From my early youth three women stand out as exceptional inspirations. Sorry mom, they are actually, Mary Poppins, the Bionic Woman, and Pippi Long Stocking. To clarify, I can think of all kinds of real life inspirations, like Harriet Tubman, Audre Lorde, Helen Keller, to name just a few. I applaud and hold these women in awe but, they came much later in my identification and awareness. It is the mighty three first feisty fictional females that are the most enduring for me. Still and always, I venture.
Today I am focused on my idols, fictional to some, but very real to me, at least as a 10 year old girl. Let's face it, we are in fact often the coolest, truest version of ourselves at 10.
And these women rocked in my ten year old eyes! All rather independent, feisty, smart, savvy, otherworldly and strong, emotionally and physically. A recipe indeed to garner complete admiration. And along with being ever so sensible, Mary Poppins could fly; I mean, how magical is that?
They taught us about facing adversity with innovation, courage, wit, and sometimes a song....
They broke stereotypes held about feminine behaviour and looks; with Pippi's straight out shocking orange braids and overabundance of freckles, she was her own fearless, unapologetic self. Pippi was super strong, at one with the animals, and encouraged girls to have fun adventures and believe in themselves. She was sheer genius, and completely magical to me.
Jamie Somers, the Bionic woman, ( rebuilt after her accident) was better, faster, stronger then she was before; and yet, remained feminine with her long flowing blond hair and beautiful, husky voice. She could outrun a cheetah and hear things a mile away....what a powerhouse to behold.
These were my kind of women!! Even at ten; especially at 10.
And Mary Poppins, with her smart outfits, killer boots, and spiffy umbrella just sprang to life in my imagination as the woman who had it all and should be envied. She was formidable. Practical and capable she was no nonsense, no drama, like a sturdy bridge to a magical world. These were the mentors of my youth, the shining stars of inspiration. And I'm glad...I'm not sure Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus would have done justice to my young aspirations.
So what is the role of mentors in our life? At this stage, my mentors tend to be more professional. Artists I admire and whose career trajectories have taught me things about self-employment, self invention and sustaining stamina and vision.
Stumbling on a children's book yesterday by none other then Madonna herself, I thought, “Really, you have to do this too?” Already dominating the world stage in music, fashion, modelling, film directing, singing, dancing, and now children's books? I was both a might envious and ticked simultaneously (of course I mean jealous and dwarfed). Leave some realm untouched for us mere mortals Madonna! Let the rest of us catch our breath on the mundane survival beat for a minute.
But there it is, what sets mentoring apart from those that engender jealousy, envy and resentment as opposed to celebration, inspiration, joy and motivation?
Is it a fine line? Or is it simply strength of character or lack thereof.
I have art mentors that intimidate and elevate me. I have social justice advocates I marvel at. I know women that accomplish it all and never look tired or appear to show their stress! Amazing. ( My stress on the other hand, schvitzes everywhere...it hardly seems fair. )
But mentors, they provide us with hope. Hope and a light on the murky and brambled path to our deepest dreams. Often calm, cool, collected images of courage and composure, they both instill and inspire hope, beauty, strength, charisma and accomplishment; the whole meal deal.
How are they different than friends we admire? Sometimes they are one and the same. My childhood mentors are usually out of reach by text or late night emergency phone calls, and seldom respond to ranting emails. Friends excel at regular support; they may not understand what you are aiming for but love you anyway, even if and when you fail. Mentors keep the eye on the prize. They provide clarity and momentum on the big picture. And, unlike friends, my mentors serve as more than human but just shy of full out goddess status. Somehow, this means I love them all the more, even when some envy mingles in the air alongside the jet pack fumes from burning creative fuel, flying high to reach the bar they have set.
Having a mentor is still not, and never will be, about copying, or repeating, or 'catching up'...but rather stepping into your own fullness, your juicy bold self, your version, your best, bestest version of you.
Mentors are the mighty leaders who inspire us to keep up the march to be AWESOME, and encourage us to step into some pretty fantastic shoes to make our own tracks. These boots below I'm pretty sure would impress both Pippi Longstocking and Mary Poppins, hands down. One of my favourite pairs of power boots, which can only lead me to inspired days.
Vive La France!!
