women helping women

I have recently learned about the organization Women for Women International. Women for Women International “provides women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency, thereby promoting viable civil societies.” It is a Four Star Charity as rated by Charity Navigator. From their website:

“From Victim to Survivor…to Active Citizen

Women for Women International mobilizes women to change their lives by bringing a holistic approach to addressing the unique needs of women in conflict and post-conflict environments.

We begin by working with women who may have lost everything in conflict and often have nowhere else to turn. Participation in our one-year program launches women on a journey from victim to survivor to active citizen. We identify services to support graduates of the program as they continue to strive for greater social, economic and political participation in their communities.

As each woman engages in a multi-phase process of recovery and rehabilitation, she opens a window of opportunity presented by the end of conflict to help improve the rights, freedoms and status of women in her country. As women who go through our program assume leadership positions in their villages, actively participate in the reconstruction of their communities, build civil society, start businesses, train other women and serve as role models, they become active citizens who can help to establish lasting peace and stability.

Women begin in our Sponsorship Program where direct financial aid from a sponsor helps them deal with the immediate effects of war and conflict such as lack of food, water, medicine and other necessities. Exchanging letters with sponsors provides women with an emotional lifeline and a chance to tell their stories —maybe for the first time. As their situations begin to stabilize, women in our program begin building a foundation for their lives as survivors.

While continuing to receive sponsorship support, women embark on the next leg of the journey and participate in the Renewing Women’s Life Skills Program that provides them with rights awareness, leadership education and vocational and technical skills training. Women build upon existing skills and learn new ones in order to regain their strength, stability and stature on the path to becoming active citizens.

Women for Women International believes that establishing a means to earn a sustainable living is critical to being fully active in the life of a family, community and country. To help women transform their new skills into financial independence and sustainability, we offer job skills trainings to strengthen women’s existing skills and to introduce new skills in traditional and non-traditional fields so women can access future employment opportunities.

Building on the skills training program, we offer comprehensive business services designed to help women start and manage their own micro-enterprises. We give them access to capital and operate microcredit programs in Afghanistan and Bosnia and Herzegovina with an overall repayment rate of 98 percent. We give women access to markets by facilitating product sales through outside retailers and our online Virtual Bazaar. We provide expertise such as product design, production assistance and business development workshops. We also help women form micro-enterprises such as production facilities and cooperative stores to sell the goods women produce.”

Helping the women of a country helps the children. Saving a woman saves everyone.

I learned about Women for Women International through my teacher, Sarah Powers. She and two other yoginis have started Metta Journeys and their inaugural trip to Rwanda will benefit Women for Women International.

I already sponsor a Sri Lankan girl through my Theravadan teacher’s organization, but when I return from India in January I will sign up to sponsor an Iraqi woman through Women for Women International. I encourage every woman who reads this blog who is outraged by the war in Iraq, and every woman blogger who has written about their outrage, to sign up to sponsor an Iraqi woman. I would also encourage you to pass along the WFWI link to all interested parties. Sisterhood is powerful, ladies.

Listen to Alice Walker’s powerful and moving words in the video and check out WFWI’s website. It is another example of thinking globally, believing in the collective human consciousness, and seva.

peace
shanti
salaam aleikum
so shall it be

feel good friday

Staying with the latest theme of passion and women of a certain age, I am repeating this post (hey, recycling is always good!) from July. Good videos get lost as they move down the line and I’ve been thinking of Cyndi’s version of this song lately, a song written by another vibrant, creative, fabulous woman of a certain age. As a performer and woman, Cyndi has definitely evolved and moved beyond her original persona. Would that a certain pop queen of late do the same….Brit honey, here’s a tip…life really DOES get better as we age and gather wisdom, it’s just gonna take ya some time, but you’ll get there!

“Before Britney was a Pop Queen, there were singers like Cyndi Lauper — yes, I mean Cyndi Lauper who sang “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” I remember being blown away by Cyndi’s cover of Joni Mitchell’s song “Carey” in a television tribute to Joni. I found the video on YouTube and was blown away again as I watched Cyndi become one with the song…everything comes together in a perfect musical moment. Cyndi has total connection to the music, to her band, to herself, and to the moment. The look on her face when she dances is the way I feel when you hit that sweet spot in vinyasa and you feel like you’re the only one in the room and it all comes together, body-mind-spirit.”

And if you’d like to read my previous posts about wild women and crones, check out here and here

Feel good on Friday, y’all!

Be peace and be here now.

shanti

wild women


WILD WOMEN CREED

Girls at any age
seeking to live life with volume & verve,
to be outrageous & offkey,
mismatched & mischievous,
breathless & bold,
cosmic & clever,
brazen & boundless,
with a passion for the possible.
Wild Women make it happen,
gathering to celebrate
the secrets of a sisterspirit.
Are you a Wild One?

