For My Teenage Daughter

When my daughter comes back from school and tells me everyone is calling her a drama queen because she stands up for her right to be treated with respect, I cringe and die a little inside.

When she slams her bedroom door and I go in to listen and comfort her and she tells me boys wonder how much she costs in bed, I cringe and die a little inside.

When she is angry at the injustice of being a woman even in this day and age because she feels she isn’t valued as much as boys, I cringe and die a little inside.

When she is told to calm down, sit pretty, be quiet, behave because she’s a girl, I cringe and die a little inside.

BUT when my beautiful daughter stands up to the ones who bring her down because of jealousy and hate and she is able to keep going and keep reaching higher and higher, I smile and I shine from the inside.

And when my shy daughter asks me for her own Menarche Ceremony in order to bless and acknowledge her becoming a woman, I smile and I shine from the inside.

And when my strong daughter shows amazing empathy for causes that are dear to her heart and she isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in, I smile and I shine from the inside.

And when my proud daughter dresses as she likes and wears what she wants and isn’t influenced by others and refuses to conform, I laugh with glee and tell her she can, most definitely, without a doubt, do what SHE wants!

How I wish I could take away the pain of growing up, the occasional anguish of being a girl. How I wish I could carry you far, far away from the negative experiences of growing up. I sometimes dream of a meadow, of us laying in the flowers and the scented swaying grasses, just you and I, safe, sheltered, protected from the harshness of this life. I cannot do such things, and so I rest in the comfort that I, my dear daughter, I have taught you well.

This life will bring you immense joy, and yes, sometimes immense pain, but I know that you can and will remember. Remember to look within, remember to search deep down for your truth, remember, dear daughter, that you come from a long long line of women, and we call you One of Us. You, my dear one, are WOMAN, and you are precious beyond words.”

10682113_10154618189730096_2124383018_nGenevieve Losier is a stay at home mama of three who has also been working closely with women and girls in the last 10 years, having successfully built her brand of organic designer cloth pads and advocating the whys of choosing cloth for both their babies and themselves.  She also is extremely passionate about herbalism, connecting to women through the Red Tent, and advocating women’s rights.  Her own connection to our beautiful earth and the nature that surrounds her pushes her forward with intent.  Genevieve is building her knowledge of healing herbs and is excited about offering wild harvested and healing products to others so they too can make a conscious choice on what they put on and in their bodies.  Her goal is to promote and help heal women as well as our Mother Earth with healing medicines, and supporting other women in their quest for a better Earth.  You can find her at;

www.facebook.com/theclothcanoe

theclothcanoe@gmail.com

 

Sorry: Sugar Coated Non-Consent

I wrote before over on my personal blog, Dreaming Aloud about how saying sorry was epidemic for women… and was a major feminist issue.

There’s a big buzz about a new Pantene ad in the US which calls attention to how the apology is too often used by women as a crutch and a way to downplay their power. Time magazine and Forbes are writing about it. And it does seem to be a trait which defines women, rather than men.

And I’m not just talking about sorry when you bump into someone. But sorry if they bump into you and spill your drink down you.

It’s madness. A cultural epidemic amongst women. And we do it unconsciously all the time.

“Women know they have to be likable to get ahead. Apologizing is one way to make yourself more accessible and less threatening,” says Rachel Simmons, author of The Curse of the Good Girl. “Apologizing is one way of being deemed more likable.”  Sorry is simply another way of downplaying our power, of softening what we do, to seem nice.

(Read the full article here.)

The Happy Womb

Reading another woman’s take on why she’s giving up saying sorry (for things that she’s not actually sorry for), I suddenly saw the root of it.

I had previously thought it was sorry I take up space.

But actually it goes deeper – it’s sorry… but no.

It’s all about consent.

And mama do we know what a can of worms THAT is for women.

Women… for a very long time have not been allowed to, not safe to, say no.

Our consent has not been our own to give.

And so we have found ways to get around it. To soften it. Sweeten it.

Sorry is the sugar that helps the medicine of consent go down.

Sorry, but no.

