#Give Faith, #Build Leaders, #Positive Prophecy, #Give Happiness, #Practice Kindness, #Seek Knowledge
I participate in a group designed to build women leaders and celebrate the feminine side of power. On the work/life side is StudioG http://www.studiogsandiego.com/#!studioglabs/c6os. On the Faith/Reflection side is Resurgence. The goal is to create a safe space for women to explore their identity and their ability to be agents of change in the world.
Men are welcome and encouraged. As women we know what it is like to be excluded from “power circles” and are deliberately focused on being inclusive. However, we do caution that the group is a conflict free and complaint free zone. You come to the group with positive energy, positive language (about yourself and others), positive attitude (irrespective of what you are going through in life) and a desire for growth (at all levels of your personality and life).
As a group, we learn to embrace and celebrate our differences through the Path Elements Profile (PEP)™ http://pathelementsprofile.com. Shelly Shepherd honors her last name by shepherding us to overcome our creative tensions and pursue our destinies. We shared the delight of hearing Laurie Beth Jones read her forthcoming book The Contessa Chronicles which teaches us, among other things, that Wisdom is a woman and the real strength that taught Solomon and other wise men. (Evidence for non-believers http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisdom_literature and http://www.women-philosophers.com/Teachers-of-Socrates.html). It also gives a liberating and deep felt belly laugh window into the possibilities of Divine Family.
I have been part of the group for 9 months. In this time, I have identified systemic improvement as my core value and started to explore what it means to be 10x bolder in advancing sustainability. I have also had the honor and priviledge of watching others blossom. Liz has taken her passion for healthy living and launched her own wellness training series http://lizzardfit.tumblr.com/ plus got her mom to join the group! Molly has found her voice and is using her Human Resources skills to teach us all how to create a life full of possibilities that we WANT and controlwww.discovercareercompass.com.
Then we have members like Leslie Bailey who bring forth Quijotesque goals. Leslie told us, I want people to have FAITH. I don’t want fights about God and religion. I want people to share love, happiness and the belief that good IS in this world protecting us at all times. Well, this goal is definitely not a solo act!
Leslie asked that we help her reach her goal by “sharing an encouraging quote or verse. It should be a favorite text verse/motivational poem/prayer/meditation that has lifted you when you were experiencing challenging times.”
I guess this doesn’t carry the same “legitimacy” without an explanation of what I’ve found most challenging in life. My arrival to San Diego in 2010 was an arduous journey. I left the safety of family and friends to come to a city where I knew no one because I was 100% sure I’d get the help I needed to reach my goals. For the first 3yrs I mostly found hatred (granted there were kind people). The personal cost was high and for a six month period, statements like these (stated as “normal conversation” below my apartment window so that there was no proof of harm and I would be dismissed as crazy) were a daily occurrence:
On Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 9:08 PM, Sara Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
OH LIONS LICK ASSHOLES TO GET THE TASTE OF NIGGER OUT OF THERE MOUTH HAHAHAHAHAH PSYCHO BITCH
On my birthday in November 2011, I couldn’t take it anymore and ran away by driving off terrified. I got arrested for speeding and failing to yield to police. In March 2012 I was arrested for “felony evasion of police.” I spent 12 months in jail (I refused to post bail, I told the first defense attorney she was completely incompetent so she declared me mentally incompetent, I decided to exercise my constitutional right to refuse to co-operate with mental examination and got put in a state prison hospital with forced medication). The first label assigned was schizophrenic. This was then changed to bi-polar. Ironically, all those who have made the “diagnoses” have never talked to any of my doctors or family or friends (even though I’ve been on this planet for 43yrs and have never had such labels assigned to me before). Very triumphantly they have declared themselves the triumphant discoverers of a “truth” everyone else missed.
Soooo, when I hear about campaigns to create controversy by banning words like “bossy” I think, if you really want controversy, why not ban hate speech? Answer, as despicable as it is, in the US Constitution it’s protected by the 1st Amendment. The irony of my situation is that the Coronado Police did their best to help me. They warned, this is dangerous territory and you cannot deal with this alone. We know this is hard but try to keep yourself away from people like these. I was too focused on proving I had the same rights to exist to listen. The one label that I do accept out of all of this is “oppositionally defiant.” Telling me that this approach doesn’t win friends and influence people is like telling me I’m black. Really???? I must have not seen this EVERY time I look in the mirror so thank you for pointing out the obvious (I AM being sarcastic).
At StudioG we learn to find ways to harness our nature for the benefit of others. When I was released from jail (pled guilty just to get out) family and friends insisted I should go back to safety. However, my oppsitionally defiant side took over: I’m staying right here in the same city where I experienced the unthinkable because I’m going to finish what I came here to do – build myself professionally and become a sustainability thought leader. As if by magic, everything started to transform and on a daily basis people who are 100% committed to helping me reach this goal have started to mentor me (most without knowing the struggle behind the struggle – at least until now). They are doing everything they can to make my life easy and happy. They push me to reach beyond anything I have imagined for myself (here I thought I was a big dreamer). In short, when Leslie says, have FAITH, it pays off, I can testify to that!
The biggest lesson learned over the past 3 years is that we have choices. I should have chosen to handle things differently but I didn’t. Those full of hate could have chosen to be nice and kind people but they didn’t. In the end, it was a zero sum game. I don’t know what price they paid and I really don’t care. Living a life consumed by such hatred is prison and hell enough. I thank God and the Universe EVERY DAY that I’m not them!!! I also give thanks for getting away from them and finding safety in San Diego. I won’t lie and say there was no urge for vendetta. However, that would turn me into that and that is NOT my life! During trials like these one has to learn to be good just because. While in jail, there was no reward for being good. I was shell shocked to hear how hard other women’s lives have been and what they have survived. My belief in a system that yields justice was destroyed and replaced by the knowledge of a system that delivers punishment at all costs. Yet, in that hell, the very people I was always told to stay away from (repeat criminals) are the ones who protected me and taught me how to survive because they realized I would never make it without their help. Every day I felt the guilt of knowing that, in my world, nobody would give them the same help because they would always be “a criminal.” I’ve sought refuge in a gated community and made sure that I don’t live alone. I will never accept breaking the law as a norm or as a solution but I feel an obligation to create a world where people are not trapped by “the system.”
The words we use are important. Every day we can make a choice to try and destroy people’s emotions or to uplift them. Positive Prophecy is the act of saying and doing things that uplift others to goodness and greatness. Helping others do what is right. I cannot let criminals into my life but I can use my voice to tell others to stop the hate and stop the abuse. Let’s build a world where people hear good things from the day they are born until the day they die. There are many other female leaders who have called for this and all I’m doing is adding to the chorus.
One of the videos we watched the first Unlocking Your Genius series I attended is
Martina McBride’s Anyway http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uLtyzRgmyI&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D6uLtyzRgmyI#
As a Catholic, this aligns well with Mother Teresa’s Do It Anyway prayer.http://prayerfoundation.org/mother_teresa_do_it_anyway.htm
I’m no Mother Teresa but, every time I feel discouraged, I think of her other reminder:
“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/mothertere121243.html
And practice her prayer….
Sooo, even if you are not religious and even if you don’t believe in God, please help Leslie reach her goal by posting your favorite text verse/motivational poem/prayer/meditation that has lifted you when you were experiencing challenging times.