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 few thank yous:
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 and they are so beautiful!
Shelly Morris at the back with her lovely Lion & Rose soap smellies
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, and Della Rae.
I have printed up postcards 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 postcard with you.
I am so happy to introduce to you our Guest Artist Sarah Goodnough
Sarah is inspired by connecting people to an idea, thought or message. Her work is a stand for creating possibility, finding beauty and awareness in all things, and developing self actualization. She is in gratitude for all the gifts from the divine universe and to be living a life she loves. She believes in staying present to life and to take each day as a gift, rather than focusing on thoughts that can burden and entrap us. Which is the message she wants to convey to the world around her. Sarah has a number of workshops she is putting on this summer, I am doing one called Paint Your Mind Garden in July.
My message has not changed, the mission statement remains: to bring women of all age, race, and background together to encourage self care. 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 our 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 thing in life that sparks 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. What I am reminding myself and you is of 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.”
So with the continued and consistent mission statement of self care and the goal to provide support as a community I am so thrilled to announce to you that I have turned the WWS into a nonprofit corporation with official 501c3 status. Sitting on my board are Della Rae, Barb Mathey, Lisa Bakke, and Emily Aldridge. The designation is only about 2 months old but already new doors are opening. We are cooking up fresh ideas and I am excited to see what we can grow and develop. As always, I’d love your feedback.
If you have been here in the last year, you know about our Wildchild Amara. I came up with this idea of “adopting” a local woman in need as a way of showing gratitude and giving back and a way to connect as a community. I’d like to ask Emily Aldridge to come up and read a letter that Amara wrote to give you an update.
<Emily reads Amara's letter here>
So, speaking to the theme of Enough, I always like to play with the different aspects of the word:
I have enough (lack, dreaming and scheming)
I am enough (self image, self esteem)
I have had enough (reaching your limit)
Of course, I am forever wrestling with “I am enough”. Like many of us, I, with all my heart, believe that everyone else is enough but struggle to apply it to myself almost every day.
I feel the category of ‘I have had enough’ is somewhat easier to bring to myself as a challenge and of course the current climate provides us plenty of opportunities. You know I like to share books that I read and I have to say that Waking up White by Debby Irving recently rocked my world and I highly recommend it. You can always find these books that I talk about on the ‘Wild Books’ tab of my website. The author describes it as the story of how she went from ‘well-meaning’ to ‘well-doing’. She grew in a family that prided itself on not complaining and pulling themselves up by the bootstraps, much like my childhood. Steeped in the “American Dream” that you can do anything and fed the idea that there is a level playing field, she fell into the trap that I did too and believed that attitude can overcome anything. The revolutionary part for me was her pointing out that yes, many of our families achieved through hard work, but it also came with massive tailwinds in our favor.
The author shows us that individual work to think about racism is crucial work to moving beyond racism and it requires 3 things:
There is just way too much to this book, it is far too complex to take on all at once. But far too important to keep to myself! As I often return to ideas in subsequent parties, expect to hear more about this, and I would love hear from any of you that read it.
In the anti-bullying campaign: 1) bullies, 2) victims, 3) bystanders. The real power to change rests in empowering bystanders to become allies in the fight. De-escalation skills is another topic that I hope to bring to the party: I think sometimes we feel small and unable to affect changes but with understanding, education, and compassion we can make ALL the difference.
Along the lines of bystanders, what I want to show you next is taken from a video that Martha Beck posted on YouTube called the Pyramid and the Pool.
<demo here - see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz9IJMMWP4M to see Martha's video of it, it's amazing!>
The society that has been in place for years is structured like a pyramid, powerful, brutal, violent elite at the top, miserable working poor at the bottom. A Revolution to overthrow it often just creates another pyramid. People know this is wrong but they also so desperately want to get to the top.
Martha was trying to envision what an enlightened society would look like and came up with the visual of a pool of blue water, every person is represented by a stream of energy that flows into the pools, the subsequent wave energy interacts (positive-negative cancels, or two come together (constructive interference) to create greater energy. While she was thinking about how can a pyramid be turned into a pool, she realized that all along the pool has been forming around the pyramid. People that are enlightened and not necessarily at the top, are dissolving the pyramid. And the pool doesn’t destroy the pyramid, it includes it. It makes it into something clear, calm, and sweet. The people at the top are not even aware. This is not a revolution, it's a dissolution, and an inclusion.
And we do this by reaching inward to the heart instead of obeying the Ego. The mind serves the heart through art. Artists breathe in their own authenticity and breathe out their energy and light.
This is also what happened around Jesus, Gandhi, Buddha, MLK
We ask the question: why should we make art when everything is falling apart?
(Toni Morrison) This is precisely the time when artists go to work, speak, write, do language, that is how civilizations heal.
In doing so, the pyramid and the pool become clear, and equal, and sweet, and inclusive
Breathe in, become clear, watch rigidity dissolve, breathe out and watch it affect those around you.
