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The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Pretty (Damn Effective) in Pink

posted by Donna Henes

The Gulabi (pink) Gang, is a group of about 10,000 women who have banded together to combat male violence and corruption in one of India’s poorest regions, the Banda district in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. These brave and brazen women have become folk heroes, winning public support with their successful series of militant actions against abusive husbands, corrupt officials and indifferent police.

Their name, Gulabi, means pink. The members of the group wear bright shocking pink saris, because pink is the color of life. Armed with traditional sticks, or lathi these pink vigilantes go after corrupt officials and boorish men, striking fear in the hearts of wrongdoers and earning the grudging respect of officials.

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“Mind you, we are not a gang in the usual sense of the term. We are a gang for justice,” declares the gang’s founder, Sampat Devi Pal, is a 46-year-old mother of five who, like the other women lives in a mud-brick hut with no running water or electricity, and survives on less than  $1. per day.
In this extremely poor area, women bear the brunt of poverty and discrimination in Banda’s highly caste-ridden, feudalistic and male dominated society. Rough demands for dowries, domestic and sexual violence and child marriages are common — Pal herself was married off at the tender age nine and had her first child at thirteen.

Village society in India is loaded against women. It refuses to educate them, marries them off too early, barters them for money. Village women need to study and become independent to sort it out themselves.

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To recruit new members for her group Queen Pal traveled from village to village belting out her repertoire of rousing protest songs urging women to “uproot the corrupt and be self reliant.” Her stated goal was “to lift them out of the black hole they’d been pushed into.”

In the two years after they gave themselves a name and a uniform, the pink sorority sisters have thrashed men who have abandoned or beaten their wives, returned girls who were thrown out of their homes to their spouses with dire warnings against further ill treatment, and unearthed fraud in the distribution of grain to the poor.

“Nobody comes to our help in these parts,” states Pal. “The police and officials are corrupt and anti-poor. So sometimes we have to take the law into our own hand. At other times, we prefer to shame the wrongdoers.”

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You go, gals!

I Adore that pink! It’s the navy blue of India!
– Diana Vreeland

* Please send me your thoughts about power. Also stories of your own empowerment. When shared, these ideas and examples are extremely inspiring to others. Thanks.

***
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

CONSULT THE MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
Queen Mama Donna offers upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.

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CODEPINK: Peace Sheroes

posted by Donna Henes

 

In honor of the Pink Moon I want to share information about several pink activist  Women’s Groups.

CODEPINK: Women for Peace is an anti-war group founded by Medea Benjamin, Jodie Evans, Diane Wilson, Starhawk and about 100 other women on November 17, 2002 in the lead up to the Iraq War.

They describe themselves as a “grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education and other life-affirming activities.”

The name CODEPINK plays on the Bush Administration’s color-coded homeland security alerts — yellow, orange, red — that signal terrorist threats. While these color-coded alerts are based on fear and have  been used to justify violence, the CodePink alert is a feisty call for women and men to “wage peace.”

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CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities. CODEPINK rejects foreign policies based on domination and aggression, and instead calls for policies based on diplomacy, compassion and a commitment to international law. With an emphasis on joy and humor, CODEPINK women and men seek to activate, amplify and inspire a community of peacemakers through creative campaigns and a commitment to non-violence.

CODEPINK uses highly creative political street theater to publicize its positions. Wearing their signature pink color, they have conducted marches, protests, and high-visibility publicity stunts with the use of puppets, effigies, oversized heads, and fake blood.

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Their first action was a 4-month all-day vigil in front of the White House during the cold of winter. The vigil inspired people from all walks of life, and from all over the country, to stand for peace.

The vigil culminated on March 8, International Women’s Day, when they celebrated women as global peacemakers with a week of activities, rallies and a march to encircle the White House in pink. Over 10,000 people participated, and a group of 25 women, including Alice Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston, Susan Griffin, Starhawk, Jodie Evans and Medea Benjamin — midlife Queens, all —  were arrested for taking the peaceful protest right up to the White House gate.

CODEPINK organizes annual rallies on Mothers Day to encourage women to embrace the role of peacemakers. “Women have been the guardians of life… Because of our responsibility to the next generation, because of our own love for our families and communities, it is time we women devote ourselves — wholeheartedly — to the business of making peace.”

