Archive for the ‘Excellence’ Category

The Connectors

Prejudice. Bigotry. Racism.

These are very ugly words. So ugly, in fact, that when my first child was born over 20 years ago, a made myself a promise. As she and her sisters grew, I refused to use race as a descriptor in identifying their friends.

I did not want my children to grow up seeing race as something that separates people. I did not want them to struggle with the same stereotyping ignorance that I have struggled with all my life.

I love watching how this effort has evolved. I also love seeing how my own beliefs and ideals are being pushed and tested in a way that makes me question whether I truly feel the way I say I feel.

It’s a “put your money where your mouth is” sort of push.

It feels as though I am part of a bridge between what once was and what is to become.

My parents witnessed and experienced public school segregation and subsequent integration. They remember a time when skin color and even religion determined the level of opportunity afforded a person. I am proud of the fact that my dad had a good friend from the “wrong side of the tracks” even when that was a bit unusual. He has had many such good friends throughout his life.

My children only know about it through history books.

Unfortunately, my children have witnessed the self-destructive poverty mentality that tends to attach itself to certain ethnic groups in our part of the country. I have seen it as well. In spite of my best efforts to protect my children from connecting behavior to race, to some extent, it has happened anyway.

Therein lies some prejudice that I never intended my children to acquire. In many ways, they have chosen to separate themselves from the behaviors that they find unacceptable. In doing so, their opportunities to experience a variety of cultures has been somewhat limited.

My oldest child has stepped away from this place and out into the world. She is a connector, seeing people for who they are, not who they appear to be. She challenges me and my stated beliefs on a regular basis. She has landed in a place where diversity does not necessarily equal poverty mentality and self-destructive behaviors. It exists as an equal opportunity as does goal-oriented focus and success.

Her new friends have many roots, yet they are all connected. She connects and she helps them to connect with others from all over the world. It is a true melting pot of interdependence and compassion.

This generation, both here in the U.S. and in countries like Egypt, want so much more from their world. They desire peace and cooperation, and many of them know exactly how to make it happen. They have been nurtured to recognize that God is not a divider separating people into categories of worthiness. They do not see skin color, religious beliefs, or sexual preference as qualifiers. They understand that God is within them and will be experienced by others through their compassion, their vision, their passion, and their love for one another.

In a sense, they are collectively…..God. Aya. One.

They are the indigos, the crystals, and the rainbows.

They may very well be the catalysts who usher in an age of true interdependence.

They are The Connectors.

I am glad to be a part of the connection.

Triple Warmer Volleyball Meltdown

Have you seen it?

I know you’ve seen it. Everyone’s seen it. You see it in peewee leagues. You see it on junior high and high school teams. It even occasionally shows up on college and professional teams.

So what is it?

The infamous and toxic triple warmer meltdown.

Say WHAT?

Yep. An honest to goodness, full-blown, crash-and-burn meltdown on the stage of athletic competition.

If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a thousand times.

Good kids. Highly talented athletes. Possibly even in the midst of  annihilating another team.

And then they just fall apart.

Totally.

Completely.

Meltdown.

Arses crammed so far up their tushes, extrication would require a Peterbilt tow truck.

No one seems to be able to explain it. The coach appears helpless to stop it. The crowd only seems to make it worse.

What the heck just happened?

It’s all about Energy Systems, Baby, and ours just took a vacation to Abu Dhabi.

There are these very cool rivers of energy in the body. Actually, there are multiple systems of energy, but for our purposes, I’m going to focus on the rivers. If you don’t believe they exist, stop by sometime and I’ll show you in your own body where some of them are and how they affect you.

Most of these rivers of energy, or meridians, have a name that corresponds to an organ system. You may have heard of some of these when listening to an Oriental Medicine guru. They have names like stomach, large intestine, liver, spleen, kidney, heart, and more. Each has a partner and is capable of sharing energy with their partner in a give and take relationship. Occasionally one is a little on the short side or maybe it’s cup runneth over and it has a bit too much energy. When that happens, it affects the body in a variety of ways, none of which are as good as when everything is balanced and running smoothly.

