Category Archives: courage

How to Change the World

Hm, I was sincerely hoping to have an answer for you, but alas I am yet a mere mortal. I have come to the conclusion  that the solution begins with me, after all its the one place that I have the power to influence. The New Year approaches, along with the tradition of  creating resolutions, this year co-occurring with another turning point in my personal life. I’ve given considerable thought to my own goals for the coming year. There are of course the reruns, the pledges to be more organized, to procrastinate less, to pay bills on time (as long as the money is there) but as I review these well intentioned promises to myself I realize there’s a reason behind the repetition in theme, year and year again. These resolutions address behaviors and responses that are symptoms of  deeper issues.There is a lot of talk circulating these days in reference to the question of Global Change; there are discussions, dictates, manifestos, opinions, dreams, arguments and unfortunately, a fair amount of discord. An objective observer can easily spot the common ground that is inherent in the collective desire for renewal. The Communal sense of urgency and rebellion is frequently lost amongst the strict adherence to doctrine.

Procrastination, disorganization and general lack of responsibility are a cluster of behaviors based in learned helplessness and the fear of personal  power. They are reactive behaviors. The recent social/Political movements have been accused of many of the same traits I myself struggle to manage. I understand the struggle that groups encounter as they are pressed for demands and clear statements of purpose. We know what we don’t want, but we have been subjected to the system that imposes “what we don’t want” for so long, we’re not even sure how to implement what it is we do want. It’s one thing to dream of a better world and it’s quite another to do the work, to educate and empower ourselves to make it happen. I can envision the life I want to create, but to move forward and create that life requires risk. There will be mistakes and setbacks. There will be critics standing by telling me it’s not possible (some of them will be nagging voices in my own mind!) But guess what? Just like Fox News and its smirking self righteous observation of today’s activists, those influences already reporting daily, and the less I accomplish the more righteous they become.

I’m lucky, most of  my critics are internal, my own insecurities and leftover fears from days long ago. Much like an obnoxious political commentator, they can be turned off, I can change the channel and  once I acknowledge the limited scope of their experience that is the root of their pessimism I can forgive them and separate myself from their influence. I can tune into the frequencies that transmit hope, idealism, and the required education to provide the skills and means to create reality from fantasy, to manifest dreams and to ultimately change my world. Don’t underestimate the Sci-fi channel, it is one place that fears, ideas, possibilities and dreams are played out. We the Dreamers, envision solutions, we create blueprints for change and we thrive on Hope.  Our Dreams and Visions are the beginning, may this New Years baby be the birth of a year of  Action and Creation.

Peace and Happy New year!

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What Puts the Ape in Apricot?

“Whadda they got that I ain’t got?….(all answer)  “Courage!”   The the Cowardly Lion’s own  answer to his  rhetorical question is, of course, Courage. In case you’ve never seen the movie ‘The Wizard of Oz” I would encourage you to stop reading, find, rent, borrow download  a copy using whatever it is you use to view media, make some popcorn and lose yourself in what is probably one of the few examples of The Archetypal  Heroes Journey whose protagonist is a 13-year-old girl.  So go away now if you haven’t seen it because there’s a spoiler on deck.

Gone? Okay. Are they all gone? ok.

Geez can you believe there are actually people who have not seen the Wizard of Oz?!  

Well, we will give them our support and acceptance when they come back, let’s not make them feel embarrassed for not having incorporated one of the greatest films of all time into their schematic framework.

So, the rest of you know where I am headed with this thought. The Cowardly Lion, despite his panic attacks, tears and attempts at desertion was indeed the most Courageous of all the Seekers en route to Oz. Yes, he was terrified the entire time but, as a loved one recently reminded me, Courage is not the lack of Fear, but the act of going forward and doing what needs to be done in spite of the Fear.

As the Wizard presented the Cowardly Lion with his Medal of Bravery he expressed the same sentiment

“You have plenty of courage, I am sure,” answered Oz. “All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty.”

Upon realizing the risks he had endured and survived in the name of loyalty to Dorothy and the others, The Lion is able to grasp the key ingredient in the recipe for Courage…Confidence.  Not the boasting puffy chested, “put ’em up” posturing he had (unsuccessfully) displayed when first encountering his fellow travelers ; but a warm and humble confidence that enabled him as a decorated hero, to weep in plain view of the entire populace of The Emerald City as he said goodbye to Dorothy.

True Courage is more likely to debate than display, to sacrifice freely with no expectation of reward, and more at ease with weeping  than warfare.

