Sunday, June 22, 2008

Women and Fearlessness

LET me not pray to be sheltered from dangers
but to be fearless in facing them.

Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain
but for the heart to conquer it.

Let me not look for allies in life's battlefield
but to my own strength.

Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved
but hope for the patience to win my freedom.

Grant me that I may not be a coward,
feeling your mercy in my success alone;
but let me find the grasp of your hand in my failure.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861 - 1941)
Source: 'Fruit Gathering' - Gurudev Rabindranath

For most women, beauty and body issues are the easiest path to awakening, because the pain is so very close to the surface and the inner critic’s voice is the easiest to hear. The beauty of awakening is getting this, down to your bones, so that the world no longer needs to play our internal dramas on the backdrop of life. We can watch the drama as it comes and goes, maybe making a genuine wise crack, or just laughing at our own antics.

We stop looking to manifest abundance; we are abundance. Even without a job. Even when you give away the majority of what you create. Even when there is no one but ourselves standing at the finish line to thank us for doing out part to help save the world.

Robin Rice
Source: ShapeShifting Beauty: A Kaleidoscope

"The original oppression of Woman was based on crude denigration. She caused Man to fall, so she became a scapegoat. No, not a scapegoat which might be blameless but a culprit richly deserving of whatever suffering Man chose thereafter to heap on her. That is Woman in the Book of Genesis. Out here, our ancestors, without the benefit of hearing about the Old Testament, made the very same story differing only in local color. At first the Sky was very close to the Earth. But every evening Woman cut off a piece of the Sky to put in her soup pot, or in another version, she repeatedly banged the top end of her pestle carelessly against the Sky whenever she pounded millet or, as in yet another rendering—so prodigious is Man’s inventiveness, she wiped her kitchen hands in the Sky’s face. Whatever the detail of Woman’s provocation, the Sky moved away in anger, and God with it.

‘Well, that kind of candid chauvinism might be ok for the rugged taste of the Old Testament. The New Testament required a more enlightened, more refined, more loving even, strategy—ostensibly that is. So the idea came to Man to turn his spouse into the very Mother of God, to pick her up from right under his foot where she'd been since Creation and carry her reverently to a nice, corner pedestal. Up there, her feet completely off the ground, she will be just as irrelevant to the practical decisions of running the world as she was in her bad old days. The only difference is that now Man will suffer no guilt feelings; he can sit back and congratulate himself on his generosity and gentle manliness.

‘Meanwhile, our ancestors out here, unaware of the New Testament, were working out independently a parallel subterfuge of their own. Nneka, they said. Mother is supreme. Let us keep her in reserve until the ultimate crisis arrives and the waist is broken and hung over the fire, and the palm bears its fruit at the tail of its leaf. Then, as the world crashes around Man’s ears, Woman in her supremacy will descend and sweep the shards together.

‘The women are, of course, the biggest single group of oppressed people in the world and, if we are to believe the Book of Genesis, the very oldest.

Chinua Achebe (1930 - )
Source: Anthills of the Savannah, Page: 97-99

"Do something you fear, NOT to conquer the fear, NOT to accomplish a task, but to familiarize yourself with the processes with which fear protects itself, to demystify it." ~ Cheri Huber, The Fear Book ~

The lover must often say, "I love because I must, because I will it. I love for myself, not for others. I love for the joy it gives me - and incidentally, only - for that joy it gives to others. If they reinforce me it will be good. If they do not, it also will be good, for I will to love."
Leo F. Buscaglia
Source: Love : What Life Is All

If you have yet to be called an incorrigible, defiant woman,don't worry, there is still time..
Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Source: Women Who Run With The Wolves


maddie said...

When I step into your blog
I always go "whoooooa!!!!"

I ADORE this banner ~ holy
doodles it's PERFECT!!!

and you always nourish my soul
~ i love your vivid outlook:)

and that tagore quote is exactly
what i need today

big squishy hugs for you my dear

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Ever hear the song "little girls" from Harry Chapin

Anonymous said...

Why Do Little Girls?
by Harry Chapin

Why did the little girls grow crooked
While the little boys grow tall
The boys were taught to tumble
The girls told not to fall
The girls answered the telephone
The boys answered the call
That's why little girls grew crooked
While the little boys grew tall

Why did the little girls grow crippled
While the little boys grow strong
The boys allowed to come of age
The girls just came along
The girls were told sing harmonies
The boys could all sing songs
That's why little girls grew crippled
While little boys grew strong

Why did the little girls come broken
While the little boys came whole
The little boys were set aflame
The girls told to fan the coals
The boys all told to be themselves
While the girls were told play the roles
That's why little girls came broken
While little boys came whole

Why were the little girls all frightened
To be just what they are
The boys were told to ask themselves
How high how far
The girls were told to reach the shelves
While the boys were reaching stars
That's why little girls were frightened
To be just what they are

And still they bled for us all
As the moon rode the sky
They carried our seed
When our need ran high
They fed all our children
In the night as they cried
Womankind wept
As mankind died

Why were the little girls left hurtin'
When all the boys were done
And the girls left in the moonlight
When the boys went to meet the sun
And when the girls were open
Why had the little all won?
That's why little girls were hurtin'
When the little boys were done

Why did the little girls grow crooked
While the little boys grew tall
It's maybe because the little boys
Didn't ever have to grow up at all

paris parfait said...

A wonderful collection of wisdom, with which we can all identify. And your banner is fabulous! xoxox

smith kaich jones said...

I came here via Maddie at Persisting Stars. What a beautiful blog & a terrific post. My only niece is 11 & I tremble daily at the thought she will come to lose some of HER fearlessness. Oddly enough, I posted a story about her a bit ago in which I spoke of her near-fearlessness. I am coming to believe so much in the amazing serendipity of the blogging world.

I will be back.


Annie Coe said...

Love this post Yoli! I have been called all those things and many more-thank god! I have always been an odd ball to my family and even some of my friends. I also love the new header!

willow said...

Lovely tribute to strength.

kris said...

These are incredible. I had forgotten about Women Who Run with the Wolves!

Vivian M said...

I hope my daughter someday reads your blog.

FishermansDaughter said...


You are woman - HEAR you roar, through tears, fears, endless years. I hope you never stop blogging.

Anonymous said...

my god yoli!! i could comment on this for a week.. maybe i will...come back each day for a week to ponder, be inspired. it's like praying when i read you posts...
i fail miserably in all that is required of me to be fearless in that quote from Tangore. but i can remember when i thought i could be that... i am something else now, not better than, not worse than. i love every word of it!

tangobaby said...

The image of the fencer is incredible. Can you tell me where it comes from? Thank you.

Beverly said...

Good tribute to women. That last pic is stunning.

Nyla said...

Scrumptious words, Yoli. I devoured them for strength and power! (This is the second time in a few days that Women Who Run With The Wolves has tapped on my shoulder. I think I may need to pull off the shelf.)

Qiuqiu's parents said...

This is maybe my favorite post yet! As the proud offspring of a long line of fearless, intractable, independent women who refused to conform, I applaud your approach to womanhood.