As you are getting something to eat and drink, 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, going 8 years ago if you can believe it! She has her Juenesse products here to show you. Barb also sponsors the goody bags!
Shelly Morris with her Lion & Rose soap, deodorant, and bath bombs. Check out the Wild Woman soap! You can find Shelly on Facebook and at many Farmer’s Markets…
Lisa Bakke, catering, elder care placement.
Bartender Dani Gregoire Russell, Gatekeeper Julia Stenberg, and keeping the music going Emily Aldridge
Table Hosts: Barb Mathey, Gail Young, Dianne Gregoire, Mary Lou Rodriguez, Lisa Carpenter, and the Sue Ellen Hodnot/Kathy Wery duo.
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. OCF, 7Bridges Winery.
Raffle - ticket at the door? Additional $1 each or 6 for $5, cash goes to the WildChild fund. Also, for the first time we are offering two fun items for a silent auction: a Wild gift basket and a beautiful piece by our October guest artist Mary Dennis.
And what is this WildChild Fund?? Because I wanted to add a charitable aspect to the WWS - one where we could contribute more than just money, we could explore the possibilities of supporting as a community, making connections that are helpful and sometimes life changing, and practice sistering. I created the WildChild Program. Our first was Amara, who many of you know, and now we have Lisa Carpenter here with us today and she’d like to share a bit with you.
<Lisa C here>
This is ongoing and if you have someone you would like to nominate to be a WildChild please contact me.
I’d like to also introduce our Guest Artist Emily Pratt
Emily is an artist and IB art teacher. She has always felt affection for weathered objects. The process of finding and transforming 3D functional materials into 2D art offers a new narrative for the materials with hints of memory. Using familiar brands, patterns and colors from old tins, and metal bits connects the viewer with her mixed media compositions through nostalgia and adornment.
The WWS has now been a nonprofit corporation for almost 3 years. I’d like to introduce and acknowledge my board Lisa, Barb, Sue Ellen).
And the mission statement remains: to bring women of all age, race, and background together to encourage self care. My aim is to develop and create a platform where I can present Self Care to you in many different ways. I do this to both to appeal to all your senses and to give us all exposure to different communities.
I have always wanted to be inspirational. I have always wanted to make a difference. When I was younger I had dreams of doing something grandiose and, as that never happened due to life, circumstances, and what I’ll call “lack of Oprah” on my part, I have settled in to do what I CAN do well: create change in my own, signature, small ways. And when I finally came to terms with this, that is when I began to really believe how powerful the small things are.
I went to an amazing retreat in California in October, it was kind of an extension of the Martha Beck life coach training I did 2 years ago, but more intense and focused. The title was Unlocking your Unique Genius, 14 participants and 3 co-leaders along with the woman who created it, so 18 of us there. The experience brought many things home for me: the most important is this: I have proved to myself that I can do this alone, but it is not what lights me up. I need help and I want the sisterhood that comes with collaboration. Second, recognizing the unique genius in each of us - looking for the beautiful in EVERY SINGLE PERSON I MEET, including MYSELF, (my #1 2019 Intention), and how that simple focus can color everything I do. I remember going to my 30th high school reunion and meeting up with classmates that I felt like I missed out on because of my lack of awareness. Now I’m going to forgive myself because it wasn’t because I was unkind or didn’t care about people, I was just young, shy, immature, and naive, and sometimes I guess you just can’t help that. But I did find myself wishing that I had paid more attention, noticed more, worried less about whether people liked me and just…liked people. I wish I had spent more time in Wonder.
Under the very broad umbrella of self care - I mean, it can mean anything from taking a bath to going to a retreat to taking time to meditate - there is a lot of room to explore the many ways to do it. I have several recurring themes to my events: 1. the magic of bringing women together, how very important and powerful it is, which leads to 2. The rise of the Divine Feminine…this is a drumbeat that I feel is growing ever louder. I often feel that I have talked about this so much that I’m making people roll their eyes and think, there she goes again. BUT, I will try to point out different nuances every time so hopefully I can keep it fresh.
