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The Queen of My Self

The Queen of My Self

Transforming the Nature of Power – Part 1

posted by Donna Henes

   
Transforming the Nature of Power
By Carla Goldstein
Director of The Women’s Institute at Omega
 
Al Gore’s movie, An Inconvenient Truth, has brought to the world’s attention the need to radically change our relationship to power. To save our planet, we must find alternative, clean, renewable sources of power that support all of life’s systems. The same thing can be said about the need to change our relationship to personal power. We must shift from a paradigm of hoarding power for purposes of using it over others to sharing power and lifting others. The spiritual activism principle of empowerment calls on us to take personal responsibility for transforming the nature of power by “doing” power differently.

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Every living thing is animated by power and has power to use. Whether it’s a plant photosynthesizing the sun or a squirrel running up a tree, it is using energy/power to fuel action. As social animals dependent on each other for survival, we use power to navigate our social relationships, and this power has the capacity to heal the world if we commit ourselves to using it for that purpose.

Many have said that human action is fueled, or powered, by either love or fear. When our actions are born out of fear, we grasp for safety. While fear is an innate response helpful for heading off danger, what we perceive as dangerous or threatening to our survival has become ubiquitous. Even though modern culture has largely eliminated the daily battle for survival, the same culture leads us to believe that our very survival depends on accumulating alarger share of the limited supply of stuff and on controlling others.Having more stuff and more control will give us more power; if we have more power, we think we will be safe. An imbalance of fear is driving us to all the wrong places for our survival.

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The problem with fear is that it is self-perpetuating. The more fearful we are, the more willing we are to sacrifice others for our own self-preservation. As we act defensively, we move further into a state of disconnection. As psychoanalyst Erich Fromm states in his book, The Art of Loving, “the experience of separateness arouses anxiety; it is, indeed, the source of all anxiety.” The thicker the barrier between us, the easier it is to be non-caring or violent towards each other. When we are in the grip of fear in non-emergent circumstances we give up the very source of true safety – being vulnerable and taking care of each other.

In contrast to fear, the power of love has been described in poetry, song, liturgy, and art, as that which brings us together, heals us, elevates us to our highest potential, and connects us to that which is sacred. Love is also said to be infinite, which means that as a source of personal power it is completely renewable, self-generating, can be gifted freely, has the magical qualities of lifting things up and can make the sum of the whole greater than its parts. Humans, with our capacity for love, are miraculous generators of this infinite source of power.

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The promise of love as a source of power is that, like fear, it is also self-perpetuating. The more loving we are, the more nurturing conditions we create, which builds a world of true safety where we can open ourselves, freeing our creativity and innate yearning to build lives with meaning.

Each person, regardless of circumstances, has the capacity to choose love as the motivation for action. Even in the most horrific situations such as being captive during the Holocaust or being a survivor of rape, there is the capacity to choose to act from love instead of fear. As Victor Frankl writes in his book, A Man’s Search for Meaning:

        We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

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And as Eve Ensler, founder of V-Day says about her work around the world with women who have suffered the worst kinds of gender violence:

        As I have traveled these last eight years, I have had the honor to meet women and men across this planet who have witnessed or suffered enormous violence, and rather than getting an AK47 or a machete, they feel this violence, grieve this violence and allow it to transform within their beings. Then they devote their lives to making sure it never happens to another woman or girl. … They are women and men who constantly sacrifice their own personal security and by doing so create real safety and freedom for the rest.

Tomorrow: Transforming the Nature of Power – Part 2

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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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What Does Power Mean to You?

posted by Donna Henes

I turned the topic of power over to the FaceBook Queen of My Self Fan page:

Q. What does power mean to you? What does it mean to have power? To be empowered? To wield power? To be a powerful Queen?
Are you powerful? What does that mean to you? I would appreciate your considered thoughts on this topic. Many thanks, xx Queen Mama Donna

A. To me power means being able to say the hard stuff with GRACE and non-attachment!
– Judith, NY

A. To have power is to be able to help those who do not and be their voice and strength
– Vanessa, MA

A. My power is to create. I am a novelist, poet, and singer. I also created a plan to educate and raise my autistic/bipolar/epileptic son so that he could achieve the very best in life. Now he’s in residential school, which was the most difficult and best decision I have ever made. My real power in this life comes from caring for others; my brother, a severely damaged PTSD soul, lives with us. The power of protection and love is not something I considered real power until you asked this question; this will have a very great impact on how I think of myself from now on. Thank you, Mama Donna.
– Jessie, NY

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A. I focus on heart power, that which is of the Highest from. I hope that I have moved from ego power, which is so unhealthy. Wouldn’t it be nice if the world moved from ego power? What a beautiful place it could be. Smile!
– Bobbee, CA

A. It’s all about staying in the present moment, being as true to ourselves as much as possible and still loving ourselves when we move into the past, present or somewhere else.
– Miriam, CA

A. The best kind of power comes from within. It’s spiritual. To have power is to be in tune with my highest self and express that, to speak my own truth, to express my thoughts without fear or wondering what other people will think. Knowledge is power, to wield power means to share knowledge. Sometimes I do feel powerful.
– Loran, UT

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A. I am enjoying reading your articles on women and power! For me, I think the issue is the word “power.” Perhaps we associate it with power over someone or something. And I, for one, was brought up to be a “good girl” in a Methodist household in 1950s and 60s England!! And we certainly wouldn’t have associated being good with exerting power over someone else!!! :) In any case, I think that women are more subtle than that and can stand in our own power without having to dominate in a loud way and make a big song and dance about it. We can be quietly and calmly in control and exerting our power. I associate being power-full with feeling grounded, centered and with all my energy aligned and harmonized. Generally speaking, I think we can easily get to feeling as though we are being pulled and pushed in many different directions by the demands and whims of others. We lose touch with our own groundedness and centeredness. Remembering to come back to and operate from that space is so valuable, I think.
– Margaret, UK

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A. I am a powerful woman. I am becoming more powerful every day. I intend to use my power to further the causes I believe in and to make a
Positive contribution to the world.
– Lucy, IN

* 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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War on Women

posted by Donna Henes


My dear sister Queens,

As you know, I have been focusing on women and our relationship to power. Queens, especially, have the very power that we need. That the world needs. We are mature, experienced, strong and brave. Plus, we are the biggest demographic in the country. Remember, one out of every three women is over 50 years of age. If only we realized how much power we have.

