Take your time getting something to eat and drink, but as you do I want to welcome you to the party and get things started with a little housekeeping:
Barb Mathey, my steadfast Wild Women sponsor since the beginning. She has her Juenesse products here to show you. Barb also sponsors the goody bags!
Shelly Morris at the back with her lovely Lion & Rose soap smellies. You can find Shelly on Facebook and at many Farmer’s Markets…
Lisa Bakke, catering
Bartender Sydni Hodnot, Gatekeeper Julia Stenberg, photographer Beth Hoover, gap filler Dani Gregoire.
Table Hosts: Sabrina Blair, Dianne Gregoire, Barb Mathey, Emily Aldridge, Kandie O’Brien, and Founder, Della Rae.
I have printed up half sheets to both thank all my table hosts and support team and to also give you contact information if you want to get in touch, so please feel free to take that with you.
Raffle - ticket at the door? Additional $1 or 6 for $5, cash, goes to WildChild (I’ll talk about her in a bit).
and, in case you missed it, last March I decided to turn the WWS into a nonprofit corporation and we now have the official 501c3 designation. All of this is continually developing and I am so excited to see what we can do in the future to go even further. (introduce board).
Pretty consistently we are: 1/3 of you are my die-hards, here every time, 1/3 repeat customers but it’s been a while, and 1/3 Brand Newbies. To those that are new and took a chance on hearsay about a group called, of all things, The WWS, I say welcome and thank you so much for coming!
I often mention that the first time I got up here to speak I really did think I was going to die. Truthfully, at that time I could not imagine that anyone would actually want to hear what I had to say. While I do still wonder every time if anyone wants to hear what I have to say at some point I turned a corner and now I find that I am excited to get up here and just share what I have been learning. I can’t help but feel that it isn’t MY message, it is OUR message. Regardless, at the risk of being repetitious (which just means that I AM going to be repetitious), there are some messages that bear repeating.
One is the WWS mission statement that has not changed: to bring women of all age, race, and background together to encourage self care. I wish I could say that my mission statement is 100% met all the time but it is what I am striving for. I am getting a stronger voice and I feel blessed that I have created a platform where I can present Self Care to you in so many ways. And I do this to both appeal to all your senses and to give us all exposure to different communities. I like the term self care because it is broad and can mean different things to each of us. For me it all speaks to my personal North Star, the things in life that spark my passion, and that is love, relationships, and connecting people.
What I originally hoped to bring to the WWS was this love of bringing women together and the connections that come from that, this recurring theme of the power of women together. I gather phenomenal women together like this because I love the magic that is created and the opportunities we have to support, encourage and care for each other, as well as practicing self-care.
Parker Palmer said: “Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.”
Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
It seems that there is a groundswell of women who feel called to support other women, and as we discover our voices we want to help other women hear their own. You are going to find this echoed by Jolie and Ashley.
I put it out as, oh, WWS, just a fun, easy afternoon of self care for women but make no mistake, although I did not realize it back in 2011 when I started, I am developing a pretty serious ulterior motive here. I’ll let you in on this not-so-secret-secret that has taken so many years to develop, it is pretty simple and not nearly as insidious as I’m making it sound: love is everything, connections are the key, and women are uniquely qualified to bring it all home through the rise of the divine feminine. People want to make us afraid, heck, women themselves are afraid of their own power! But if you can set all of that aside for just these couple of hours and feel the magic of this group and then we can make such a difference!
Tererai Trent urges us all to “stop the intergenerational trauma of feminine silencing. You do not have to march in the street… but you do have to do the work it takes to awaken: to be courageous enough to name the Great Hunger within you and to claim your right to give voice to your sacred dream.” (Zimbabwe, 3 children by 18, Phd, The Awakened Woman)
Another thing that is worth repeating because it shows where we can go with the Divine Feminine…Last February I shared with you a piece that Liz Gilbert wrote about how the divine feminine is rising. She was describing the women’s march in Washington, how there are very few forces on earth more powerful than a woman who finally starts saying NO. And when millions of women gather to say NO at the same time? That’s true might.
…Peace will come to the world only when women say to men…no, No, NO. It all ends today BECAUSE I’VE HAD ENOUGH OF THIS SHIT.”
Until we women say in holy unison, “WE’VE ALL HAD ENOUGH OF THIS SHIT”, nothing will ever change.
In other words, it is not enough to ask men to become more peaceful; women must become MORE FIRM.
Men have to find their hearts, yes - but women have to find their SPINES.
