Saturday, December 31, 2011


1. We realized we were powerful but that our EGOs had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a power greater than our EGOs could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to align our will and our lives with our SOURCE of LOVE and LIGHT as we intuitively understood IT.

4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of our desires for ourselves.

5. Submitted ourselves to Higher forms of guidance other than human beings who judged our true nature as wrong.

6. Were entirely ready to remove all defective teachings and beliefs from our character.

7. Humbly removed ourselves from judging any experiences as shortcomings but only as lessons.

8. Made a list of all the ways we could express LOVE and began to fulfill them all.

9. Expressed direct LOVE towards people wherever possible without exception.

10. Continued to monitor our thoughts and actions and when we were out of alignment with SOURCE/GOD, promptly quieted our EGOs and regained our balance.

11. Sought though prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with our SOURCE of LOVE and LIGHT as we understood IT, praying only for knowledge of TRUTH and the WISDOM to use it.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we carry this message into the ALL-ONEness and practice these principles in all our affairs.

Created by WYZDOM

Friday, December 30, 2011

When I was born I was not a child
I was a dream,
A dream of revolt
That my mother ,
Oppressed for thousands of years dreamt.

- Sahil Parmar, Translated from the Gujarati by Dr.G.K.Vankar

“Down to earth Visionaire” by Elisabeth Slettnes, Illustrator of “The Girl God”

Thursday, December 29, 2011

If you are being abused, remember:

•You are not to blame for being battered or mistreated
•You are not the cause of your partner’s abusive behaviour
•You deserve to be treated with respect.
•You deserve a safe and happy life
•Your children deserve a safe and happy life
•You are not alone. There are people waiting to help


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"By words the mind is winged."

- Aristophanes

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Honor Your Body

- Imagine a Woman International

Monday, December 26, 2011

Spirit-Filled One,

Your Grandma is God and so are your favorite star and rock.
God has many names and many faces.
God is Mother, Daughter, and Wise Old Crone.
She is found in your mothers, in your daughters, and in you.
God is the God of Sarah, and Hagar, of Leah and Rachel.
She is Mother of all Living, and blessed are Her daughters.
You are girl-woman made in Her image.
You can run fast, play hard, and climb trees.
You are Batwoman, firewoman, and Goddess.
The spirit of the universe pulsates through you.
Be full of yourself. You are good. You are very good.

-Patricia Lynn Reilly

“Cleanse in Running Water” by Elisabeth Slettnes, Illustrator of “The Girl God”

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon...
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

Merry Christmas

Wishing you the happiest of days!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

"He who wants to do good knocks at the gate. He who loves finds the gate open."

- Rabindranath Tagore

Friday, December 23, 2011

"Why are you knocking at every door ?
Go, knock at the door of your own heart"

- Rumi

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"I have come to bring out the beauty you never knew you had, and lift you like a prayer to the sky."

- Rumi

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"I Am Not Old"

I am not old.. she said
I am rare

... I am the standing ovation
at the end of the play

I am the retrospective
of my life
as art

I am the hours
connected like dots
into good sense

I am the fullness
of existing

you think I am waiting to die
but I am waiting to be found

I am a treasure
I am a map
these wrinkles are imprints
of my journey

ask me

~ Samantha Reynolds

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

God's Love

"God's love both dwells within us and extends out from us every moment of every day. When e are living in alignment with our true selves as God created us, we receive love constantly and then extend it outward as we have received it. That is what it means to live in the light."

-Marianne Williamson, The Shadow Effect, p 148

Monday, December 19, 2011

“I am not wrong: Wrong is not my name” – June Jordan

“Colour of Dignity” by Elisabeth Slettnes, Illustrator of “The Girl God”

Sunday, December 18, 2011


"If you live your life fully, you will die only once. But if you are scared of every step, fear will kill you day after day"

- Paulo Coelho

Saturday, December 17, 2011


"Love is the essence of life. It is the ultimate healer, the most potent teacher, the inspiration for great works. For the child, love provides the assurance of survival. For the adult, it brings the intimacy that allows acceptance and invites expansiveness. And while the desire to receive love is a basic need of all human beings, this alone will not open the heart. It is the giving of love that transcends ego limitations and blossoms the 12-petaled lotus of the heart."

Anodea Judith, Chakra Balancing

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Abusive Behavior

"Abusive behaviour includes physical acts such as slapping, punching or choking. It also includes withholding food and health care or forcing a partner to engage in sexual activities against her will. An abusive husband may try to control your life by limiting your access to friends or family. He may be excessively jealous or forbid you from working or spending money. Making threats against himself, you, your children or your pets is common. A quick, intense temper that frightens you is also indication of a problem. A verbally abusive husband criticizes or humiliates you. He makes you feel helpless, calls you names, and belittles you and your accomplishments"

- Caroline Jackson

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

“Remember everything is right until it’s wrong. You’ll know when it’s wrong.” – Ernest Hemingway, The Garden of Eden
Painting by Elisabeth Slettnes, Illustrator of “The Girl God”

Monday, December 12, 2011

"If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundation under them."

- Henry David Thoreau

Friday, December 9, 2011

Becoming Conscious

"It is the tremendous experience of becoming conscious, which nature has laid upon mankind, which unites the most diverse cultures in a common task."

C.G. Jung

Thursday, December 8, 2011

“The reward for conformity was that everyone liked you except yourself" -Rita Mae Brown ‎"PortretEd" by Elisabeth Slettnes, Illustrator of “The Girl God”

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Every part of our personality that we do not love will become hostile to us."

- Robert Bly

Monday, December 5, 2011

Another Goodbye

My Uncle took his life yesterday.

I think I am still in shock.

The last time we spoke was not a cohesive time. I had decided that I would not allow anyone, no matter who it was, to speak unkindly to me.

After 20 years of sobriety, he had relapsed. He was no longer the person I remembered him to be. He was drunk, he was angry, and he was unkind.

His death came as a total shock to me. The last years had been particularly horrible for him. He divorced after a long marriage. His mother died too young. He found out he had Stage 4 cancer himself. After seeing my grandmother die so horribly, I don't think he wanted to go that way.

As I was putting together some pictures for our personal family blog of my Uncle with my mother and their other siblings as children, I was reminded that all of us start out as babes, with so much hope and so many dreams. I cried seeing my uncle in his little suit with the bow tie. He must have been about 4. I don't think he lived the life he imagined for himself. I don't think this is what his parents imagined for him either.

One of my cousins paid a beautiful tribute to him today. Her daughter is 3 weeks younger than my son, so I know the loss is immense for both of them.

Sometimes we forget how precious life is. We get caught up in the day to day grind and random drama of things, so I am taking this moment to thank you Pops, for always being there for us no matter what life has brought and although now you are no longer here with us physically, you and the joy and happiness you brought... to the lives of many will never be forgotten. Thank you for everything, I love you more than I could ever express!! You are my dad forever and always. I will cherish every moment we were blessed with for all eternity! E and I love you and miss you deeply!

Today, I am reminded that we are all known as different people to the various people we interact with in our lives. I know my Uncle as my uncle. And that has been wonderful, for the most part. But also complex.

I am deeply saddened by his death. But I also remember something I heard at another funeral, when a dear friend had killed himself. And somehow, that gives me solace.

His dearest friend stood before all of us and said, breaking up with sobbs, I have to respect your choice. And know that this was all you felt you had left for you. So I will - and I do - respect, your choice.

May it be so.
"What is to give light must first endure burning."

- Victor Frankl

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"The eyes of others our prisons; their thoughts our cages. " - Virginia Woolf

Painting "Eye On" by Elisabeth Slettnes, Illustrator of “The Girl God”

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The New Our Father

Our Mother who art in Earth and Heaven,
(as we are in the MOTHER
And HEAVEN is in us)
Hallowed, respectful, joyful thy name.
Thy holy realm is already come.
Thy will awaits us to be done.
Give us this day the strength to love,
To be the lion and the dove.
Forgive us as we tread your flowers,
Ignoring duties that are ours.
Lead us from annihilation
For we share in the life and in the power
And in the glory forever and ever.

