The Hourglass

From my friend and kindred spirit, lookingthroughanotherseyes…whose words resonate so beautifully…

Outside The Box

An_Hourglass____by_MPtribe

Consider the hour-glass; there is nothing to be accomplished by rattling or shaking; you have to wait patiently until the sand, grain by grain, has run from one funnel into the other.

“Like sand through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives…..”

Yes, I see the hourglass, often race against it.

Most days it’s as if my feet hit the floor and someone, (I’m not sure who) turns that hourglass over and the race is on, just to get through the day. It’s like a bad board game.

If  I’m honest, (and I do try to be) I don’t always notice the ‘ grains of sand’ that make up that hourglass. The hourglass of my life. I live my life often missing the grains of sand that when added together become the beautiful beach of my life. I am treating it as a timer rather than noticing all…

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The Collective Disempowerment of Women

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Sketch of a woman crying

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
/luigidiamanti

As a woman who grew up in the seventies, when ‘feminism’ wasn’t the dirty word it’s become today, I look upon our current society and it’s treatment of women and simply shake my head. Ladies and gentlemen, have we really come such a long way?

I observe the younger generations of women in their various modes of dress – or more accurately ‘undress’ – and listen to their often inane chatter with a sense of disappointment and, it has to be said, a good measure of despair. Three or four decades ago, some of us fought long and hard to promote a world in which a woman could stand tall (even if you’re short, like me), feel self-assured, trust her own decisions, operate from her own reality and mostly, feel empowered to operate on an equal basis with our male counterparts. We pursued for ourselves and our sisters, a strong sense of self-worth, trust in our own capabilities, and the ability to develop a life based on our own values, needs, aspirations and passions. We shunned the 1950’s domestic goddess and also the false value placed upon the female gender based on ‘looks’, advanced by the movie industry and its backers (advertising) for its own ends. We rejected this hierarchy of beauty foisted upon us by outside influences and began to value ourselves for who we really are, with all our attributes and foibles.

Paradoxically, the backlash was both swift and insidious. In the seventies, we wore ankle-length caftans, flares, A-line skirts that reached between mid-calf and the floor, boleros and Laura Ashley. Hot-pants made a brief appearance but were rarely seen on the streets. We enjoyed the clothes. And of course the platform shoes. The eighties brought us lycra and the new era of ‘skin-tight’ from top to toe. Skirt lengths were rising but mini-skirts were reserved mostly for evenings in discos and clubs. Street-length was still just above or just below the knee. By the nineties though, the micro-mini went mainstream, along with midriff tops and ultra-plunging necklines. It’s been all downhill from there.

So why this harping on about skirt-lengths and the baring of female flesh? It’s because I’ve witnessed firsthand the corresponding plummet in the self-esteem of the young women in question, who have increasingly put themselves on display. To those who quip that it’s because these girls are so confident that they step out clad as they are, I say rubbish. A confident woman steps out in sweat pants and no make-up and doesn’t give a toss what anyone thinks. She arrives at the office in a combination that means she’s not relying on her physical attributes to be noticed; she knows she’ll be noticed for her competence, cleverness and achievement. Think long pants, neat blouses and coats.

Over the years I’ve encouraged a number of young women, including my own daughters, to think long and hard about where real self-esteem comes from. (Hint:  it comes from a sense of ones own self-efficacy). I’ve also pointed out what seems rather obvious to me – that any woman can get the attention of a man by putting herself physically on display; but do you really want that kind of man? If you want to be loved and valued for who you are, take away the distractions and give him the opportunity to know the unique and precious being you really are.

The current preoccupation with all things trivial and superficial has accompanied this backlash. I spoke recently with a young Indian taxi driver who lamented his inability to find himself a suitable girlfriend. In his view, the majority of girls today just want to go out to pubs and clubs, get drunk, and shop for frivolous bits and pieces. He was looking for more depth and quality of interaction, and I truly felt for him. It’s a trend I’d already noted in the current generation, particularly after my experience with step-daughters who were brought up with a whole different set of values and guidelines to my own. I, too, struggled with having to listen to endless inanities about this pretty dress, that pretty ring, and requests for endless parties, always involving stunning amounts of alcohol; not to mention long-winded soliloquys about the latest episode of this or that, while being driven to distraction by the ever-present ‘can I haves’. My efforts to educate them, to strengthen them against the endless assaults on their self-esteem by the media and to instill a secure sense of self within their vulnerable psyches, were to no avail.

It seems that in a relatively short time-span we have regressed as a society. As technology advances and the external world becomes more civilized, the collective internal experience of the world’s women is being besieged by increasing levels of barbarism. How can we be free to be who we really are if are valued only for outward appearances? We are spiritual beings in a physical body, and yet the world is reducing us to that body alone, leaving so many feeling empty, confused, insecure and mostly, dis-empowered. How can we attain our highest potential and fulfill our life’s unique purpose if we are dis-empowered? The answer is that we cannot.

And that…of course…is the whole game plan.

 

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Vulnerability

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Yesterday, I received a stark reminder of just how vulnerable I still am, and how close to the surface my fears and anxieties yet reside. It was a simple MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) I was to undergo and I arrived at the radiology centre in a relaxed state with my 12 year old granddaughter in tow, chatting happily about anything and nothing.

I made the obligatory joke about how fetching was the gown I had to wear and how it complemented the colour of my stockings. The assistant, a lovely young woman, handed me earplugs and fitted me with ear muffs to deal with the excessive noise I was assured the magnets would make, secured my head in position, and instructed me to just close my eyes and zone out. At that point, the equipment began to slide me, conveyer-belt style, into the belly of something akin to a mechanical coffin. I’d been warned it might not be pleasant but I’m normally not claustrophobic, so was well-prepared.

Or so I thought. Continue reading

Life is what happens while we’re making other plans

DestructionIt’s been almost a year now since I’ve found the wherewithal to share my soul musings here. My apologies to those who’ve stopped by and found nothing new and inspiring to read, and my thanks to those who have left comments and ‘likes’ regardless.

Just as there has been movement in and out of my blog during my absence, so too was there movement in and out of my life while I was fully present within it. Let me explain.

Some of my postings have mentioned my great love for my husband of the past few years, the man who’d been my childhood sweetheart and with whom I found myself again in relationship some thirty years later. Despite significant challenges and difficulties I felt our connection was infinitely durable; unbreakable; and that we’d find a way to weather through whatever tsunamis washed over our marital shores. And there were many…formed from the deeps wounds to our hearts and souls we’d amassed over the intervening years, and the collective wounds of his children. In the end, we ended up in a bloodied mess, with all of us reeling in shock. Continue reading