That’s what sanity looks like. And it’s divine…The mass awakening of the Divine Feminine.
and a little bit of courage mixed in, I’d say.
We are living in a time that is fraught with fear. There is a LOT to be afraid of but fear takes away our power. With all that is going on, we need to be doing…THIS.
And to re-emphasize that the Divine Feminine is about INCLUSION, not conquering, Dean Anne Jardin, speaking at Simmons College said
“Men build ladders, women build webs. Neither to abandon our female inclination to build webs nor to minimize the value of hierarchy, learn to value both approaches and to know when to apply one over the other.”
And once we get ourselves shored up, put on those oxygen masks, our next big task is to help our men. As events become more and more horrible I keep reading that we just have no idea how this happened and simply could not have predicted it. that’s not necessarily true. Just yesterday Sabrina shared an article by Charlie Hoehn about this very thing:
Whatever the case, these factors about mass shooters are often true:
1. They are deeply lonely. They have no significant friendships to rely on, and very few quality people to confide in.
2. They experienced ongoing play deprivation. Their innate ability was crippled, and they struggle to maintain a healthy emotional connection with themselves and others.
3. They are deeply ashamed. They experienced extreme ridicule, rejection, or humiliation.
We are a culture that continually neglects the emotional health of our boys and men. (Wild Men society next??)
Today, more than ever, I am SO excited that you have come. Every day we have many options and it can be difficult to choose “self-care” if we think of it as “selfish”, but, from experience, I can tell you that time you spend making sure you are strong in your mind, body, and spirit directly affects your family, your community, and in turn, the world. Your helping hand is so much more powerful when you are strong in yourself.
I think sometimes we feel small and unable to affect changes but with understanding, education, and compassion we can make ALL the difference. this gathering is all about coming together as a community.
I want to talk to you a bit about our Wild Child in case you haven’t had a chance to read about the concept on the website. In the interest of creating a space for women to thrive and grow, we also do well to incorporate GRATITUDE. The Society constantly reminds me of the MAGIC of bringing women together to support and care for each other. With that in mind, $2 of each door fee is donated to the party's designated WildChild. As is appropriate, the needs of the WildChild are shared and/or she will attend the party. If you feel so called, it is possible to make additional contributions. And since my raffle items are so over the top amazing I have added the opportunity to purchase additional raffle tickets ($1 or 6 for $5) with all of that cash going directly to our WildChild.
2017 has been tumultuous at best for Amara and her daughters but just this weekend she thinks she has found semi-permanent housing and a place for them to land. It is small, but larger than their current space. The girls are thriving, very involved in art and music in high school, and excellent students. And still, courage and community are needed. I have specific needs listed on the website under the WildChild tab. High on their list is normalcy, something that is difficult to come by when you are living on the edge. What we CAN offer is opportunity. Any connections for Amara to sell her jewelry (she has an Etsy site), or her photography, photography jobs, a lens for her camera (maybe you have one that you don’t use?), keeping in mind the restrictions that she wishes she didn’t have: physical limitations that she cannot sit or stand for long periods of time due to her back disability. And in chatting with her yesterday I asked her to set up a college savings plan for her girls and when we figure out how to direct people there I will put it on the website too.
I am in the process of adding another Wild Child to our mix and will keep you posted on my progress.
Consider this, how easy or hard has it been for you to attain each of these: work, sense of belonging, social connections, choice, education, healthy food, legal protection, housing, transportation, and medical care. I’m sure we have all struggled with one or more of these at some time, overall for many of us though, we take these things for granted. But so many do not have access.
This is directly from a book I’m going to refer to a lot that is about racism, but the messages there, to me, are not just about race. They are valuable thoughts that can be applied to Being Human.
And so to the theme word of Courage:
A lot of people have a ‘guru’, a few years ago I thought it would be awesome to have a personal ‘guru’, you know, maybe set up a shrine with a nice photo and some candles, incense, M&Ms, typical guru offerings. But when I looked around for my guru, I found that I, apparently, need a Team. So when I need help on what to say to you all around my theme I return again and again to: Martha Beck, Maya Angelou, Glennon Doyle, Brene Brown, Toni Morrison, so many more, and if I ever run out I just go to Oprah for a constant supply of inspiration. Pretty awesome team, right??
Last fall Glennon Doyle had just published her book, Love Warrior, about overcoming her husband’s infidelity and tentatively holding her marriage together when just days before the book was to arrive in bookstores she knew that her marriage was over. Her publicists told her she needed to keep quiet. She knew that she could not do that and stay in integrity. She laid it all out on her Facebook page. That took sheer vulnerability and Courage.
