Monthly Archives: October 2013

September and October Movie Screenings Showcase Healing, Celebration, and Inspiration

By Jayleigh Lewis

Screenings of the Red Tent movie, Things We Don’t Talk About, continued throughout September and October 2013, showcasing the variety of ways women have created space for the spirit and vision of the movie to grow and weave itself into their lives. Isadora, the filmmaker, attended many of these screenings, where she witnessed and participated in profound moments as well as moments of celebration and inspiration.

The Red Tent movie is rich in personal stories, both those that were featured on-screen and those that arose from the making of the film. In the course of recent screenings, some of those stories were shared and expanded upon. On September 14th, Lushanya, who appears in the film, hosted a screening at the Community Church of Hope in Phoenix, Arizona. During a post-screening Red Tent talking circle, the women sat in age order (ranging from 18 to 80) while Lushanya shared a follow-up to her story from the film.

Red Tent & Screening in Phoenix, AZ

Red Tent & Screening in Phoenix, AZ

Speaking about being raped at age 7 was difficult for her, but she chose to make her story public for the movie. After she was interviewed by Isadora, she realized she still had healing work to do. She decided to return to her hometown in northern California, to the house where the rape had occurred. She carried pink roses and a letter she had written about her experience. When she got to the house, she saw that there were children living there. She left the roses and her letter on the doorstep, with the intention of healing any negative energy that remained. The next day, she came back and saw the roses on display in a window. Lushanya’s healing intention had been accepted; participating in the Red Tent movie had set into motion her courageous act.

A personal story came full circle for Isadora at the September 27th screening in Madison, Wisconsin. In March 2009, she was walking an indoor labyrinth with a friend inside the First United Methodist Church in Madison. A confessional stood next to the labyrinth, and Isadora entered. There, she confessed to the universe that she needed an idea for her next film, was feeling the pressure from her Ph.D. committee, and had no clue what to do. She completely surrendered to the universe in that moment, trusting that the idea would come. The next morning, she got an email from ALisa Starkweather, asking if she’d like to do a PR video for the Red Tent. Then and there, the first seeds of what would become the Red Tent movie were planted. Isadora told this story at September’s screening in that same church, acknowledging the grace that allowed her to return with the finished film to the very place where it all started.

Red Tent & Screening at the United Methodist Church, Madison, WI

Red Tent & Screening at the United Methodist Church, Madison, WI

Complementing these momentous journeys and transformations were times of great fun and celebration. On a very hot September 13th in Riverside, California, a far western suburb of Los Angeles, in the desert, a Red Tent movie screening was held in a small belly dance studio called the Body Temple. Kathie, a midwife and doula who hosts Red Tents, invited women from two separate Red Tent communities to come together; the screening was packed. Underneath a giant red parachute which served as the Red Tent’s roof for the evening, women drummed passionately post-screening, and participated in tribal dancing led by the studio’s owner.

Red Tent & Screening in Riverside, CA

Red Tent & Screening in Riverside, CA

On September 15th, the Red Tent movie celebrated its first birthday at a screening in New River, Arizona. A small party was held inside the venue, the Peaceful Spirit Enrichment Center, complete with balloons and women posing for photos!

Lunapads, a producer of woman-friendly reusable menstrual pads and an early endorser of the movie, hosted the second-ever screening to take place in Canada in its Vancouver headquarters on September 22nd. Owners Madeleine and Suzanne teamed up with author, shamanic practitioner, and “menstrual priestess” Nikiah Seeds to put the event together. Nikiah led the Red Tent gathering after the movie, inside a womb-like space with a unique feature: thousands of cloth maxi pads decorating the walls! Also in attendance was Jasmin Starrchild, founder of the Red Moon Medicine Movement, longtime host of Red Tents in Canada and the Pacific Northwest, and one of the women who appears in the Red Tent movie.