-Priscilla Baird Hinckley

Friday, December 2, 2011


“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Thursday, December 1, 2011


"Beneath heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.
Yet for attacking the solid and strong,
Nothing can take its place.
Therefore the soft can overcome the hard,
The weak can overcome the strong,
Under heaven everyone knows this,
Yet no one puts it into practice."

- Tao Te Ching

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Valley Spirit Never Dies

The Valley Spirit never dies,
It is named the Mysterious Female.
And the doorway of the Mysterious Female
Is the base from which Heaven and Earth sprang.
It is there within us all the while.
Draw upon it as you will, it never runs dry.

-Lao-Tzu (translated by Arthur Waley)


"Often those in abusive relationships feel that they have attracted a batterer or they may have developed a "pattern" of getting into relationships with partners who hurt, degrade, humiliate, hit or otherwise abuse them. Over time the repeated insults, threats, put downs and verbal trashing from their partners wears away at the mental energy to fight back or to keep up a positive image of oneself. Shame traps many victims, having a pervasive influence on the self, relationships with others, and emotional experiences"


Tuesday, November 29, 2011


For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
like bread in our children's mouths
so their dreams will not reflectthe death of ours:

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother's milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of usthis instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive

- Audre Lorde, The Black Unicorn

Monday, November 28, 2011

"At some point, you have to realize that some people can stay in your heart but not in your life" - Flourishing Life Society ♥

Sunday, November 27, 2011

"Life shrinks or expands according to one's courage."

- Anais Nin

Saturday, November 26, 2011

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
If I am only for myself, then who am I?
If not now, then when?

- Hillel

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Charge of the Goddess

I who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars and the mysteries of the waters, I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me. For I am the soul of nature that gives life to the universe. From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return. Let my worship be in the heart that rejoices, for behold- all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals. Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you. And you who seek to know Me, know that your seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery: for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without. For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.

-Doreen Valiente (adapted by Starhawk)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Scorpian and the Frog

There once lived a scorpion and a frog.

The scorpion wanted to cross the pond, but being a scorpion, he couldn't swim. So he scuttled up to the frog and asked: "Please, Mr Frog, can you carry me across the pond on your back?"

"I would," replied the frog, "but, under the circumstances, I must refuse. You might sting me as I swim across."

"But why would I do that?" asked the scorpion. "It is not not in my interests to sting you, because you will die and then I will drown."

Although the frog knew how lethal scorpions were, the logic proved quite persuasive. Perhaps, felt the frog, in this one instance the scorpion would keep his tail in check.

So the frog agreed. The scorpion climbed on his back, and together they set off across the pond. Just as they reached the middle of the pond, the scorpion twitched his tail and stung the frog.

Mortally wounded, the frog cried out: "Why did you sting me? It is not in your interests to sting me, because now I will die and you will drown."

"I know," replied the scorpion as he sank into the pond. "But I am a scorpion. I have to sting you. It's in my nature."

The wisdom behind this story is: People don't change that much. So don't waste time trying to put in what was left out. Try to draw out what was left in. That is hard enough.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

“Strength and courage aren't always measured in medals and victories. They are measured in the struggles they overcome. The strongest people aren't always the people who win, but the people who don't give up when they lose.”
- Ashley Hodgeson

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

From Rosh Chodesh Tishrei

You who create
Hold me as I struggle
To birth myself
I am red with blood
Wrestling to come free
Hard painful work to be born
Twisting, turning, being pushed
Wriggling to come out
From the warmth, from the shadows of what we know
To light, to air, to a new world
Coming into my own
My birthright

There are many births
Each resembles the first
And each is different
In each we struggle
To become more free
From that which binds us in
That we might become more of who our soul is
Sing our unique song that only we can sing

- Vicki Hollander

Monday, November 21, 2011

Love Poem to Myself


"I swear the earth shall surely be complete to him or
her who shall be complete,
the earth remains jagged and broken only to him
or her who remains jagged and broken."

- Walt Whitman

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Quadesha (Sacred Whore)

My lips are sweet. Life is in my mouth.
Beneath my robes – I am Glorious.

When I dance, the sun sails safely through the night.
When I dance, the future is formed by my feet.
When I dance, the stars move through the heavens.
When I dance, women perfume their thighs, drape gold upon their breasts.
When I dance, the maiden laughs and tosses her hair.
When I dance, the youth writes poetry, waits under the moon.
When I dance, the matron teases her husband – the husband becomes generous.

When I dance, Venus shimmers the desert.
When I dance, dust becomes silver, stones are made of gold.

- Cosi Fabian

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The deepest healing is the healing of the deepest wound. The deepest wound is the frustration of the deepest need. The deepest need is the need for meaning, purpose, and hope.”

Peter Kreeft

Friday, November 18, 2011

You who want knowledge

You who want
Seek the Oneness

There you
will find
The clear mirror
Already waiting

- Hadewijch II

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chakra Work

My sister encouraged me to do chakra work years ago, but I was not ready for it. It seemed to out there and new age to me. I purchased several meditation CD's but I could barely listen to them without laughing.

Luckily, I did not throw them away. I have worked into a place where I am ready to develop this part of myself. It perhaps started with the Kundalini Yoga I have been doing these last years. Both practices have been so helpful in grounding and healing my life.

I received a compliment last week from one of the mothers of my daughter's friends. She said, "Everything about you is just so joyful. You just exude happiness."

I think I will always treasure that remark. It has not always been so.

"Learning about the chakras gives you access to your programmed responses so you can minimize their negative effects and maximize the positive ones."

"A chakra is a spinning vortex of activity created by the presence of consciousness within the physical body. These vortices exist within what is called the subtle body - a hidden field of energy that carries your urges, emotions and habits, as well as the imprints of all that has happened to you...chakras are centers of organization for the reception, assimilation and expression of life force energy."

- Anodea Judith, Chakra Balancing

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


"Freedom is no longer living with the expectation that one day I will do just the right thing and magically, someone will notice me and believe I am worthy of interest. I am worthy. My worth does not come from someone else. My worth comes from somewhere deep inside me; the acceptance and acknowledgement of my self-worth grew out of the process and the work that I did." - Darlene Ouimet

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I am Thou & Thou art I
And where Thou art I am
And in all things am I dispersed

And from wherever Thou willst
Thou gatherest Me

But in gathering Me
Thou gatherest Thyself

-Gospel of Eve

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I call my inner being Mother
For when She is released from within
She is like the Mother I loved
Within the mother I knew –
Larger and wiser, more loving and gentle
Than the voice of the world in my mind,
Which sometimes sound like the mother I knew
But is losing its power to rule me.

-Cassia Berman

Saturday, November 12, 2011


"It is important to give yourself credit for all your successes, no matter how small. If you wait to get to the end of the healing process, until you’re ‘finished,’ before you recognize your progress, you’ll wait forever. Each small step is a building block, and accomplishment in and of itself, and by acknowledging each step along the way you make room for further growth”

- Courage to Heal by Laura Davis

Friday, November 11, 2011

Natural Massage Oil

When I was pregnant with my son, my once lush skin turned flaky and red. Nothing that I did seemed to help.

I finally began to make my own natural and organic oils. Every morning for the last 8 years or so, I have started my day with a self-massage before my shower. I usually start at my neck and work my way down my breasts, arms, stomach, back-side and legs. It only takes 5 minutes, but it is so good for your immune system, circulation and overall energy. Not to mention that my skin feels like "butter", as several people have told me....

Making the oil is easy. I started making my own because so many oils and lotions are filled with CRAP. I like to know what I am putting into my body, just like I like knowing exactly what I am eating. Processed food makes you feel bad and put on extra weight. Same with the stuff you put on your body. If you are adding unnecessary chemicals and ingredients, don't expect good results.

You can buy everything you need for about $30, and it will last you about 6 months. It will take about 10 minutes to mix everything and put it back into bottles. Trader Joe's has great deals on Vitamin E Oil and Grapeseed Oil. The other oils I buy at a natural food store, like Whole Foods or New Seasons.

Here is my recipe:
1 Jar of Coconut Oil (you will need to soften this under hot tap water or on the stove in a pan filled with water as it is a soft solid like butter)
1 bottle of Vitamin E Oil (Trader Joe's! - about $3-4)
1 bottle of grapeseed Oil (Trader Joe's! - about $3-4)
1 bottle of avocado oil
1 bottle of almond or walnut oil

splash of essential oils if you want some extra fragrance. I think the coconut oil and Vitamin E have enough fragrance on their own though.

