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.