Red Tent & Screening at Lunapads, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Red Tent & Screening at Lunapads, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

As it is screened in more and more locations, the film’s visibility and reach grows. On October 16th it was shown at the New York City Independent Film Festival, and on October 24th and 25th it premiered in Israel. Zohar, who runs a Red Tent in Tel Aviv, hosted the dual screenings, which sold out with 120 women present each night. For the occasion, the film was shown with Hebrew subtitles; it was the first screening to feature them.

The breadth and depth of the ways women come together continues to be reflected in the diversity of Red Tent movie screenings around the world; may the creative, transformative power of the film continue!

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Mom-Centric Micro-Economy

by Tracee Sioux

Woe is me! What’s a mother to do in this world? With all of the economic disparity and the craptastic economy and the completely un-mom-friendly corporate culture that keeps us from our littles? Whether single or married, mothers are discriminated against and can’t seem to manage a work-life balance and score equality. This could destroy the family as we know it.

Meh. I call this the Mythology of Working Motherhood and frankly, I find it to be a complete load of crap.

With Anna Koclanes, a future momprenuer preparing to use her MBA to create a business that allows for fluidity between her home and business.

With Anna Koclanes, a future momprenuer preparing to use her MBA to create a business that allows for fluidity between her home and business.

Corporate America can be a less-than-desirable way for women to work and mother and many companies are inflexible and dole out benefits about as freely as the pre-saved Scrooge. But, a moms gotta do what a moms gotta do, right?

Wrong. Here’s what I’m seeing. I’m seeing a Mom-Centric Micro-Economy emerge across America and beyond. It’s run by mother entrepreneurs who got tired of begging corporations to institute better policies. So. They Quit. They abandoned their careers in the traditional workplace. What was acceptable as single women—long hours, evenings and weekends, only average pay and benefits—quickly became completely unacceptable when Mama hormones kicked in.

These are smart women. Brilliant and creative women. They didn’t want to zone out in front of Barnie forever. They want brain candy, they want to express themselves. They want to use the freaking masters degree their still paying for in their monthly student loan payment. And they want to be there after school to take their kid to swim practice.

Rejecting the Either/Or choice that the media-ized Mommy Wars present as inevitable, these women have begun to do something revolutionary. They are inventing a new way of working that is fluid within their family lives. They launch companies using their gifts and talents. They schedule their business activities around their family activities.

It was slow-going at first. A struggle to figure it out. Most difficult when the littles are still at home pulling at your yoga pants, demanding attention. Still, they push on. Sending the invoices, scheduling the appointments, shipping the products. Business grows. They hire other mothers, other momprenuers, who work at home, brilliantly keeping their overhead low while stimulating the momconomy.

This is the path to economic power for mothers. It’s a compelling business model, which rewards mothers economically, while allowing them to Mom it Up! Controlled by neither corporate America or the government, the only limits on the business potential lie within the Mom herself. With potential unlimited, the Momprenuer is gaining clout, prestige and influence. Soon her demands will drive the rest of the country as more and more mothers realize that to control one’s own destiny truly is liberation that leads to economic stability. Young women, already, are watching the generation before them and preparing to follow suit—gaining experience and planning ahead for their own business ownership before the babies come along.

Power Up Momprenuers! This is how we save the world!

_____________________________

Reproduced with permission from http://thegirlrevolution.com

Tracee Sioux is a Law of Attraction Coach at Authentic Power Living, helping entrepreneurs manifest magic and attract miracles so they can Live on Purpose. Sign up for her newsletter at www.authenticpowerliving.com to receive a free ebook, 5 Steps to Creating a Dream Board that Really Works, contact her at traceesioux@gmail.com.

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Why I Stopped Using Tampons

by DeAnna L’am

I remember seeing a popular tampon ad when I was a girl in Israel, which said: “With tampons – every day of the month is the same!” At the time I thought it was a great thing. Wow! I thought, imagine that!

This was when my Mom still didn’t allow me to use tampons, saying I was too young. This left me feeling small, even though I was “officially” a woman. Tampons seemed like a mysterious prize, reserved only for the elite grown girls, of whom I wasn’t a part. The tampon ad served to cement my mystification with this forbidden fruit that came to symbolize adulthood to me.