There is one river of energy with a very funny name. It’s the Triple Warmer meridian. My image of triple warmer is of a big brother. It can become quite protective and often times it is the only thing holding the rest of the meridians together when the stress in our lives becomes all-consuming. It’s first source of extra energy happens to be its partner, spleen, which also happens to be associated with the body’s immune system.

Now you are getting the picture.

Too much stress = illness, in part because too much stress = over-charged triple warmer and weakened spleen.

But what does that have to do with athletic performance?

Each of us is wired to respond to stress in a certain way. It has to do with things like left brain/right brain dominance, as well as which hand, eye, ear, and foot we prefer to use in a given situation. When stress kicks in, things start to shut down.

The fight or flight response can kick into high gear.

The muscles down the back of the body tighten up to prepare to run or start swinging punches.

Brain function then moves from the neo-cortex (logic, thinking, organizing, big picture, details) part into the mid-brain whose primary job is to keep us safe.

Not a great place to be hanging out when we need to think clearly, process information, move with grace and athletic prowess, and still be a decent human being.

This is exactly what I see happen in athletic arenas all the time.

I watched it last night as my 12 year old went from smashing volleyballs to shanking things left and right. I saw the moment the shift occurred. The smile left her face. Her shoulders slumped. The energy completely left her body.

Even though she continued to try and make something work, she had given up on her team and she had given up on herself. She felt as though no one had her back. She was simply trying to survive until the torture was over.

Triple warmer was in sixth gear.

Unfortunately while nearly everyone can see what is happening, very few people in the world know how to reverse it and restore balance to an athlete’s system. In some cases, the crowd and the coaches can actually make things worse by putting out energy that is even more stressful and toxic than that produced by the athlete.

Amazing coaches–the legendary ones about whom movies are made–have an incredible talent for calming the triple-warmer stress response. They recognize the meltdown as it begins and have an uncanny ability to halt it and turn things around.

Interestingly enough, anyone can learn how to make the shift happen. Unfortunately most coaches don’t believe they have the time to do what it takes to make stress management a part of their athletic program. As a result, they continue to experience the roller coaster of stress-response performance while some of their most talented athletes struggle to hold things together.

And don’t think for even a second this is limited to athletics.

How often are marriages hanging by a thread because the two parties involved are constantly ready to fight?

How many times are parents defensive when they arrive at school to talk about their child’s issues?

And what child can learn when they arrive in a classroom without their homework only to be thrown into triple warmer hyper-drive by a teacher who unknowingly creates a ton of additional stress?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could create champions by simply calming the stress response?

We can.  Stay tuned.

Building My Wings On The Way Down

A friend/client messaged me earlier this week asking what I had planned for her personal training session. My response?

“IDK.”

Yep. Twenty four hours prior to her arrival for her personal training session, and I honestly had no idea what I was going to do with her or for her. Now, before you freak about how unprofessional this was, keep in mind I’m doing it for free. She’s my guinea pig for a personal training class I am taking…er…uh…I mean….teaching myself. I’ve sorta been dreading it because I feel so unprepared, and since the instructor is requiring it, yet has refused to prepare us with anything other than “read the book”, I have few options besides “winging” it.

It seems like I am doing a lot of “winging” it lately. I don’t know that I ever feel fully prepared for anything anymore.

I have lots of good information to share, and I know I can lead/guide in lots of situations, yet I am really hesitant to jump into something when I feel inadequate.

Lately, however, it seems as though I need to lose the control freak thing about being fully prepared and just jump. I need to trust that the knowledge and skills I already possess, combined with the ones I am continuing to acquire are sufficient to meet the needs of the people who are choosing to be served by me.

Teachers always have to live through being a dreaded “first-year” teacher. There is always the “newbie” stage at a new job during which time “lost and confused” seem to reign supreme.

And now, I find that after months of talking about what I’d like to do, and after a few attempts to prepare myself to do it, it is time for me to jump off this cliff and build my wings on the way down.

So, Thursday evening, October 7th, you are invited to watch me do some cliff diving. After months of talking about it, I have actually decided to open up my space to all who are interested so that we can begin to explore the benefits of a yoga-type class. I say “yoga-type” because I am no expert in yoga, yet I have lots of good information to share, lots of great feel-good stretches, and oodles of awesome energy exercises. We are going to throw it all together in a big pot of togetherness and see what kind of gentle deliciousness we get.

