Celebrating stuff mamas say

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Yes Forrest’s mama, you are right – you never know what life is going to bring you!

You can be thoughtfully working your way through your box of chocolates. Carefully studying each chocolate. Imagining the deliciousness of each artful creation. Selecting the chocolate bit of goodness to surprise and delight.

Despite the studying, imagining and selecting – bam! You discover the rancid chocolate.

In its rancid wake are elements of chaos and fear. Perhaps even a sense of great loss, injustice, instability, isolation and a long crappy list of other challenging emotions.

Your beautiful box of chocolates, has let you down – just like life can.

Working through the let-down requires heeding another long-standing “stuff mamas say” saying:

Pull yourself up by your bootstraps

Granted, the ensuing chaos of the rancid chocolate may completely annihilate any trace of your bootstraps. Yet creating or rebuilding new bootstraps offers a solid starting point to move beyond the chaos – to move beyond the rancidness.

The best part of creating or rebuilding your bootstraps? You don’t need to go it alone!

Recognizing that either alone or in the presence of others, you may need time to grieve, be angry and cry. By all means take that time.

Do grieve.

Do get angry.

Do cry.

In between, gently begin considering what you may need for support. Perhaps time alone; rest; journaling; doodling; temporarily pausing a commitment; talking with an individual who will listen and not judge providing suggestions or advice if requested. Perhaps allowing others to gift you with help or a kindness to ease your burden.

When you’re ready, begin to identify how you can best help yourself.

Pull out paper and pen. Open a note in your smart phone. Use the bathroom mirror. Write two things.

First – your intention for this period of chaos.

Second – what you want on the other side of the rancidness working its way through your life.

A rancid chocolate has made its way into my life.

In order to begin my own bootstrap pulling-up, I wrote my two things – opting out of the bathroom mirror option…! Based on today’s Abraham-Hicks daily quote I included an element of time.

My intention for the next fifteen days is Celebration. To celebrate the good, the bad, the happy, the sad – all the many contoured elements of living.

What I want during these next fifteen days and beyond is a Healthy Lifestyle (i.e. food, thoughts, actions, discipline, media consumption) and Exploration (i.e. learning, discovery, adventure).

My wish for you – whether you’re faced with something extraordinarily wonderful causing you to vibrantly dance or something appallingly horrible violently knocking you to the ground with fear and agony – is to take the time to write your intention and your wants.

As a result, you will never be very far from your own perfectly, perfect bootstraps.

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Label Sorting

As I woke up to a new year, I began thinking about sorting out the old from what will be the new. I also thought about how labels both hinder and help in the sorting.

Sometime in my pre-teen years, as I began to understand the ecology buzz of the 70s, I started peeling labels off the soup and vegetable cans stored in the kitchen cabinet. I cleverly (at least I thought I was!) used the inside of the labels as stationery. I would fold, tape and somewhere on the label write an address. A stamp was placed and off the ecologically friendly stationery went into the US Mail! (Do kids still do this – and how in the world did I ever address on top of the label – I bet the US Postmaster was glad when that trend ended!!!)

Without the labels staring back from the inside of the kitchen cabinet, we don’t really know what we’re getting. We have to dig a little deeper. We have to invest a little time. We don’t have a pre-conceived notion. Without labels, there is no “you go here” and “you’re one of those” sorting.

As the new year begins, I realize (after several cups of tea!) it’s not about the sorting. It’s about digging deeper, listening and peeling off the labels that clutter and get in the way of being the change I want for the world.

Happy New Year and Happy Label Peeling!

A SCOTUS kind of love

The goal behind Voices of Pearls was to create a place where voices, thoughts and ideas could be shared.  In that spirit, I am honored to share with you the beautiful voice of Lisa Clair, a fellow Women on Fire member.  With her inspiring words Lisa paints a moment in history about faith and hope.  For me she  paints a picture of the America and the world I believe in.  Most importantly her words paint how love did conquer all this week making 21st century American and world history. Read on and be filled with the faith, hope and love that together we can make positive changes in our world.  Onward!

