You can now read my blog at WWW.ANNEWILSONSCHAEF.COM
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You can now read my blog at WWW.ANNEWILSONSCHAEF.COM
Thanks for checking it out.
In Frankfurt, Germany at the airport Sheraton Hotel while I was overnighting there for an early morning flight back to the good old USA, I was able to see the talk you recently gave in Ohio about Hillary. I have always been a strong supporter of your work (as I feel you could be of mine if you knew it) and, I was so glad to see and hear your entire speech.
It helped wash some of the slime away that has been puked over me since this election started.
I have experienced more out-and-out meanness in this last few months than I ever have in my entire life.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I can be mean at times (not often, of course) and some of my friends and ex-husbands can be mean. That’s why they are “ex.” And, in general, I do not live in a mean world. Meanness – slimy gooey, stick-to-you meanness is just not part of my everyday world.
I can be grateful for that!
And, although Hillary tries to hit back in kind and Donald has his moments, even they do not seem to be capable of spewing out the kind of meanness that women (I am shocked), men, and even some Blacks and Hispanics show when they light into Hillary. That kind of meanness fills the air with poison (we can taste it in our mouth), plops on our heads and runs down our bodies like dung-filled molasses and sticks to everything it touches. It gathers around our feet so we become immobilized with the putridness of it all. It takes a long time to wash it off and by that time, it has seeped into our pores and begun to suck life out of the tiny cells that want to live, grow, and rejoice in life.
After each experience of this kind of nastiness, I find myself saying: “Who ARE these people? And where do they come from?” Surely these are not people I know – – –
Recently, I returned from being in Hawaii and was looking forward to seeing my friends in Arkansas. Hawaii is such a gentle culture with so much Aloha in the people and the land. I find it so healing and I hang out with the local people and the culture as much as I can.
And, yet, I always look forward to returning to Arkansas and “my people.” I was born there.
One of the first places I go is to my favorite auction for my – what I call – “auction therapy.” Many of us have been attending this auction for years and I have a deep love for the people I have come to know.
On my return, I was given a seat across the aisle from where I usually sit. In the friendly atmosphere of the place, I greeted and hugged old friends, gave condolences to the wife of our oldest elder who had recently died, and, in general, felt back in a warm bath – for a few minutes.
Then it started. I have never heard such filth coming out of the mouth of what had seemed like normal people which was directed toward Hillary.
The people behind me, the people across from me and those behind and in front of them began a litany of vile barrage about Hillary. Rarely, ever, have I experienced such hatred especially at our “friendly” auction.
I sat there stunned for some time as the endless outpouring continued. Being Irish, I thought of many things I could say to cut them off at the knees. Then my grandmother’s words came to me.
I sat there thinking that there must be something I could say to help things return to normal without being a phony, a con artist, or a liar myself.
I just kept repeating “Who are these people?” I left the auction early, feeling like I had to speed home and stand in the shower for hours and scrub myself.
I am a person who almost always can find something good in everybody and something to talk sanely about, and that night, I went home feeling very, very frightened and a failure.
Since then I have been in Europe for a month of the campaign and there have been many times as I have watched the news that I was appalled with the ferocity with which some people – especially women – went after Hillary. I even felt poisoned by the TV screen.
As a person who has a doctorate in psychology and who has spent my life working with helping individuals, families, groups, organizations, and even nations heal, I felt at a loss.
There was no psychological theory I could find to explain the intensity of this behavior – – projection, repressed rage, early abuse, women’s hatred for other women?
Nor was in there any theological theory either – sin, evil – I did not want to go there. All were dead ends as far as communication and healing were concerned.
I have always believed in redemption for everyone. And, at that moment, I could not even see an avenue for us all.
So, thank you, Michael Moore. You had some supporters in the crowd and with grace, ease, and sensibility you were able to stand up there and bring out the goodness in the people there. You did this by having the group make a list of some of the good things they could say about Hillary and what she has done. You and the group were able to move past the searing hatred and let the healing seep in.