Mix everything together until you are happy with the scent (if you are adding essential oils.) Put the oil back into the bottles. You can use the Vitamin E Oil bottle for a travel-size to take with you if you go away.

You can use the oil every day for a self-massage before a shower.

In the winter, if my skin is more dry, I do another massage at night and leave it on while I sleep.

You can also use it to wash off your makeup at night. Just rub it on with your fingers and then put a hot wash clothe over your face for 2-5 minutes. Rub off any excess. This will take away any oil and dirt and also moisturize you.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Inexpensive Self-Care

I've been thinking a great deal lately about how little women are willing to invest in themselves.

Sure, they will buy any amount of clothing, makeup, jewelry, plastic surgery, exercise equipment, hair product, etc. to make themselves LOOK good, as their finances allow (or not).

But when it comes to women actually investing in themselves - i.e. doing things to make themselves FEEL good or get ahead in life financially, personally or professionally, there never seems to be enough time or money.

I have a lot of ideas about this, but one thing I wanted to write about tonight are ways you can take care of yourself without spending much (or anything at all!).

1. Give yourself a massage. (I will be putting up my special (cheap) recipe for natural massage oil soon!

2. Take a walk. (again, absolutely free!)

3. Have sex with a loving partner. Or, masturbate if you don't have one! (again, absolutely free!) Regular orgasms are so important. You will feel replenished and will glow!

4. Do yoga. If you don't know what to do, you probably have a CD lying around that you purchased but never (or rarely) use. If you have Netflix or cable, there are tons of great videos available. My favorite is Kundalini Yoga.

5. Read a book. (Again, how many books do you have lying around that you couldn't wait to buy, but never read?!)

6. Talk to a friend - on the phone or in person. How long has it been since you had a really great, laugh-inducing conversation with a long-time friend or sister?

7. Meditate. If you can't do it on your own, just try repeating one of these mantras:

I am healthy, I am happy, I am holy.

I love and approve of myself.

The universe supports me. I have all I need.

Or, if you are like me, you also probably have a million CD's lying around. Put them together in a sacred area (with your yoga CD's) so you have a place to go to replenish yourself.

8. Take a bath.

9. Give yourself a thorough scalp massage. Some peppermint essential oils works very nicely for this. Rub a few drops into the tips of your fingers and rub your entire head.

10. Have a dance party! Turn up your favorite music and have at it! If you have kids, include them. No one can not smile in the presence of a dancing child.

Here are some non-self-care items I try to avoid so that I can feel GOOD about myself.

- TV
- "Woman's" Magazines
- Watching, listening or reading "the news"

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Demeter’s Blessing

Save your light for utter darkness.
And be sure to leave a flame in
The jar when you light the lamp

Keep a reserve, daughter.
Always keep a reserve.

-Burleigh Muten

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mother Lakshmi’s Poem

If you would give as I do,
Give from the place where nothing can be taken away from you –
Give from the place of the spirit.
See everything as formed from that inexhaustible spirit
For the moment that it’s given, lasting as long as its purpose is.
Have faith that nothing is taken away from you
That has not outlived its purpose.
Relinquish the idea that you have anything to do with it
And in that you’re your clinging and self-doubt will fall away.

-Cassia Berman

Saturday, November 5, 2011


"Most important is that we not identify ourselves with such labels as codependent or addict, or get stuck in chronic recovery as if we were constantly in need of fixing. The goal is to heal and move on, embrace life's ups and downs, and move from recovery to discovery. Then we can break through the limitation imposed by hierarchy, work together for a just society, and free our capacity for courage, joy, power, and love."

- Charlotte Davis Kasl

Friday, November 4, 2011

A prayer for the survivors

May your scars be washed in warm milk.
May your courage be carved on monuments.
May your tears grow into redwoods.
May your rage be a fierce wind.
May your sex be the open sky.
May your heart be a whole mountain.
May your stories become the logs
That dam the flood of violence
And the silence of wood
Become the voice of power.

- Leah Korican, Her Story

Thursday, November 3, 2011

from The Invocation to Kali

It is time for the invocation:

Kali, be with us.
Violence, destruction, receive our homage.
Hel us to bring darkness into the light,
To lift out the pain, the anger,
Where it can be seen for what it is-
The balance – wheel for our vulnerable, aching love.
Put the wild hunger where it belongs,
Within the act of creation,
Crude power that forges a balance
Between hate and love.

Help us to be always hopeful
Gardeners of the spirit
Who know that without darkness
Nothing comes to birth
As without light
Nothing flowers.

Bear the roots in mind,
You the dark one, Kali,
Awesome power.

- May Sarton

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb

The Star (for Helani)

A still picture cannot capture her essence
For she is fluid and
Defies containment

Quietly insisting that nothing is so rigid it
Cannot be dissolved
If it is hard it
Will yield to her
In due time and
So will the sharpest edges
At long last surrender to her

She holds the cup of transformation
Through her
Jagged little stones become
Smooth round pebbles

-Arika Escalona

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

And the Great Mother said:

Come my child and give me all that you are.
I am not afraid of your strength and darkness, of your fear and pain.
Give me your tears. They will be my rushing rivers and roaring oceans.
Give me your rage. It will erupt into my molten volcanoes and rolling thunder.
Give me your tired spirit. I will lay it to rest in my soft meadows.
Give me your hopes and dreams. I will plant a field of sunflowers and arch rainbows in the sky.
You are not too much for me. My arms and heart welcome your true fullness.
There is room in my world for all of you, all that you are.
I will cradle you in the boughs of my ancient redwoods and the valleys of my gentle rolling hills.
My soft winds will sing you lullabies and soothe your burdened heart.
Release your deep pain. You are not alone and you have never been alone.

- Linda Reuther, from Homecoming

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hang on little tomato

The sun has left and forgotten me
It's dark, I cannot see
Why does this rain pour down
I'm gonna drown
In a sea
Of deep confusion

Somebody told me, I don't know who
Whenever you are sad and blue
And you're feelin' all alone and left behind
Just take a look inside and you will find

You gotta hold on, hold on through the night
Hang on, things will be all right
Even when it's dark
And not a bit of sparkling
Sing-song sunshine from above
Spreading rays of sunny love

Just hang on, hang on to the vine
Stay on, soon you'll be divine
If you start to cry, look up to the sky
Something's coming up ahead
To turn your tears to dew instead

And so I hold on to his advice
When change is hard and not so nice
You listen to your heart the whole night through
Your sunny someday will come one day soon to you

Abused Women

"Not all abused women were abused children, but many, if not most of them are. Abused children are prime targets for becoming abused adults. However, even women who had happy childhoods and loving parents, are susceptible to becoming victims of abuse. The gender role messages are in the very air we breathe. If you are a good woman, loving, generous, hardworking and nice, you will have a loving partnership with a strong, good man who will protect you and together you'll have a good life. If and when this expectation isn't met, women are set-up to blame themselves, and the abusive pattern begins. Maybe she's not pretty enough, thin enough, understanding enough, generous enough. Maybe she's not enough"

- The Emotional Toll of Abuse on Women© 2000 Michele Toomey, PhD

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tablet and Pen

I shall not cease to feed this pen, but still,
Keep record of what things pass through the soul,
Still gather means for love to work its will,
...Keep green this age round which blank deserts roll.

Though these days’ bitterness must grow sharper yet,
And tyrants not renounce their tyranny,
I taste their bitter wrongs without regret,
But while breath lasts will nurse each malady –

While yet the tavern stands, with its red wine
Crimson the temple’s high cold walls; and while
My heartblood feeds my tears and lets them shine,
Paint with each drop the loved one’s rosy smile.

Let others live for calm indifferent peace;
I listen to earth’s pangs, and will not cease.

by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
(Translated from the Urdu by V. G. Kiernan)

Saturday, October 29, 2011


We are told we are broke. The reality is we are investing in all the wrong things. {War.Deportation.Death.Destruction}

Invest in life.
Invest in imagination.
Create more than you consume.

