Tag Archives: Women’s Empowerment

Girls Inc.: Changing the World Through Girl Power!

Go Inspire Go is proud to present this month’s Social Good Spotlight to raise awareness of organizations doing good in their communities in order to inspire others to take action and ultimately make real social change. For more information and to read past Social Good Spotlights, click here.

Compiled by Toan Lam and Koshi Sandrasagra

What is Girls Incorporated (Girls Inc.)?

Girls Incorporated is a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire all girls to be strong (through healthy living), smart (through education) and bold (through independence). Founded in 1958, Girls Inc. offers academic enrichment activities, skill-building programs and counseling services to girls and their families.

girls+powGirls Inc. of Alameda County provides year-round academic achievement and skills-building programs, as well as counseling services to more than 7,500 girls and families.

Girls Inc. believes that generations are transformed when girls are equipped with knowledge, information and confidence. Girls ages 5-18 are engaged in a continuum of award-winning programs, developing the essential skills and tools they need for college, career and life success.

How does it work?

The process: Girls Inc. begins with teaching the foundations of literacy and they support girls developmentally with each milestone along the way. This includes focus on academic achievement, positive risk taking, health and fitness, advocacy, leadership and more. The organization is unique in that they focus on serving the whole girl and her family as well, by providing on-site mental health counseling among all of the other programs offered. Their nationally-developed programs are the result of studies conducted by the Girls Incorporated National Resource Center – the largest and most comprehensive research center on girls in the country.

Spotlight on Major Accomplishments (to name just a few!):

  • 100 percent of Girls Inc. seniors graduate from high school (compared to less than 60 percent of their peers) and in the last five years, 98.2 percent of seniors have enrolled in college (most of whom are the first in their families to do so).
  • More than 1,500 girls across the country have participated in technology and literacy curricula initially developed by Girls Inc. of Alameda County.
  • Named by the Clinton Global Initiative as one of the 13 programs that “will improve the lives of girls and women around the world.”
  • Received the United Nation’s East Bay’s 6th Annual Global Citizen Award

Personal Victories:

  • In Spring 2012, Arooj Haq, who was an active participant in Girls Inc. programs from early elementary school though high school graduation, was inducted into Alameda County’s Women’s Hall of Fame for her work in public health and advocating for human rights. In Girls Inc. Arooj, at 17, promoted nutrition, smart choices and healthy relationships to her high school peers, and helped run her school’s annual blood drive. The daughter of two Pakistani immigrants, Arooj has long aspired to be a nurse. A recent trip to the Middle East caused her to expand her aspirations, however. Her goal now is to one day open a charity helping women in her parents’ native country. As a young Muslim woman, Arooj has had some negative experiences due to others’ ignorance and stereotyping. The experiences only bolster her determination to be a positive role model and to redefine cultural assumptions. She now attends U.C. Santa Barbara!
  • Two Eureka! Teen Achievement Program high school participants were invited to the 2012 White House Science Fair based on their solar bus design and met President Barack Obama.

The New Girls Inc. Simpson Center for Girls

Girls Inc. of Alameda County has unveiled new headquarters to become the region’s first and only resource center for girls. The new center is located at 510 16th St in Downtown Oakland, and will effectively allow Girls Inc. to respond to the increasing demand for their critical programs.

The genius of the design for the center is not just that it revitalizes a historic building, but that it began with Girls Inc. participants!

Girls from the Eureka! Teen Achievement Program met with Berkeley-based Anne Phillips Architecture and spearheaded the project – getting regular project updates, providing design input and ideas to create a green, sustainable facility and making key decisions on efficient fixtures and design.

The end result is a flexible design concept that will support expanded programs and services, including:
  • Learning and education – Expanded space for high school girls to build skills in leadership, advocacy and peer education.
  • Physical and mental health – a vibrant health and wellness center and teaching kitchen, with a focus on cooking, nutrition, a yoga center and the Pathways Center for counseling.
  • Academic Achievement and Enrichment – Early learning, tutoring, college prep and career guidance, a library, study areas and Internet café.