Maiden-crescent-cyclesWEB

My Mom was afraid of my hymen breaking by a tampon. Her unspoken communication conveyed much more than this.Underneath her words, the message seemed to saythat once I was pierced by a man and lost my virginity, I would be free to insert a similar man-made contraption into myself. Of course she never said this, or even thought anything of the sort, but it occurs to me now that this is what lies behind it all: Penis-like, a tampon encapsulates clear societal messages that say: Plug yourself! Hide your flow! Become linear – let every day of the month be the same!

And for many years I did… I loved the convenience of being able to go swimming with a tampon. I liked that what I considered to be “A Mess” was under control. I easily forgot I was on my period, and surely I had all the days of the month be the same… Or were they?

Well, not exactly… Though I didn’t suffer any physical pain, I was irritable and moody a good few days of every month. I made no connection between this fact and my cycle, and I believed that “every day of the month was the same” because all the days looked the same on the outside… The story was very different on the inside, but I was so disconnected from my body that I had no clue about how out-of-synch I was.

The shift came when I decided to investigate. At some point feeling irritable and moody was no longer acceptable to me as the way things are. I came upon a health food store that sold menstrual cloth pads, and decided to give it a try, after reading a testimonial in which a woman declared she started happily anticipating her periods once she switched to cloth. I didn’t believe this was possible, but decided to check for myself.

My first experience of using a cloth pad was mind-altering. I actually felt my flow, consciously for the first time, and it felt good. I wasn’t “plugged” by a tampon anymore and the natural fluidity of my body felt authentic and real. Having to soak, rinse, and wring my cloth pads made me befriend my blood, rather than see it as “gross” (which our culture encourages us to do).

Above all, I reconnected to the essence of what our menstrual blood really is: the nutrient-filled inner lining of our womb, which would have nourished a baby through pregnancy had we conceived, and which is shed monthly when we don’t.

It’s been over two decades since I started this journey of self discovery, and it brought me far: I cherish and honor my flow monthly, and as a result am no longer irritable: I allow myself to consciously BE with each phase of my cycle. I found medicine in reclaiming my menstrual flow as a source of inner guidance and spiritual renewal in my life, and I have been teaching women all over the world to do the same…

His Holiness the Dalai Lama spoke of women as being the source from where world transformation will come. It is my firm belief that such transformation is rooted in us starting, as individual women and as a global culture, to reclaim our cyclicity as the equal & rightful counterpart to linearity, and in living our cyclicity to its fullest, letting the flow of our creativity, life force, intuition, and inner guidance spring forth unplugged!

About the Author:

DeAnna L’am, speaker, coach, and trainer, is the author of ‘Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood’ and ‘A Diva’s Guide to Getting Your Period’. She is the founder of Red Moon School of Empowerment for Women & Girls™ .

A pioneer in Menstrual Empowerment, DeAnna has been transforming lives around the world for over 20 years, by helping women & girls love themselves unconditionally!  She teaches women how to dissolve PMS symptoms; draw strength from their cycle (rather than be at its mercy); model self-acceptance, self-care, and self-esteem to their daughters; and hold Red Tents in their communities. Visit DeAnna at: www.deannalam.com

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Why Doesn’t She Leave?

by Kerissa Kuis

Millions of women get battered every year,

Thousands left to die crying their final tear.

These men draw on our weaknesses and try to destroy our strengths,

Leaving us hopeless and broken with absolutely no defense.

First they are sweet and supportive,

How quickly it changes to intimidation and ignoring.

Friends and family think your stupid shouting “why do you stay”?!!

Fear keeps you there because of the consequences of walking away.

We need less judgment and more support.

We have no place to go, not even the court.

The government wants to blame us and publicly shame us.

Instead they should protect and proclaim us.

We are women sacred and pure, the world’s greatest cure.

We are DAMN WORTH fighting for!