*Wage Beauty

-Mark Gonzales

Friday, October 28, 2011

Lady of Ten Thousand Names

The last month has been very difficult for me in terms of a situation with my daughter's Kindergarten teacher. I don't feel like my daughter is being supported for being the strong, independent girl I raised her to be. I feel she is scrutinized for having the same level of spunk as her brother - of course he has the luxury of being a boy!

I have pulled her out of school until the administration will deal with the issue. I hope that they will, but I am considering other options as well. I will not have my daughter's sense of self be violated by this woman.

It's very difficult for me not to take this personally as her mother. My ultimate goal for both of my children was for them to be independent, free-thinkers. I was intentional about letting both of them speak their minds and find their own voices. Both their previous teachers and their counselor supported this, and continue to do so. But this year, all I hear is how my daughter is wrong. And as June Jordan says, "I am not wrong: Wrong is not my name."

I started working on a children's book called The Girl-God about 5 months ago based on my daughter's vision of God, which I find inspiring. While I was in Norway to visit my fiance, I met with the brilliant artist, Elisabeth Slettnes, who has partnered with me for the illustrations.

The other day I began exploring what other female-centered deity children's books were out there. I came across Barefoot Books (which I LOVE!!) and author Burleigh Muten. I immediately ordered 2 of her books. This one came tonight. We read the first two stories, which left me in tears. I wish all children's book had this amount of depth. I also wish more children could read stories about God that were about compassion and love, as these were.

An excerpt from Poem About my Rights by June Jordan, which is ruminating in my head these last days and which will also be partially excerpted in The Girl-God book.

I am the history of the rejection of who I am
I am the history of the terrorized incarceration of
my self
I am the history of battery assault and limitless
armies against whatever I want to do with my mind
and my body and my soul and

whether it's about walking out at night
or whether it's about the love that I feel or
whether it's about the sanctity of my vagina or
the sanctity of my national boundaries
or the sanctity of my leaders or the sanctity
of each and every desire
that I know from my personal and idiosyncratic
and disputably single and singular heart
I have been raped

because I have been wrong the wrong sex the wrong age
the wrong skin the wrong nose the wrong hair the
wrong need the wrong dream
the wrong geographic
the wrong sartorial
I have been the meaning of rape
I have been the problem everyone seeks to
by forced
penetration with or without the evidence of slime

I am not wrong: Wrong is not my name
My name is my own my own my own

-June Jordan, Passion: New Poems, 1980

If I should have a daughter … : Sarah Kay on

If I should have a daughter … : Sarah Kay on

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"Treat an apology like a gift. Accept it without peeking at the price tag."

- unknown

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One small act of resistance every day

"For some of us just staying sober is a victory, for others taking responsibility for our actions is a big step." -Yvette Abrahams

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


"It is the suppression of authentic emotions that makes us ill. We suppress them out of fear. The child's unconscious fear of violent parents can stay with us our whole life if we refuse to confront it by staying in a state of denial" ~ Alice Miller

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wageless Workers

"But changes in the twentieth century, mainly in socialist societies, have showed that the liberation of women in predominantly an economic issue. Liberation is a costly affair for any society, and women's liberation is primarily a question of the allocation of resources. A society that decides to liberate women not only has to provide them with jobs, but also has to take upon itself the responsibility for providing child care and food for all workers regardless of sex.

The capacity to invest in women's liberation is not a function of a society's wealth, but of its goals and objectives. A society whose ultimate goal is profit rather than the development of human potential proves reluctant and finally unable to afford a state system of child-care centres. Mariarosa Della Costa explains how capitalism maintains, in the midst of its modern management of human resources and services, a pre-capitalist army of wageless workers - housewives - who provide unpaid child-care and domestic services. Hence the paradox: the 'richest' nation in the world (the nation that controls most of the world's resources), the United States, is unable in spite of its much publicized abundance to afford a system of free kindergartens and canteens to promote woman's humanhood."

- Fatima Mernissi, Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynmaics in a Modern Muslim Society

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mary Faulkner and the potluck of women's spirituality

When people ask Mary Faulkner about her religious practice, she says, “I tell them I’m a Canaanite. They look at me kind of funny at first, but most of the time, they figure it has something to do with the indigenous people of the Middle East.”

Canaanites were the ancient people of Israel who worshipped the Mother Goddess Ashera for thousands of years before a Father God emerged. (When that happened, Ahera became known as “the lost bride of Yahweh.”)

“I would root myself in that tradition,” states Faulkner, a psychotherapist who said she stopped identifying as a practicing Catholic many years ago because of the women’s ordination issue. “I decided they’d just have to get along without me,” she said cheerfully during a recent phone conversation from her Nashville, Tennessee home.

The topic of our interview was her third and latest book, Women’s Spirituality: Power and Grace.

For anyone who is seriously searching for a history and/or seeking a personal doorway into the great, generous heart of the divine feminine, Faulkner’s is the definitive book to embrace. Initially she looks at Marija Gimbutas’ breakthrough archeological research which opened up to us the entire ancient matrifocal world of nurturance, art and beauty.

Faulkner presents us with the language and philosophy of emerging women’s spirituality and how it differs from the entrenched patriarchal/hierarchical mindset of so much institutionalized religion and politics. She provides us with a grand section on Wiccan, Celtic, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu Native American and African/Caribbean spiritual traditions.

She examines the work of well-known writers, theologians and academics, including Rosemary Reuther, Barbara Walker, Luisah Teish, Alice Walker, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sallie McFague, Mary Daly, Carol Christ, Charlene Spretnak and Sue Monk Kidd. Faulkner features a section on women who have pioneered in the healing arts, herbal medicine, ecofeminism, and spiritual literature.

Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena and Teresa of Avila are some of the heroines here.

The writer tells of the impact of women such as Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation who worked tirelessly to improve employment, health, care and the advancement of Native American women.

Faulkner tells us that matriarchal societies “were peaceful and based in economic equality. Male warrior cultures known as Kurgans invaded Europe about 6,000 years ago and imposed their hierarchical rule that replaced the earlier societies. This more warlike culture marked the end of Goddess time and the beginning of God time.”

Excavation of two civilizations that survived into fairly recent times shows us a good picture of what early matriarchal societies looked like and how they functioned, the author continues.

Matriarchal societies are not patriarchies in drag, Faulkner quips humorously at one point. She goes on to say that Catal Huyuk, a Neolithic city in Turkey founded around 8,500 BC and occupied for over 800 years, was a “spot chosen for its beauty, not for its ability to be defended against attack. In fact, no evidence was discovered that would lead to the conclusion that the people of these cultures were involved in warring.” No weapons were found there.

The art at Catal Huyuk established an important link between the archaic Mother Goddess cultures of the prehistoric world and those of classical times, said Faulkner.

“The Madonna and child, venerated in the religious art of Christian Churches and homes all over the modern world, go back in time to an unbroken line to this Mother Goddess imagery. The Great Mother that is so firmly rooted in the psyche of the people of Neolithic times is the Madonna of our psyches as well.”

The Greek Island of Crete, another Goddess culture, was the most highly developed civilization of the ancient world. Crete was known for its art, music and agriculture. There were viaducts, fountains, and irrigation systems to transport water as well as sanitation systems.

Religious celebrations expressed a joy of life. Music, art, dance, processions, banquets and games were seem as religious ceremonies and were depicted in art. Male and females were equal. They dressed similarly. The Goddess was celebrated in art and dance. She was loved and respected.

Devotion to her was carried over into society. Men and women shared leadership, “which was characterized by service rather than privilege.”

Faulkner’s book has other significant messages as well. “Women’s spirituality is a verb rather than a noun… a process rather than doctrine… It is a spirituality of questioning and discovering. It begins at the personal level, becomes political and then gets practical. It questions many of the traditional understandings about power and authority and eventually questions assumptions that have been made about God.”

She emphasizes that “this spirituality doesn’t preach or teach a specific theology or doctrine and it doesn’t send you to the traditional religious sources. It encourages you to go within -- to find your own truth,” scary as that might be.

In fact, women’s spirituality is guided by an ”inner sense of justice more akin to the Golden rule than to the Ten Commandments, is not threatened by your own or others’ beliefs, and you sense the sacred in nature as more than just renewal; your soul is fed there.”