I trust you will join me if your schedule permits. I also trust you’ll throw me a life jacket if I get in over my head.

It will be fabulous, because my mid-air wing construction projects always are.

Up, up, and away!

Amazing Morning

Fall is here. The calendar says so. My pansy butt goose bumps say so. The cars that park up and down the street in front of the wellness center every Thursday and Friday night say so. The lazy sun who keeps sleeping later and later seems to be saying so, too.

This morning was one of those amazing mornings that could go on forever and I’d be okay with it.

At 6:30 AM, I took my freshly showered, bathrobed body, a cup of coffee and the two maniac, desperate-to-pee canines out back. The fog was rolling in. The full moon glistened through the filmy sheers of mist. There was an energy that begged me to breathe it in deeply, for all is well, even if it isn’t.

At 7:30 AM, I took my rugrats to school and noticed the fog-filtered rising sun-ball to the east, and the slightly smaller, yet every bit as beautiful sculpture of a moon to the west. The air was thick. Damp. Cool. No photo can do it justice. Simply Amazing.

Add to all of that the sound of the THS marching band practicing just across the street from the wellness center, and there is no doubt fall has arrived.

I think it is my favorite time of year. Temps are moderate. Wind is minimal. Moisture occasionally finds us. It is gorgeous.

Yep, this is an amazing morning.

Fundamentally Extreme

On an April morning in the mid-1990’s, news reports began streaming in about an horrible tragedy unfolding in Oklahoma City. We were all stunned that someone would do something so terrible.

And waited for word of who we could blame.

Most people expected middle-eastern terrorist groups to be the cause of such misery, destruction, and death.

Turns out it was a couple of angry white guys with ties to Christianity in their background. Some might even consider them “Fundamentalists” of some sort.

And we prosecuted them. And we sentenced Tim McVeigh to death.

Tim McVeigh, a U.S. Army veteran who was born two days before I was, died by lethal injection on June 11, 2001 as punishment for the 168 lives cut short by his retaliation against what he perceived to be the ultimate bully, the U.S. Government.

Numerous attempts were made to connect him to some middle eastern group, but as best I can tell, it never proved to be the case. He was a radical extremist American, willing to kill innocent lives for his beliefs. Nothing more, nothing less.

Flash forward exactly three months from his execution date. The stomach-churning nausea begins again as news reports pour in about airplanes crashing into the World Trade Center towers in New York City. Additional reports followed stating a similar tragedy was unfolding in Washington, D.C., and in Pennsylvania.

This time, a group of murderous fundamentalist extremists, passionate about their beliefs and willing to kill innocent people to prove their point, were responsible.

Oh, and they also happen to be Islamic.

Unfortunately, an immediate hatred of all things and people with any ties to the Islamic religion began to develop. We targeted an entire religion rather than the “Fundamentalist Extremists” who invaded our country and killed our citizens.

We began to analyze their Qur’an to support Christianity’s claims that they are a horrible, terrible murderous people. And of course, we found plenty, according to those who would insist on perpetuating a blanket hatred of Islam and Muslims.

What has occurred to me today, however, are the similarities that exists between the murderous, blood-thirsty deity of the Qur’an, and the murderous, blood-thirsty deity of the Bible.

You might say we have a bona-fide case of the pot calling the kettle black, or in terms of the Holy Bible we seem to hold as absolute truth, we may be trying to pick a speck out of someone else’s eye (in this case, their religion), when there is in fact a plank in our own eye.

Add to this the irony of an idiot fundamentalist in Florida who claims to be a Christian (a Jesus-follower), who was willing to put the lives of hundreds and thousands of military personnel at risk by deliberately pissing off the Islamic fundamentalist who don’t need much of an excuse to blow up a few thousand people, and we have a serious plank/speck problem on our hands.

He is not alone in his beliefs.

We have so-called Christians who will murder abortion doctors.

We have so-called Christians who will shun or even intimidate and torture gays and lesbians in the name of religion.

We have so-called Christians who will advocate a ban on immigration when they themselves are only second or third generation Americans.

All of which is VERY scary.