From Rise Sister Rise, by Rebecca Campbell:
“The rise of the Divine Feminine is not about women rising over men. It is about remembering a time when every woman was seen as sacred. We are being called to bring about a balance between the feminine and the masculine energies. Within ourselves and in our world at large. Both are sacred and needed… the rising feminine is not something that exists only within women, but rather it is within all things and people…You’ll also find much reference to ‘patriarchy’. That word, like ‘feminism’, is so loaded. When I mention patriarchy it is to refer to the past few millennia, when society was led by a powerful few in a very linear way. An era when the sacred nature, power, and wisdom of the feminine was forgotten, controlled, silenced, or caged. …I don’t believe that the solution is for matriarchal energies to take (the place of patriarchy). Rather…an invitation for the intuitive, compassionate, wise, powerful, sacred, protective, fierce, feminine force that exists within each of us to rise, and for the sacred masculine to protect and support her rising and sacred work so that the planet can swing back into balance.”
I think sometimes the message gets lost as people in power fear for their loss of that power. Feminine energy is intuitive, powerful with a strength that comes from within, very internal. Masculine energy is very external. If we have husbands, boyfriends, sons, dads…I mean, chances are there is at least ONE man we care about in our lives, then including them in this is personal! The divine feminine includes men discovering innate femininity in the very best way.
I think men can be somewhat afraid of it. and when I’ve seen women get their foothold I can certainly understand why! But we have been so way off balance for so long that the patriarchy seems normal, even for women who you’d think would know better. Obviously we are not there yet,
Poet Adrienne Rich said, “The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.” We need to remember our strength and reconnect with our vibrant selves and each other — not only to assist the evolution of this planet as a whole, but, for each of us, individually to feel inspired enough to continue to go for it — whatever it is — despite the obstacles.
Connecting women and encouraging the rise of the divine feminine is so important. My ultimate aim is to show again and again how seemingly small things can be done in such a way that they apply to all of the issues we are wrestling with. I mean, it all really boils down to respecting our fellow humans, but that message gets lost too. Social media, disconnection, acquiescing to keep the peace, buying into gaslighting, all of that muddies the waters and causes us to lose our focus.
All politics, political correctness, and cultural issues aside, I truly feel that if you are unsure about racism, immigration policies, treatment of ANY group, etc. a simple question to ask is: ‘Is this in ANY way dehumanizing?’
And then this email from Regina Thomashauer, school of womanly arts lands in my inbox on Tuesday:
Women are amazing. We go through so many transitions in our lives. And change, no matter how constant, no matter how practiced we are, is never ever easy. A part of us is ending, which is terrifying.
Perhaps we don’t know what is next. Or if there is even going to be a ‘what’s next’. Transition can feel kind of like rounding the scariest corner on a roller coaster — the intense motion makes you wonder if you are going to make it to the end of the ride without throwing up. Sometimes we can be so overwhelmed that we don’t even know if we are going to make it to the end of the ride. Will we fly off the rails?
There is only one way I know to transform a woman’s relationship to her own transitions.
It is not about speeding up the transitions or staving them off or changing them. It’s not about being more disciplined or less emotional or working harder on yourself. For certain, it is not about more self-work.
It’s not even about you.
It’s about sisterhood.
Gathering sisters. Finding your pod, your gang, your posse, your peeps, your clan. This is how to keep yourself intact when it seems like there’s nothing to hold onto, nothing stable. You let your sisters hold you.
Here is the hard and fast secret that most women do not even realize or recognize ourselves — we are all longing for a girl gang, a core team, a home plate of the feminine that continues to revive and inspire. We want sisters to receive from and give to. We want to be invited and we want to belong.
For each of us, our job is to fly directly in the face of patriarchal convention, which says “women are not trustworthy, women will stab you in the back, women are competitive and unkind” and take the risk of reaching out and creating community. Be afraid of that loop but get on the rollercoaster anyway.
This is not easy, because when you make an effort to create community, you are inviting the possibility for rejection into your life. And, powerfully, you are choosing to transform all the places inside you that have been hurt by sisters, or girlfriends, in the past.