Take Action:

In the media era where young women are bombarded with conflicting messages and values (think The Notorious B.I.G. singing about “Nasty Girl” and reality TV stars and pop idols making sex tapes to get famous) – there is a very real need to give young women a sense of pride, self-worth and purpose. Girls Inc. is providing a very real service in communities that need it; giving young girls the building blocks to create their futures, rather than having a future thrust upon them through poverty and a lack of education or opportunity.

Get involved by joining the Girls Inc. strong, smart & bold campaign and help them change the world: one girl, one family, one community at a time.

Become a volunteer, join our Girls Inc. Friends & Family and donate, become a Women of Impact member or partner with Girls Inc.!

There are so many opportunities to help us change the world, one girl at a time. Get involved!

Feel Reality

panther

The growl was rolling in my throat. A rhythmic, vibrating accompaniment for the movements of my body, the soft steps, the stretches and contractions of muscles. I moved a paw forward and my lips lifted over my fangs. Wild. I was wild. I was a wild cat. Another step crumbled a pile of dry leaves, I moved my paw, I moved my hand, I touched the soft, rumpled blanket. Bed. I was in bed. There was silence and soft breath near me, there were the heavy spots of warmth where dogs slept. I was in bed.

I was wild. I closed my eyes again. The forest was warm, pulsating with life. Life I could feel … I can feel it! I thought “I am a cat and I am the forest”. The thought brought others along, “I am the cat” I thought, and the cat became distant, distinct, separate. “I am being the cat” I thought, and stopped being it. I was thinking now, moving back into my body, back in my mind watching, observing, describing … “no!” I thought, “No! Stop thinking, stop thinking … be…”

I padded through the forest, with the forest, as the forest. I felt it on my skin. I felt it in my muscles. I felt the tension, the softness, the presence. I felt it as my body. I felt the trees and their silence, the buzzing of their flesh, of my flesh, stretching high towards the sky. I felt the water spilling over a damp earth. I felt pulled downhill with the rushing streams, I flew over rocks in the rapids with the dancing rivers. I felt the fear and submission of prey hiding nearby, in thorny bushes and earthen holes. I felt their timid presence. Their rapid, pulsating life was my own.

I felt another life, strong, powerful. Present. I felt it and knew I must meet and confront it. My authority against it’s. We must try each-other. The tension must be resolved. The strength must be tested. Hierarchy must be established.

I felt the forest, I felt being, I felt life. I was life.

“Now you know,” said the cat, “now you know how you can be wild in the world.”

“Yes. Thank you”

There was an acknowledgment. The cat left.

I lifted my head, I opened my eyes. In the midst of the night I was wide awake. “I was a wild cat!” I whispered to my husband. “Oh,” he said.

Oh.

There was nothing more to be said.

More by Pausha Foley:

I am that I am

Life After Facebook

You Create

5 Quotes From Dr. Christiane Northrup That Will Make You Proud to Be a Woman

 

christiane_prodPeriods, PMS, menopause, morning sickness… Is there any aspect of the body’s cycles women can be proud of? According to the media and mainstream Western culture, women have more to feel ashamed and plagued by than proud of when it comes to their bodies. With messages of body positivity only barely making a dent in women’s overwhelmingly conflicted relationships with their bodies, something has got to give.

Enter, Dr. Christiane Northrup, the women’s health expert shaking every belief we’ve held about the female body for decades. Northrup’s reality check: Menstruation is a sacred experience that demands rest and self-regeneration. So-called “PMS” is really a flourishing of creative energy that surges through the female brain at certain points in her cycle. Menopause is a process of transformation, during and after which women can experience the best sex of their lives.

If any of the above statements contradict your own feeling about your body, then read on. In these 5 soul-shaking quotes from an interview featured in the latest issue of Spirituality & Health Magazine, Northrup offers a rallying cry for women to embrace the powerful bodies they inhabit:

1. The key is to understand that every woman has the keys to the kingdom inside herself, and those keys are found in doing those things that she loves to do.