Today, September 11, 2010, we remember and we honor those whose lives were ended by religious extremists. We also honor those who stepped forward in service to defend our right to experience religious freedom.

I trust that today those of us who claim Jesus as our spiritual leader will also ask ourselves…

…what would Jesus be doing and saying to remember, to honor, to heal the tragic events of 9/11.

Radical fundamentalism is enmeshed in every religion. It would serve Christians well to remember that while Jesus was radical, he was severely lacking in the fundamentalist-violent-characteristics category.

Look around today. Find a way to honor the memory and sacredness of the 9/11 tragedy by identifying a person in need and honoring them the way Jesus would have honored and served them.

It’s the best possible way to memorialize 9/11.

Need some ideas? Here are a couple to get you started:

Relieve a little poverty.

Host a unity party.

Do something nice for a person of a different religious faith.

Study another religion with an open mind. Look for the gifts and blessings it offers rather than the death and destruction. We’ve got enough death and destruction in Christianity to tie us over for awhile.

Make a list of the incredible blessings you have, then find a person lacking some of those and bless them.

Find someone who needs a little love and give it to them.

Add your own ideas in the comments below.



This Is What Jesus Looks Like

The past two weeks, I have removed, relocated, boxed, and stored any number of images of Jesus, the “Blessed Mother”, various saints, and more. While my own feelings toward organized religion, including that of my husband’s mother, are a wee bit hostile (understatement), the one thing I can say about my mother-in-law’s faith is that she lovingly sent money to people she believed were helping the poor, even when she probably didn’t have it to send.

In many ways, I have felt my own faith heritage has been both a blessing and a curse. The church of my childhood and most of my adulthood unquestioningly and abundantly sends money wherever people are hurting or in need. However, the legalistic aspects of both of these systems of religious belief often left me feeling the methods and rituals were more important than the original purpose.

It has become a habit of mine to point out that what we see on Sunday morning has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus. Therefore, my feelings toward anything “church” have become very disconnected from my feelings about the human being that was Jesus of Nazareth.

And then I see a post like this one over at Trey Morgan’s website.

And this one.

And all I can say is this MUST be what Jesus and the apostles looked like. Forget the pretty windows. Forget the little trays of crackers and grape juice. Forget the warm bathtub waters of a baptistry. These people are feeding hungry, desperate human beings and doing everything in their power to heal them. Jesus did those very things.

These people get it.

If you read Trey’s website, you will notice that he has a paypal donation button on the right side of his page.

I am about to hit that button, because this is the image of Jesus I want the world to see. Not some halo enshrined angelic entity created by Michaelangelo. Not some White Knight wielding a flaming sword and cutting off heads.

This is the face of Jesus.

This is where I want my money to go.

Sharing the Love

Cynthia sent me some no obligation love. It seems like a nice way to step back into blogging after a little over a week of almost no writing. Besides, the rules of “accepting” the love award might just make for a good post, so here goes.

The first rule is to thank the person who gave it to you.

Thank you, Cynthia, for your words of encouragement, your interest in finding a better way, your passion for making a difference, and your willingness to share your insights.

Part Two–Ten Things I Love

1) I love the man with whom I share my four beautiful girls. I’m not even sure where to begin other than to say, I’m glad I listened to my heart instead of my head and my religion 20 years ago.

2) I love these four beautiful girls. They amaze me. Constantly. They challenge me. And I’m grateful. Through challenging me, I know they will grow up to think for themselves and live with a strong sense of self.

3) I love the serenity of nature. It doesn’t really matter if it is flat lands or mountains, deserts or beaches. Nature feeds my soul.

4) I love thunderstorms. Their powerful violence is coupled with nurturing energy. They feed plants, settle the dust, and occasionally wreak life-changing havoc. Sometimes life-changing is ultimately good.

5) I love watching my daughter ride horses. Her grace, power, and beauty is a most amazing form of art.

6) I love simple. Simple soothes my soul. Sparse, minimal, essential working together to provide ONLY that which is necessary and no more removes the clutter from my mind and my life.

7) I love green grass. There is an amazing energy that feeds me when I can walk through green grass barefooted.

8. I love late spring/early summer. The winds have gone. Gardens are kicking in. Fruit trees are beginning to share their bounty. Nature nourishes us.

