Category Archives: World

Anita Hill: A Hero for All of Us

Jane
Jane

Anita Hill came to our town last week as the keynote speaker for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of “Our Voice”, our wonderful rape crisis/education/prevention center here in Asheville.

When I heard she was coming, I was immediately right back there on my sofa in Roxbury, New York, glued to the television set, watching every moment of those hearings.  I remembered how I felt completely inspired by her courage, her composure, her refusal to back down.  And I relived how completely horrified and despairing I felt when that panel of white men managed to find a way to approve Clarence Thomas anyway.  Along with millions of other women, I felt kicked in the gut.

Anita HillSo, I was excited to see her.  What I didn’t expect was how, once again, I would be completely inspired by this amazing woman.

Here is a woman whose life was turned upside down simply because she decided to come forward, to do the right thing, to speak the truth.  Here is a woman who believed in our system of justice and fairness, only to get kicked in the gut herself.  But here is a woman who also has never backed down and has managed to find a way to forgive all those people on the Judiciary Committee and to say, “it was not the failure of those individuals; it was the failure of the system.”  The committee, after all, decided not to call in experts to testify or to bring in the other women who were ready to corroborate her testimony.  But here is also a woman who, when asked if she would do it again, answers yes, without a doubt.  “I found my voice in 1991, and I am not about to give it up ever again,” she said.  She said that is what kept her going, what brought her back to life after the hearings, were the letters and phone calls from people all around the country who thanked her for giving them the courage, finally, to speak out, to bring sexual harassment or sexual violence against them out into the light of day–to confront their predator and to bring justice.

I have to say it brings me great pleasure to see how, in the big picture, she has come out on top.  She is a national icon, a hero for women everywhere.  While that other person, who will remain nameless, will always be associated in most people’s minds with sexual harassment and othe predatory behaviors. Continue reading Anita Hill: A Hero for All of Us

Our Voice’s 40th Anniversary Celebration: Anita Hill in Asheville!!

Anita HillWe invite you to join us on September 4th for Our VOICE’s 40th Anniversary Celebration, 40 years of Starting Conversations, at the Diana Wortham Theatre featuring keynote speaker Brandeis University Professor of Law Anita Hill. Ms. Hill started a national conversation by disclosing her experience of workplace sexual harassment and focused the country’s attention on a difficult topic too often met with avoidance and silence. Welcome reception is scheduled for 6 pm; program beginning at 7 pm.  

One of the biggest challenges we face in ending sexual violence is silence. Many survivors are silent about their experiences, often due to the shame, fear, and victim-blaming that our society perpetuates. Many community members are also silent because the topic makes us uncomfortable or we feel disconnected.

But while it can be hard to think and talk about, remaining silent is the surest way of encouraging the harassment, abuse, assault, and rape that affect so many in our community.For forty years, we have been committed to breaking that silence by starting and sustaining conversations with many different people and community partners. Our counselors start conversations with survivors regarding their next steps to recovery.

We start conversations with law enforcement agencies and medical centers to improve responses to sexual violence. We start conversations with students around staying safe online and bystander intervention. We start conversations with Spanish-speaking survivors who are now able to work with one of our 4 bilingual staff members. We do this work because we know that in order to prevent sexual violence we all have to talk about it, and once we are all talking about it, we are working toward eradicating it.

Our meaningful accomplishments throughout our agency’s forty-year existence have been possible only through the caring involvement and generous support from people like you and me. Much work remains to be done, none of which can happen without our continued support.

With this in mind, we invite you to sponsor the Our VOICE 40th Anniversary Celebration. Enclosed is a list of sponsorship opportunities for your review. You will find a number of sponsorship benefits, including a reception with Ms. Hill, but undoubtedly the most valuable benefit is offering the opportunity for healing to people who have experienced a great injustice and helping us prevent these crimes from ever happening. Community support is essential to the work of Our VOICE.