Because no by itself is just too dangerous, too inflammatory, to much of a sign of a woman in her power who needs to be taken down a peg or two. Or shown who’s boss.

So next time you say yes… when you mean no.

Next time you say sorry. When you mean no.

How about just say no?

The Red Tent has a history, but what is it?

Women often ask these questions when they discover red tents.

  • Was there a Red Tent in history?
  • Why do women need Red Tents?
  • There’s a Red Tent movement, where?
  • How am I a part of it?

Learn the surprising history of the Red tent. A new eBook & Audiobook titled “The Red Tent Movement: A Historical Perspective” by Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, PhD and ALisa Starkweather.

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An excerpt from the eBook:

There are thousands of women across the globe who are bringing forth their gifts as Red Tent leaders in their communities. Women who are standing in their power are essential to shifting present paradigms; these pioneers are a balm to an ailing world. But after years of oppression, how do women rise up out of trauma to remember the beauty that lives at one’s core? How do we strip away that which prevents us from rising as wise female leaders? This reclamation work is what many are a part of because when we find our voices, our inspired action, and our needed vision then we stand a better chance at creating a world we can thrive in. And it is with this spirit that the Red Tent movement has flourished as a global phenomenon.

Most women have heard of the Red Tent because they read the book. The Red Tent was novel by Anita Diamant, published in 1997 that gave us a story of women who come together in a menstrual hut, known as the Red Tent. In the story, Diamant retells the biblical rape story of Dinah. “The Rape of Dinah” (Genesis, chapter 34) was recounted not by Dinah, but by her brothers. Diamant provided a fictional feminist retelling of the tale, giving Dinah her own voice. The book is presented through Dinah’s eyes and those of the women around her. The story showed us how the women raised young daughters who were taught the secrets held for women by women through initiation, stories, and relationships. For many, the story resonated deeply and caused us to question if there was a place like this in our society.

The Red Tent novel originally did not have a great impact on women’s lives. This began to change when the author herself initiated a word-of-mouth campaign by giving copies away to Rabbis, female Christian leaders, and independent booksellers. This approach proved successful, and by 2002 The Red Tent had become a New York Times bestseller and a publishing phenomenon. The book has since been published in twenty-five countries and translated into twenty languages.

Following the success of the book, Diamant’s number one question from her readers was whether or not the Red Tent ever existed. Here is her quoted response from her website:

It’s important to note that I have never claimed that the women of the Bible actually used a menstrual hut; there is no historical evidence to support such a claim. However, since there have been menstrual tents and huts throughout the pre-modern world, it seemed historically plausible to give them one. The importance of the tent developed in the process of writing, but the idea of making it a place of community, rest, and celebration predates [the book]. Some years prior to starting the book, I heard a lecture by a Jewish writer…who suggested rethinking a biblical law that required separation of a woman from the community for 60 days after the birth of a girl compared to 30 days after the birth of a boy…. This could be seen as a reflection of the notion that girl babies made mothers more “unclean” than boys. The lecturer asked us to consider a different theory, which was far more interesting to me. Perhaps, he said, this was an acknowledgment that giving birth to a birth-giver was a more sacred, a more powerful experience. The extra month could be seen not as a punishment, but as a reward.[i]

Menstrual hut and moon lodge traditions show us that the Red Tent has a history: The idea of a separate women’s space or menstrual hut is not a new idea. Anita Diamant claims that the Red Tent in her book was fictionalized, but is rooted in research from Africa. Menstrual hut and moon lodge traditions shape women’s understanding of the Red Tent as a women’s power space. There are menstrual hut and moon lodge traditions all over the world that date back to 800 C.E and in some places are still practiced today. These spaces offer a unique view of the Red Tent, but do they reinforce or contradict patriarchal oppression?