Brene Brown’s new book Braving the Wilderness is all about courage. If the chapter titles sound familiar, it is all about what I am talking about today: The Quest for True Belonging, People are Hard to Hate Close up. Move In., Speak the Truth to Bullshit. Be Civil. The last chapter in the book is titled: Strong Back. Soft Front. Wild Heart.
She quotes Roshi Joan Halifax: “All too often our so-called strength comes from fear, not love; instead of having a strong back, many of us have a defended front shielding a weak spine. In other words, we walk around brittle and defensive, trying to conceal our lack of confidence. If we strengthen our backs, metaphorically speaking, and develop a spine that’s flexible but sturdy, then we can risk having a front that’s soft and open…How can we give and accept care with strong-back, soft-front compassion, moving past fear into a place of genuine tenderness? I believe it comes about when we can be truly transparent, seeing the world clearly - and letting the world see into us.”
Perfecting, pleasing, proving, and pretending get in the way of a strong back. Courage.
As I get older, I am having that bittersweet wisdom of perspective. Lisa and I adored our mom Ginger. Any of you that knew her no doubt did too. Mom gave us the rose colored glasses and optimistic attitude. ‘courage’ is not the first word that has come to mind when I think of Mom, but here is where she came from: Our grandmother was depression era: use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without! Strong, resilient, and resourceful although not exactly warm and fuzzy! Mom kept that strength and added genuine warmth, love, and generosity, which is courage in her own way. but I was also raised to keep the peace, not raise my voice or rock the boat, and above all, be polite. There are different types of courage and when it came to standing in my truth and/or speaking out I would fall silent. Your family of origin has a huge influence on your life! Mom did the best she could with what she knew and it is up to me to do the same.
If anyone tries to tell you those old washed-up lines about the younger generation being lazy or disrespectful or incompetent I say: BS! As I said, I did the best I could with what I knew, but somehow I raised this incredible, strong, generous daughter who can absolutely hold her own and speak her truth. And the young women I am meeting when I am scouting for the WWS, Emily, and Ashley, and Jolie - these women are grounded, heart-centered, and 100% invested in connecting, making relationships, and paying it forward by lifting others up.
In examining courage it is good to remember that there are many aspects: there’s outright physical courage, those who run in to danger when others (like me) pull a blanket over their head, there’s the emotional courage to stand up and voice what you know is right (I am working on this), and there is also the courage to take a difficult message without crumbling. The shame and awkwardness of feeling ignorant and uncomfortable are more than many people are willing to take.
Many of us were raised in school systems that passed along not only incomplete information but also an intellectual habit of not questioning authority, not pursuing other dimensions of a story, and not having the interest or stamina to grapple with complex issues.
It is embarrassing for me to admit it, but in the spirit of vulnerability I am facing how much of my not learning something had to do with not seeing, and how much was it my choice not to go in search of it. I had the subconscious habit of steering away from conflict and authenticity and toward the more culturally accepted culture of niceness. Not an active snob, just a well-programmed passive one.
Polite person or angry activist - between the two extremes exists a world of immense learning, compassion, and empowerment.
And I am learning to replace judgement with curiosity
Part of becoming multicultural means letting go of the need to be perfect, or even polite, as you’ve known it. It means being willing to be authentic and to stay engaged when it gets uncomfortable. The courage to hear a difficult message is never easy to come by.
We are in exceedingly divisive times and it seems more and more frequently there is a call for you to be ‘with someone’, and if you are not, you are against them. Isn’t there a third option? Things are not always black and white. Putting curiosity at the leading edge of everything you do can open doors to a much richer life.
and if we allow others to define important characteristics for us rather than investigating and deciding for ourselves the meanings, then we risk losing connections to misunderstanding. And what a waste that is. For example, pick any hot topic we are wrestling with currently: gun control, health care, the president. I imagine most of you have strong opinions about these issues and I think that is great. What we have to be careful of is stiffening our spine so that we do not listen to varied opinions and allow for the connection human to human to hear what is really being expressed.
Back to the book called Waking up White, where a lot of these thoughts come from. In it the author writes about the individual work to think about racism that is crucial work to moving beyond racism. And what is so beautiful about this is that I can see where this is individual work to move beyond ANY conflict. It requires 3 things:
I’m going to bring you full circle here, back to my North Star, my ulterior motive…love, relationships, and connecting women.
I’d like to ask the table hosts to open their envelopes now and pass out the red threads inside to everyone at their table.