~

2. You [women] have a cycle where you bleed in tune with the moon. It is the cycle responsible for all human life on earth. It is the cycle that connects you to your creativity and to the very essence of the tide coming in, the tide going out, the seasons, the sap going into the roots and then rising up, and we have been taught for 5,000 years to be ashamed of that cycle.

~

3. Did you know that we have as much erectile tissue inside our pelvis as men have? only, theirs is on the outside. What we have is the clitoris, which is the only organ in the human body whose sole function is pleasure.

~

4. Menopause is when you really move into your goddess energy in a big way. You’re no longer losing your blood, so you move into this phase now where your FSH and LH hormones in the pituitary gland are at the same levels as when you’re ovulating. and for many women that is their peak time
of sexual desire.

~

5. What we women are sure of is that there’s a man out there who will complete us. That’s what every movie tells us. But what it’s really about is doing that inner work of completing oneself.

Only as complete, proud, self-loving individuals can women experience the fullness of life that they deserve. Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

*****

 

SH_JulyAug_CVR_lrgSpirituality & Health is a magazine for people who want to explore the spiritual journey and wake up to our capacity for self-healing, vitality, and resiliency. Read the entire conversation with Christine Northrup in the July-August edition of Spirituality & Health, on newsstands now! Get your first issue FREE here.

Would you like to win a FREE year-long subscription to Spirituality & Health magazine?

This month, Intent is giving away 5 year-long subscriptions to Spirituality & Health magazine. To enter, simply comment below with your favorite empowering quote. Be sure to include your name and email so we can contact you if you win.

 

“Shakti Rising”: Empowering Women From the Inside Out

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 12.34.07 PMI recently had the unique and almost otherworldly experience of stepping into the world of Shakti Rising; a nonprofit social change organization that takes a holistic approach to empowering women and girls from the inside out, with the vision that healthy, empowered women are the potential change-makers in their families, social circles, and communities. They distinguish an empowered female leader from a powerful female leader, a concept I found fascinating.

During the hours I spent at Shakti Rising when I attended their community “Garden Day,” I interacted with a number of women; some of which were on a transformational journey, some of which were there to volunteer, and some of which led the program. The sense of community and support was palpable among everyone, even though many of us had just met.

The women live together in a large home, taking classes, facing their personal demons or difficulties daily, and learning to live in community. As I worked alongside these women, saw how they interacted, and enjoyed a delicious lunch with them, I started to put my finger on what was unique about this place, apart from its holistic, inside-out approach to healing and growing.

It was the energetic space and how open, inviting, and accepting it seemed to be.

The benefits of this unique model, where women live and work side by side, became obvious to me as I witnessed the support they all received from each other. It was a refreshing change from most modern day living arrangements, where single women often live alone, only meeting other women in passing, when meeting up with friends, or in a competitive work environment. The benefit these women receive from living in community became quickly apparent. As one woman said, when commenting on how much she enjoyed preparing the food with other women, “We were not meant to cook alone.”

Shakti is a Hindu goddess representing divine, manifesting, feminine energy. She takes many names and forms, sometimes representing a motherly, fertile form, and other times is described as a fierce warrior. As such, the name “Shakti Rising” really hit home when I realized the underlying intention of the organization to empower women to rise up into their whole, complete, empowered being and then send that complete, integrated, whole-hearted woman into the world to empower, inspire, and lead others without needing to overpower others to do so.

In part, their description reads:

Our way is to walk our talk, organically closing the gap between principle and practice. We do this by welcoming change, valuing friendships, taking risks, and creating lives with fun, passion and laughter. We practice presence, gratitude and forgiveness. We delight in relationships that are long term and mutually beneficial.

We are woven together by what we value: authenticity, faith, courage, integrity, commitment and service. We believe in the power of our real life choices, knowing that mundane actions can have the most far-reaching implications. We are dedicated to sustainability and the pursuit of social and environmental change. Our lifestyle embraces the needs of the present and the legacy of the future.

