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The Visibility Issue

invisible3I love that Ms. Perkins is addressing the Invisibility issue. Even more, I love that she’s asking how we’re colluding in it. I found this on Donna Henes’ Beliefnet blog; she got it from the author on The Huffington Post.

 

How to Be Visible

By Rebecca Perkins
Reprinted From The Huffington Post

“I’m not interested in being perfect when I’m older. I’m interested in having a narrative. It’s the narrative that’s really the most beautiful thing about women.”
Jodie Foster

There used to be a time (and in certain cultures this still exists) when women of a certain age were respected and held in high esteem. They were recognized for their wisdom and their intuition. They were the keepers of stories. They were the nurturers and caregivers and they were honored for this. Over time that changed, society began to look outside of themselves for validation, for wisdom, for guidance and we older wise women sadly seemed to accept our own inevitable invisibility.

I do, however, believe that the tide is turning. I believe that the world is waking up to the value in us older women. We will no longer to put up with being ignored, whether that be in the media, business, politics, the blogosphere or the fashion industry. Our voice is becoming too loud to be ignored. We still have a lot to do and much of that is standing up for ourselves. It’s about being heard, being seen, encouraging those around us, believing in ourselves and becoming empowered.

Let’s then celebrate all that has already happened. Women are making waves in politics and business both sides of the Atlantic and this is marvelous. Let’s show gratitude to those who are making a stand for us women in midlife, who are acting as our voice and let’s join them.

I long for the day when you type in ‘midlife’ into Google and it comes up with something other than ‘crisis’. I want to see words like ‘heroes’, ‘mentor’, ‘inspirational women’, ‘careers’, ‘how to live an inspired second half of life’ … do you?

Why do we find it hard to be visible?

Many of us will have come through menopause or are going through it and that brings many changes for us. We become anxious, we lose our confidence, our body changes physically and it can affect our self esteem.

We often come up for air for the first time in decades when we reach midlife. We are facing major changes in our lives. Our children have left home or are preparing to do so. We’ve faced a loved one’s illness or a scare of our own. Some of us have gone from married to single — any of these can act as the trigger that awakens us to life around us.

We come to realize that life is short and we probably still have unfulfilled dreams. Many of us become aware that we’ve been living our lives unconsciously. This realization can be deeply painful. It can very often lead us to retreat into our shells further, to hide away and become resentful, bitter or scared. We really don’t want to be living the rest of our life filled with regret and frustration.

Most of us have at some time or another felt invisible, ignored and of no value. We lack in confidence, we have low self esteem. And that’s not good, right? We so often overlook our value and our successes, we tend to focus on what’s not working rather than what is and what’s good in our lives.

If you’re feeling invisible right now, here are a few questions that may enable you to get a little deeper understanding as to where this is coming from and how to work your way out of invisibility.

  • How responsible am I for where I am in my life? How responsible am I for my own invisibility?
  • Am I invisible to myself? Do I take notice of my needs and desires?
  • What would I say to my younger self today to encourage her?
  • When was the last time I did something for the very first time?

Here are some of the things I believe are important in midlife:

  • People notice you if you take notice of and value yourself. Be interesting.
  • There is no fairy godmother coming to rescue you. You must be the hero of your life not the victim, as Nora Ephron urged us.
  • We must look after ourselves in midlife — Physically — exercise, style, food. Emotionally — get talking help if you need it or work with a coach. Spiritually — we are all connected, look at the world around us.
  • Have a mentor or a hero you can look up to. Who of your friends and family do you admire? What could you learn from them?
  • Develop self-awareness — spend some time in contemplation, keep a journal, ask yourself some questions.
  • Notice your body language — What’s yours saying? Watch people walking by, what can you tell about them from the way they walk? Do they look empowered or downtrodden? Do they seem happy and purposeful or miserable and closed off? How about you?

***

I need to add a few (editorial)things to this final list (repeated here for ease of application):

  • People notice you if you take notice of and value yourself. Be interesting.

Are you forgetting to be interested in yourself?

  • There is no fairy godmother coming to rescue you. You must be the hero of your life not the victim, as Nora Ephron urged us.

YOU ARE THE FAIRY GODMOTHER. No exceptions.

  • We must look after ourselves in midlife — Physically — exercise, style, food. Emotionally — get talking help if you need it or work with a coach. Spiritually — we are all connected, look at the world around us.

Also, Mentally—do crosswords, play trivia, keep your brain functioning.