Think of times you have faced your fears, soldiered on and emerged quietly triumphant yet forever changed.  Please, as always feel free to share a story if you’d like, and Soldier On Warriors of Wisdom!

Peace,

Jenny

© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard


News and Updates

In accordance with my original mission I have begun work on my sister site, http://www.whitewaveconsulting.org. The intention and goal of this project is to organize survivors who wish to be actively involved in public policy making, service delivery and public education. There are many ways to accomplish these goals. Writing our stories and sending them to politicians, service providers and funding sources can have a substantial impact. Forming Advisory committees, organizing survivor speak outs, using art and film to record our histories are all effective methods to make our message heard. We ARE the experts on Domestic Violence, we know what services are lacking and which ones are working. We know how we want, and deserve, to be treated by social service agencies, police officers, and the judicial system. Finally, as older women we can attest to the long term effects of abuse and the need for ongoing services. The key to change is Communication and Organization, let’s Unite as Survivors and help create a future of Peace, Respect and Compassion.
In other business, I am continuing to work on my memoirs, blogging and making connections online. It’s wonderful to find so many compassionate, creative and like minded individuals.

My latest project is my new Hepatitis C blog describing my experiences with the disease and, now, being on treatment. I had started including posts about my journey through treatment on my survivors blog, but because this experience has been so much a part of my life; because my day to day activities are dictated by my side effects, I decided this chapter of my life deserves it’s own space. I am also discovering an urgent need for information and advocacy for individuals stricken with this often stigmatized disease. I will continue to share my personal story while also accumulating useful information about Hepatitis and treatment options.

© 2010 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard


Crashing the party of "normal" society

after many years of working on recovery and healing I still tend to feel like the “weird girl in the corner” at social events. I had always been somewhat socially awkward all of my life. In fact that’s the prime reason I started drinking at an early age. The first time I got drunk I was suddenly transformed (in my mind) into a charming chatty debutante with no fear of the boys at the party. What a great solution! I can’t vouch for the charming ideal, and I certainly was no debutante, but I was definitely chatty…and fearless. And I definitely made acquaintance with many boys, most of whom I would have been better off without!
But it was not only the boys who intimidated me, it was also most of the girls in school. The popular ones, the pretty ones, the ones who buzzed around in little cliques like a hive of bees, usually following every whim and turn of fashion that was dictated some Queen Bee. The kind of girls that when you passed by them while they were giggling, you were almost certain they were laughing at you.
As an adult I have had a few good friends who have been with me for most of my adult life. Others have come and gone, but my circle has always been small, trustworthy and like minded.
and when I am at social events, such as parties or weddings I still tend to feel like I don’t fit with the women I meet. I suppose there are a good many reasons for this some rational and some not. What I do know is that I’ve come to a point where it no longer bothers me like it used to. I have also uncovered another amazing discovery. Most of my “isolation” has been self inflicted. Imagine that.
I had the opportunity last weekend to attend a women’s Spirituality Conference. The keynote speaker was one of my favorite author/activists and I was thrilled at the chance to hear her speak. When I first heard of the conference, two months ago, I began canvassing my little group of women friends to find someone to go with me. When I realized that no one would be able to I decided it was time to take the plunge, put on my brave face and just GO.
I have to admit I was more than a little nervous on the first day of the conference. But I took a deep breath walked in and immediately struck up a conversation with the woman next to me at the registration table. I soon found it was quite easy to make ‘small talk”with the other women and by day 2 there were a few of us who were already comfortable with one another from the day before.
The point of my story is that all that self inflicted isolation came from fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of not being accepted. And, this is a big one, fear of someone knowing my big secret, that my life hasn’t been perfect. I realized at the conference, where no one knew me, or my past, I could simply be judged as who I was presenting myself to be at the moment. I was a clean slate, just another new person. It felt pretty good. I had a great time at the workshops and browsing the vendors and especially hearing the keynote address. And I met many kind and friendly women, because I allowed it to be, because I didn’t let fear hold me back. Because I didn’t believe that the shadow of my past was hovering over me like a dark spirit saying “look at her, she’s been abused, she used to be a drunk…” and like most scary monsters if you don’t acknowledge them, they have no power over you.
By the way I did happen to knock over an entire shelf of hand made pottery in the vendors area, causing every head in the room to spin in my direction and utter a perfectly harmonized oooooohhhhhhh. But I survived with my pride mostly intact.
After all I am no debutante!
Peace and Blessings,
Nanakoosa

copyright 2010 Jennifer Hazard, nanakoosasplace.blogspot.com