I, for one, do not see Donald or Hillary as anywhere approaching “perfect.” In fact, I do not see anyone that way and if they see themselves as perfect or approaching perfect, they are in big trouble. Indeed, that kind of someone would be very difficult and not fun to work with and would probably need some professional help. I will say, however, I just happen to like and feel more comfortable with Hillary’s faults than I do with Donald’s. In fact, I don’t like his faults at all, see them as pretty lifelong and internalized, and dangerous to our society as a whole.
So, thanks, Michael, you always do come through in the end.
In times of political, social, and economic upheaval like those we are now going through, it is essential to remember what is important and pause with those memories.
For example, last night I spent an evening with friends I have known for over forty years. If we are lucky, we see one another once a year. When we get together, we never have to “start over” or “start from scratch.” We immediately pick up where we left off and dive in solving the problems of ourselves, Europe, America and the planet.
All points of view are clarified and new discoveries are shared. Our “spheres of knowledge” are always very different. Yet, these “spheres” play around, bounce off one another and birth new spheres as we discuss, re-discuss and lovingly disagree and agree on or about everything.
Our backgrounds are very different and yet, we never lack for old and new topics to seek to understand ourselves, our societies, our planet and the universe at many levels.
Just the happiness we all feel as we come together for these few days is one of the best tonics ever.
Add to all the above that we are meeting in Seefeld, Austria in the midst of the breathtaking Tyrolean Alps where the air is so clear you cannot see it (unlike some of the cities we have had to travel through to get here!). The lake greets us every morning with bird sounds as the snowcapped mountains literally surround us, and the moon reflects off the newly fallen wisps of snow.
Beauty like this always puts the insanity of politics in perspective and allows us to “take a breath.”
If we let the awareness in, there are always so many experiences in our lives that let us “take a breath” – the beauty of nature, the sky at sunrise, the full moon in a clear sky, a new day, the gurgle of a contented baby, the cry of a discontented baby, people we love who love us – –
Thank goodness politics, businesses, money and the economy are only passing constructs that, in contrast, help us appreciate what is real.
All too often in the culture in which we have been raised, our special gifts as women have been ridiculed, kept in the home, dismissed, and called crazy. As if that were not enough, when we have dared to step into the public arena women who have succeeded have been extolled and rewarded for becoming “just like men.”
Rarely in public or private (except in the home – and even then, the recognition is qualified), have our unique gifts and abilities been recognized and valued – even by ourselves.
For example, our intuition is one of our great assets that is essentially not recognized and undervalued when it is seen. Yet, we have it. Often we “feel in our gut” that something is wrong with our interaction, an idea, or a belief. Often, we struggle to attach words and concepts to “that feeling” and we “know.”
Western science and the culture in which we live does not value this information and recognize that there are many types of “knowing.” And this kind of “knowing” is often present in important situations. I have learned to trust the unknowing of the knowing and “wait with” it. For example in Al-Anon, the recovery program for friends and family of alcoholics (in this society everyone should belong as all of us have to deal with addicts of some sort) has a saying “When in doubt – DON’T.” We need to treat our intuition that way. We need to stop and wait for and with more information.
Another “gift” that I have found in myself is knowing when I am being lied to. In my body, this “knowing” is centered in my solar plexus. I will be in what seems like a “normal” interaction and I will notice a quiver, a stab, a pain, an awareness of discomfort in my solar plexus. When I become aware of that awareness, I stop! I may not know what the person is lying about and I know that something is wrong – further investigation is necessary and always pays off.
Also, our brains, as women, have a unique way of functioning, we have more cross-brain connections, our brains develop earlier than men’s and we have smaller areas focused on sex and violence. We can build different kinds of cultures if we trusted ourselves.
The same uniqueness for women occurs in the area of leadership. Many writers have noticed that women are less interested in “climbing the ladder” than men and are more interested in shared and collegiate leadership. Some writers see this as a limitation in women, I don’t. I see it as a potential for wholeness from the personal to the planetary.