We invite you to be part of it.
All the best,
Andrew B. Parker,  Board President

Angélica R. Wind, Executive Director

To purchase tickets to this wonderful event, visit Our Voice’s website at www.ourvoicenc.org.  Also, join us for a special screening of the documentary, “Anita HIll:  Speaking Truth to Power” at the Fine Arts Theater, Asheville, Thursday, August 28th, 7 p.m.  Tickets on sale at the theater for $10!!!!

Pittsburgh: A Great Place to Visit and I Might Want to Live There

Jane
Jane

We just got back from a wonderful trip to Pittsburgh.  We never expected to spend a vacation there.  After all, the city doesn’t have much of a reputation as a vacation destination!  But the wedding of a daughter of dear friends took us there, so off we went, and the trip has changed Pittsburgh in my mind forever.  (I have to say: my glowing view of Pittsburgh was helped along by the wonderful Air B&B where we stayed, called “The Doll’s House”.  It’s in a great location, and the gourmet breakfasts that they advertise are real!)

Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA

Here are some things I didn’t know before:

1) PIttsburgh is a beautiful city!  It has three rivers, great vistas overlooking the city, great architecture (a lot of it supplied by the Carnegie and Mellon families), great parks, especially Point Park where the rivers meet.

2) Although it has had some hard times, Pittsburgh is a hip city, with great restaurants, great shopping areas with ethnic markets, and great outdoor music.  We only sampled a few restaurants, but here were my favorites:  Cafe on the Strip for great local and affordable Italian deliciousness, Primanti Brothers for the Pittsburgh experience of eating a sandwich with french fries on it, and the Milk Shake Factory for yummy, unique milk shakes.

primanti brothers sandwich
Primanti Brothers Sandwich

3) Pittsburgh has tons of great places to explore.  First of all, there’s the two incline railways that take you up to Mount Washington for gorgeous views of the city.  Then, there are the Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh, which sound somewhat dull on paper, but, believe me, you will be enthralled by them–if you allow enough time to listen to the audio tour guide.  I don’t want to say more about them because they are such a hidden treasure, but trust me on this one!  There is also the Phipps Conservatory, full of every plant or flower you can imagine, all laid out inside of beautiful, Victorian glass houses. Then, there are the amazing places that we didn’t even get to:  the Carnegie Natural HIstory Museum or Science Museum, the Andy Warhol Museum, the museum devoted to the history of cartoons and book illustrations called the Toonseum, the World War I war memorial.

But I don’t want to forget to mention one we did visit:  Frank Lloyd Wright’s beautiful Falling Wateron the way to Pittsburgh from the East.  That house, in itself, is worth the trip.

This sounds like I’m being paid by the City of PIttsburgh!  I wish!  No, I just feel like singing the praises of a town that doesn’t often get mentioned in people’s lists of Top Ten Places to Visit–but deserves to be!

The Enlightened Poppy

Oriental Poppy Stand
Oriental Poppy Stand

 

I wait and watch every spring to see where the poppies will appear.  No, not the Oriental Poppies (pictured) because as we all know, they come up from the same basal root year after year. I must say that this year they are putting on a spectacular show, and as a poppy lover I am just thrilled!  I know this is not the first post I’ve written about my poppy joy, but I just can’t help it.  They don’t last long, and they are so beautiful.  It’s a good thing I didn’t have any children, because I am sure I would have named them “Poppy Joy”, “Oriental Poppy”, and/or “Opium”.

That sense of excitement of not-knowing is only attributed to the “Breadseed Poppy”, because those are the ones that come up from seed…here, there, or someplace else.  And they are all about to open!  I always find them coming up in my garden beds someplace different every year, and I like that because it is kind of crazy and not expected.  I can remember back in 1994 (hey that’s 20 years ago) when I made my first garden in Switzerland, it was so very neat and lovely with flowers all around the edges.  Along with getting older and letting-go of so many things in my life (including that perfect order in my beds), I kind of let the garden have its own life, with me just giving water, some food, and some tilling (oh, I almost forgot the weeding part, which I call “yoga”).  I just planted some blue bachelor button seeds in one of the beds, just because I love the color “blue”.