Those who cling to the belief that the Catholic Church is still the only true religion will not care for some of Faulkner’s other premises. Namely, that “spirituality connects us … is inclusive, incorporating a variety of people, beliefs and ways of expressing those beliefs, and doesn’t seek to control them. Women’s spirituality has no problem crossing spiritual or religious lines -- it’s the ultimate potluck.”

Faulkner points out that in spirituality, you’ll recognize universal principles found in Buddhism, Hinduism, Native American teaching, Celtic, Wiccan, and Neo-pagan traditions, Christianity, African/Caribbean practices, Judaism, Jungian psychology, and assorted folklore. Simply put, she says, spirituality can’t be bundled into one philosophy, one culture, or one set of beliefs.

Worth noting is her premise that women’s spirituality “doesn’t challenge God. It challenges specific assumptions that have been made about God. In doing so it challenges long-standing cultural assumptions about power and authority -- who has it, who doesn’t and where it comes from. Women’s spirituality considers the possibility of sacred presence here, and now in this world. It believes all authority comes through divine Source – God or Goddess – or by whatever name you may call grace.”

Excerpt from Mary Faulkner and the potluck of women's spirituality
by Sharon Abercrombie on Aug. 24, 2011 Eco Catholic

The full article is available at the link below:
Mary Faulkner and the potluck of women's spirituality

Friday, October 21, 2011

Love Your Body Day - October 21

- Imagine a Woman International

Take this opportunity to celebrate your body for its real beauty. Stage a satrical beauty pageant, organize a "comfortable clothes day," throw away your scale or tell three women you know how wonderful and beautiful you think they are!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Body is not an Apology

The Gospel of Buddha - The Sermon on Abuse

And the Blessed One observed the ways of society and noticed how much misery came from malignity and foolish offenses done only to gratify vanity and self-seeking pride. [1]

And the Buddha said: "If a man foolishly does me wrong, I will return to him the protection of my ungrudging love; the more evil comes from him, the more good shall go from me; the fragrance of goodness always comes to me, and the harmful air of evil goes to him." [2]

A foolish man learning that the Buddha observed the principle of great love which commends the return of good for evil, came and abused him. The Buddha was silent, pitying his folly. [3]

When the man had finished his abuse, the Buddha asked him, saying:"Son, if a man declined to accept a present made to him, to whom would it belong?" And he answered: "In that case it would belong to the man who offered it." [4]

"My son," said the Buddha, "thou hast railed at me, but I decline to accept thy abuse, and request thee to keep it thyself. Will it not be a source of misery to thee? As the echo belongs to the sound, and the shadow to the substance, so misery will overtake the evil-doer without fail." [5]

The abuser made no reply, and Buddha continued: [6]
"A wicked man who reproaches a virtuous one is like one who loods up and spits at heaven; the spittle soils not the heaven, but comes back and defiles his own person. [7]

"The slanderer is like one who flings dust at another when the wind is contrary; the dust does not but return on him who threw it. The virtuous man cannot be hurt and the misery that the other would inflict comes back on himself." [8]

The abuser went away ashamed, but he came again and took refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. [9]

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"If you see something wrong, you should correct it with your hand and if you are unable to, then speak out against it and if you cannot do that, then feel that it is wrong in your heart."


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Patriarchy Encourages, Maintains and Prepetuate Addiction and Dependency

"...patriarchy, hierarchy, and capitalism create, encourage, maintain, and perpetuate addiction and dependency. Patriarchy and hierarchy are based on domination and subordination, which result in fear. This fear is expressed by the dominators through control and violence, and in subordinated people through passivity and repression of anger. The external conflict of hierarchy between dominants and subordinates becomes internalized in individuals, creating personal inner chaos, anxiety and duality. To quell the inner conflict people resort to addictive substances and behavior."

-Charlotte Davis Kasl, PhD - Many Roads, One Journey: Moving Beyond the 12 Steps (53)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Co-dependency: Application to Domestic Violence

One area where the codependency model has recently gained some degree of acceptance is in the development of counseling services for women who have been physically abused by a partner or other family member. Domestic violence is specifically listed by a number of the leading writers on codependency as a relevant clinical area for applying the concept (for example, Bradshaw 1988; Cermak 1986). Cermak (1986, p.33) states that `One of the most reliable symptoms of codependence is the inability to leave a chronically abusive relationship behind'.

This use of the codependency model in the area of domestic violence is of considerable concern. The notion that all women who have difficulty leaving violent and abusive men have some form of personality disturbance is dangerous because it blames the victim for not being able to prevent, avoid or cope with the violence (McIntyre 1984; Queensland Domestic Violence Task Force 1988; Roxburgh 1991). Moreover, blaming the victim further undermines her ability to take action against the violence (Dobash & Dobash 1987; Roxburgh 1991). As Roxburgh (1991, p.143) explains, blaming the victim:

reinforces the abused woman's low self-esteem . . . ; can contradict her interpretation of the violent situation and distort her version of what is happening . . . ; can weaken her resolve to act because she feels responsible for and therefore deserving of the violence; makes her feel undeserving of other assistance; diminishes the capacity of the service provider to offer assistance which will be of real benefit to the woman; and is untrue.

Orr (1991, p. 120) concludes her review of the various theories put forward to explain family violence by stating that an `understanding of the differences in the gendered identity of men and women is crucial to elucidating why family violence occurs, and to replacing the common myths about the causes of family violence with a stronger knowledge of who benefits from its continual perpetration'. The Queensland Domestic Violence Task Force (1988) also emphasised the importance of such an approach to understanding family violence. The codependency literature, however, comprehensively fails to examine sociocultural processes and gender related power issues and hence leads to an incomplete understanding of the dynamics of family violence.

Norwood (1985), for example, writes of the women `who love too much'. She avoids examining the cultural processes which obstruct domestic violence victims from obtaining a position of safety and empowerment. Rather she analyses intrapersonal processes in order to explain their lack of power. Hagan (1989) has strongly criticised this approach. She argues that the concept involves `a classic reversal: women are at fault again, this time for loving- what we've been reared to do- too much' (p. 9). She is highly critical of the lack of social analysis which only serves to maintain the processes that enable domestic violence to thrive.

As Roxburgh (1991, p. 130) explains, family violence `isolates the victim from assistance, a consequence the perpetrator frequently seeks to maintain'. Self-help books which promote concepts of personal inadequacy and disorder could be expected to instil a sense of personal responsibility for preventing the violence and hence further isolate the victim from those services which may provide a more realistic solution.

Victims of domestic violence need to have their feelings of fear and trauma legitimised (Queensland Domestic Violence Task Force 1988). They need clear messages which counter the myth that they are in any way responsible for being abused. They need to be able to explore their fears and anxieties and discuss the difficulty they experience in removing or protecting themselves without feeling that this indicates there is anything wrong with them. It is questionable whether a model which employs notions of personal inadequacy can be made consistent with such aims.

The codependency model does not provide any meaningful contribution to the understanding of domestic violence. Given this, and the extensive problems inherent in the model, there is no justification for using it in family violenceprograms. To do so is in fact unnecessary, given that there are more established models of stress and coping which can be used as the basis for developing positive counselling programs for families (for example, Lazarus & Folkman 1984, Orford 1987, Roth & Newman 1991). Such counselling programs need to be coordinated with other supportive and refuge services, and they need to be philosophically consistent with these other services (Dobash & Dobash 1987; Roxburgh 1991).

Counselling programs for survivors of family violence need to help participants understand that they are coping as best they can under difficult circumstances and that with appropriate support, and an opportunity to learn more effective coping strategies, they can minimise the trauma they experience and improve the quality of their future life. It is also important for these programs to provide participants with an opportunity to examine how gender- based power issues have impacted and continue to impact on their lives. The aim is to empower participants to develop more self-protective and self-fulfilling social roles. While this aim is also the declared aim of the codependency movement, the manner in which this objective is addressed within the codependency model is likely to be counter-productive.

by Greg Dear

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blaming the Victim: Domestic Violence and the Codependency Model

The Codependency Model: An Overview

The early literature on women with alcoholic husbands outlined a predominantly negative view of these women. Such women were seen as neurotic, poor copers who were obsessed with controlling their husbands' drinking. They were seen to have partnered alcoholic men in order to satisfy their own pathological needs (Kalashian 1959; Whalen 1953). It was further asserted that some women would sabotage the drinker's attempts to abstain in order to continue meeting these needs (Futterman 1953). Edwards, Harvey & Whitehead (1973) termed such notions the disturbed personality theory. They criticised the lack of empirical support for such notions and cite a number of research findings which support the alternative view: that it is the stress created by the drinking which affects the partner's psychological functioning. Subsequent reviews cite further research supporting the stress model and refuting the disturbed personality model (Finney, Moos, Cronkite & Gamble 1983; Gomberg 1989; Watts, Bush & Wilson 1994; O'Farrell, Harrison & Cutter 1981).