For so many centuries, we women have been told that we “don’t know how things are or have to be.” We have been told that we don’t know how things work or don’t understand “reality” as defined by the dominant system. Isn’t that a hoot when we have survived in it for all these centuries? The oppressed have always understood more about the system than those empowered in it because we have to in order to survive and we have perspective.
Yet, that system does not know what all women at some level know – that our unique knowledge and awarenesses along with that of other non-dominant people are necessary for the planet to survive. The wisdom of the wholeness is vastly important.
We women need to do our personal work to be clear on what we have to offer and we need to participate so that all of us become what we can be for this planet to survive and thrive.
There Will Be a Thousand Years of Peace and Prosperity and They Will Be Ushered in by the Women opens the doors and some stepping stones in that direction.
We need to look at the miniscule and the whole simultaneously.
We women, as a group, have historically progressed through 1) trying to be persons defined by men for their purpose to 2) trying to prove that we are just as good as men in a male-defined world to 3) proving we can be as violent and sexy (as defined by men) as they are. Now we are ready to bring what we, ourselves, have uniquely, to offer as women to help evolve a new society and way of being on this planet.
This country was founded on radical ideas and it is conservative to support them. I have always thought of myself as a conservative with radical actions to support these principles.
For example, this country was founded on the idea of religious freedom. To me, that means that no one group has the “freedom” or the “right” to run roughshod over another’s belief or way of worshipping. Our fore- mothers and fathers were trying to get away from the tyranny of a one-party belief system.
This open approach to “religion” is very close to what I know as that of the first/native people of this land. I have heard native elders say two things that apply here. The first is “The great mystery” is greater than any of us. Every group has some pieces of the truth and we are all climbing the same mountain to gain in wisdom and knowledge. How much better off we will be if each group shares its wisdom with the all.
The second was said to me by a Navajo elder. He said – I don’t care how you pray. The important thing to me is that you do pray. Then, you can always stand beside me.
Never, never can our national laws be distorted so that they represent the beliefs of a few imposing themselves upon the all.
Also, in the wisdom of our founders and the native people of this land, there was a recognition that all – ALL – are created equal and have an equal right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It is CONSERVATIVE not to make laws that limit or make illegal who another person is unless those behaviors are destructive to the all. For example, to make a law that says that a woman does not have a right to choose what happens to her body is unconstitutional and not conservative.
A law that states who can love who is not conservative or constitutional. The founders of this country were conservative in establishing open-minded beliefs and radical in supporting them.
For one group to try, because of their religious belief system, to impose their religious beliefs on the all, goes against the very grounds on which this country was founded. Even if those beliefs were/are radical, they are the founding beliefs of this country.
Sometimes, we forget how amazing and difficult it is to try to operationalize those basic founding beliefs when our “religious teachings and beliefs differ.”
Can open systems like those of our founders survive when the goal of closed systems is to destroy everything unlike themselves?
In this country, conservatism means that we are always striving for the greatest level of freedom for all people whether we agree with their religious beliefs or not.
For example, freedom means that those who do not believe in abortion have the right not to do it and not the right to impose that prohibition on others.
Giveaway ends October 15, 2016.
See the giveaway details
“Your Cheatin’ Heart
Will Tell on You”
This old country-western song is being sung to Donald Trump by the Republican Party as stories of disease and sexual acting-out fill the airwaves.
Yet, what about Ivanka? Why do the women never seem important in these scenarios? They had only been married for a short time and he is talking about trying to have an affair with a married woman . . . unsuccessfully, thank goodness.
Yet, where are the women in all this?
Why have women been willing to buy into the set-up of being pitted against one another for male validation (no one has validation to give anyway) and attention?
We second-wave feminists had to ferret out in ourselves our deep cultural training to compete with one another for male validation and attention. Because of our belief in the Original Sin of Being Born Female, competing was all we had culturally. Then, as we felt better about ourselves, we let that go and spent more of our energy on sisterhood and working together for what was/is important. We came to know that no other human being – female or male – can validate another. At the same time, we enjoyed the sisterhood of other women.
