Here in Takilma, Oregon, we have an amazing event every year on International Women’s Day called Women’s Café. Women from all over the valley get together to applaud each other's efforts at everything from poetry and music to bellydance. Barbie dolls, bible stories and excerpts from The Vagina Monologues have all shared the stage. This year, my friend Deb Murphy, who is the indefatigable organizer of this event and its terribly amusing emcee, asked me to get up and talk. Some years I yak and some years I bellydance. This was a year to talk. Here are some excerpts from my riff on “Women and the Earth,” the theme of this year's International Women's Day:
Women’s concerns are very much like environmental concerns. They are continually relegated to the status of a “special interest” and placed outside the central concern of the economy which is making money. …
I quoted from an article I wrote in 2006 about Hazel Henderson, the “housewife economist” who is famous for her quip: “economics is a form of brain damage.”
Then I told the story of the women in Iceland who are not concerned with "stimulating" their economy to “rise again,” but are focused on restructuring it to work better for society. I love their idea of doing “emotional due diligence” on the companies they invest in. Toxic corporate culture and greed have been our downfall. Let’s leave it to women to get us out the mess. I sure wish Obama would put a bunch of sharp women like that in charge of the US Treasury.
I closed with some words of encouragement from the deep ecologist Joanna Macy from our interview in Yoga Plus Joyful Living:
JM: Yeah. I’m a sucker for courage. We are naturally courageous because we naturally love life, just as we thirst for water to drink, air to breathe. We have a battery of senses with which to engage our world. We have minds that can choose, and we want to be alive. Life wants to go on, and so we can feel the currents of life carrying us into fresh, original, unexpected paths of healing, if we’re not closed down. To overcome fear you have to look at what you’re afraid to see.
In central myths of our world’s traditions, the journey of the hero is to go down into the dark and face the monster, face what he doesn’t want to see and then, breaking through that, realize that he is strong enough to face what has appeared so terrifying to him. Then, he comes into his full magnitude and power of being.
Courage Of The Shambhala WarriorKW: When you recover this courage—is that when you become what you call the Shambhala Warrior?
JM: I use that metaphor from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. We need to find and we can find those qualities of the warrior within us, the courage. I’m not afraid to use warrior language because it summons up keen attention and strong will and spunk and passion for life. We’re much tougher than we think.