When the term chemical dependent emerged as the new label for both alcoholics and drug addicts, the term codependent was coined to describe their partners (Beattie 1989; Bradshaw 1988; Cermak 1986; Mendenhall 1989; Rothberg 1986; Schaef 1986). Rothberg (1986) articulates the notion that problem drinkers and their partners develop complementary relationships in which each reinforces the pathological needs of the other. Such notions were developed from a crude and simplistic adaptation of systems theory incorporating aspects of the disturbed personality model which Edwards et al. (1973) had discredited more than ten years earlier.

Adults raised in families affected by parental problem drinking were also labelled codependents. It was argued that living in such a family results in the person learning the dysfunctional coping responses seen in the partners of alcoholics and developing a similar personality profile (Cermak 1986). The central theme of the vast literature on codependency is that all members of any family in which one member has a drinking problem are psychologically disturbed and in need of treatment. There is no doubt expressed by any of the proponents of the codependency model that there exists a distinct syndrome of maladjustive coping behaviours and that this can be observed within every family in which a drinking problem exists. Some writers are explicit in describing codependency as a personality disorder (for example, Cermak 1986) and others go so far as to describe it as a disease (for example, Schaef 1986; Young 1987).

The term has been further generalised to also refer to the partners of anyone with any form of major behaviour problem (excessive gamblers, violent and abusive men, workaholics, psychiatrically disturbed individuals, etc.) and to anyone who had grown up in a family affected by any major disturbance (Bradshaw 1988; Schaef 1986; Subby & Friel 1984).

Treatment programs for codependents have been developed and hundreds of self-help books on codependency have been published. Typically these books comprise discussions of the characteristics of the codependent person, disclosures of personal experience, case histories of codependents, explanations of why long-term therapy is seen to be required, and advice on self-change strategies. Such books sell extremely well and an entire industry has developed around them. Leading writers tour the world conducting workshops and seminars, therapists advertise that they provide treatment for codependency, and numerous support groups and family counselling services have developed programs based on the codependency model.

Such developments have all taken place in the absence of any research support for the model and the lack of an accepted formal definition for the proposed syndrome. A number of other criticisms of the model have also been raised:

*that the model is incorrect in asserting that there is a distinct coping pattern found among the partners of problem drinkers (Gierymski & Williams 1986; Gomberg 1989; Haaken 1990; Hands & Dear 1994).
* that the model is at odds with the research on family coping in that it promotes the notion that most family members adopt ineffective and pathological coping responses (Gomberg 1989; Haaken 1990; Hands & Dear 1994; Raven 1994; Watts et al. 1994).
* that the model is demeaning to women in that it describes socially sanctioned feminine role behaviours as evidence of personal inadequacy and dysfunction (Appel 1991; Haaken 1990; Hagan 1989; Hands & Dear 1994; Krestan & Bepko 1990).

Despite such stringent criticism, and the complete lack of any research support, the model continues to be widely used in the alcohol and other drug field. It is also becoming more common in other areas of the health and welfare arena, and continues to be a prominent concept in the personal growth industry.

- by Greg Dear

Saturday, October 15, 2011

“There is no democracy with poverty.”

-Bothaina Kamel, First woman to run for president in Egypt

Friday, October 14, 2011


"Daughter of Woman, your healing task is not to become a new, improved or changed person. Rather, it is to reclaim your natural and essential self in all its fullness. In the very beginning, you remembered yourself. You came into the world with feelings of omnipotence, not inferiority."

- Patricia Lynn Reilly

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Traits of an Abused Woman

"She ceases to be spontaneous. She loses her enthusiasm for life. She is always on guard. She has lost her self-confidence and is often afraid to speak in public or to anyone outside the family, because she has been attacked so many times inside the family for what she has said. She is full of self-doubt. At times she may feel she is going crazy. She is deeply confused as to why her marriage is not a happy marriage. She feels sometimes like running away but due to her now completely codependent nature she is afraid to take the step. If the present relationship ever ends, she will be afraid or even terrified to begin a new relationship. These are the traits of an abused woman.” – worldproutassembly

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Whenever you are immersed in compulsive thinking, you are avoiding what is. You don't want to be where you are. Here, Now."

~Eckhart Tolle ~ Stillness Speaks

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Emotional Abuse

When a woman finds herself involved in an emotionally abusive relationship, she is often as surprised as her friends and family are, says counselor Kelly McDaniel, author of Ready to Heal. "I repeatedly hear women say, 'The relationship didn't start out that way' or 'Most of the time, things seemed really good,' " she says. "Repetitive emotional abuse has an almost numbing effect. It becomes normal." - MARTHA BROCKENBROUGH

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Yes means nothing if you can't say no."


Sunday, October 9, 2011


"The nuns taught us there were two ways through life - the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you'll follow.

Grace doesn't try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries.

Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it too. Likes to... lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it. And love is smiling through all things.

The nuns taught us that no one who loves the way of grace ever comes to a bad end.

I will be true to you. Whatever comes."

- The Tree of Life

Saturday, October 8, 2011

antiga’s thirteen circles

antiga’s thirteen circles[An anonymously written feminist-theology version of AA's Twelve Steps]

1. We believe that we are not responsible for creating the oppression that permeates our society.

2. We believe that a power outside ourselves and deep within us can restore our balance and give us wholeness.

3. We make a decision to ask for help from the Goddess and others who understand.

4. We acknowledge our beauty, strengths and weaknesses and look at the ways we have been taught to hate ourselves.

5. We acknowledge to the Goddess, to ourselves, and to another person our successes and shortcomings.

6. We make a list of the ways we have acquiesced to oppression.

7. We become ready to say no to oppression.

8. We ask for the courage to resist oppressive situations.

9. We mend our lives with respect for all.

10. We continue to be conscious of our actions and thoughts, promptly acknowledging our mistakes and enjoying our successes.

11. We seek to improve our conscious contact with the Goddess.

12. We believe that every moment we are doing the best we can, and that is enough.

13. We accept ourselves exactly as we are, trusting our experience and affirming that health, joy, and freedom are our Goddess-given rights.

Friday, October 7, 2011

"I have arrived. I am home in the now. I am solid. I am free. In the ultimate I dwell. What a loving place to be." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Verbal Abuse

"A child's name calling ("You poo poo!") and an adult's name calling ("You bitch!") both originate witin the same level of emotional development. The child hasn't had time to mature, so we are not disturbed by his name calling. The adult who is still name calling not only is disturbing but also can be dangerous." - Patricia Evens, The Verbally Abusive Relationship

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I Remember I was a Point, I was a Circle

I remember
I was
a point, I was a circle,
I walked
The swords are porous green.
I fell, to the edge of a whitened eyelash,
I laughed, to the edge of death I laughed.

I remember I was a glass that breaks the water, stretched out across a cloud,
I remember I was a butterfly,
despair began to spread like darkness, bullets began to make shadows, pointed shadows.

He is your blue-colored shirt, my cup and fork, my
balcony, the din of silence in the void, my closed eyelids,
the bird that shall bear me to the grave, he is the grave.

How often they have wrangled with mountains on my lips. Hands
that burn are extinguished in wine, rivers that run dry are pinned
to the walls, parched earth tries to imprison
your voice,
your voice.

Have you the courage to dance on a mirror? have you more
strength than the brilliance of a bee upon its knees, than
the kiss of pearls shoulder to shoulder?

Do you spell out tears as I set forth a tree?
From the ledge of each well, pots of hyacinth fly
in all directions. As though temples exploding, they
cross the marble to the final star, like the grasses
that glitter in a pebble. I watch her veiling herself,

On my clothes I write God, I write heaven.
This is me. And this is you.

