Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I Am a Social Activist

This past Sunday my son and I stumbled upon Lady Gaga's new Born This Way initiative, launched recently at Harvard, which focuses on  heightening understanding around bullying and promoting a more compassionate society. It spurred a great conversation with my ten-year old around why people bully and what you can do when you see bullying.

That evening I brought my son to a GenAustin (Girls Empowerment Network Austin) community benefit: a discussion and preview of the new documentary Wonder Women:The Untold Story of American Superheroines. The event illuminated the lack of strong female heroines in the movies, media and comics and why this is. (To my delight, my son--an avid reader--leaned over halfway through the panel discussion and said incredulously, "Mom, I can't believe this, this happens in books, too!")

I had forgotten I'm a social activist (when I was in my twenties, I would drive around East Austin canvasing neighborhoods to encourage voter participation--nowadays, this energy is funnelled to helping men and women find balance).

In the Personal Renewal Groups I started in 2003--which are now meeting in more than eight countries worldwide--a favorite self-care group exercise used to be creating an I AM collage that colorfully represents all the facets of who we are: artist, sister, activist, creative diva, dancer, idea generator, singer, gardener, comic, cook, community organizer, yogini, daughter, mother, volunteer and more.

When you get consumed by work, family, parenting and just responding to what shows up in front of you moment to moment, it's easy to forget how interesting, complex and dynamic we all are.

The other night, a dear friend introduced me at a networking event using a title I haven't claimed in years. At first I felt the need to correct her and then I smiled. Ahhhh. She's a part of me, just like all the other parts and polarities I hold: being Type A and calm/relaxed; a cosmopolitan girl and an earth woman; a savvy entrepreneur and an artistic soul; a natural foods cook and a connoisseur of french fries; big hearted and cerebral; a leader and a tribesperson; a global speaker and a householder.

I AM ...all of these things.

My son celebrated his first double digit birthday on Tuesday. My recent reflections make me want to try harder and dig deeper to extricate, reflect, honor and celebrate ALL parts of him--those I love and those I don't understand or fancy. Because I believe the more fully we can be us--warts and all--the easier it is to be accepting of others.

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WonderWomen documentary. Learn how to catch a screening of this wonderful flick in your area at www.WonderWomenDoc.com.


daxe said...

Thanks, Renée! This really spoke to me, since i have been noticing all these "false contradictions" lately. Yes, we can be honest and kind (but it can be hard to do!), we can be strong and vulnerable, we can be global travelers, and still know which rose in our garden will bloom the longest... I also am a lot of things that seem to not go together. The older i get, the more contradictions i own and inhabit. I feel rich. I feel a lot warmer, a lot more comfortable and a lot more loving to myself and others.

Sandy said...

Is it a cultural thing or leftover vestiges of the childhood "on/off switch"-type thinking that leaves us pressured to choose just one? That is clearly my default thinking and the unconscious source of most of the struggle in my life. Renee, your post is such a good reminder that we are both, or all and everything at the same time, and never need to choose just one of the unlimited possibilities that we are. Thank you!