We do have the power. We need to use it. The example of Egypt is still fresh. When enough people demand freedom and equality, they cannot be denied.

In Norway, a brave women, Ebba Halund, and her radio listeners started a campaign that said, Vote for the Party that Supports Women. That beginning took Norway’s decision-making seats from 0 to close to 50% and these elected women began turning the country’s focus and money from financing war prevention to social and people stability. What was important to those women leaders was that our children, grandchildren, neighbors and older family members had the services they needed. Creative solutions came because there was money to support this agenda.

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If American women would increase their voting turnout by ten percent, I think we would see an end to all of the budget cuts in programs benefiting women and children.
– Coretta Scott King

I just received this letter from Move On. If I didn’t verify the citations provided, I never would have believed it. But there is a war on women being waged right here, right now in our country.

THIS IS WHY WE NEED TO EXERSIZE OUR CONSIDERABLE POWER:

War Against Women
By Move On

It might seem hyperbolic to say that Republicans have declared a war on women.
Sadly, it’s not.

Just take a look at the top 10 shocking, crazy things Republicans have proposed in recent weeks. I wish I could say these were the only examples of the Republican war on women. But it’s just a sampling, and more is sure to come–unless we raise a ruckus and call them out. So please, share this email today.

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Top 10 Shocking Attacks from the GOP War on Women

1) Republicans not only want to reduce women’s access to abortion care, they’re actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven’t.

2) A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to “accuser.” But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain “victims.”

3) In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (Yep, for real.)

4) Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.

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5) In Congress, Republicans have proposed a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.

6) Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids’ preschool program. Why? No need, they said. Women should really be home with the kids, not out working.

7) And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool.

8) Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.

9) Congress voted yesterday on a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country.

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10) And if that wasn’t enough, Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. You can’t make this stuff up).

Sources:

1. “‘Forcible Rape’ Language Remains In Bill To Restrict Abortion Funding,” The Huffington Post, February 9, 2011
“Extreme Abortion Coverage Ban Introduced,” Center for American Progress, January 20, 2011 ?

2. “Georgia State Lawmaker Seeks To Redefine Rape Victims As ‘Accusers,'” The Huffington Post, February 4, 2011 

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3. “South Dakota bill would legalize killing abortion doctors,” Salon, February 15, 2011 ?

4. “House GOP Proposes Cuts to Scores of Sacred Cows,” National Journal, February 9, 2011 ?
5. “New GOP Bill Would Allow Hospitals To Let Women Die Instead Of Having An Abortion,” Talking Points Memo, February 4, 2011 

6. “Republican Officials Cut Head Start Funding, Saying Women Should be Married and Home with Kids,” Think Progress, February 16, 2011 ?

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7. “Bye Bye, Big Bird. Hello, E. Coli,” The New Republic, Feburary 12, 2011 ?

8. “House GOP spending cuts will devastate women, families and economy,” The Hill, February 16, 2011

9. “House passes measure stripping Planned Parenthood funding,” MSNBC, February 18,2011 
“GOP Spending Plan: X-ing Out Title X Family Planning Funds,” Wall Street Journal, February 9, 2011

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10. Ibid.
“Birth Control for Horses, Not for Women,” Blog for Choice, February 17, 2011 ?

* 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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The Power of Networking – Part 2

posted by Donna Henes

The Power of Networking – Part 2
By Dr. Marcia Reynolds, AZ

There’s another fear that stops women from leveraging the “who you know” chip: the fear of other women.

Hewitt’s article says women worry that if they ask a male to sponsor them, others will think it’s a sexual relationship. In my experience coaching female executives, most have no problem asking men to be their mentors (sponsorship is a fairly new concept we are working on). They aren’t concerned about gossip. They worry more that women will not work hard enough for them, or worse — sabotage their growth.

Women sabotaging women is one of the worst lies that is perpetuated in corporate America. Do some women dislike other women? Yes, as some men don’t care for other men. If given the chance, most senior women these days jump at the chance to help develop and promote other women. I spoke with Lauren Klein, Chief Community Officer for Executive Networks, about this reality. She said:

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“We have many internal networks join in on the conversations in our broader network of executives who show up to talk about workforce topics. The women consistently attend and share valuable knowledge and experiences. What’s more, they appear to genuinely enjoy checking in with each other for support, advice and all-around camaraderie. Perhaps it’s time to put the myth of “women undermining other women” to rest, once and for all.”

Recently, in our Executive Networks’ Global Diversity & Inclusion Network, we discussed women and succession planning. According to Mary Farmer, the executive director of the network, “The genuine willingness to share valuable information, without self-interest, is something I’ve encountered frequently in both internal communities and external networks of professional women. I don’t see evidence of women undermining each other. My experience is just the opposite; women can and do join forces to create positive change and facilitate gender balance in today’s high-performing companies.”

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I have advocated before for women to create their Positive Conspiracies of Change in organizations. Women need sponsors and they need to come together in supportive networks. There is no shame in asking for help. It is the way we will finally get more seats in the boardroom and our career desires met.

It’s time we play the “who you know” game, too.

* 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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