In February I shared with you a piece by Liz Gilbert 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.
I’m going to revisit a snippet of it here:
…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 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 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.”
I am in the middle of an online writing course that is being taught by Martha Beck and Liz Gilbert. Liz builds on the divine feminine again with this (and it’s interesting to note how her thinking has evolved just since January):
The next most radical revolution that will happen, that can happen and that needs to happen is for women to become relaxed. .. If you tell me that what we need for women’s revolution is for women to become strong and resilient and fierce and powerful, I will say to you that is not revolutionary. We have always had that.
Every single woman I know is strong and fierce and resilient and powerful. They have had to be because they have been embattled and they are also really, really anxious, really anxious. To be born a woman is almost to be born into a field of anxiety because you are anxious about your own safety. You’re anxious because you have empathy or anxious about everybody who you love. You are anxious about those people you see on the news getting hurt. You are anxious about that pile of plastic in the Pacific Ocean that is twice the size of Texas. You are anxious about the ice caps.
Everything is caused by worry because you care, and that’s how you have been taught to show you care, is to be terribly worried about everything. Worry is a word that comes to us from the Old English. The root of it is to wring as in to wring the neck of something. When you are worried, you are being wrung, and you know that, because that’s what worry feels like. You think that you cannot love and you cannot care and you cannot create and you cannot be an activist without being wrung, and I think, and love thinks, that you are wrong about that.
And that actually, if you really ponder how much your worrying has helped so far, and how much it’s made you a better mother, and how much you’re worrying has helped your children, and how much your worrying has helped your community, and is helping the world. I think if you’re very honest and you get very quiet, you’ll discover that the answer is not at all. Not one bit. In fact, the opposite, it has harmed you and everything it touches. To me, the most… revolutionary thing would be to see a relaxed woman walking around.
If you think I can’t be relaxed because “I work in a world that is dominated by men, and if I relax my grip for an instant, they will eat me like sharks.” I ask you to imagine yourself walking into that same environment tomorrow but relaxed, and how that would change the same crisis.
We had writing assignments each week and Liz shared her piece with the group - she painted the picture about that feeling of being stuck in life as a sort of a pit and trying so hard to get out, ending with dropping the shovel (and the idea of digging yourself out):
Move your hands about in the damp air until you feel a tiny strand of thread thinner than a cobweb. You’re almost afraid to touch it because you fear it might break. It will not break.
It’s just the thread of love from my heart to yours. This is the thread of mercy that says, “I have been exactly where you are. I am the same as you.” Now, feel about some more in the dark air. Can you feel all the other strands above your head? These are the filaments of love and mercy that connect you to every other human being who has ever lived, and to every other human being who has ever suffered, which is all of us. Every strand says, “I have been exactly where you are. I am the same as you.”
Everyone here is sending out a thread. Everyone here is wrapping that rope around her life, and every one of us here is going to get out because we’re all pulling each other, and we’re unstoppable.
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 (the ancient Jewish tradition of mystical interpretation in the Bible) 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 our 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: if you love art, take a class or workshop from Sarah. love music? support Stephanie’s shows and/or one of the many musicians pouring their hearts out in venues all over Portland! Want to stretch your brain and heart? Bev does workshops and one on one sessions. It is my honor and privilege to scout guests for the parties and present them to you and I give you my guarantee that when you engage with them you will find yourself with phenomenal women with kickass hearts.
There are between-party needs: If you want to be even more engaged at the parties I’m always looking for table hosts and support peeps. If you know potential speakers, artists, and/or musicians I’m always scouting. 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.
Remembering Liz Gilbert’s idea of the revolutionary Relaxed Woman and remembering the WWS mission of self-care I would challenge you that: Until you can be a person who is standing in peace you cannot be of help to others.
And, If I can connect with one person then that is enough, I am enough
“The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I seem to know...Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. This is enough.”
― John Adams
Thank you so much for showing up today!
I am so happy to introduce to you our Guest Musician, singer songwriter Stephanie Scelza
She was born to a pack of wolves and left howling on the doorstep of a human family in 1983. Her family realized she was different when she started singing before she could speak, and whisked her off to vocal lessons at the age of ten. She narrowly escaped a life of professional opera-singing when she found a guitar, quit her studies, and eloped with a band.
In addition to being a singer-songwriter, Stephanie is a gifted poet, a storyteller, and we have her to thank for the coffee items from Cafe D’Arte in the goody bags…and those are just the talents I’ve unearthed so far!
I am so excited to present to you our Guest Speaker Bev Martin:
She grew up in the Republic of South Africa and had experiences she could not explain. Like visits with family members who had passed onto the next life and ‘downloads’ of health and other information from people around her. She went on to study psychology, film, and theater arts. After graduating, she worked creating educational media for an international bank. Now her deepest joy is to give people who are hungry for greater meaning and spiritual solutions access to the answers within themselves – and the feeling of deep satisfaction that comes from connecting with their thoughts, wisdom, and true ideas.