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On Valentine’s Day, they stage “kiss-ins” where members assemble outside military recruitment centers and offer kisses in front of pink banners with slogans such as “Make Out, Not War!” and “Love the Troops, Hate the War.”

The Pink Peace Queens have also published a book, Stop the Next War Now, which includes essays by Eve Ensler, Barbara Lee, Arianna Huffington, Janeane Garofalo, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Hong Kingston, Jody Williams, Naomi Klein, Benazir Bhutto, Helen Thomas, Julia Butterfly Hill, Amy Goodman, Doris Haddock, Cynthia McKinney and others.

Today CODEPINK has 250 local chapters across the United States as well as affiliate groups in Australia, Bangladesh, Canada and Japan.

* Please send me your thoughts about power. Also stories of your own empowerment. When shared, these ideas and examples are extremely inspiring to others. Thanks.

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***
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

CONSULT THE MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
Queen Mama Donna offers upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.

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Blessings of the Pink Moon

posted by Donna Henes

We are now in the energy of the Pink Moon, the name used by the Iroquois peoples. I love that term. And it is so apt. Spring is about birth and new beginnings. The new season is tender and tentative now. Fragile and raw like a new baby. Babies, no matter their race and eventual pigmentation, are all born pink.

As are the buds of trees. Buds are pink when they first appear on their branches. Like embryos, they lie dormant absorbing energy from the sun, which sets off the photosynthesis that releases their chlorophyll and turns them green. Like newborn babes, they are only pink for a short while.

Slow buds the pink dawn like a rose
From out night’s gray and cloudy sheath;
Softly and still it grows and grows,
Petal by petal, leaf by leaf.
– Susan Coolidge

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Pink is the color of beating hearts and flowers. Tongues that kiss and taste are pink. In Japan, the color, Cherry Blossom Pink is associated with a woman’s yoni, and consequently, soft-core pornographic films are called “pink movies.” Spanish novelas rosas or “pink novels” are sentimental love stories marketed to women. People with pink auras are said to crave relationships. Pink colored rose quartz is healing to the heart and stimulates love, warmth, largess, comfort, care and compassion.

The sand in Bermuda is pink. And so is Homer’s “rosy-fingered dawn.” Also cotton candy clouds and pink flamingos. Strawberry ice cream, summer wine and bubblegum are pink. Comforting, soft and sweet or fiery fluorescent, pink is the color of life.

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When we are in perfect condition and glowing health, we are “in the pink.” When we are flushed with pleasure or embarrassed, we get pink in the cheek. When we are deliriously happy, we are “tickled pink.” We toast with pink champagne. And dance with pink elephants.

The color pink is commonly associated with the feminine. Pink is for girls, for sissies and metrosexuals. Pink is sugar and spice and everything nice. Rather than protesting against gender stereotypes and bias, modern feminists have taken a positive position and claimed pink as the color of their standard.

The Swedish radical feminist party, Feminist Initiative, the American activist women’s group, Code Pink: Women for Peace, and the radical Indian Gulabi Gang have all adopted pink as a symbol of feminine pride and power. A pink ribbon is the logo for breast cancer research. Female office personnel are “pink collar workers.”

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Years ago, the Minneapolis Art Institute invited me to do a special spiritual project or event appropriate to the season (or what I call a “Celestially Auspicious Occasion”) during a six week residency in springtime. My time there spanned The Full Pink Moon, Women’s History Month and Beltane or May Day.

My response to this great assignment was to create The Tea House of the Full Pink Moon, a public meditation space/cum moon cycle retreat hut. A sanctuary in honor of and in service to Our Lady Luna, the feminine divine.

I discovered an old fashioned gazebo on the campus grounds, which I painted Pepto Bismol pink inside and out. I painted the gravel walkway leading up to it the same hue, and also the pine cones that littered the ground around it

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After that, I draped yards and yards of sheer lace curtains around the perimeter, making it look like some sort of girly, frilly fairy house. On the front steps I placed a pair of Dorothy-inspired pink sequined pumps as a silly and subtle invitation to leave your secular shoes outside before entering the Teahouse Temple.