To READ MORE or for an audio sample of this excerpt or to purchase the eBook/audiobook visit: http://www.redtentmovie.com/audio-book.html

 Guest post by Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, PhD and ALisa Starkweather

About the Authors:

Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, PhD is trained as a both a filmmaker, a textile historian, and a feminist folklorist. She holds a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and a Masters and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She wants to create world where women believe they can accomplish anything and where they have the courage to change the world. She creates multi-media (films, videos, websites, and other designs) to inspire YOU and improve your life! She believes in creating a world that promotes cooperation rather than competition and believes in the value of sisterhood and women’s community. She has a deep love of textile traditions, which is why she has made 13 documentary films about women & fabric. Her award-winning, internationally known red tent movie “Things We Don’t Talk About,” has been keeping her very busy doing hundreds and hundreds of screenings & facilitating life-changing women’s events. www.redtentmovie.com

ALisa Starkweather is the founder of the Red Tent Temple Movement, Daughters of the Earth Gatherings, Women in Power initiations, Priestess Path women’s mystery school, the online Fierce Feminine Life series, and the Women’s Belly and Womb Conference. ALisa is also in the award winning anthology, Women, Spirituality and Transformative Leadership; Where Grace Meets Power. She has been facilitating women’s empowerment for three decades of her life. www.alisastarkweather.com

This article may not be re-published without permission from the authors. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.

[i] Diamant, Anita. Website. Accessed Sunday November 1, 2009.

http://anitadiamant.com/?page_id=320

What if I Said YES to the Moon?

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What if I said yes to the moon?

What if I let my calendar mind fall quiet and forget

Let that incessant load of lists get parked

Over there,

by the side of the road

That I used to follow

when I thought I knew who I was

when I thought I knew what I was.

What if I fell still enough to hear the tides

The ones that rise and fall me

The ones that deeply inform me

The ones that guide and nourish me

That teach me who I am

When I let myself soften enough

To be carried inside

Carried and watered by the nature that lives me

When I do, will it show when you see me?

When I step out of time, out of line

Back into the full circle

of womankind?

Back into the river of life

That shows me who I am

So that now, I make sense to myself

So that now, I reclaim myself

And so it is

Rediscovered as woman

Amazed, inspired and captivated

Infused by that deeper flow that knows

Making sense to myself as the seasons unfold

I am home

Home on the inside in a life that is mine

Home in a mystery that makes sense to my soul

Back, on the throne of woman

~Clare Dakin, TreeSisters Founder

TreeSisters is launching explore our radical and revelatory new five week on-line course for women: Earthing The Moon – Reclaiming the Inner Gateways of Feminine Potency, Creativity, Sexuality and Spirituality

www.EarthingTheMoon.com

There are teachings that are the birthright of every woman alive.

Teachings that can reveal us to ourselves – that can replace ignorance with reverence, shame with self respect and pain with healing – teachings that can guide us into relationship with our bodies and wombs as the most profound spiritual teachers that we could ever know or need.

Radical? Yes. Gloriously radical – life changing and fundamentally feminine. Inside us we house a gateway to creation that is also a path back to ourselves.

Moods of Motherhood: the inner journey of mothering

Moods of Motherhood Lucy H Pearce

Moods of Motherhood charts the inner journey of motherhood, giving voice to the often nebulous, unspoken tumble of emotions that motherhood evokes: tenderness, frustration, joy, grief, depression, playfulness and love. She explores the taboo subjects of maternal ambiguity, competitiveness, and the quest for perfection, offering support, acceptance, and hope to mothers everywhere. Though the story is hers, it could be yours.

Today’s post is part of the Moods of Motherhood blogging carnival to mark the launch of the second edition of my book, Moods of Motherhood: the inner journey of mothering.

Do be sure to read to the end to see all the women around the world who are joining me today, lifting the lid on motherhood… and to WIN your own copy!

 From the book…

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Mothering is the work of the heart, soul and body. And yet our culture has no interest in how it feels, to do it, the effects it has on us… just that we choose the right nappies and sleep routines, and have quiet children who say please and thank you. The inner world of a mother creates the climate within which our families, and communities, grow, and yet it is almost entirely overlooked and undervalued, until it has become so unmanageable that intervention is required.