Like one who lives on a seesaw, I live in the pupil of your eye.
Come morning you destroy me like an arrow, come evening
I yield to you, without a struggle I turn to dust. I say he is a mountain that bears a city, I say he is a horse that gallops in the sun.

Like one who lives in deceit, I stone myself and call for help
Is there a terror greater than veiled fear, than
a deserted evening, than feet that tread on heaven,
than waves sketched like rainfall, than signs of thunder,than a cage without a bird, a bird without wings, wings
without love, without love?

From your two hands I gather tenderness at night,
from your two hands I grant a smile to each star, from your two hands I bury my head on your breast, from your two hands I search for my prayer.

I draw halos around you, as if you are the foe, as
if you are the Messiah. If you were alone, I tell you, I would
prostrate myself you you. If just ten, I would hide you in my lungs.
Since you are a thousand, I shall give you to drink from my blood. Your wound grows and grows.
it slits my throat from vein to vein. I put sand in your
wound. I put your wound in a giant, and around myself I
light the fire.

Who are you, that I should love you in the space I love you, in
the wound?

The stones are whispering:
There is no myth save in a wrestling goddess, a moon fragmenting. The statues are countless, beyond all computation. The poison is a single dose placed in a cup.
I pluck suns from between your eyes, I pluck thorns

-Orbits, be scattered beyond time, beyond weapons, beyond vipers, Be in harmony with the strength of gods, with mercy like the gods, with optimism like the gods, Upon the trackless sand each teardrop has a garden, the birds a small handful of honey.

Here am I bending down to drink and I lose my memory.

I have not let my face leap like a bat, I have not kicked my foot, I did not move like phantoms over the rooftops, I did not steal the sea's wings,I did not break glass over a breast, I have not withdrawn into despair, I did not go mad in gathering honey,

I did not go mad, I did not go mad, I did not go mad.

No need for the flanks of suffering, for my armor

A ship carries us to the end of the world.
Rivers push us seaward. A destiny in which I dress. Nets by which I am woven. Statues I destroy. A debt I pay. Flocks of birds.

A disaster. An earthquake. Travel. Return.

Return. Return. Return.

Forgive me O Lord!

a shore gathering pearls, a white horse enfolding me and taking wing, a bird that immolates me as I am warmed by its eyes, eyes in which I pray and weep, my ribs that are translucent, trees of emerald, the rose of compassion above unity,the dissension of daybreak's crown, the willfulness of nightly grandeur,the sanctity of pain, roses raining down,

him, him, him

I grasp the wave and I tumble

A divine vigilance in my eyes?

I leave at your door the burnt moments of time, the sunset, the harvest of error, and endless slipping, the grasp of truth, ingots of gold, faces of those who have died, faces of those who will die, footsteps of the prophets, shadows of the priests, the thinness of words, the misfortune of the world, the secrets of the fields,

my love for you, your hatred for me,
and the white lilies
and the white lilies.

I grasp the wave and I tumble...
I remember I was a point, I was a circle.

Hoda Al-Namani
partially translated from the Arabic by Tim Mitchell

(The full poem was not reprinted here - because of the layout of the blog, the poem may not be laid out properly either. If you can find it online, I highly recommend reading the entire poem. It's a favorite.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

The "Perfect" Mother

Like many women, my relationship with my mother has been a difficult one, but not for the traditional reasons. As I have aged and watched my friends with their mothers, I am (now) grateful for the things that my mom did non-traditionally.

Growing up, I had that normal sense of wishing that I, and my family, were like everyone else.

We weren't.

Now I know that no one is.

But at the time, the one deep longing I had for my mother was for her to take me shopping, to the mall.

I am now very happy that my mom never gave a shit about malls or any of those things. My mother never commented on my weight or put me on a diet. She never made me feel inadequate.

Sure, there are pains that I carry from my childhood, some of them deeper than others. But what I have come to realize, more and more, is that my mom did the best she could. And really, that is all you can ask of anyone.

It is extremely challenging to be a mother. And not because of the job itself. Being a mother is a natural and wonderful joy. The "job" is a challenging because we all hold this insane ideal of what our mothers should be. And no one can measure up.

I think that one of the greatest harms we do to ourselves is this crazy notion of the "perfect mother."

There is no perfect mother.

A mother is a person, like everyone else. That we should hold them to a higher standard, while also expecting that they do most of the housework and nurturing and everything else, is so unfair.

When we expect the woman to do 95% of a job that should be shared 50-50 by at least 2 partners - if not a community of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends - we are essentially slapping around an already exhausted person who should be praised, not criticized.

Being a mother is a thankless job. It doesn't produce income or other tangible benefits. If something goes well, the children must be brilliant. If things go poorly, it must be the mother's fault.

I don't know that I will ever fully know all of my mom's struggles. I do know there have been many. I don't know that my kids will ever know mine either, and part of me thinks that is a blessing for them. One thing I do know is that you don't fully appreciate your parents until you have your own children.

I also know that no one fully understands what my struggle has been, except perhaps my mother. And I think I can never truly thank her enough for all she has done to help me over these last 8 years.

I hate to ask for help. My mother is the only one who knows, intuitively, when I need her. And she always steps in gracefully, without complaining, and helps me.

That is a mother. That is my mother. And I feel blessed.

Leaving an Abusive Relationship

"If an abuser feels that his partner is becoming more empowered to leave, he'll turn on the charm to convince the victim that he actually does love her, then take something away from her to control and dominate her. That something could be the victim’s right to money or privacy, or any number of other rights. He may tell the victim that she's nothing compared to him, causing the victim to feel vulnerable and afraid. Even if a victim seems like she has nothing else to lose, an offender can still find something to control and that usually has a significant impact on the victim’s self-esteem, causing her to stay with her abuser for just that little bit longer" ~ Linda Lowen

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Women in relationships with addicts are more likely to experience domestic violence.

The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence offers a number of suggested actions to raise consciousness about domestic violence. Check out the "clothesline", "purple ribbon", "empty place at the table", or "silent witness" projects.

Friday, September 30, 2011


Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said:" The strong one is not one who can out-wrestle others. Rather, the strong one is one who can restrain themselves when angry. [Bukhari& Muslim]

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse can take many forms, from denying you all access to funds, to making you solely responsible for all finances while handling money irresponsibly himself. Money becomes a tool by which the abuser can further control the victim, ensuring either her financial dependence on him, or shifting the responsibility of keeping a roof over the family's head onto the victim while simultaneously denying your ability to do so or obstructing you.

Financial abuse can include the following:

-preventing you from getting or keeping a job

-denying you sufficient housekeeping

-having to account for every penny spent

-denying access to cheque book/account/finances

-putting all bills in your name

-threatening to force you out of the house and make you homeless and destitute

-withholding information about welfare benefits

-demanding your paychecks

-spending the money allocated to bills/groceries on himself

-forcing you to beg or commit crimes for money

-spending Child Benefit on himself

-not permitting you to spend available funds on yourself or children

-making you give up your savings

-not working themselves but forcing you to work to pay for everything

Financial abuse can have serious and long term effects on women and children experiencing it. Women and children can become trapped in a cycle of poverty, they can experience physical and psychological ill health, isolation and feeling that they can’t escape from the abusive relationship.

-YWCA Factsheet


Here is an excerpt from my favorite part of "The Big Book"

"...acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation - some fact of my life - unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could no stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes." (448)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I have really been struggling these last weeks over the issue of fairness.

Fair is a relative term. Life, in general, is not fair. But in my mind, it should be.

I was devastated by the execution of Troy Davis. I can barely write these words without breaking down. I, like millions of others, had held my breath until the last second, only to get the bad news.

I can only hope that this, like so many other things that are happening in our world now, will create some sort of tipping point, where the rest of us finally fight back for what is right. I am really happy to see so many people demonstrating on Wall Street and throughout this country. I hope this movement will continue to grow.

"There is a huge number of Americans who simply don't realize that they've been victimized by Wall Street – that they've paid inflated commodity prices due to irresponsible speculation and manipulation, seen their home values depressed thanks to corruption in the mortgage markets, subsidized banker bonuses with their tax dollars and/or been forced to pay usurious interest rates for consumer credit, among other things." - Matt Taibbi

I know about unfairness all too well in the money department. For someone who tries to think the best of people, this has hit me especially hard. I've come to realize that when there's money involved, any good that was there (if there ever was any) quickly dissolves.

