International Women’s Day: Speaking Up

The River Birch Project LogoIt’s been awhile… The run-up to the Fall, 2016 election churned up so much topical material ~ richly relevant to The River Birch Project©.  Yet, I made a conscious decision not to add to the din of what you’d receive in email. The rush of information, outrage and worry and lack of civil discourse was overwhelming and even though our programs focus on women and leadership, I chose to pause.

Today is International Women’s Day.  We are all familiar with the statistics, and for women in management, Catalyst provides a look:  http://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-management. Today’s Women’s March and other actions are controversial for good reasons, as only certain women retain enough power to have the privilege to walk off their jobs.  I believe that speaking up, marching, and taking a stand in public and private is important and a choice that can take many individual forms.  Perhaps we can also look at our River Birch gatherings as a kind of circle of collective action where we strengthen our clarity and our responses in our own lives in service to others.

What’s on my mind today is about Speaking Up.

The 60’s/70’s women’s movement had a saying that the personal is political.  I’ve been thinking about the subtle and not so subtle cultural power that keeps women from speaking up.  It is a common theme in coaching women leaders: to have self-doubt and for that to impede grounded and impactful leadership.   Men have self-doubt and it manifests in a different manner, but with women it often results in moving to the side-line, taking a side seat at the table or remaining quiet.

Some of the best writing about this, for the personal and public realm, is from Rebecca Solnit,   http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15811.Rebecca_Solnit. Take a look at her book: “Men Explain Things To Me”, and check out her original blog post:  https://www.guernicamag.com/rebecca-solnit-men-explain-things-to-me/

So, what is the appropriate response?  How do we prepare ourselves for the long haul to respond effectively and in keeping with our values, and in a way that we can be heard (through the din)?  I’ve wanted to Respond, instead of React, and take Response(able) Action.  Part of that undoubtedly takes pausing and centering, listening and discerning.

In what ways have we all experienced, at the dining table and in the conference room, this phenomenon of: “having things explained to us”?  In the many ways that this resonates for each of us, consider also the cultural and social underpinnings of power that leads to self-doubt and keeps us from bringing what we have to offer (and what the world needs) to the situation at hand.  In what other   ways do we not bring our full voice into the mix?  This question and other aspects of finding voice, will inform the next River Birch Project© program, to be offered in Spring, 2017.

We will have two events:

Finding Voice / Speaking Up:  What keeps women leaders from speaking up, and how do we recognize this and consistently find our voice?

Mentors and Mentoring:  One person can make a difference!

Stay Tuned by watching this site.

Also, for something inspiring be sure to catch part of PBS’s American Masters Inspiring woman series:   http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/inspiring-woman/

In the meantime, Be Kind…but do not be Quiet.

Kind Regards,

~Lynn

Spring Forward… International Women’s Day!

Carnival (referred to as Venus),  Jim Dine, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA

Carnival (referred to as Venus), Jim Dine, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA

 

Springing Forward…

It is raining here in Seattle and feels like the middle of Winter, although there are signs of Spring.  The days are staying brighter and tonight we set our clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time. The Narcissus are blooming, too, along with March’s Daphne (O’Dora) which sends its beautiful fragrance out, so we notice…in the middle of the dampness, the season is changing.

Today is International Women’s Day

On Twitter: #IWD2014 hashtag

Upcoming Seattle Event:

I would like to highlight an exciting event, to be hosted by the Women’s Funding Alliance on March 31, 2014, featuring Stephanie Coontz and Lindy West, at Town Hall:  Today’s Feminism

Spend the evening with two of our region’s most savvy, sought after experts on issues that matter to women. We will welcome Lindy West and Stephanie Coontz for a lively discussion about modern solutions to strengthen women’s voices online and expand economic power among women. Lindy and Stephanie will each offer a TED style talk followed by an interactive discussion with the audience.