9) I love cold snowy days when I can be inside by a fire. Snow + Fire + No Work = Heaven.  I love it even more when the snow goes away the next day and a warm sunshine takes over.

10) I love freedom and its necessary partner faith. Freedom of knowing that I can do whatever my heart desires requires a tremendous amount of faith that if I do what my heart desires, I and my family will have all we need. I love watching the evidence of this partnership reveal itself. It’s truly fascinating.

Part 3–Pass It On

I have the privilege now of identifying ten other bloggers to receive an “I Love Your Blog” award from me. In no particular order, they are:

My Little Life–I so enjoy reading the every day antics of others who are making it day by day with a house full of kids. The material generated in these situations is endless, and priceless.

Living the Questions–Elissa Elliott is the author of Eve: A Novel of the First Woman. We are travelers on a similar journey, and I am blessed to have her encouragement and words of wisdom to help me along the way.

Trey Morgan–This is one cool preacher dude. As preachers go, he is one of the few who “get it”, in my opinion. Some days I wonder how he keeps his job as much as he challenges the status quo of religion. Other days I think I need to corrupt him just a wee bit more, but those are few and far between. He’s definitely out to make us all think and rethink.

The Rambling Poet–Renae Cobb found me. She is another sojourner on a similar road facing the realities of her religious and societal history, her desires for her girls, and her love for her man. Traditional but not. Feminist, but faithful. Adventurer with one foot in the safe zone. She is a wonderful encouragement to me.

Farmer’s Daughter–Abbie is a Connecticut farm girl who seems like one part me and one part who I wish I was. This is one very “got-it-together” farm girl with a talent for writing and sharing her ideas about lots of things from farm life to nature conservation to living green to parenting.

Blue Jeans and Cotton Tees–Melinda is another living-the-rural-life mom with tales and adventures of normalcy around every corner. She shares cooking experiences, kid experiences, family get-togethers, and so much more.

Cleavage–Kelly Diels is raw, direct, and real. She’s not out to keep anyone particularly happy. She’s not out to avoid being offensive. She doesn’t worry about the fact that her mom might read her blog. She is real. She talks about real issues that make me think. Issues about sex, relationships, self-doubt, seeing things as they really are. Kelly rocks.

My Modern Country–Darcie is just up the road in the southeastern plains of Colorado. She’s another countrified mom with a great guy and some kids and she’s making things work. Who needs comedians when you’ve got kids, country, and a camera?

Attack of the Redneck  Mommy–I never realized rednecks could live in Canada, but apparently redneck mommies do. Tanis educates me in so many ways. She is a parent who has experienced the greatest of joys and the most tragic sadness. Her writing helps me to become more aware of my own ignorance in the area of disabled and differently abled children. She is not afraid to be different, to take a stand, and to go boldly where no one has gone before. And she’s just hard-core funny, too.

10) My last award goes to a some blogs (which means I actually picked 12–I’m such a rule-breaker) that are “big-time” and don’t really need any love from me, but I just can’t help but love them. Danielle LaPorte’s White Hot Truth, Ronna Detrick’s Renegade Conversations, and Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman are incredible. They make my day in so many ways and in such different ways. Very cool stuff.

None of these bloggers are in any way obligated (guilted) into passing this along. I don’t do guilt. It’s annoying. I just found this was a great way to ease myself back into writing before tackling some of my more intense topics. It also gives me an opportunity to thank some people who bring a smile into my life.

Finally, I will attempt to let each of these beautiful people know that I love their blogs, their words, their wisdom, and I have publicly acknowledged them, no guilt attached.

Starting Fires and Getting To Answers

Enough already with the battle cries and the dragon slaying and the minotaur gutting. Time to have a little fun and play  around with what’s really important. Today, that happens to be the warm cozy campfire, which is the result of Danielle LaPorte’s hot new package of technological genius she calls The Fire Starter Sessions.

I’ve been following Danielle’s blog, White Hot Truth for over a year now. Not long after I found her, I decided I wanted some of what she had, so I signed on for one of her private Fire Starter sessions. It was good for me because it helped me to realize some things about where I was headed on the road to independent business woman. Important things. Critical things.