The basic premise is this: mothering doesn’t matter. It’s not real work, be grateful, shut up and don’t complain. Or that if you’re not finding it all comes naturally, if it’s not all delightful, then you are a BAD mother and therefore don’t deserve to have kids. Shame ranks highly in the arsenal of weapons to keep mothers compliant and submissive. As does comparison to other successful paragons of mothering virtue. Women’s work has never been properly valued in our culture. In part because women have been second class citizens for so long. In part because women’s bodies and inner realities are not understood. And in part because it is done in private: within our bodies and our homes. We gestate our babies unseen. Rock and nurse them alone at home. Survive dinner time. Worry about finances. Try to reclaim flagging libidos. Curse stretchmarks and wobbly bits. Angst over school choices. Smart at criticisms of our parenting… in private.

I soon realised what an epidemic there is of under-supported, overstretched mothers out there. Working their own personal coalface every day. Women who love their children, and yet struggle with the daily mothering grind. Women who are struggling with mental health issues, often undiagnosed. Suffering from extreme sleep deprivation. Lack of support – be it financial, cultural and emotional. Women who feel very alone… and doing the hardest job in the world. And wondering if they are doing OK. Wishing they were doing better. Scared to say anything in case they are judged incompetent and incapable, and the source of their anguish – but also their deepest love – their precious children – are plucked from their less than perfect hands.

And so women struggle on in silence. Knowing that they, or the reality they are experiencing must be wrong… because it doesn’t match up to everything they are told about the truth of motherhood, the natural instinct that we are supposed to have which will carry us through everything, that soft-focus, unending love, joy and delight – by the authorities: the baby books, experts, public health nurses, doctors and movies.

This book is a celebration and acknowledgement of ALL the moods of motherhood. Not just the pretty, nice, acceptable ones. But the dark, murky, unspoken, unspeakable, confusing, ambiguous ones too. All of these and more are tangled together to make up the tapestry of our mothering days.

About the author

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Lucy H. Pearce is the author of four life-changing non-fiction books for women including the #1 Amazon bestsellers: The Rainbow Way: cultivating creativity in the midst of motherhood and Moon Time: a guide to celebrating your menstrual cycle. Read more…

Buy now!

Moods of Motherhood is available to buy from your favourite online bookstores, in e-book or paperback. And, naturally, signed copies direct from my shop.

Once you’ve read it, do be sure to leave us a review on Amazon or Goodreads! Your feedback matters hugely.

Win a copy!

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Click on the book above… and we’ll send you a link to your FREE SAMPLE right away! This will automatically enter you into the giveaway draw to win a paperback copy.

Already a follower of Womancraft Publishing? Then head over to the Womancraft Publishing Facebook page and share today’s post, let us know you’ve shared in the comments below the Facebook post.

Enter before midnight (GMT) Monday 1st December to be in with a chance to WIN one of 5 signed paperback copies.

Carnival Contributors

I am so delighted to be joined today by over 40 mamas around the world in the US, UK, Ireland, Sweden, France, Poland…

Becky Jaine shares how The Joy Factor inspired her to leave the corporate world, reclaim her JOY and become a better guardian of her children’s joy

Dr Katrin Bain suggests in her posts that you go with the flow of The Changing Moods of Motherhood

Henrietta at Angel Wings and Herb Tea writes about the intense joys and desperation of motherhood in her post, Sometimes my Cloak is Big Enough

Jaci at HappinessBackpack explores Worry from a hospital bedside in her post Worry and Lumpy Hospital Beds

Kate from KatyStuff writes about the Manic Moods of Motherhood

Aisling from Babysteps writes about how motherhood made her more empathic here – The Empathy Factor

Monika shares experience of dancing and motherhood and why it rocks

Amy at MamaDynamite wishes her mood of motherhood was less frustrating in Reclaiming the Positive in Parenting

Joanna at Create Your World has learned some difficult truths… and some beautiful ones too. What my son has taught me, and how it’s not all positive

We have a strong Irish Parenting Blogger contingent

Emily at The Nest
Sinead at Bumbles of Rice
Lucy at Learner Mama
Andrea Mara of Office Mum
And lots of my favourite bloggers including…
Author Louisa Leontiades at Postmodern Woman
Author Suzi Banks Baum at Laundry Line Divine
Author Molly Remer of Talk Birth
Ancient Amber author of families for the Earth
Zoie at Touchstonez
Misty Tunks of Makey Mamas
Karina at Karina Ladet
Laura of Holistic Mama
Zoe Foster at Raw Yoga
Rowena at Ret Row Art
Awen at Wild Magpie
Clare at The Clevs
S.M. Hutchins at Live Wonderstruck

Birthing Ourselves into Being

What does it mean to belong?