Shakti Rising has several locations, including the Bay Area, San Diego, New Mexico, and Kauai. Their current goal is to reach 1,000 monthly donors in support of the education and leadership services of Shakti Feminine University. They also welcome energetic support and volunteerism, as they are largely a word-of-mouth organization.

My visit to the world of Shakti Rising sprung out of an interest to be of service to other women. I thought my contribution would be through teaching yoga. After experiencing the Shakti Rising community personally and getting to know the women and some of their individual stories, I realized that this was an opportunity to take my yoga off my mat.

Practicing yoga doesn’t always mean bending over backwards physically. Sometimes it means bending over backwards to help someone else plant a seed. Instead of supporting someone in an arm-balancing pose, sometimes we support them as they learn to trust themselves fully in the real world. We all hold space for introspection and transformation when we attend a yoga class, but it’s also entirely possible to create a sacred space in our communities where transformation, conversation, healing, and growing are possible and welcomed.

As women, we are all in a position to shift the paradigm of being a powerful woman to being an empowered woman. The difference is that one power comes from outside of us and the other comes from within. Our young women are our future leaders, and they are following our example.

Losing Yourself in Love: 5 Steps to Get Back Home

“People will always make you feel like losing them in your life will be a lifetime regret…when losing yourself in them is suicide.” -Unknown

End of DayOne morning this week it hit me. Why this morning, in this week and why I hadn’t realized it before are questions I’m not sure I can answer. But there I was, wide-awake at 6:30am except I had nothing to do. No kids to take to school, no little feet lodged in my ribs, just me all alone and wide awake.

It’s not that this hasn’t happened many times recently. I have been separated/divorced for over two years and thought I had worked through my emotions about being away from my kids, so why this morning was I unable to roll over and sleep in?

As I laid there, alone in my California king bed running through a list of reasons as to why, this morning I was feeling like an alien in my own body, it didn’t take long to figure it out. I was an alien in my own body.

One of the greatest revelations I had after my separation was that while married I had lost myself. This isn’t an uncommon realization for people getting divorced. We wake up and find out we don’t know who we are anymore. For me, I’d forgotten what kind of music I liked, what kind of food I liked, and what kind of movies I liked. I could recite every line uttered in Gladiator and Toy Story to you if you’d like, but the last movie I indulged in simply because I wanted to see it, nope couldn’t tell you. I couldn’t remember if I liked to get up early for me or if I only did it because I have young children who seem to think sleep is tantamount to child torture and should be avoided at all costs.

But that revelation was over two years ago. I had figured it all out since then, hadn’t I? The truth is, I was awake at 6:30am when I should have slept in because I realized I hadn’t, I saw the writing on the wall, and I was doing it again. For two years while I thought I was working on me, I wasn’t. I was stabilizing. I was figuring out how to raise two kids on my own, figuring out how to support myself, my mom and my kids alone and when I had time, half-heartedly piecing together a new mosaic of myself.

As I attempted to manage all of that I accidentally met a man. I had been dabbling in the men department, keeping a good distance between anyone and my heart. But this one seems to have to stuck around, and now after almost a year I realized that I have grown to love this man. But something wasn’t right. With each passing day I began to see the signs of the take over, the alien possession of the me I had found directly after my divorce, back to the same old patterns and behaviors that led to my divorce. The loosing of myself, the letting go of the things that mattered to me just so I could keep this person in my life. So afraid that if I allowed myself to be me, I wouldn’t be loved anymore, and I would be alone.

I had been alone for a while after my divorce. Playing at being that together, single mom who has it all figured out. But I am not. The pain of being alone still lingers, the scars of being abandoned in the woods with my cubs, still very raw. I laughed at myself as I lay there; at my arrogance of thinking I had moved beyond that fear. I chuckled at the idea that I could have figured myself out that quickly. I considered that I was only in this new relationship because of that fear. Was it love I truly felt for this person or was the fear of being alone what was keeping me there? Did I know what I wanted in my life?

Finally out of bed, alone with my coffee, a cigarette and my thoughts, no kids to feed, no rushing out the door to get to school on time. Just this one question. How is it that I, of all people, one who should “know,” still gets lost down this rabbit hole? Will I ever dig myself out? Will I ever exorcise this demon, this alien who insists on living my life?