Pam Reinke, 2004

I’ve always been a Wild Woman, “contrary to ordinary, even as a child” as Jerry Jeff Walker sings in his song of the same name. As my astrolger told me, I came out of the womb wanting to get out of the box. I’ve had many nicknames over the years (including “Kozmic” when I was a young hippie chick), and “Loba” is one of them. A friend gave it to me because he said “wild women and wolves have always been misunderstood.” Ain’t it the truth? “Loba” is the Spanish feminine for wolf. Maybe that is why I am drawn to the Hindu goddess Kali because she is misunderstood by people who don’t know her full story, they only see the demonic side of her.

When I found the Wild Women Creed in a hip little boutique, I knew I had to have it, and it’s displayed where you can see it immediately when you walk into my house. So when I read the Daily Om today and clicked on the Daily Om Library, I knew that I have to get this book…check out the excerpts…

The Daily Om

Wise Talk, Wild Women
From “Wise Talk, Wild Women” by Gwen Mazer, with portaits by Christine Alicino.
Posted by: DailyOM
“…In the community where I grew up, I experienced older people who were not encumbered by age. One such person I was especially fond of was a…woman (who) must have been “old” when I was a little girl, but she practiced yoga, meditated, traveled, and told tales of fascinating places…

So much emphasis, especially in advertising, seemed focused on the value of youth and the need to appear young by any means possible. Young women worried about being old at thirty, just when they were gaining the tools to create meaningful lives. I looked into the cultural mirrors held up to women my age in television, advertising, and cartoons, and I saw elders, crones, fearful seniors, women fading invisibly on the edges of life. I did not see myself in those mirrors. On the contrary, I felt excited, vibrant, sexual, and curious, with rising energy for the quests of this new phase of my life….

(In this book)…Each was her own individual. Each danced to her own drum. Even if she had tried to force herself into a cultural mold, her individuality and need to create kept popping out. Each one needed to create a life and an identity, an expression in the world, and each one seemed to find her own purpose, her own center. They could not be damped down. They were wild women in the truest sense.

One of the most crucial things the women shared was the ability to operate from intuition, and many believed this to be more and more important as they grew older. Many felt their spirituality and their intuition to be entwined. There is a difference between the inner voice, which I like to describe as a quiet whisper, and the loud voice of the mind or ego that is chattering away with opinions and ideas, what we did and what we didn’t do, what we said and what we didn’t say. When we begin to discern between the two, our minds can clear. The sediment settles to the bottom, and we start to see the wisdom we’ve gleaned from our life experience. Inner listening-and trusting and following what we hear-is the most important skill we can cultivate. The wise woman within will never lead us astray…” (Emphasis added.)

I’ve been getting lots of messages from the Universe lately. Due to the nature of these messages I feel like the Universe is kicking me squarely in my yoga butt (the one I’m supposed to get in ONLY 20 MINUTES A DAY!) to indeed listen to my intuition and to act on certain things, like my own line of yoga clothes. I am also hearing whispers about starting my own yoga teacher training program, but that won’t be a few years yet, all things manifest when they are ready. My intuition is telling me to take it to a new direction, that is must somehow be connected to social action. Time will tell.

I attended a workshop by Max Strom yesterday. He was awesome and I highly recommend taking a workshop if he is in your area. The title of the workshop was “Yoga: An Act of Remembrance” and he started out talking about memory. He asked us to remember when we heard a song that we deeply connected with, or a place that when we arrived it seemed so familiar to us even though we had never been there before (like India instantly was for me), or a book that when we read it we said to ourselves “these are my words, I could have written this.” He said that these experiences are coming from deep within our cellular memory, that we have lived these things before, that these experiences were not learned in this lifetime. He said that is the reason why some of us connect so deeply and passionately with the totality of yoga, not just the physical part of it, but the total package of asana-pranayama-spirituality.

When Max talked about memory, it hit me that whatever I am feeling now, whatever I have been intuiting at this stage in my crone life, I have been here before. For whatever reason, the seeds could not sprout earlier, or else they sprouted too early and then died, as a baby plant sometimes does for no apparent reason. The feeling in my bones is that the seeds are being watered now for manifestation in this lifetime.

I also had an aura photograph taken over the weekend, which turned out to be a little freaky, in a good way. When she first saw it, the aura photographer (who is also an energy worker) let out a little gasp and told me that I have some “biggies” guiding me right now. My aura was mainly blue and violet with a large splash of green on the right side, but it also had five white “globes” surrounding me. My guides? Angels? Who knows, but she said that they’re guiding me to follow my own path. She told me to enlarge the photo to 11X17 to it’s highest resolution because then I might be able to discern faces in these white globes.

“Inner listening – and trusting and following what we hear – is the most important skill we can cultivate. The wise woman within will never lead us astray…”