To belong to a place? To a community?

But even more importantly…What does it mean to belong to yourself? To be yourself so fully that you colour the world around you with your presence and passion?

This is what I have been learning – and living – for the past few years. It is enriching beyond belief. But it can also feel lonely. Because very often the places that we live geographically, do not hold soul communities for us.

We can find ourselves living alongside people who share very different values. And yet our human souls long to belong. To know and be known. Deeply.

We yearn to touch…and express our soul truths. To live them out. But somehow it can all get lost in the midst of our busy lives. And so we put it off. Until later. Until we have the time. Or find the right group.

But what if that time was now? What if that opportunity was right here, waiting for you simply to say yes?

What if it there was a community who were traveling alongside you, sharing the journey, offering resources…which you could access from the comfort and safety of your own home.

If…

:: You have longed for a women’s circle, but didn’t have the time to go to one, or any like-minded folks to start one with.

:: You have been in the midst of transformation for so long and are finally ready to take the leap.

:: You have an abundance of creative energy & need assistance in channeling your power.

:: You want support & structure around placing yourself at the center of your own life.

:: You are searching for a spiritual home base that celebrates the Sacred Feminine in a real, grounded way.

:: You long to feel connected and take your place in a sacred circle where your gifts are honored & appreciated.

Then this is for you.

Birthing Ourselves into Being.

An Interactive, Online Women’s Circle – Connecting Your Personal Transformation with the Evolution of the New Matriarchy

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A 13 month exploration. A community. A crucible for growth, exploration and transformation. Established by women of the deepest integrity and vision. With guest teachers including Dr Jean Shinoda Bolen, Susun Weed, myself and a dozen other healers, artists, teachers, women’s circle leaders…(See the full line up here.)

This isn’t just more inspiration, affirmation, or lecture on how changing your thoughts will change your life. We are not going to tell you to do another cleanse, get organized, fake it until you make it, or think good thoughts. We’ve already been there & know that’s only half of the story. We are moving out further from the edge. Birthing Ourselves into Being is about claiming your Birthright to sit in the center of your own life, to collaborate with creation & to experience everyday miracles. The teachings and theory presented here have come directly from the authentic experiences of women who have done just that.

BOiB is organized & designed specifically for your modern, busy, saturated life. BOiB will weave throughout your days a simple, steady call back to your own wisdom, holding space for the woman you are becoming. We are here to sing this song together.

BOiB has been built by women, for women, in harmony with the natural ways women create. There is an honoring & respect for women’s process & emotions. This translates to holding sacred space for darkness as well as light, for emptiness as well as abundance, for mystery as well as certainty, for the knowing and for the not knowing.

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Each month brings theme-specific exercises, ceremonies, and powerful teachings to take you step by step through the process of bringing your vision into reality. Our journey will follow this path:

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Welcome :: Homecoming
January :: Reweaving the Story of Your Own Birth
February :: Sexuality and the Creative Force of Change
March :: Fertility
April :: Conception: Courting the Miracle of Change
May :: First Trimester: Initiation, Identity, and Self-Esteem
June :: Second Trimester: Flowing with the Present
July :: Third Trimester: At the Edge of Transformation
August :: Birth
September :: Postpartum: Movement into Mothering
October :: Aging
November :: Death
December :: Birthing the World into Being

I will be there too. Learning and in community alongside each of you who choose to join. I am so looking forward to it.

You can sign up here to join us.

I really hope you do.