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September Screenings in Southern, CA

By Jayleigh Lewis

September was a busy month for the Red Tent movie, Things We Don’t Talk About; 17 screenings were held in a variety of locations, including Canada and Australia! Isadora, the filmmaker, attended all but the Australian screening, making it a busy month for her as well. Even with all that travel, she still found the time to share a bit about her experiences at three of the screenings that took place in California, during the second week of September.

In Malibu, California, September 6th marked the beginning of the first Goddess Spirit Rising conference, a three-day gathering of about 150 women who came together for workshops and rituals honoring the feminine spirit. A Jewish boys’ camp was transformed for the weekend into women’s sacred space, attracting many well-known presenters, including foremothers of modern women’s spirituality Z Budapest, Vicki Noble, and Kathy Jones to this beautiful location by the ocean, north of Los Angeles.

The Red Tent movie screening took place in the evening of September 7th, in the camp’s biggest indoor space, the main hall, which for the duration of the gathering was dubbed the “Heart of the Goddess.” It was well-attended and well-received. Isadora had the opportunity to speak to many women throughout the weekend about the Red Tent.

GoddessSpiritRising_9-8-13_byAmalya_166

Tuesday, September 10th found the filmmaker in Escondido, California, just north of San Diego. A movie screening was held in the Goddess Studio, a privately-owned space located on top of a mountain, which regularly hosts women’s events, including ceremony, workshops, belly dance classes, and Red Tent gatherings. The space’s owner, Amalya, was host of this packed screening; among the attendees were some local radio producers, including Karen Tate, whose Blog Talk Radio show “Voices of the Sacred Feminine” is internationally known.

 

RedTentMovieNight_AtGoddessStudio_9-10-13_byAmalya_10

On September 11th, Suzanne Toro, radio broadcaster and practicing shaman, hosted the next screening at Sacred Roots Holistic Healing, in Long Beach, California. The packed room included two young girls who were attending with their mother; the youngest, who was about a year old, walked in front of the projector during the chapter of the movie called “For Our Daughters.” She became an unconscious symbol of the theme of this chapter, which is about how the Red Tent movement creates a strong foundation for girls to grow up knowing their beauty and power, as the movie continued to play, projected onto her chest!

A Red Tent gathering followed this screening; during this time, women had the opportunity to participate in a “Hugging Snowball.” This is an activity where each woman is encouraged to give a hug to one of her sisters, as well as a small card on which is printed the word “smile.” Once each woman in the room has been hugged, she is equipped to carry the energy of sisterhood out into her community by giving the card to someone else she encounters. This is a way to allow the spirit of the Red Tent to expand beyond the walls of a particular gathering and touch many who might benefit from it.

One screening at a time, the Red Tent movie is doing the same: carrying the spirit of the Red Tent out into the world, bringing its gentle but powerful breath of encouragement to girls and women everywhere.

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Angry Women

by Karen Ribeiro

Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Director General, said, “The future of this planet depends on women.”

I experienced the power of this statement at one of Ginny Robertson’s recent On Purpose Woman conferences in Maryland, when dozens of presenters set the stage for real transformation.

It began with Maq Ele of G-String Living, a woman who stood 6’4″ in her sparkling silver shoes with a magic story to go with them. Maq was able to inspire us through her bold spirit and the acknowledgement that “it’s just me and God in the room here.” When you have just been told you are God, it becomes much easier to see the negative stuff inside that needs love and healing.

Maq had put an envelope under our chairs with “negative” phrases we embody like Limited Thinking, Acting Small and Victim Consciousness. My envelope had this last phrase and I wanted to say, “Oh, I’m so done with victim consciousness.” Yet I stood up to “take one for the team,” as many later described my action.

What I had shared from my wide open electrified heart was the desire for more open-hearted family communication. I admitted to not being my best self in the midst of all the fast-paced half-listening at home and wanted to sustain what we all felt right then, in that safe space, in my own home.