Guest Blogger:  Lisa Clair

Waiting on history

Waiting on history

I had the rare privilege yesterday to stand in front of the Supreme Court with hundreds of people, gay, straight, and the media, waiting for the announcements on DOMA and Prop 8. Here’s what it was like: in stifling heat and humidity, there was good humor and hope. Rainbow flags and equality flags, printed signs and many more handmade signs. One said “I love my straight daughter and gay son EQUALLY.” Another told the story of losing his lover to a tragic accident before they could marry, but he was there in support of others’ dreams. A third said “If I can’t marry my boyfriend, I’ll marry your daughter!” (This was from a lovely young Mormon man, with a delightful sense of humor.)

There were bursts of chanting: “gay, straight, black, white, marriage is a civil right!” There was singing: America the Beautiful, and the Star Spangled Banner. Whatever else this crowd was, it was a group of Americans, standing together for what they believed was right. There was constant communication using phones and social media. Everyone was on the SCOTUS blog, so they were following justices’ opinions as they were posted, in real time. Then they facebooked it, tweeted it, vined it.

My daughter, who is interning this summer in the Senate office of CT Senator Dick Blumenthal, was released from her desk and told to “go be a part of history.” Other interns were there, too, sent with the same message. There is less cynicism and jadedness in government offices than you might believe. And the crowd itself? Welcoming, friendly, polite. To move from the back of the crowd to the front was a simple matter–an “excuse me,” a touch on a shoulder, a smile. People stepped back, made way, offered space.

Interns celebrate: Love Wins!

Interns celebrate: Love Wins!

Only one dissenting sign was held. One man, who separated himself and stood across the street, had a sign that said “Supreme Court, you are not GOD.” The back side of that same sign, seen the day before, said something about sodomy and sin, but he restrained himself on Wednesday. He stood quietly, holding only the front side of the sign. I didn’t see anyone talk to him. It was his own silent and unmolested protest.

When the announcement finally came, at ten thirty, there were cheers. But everyone already knew. Almost every hand held a phone, and heads were down, fingers rapidly telegraphing the news. Love is love. Love is love.

Happy 50th!

One-half century ago today, a young expatriate couple living in Europe, welcomed the first of two daughters into the world.

As they navigated first-time parenthood in a foreign country, were they aware of their voices?  Voices of never-ending love and support?  Voices of positive role-modeling?  Were they aware of their guiding voices?  Their words set the foundation for a value system; all integral components of what I now recognize as my voice journey.

My parents continued using their voices to set strong examples for my sister and me:  their commitment as Sunday school teachers… my mother’s creativity and energy as co-leader for Girl Scout Troop 637… my parents’ friendship and support to a young Air Force pilot who flew one of the last American military transport flights out of Vietnam… my parents teaching us to be kind to everyone in thought, word and deed… my mother standing strong with her teacher colleagues as they struck during tense contract negotiations… my parents teaching us to take responsibility for mistakes, learn from them and then move forward.

Even today, their voices remain strong as parents, grandparents, and active members of their community and church.  I am grateful for all my parents have done to guide and support me as my voice has taken shape over the years.

Today, that first daughter turns 50!  (Isn’t this something that just happens to other people?!!)

So now, how to celebrate?  For months, it was all about the “big party.”  And then something changed.  I started giving voice to the things I believe in.  I lobbied against Pence in DC, I marched in Madison, I got political on Facebook and Twitter, I door-knocked for candidates, I called and wrote elected officials – I got out of my comfort zone.

I began listening more intently to the voices of others.  Dasha Kelly’s powerful spoken word, advocating for change and social justice.  A new friend Barbara, who celebrated her 80th birthday with gifts to Planned Parenthood – a cause to which she’s been giving voice since the early Sixties.  And the amazing voices from Michele Woodward’s virtual birthday party, during which women shared their wisdom for turning 50.

As I thought about how I might celebrate sans the big party, I recalled my father taking me to see Mary Poppins the night my sister was born, and how Mrs. Banks’ effusive rendition of “Sister Suffragettes” planted a seed in the mind of an almost four year-old girl.  From that seed grew a passionate voice for women and equality.  And so today, on my 50th birthday, I stand strong with Planned Parenthood.

Yet the question remains: how to celebrate?  My birthday wish is that you’ll join me in celebrating the voices who are working to keep all people safe, healthy and strong with a gift to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, whether it’s $5 or $50.  Barbara has raised over $2,000 during her birthday celebration – what might our voices do together?

Here’s to celebrating a half-century, and the power of our collective voices!