Here’s to us all – growing within ourselves, within community, in 2015. May it be a year of magical transformation, shifts and creativity.

Lucy H. Pearce, The Happy Womb

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Reclaiming the Sacred Feminine

Today’s guest post is from our first Womancraft Publishing author, Nicole Schwab, whose book The Heart of the Labyrinth launches today. It has been superbly received by many world-changers and global thought-leaders, including…

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You can get your sample copy here… this will automatically enter you into a giveaway to win one of 2 paperback or 5 e-book editions as well as giving you an EXCLUSIVE 10% discount if you buy direct from us! Entries close 12am November 12th.

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Amidst the complexity and beauty, chaos and agony of our present time, I believe we are being called to step into wholeness and live to our full potential.

This is a time when playing small is no longer acceptable. Not only for us as individuals, but also collectively, as a society. And for me, this means we urgently need to reclaim the sacred feminine within our hearts, bodies and minds – that part of us, which we may have unwillingly buried because it was not valued by the world we grew up in. The wild voice calling our name from within the unexplored caverns of our soul.

Through my journey I have come to understand how deeply most of us have been conditioned to view everything female and feminine as being worth less than their male or masculine counterpart. This doesn’t apply only to the fact of being a woman, but also to our inner feminine qualities, our intuition and empathy, our ability to connect with all of life, to be permanently in touch with the wisdom flowing through our bodies. Somehow, we have adopted the belief – consciously or not – that being and feeling are not quite as important as rational thinking, action and control.

The tragedy is that we have severed ourselves not only from our own bodies, but also from the larger body of the planet, an intimate extension of who and what we are. And in this disembodied state, we find ourselves stripped of our inner power and wisdom. Like Maya, the main protagonist of The Heart of the Labyrinth, we are left with nothing but a question and an inexplicable longing:

“What would it be like to experience a profound connection with life, with the Earth, with each other? It was hard to even imagine. I had been raised to denigrate anything that was not of the intellect, to dismiss any alleged source of knowledge that lay beyond reason and analysis. Had I missed an essential part of what it meant to be human? A painful longing started to well up within me, and I suddenly felt immense grief for the loss of something I couldn’t fully grasp yet, a loss I seemed to have unknowingly inflicted upon myself.”

The wise woman who guides her on her journey confirms:

“Yes, Maya, you lost your Mother in the deepest sense. …you were torn away from the Pachamama, [the Mother Earth], from that within you which knows. The world you grew up in taught you to suppress Her until you could no longer hear Her voice. This is why you are in so much pain. A pain that your body has been holding for years, begging you to listen. To listen and to remember that She is still here, waiting for you to notice Her again.”

Many of us are starting to feel this pain. In a million different ways, our bodies are slowly waking up from the slumber of apathy and denial. The pain is becoming stronger every day, urging us to surrender to the transformation, remember who we are, and rekindle the embers of the sacred feminine fire.

“Reclaiming the feminine. It is about reclaiming our intuition, the voice that speaks in the dark. About reconnecting with the one who reveals herself in the moonlight, in the whispers of dead leaves crackling under our feet. She, the impermanent One, shining in the eyes of a newborn child and in the creases of an old man’s hands. She, the force of change. Powerful beyond measure. Forever untamed. We must accept her in the fullness of her glory, fierce and gentle, soft and wild. Only thus will we be showered with the grace of Her presence. And to do that, we must start by remembering that we are also made of flesh and bone, that we have the capacity to know by feeling, to know through this amazing body of ours.”

This is our journey as much as it is Maya’s. It is the path leading us back to wholeness, to healing for ourselves and for our planet.

This is my invitation to all of us. This is my plea.

And that all it will take, is for us to(4)

Nicole SchwabNicole Schwab is an author and social entrepreneur, co-founder of the Forum of Young Global Leaders, and EDGE Certified – a global scheme certifying organizations for closing the gender gap in the workplace.

Her first book, The Heart of the Labyrinth, from Womancraft Publishing, gives voice to her engagement on behalf of a world that values and honors the feminine principle and is rooted in our connection to the Earth as a living being.