Molly and I recently had the opportunity to speak at the 2012 Women At Woodstock Conference. While it is always a privilege to do our work and teach the things we are so passionate about, one of our greatest joys comes from who we meet and what we learn from them.

This was an exceptional gathering of women. The following article was written by one.

Thank you Janet.

 

……this comes from a workshop that I attended during the Women at Woodstock 2012 retreat by a couple of spectacular gals from Matters that Matter.  You know that instance when you’re asked for something and you DON’T say what you really want to.  Well, that happened to me.  It’s happened in the past.  I am learning.  I am learning that you can’t always be prepared for what comes your way.  I am learning that what you think “should” happen isn’t always what does happen.  When I think of things that matter, and how I could say things when I want them to matter, I think of that workshop.

We don’t always get rehearsal time.  What happens when someone throws a curve ball our way?  Do we dodge it?  Do we get hit by it?  Do we catch it and run, or swing and hit?  Clearly this is all metaphorical, but what do you do?  Think on that for a sec; one instance where someone “hit” you with something you didn’t expect, and what you do when they do.

I know what I used to do, and I know what I try to do now.  I used to catch it and run, or in other words, absorb what was given and do whatever it takes to make the situation better, or make it go away, or eventually make it so every one involved is as happy with the results as possible.  Whoa.  That was a lot of energy.

Here’s what I try to do now.  I think on things for a bit.  Sometimes I’m annoyed at how long I think about things but that’s in my DNA:)   Then, and most importantly, I say what I truly mean.  It sounds very simple yet is extremely difficult.  It sounds tough but is actually quite rewarding.  My hope is that with an equal blend of kindness, fairness, and honesty I can say what is in my heart.  My hope is that as I age and my time on this planet gets less and less, I stand tall in my own self worth and my own value.  My hope is that as I choose my words in matters that matter, I am kind, and fair, and honest.  I have earned the right to say no, to disagree, to have an opinion.  I choose to say what I mean, and mean what I say.  Kindly.  Fairly.  Honestly.

Think on that.  And try not to be so easily offended.  Maybe when you hear words that are unsettling, it comes from someone trying to say what they mean and mean what they say.  Maybe they’re learning.  Ask them.  Did they intend to offend, or intend to be honest.  And if you’ve got this all down pat then kudos to you.  Keep up the good work and help those around you by not throwing curve balls.  Do unto others….as they say.

Again, think on it.  Doing or saying what’s in your heart is not always second nature.  We tend to do or say what we think our loved ones want us to do or say. There is the power within each of us to practice new things.  Hmmmmm…..

That’s what I mean, so I said it.  Amen.

And go forth with Peace.  It’s such a wondrous thing.

http://www.janetriccobono.com/2012/11/27/say-what-you-mean-and-mean-what-you-say/#comment-33

Advertisements

A Tender Heart…

February 24, 2011

There are  COMMON THREADS that connect us as human beings. We often can’t see them or find them, UNTIL we are willing to expose our own.

Being vulnerable can be terrifying. We’ve all presented our vulnerable selves at one time or another and been met with judgment and ridicule. Next time we considered being vulnerable we paused a bit, predicted the outcome. Then maybe chose to withhold…protecting ourselves and sheltering our tenderness.

The ability to be vulnerable again often comes from having held on to too much pain …simply no more room. Or, “we’re mad as hell and we aren’t gonna take it any longer.” Or, the knowledge that we are part of a mighty whole and that sharing our soft spots might help someone else to exercise their strengths.

Today I am so moved by a dear friend who did just that. She used her own unfathomable grief to shed light on the darkness that so many carry. Her vulnerability allowed others to know that they are not alone, that their pain and loss matter. By telling her story she brought gentleness and celebration where there can often be secrets and denial.

A common thread thoughtfully exposed connects us as human beings, therefore connecting us to our own humanity.

YOU MIGHT WANT TO SIT DOWN FOR THIS ONE

http://hollyedexter.blogspot.com

Long ago, we decided that when we saw beauty in anyone or anything we would notice it and appreciate it.  Every time we see a woman with lovely eyes, beautiful skin, a kind heart or gentle spirit shared with the world, we speak our appreciation to that person.

Those few words of goodness can change the course of the day for the waitress serving us breakfast, the grocery clerk packing our bags or the exhausted receptionist checking us in for our doctor’s appointment.  We have come to understand that everyone is blessed with their own unique kind of beauty, and once we make the choice to not only see it, but appreciate it, we find ourselves surrounded by the miraculous in the midst of the ordinary.  And, the most astounding insight has been that when we choose to extend goodness in the midst of this imperfect world, we receive that goodness back in abundance.

Where might you see beauty in the midst of your day?  To whom could you extend goodness, and in the extending, receive in abundance?