There is not much being said about two issues here: 1) how deep the pain goes in us when being betrayed by a “sister” and 2) the responsibility that these “victims” have for the choices they made to move in on another woman’s (sister’s) husband.
Of course, there are those who were attacked and raped and that is a different matter. They are victims.
And, the women who – for whatever reason – chose to have an affair with a married man made choices. Why? What were the reasons they gave themselves/we give ourselves?
I know from my experience of being a wife whose husband had an affair, at a very deep level, the pain I felt by being betrayed by a “sister” went much deeper into my soul than what I felt being betrayed by someone who had vowed to love me.
We need more dialogue about these dynamics. Who ever thought these issues would be generated by a Presidential debate? Talk about the nitty-gritty of it all.
Our moral values as individuals and as a nation are, indeed, relevant – – – especially when they are integrated into the system we have and a better system we are hoping to create.
Yes, there are such things as power differentials – AND, if I am keeping myself or another woman in a position of victim, I am also being sexist. It is all an issue of levels of truth.
Our power returns when we take responsibility for our part in our choices, decisions, and behavior. Then, a personal power surges in which no one can touch
How often we fail to see that anything and everything that comes into our lives has the potential to be an important – even the most important – teacher.
If we are open, our teachers come in every shape, color, form and species. How poverty-stricken we are when all our teachers – whether people, books, or something else – look and sound just like we do!
For example, recently Phyllis Schlafly died. I remember “back in the day” in the St. Louis area, she was a worthy adversary. I believe in almost nothing of what she said she believed and disagreed with her on almost everything. Yet, I also firmly believed in her inalienable right to say it and was fighting for that right for her and for myself.
She said that she believed that women should stay in the home and be supported by their husbands. She went to school, got a degree in law, wrote numerous books, became a public figure (probably much more so than her husband), made a lot of money and said what she thought and believed. In my book, that sounded very much like a feminist and I was fighting for her right to do just that.
Long ago, I learned that actions do speak louder than words. When the words say one thing and the actions say another, people tend to believe the actions. Politics tend to make the discrepancy between the two more obvious and more confusing.
I tend to believe the actions myself.
Even confusion can teach us a great deal.
There is an old saying – something like this: “Our lives are shaped by those who love us and those who refuse to love us.”
I have found the statement to be very true. We would wish that everyone likes and believes in us and often it is those who refuse to do that who help us with life’s most important lessons.
If we stop to think about it, we know that for our bodies to be healthy, we must give them a variety of food so that we get all the diversity of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients we need to build strong, healthy bodies.
The same is true for our minds if we only have a mental/spiritual/emotional diet of those with whom we agree and know what we know, our minds and beings become starved. When we only read what others like us read, believe what others like us read, and associate with others like us, we become lopsided, starved, angry, abusive persons stuck in our own excrement.
Why would we wish that on ourselves, our children or anyone?
What are we afraid of?
I once knew a woman who had a pretty hard life. Then she “found Jesus.” When she married and had children, she decided to home school them. She said that when she was sure that she had inculcated them thoroughly in her beliefs and knew they would never stray, she might be willing to let them associate with other children.
Is this child abuse?
What is she so afraid of?
Did her faith not teach her to trust her God and her children to find their own good path?
Did Phyllis Schlafly not believe that women had enough good sense to help the whole culture come to better ways of being persons and contributing to the culture if left to their own devices?
Oh ye of little faith!
Diversity is not easy. Isolation with our own thoughts and beliefs will and does destroy us all.
How about those Williams’ sisters! And, how about the women at the Olympics bringing home the metals!?
As we look around us, the women of the planet seem to be breathing new blood into the planet as a whole and for women in particular. We women are not only coming in first within our own ranks, we are breaking the records set by men. And, how often do we hear these women say that they are not so focused on “beating” the others, they are focused on doing the very best that they can and then pushing themselves to their highest potential? Interestingly enough, it seems that when Michael Phelps matured a bit and quit focusing on “competition,” he did better.