Naturally when she announced that she was putting out an ebook “experience” called The Fire Starter Sessions, I was totally on board. One on one was good, but I am at another place on my journey at this point, so I jumped at the chance to get a “redo” of sorts.

She poses some Burning Questions that get down to the nitty gritty about how a person sees themself, their business, and their “how-to-get-it-done-ness”. I revisted those questions yesterday. Interestingly, my answers have shifted a bit in the last 15 months since my private Fire Starter Session.

When someone at a party asks you what do you do, what do you say? And how do you feel?

This is a work in progress. I’m refining this. As of this morning, my three liner would be, “I own a business called Superior Performance Wellness Center where I help people heal with touch, education, and movement. I am passionate about  alternative health and wellness, locally grown foods, and using the body’s wisdom to improve mental and physical performance. My wellness center currently offers massage therapy and some locally grown foods, however, I am looking to expand my services to include infrared sauna sessions and yoga classes as well.”

Maybe I’ll figure out a way to slip in some of my cool titles like Licensed Massage Therapist, Licensed Brain Gym Instructor, Certified Physical Educator, Technology aficionado, microphone goddess, etc. Feel free to post suggestions for improvements in the comments.

How do you make your money? What are your revenue streams? What makes you the most money?

As of today, I am still employed as a technology facilitator for a school district. It is definitely paying the bills at this point. As of June 16th, something else will be paying the bills. My other revenue streams include massage therapy, conducting Brain Gym workshops, and a new one–providing adaptive physical education services to special needs children.

Brain Gym workshops provide the biggest one-time infusion of revenue, but the massage is more consistent over time, and I anticipate the adaptive physical education services will be the most lucrative.

What do people thank you for most often? What do they come to you for, or say about you most frequently (“positive” or “negative”)?

I had a couple of friends help me out with this one in the original Fire Starter session. Overall, the result is still the same. People thank me for  helping them feel better, whether it is through encouraging or being a cheerleader for them, helping them step by step through a problem, working out a sore, stiff muscle, or teaching them tools that empower their own success.

When do you feel powerful, passionate, free, incredibly useful, excited, inspired?

This one is pretty easy. Anytime I am able to empower someone by teaching them how awesome their body really is, it rocks my world. I love being in front of a room full of people who are looking for a way to improve their lives or the lives of those around them. I love sharing what I know, and watching the amazement as others experience the impact of what I have taught them.

I also feel quite useful and excited when someone leaves my massage table deeply relaxed, or in significantly less pain.

What do you think your form of genius is? What are you amazing at (work or life related?)

I am amazing at showing people a way to succeed and then cheering them on in that success. My true genius is as a spontaneous educator. I love to have an encounter with someone who is on the verge of a meltdown, teach them some of my cool mojo, and see their eyes light up as they realize the potential power of what they have just experienced. Planned events are okay, but spontaneous rocks!

Who do you think is really cool, or elegant, or powerful?

I made out a list yesterday, then I went back to see my original list from last year. I liked parts of both lists. Here’s my new condensed list: James Garner in The Notebook and Danielle LaPorte–she oozes cool and powerful….and I’m not just saying that because she wrote this thing.

What books have inspired you?

My recent reads are on my mind as kicking me into gear: Conversations with God (all three), Dance of the Dissident Daughter, Leaving Church, The Yoga of Jesus, Animal Spirit Guides.

What would you like to stop doing?

I would like to stop should-ing. Either do it because I want to or let it go. I am releasing my (non) housecleaning guilt. Stop working in a concrete cell doing things for condescending people who should have learned how to help themselves by now. Stop making someone else money. Stop obsessing over feedback from others.

So…what would you like to do with your life and career? (Money is no object. Dream.)

My dream is to own/run a wellness center/retreat complete with body therapies, yoga, nutritious yummy foods, and a kick-ass environment that screams peace. Phase I in progress.

As you read through these questions and my answers, what comes to mind? How would you answer these for yourself? If you know me, do you see any room for improvement in how I answered them?

Submission and Minotaurs

The divine feminine spirit remains first and foremost on my mind these days.