It's very hard to completely heal when things continually seem unfair. I am trying to accept that things will never be fair between us.

I need to accept that I will never get a full amends from my ex or his family no matter how many AA meetings they attend. The rules for the rich and entitled are different than those for the rest of us.

The only thing that is "fair" in terms of my divorce is that my ex is no longer married to me.

All I can do is move on the best I can, raise my kids well and be happy with my new life. The saving grace is, I do have a new life.
"Dear World:

I appreciate you waiting for me to be born, but please, stop neglecting your child named today.


- Mark Gonzales

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"No great thing is created suddenly. There must be time. Give your best and always be kind."

- Epictetus

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sara's Steps for Incest Survivors

I put together the following version of the twelve steps in my process of recovering from incest. When I wrote these steps I never expected anyone but me to see them.. What I wanted was a personalized set of the steps, one that brought together ideas and words that were particularly meaningful to me....These steps are based on the words of the SIA (Survivors of Incest Anonymous) Twelve Steps, the Feminist Steps, and the many people who have helped me to recover. Take what you need and rewrite the rest.

1. Admitted that we had been sexually abused, were powerless over the abuse at the time, and that its consequences had deeply affected our lives.

2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves and deep within us could restore our hope and bring healing.

3. Made a decision to seek help from our higher power and others who understood.

4. Searched deep within to honestly appraise our strengths and weaknesses, and how they affect our lives and others around us.

5. Admitted to our higher power, ourselves, and another person the exact nature of these concerns.

6. Became ready, with the help of our higher power and others sent to aid us, to discard behavior and thinking that was no longer useful or healthy.

7. Honestly desired to abandon these behaviors and pursue instead those that bring strength and renewal.

8. Made a list of the people we had harmed, including ourselves, and became willing to make amends when possible, change our behavior, and forgive ourselves.

9. Made amends with respect for all concerned.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and, when falling back into harmful behavior, promptly acknowledged it and started again, remembering to appreciate how far we've come.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our contact with our higher power and inner spirit, seeking to realize our potential for a generous and meaningful life. Came to believe that every time we accept our past and respect where we are in the present, we are giving ourselves a future.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we sought to spread this message to others and practice these principles in all our affairs.

- Charlotte Davis Kasl, PhD, Many Roads, One Journey: Moving Beyond the 12 Steps

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Be Full of Yourself

My daughter is convinced this girl is her - I have it hanging up both in my office and in her bedroom.

- Imagine a Woman International

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"To dare to live alone is the rarest courage; since there are many who had rather meet their bitterest enemy in the field, than their own hearts in their closet."

- Charles Caleb Colton

Friday, September 23, 2011


I realized today that I feel happier than I have probably ever felt.

This is something I have been working on for a long time: just to be happy.

For some people it probably seems like a simple thing. But for me, it has not been.

I had so many negative thoughts constantly popping into my head that I think I needed to completely re-arrange the way I thought. For me, listening to meditations and other positive, affirming voices really helped.

I've been listening to Patricia Lynn Reilly's Home is Always Waiting Meditation (which is wonderful!) every night when I put my daughter to sleep. Sometimes she wants to just talk to me, and that is OK. But I think we both benefit from her words and her peaceful voice. Throughout the day, beginning with breakfast for me and the kids, I listen to Chakra meditations. This is an area of work my sister has encouraged in me for years. It was only recently that this did not seem "weird" to me.

I have been walking my hilly neighborhood daily and following up with my Kundalini Yoga DVD afterwards. The walking helps me clear my head so I can really experience the yoga. When I tried to do yoga just by itself, I would often get distracted with thoughts or things to do mid-way through.

I was really hard on myself for not doing the yoga and walking daily, but when I let go of that and just decided to do what I could, I started to really enjoy it - and make it a priority every day.

I also decided to make myself a nice salad every day at lunch. In the past, I only made salads when other people were eating with me. I don't know why. But I've figured out a method to make a nice single salad, the way I like with with lemon and olive oil, without it being too much fuss. I actually enjoy putting it all together.

I have more time for me now. Part of this is that both my children are in school all -day now. I never had time to do all these self-care acts. I have never had a live-in partner. And I never demanded partnership. I think in a lot of ways I felt lucky just to have the "privilege" of being married. Even if it was to someone who could not give back to me in any way other than buying me off. Contrary to what Alanon promotes, I don't think you can be happy or healthy in a toxic environment. I don't believe children can be either.

I feel so grateful to have such a loving and supportive partner now. I am constantly amazed at his support of me. I never knew a love like this existed, at least for me.

Now that I am healing myself, I have more creative energy than I have ever had. I have so many projects that I am working on and am excited about. Previously, everything looked good on the outside, but I was a miserable mess. Now, by all accounts, I should probably be miserable - at least by my old value system. But I am really, really happy.


“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable.”

-Madeleine L'Engle

Thursday, September 22, 2011

After I had a child, it was hard to find out that I, like my own mother, felt I had to purchase the right to create by doing something useful.

- Antonia Malchik

The Low Road

What can they do
to you? Whatever they want.
They can set you up, they can
bust you, they can break
your fingers, they can
burn your brain with electricity,
blur you with drugs till you
can't walk, can’t remember, they can
take your child, wall up
your lover. They can do anything
you can’t blame them
from doing. How can you stop
them? Alone, you can fight,
you can refuse, you can
take what revenge you can
but they roll over you.

But two people fighting
back to back can cut through
a mob, a snake-dancing file
can break a cordon, an army
can meet an army.

Two people can keep each other
sane, can give support, conviction,
love, massage, hope, sex.
Three people are a delegation,
a committee, a wedge. With four
you can play bridge and start
an organisation. With six
you can rent a whole house,
eat pie for dinner with no
seconds, and hold a fund raising party.
A dozen make a demonstration.
A hundred fill a hall.
A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter;
ten thousand, power and your own paper;
a hundred thousand, your own media;
ten million, your own country.

It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again after they said no,
it starts when you say We
and know who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.

--Marge Piercy

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lupe Fiasco - Words I Never Said ft. Skylar Grey [Music Video]

I think that all the silence is worse than all the violence
Fear is such a weak emotion that's why I despise it
We scared of almost everything, afraid to even tell the truth
So scared of what you think of me, I’m scared of even telling you
Sometimes I’m like the only person I feel safe to tell it to
I’m locked inside a cell in me, I know that there’s a jail in you
Consider this your bailing out, so take a breath, inhale a few
My screams is finally getting free, my thoughts is finally yelling through

It’s so loud Inside my head
With words that I should have said!
As I drown in my regrets
I can’t take back the words I never said

- Lupe Fiasco
"There is a life-force within your soul, seek that life."

Monday, September 19, 2011


"I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I'm a human being first and foremost, and as such I'm for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole." ~ Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Sunday, September 18, 2011


"In the end, I didn't need to be the mother of all mothers. All I had to be was what I am, what most people are, a person who learns." - Hilda Raz

Saturday, September 17, 2011


"Women are not fragile. Not in any sense of the word. We are ultimately strong, physically, mentally and emotionally. We allow our selves to use all our characteristics. Yes, including the emotional ones. Tears, laughter, anger, joy, sorrow, frowns, quiet mumbling and loud yells.. all of which help us to understand ourselves and others and we have strong emotions because we use them. Frailty is a myth." ~ Anon

Friday, September 16, 2011

Your Soul is Oftentimes a Battlefield....

Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.

Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul,
that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness
and melody.

But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay,
the lovers of all your elements?

Your reason and your passion are the radar and the sails of your seafaring soul.

If either your sails or your radar be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.

For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.

Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion,
that it may sing;

And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.

I would have you consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.

Surely you would not honor one guest above the other;
for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both.

Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars,
sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows --- then let your heart say in silence, "God rests in reason."

And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky --- then let your heart say in awe, "God moves in passion."

And since you are a breath in God's sphere, and a leaf in God's forest,
you too should rest in reason and move in passion.

~ Khalil Gibran