  • Have a mentor or a hero you can look up to. Who of your friends and family do you admire? What could you learn from them?

Dream a Council of Elders for your life—these peeps can be alive or dead, factual or fictional. Go to them for Wisdom.

  • Develop self-awareness — spend some time in contemplation, keep a journal, ask yourself some questions.

If self-reflection isn’t your thing, get help. Find a spiritual director who will reflect you to you.

  • Notice your body language — What’s yours saying? Watch people walking by, what can you tell about them from the way they walk? Do they look empowered or downtrodden? Do they seem happy and purposeful or miserable and closed off? How about you?

Body language shows what you are thinking. Pick one thought that you’ll return to when you catch yourself thinking about what you don’t want, like this: Everything works in my favor.

What Becomes A Legend Most?

ROCK_560-2This post appeared on Donna Henes’ Beliefnet blog on June 4, 2015. I read it aloud to myself and for the world of women every day from that day forth. It reminded me of who I mean to be in the world. How about you?

Dangerous Territory

 

Dedicated to Our Great Work in the world, and The Cosmic Cowgirls Oklahoma! Hex PIN

We are a tribe of truth tellers.
Revolution makers.
Movers and shakers
of things that need moving
and shaking. Like hips.
And old ideas that need
shaking off.

We are a gathering of women who
straddle the worlds.
We have one bare foot on the earth (toe painted sparkly of course)
and one cowgirl boot in the marketplace of life.
With our heads in the stars for big dreaming
and our arms outstretched
to embrace as much aliveness as we can.
We have our hearts on our sleeves, both of them.
Whether we be sinners or saints
or wear halos or horns there is
one thing you have to admit about us….

We agree…

Be the most you that you can be.
Be your own revolution
while being a part of the collective one.

We believe this truth to be self evident:
That each woman can transform
her life into a legend.
That stories are made for telling
around the campfire, but

 legends are meant to be lived.
And sisterhoods are meant to
be your bridge when you don’t know
the way over the troubled water of
the lies you have been told
and tell yourself still.

To help in the great adventure
of revealing the more you that there is,
we may hand you

a paintbrush
a writing pen

a drum

a fiddle
a magic wand

a bar of chocolate
some cowgirl boots and
a jar of red glitter and

a ball of
red thread.

And the craft of inquiry. That’s right –

the path of questions

is that path each of us must walk

and keep on walking.

Creativity, curiosity
and inquiry into oneself

is the daily cup of tea here.

Here we know what women
are worth and we tell you what we
know of our ancient and future wisdom.
We have been gathering the stories
of our grandmothers and grandfathers
about birth and death and transformation
that have been lost. We will not
allow them to be lost again.

We  are carrying

scrolls of wisdom
across the planet so that thousands
of hands hold these legends
and it will not be lost from us
like it was before.

This is where women
come to gather the bones
and sing their whole selves
back together again.

We believe there is medicine,
sacred and true

in community that comes with the
territory of belonging.
Of being a part of that which
is bigger than you. And me.
A place where the collective
soul can unfurl her bright
wings and together we can
fly in a future that reflects
who we are and

what we care about.

And in closing I must give you a
Warning – if you enter
Cosmic Cowgirl Territory
there is no way

your wild woman

will keep herself contained.

Beware of shifting stories

and old ideas falling away.
Beware of taking up space
that might make others
uncomfortable around you.
Beware of no longer being
willing to live a life

that does not reflect
who you are.

This is dangerous territory.

Welcome.
Your cup of

revolutionary tea
is waiting for you.

 

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Shiloh Sophia McCloud, CA

Reciprocity

reciprocity3So few of us understand that we cannot withhold from others, and not withhold from ourselves. Another way to put this is: what I wish for others, I wish for myself. The fastest way to change to manifest anything is to pray for that same thing not only for yourself but for everyone else who wants the same.

These words by Joan Chittister inspired me when I read them on Donna Henes’ Beliefnet blog.

 

Try Saying This

Try saying this silently to everyone and everything you see for thirty days:

“I wish you happiness now and whatever will bring happiness to you in the future.”

If we said it to the sky,

we would have to stop polluting;
if we said it when we see ponds and lakes and streams,

we would have to stop using them as garbage dumps and sewers;
if we said it to small children, we would have to stop abusing them,

even in the name of training;

if we said it to people,

we would have to stop stoking the fires of enmity around us.

Beauty and human warmth would take root in us

like a clear, hot June day.

We would change.

                                                             Joan Chittister