The gazebo had eight sides, like a medicine wheel. Each wall was waist-high and topped by a ledge on which I placed various ritual items. The idea was for people to walk around the edges of the space, stopping at each of the eight altars — like stations of the circle, the cycle — to partake of the gift there, and then to proceed to the center, which was piled with pink pillows.

Each altar offering was an expression of one aspect of the ambiance of the Pink Moon. Pink nail polish. Pink candles. Pink flower petals. Pink glitter. Pink breast-shaped carpentry chalks to draw with. Pink Blessing oil. Pink rose quartz crystals. Pink rose hip tea.

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Sitting in that gazebo was like being enveloped in a uterine embrace. It was a secure and comfortable space for contemplation and meditation. A perfect ritual room. I cherish the visceral, sensual memory of that sacred shrine and every year at this time I return there in my heart. In my pink heart of hearts.

I invite you to join me there in spirit. We can retreat in its pink embrace, cosseted for a while from the cynicism and negativity that we are constantly bombarded with. We can hold court in safety and allow ourselves to release the defenses that separate us. We can share our cares and concerns and reconnect with the hopeful, humane ideals that we have in common.

Touched by the rosy-fingered dawn, we can sit together in beauty, in peace and quiet, in calm communion with the sweet pink spirits that surround us always.

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Almost all words do have color and nothing is more pleasant than to utter a pink word and see someone’s eyes light up and know it is a pink word for him or her too.
– Gladys Taber

***
Please join me in my Spring Series of Spirit Support Skills Teleseminars:
THROW OPEN THE WINDOWS AND LET IN THE LIGHT

A series of relaxed workshops via a telephone conference call. Also available as downloads.

Lessons in practical spirituality that offer no-nonsense approaches and practices to help you live your daily life in a consciously (and conscientiously) sacred manner.

Three Wednesdays in Spring: April 20, May 18, June 15 at 8:00 PM EDT

http://donnahenes.net/pages/teleseminars-upcoming.shtml

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April 20
SLOW FAST: The Art & Science of Internal Cleansing
Learn all about the benefits of fasting for detoxification, centering and balance. Fasting is not not eating. It is feeding yourself with spirit to nurture your soul on the deepest level.

This live class has ended, but you can download it.

May 18
SPACE CLEARING: Balancing the Energy in Your Personal Environments
Learn how to purify your living and working space of accumulated negative energies and how to create environments that support your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.

June 15
SELF BLESSING: Embracing the Embraceable You
Learn how to invite the energies and qualities toward you that will help you to enhance your life, and how to confer appreciation, acceptance, esteem, honor and love upon your best Self.

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http://donnahenes.net/pages/teleseminars-upcoming.shtml

***

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

CONSULT THE MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
Queen Mama Donna offers upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.

 

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SING WITH THE TREES

posted by Donna Henes

On Earth Day I published the powerful poem, SAVING MOTHER EARTH by Mary Saracino. Here is a follow up poem also by Queen Mary Immaculata, as she refers to herself.

SING WITH THE TREES
by Mary Saracino, CO

Author’s note: As part of her Earth Day-Sing for the Trees campaign, Susan Hale invites people from around the world to sing to their special trees to help raise awareness about deforestation.

If you listen you can hear
the trees singing
boababs & kauri
sugi & sugar maples
their voices_rise in harmony
Norway spruce & sequoia
ginkos & elms
across the wide round world
yews & oolines
Persian mulberries & pomegranates
one steady stream
magnolia amazonica & aspen
wattle trees & oaks
one impassioned aria
crab apple & peach
olive & fig
singing, singing, singing
lnut & cedrela odorata
mahogany & beni kawa
of peace & love
joy & justice
Divi-divi & wabito
amla & okagami
of sorrow & solace
laughter & lullabies
Chinese catalpa
Buddha coconuts
reminding us to
balsam & fur
cedar & chestnut
sing with them
pawpaw & persimmon
leatherwood & larch
breathe in_breathe out
kapok & karri
willows & birch
sigh
dance
ghost gum & guava
maiden’s blush & mangosteen
play
cry
avacado & acacia
banana & buckeye
save our lives
sumac & Satsuma
sassafras & silverberry
save our planet.

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* Please send me your thoughts about power. Also stories of your own empowerment. When shared, these ideas and examples are extremely inspiring to others. Thanks.

***
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

CONSULT THE MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
Queen Mama Donna offers upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity.

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