In the wake of the recent slaughter at Charlie Hebdo, the satirical newspaper in Paris, we feel the sickening turbulence of yet another terrifying and crazed extremist attack on civil liberties. This confirms the murderers' jaded belief in PROHIBITING freedom of speech. The last few days the news has been horrible.
Today however, my spirit soared to hear of the mass demonstration, the unity rally, 3 million strong, in Paris and its surrounding suburbs.
The “Marche Republicaine” aptly demonstrated the rise of the human spirit, the sheer power of unity, and the heart of humanity at its finest. Courageous, united, arm and arm; with love and even joy reportedly in the air, the demonstrators honoured those innocent civilians who were horrifically murdered. I never intended to blog about politics, religion or world events and yet, how can one not join the solidarity against these random acts of cruelty and insanity?
It is rare that the news brings light. Yet, today I am so very proud for a change, and literally lifted up, by the show of love, hope and strength in France. As incredibly diverse a population as that unity rally comprised, makes it all the more impressive for its cohesion.
My heart breaks for the victims and families of the murdered, stomachs twist and churn listening about the last few days of terror; and this is why all the more I have to thank them, we all have to thank them, for their rise to the cause in their darkest hours. And thank them for; their collective belief in the work at Charlie Hebdo; defending civil liberties and diversity of thought; and their unity at supporting what their fellow citizens were devoted to do. The pencil is not a weapon. It is an essential tool of humanity, often the swiftest way to access our humanity. No one should be murdered for expressing an opinion. Ever.
Satirical comics often serve as brilliant enlightenment against an otherwise dark rising energy or the face of sheer stupidity. Those civilians who innocently and bravely made their livelihood shedding light on the dark and the ignorant were honoured today, celebrated. The heart ache remains, but the fear, the fear will not!
The message today was crystal clear. We will not be intimidated by a few megalomaniacs with a twisted distorted agenda of alleged religious fervour, who use their misguided zeal to glorify murder for their own ends. NO! We will not, cannot, allow terror to reign. The French have led us back to hope, to the meaning of true power; truth itself. Actions speak louder than words. Three million took action today. Let that send shivers of hope throughout the world.
“Je suis Charlie”.
Community in the Technological Age
First things first. A Happy, Joyful, Refreshing, Inventive New Year to all!!
We have now collectively bid 2014 an official good night, sleep tight.
Welcome 2015, the fresh, clean, inspiring energy of an unmarked year! So
much potential, so much delight, so much challenge, all lay ahead, like the
first page of a much anticipated novel, beckoning for your undivided attention.
I am still glowing this morning with the warm feeling of connection, friendship and love
and it's power in my life. Although a quiet New Year's Eve at home, simply texting and receiving texts
from friends all around the globe, from Hawaii to Saskatoon, Chilliwack to Florida,
Toronto, Winnipeg, Shanghai....is a sheer delight. A technological wonder in an amazing
age of ease, instant gratification and when wielded appropriately, connection!
Although I am not the biggest fan of social media, (read hate it), and its general aggrandizement of self absorption, (Says the hypocritical righteous blogger), I do still get a sincere giggle, smile and deep pleasure from greetings from friends sent directly to my phone. The personal touch. The modern version of a phone call. This amazing device I still marvel at daily. The camera! Texting?!And of course, the phone....voices bouncing from satellites while we, ourselves in transit careening through space and time, go gaily about our day getting (Impatient ?#%&*! ) at times we don't have a signal momentarily, or it dare take several more seconds than our immediate action packed lives would demand.
So in the spirit of newness; a fresh start and clean beginnings, the dawn, or rather noon of a new day and new year, I revel in the genius of our 21st century, it's pitfalls, graces and gifts, and am AMAZED at the ability to stay connected with such ease. I am reminded of our humanity, heart, smiling faces and love behind all the beeps, blips, chirps and bizarre ring tones. In this moment, I am grateful for technology and its gift of staying connected with such tremendous ease to my friends and loved ones out there, where ever you all may be! Wishing you all the best in the new year ahead and the courage to pursue your dreams, and stay truly connected to what, and who, matters most to you. I know I for one am going to try my damnedest.
'No matter what your past has been, your future is spotless!' -unknown
“God* bless us, every one!” -Tiny Tim
(* or source, or universe)