love?
There’s POWER in your dreams, dream on!