It is hard to believe now, but my daughter Danielle had the (very normal) struggles with friendships in her teenage years. Being the kind of person that assumed everyone was her friend it could be confusing and hurtful to find that is not always the case. I do recall having this discussion with her: you need all kinds of friends, and (as long as it is not a negative relationship), you do well to recognize who they are and set your boundaries accordingly. You may already know, you have your party friends, your 3am friends, your friends that life has seasoned that know how to prop you up when your own volcano blows, your work friends that know your daily experience, your friends that know all your deepest, darkest secrets and love you anyhow. All valuable in their own way. Build yourself a personal army of friends of all kinds, keep it thriving and alive, and call upon your sisters when you need help. It is what we all NEED.
As soon as I have a party theme I start dropping interesting quotes and thoughts into a document. I have to apologize because I somehow cropped the credit on this but my best guess is that it came from Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper, a great once-a-week email, chock full of inspiration and wonderful stories. So I don’t recall who the heck this guy is, but:
Matthew said: “I think we should create an ‘Inner Peace Corps.’ Our world is in a mental and emotional health crisis and I feel like we need a corps of therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, spiritual teachers, meditation coaches, etc. to be organized in a massive and coordinated volunteer effort. In times of tragedy and grief, they can help people process their pain, trauma, grief, and stress, and help them connect to their core emotions in a healthy way.”
Our country is in trouble. People are hurting. They are spending a record number of hours immersed in their virtual worlds because their real worlds don’t feel safe, welcoming or loving.
One of the best cures for our anxiety and our loneliness, though, is connection. It’s building community and keeping those you love close. Sometimes all you need is dinner with someone who “gets you,” or who is willing to listen, to feel like everything is okay.
Matthew is right on, and actually, we have been doing this already for years here at The WWS, I know exactly what this is, it is SISTERING but I really only started naming it that when I saw the Glennon Doyle YouTube video on it. Sistering, the original Inner Peace Corps, and we have known it all along. We just need to remember the importance, insist on its existence, and OWN the value of having sisterhood.
It’s probably been about 3 years ago now, my sister Lisa and I began to develop ideas for a retreat. Then our Dad’s health declined dramatically, he passed, and “other bad stuff” happened (another story for another time!!). I’m so happy to share with you that we are going to be holding a Beta test for our Wild Sistering retreat this June. I have a sheet - if you are curious and would like more information please sign up and we will keep you in the loop as our retreats develop. This is all in keeping with this recurring, important theme of Sistering
Now, to my theme of “Wonder”…ah yes, yet another double meaning so I get a twofer. I’ve been thinking about ‘wonder’ in the sense that everything is a miracle
Yeats said: “The world is full of magic things patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”, and in Charlotte’s Web EB White gave us: “Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.”
So easy to forget, so simple to remember. How do we find ways to stop and appreciate, to go to sleep with gratitude and to wake up with amazement?
But also, ‘wonder’ as in stoking your natural, childlike curiosity. As in Noticing, questioning your assumptions, and having the fortitude to sit still and learn from awkward moments that have such power to teach.
This little gem is from Australian comedian Tim Minchin
Be hard on your opinions: a famous bon mot asserts that opinions are like assholes: in that everyone has one. There is great wisdom in this but I would add that opinions differ significantly from assholes in that yours should be constantly and thoroughly examined. We must think critically and not just about the ideas of others, be hard on your beliefs, take them out on the veranda and hit them with a cricket bat. Be intellectually rigorous, identify your biases, your prejudices, your privileges. Most of society’s arguments are kept alive by a failure to acknowledge nuance. We tend to generate false dichotomies and then try to argue one point using two entirely different sets of assumptions, like two tennis players trying to win a match by hitting brilliantly executed shots from either end of separate tennis courts.