“When we are mindful, we notice that another person suffers. The other person may be a husband, a wife, or a child. If one person suffers, that person needs to talk to someone in order to get relief. We have to offer our presence, and we have to listen deeply to the other person who is suffering. That is the practice of love–deep listening. But if we are full of anger, irritation, and prejudices, we don’t have the capacity to listen deeply to the people we love. If people we love cannot communicate with us, then they will suffer more. Learning how to listen deeply is our responsibility. We are motivated by the desire to relieve suffering. That is why we listen. We need to listen with all our heart, without intention to judge, condemn, or criticize. And if we listen in that way for one hour, we are practicing true love. We don’t have to say anything; we just need to listen.      “The essence of love and compassion is understanding, the ability to recognize the physical, material, and psychological suffering of others, to put ourselves “inside the skin” of the other.  When we are in contact with another’s suffering, a feeling of compassion is born in us. Compassion means literally “to suffer with.”    –Thich Nhat Hanh

Thank you Quma Learning & Dennis Deaton

Morning Offering

April 14, 2010

Thoughts On Grace:
“I bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.
All that is eternal in me
Welcomes the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.
I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Waves of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.
May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.
May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for

And waste my heart on fear no more.”

poem by John O’Donohue

The Courage to Blossom

April 7, 2010

“and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”   Ananis Nin

art by lisa kaser, www.lisakaser.com

THE BEE.

Like trains of cars on tracks of plush
I hear the level bee:
A jar across the flowers goes,
Their velvet masonry

Withstands until the sweet assault
Their chivalry consumes,
While he, victorious, tilts away
To vanquish other blooms.

His feet are shod with gauze,
His helmet is of gold;
His breast, a single onyx
With chrysoprase, inlaid.

His labor is a chant,
His idleness a tune;
Oh, for a bee’s experience
Of clovers and of noon!

by Emily Dickenson

The Elk Ate My Ivy

March 25, 2010

It was a full moon…so much moon light that night looked like day.

We were watching some horror(ish)  thing on t.v. , so my skin was crawling a bit anyway. Out of the corner of my eye, just beyond the window, I saw movement. Holy Creepers! First reaction to fear?…punch the husband. He hadn’t noticed, but agreed to take a look.

There were at least 100! The size of horses on steroids. They moved out from  the shadows of the pine forest towards the house; like The Bloods  moving in on The Crips.  Step by step, without a sound, they surrounded the house. LITERALLY.

We turned off all the lights to get a better view…eventually daring to open a window so we could  listen to the power of the masses destroying our yard, garden, hedges of ivy…the occasional slurp from the pond. Massive beasts daring to dine on the hours and  hours of our gardening labor.

IT WAS MORE THAN WORTH IT…I can’t begin to tell you the power that these animals have. They stayed for several hours, munching their way through acres of new spring growth. This morning, it looks like a thousand tiny bombs went off in the yard. Not a green sprig in sight.  The hub and I decided that it was like a free pruning service and that everything will probably come back bigger and stronger…thanks in addition to all that free fertilizer they left behind.

They came, they ate, they pooped!…Kind of like a family Thanksgiving.

The moral of the story? Sometimes the things we cultivate serve a  completely different purpose than what we intended. Let go and look for the gift.

OPEN YOUR EYES

March 16, 2010

Linda and Jack...the perfect man!

Home-made apple pie and lots of smiles

Molly and Jack...the perfect man!

Judy of Guler and Linda of the Harbor

Our own Volcanologist...the handsome Tom of the Mountains

Jean and Candy in the SUNSHINE

Linda and Judy, sisters

Cindy at Peace

who is that woman hugging my husband?

Gathered Our Courage Together

Anna: light and spirt

The girls mixing glue stick and soup...huh oh!

Speed scrabble...endless possibilities

The MATTERS THAT MATTER W OMEN’S RETREAT.  A room filled with courageous, bright, authentic women. We ate, we danced, we drank good wine & coffee (as promised), we laughed, we cried, we drummed, we napped, we created, we learned from one another, we loved with all of our hearts and souls. Women gloriously being women. Could it get any better? Well maybe if Amy Ferris (Marrying George Clooney) could have been there!

Marrying George Clooney is our newest MUST READ for any and all women who have ever experienced a hot flash, a longing  for the old high school boyfriend, or the hopes that one day you will find your purpose (the clock is ticking). This memoir is funny, poignant and raw to the bone.  A personal journey about menopause, midlife, marriage, mothers, friendship, and love. It’s about being wide awake in the middle of the night, growing up, growing older, and ultimately it’s about giving birth to and falling in love with ourselves.

Amy Ferris is the kind of inspiring friend we are all looking for. While reading MGC you will find yourself in good company, with plenty of empathy to go around.

Read this and share your thoughts here. We have been inspired to start our first on-line book club. Please join us.

What If We Were “PERFECT”

February 26, 2010

I recently read a book by Geneen Roth, Feeding the Hungry Heart. She is amazing and every person should read her. She speaks to the human condition regardless of the condition a human is in. She dares to suggest that we might consider that we are ENOUGH just the way we are. That if we accept where we have been, what we have accomplished or not,  the insecurities we carry, what we weight, the mistakes we’ve made; all contribute to exactly where we are supposed to be and who we are supposed to be. By accepting our very flawed selves as ADEQUATE, we could possibly  eliminate the ever-present whispering voice of anxiety. The voice that requires so much  attention trying to figure out how to create something different from what we really are.   MISTAKES and IMPERFECTIONS  are abundant.  But there isn’t one that doesn’t offer the opportunity to move ahead.  If we worried  less about what should have been, or how we should be different, we might just find the brain cells to be more content with all the amazing things we truly are. Imagine replacing the voice that says you are inadequate with the voice that says  I AM ENOUGH!
Artist Lynn Hoppe     http://lynnehoppe.blogspot.com/