As I continue my trek through Sue Monk Kidd’s Dance of the Dissident Daughter, each page opens my eyes to a part of the journey of awakening that began in me about 5 years ago. With each new section, I recognize myself trudging through the jungle whacking a branch here and pushing something aside there, each representing a piece of my old belief system that no longer serves me.

She talks about the myth of Ariadne, and how the minotaur of King Minos’ labyrinth represented for her the dark side of patriarchy.

“In the female psyche the Minotaur represents negative, uncivilized (beastly), masculine power… In other words, the Minotaur is the bullish, bullying, bulldozing force of patriarchy internalized in the cellar of a woman’s psyche. It is a presence that works invisibily, hampering, limiting, driving, even destroying a woman’s inner and outer life.”

It is a belief system that we use to feed our own self-doubt, contributing to our feelings of inadequacy and the repeated action of handing over our feminine power to another.

This reading dove-tailed with a conversation I had yesterday. The person with whom I was conversing is a strong powerful feminine spirit who is struggling with more than one emotional load at this point in her life. One of the more irritating of these is the pervasiveness of the male authoritarian figures influencing and affecting her career.

And yet during the conversation, she remarked that she holds to the belief that as a Christian woman, her husband is the head of the household and she submits to him. Outwardly, I see a strong woman who is very much in partnership, rather than submission to her husband. Yet because of the influence of Christianity’s patriarchy (and the teachings of those other than Jesus Christ), I believe she has convinced her subconscious that in fact, she should submit to the male in a relationship, whatever that relationship should be. Though not afraid to confront a wrong, she fears the power held by the male to consume her life and livelihood if she stands up for her divine feminine wisdom.

I have been in that place. I have held fast to that belief. I have spoken that to other women. And like her, I have never truly lived it in my marriage, because my man and I are a team–both strong and independent, but willing to compromise to meet each other in harmony. He would never ask me to submit to him, and he would never stoop to guilting, manipulating, or threatening me into obeying him.

Ain’t gonna happen.

And yet I find that just like her, this concept of submitting to male authority has so parasitically attached itself to our souls and metastasized into the far reaches of our very essence, that we struggle to stand up for ourselves when male leadership oversteps its humanness and leaps headlong into the assholeness that is the Minotaur. (Sorry, Mom. It is what it is.)

That was never the intended message of Christ.

And so our wise woman divine feminine spirit shrinks back into a little girl and cows in obedience to whatever great man-god we choose to submit to in the moment. We become one of the many children sacrificed to feed the Minotaur so he can continue to feel strong and powerful. Our feminine spirit is crushed between the Minotaur’s jaws while he stands triumphantly over his prey.

Fear allowed this…fear of job loss, fear of approval loss, fear of angering the Minotaur.

I’m over it.

I choose to no longer feed the Minotaur.

I choose to no longer submit to a male (or female) simply because I fear what they might do to me if I disagree with them.

I choose not participate in (or submit my daughters to) a faith or belief system in which submission to a male is ingrained in my psyche as a condition for the salvation of my soul.

I choose not to be employed in a situation that requires any arrangement other than teamwork.

I choose to identify my Minotaurs and slay them.

I choose to live as a a wise woman full of the divine feminine spirit.

I am beginning to recognize the Minotaurs in my life. What are yours?

Messages to Our Daughters

Dear Jesus, Bless this post. This one could be a bit touchy.

Something is stirring in my head and my heart this morning. It is something of great importance. Something that could be met with an Aha! or with banishment by leadership. I will do my best to craft this post with wisdom and grace rather than finger pointing and accusation.

My daughters are weighing heavy on  my heart today. As I continue my read in Sue Monk Kidd’s Dance of the Dissident Daughter, I am realizing the many ways in which we continue to allow a subliminal message of less than to be delivered generation after generation to our daughters.

Even more disturbing is the realization that many a proud girl daddy is standing back approving the various practices that perpetuate this message delivery system. At the very least, we stand and watch in silence as it continues year after year after year.

We live in a society that elevates the status of men and their roles above that of women and those who work specifically with women and girls. Rural West Texas may be perpetuating that more than most.

Case in point: Education and Sports as it relates to leadership.

Look at the makeup of your school board. Ours is currently all male. At one time there were two of seven who happened to be female.