After a half hour of berating myself for not being the epitome of the wise woman who knows it all, I forgave myself and relaxed. Instead of shoving my fear back down deep into the dark hole of myself – I performed my own exorcism. Reflected back on the last two years and the progress I have made, I acknowledged that I was falling back into to old patterns, but found gratitude in being able to see those patterns emerging early and the willingness to stop myself. Then I did something I love, something I don’t get to do very often, I took a bath, at 10am and read a really good book, nothing about science or spirituality, a romance novel set in the 1700’s – chock full of chivalry and sword fights. I was in that bath for two hours (I had to refill the tub twice!).

That night I did something I had feared before in past relationships, I spoke up, I was willing to walk away from my relationship if I couldn’t be heard. I was honest with myself and with him. I understood that this was more to do with me, my behavior than his. I admitted for once, that I have needs that were important to me and I wasn’t going to let them go out of fear of loosing love anymore. I was loosing myself and I could not, would not do that again. He listened, he understood. I decided to move forward with the relationship, with a more conscious awareness of my self. Because there is much I love about this person, but there is much I love about myself. The practice is finding the balance.

So often we wonder how we end up loosing ourselves, how we end up in relationships that don’t serve us, but serve the underlying issues we often don’t want to face. Lucky for me I have a great therapist, someone who has walked a mile in my shoes and who has come out the other side. We talked a lot about why this occurs and how by acknowledging, understanding, and facing those hidden little secrets we want to hide about ourselves can bring us the courage and strength to change the patterns that sneak up on us, ready to snatch the real us and replace us with an alien we no longer know.

Here are 5 signs you’ve lost yourself in love:

  • You are in a relationship with a narcissist. People with NPD are notoriously attracted to people who will become who they need them to be. The right personality for this is someone who is easy-going and accommodating. Over time the person in the relationship with the NPD loses sight of who they are, and what they want. It may eventually break down with an affair, and the NPD partner getting bored and moving on.
  • You have low self-esteem and lack self value. People with a fragile sense of self easily lose themselves in a relationship. They lack the confidence and courage to stand up for themselves, and to ask for what they need. Instead they stay passively quiet until they are so unhappy they are forced to give up trying or leave the relationship.
  • You feel more comfortable in a merged relationship than an intrapersonal one. Some people are terrified of being independent and separate from their lover. It either stems from separation anxiety or a fear of loss of the partner. This is usually a mutual experience so both partners give up their independent selves and become “one”. It manifests in doing everything together and not having their own lives, friends and interests.
  • You lose site of who they are. Many couples forget to work on themselves by taking time out to nurture their interests and relationships outside of their love relationship. They only focus on each other, the marriage/relationship or kids neglecting their own needs and desires. Suddenly they realize they don’t know who they are anymore. This often turns into a mid-life crisis or some other potentially destructive behavior.
  • You have false beliefs about what it means to be in a relationship. Many people learn and believe that being in a relationship equates with sacrifice. They believe they have to give up things for the other, and slowly but surely they have nothing left. They feel guilty or selfish for even wanting more for themselves, so they settle in and stop working on their own lives.

And 5 steps to get you back home (to yourself):

  • Acknowledgement – Okay, I fit one or more of those descriptions.
  • Forgive – We are human after all, and we can change anything we choose about ourselves in any moment. The past is the past and the future is ours.
  • Awareness – Observe how you are being in your relationships, journal your behaviors and patterns.
  • Practice – As you begin to observe your patterns practice interrupting them, practice a new behavior in it’s place.
  • Most importantly – DO! Get up, get out and do what you love, it may feel uncomfortable at first, but with time you will begin to feel safe on your own, and you will find joy and peace in being yourself.