Hope to see you there!  Get tickets early! (These are not expensive: $10.00)

Coaching Notes — Reflections on coaching with leaders:

A theme that seems to be present among many leaders in coaching relates to the difference between general intelligence, including skills and expertise, and emotional intelligence (EQ).  Daniel Goleman writes compellingly about EQ, and is a trusted resource.

A connection between empathy and self-care:

 

A recent conversation with a wise mentor, helped me consider a connection between one aspect of EQ, empathy, and self-care. She offered that we are most able to be empathic and to consider another’s perspective and ‘walk in another’s shoes’ when we have a practice of compassion toward ourselves.  We are most able to be present with others, when we are grounded and solid, and whole, ourselves. We are most able to ‘be there’ for another, when we are coming from a place of balance and when ‘our bucket is full’. On the other hand, when we are depleted, we have more trouble with self-management and are far more prone to reactivity.  Being response-able is much easier when we are rested and generative. So, from this standpoint, knowledge about taking care of one’s self, and all aspects of wellness and self-care, becomes prominent in how we lead.

 

The connection between empathy and EQ, and the connection between empathy and self-compassion is discussed here: Dr. Kristin Neff.  Kristin also makes an interesting distinction between self-esteem and self-compassion.

Another resource is Rick Hanson, author of Hardwiring Happiness, the New Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence.  Rick writes about brain science and re-wiring our thought patterns and approach to the world in an empirically supported and practical way.  He has a newsletter that you can find here.

Check out the Resources on my website for more references in Articles & Books.

Winter can be dark and damp in the Northwest, and it allows us to go inward.  In anticipation, too, of Spring and various home-comings, many blessings to you!

Ah, not to be cut off,

not through the slightest partition

Shut out from the law of the starts.

The inner – what is it?

if not the intensified sky,

hurled through with birds and deep

with the winds of homecoming

Rainer Maria Rilke

 

~Lynn Hagerman, March 8, 2014

 

Happy New Year- 2014!

Quotes for the New Year

What we leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments,

but what is woven into the lives of others.”  Pericles

 

“Nobody sees a flower really – it is so small – we haven’t time,

and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”  Georgia O’Keefe

 

Books:

Two books that have been especially welcome and helpful to clients this past year:

Buddha’s Brain, by Rick Hanson

Working Identity, by Herminia Ibarra

Blog:

A website focusing on creativity and ideas, with a great weekly newsletter:

“Brainpickings”

Best wishes for a very happy new year!

Reflections on Impermanence

“My Riverbirch has lost its leaves…and now I can see the lake.”

This is true as I look out my window, and is so unexpected.  The property between my house and the lake has undergone major changes, with the removal of numerous old trees.  I’d never had a view, and now I do. It is true that the changes that may be unwelcome (the removal of large and beautiful trees) can have unexpected benefits…and open up new vistas, so to speak.  Today…the sun shines brightly and a crystal sharp reflection juts off the water.

It is reminiscent of a Japanese Haiku:

“Barn’s burnt down…now I can see the moon.” Masahide, Japanese poet, (1657?-1723)

I first saw this Haiku on a card intended for a husband who’s wife had nearly lost her life in an accident, and she was left partially paralyzed.  I thought the expression (this haiku in this situation) was very stark. But as their new life unfolded, I also saw that they had a new and deeper relationship.

At this time of year I think about tragedy, and change…  I think of blessings, too, for there are many and I feel these and name them quietly in gratitude.  I think about the Buddhist notion that tragedy is inevitable and suffering is a kind of choice.  I don’t think I’ve mastered that one yet.  It’s not as simplistic, as I put it here.  The teaching is that we suffer because of our desires and attachment, and life is impermanent, change is constant.

So, at this time impermanence is a theme as nature does its dance and changes, and our season transforms through Fall into Winter.  Through light into dark… and as I know with my garden, there is much that carries on behind the scenes, underneath and hidden.  Things are still very alive, just not as visible…and we make our own light with Thanksgiving and with the upcoming Holidays.

May you find peace and many blessings as we approach Thanksgiving.

~Lynn