Look at the makeup of administration. How many superintendents are male? How many finance officers are male? How many curriculum/special programs personnel are male? How many principals are male? And finally, how many teachers, secretaries, and teaching assistants are male?

We are somewhat more progressive in this area than others. We do have a few females at the top. Yet it is still disturbing to me that so many of our teachers are female while such a significant part of our leadership is male. This perpetuates a stereotype that somehow males are more suited for leadership.

I had an opportunity to take a leadership role several years ago. I didn’t want it. I guess I helped perpetuate the patriarchal ideals. Maybe that’s why there is such an imbalance in leadership. Women just don’t want that level of responsibility and men do.

I’m not buying it.

I think it is more a case of how we stereotype people in those roles. Women in leadership are oftentimes seen as bitchy. Difficult. Emotional. Moody. Vindictive. Condescending.

Is this true?

Does being male somehow exclude a person from possessing these characteristics?

I would suggest that if two candidates were placed side by side with equal qualifications, similar personality traits, and everything else being absolutely the same, even a hiring committee made up entirely of women would choose the male. We are THAT conditioned to submit to male leadership. Unfortunately, I would probably be right there with the rest of that committee choosing a man.

So why is it that we are willing to submit to a man who is difficult, emotional, moody, vindictive, and condescending as acceptable leadership material, but those same perceived characteristics in a woman are grounds for running like hell?

Just ponder that for a bit, will you?

Think some more.

More.

Now take a breath.

Part two of my morning psychosis coming up next right after these words from my goddesses.

The Amazon Princess is about to shoot.

Cowgirl dominates the floor.

Teenage Goddess kicks some three-point butt.

The Tigress force-feeds her opponent a tasty snack.

These are the reasons I write.

These are the four amazing women who deserve so much more than a life in which men are seen as physically, intellectually, and spiritually superior simply because they were born with an external appendage.

Don’t get me wrong. I lOVE men. Men are awesome. I made these amazing beauties with one and I still like him alot. I like him in part because he empowers the women in his life. He is probably one of the best girl-daddy’s on this planet.

But he is a rare find.

Back to how education and sports condition girls and women into feeling like they are somehow less than boys and men.

We have a government mandate called Title IX. I haven’t read its fine print. Some people say it means there has to be equity between what is offered to boys and what is offered to girls when it comes to sports in an educational environment. Seems like everyone you talk to has a different take on it. Talk to a man and it means one thing. Talk to a woman and it means a heckuva lot more.

So yeah. We’ve got equity in sports. Because Uncle Sam says so.

Whatever.

How does equity exist when year after year the athletic program is run by someone whose primary job title involves creating a highly successful boys and mens sports program? I’m not suggesting that those men would consciously do something that would undermine the success of the girls’ program, but how is it humanly possible to avoid putting more energy and influence into the program for which YOU are held accountable to the public than you do towards a program that in some cases gets in the way of YOUR program?

Scheduling classes. Hiring staff. Content area teaching positions.

The eyes of the top dawg can’t help but be first and foremost on HIS boys’ program.

Seriously.

When was the last time a school sports program in rural West Texas was run by the head of girls’ athletics? I would love to have some examples. I’m sure they exist. I’m just not familiar with them.

When in history has the search for a head girls’ coach of any sport involved the intense committee search the likes of which are seen when searching for a football coach?

And why is it that we often see almost double the number of boys coaches than girls coaches?

Bottom line, consciously or unconsciously, we value men and boys more than we do women and girls.

Don’t give me that crap about how special our girls are and how we protect them and keep them safe. Cowgirl can body slam your boy to the ground and make him cry any day of the week. She wants to be treated with respect and given the same opportunities the boys get.

And now I find my blogging time is waning and my rant is calming a bit. My challenge to you is to think  long and hard about the subliminal  messages we send to our girls in all areas of life, especially our sports and education. If you are a girl mama reading this, I know you’ll have some thoughts. If you are a girl daddy, and especially if you are in a position of leadership, I trust you will give significant consideration to and reflect about your decisions and how they perpetuate the second class status we are assigning to our young ladies.

It’s not about religion (although I can hammer that wagon mercilessly). It’s about telling our girls they are somehow less than….not as important….not worth as much money or effort…..

Is that really what you want them to hear?

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