There is one poppy coming up and about to open in the next day or so right under the chicken run.  I don’t know what color it will be, but how I love surprises!  I saw it coming up under the flowering quince bush a few weeks ago and had to clip back some of the branches so that that one poppy will be able to get the sun it needs to open.  I hope I can get a good shot of it with my camera, because I am sure you will want to see it as much as I do.

Oriental Poppy
Oriental Poppy

 

Already we are around 15 inches or so under the amount of rain of what we had last year at this time – so far so good.  After last year’s sad 70+ inches of rain, my gardener’s heart almost broke in two, but once you have the experience of smelling the witch hazel, the lilac, the rose-scented daffodils, and the calycanthus after winter, and just seeing the flowers, the roses, the peonies, and then tasting the basil, the lettuces, the cucumbers, the parsley, the cilantro, the gooseberries, the raspberries, the swiss chard, the beets, the mints, the carrots, the roses, the peonies, and of course, the beloved tomato right off the vine, well, how could there not be a garden in my life, even if I get old and can’t move very well.  It is absolutely essential for me to anticipate joy in my daily life, and that is what a garden brings to me.

In Love,

Sadhvi

Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature. The first recognition of beauty was one of the most significant events in the evolution of human consciousness. The feelings of joy and love are intrinsically connected to that recognition. Without fully realizing it, flowers would become for us an expression in form of that which is most high, most sacred, and ultimately formless within ourselves. Flowers, more fleeting, more ethereal, and more delicate than the plants out of which they emerged, would become like messengers from another realm, like a bridge between the world of physical forms and the formless. They not only had a scent that was delicate and pleasing to humans, but also brought a fragrance from the realm of spirit. Using the word ‘enlightenment’ in a wider sense than the conventionally accepted one, we could look upon flowers as the enlightenment of plants.  — “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle

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Red Poppy
Red Poppy

Making Choices from that Higher Place

Barbara Brady
Barbara Brady

I’m feeling called to write about spiritual wisdom, and how it can be applied practically to what life dishes up for us, resulting in more happiness and peace of mind.

What do I mean by spiritual wisdom? Universal spiritual truths that transcend any particular religion which come from the world’s great religious & spiritual traditions and teachers. Of course they’re not the only ones privy to spiritual truth. We ALL have the ability to access that spiritual or soul wisdom, which resides within each of us, since each of us are, at our core, divine.

More and more I’ve been reminded that when faced with a life challenge, being able to view that challenge and its possible purpose(s) through a spiritual lens (love and spirit) vs. the more human lens (fear and ego), and make choices from that higher place, has made a huge difference in my experience of peace, freedom and empowerment.

To that end, I invite our oops50 readers to tell me about a challenge you’re currently facing in the comments area of this blog, including what you’ve already tried to do to solve this, and I’ll do my best to guide you to hear your highest truth; one that’s aligned with love and peace, and to give you specific ideas of how to apply spiritual wisdom to your situation for a better outcome.

eisntein

Einstein once said: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” Most of us have been taught to operate from a linear consciousness based in ego, competition and “being right”. We’ve been taught to “take care of your own” and that there’s not enough_______________ to go around, (love, money, time), so you better not waste it, spend too much of it, lose it, etc.

The truth is, these outdated paradigms gear us to lead limited lives, based on fear, ego and scarcity. They constrict us and keep us playing small, and feed blaming, complaining:. “My husband left me. He did this to me….(e.g. “I’m a victim”). But what if he did this FOR you? For your soul’s growth and expansion? For your higher good in the long haul? Things do happen in our lives that can feel crappy and unfair. And it’s okay to be angry, sad, and discouraged. But we don’t have to get stuck there. We can’t always see the grand design, which reveals why these things happen in our lives. What if they’re happening for your soul’s evolution and growth? If you choose to think of your life as a beautiful tapestry, then all the colors are there for a purpose. Each is needed to create the whole. tapestry

 I look forward to hearing from you, Barbara Brady Coach & Trainer

 Global Leadership / Intercultural / Transformation through Transition