 

Special thanks to Dr. Andra Brosh for contributing to this blog.

photo by: dbnunley

The Inextinguishable Power of Women

This month is somewhat of an anniversary celebration for me.  Ten years ago, I naively flew off across the ocean to an alternative clinic in Germany looking for answers, hope  and healing, for my undiagnosable medical condition.  Weighing in at 89 pounds on a 5 foot 6 inch frame, I was a walking skeleton and apparently looked like the only thing I was about to cross, was death’s door.  My daughter had even given me permission to die.  That truly shocked me.

The direness of my situation was confirmed by the team of medical doctors who at one point could only suggest, “perhaps you should pray.”  They were very clear that I’d have to alter my lifestyle dramatically and they emphatically told me I would never be able to travel again.  The harsh reality hit home when I stood, almost naked, in front of their full-length mirror, wondering where my body had gone.  After three and a half weeks, I flew back across the ocean, arriving home no better than when I’d left.  The complexity of my condition remained a mystery.  Physically I looked frightening, but I knew that I’d have to rally from deep within me, my inextinguishable determination to live.

So, this year when I was invited to join World Neighbors on a physically challenging trip  to visit the forgotten people in the poorest regions of Peru, I admit, I was very hesitant.  Then I realized I was being offered an opportunity to test my physical resilience, almost ten years to the day after literally being unable to even walk up a short flight of stairs.  The only answer was yes.  Always my philosophy: Say Yes to Life.

The trip demanded more of me than I thought I was capable of.  Cold nights in high altitudes without heat or hot water.  Hours of driving on what I came to call “non-roads”.  Soon the luxuries we take for granted in North America were a longed for distant memory.  I slept in layers of clothes and developed a new gratitude for all I was blessed with, including fleece pants and a jacket which became my comfort.  I could write extensively about the challenges, but they soon took a back seat to the real story.

The story of the poorest people of Peru, who although “poor” by our lifestyle standards, have an incredible richness of spirit, with sincere love and commitment to community.  I discovered that World Neighbors uses a methodology that is somewhat unique.  They work with the community to understand their specific needs.  They don’t give handouts or decide what is best for the people.  In Peru, they work with a savings and credit model and each person must match the credit offered…50/50.  No exceptions.  Even a very small initial credit can foster confidence and as the recipient thrives and pays back the credit or loan, they soon apply for larger credits to expand and enrich their lives.

One of the things that struck me was how the women of even the smallest communities, find a personal sense of empowerment.  In a society that would be considered patriarchal by nature, we found women with equal status and often men declared that their wives were equal decision makers in all aspects of their lives.  Gender equity, which we might take for granted, is one of World Neighbors focuses in all 45 countries they work in.

Often they go to the end of the road, where no-one else offers help.  It reminded me of being metaphorically at the end of the road and how the smallest glimmer of hope kept me going in my most critical of times.  World Neighbors offers hope to what I’d call the lost people of Peru.  Their work is done in the forgotten communities, where they form community committees, working with them for eight to twelve years, supporting and educating until the community is self-sufficient.  Long term solutions, not short-term fixes.

An absolute stand out for me, was Candelerea, a humble, yet brave woman, who was uncomfortable about having her picture taken, as she had not dressed up for the occasion.  Yes, women are women everywhere!  She was one of the original ten on her community committee, the only woman.  I saw her light up like her name, when she proudly told us that she was currently on her fifth loan and with this help, had been able to send two of her children to university (previously unheard of), one studying to be a teacher and the other an accountant.  She explained why the World Neighbors system works.  “It requires the participant to match the loan, it keeps the recipient motivated and interested to the make the effort to repay the loan.  And their contribution then helps the community as well.”

Economist Esther Duflo of M.I.T., who studies poverty, found that often anti-poverty programmes “go beyond the direct impact of the resources they provide.”  It is the injection of optimism that dramatically improves both the mental and physical health of recipients.  Her studies confirmed that it is an absence of hope, that contributes to keeping people trapped in their poverty.

This was very clear to me in Peru.  Many of the people had fled their homes during the 1990’s rebel uprising, and felt hopeless on returning to virtually nothing.  As World Neighbors offered hope and built trust, communities soon began to thrive again.  This was true from the smallest of communities of 19 families, to the largest of 1200.  As I discovered from my own personal experience, hope is a powerful fuel, which drives the human spirit.

