Women’s Day 2017

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In a recent discussion on current world politics, a man turned to a woman, and said:

Too bad women didn’t run the world, eh?  

If women ran the world, instead of fighting and war, well, they’d likely be out organizing sewing circles, or something like that.

 

Comments like this are a glaring reminder why March 8 is Women’s Day.

Clearly, an international day that purposefully strives to focus respect and appreciation for women’s political, social and economic achievements across the globe is still necessary.

In developing nations, most often this day’s primary focus is to obtain the same rights and opportunities for women that men enjoy.

Yet, each nation requires a specific focus, for globally,there is a complexity and diversity in women’s lives as they strive for equality.

Too often in developed nations, that primary focus is on career woman.553360_345492502195288_1489654127_n

 

The ill-informed man who uttered those degrading comments was unaware that that capable mother of five sons he spoke to not only had an Education degree, but a minor in Political Science.

While the politics of Women’s Day may focus on the workplace, the inherent value of all women is diminished when Women’s Day fails to recognize that, for many women, motherhood is an integral and essential element of their chosen path.

Women’s Day can gracefully encourage women to pursue choices where their personal fulfilment lies in ways that celebrate the fullness of all womanhood.

This boorish man saw only a woman who’d sewed all her family’s clothing, cooked all their family meals and taught her children to read.

His prejudiced mind refused to acknowledge her other paths of fulfilment of included giving speeches, mentoring students and obtaining a post-secondary education.

His unenlightened viewpoint is why Women’s Day is still necessary.

It empowers women to follow choices that are not either/or, but both /and.

Both family and career.

Both story time and dialogue.

Both sewing and campaigning.

Choices that don’t limit but expand potential.

As a result of women’s choices, men are also able to experience both /and.

Both a gratifying career and an abiding relationship with their children.

Fostering these choices for families with children requires extending paid parental leave.

Women’s Day’s quest for equality fosters freedom for every human to achieve their life’s potential by following their chosen paths.

Despite that ignorant man’s callous comments, these chosen paths still include the choice for a time in her life for an intelligent woman to stare not up at a ‘glass ceiling’ but at a floor, one covered with wee toys and messy girls or boys.

Women’s Day is not only a day of celebration which empowers women. It empowers both men and women the freedom to choose how they wish to live their lives in all the ways that fulfill them.  

As this year’s Women’s Day Caterpillar campaign promotes, let’s all be bold for change, ensuring that this bold change creates choices for women and men that are both unifying for their families and financially doable.

Maternity Leave US vs Canada

 

New Year’s Resolutions: One Word 365

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While I’ve never been keen on New Year’s resolutions, participating in past One Word 365 challenges has been worthwhile.

Early in 2014, I found a song that dovetailed with my 2014  One Word: Pause, leading me deeper into a habitual action of Pausing. Pausing may not seem like an action word, but it is full of action, the action of NOT doing. Jason Mraz’s song Living in the Moment begins with the phrase: “If this life is one Act, why do we do lay all these traps, we put them in our path, when we want to be free….”

Living in the moment resonated more and more with me as the cascading challenges of my painful chronic illness have continued to dash hopes of achieving my dreams.

My year of pausing to live in the moment was not one of unending smiley days. Living in the moment meant pausing to experience grief and loss. Living in the moment meant pausing to embrace isolation and rejection. Living in the moment meant pausing to endure crushing pain and despair.

Pausing to live in the moment meant living totally Alive through, in, and with each life moment, however frequently the moment was pain-filled. I was oh so tempted to remain in Pause.

Until,  I viewed the movie Hachi.

Briefly, it is based on a true story about a dog named Hachi. After his owner’s sudden death, Hachi returns at 5pm daily to their train station to await his owner’s return from work, as was their custom. At first, watching Hachi’s daily vigil of staring at the train station door, one feels the depth of Hachi’s unending duty and devotion. One is inspired by such loyalty. Despite people’s loving attempts to encourage Hachi to share his deep love and devotion with others, Hachi ejects them all. Instead, he waits each day for a moment that will never happen. For ten long years he loves no one but his dead owner.

But, this is the ultimate PAUSE, staying in a moment that is unchanging, a moment that gives neither joy nor sorrow. Hachi is not living in a joyful moment of being with his owner. Instead, he lives and remains in a paused moment, awaiting his owner’s return for joy to occur. This is not a life affirming pronouncement of living in the moment, but a stagnation, a life of non-living of new moments.

553360_345492502195288_1489654127_nUltimately, one’s life sufferings must provide purpose, growth and intention. One must move on, for even with limitations, there is life yet to be shared and to be lived.

My illness forces too much pause on pursuing goals and dreams; it will remain this way. Yet, my living in the moment year affirms how fragile life is, its inherent briefness. I believe we all have something in our lives that interferes with goal fulfillment. Whether it be low self-esteem, time constraints, financial concerns, or health issues, we must move on.

Hard work is necessary to achieve what makes life worthwhile. Unlike Hachi’s permanent life pause, my future life can hold hopes and dreams.

Through acceptance of all joyful and sorrowful life moments, there will always be more to embrace in living.603449_10151170891928278_2047838625_n

Reaching for our dreams, within our life limitations, is to live appreciating life’s unique moments. And so, I am compelled to: MOVE ON.

 

How else to fully Live a Life in Crescendo?

15 Phrases that will change your life.  

Christmas and Loss of Mother

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Waves of gratitude FBSlowly opening my eyes, I was delighted to smell coffee brewing.

 

While I never drink coffee, Christmas morning always began this way. My mother stayed overnight at my house to see the children open their stockings, so her coffee brewing permeated the house.

 

 

Startled, I threw my house coat on as I ran to the kitchen.

It was impossible for my mother to be there.

My husband stood beside the coffeepot, frowning at my tears.

“I thought this would help, make you feel good, make you feel her presence.”

It only made me feel the loss more.

My mom had died  earlier that year, unexpectedly

As I’d prepared for my first Christmas without her, my heart just wasn’t in it.

Ten plus years later, it still isn’t. She gifted something irreplaceable to Christmas.

Memories of her loving looks as someone opened her gift or watching her share moments alone with each grandchild and their stocking gifts pile slowly piled up beside all the Christmas Days we spent together when I grew up.

Too many bittersweet memories fill my thoughts on Christmas Day.The light of my mother’s remarkable love shines on in my memory, especially at Christmas.

 

388479_473777486020979_2090516084_nSome people are simply irreplaceable.

Perhaps, this Christmas, for the first time you are missing someone irreplaceable too.

My sympathies are with you.

When a mother dies

First Christmas without mom