Get a grip

Last night was a history making moment. An end of an era moment. A moment of gratitude and reflection. It was a moment of grace coupled with an incredible knowingness to make space for the next generation of leaders who will undeniably shape a more just world.

It was a moment that almost didn’t happen.

In a packed DC ballroom, of Planned Parenthood staffers and volunteers from across the country, Cecile Richards bid adieu to her Planned Parenthood family. Speaking from her heart, she shared how she nearly didn’t show up to interview for what she calls her opportunity of a lifetime – serving as Planned Parenthood’s national president.

Cecile Richards

Surprisingly Cecile Richards, regarded as one of the fiercest modern-day advocates for women and families, initially doubted her own gifts and talents to lead the national Planned Parenthood organization.

Cecile said, “Like any adult woman who’s unsure of her own abilities, I called my mother.”

Enter Ann Richards, former Governor of Texas, who told her daughter, as only a mother can, “Get a grip, Cecile.”

Each of us, as our own insecure and flawed perfectly perfect self, has the opportunity to create unique, history making moments. It’s as easy – and it’s as difficult – as whole-heartedly showing up in your own life and your own spheres of influence.

It’s our collective moment to get a grip, believe in ourselves, and make a difference.

It is what it is

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Design by BlackPaint Studios

Until you’re resolved it’s not.

The time is now.

What it is, is not the way forward for women, girls and families.

Backbones. Not wishbones.

Voice your perfectly perfect resolve to be the change you want for the world.

Rise up. Be Visible.

 

13-year-old girls

What words pop into your head?

As a mother, maybe, Caring or Trouble or Sensitive or Shy or Passionate or Kind or Daring or maybe even Yikes!

How about this word?    Activist.

It’s likely the word activist is one Mary Beth Tinker’s mother may have used when describing her daughter.

In 1965 Mary Beth Tinker was 13. She and her friends made history – by being activists.

Armband Advocacy

Armband Advocacy

This young group of friends wore black armbands to school to mourn the Vietnam War dead and support the Christmas peace truce being urged by Robert Kennedy. Mary Beth was suspended as were others. Yet her 13-year old activism resulted in the landmark free speech Supreme Court Case, Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District.

In a few short weeks, on January 21st, people will gather for Women’s Marches in cities across the country showing their advocacy, their fortitude and their strength – just like Mary Beth Tinker did in 1965.

And just like Mary Beth Tinker, my daughter and I will be wearing our black armbands in the Women’s March on Madison on January 21st.

Thank you Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin for working with women owned BlackPaint Studios to create this powerful reminder of advocacy while allowing us to support the country’s largest provider of reproductive health care.

How will your perfectly perfect 13-year-old heart, advocate for the issues and rights that are important to you?

#Riseup
#Bevisible

Click here to order your Mary Beth Tinker inspired armband.

Cue ABBA

Today looks significantly different than it did a year ago.

You’ve most likely celebrated a milestone or two. Perhaps you’ve grieved any number of losses. You’ve also experienced people coming in and going out of your life.3939254067_80f769061e_o

In all the ups and downs of the previous 365 days, perhaps someone took a chance on you.

A chance that made today positively different than a year ago.

A chance that opened up the world.

A chance that said, “I believe. I believe in you.”

Sometimes that’s all we need. One person to step up and take a chance on our perfectly, perfect selves no matter our imperfections or the trials we’ve encountered.

On the occasion where you find yourself all alone and you need someone to take a chance on you, look in your mirror. Yep there she is – perfectly, perfect you.

She’s gonna do her very best, if you put her to the test, if you let her try.

Take a chance on you – that’s all I ask of you honey – because I believe in you.

 

 

photo credit: ? via photopin (license)

Oh, the humanity

4717326163_8317f72bf0_nTake care of people and the rest will come.

I’ve observed in both the for-profit and non-profit worlds a tendency and comfort to focus on the bottom-line, consultants and outputs rather than people. Within both worlds, focusing on individuals can be an unsettling proposition – the results aren’t always immediate.

When the focus is placed on cutting and divesting rather than investing, the results can be immediate – generally, also finite.

When the focus is placed on investing – especially in people, the results can be slow. Those results? Infinite and always more impressive.

The same is true of life – take care of people and everything else will come – in perfectly, perfect droves.

 

 

photo credit: IMG_5955 via photopin (license)

Next please

2661425133_1328692483_nThis time next week I will have the opportunity to review the information.