The theme continued to be communities built on co-operation, not competition.  I remembered hearing author-speaker Gregg Braden, talk about 400 peer-reviewed scientific studies that explored what level of competition created the maximum results.  The findings:  Zero.  Said Braden, “Darwinian evolution doesn’t work.  Although “survival of the fittest” has always been accepted as the standard for biological behavior, we are more inclined toward peace than war, more wired for co-operative existence and mutual aid than competition.”   And this is what I saw in all the villages we visited.  Everyone had the chance to flourish, with opportunities for each and every person.  We met women doing a wide variety of work.  From raising guinea pigs (the Peruvian national delicacy) and using the manure to enrich their crops, to women expressing their artistic souls, using their talents weaving exquisite blankets and sweaters.

Another absolute light for me was Maximina, a smiling cherubic 44-year-old mother of 5, (ages 5 to 26), whose entrepreneurial spirit shone.  After she put aside her initial fear of having never managed money, she was one of the first eight in her community to receive a credit.  She hid hers at first, afraid she wouldn’t be able to pay it back.  With the reassurance and support from the World Neighbors team (all local Peruvian people) she gained the confidence to build a small empire for herself.  Starting with 500 soles (about $192), she bought a small cow.  Next she supported her son’s schooling.  The third credit helped expand her home.  And the fourth allowed her to finally buy the loom to begin weaving her colourful blankets, which people come from miles around to buy.  She was sold out on the day we visited.

As Maximina expanded her business, she continued to realize her dreams. She reminded me of the “every woman”.  Hoping for a better life for her family and keen on traveling and learning more about building her business.  She’d already learned about medicines for animals and now sells them in her small store.  In her words, “I am now capable of managing anything.  Before World Neighbors I never thought I could have a position of authority in my community.  Now, I was president of the community.”  She has a deep desire to travel to other areas to learn about other women’s work and to encourage them.  Several days before we visited she took on a student, apprenticing a younger niece in sweater making.  I joked with her that she was really “maximizing” on her name.  She laughed, proudly, at being recognized for all her accomplishments.

This for me, is the real joy I witnessed in Peru.  The journey was challenging and tested my resilience.  These people must rely on their resilience every single day.  They are people who have little, yet appreciate everything.  The children often eagerly walk up to two hours each way to school.  Universally, the women have the same dreams and hopes that all women have.  To be better.  To see their children have more than they do.  Their hearts are with their communities.  They support each other.  They encourage each other.  What World Neighbors offers is hope and support.  They understand the people they are helping because they are the people.

A recent piece in the N.Y. Times, “The Campaign Against Women”, caught my eye and I read it with interest.  The piece talks about women’s rights being attacked by the Republicans on Capital Hill.  It made me realize that the heart and soul of women is not about politics or legislation.  My trip to Peru confirmed for me that real power comes from within.  It is born of spirit.  We are entering a time in our own history, I believe, where the feminine energy is rising.  The power, the fire that lives in us all, cannot be extinguished.

And as so often happens when I’m writing, something shows up that perfectly fits.  This Gaping Void by Hugh MacLeod had me smiling.

Subject line:  Rock n’ Roll.  The message succinctly says it all.

“One of the great tragedies of life, and you’ll find it deeply imbedded in every major world religion and mythology is to know that the power, the life spirit, is within you, and yet you choose to ignore it.

Call it rock n’ roll. Call it the voice of God. Call it anything else.



Only you as an individual can decide to awaken it. 

It’s a decision only you can make.



And thank goodness for that….”

Thank you to World Neighbors and the people of Peru for their inextinguishable spirits.  Words cannot really express my gratitude.  It was truly an extraordinary celebration.

I invite you all to experience and share your inextinguishable power.  It is always there.  Sometimes we have to step outside our comfort zone to be reminded of how alive we really are.  Rock n’ roll.

Visit me at:  beverleygolden.com

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photo by: Alex E. Proimos