It is easy to get inspired at most well organized conferences. But this one held a unique surprise for me. I got angry in a session called Embracing the “Other,” led by Vaile Leonard and Ginny Robertson, and I think that was the plan. There are so many things that pit one person against another! The question of “When did it become okay to call each other a bitch?” led to a rich discussion about divisive television programming and ridiculously intense (yet often very subtle) competition for the best fashion, the best guy, the best job, the best everything.

What does all this competition do to women? It makes us suspicious, distrustful, envious, negative and down on ourselves.

I was feeling this strong collective anger and noticed that we only had 5 minutes left of the session and raised my hand to ask if there would be time for me to lead us in a song. I learned that we had two closing exercises that should transform the anger and that I could also sing the song at the end. In the meantime, women began to share experiences of isolation, how it felt to not be supported and not be able to ask for support. Something was shifting….

In the first closing exercise we read a Forgiveness Pledge:

2012-12-13-pledgetomysisters.jpgIt was so powerful I could feel the connection between us electrify as we echoed phrase after phrase. It helped tremendously. And then we did the second closing exercise, which brought half of us to tears-tears of anger transformed into hope.

Our facilitators had instructed one woman in the front row on the far right of the room to look in the eyes of the woman to her left and simply say “I see you” (a traditional greeting in certain African cultures) and have each woman repeat this to her neighbor row after row around the room and then back in the opposite direction. After a few women followed instruction, it became automatic, intuitive and perfectly natural for both women looking into each other’s eyes to say “I see you” to each other, making the second half of this exercise unnecessary.

I was uplifted and content, yet I’d asked to lead the group in song… so I did! Many joined me in a song called “Dear Friends.” One woman was so impressed she later told me she would share the video she had recorded with her family and teach them to sing it together.

The lyrics are simple:

Dear friends, dear friends
Let me tell you how I feel
You have given me such treasures
I love you so

It is possible and downright urgent to actively transform the isolation and divisive competition of this world that has plagued us since industrialization. In the safe space of a conference, it is easy; back in our day to day routines, not so much.

After the conference ended a large group of women went out to dinner. We were hungry and struggling with odd restaurant rules, so we began complaining amongst ourselves. This behavior seemed just a bit out of place given our day of joy and renewed perspective. But what to do when your circumstances (many hungry women) do not improve (unable to even order salads until the rest of our party arrived) despite logical action? This situation was no big deal in the scheme of things. After an hour a few baskets of bread were delivered and we moved blissfully into happier conversations.

But what about the big deal circumstances that piqued our anger earlier that day?

As I drove home the next day, noticing anger directed at a driver who cut me off and ugly language yelled at another driver going 20 mph below the speed limit in the fast lane, I remembered the “I see you” exercise and thought, “I can see myself getting engrossed in an audiobook or thought and driving quite a bit slower than the flow of traffic”, and “I can certainly be in a difficult situation needing to drive just a bit less polite than I might like.”

Even though road rage wouldn’t naturally be considered a Big Deal Anger circumstance, it is these day-to-day minor triggers that generally go undetected. Road rage or other seemingly minor irritations that we consciously or unconsciously try to ignore sure do add up! Instead of walking around like a ticking time bomb, I want to live in the same blissful connectedness of being seen that I felt in that simple “I see you” exercise. Living this way begins by recognizing that we ALL want to live this way. And it begins by stopping the blame.

How powerful would we be if we all stopped the blame?

I can remind myself not to blame drivers on the road for behaving a little differently than I might at that moment. I’m not sure yet that I have the capacity to not blame media producers for making corrosive “reality” TV shows, but I can be a better listener at home and I can keep looking for ways to SEE (and listen to) others instead of blaming. And guess what? This Stop Look and Listen behavior neutralizes anger.

In addition to signing the Pledge to My Sisters, I pledge to listen better to my family members and stop blaming them for communication struggles. Neutralizing and transforming my own anger towards others dramatically increases my capacity to love them. That’s powerful!

How are you transforming your anger?

This post first appeared on InnerFortune.com and the Huffinton Post. Reproduced with permission from the author.

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