Not to brag, but I recently completed a 1000 day streak of meditation. Brag OVER, because in full disclosure I fell asleep MANY, MANY times. And got distracted and impatient, and angsty. BUT I showed up. I was using the Headspace app but I marked this milestone by subscribing to a new app called Waking Up with Sam Harris. One of the first guided meditations, he talks about what meditation can do for you with a great analogy: you KNOW the sky, and all the stars, and the universe are up there. All kinds of things can get in the way of you seeing it though: clouds, light noise from cities, mist, smoke…but still it is there. Meditation can be thought of as helping you build a telescope, slowly, piece by piece and day by day. You may not even realize the progress you are making but suddenly one day it all comes into focus (and, knowing me, I’ve put pieces of it together incorrectly so I can kinda sorta see the stars, but I’m gonna need to go back a redo some things!!). But what a great thing to remember: the patience needed and the faith required that when you are persistent you will one day find that you’ve assembled your telescope! And the wonder of it all!
I also want to say that I’m not here to tell you that I have it all figured out. In fact, I can’t even say that I have much of anything figured out. The turning point for me from feeling like I was going to die from public speaking to actually looking forward to it was when I began to feel a fire, and a sort of urgency that I need to be sharing what I am learning. That I am doing the world no service seeking, searching, reading, and gathering all this information then keeping silent. That women like me who have been quietly living their lives, keeping the peace and at the same time longing for peace for others - we owe it to the world and to our sisters to speak up, to connect, and to share the things we learn. I guess when I would learn something I somehow, irrationally, assumed that other people already knew about it. But that’s just not so. Plus, as Aristotle said: “The more you know the more you know you don’t know”! Now is not the time for complacency. We need to share the wonder with each other. And life is FULL of it, in many forms.
I have unfortunately had experience dealing with our parents’ declining health then death, first mom then dad. Because of my continuing quest to develop I have met so many fascinating women, through my life coach training and other events I have attended and have quite a few end of life or hospice care specialists I have grown close to. As frightening as we seem to think death and dying is here in the US, opening the doors to discussion and understanding of the process and wonder of dying allows for a wholly different experience. One I so wish I had known more about as Mom and Dad went through their final days. Maybe it’s just because I have been paying more attention, but I keep seeing articles and movies about how we can be less afraid of death and dying. How we can do better. There’s a pretty new documentary on Netflix called End Game that deals with just that: how can we allay some of the fear of death and dying that is so intense in American culture? As with most things, it involves education, information, and greater understanding. The tie in here is learning to look these situations that scare us squarely in the face and with Wonder.
Martha Atkins is also a Martha Beck life coach. She has a Ted Talk about how we have strayed so far and made leaving this earth so sterile and cold. That death used to happen in homes with loved ones close but that now we turn it over to cold hospital rooms, doctors, and endless procedures
She notes that: “Scientifically I do not know how to measure those things that are beyond our human, ordinary capacity for understanding. I do not know how to measure wonder. I know what it feels like, I know what it looks like, and I know you do too”
Recently earth lost the lovely poet, Mary Oliver. I’ve been posting her little snippet I love ‘what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” for years now.
WHEN DEATH COMES by Mary Oliver
“When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.”
“Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.”
I leave you with this beautiful thought, author unknown:
Go out, go out I beg of you
And taste the beauty of the wild.
Behold the miracle of the earth
With all the wonder of a child.
Guest Musician Shelly Rudolph with Tim Gilson
Shelly has been appearing (still does) with Tom Grant on piano, for years. Her latest adventure finds her moving beyond the “world soul” atmosphere of her previous album and into an exotic, inviting and enchanting project called The Wild Bird Project. This work-in-progress investigates the terrain of the sensual spirit, creating music that is hypnotic and transporting, a natural outgrowth of her past musical and spiritual explorations and her long-held love for poetry and mythology.
Melissa Coe has a BFA in Art and Children’s Literature, has taught world religions and has done graduate work in Business and Interior Design.
She has taught art, worked as Marketing Director of a nationally known book company, owned an art gallery in downtown Portland, and directed the Sacred Arts program at Marylhurst University: all while working as an Interior Design consultant. Her interests are many and varied.
What unites them is that they draw on her skills of organizing, creating and celebrating, as well as on a love of community, ceremony and ritual. They also incorporate a passion for color, design and texture, as well as for public speaking, writing and telling stories. She LOVES telling stories, especially love stories!