There are many stories from many cultures around the red thread. There is a Chinese legend of the red string of fate: the gods tie an invisible red cord around the ankles of those that are destined to meet one another in a certain situation or help each other in a certain way. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break. Similarly, the Western concept of soulmate or a destined flame, or even a soul family, rather than just one. The custom of wearing the red string dates back to Genesis 38 where it was worn to ward off misfortune. The tradition is popularly thought to be associated with Judaism’s Kabbalah and the story of Rachel who gave to others and was blessed in return.
If you want to, help each other tie the red thread around your left wrist (left because it is closest to your heart), and wear it as long as you wish. Traditions vary, some have 7 knots tied into the string, some wear the string until it falls off on its own. For today, let it be a reminder of the magic of this community.
And circling back to this, our growing Wild Women community: I want to create and be part of a community that is dialed in and supports - whatever it is that is meaningful to you: having a wide variety of women here is intentional, so reach out. To me and to each other! If you want to be even more engaged at the parties I’m always looking for table hosts and support people. If you have ideas, suggestions, or feedback of any kind I want to hear from you! And our WildChild still has needs that we as a community could help her with. This, is our Common Ground.
I leave you with more words of wisdom from the phenomenal woman Maya Angelou:
Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.
Thank you so much for showing up today!
Ashley Kervabon started her music career as a singer/songwriter (Ashley Xtina) in NYC, where she was born & bred. It wasn't until moving to Portland in 2015 that she realized what her real mission was: writing songs for other artists & helping them advance in their career. She is now pursuing this by leading her own brand #WomenCrushMusic which helps rising female artists connect with industry & collaborators by hosting international showcases, offering workshops, coaching & more. Check it out at the Jade Lounge on the 3rd Wednesday of every month here in Portland. Or NYC, or Vancouver BC, or Nashville!
When she's not trying to be the next Sia or out networking somewhere, she's embracing her inner foodie, playing with her chiweenie puppy Henry or making travel plans with her hubby-to be. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ ashleykervabon.
I am so excited to present to you our Guest Speaker AND artist Jolie Goodson
I heard about Jolie many times from my friend Gail before I actually had the joy of meeting her, Gail would always say to me: she has a ‘very nice life’. I met with her with guest artist in mind as she is a travel photographer, and as our conversation progressed I started thinking about the one-word theme of courage that I already had in mind and seeing her as speaker. And since I have not ever done it before, I’m thrilled to be able to have her here as both artist and speaker. So, ‘very nice life’? I think SO! But I also see the courage that got her there, in her work and in her actions. She has been through her own personal stuff, not easy things for anyone. But I think what makes Jolie’s life so very nice is an undeniably beautiful attitude and personal integrity that shows through in everything she does. In her words:
I believe we are all connected, and I feel that strongly when I see people across the globe with the same entrepreneurial fire that I have. Travel is what makes me tick. I started seeing the world with my family at a young age. The urge to see and feel the entire world has always been the driving force in my life, it’s how I make most decisions. I feel such a connection to these people, moving through the world in the same way I do, creating art and trying to build an awesome life. I have been able to stay true to myself and build the life of my dreams in the same way that many others are trying to do. I am lucky and grateful to have the family, friends, and resources to build a life I freakin love. (Morocco)
Recently, Jolie has worked with students of RISE (Refugee and Immigrant Student Empowerment) on a photovoice project where students share their experiences through photography. Since many of them are not native english speakers, using photos was a powerful way for them to speak.
Women are saying ‘what’s wrong with me? We’re sad because something is wrong. We are angry, sad, and afraid because we are paying attention. And what do we do to transport out? Easy Button. Try once to not reach for it. Get curious. Tell me MORE.
The function of freedom is to free someone else
a heart is imprisoned not by being broken but by being silenced.
include hatred to death - dissolve quietly from beneath.
walk around in rage - delivers that energy
I don’t see it that way. That’s not my experience.
fear = Face Everything And Rise
what is the most loving thing you can do today? begin with self-love and compassion. Listen to the still small voice.
the hero’s response is not to kill nemesis but to incorporate the shadow and fill it with light.
Herman Hesse: “God sends us despair not to kill us; He sends it to awaken new life in us.”
MLK Jr. The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.
and, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
Eve Ensler: when we give in the world what we want the most we heal the broken part inside each of us.
The trick for me has been learning to stay in the conversation long enough, to get to the other side, where niceness gives way to authenticity, understanding, and trust, the ingredients necessary for social stability.
Daniel Boorstin Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.