This time next month I’ll have more information and will be able to consider making a decision.

This time next year I’ll be ready to make a decision about whether or not to move forward with my big dream.

Take this time now – today – to start shaping your big dream. Take this time now to move your big dream forward.

This time now – it’s yours – take it!

 
photo credit: Time via photopin (license)

Stolen panache

Blue Ribbon 250x325Last week, on one of the first truly glorious spring days, I wrapped our front yard tree in teal netting adding a sparkly teal bow for a little extra panache in support of April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Today however, felt more like a fall day than anything remotely spring. The wind was harsh, knocking and thrashing everything in its path violently to the ground.

My sparkly teal bow was no exception – it too had fallen casualty to the unrelenting force of the wind where I found it on the ground twisted in all of its panache.

The bow was a reminder of how in a split second of unrelenting force sexual assault, violence and rape occur – in the U.S. every 107 seconds. The violence is staggering:

  • 1 in 6 women are sexually assaulted
  • 1 in 33 men are sexually assaulted
  • 68% of sexual assaults go unreported
  • 98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail or prison

As parents and adults it is our job, as Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young sing, “to teach our children well.”

Teaching our boys and girls respect for all people.

Teaching our boys and girls that “no means no.”

Teaching our boys and girls by modeling what respect looks like in our own relationships.

It is incumbent upon us to do this teaching in order to end this epidemic of sexual violence and rape.

Everyone deserves to be treated with loving kindness and respect. Every beautiful being who has been victimized deserves to be believed – perhaps the purest form of loving kindness and respect each of us can extend to a sexual assault victim are the words “I believe you.” (Thank you TeamTeal365 for this sage advice.)

For additional resources, visit RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

Go. Now. Teach.

Be the loving kindness and respect that honors everyone’s indigenous panache.

 

Statistics provided by RAINN

Weirdos

FullSizeRender-68Find them.

Surround yourself with them.

They are the risk takers.

The ones creating and making work that matters. The ones who understand, embrace and celebrate failure for all of its juicy, enlightening nuggets – the bedrock for phenomenal work moving forward.

It’s time to embrace your inner weirdo.

Make work that matters.

Are you a weirdo?

Shine Bright

The synchronicity of the universe.

I’ve kept a card from Sarah Fierek – the gracious, inspiring, creative, intelligent and amazingly wonderful connector of people – next to my writing spot.

Inside the card, she penned one of her beautiful, inspirational quotes. Today’s post felt like the exact right time to share Sarah’s quote.

As I was writing the title for this post – Shine Bright – something Sarah had written to me in her card, I was pulled off-task by Facebook’s ping alert. And, of course, once the almighty Facebook ping pings, it’s the understood mandate to abandon everything to discover what is happening in FB Land!

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Shine On, Shine Bright

Jumping onto Facebook, I immediately spotted the post from Sarah. Another one of her stunning photographs. I caught my breath as I noticed she had entitled the photograph, Shine On Milwaukee.

Ah, yes, the synchronicity of the universe – shine on, shine bright – agreeing this was the exact right time to share Sarah’s quote.

May these words from Sarah inspire you as you begin a new week, moving harmoniously with the rhythms of the universe. Permitting your perfectly, perfect self to shine bright.

“A harmony from a distance tells me to dream –

A song that’s so perfect the radio sings.” – Sarah Fierek

Photo Credit: Sarah Fierek

Is this the line for the bathroom?

While many gains have been made for the LGBTQ+ community, there is much work to be done in each of our lifetimes to obtain equality.

FullSizeRender-66Non-gender specific restrooms are just one of the ways.

Becoming a change agent for LGBTQ+ equality in your workplace, your home, your place of worship and your school district are great places to do this acceptance work.

Every ounce of advocacy matters. Especially for those who face discrimination when simply taking care of a basic human need – like using the toilet.

To be the best advocate or ally for the LGBTQ+ community you can be, start by educating yourself.

Julie Tarney is writing an exceptionally fabulous blog – also featured in the Huffington Post – called My Son Wears Heels. Her blog covers topics of gender identity, gender expression and self-acceptance. Plus Julie is a witty, thoughtful and inspiring writer. You’ll look forward to receiving her posts while you learn.

Another excellent educational resource is Diverse and Resilient. Find out how you can bring the Acceptance Journeys program to your city.

As you start educating yourself, bring others along with you.

After all, we are all children of this magnificent universe. Each deserving of equality, dignity and grace.

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