It is also interesting that when Venus and Serena’s father saw the possibility of future champions in his daughters, he did not “do it” in the old “tried and true” White Male System/racist/elitist way of doing tennis. He chose not to join a club (who knows if it would have been possible!), start them young and hire a renowned trainer. He could not and he did not want to conform to the ways and standards of conventional tennis. He trained them in public tennis courts and he was their trainer/manager. They did not have white privilege or male privilege in a sport that had excelled in both. Billie Jean King and others had paved the way for women and there were none who had paved the way and changed the rules for race and sex and cultural elitism in a sport that had been devoted to all three.
These two girls (and I, at 82 and being a woman, have the right to call them “girls” even if male commentators do not. It’s just like, in my experience, blacks can lovingly call one another “niggers” when no white person should, would, or can – and get away with it. When White people do it, there is either no love or a lot of “wanta-be-ness” or both. It’s like a white man saying to me, “You are just like me,” which some white men or black men might think is a compliment. Well, most women do not think it is a compliment. As I have said, it is an insult) have challenged much of the “this-is-how-it-is-done’s” in many ways.
So, in some larger perspective way, what Venus and Serena and other women are doing in sports, is what women all over the world are doing in diverse areas. The time has come.
We are bringing the uniqueness of who we are as women and who we are culturally, emotionally, intellectually and instinctively to “change the game.”
Some of us are doing this instinctively without awareness and others are acutely aware that we have something different to bring to the table or the court because we are women and we are ready to “bring it.”
In There Will Be a Thousand Years of Peace and Prosperity and They Will Be Ushered in by the Women, I have attempted to look at the past and the waves of feminism in the Western culture and the world to see where we have been, where we are and the essential need to help shape where we are going as women, as a human race and as a planet and the absolutely essential role that women – strong clear women – play in this evolutionary process.
It is our unique gifts that the planet needs right now and this book helps us understand why we have not brought them forth and helps us delineate what they are. As we are clearer about the systemic issues that have caused the mess we are in as a human race and a planet, we will be able to see that the non-use and under-use of women’s natural specific gifts can contribute to the solutions we must evolve out of new knowledge.
This process of change can be seen in every corner of the society, and as our concern and resolve to contribute our unique contributions as women strengthens, the larger systems will change.
We are hearing so much about women these days, which is wonderful. And, we are hearing a great deal about especially one man who seems to have laser-focused many of the negative traits of the male of the species and of the current culture and turned them into supposed assets.
Unfortunately, he (and many others like him) does not realize that those traits of bullying, talking over others, talking about how big certain parts of his body are, strutting and general lying bravado are – quite frankly – obsolete. They might have been useful for the caveman. And, many of us, hopefully, have moved beyond that stage of evolution.
In my recent book, There Will Be a Thousand Years of Peace and Prosperity and They Will Be Ushered in by the Women, I spend a large section of the book on symptoms of the society. When I looked up the definitions of “politics” which I categorize as a major symptom of a dysfunctional society, I found that most definitions revolved around lying and dishonesty. This “deceit” was, of course, deemed to be for the “greater good.” (Lying to oneself?)
We do not hear much about these good men. And, they are here among us.
These men are:
These men are out there in growing numbers. They want equal partners, not parasites, slaves, or objects around them. (Even Bill Clinton seems to be growing out of these old habits and realizing – at last – what he has in the woman he married. She believed, and still does, that miracles are possible. Sometimes, it is difficult for a man who is a Neanderthal to deal with a powerful woman!)
So, let’s give a shout-out to those men who are evolving beyond their dysfunctional conditioning and want to contribute from the strength of their gifts and not dominate or bully. They need our recognition, love and support.
They are out there. They call themselves (maybe some tentatively and secretly for now) feminists.
Come on in. The water is great!