Category: Women With A Voice


Prejudice & Purses


Prejudice & Purses.

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Book Club Reading List turns book group meetings into novel experiences. Invite novelist, Candace George-Conradi, to review Sweet Tweets, 140 Characters of Wisdom at your next book group meeting.

via Sweet Tweets, 140 Characters of Wisdom.

 


Just in Time for Valentine’s Day, Acclaimed Author Candace Conradi Wraps Up Her Tweets in a Luscious Box of Simple Wisdom That Feeds the Heart and Eases the Mind – PR.com.

Sweet Tweets, 140 Characters of Wisdom returns us to a time when everything was hoped for and possible. To offer a complete thought in 140 characters is the closest thing in life to renewing our child-like wonder. Simple and concise, the messages remove us from a world that is complex and full of drama, offering short sentiments of wisdom and insight. Its great possibility is in its ability to inspire and perhaps reveal something deep within us that allows us to live more thoughtfully in our day-to-day life. It offers support and encouragement (and even permission) to reconsider how we view the world and the billions of people with whom we share it. In the end, regardless of our difference, the majority of us simply wish for the same thing: to be loved, honored, and to live a life of peace. Sweet Tweets, 140 Characters of Wisdom reminds us of this very simple truth. 

Guns and Roses on Graves


SorrowThe personal sense of loss as parents hold their lifeless children in their arms is incomprehensible, unfathomable for anyone who has not experienced such tragedy. We may never fully  understand the reasons for what happened in that small town in Connecticut. We will, in time, be given information and facts but it will never add up in our heads or in our hearts. Nor will we shake the terrible fears that will arise because of event. A nestled school in a safe neighborhood is a terrible reminder that none of us are safe from violence. As President Obama said, there are 20 very young children who will never have another birthday, experience a graduation, marriage or have children of their own. The roses they might have received along the way to celebrate these momentous life events will instead rest upon their graves.

Gun control is must be revisited seriously by our legislators. The resistance against it is hard to understand or comprehend in the face of the rising incidents of random violence perpetrated against defenseless and unprotected citizens in our country. It is time for those who do not advocate for better and tighter gun controls to face the fact that guns kill. And guns in the hands of the wrong person are killing our children and loved ones.

Given all the facts, and acknowledging the need for gun control, there is a greater truth to confront:  that the rising violence in our country is a symptom of a far greater and more complex problem.

Until we as human beings can stop judging others by vilifying them for their differences whether those differences are of color, of sexual orientation, political loyalties, religious affiliations, economic status, liberal or conservative choice; until we can stop buying in to conspiracy theories and false propaganda; until we can re-engage our children by turning off the television or putting down our cell phones or taking time out of our “busy” schedules and sit down and have a meal together; until we can make who we are more important than what we do; until we can instill discipline and not punishment; until we can hold each other accountable, especially our children, and redirect them toward what is important instead of making them small for making mistakes; until we can stop hating …until then, we will live this nightmare. Marianne Williamson said it so simply, “This is not a gun problem, this is a parenting problem.”

The world is teaching all of us, every single day, the damaging effect of individual prejudice and self-imposed ignorance. Prejudice is just another way of being “right” and making others “wrong.” We all need to pay attention to the Great Teacher of Experience – this is not someone else’s problem. This is personal. Transformation begins with each one of us. Whatever authorities discover beneath the tragedy of the Connecticut massacre will not bring us peace. The only way peace will come is when each person puts away their own virtual gun and chooses kindness toward all. The Prince of Peace, whose birthday we celebrate, asked us to do that…to love our neighbor in spite of his or her differences. Yes, be an advocate for gun control. More importantly, be an advocate for tolerance and peace toward all. It’s time to put a stop to the madness.

The Voice of Holes


I have suffered (as most of us do) in my life from the belief that perfection was real. I think we live in a society that wants to pretend that such an absurd illusion is actually true. And thanks be to God we are continually shown that perfection is, in itself, full of holes and flaws.
What we consider to be a “perfect life” often crumbles, like a cake that has been left out on the counter too long. In fact, the press and reality TV continually tracks down imperfect perfection and exposes it for what it is. In some ways, celebrities (whether of Hollywood or Wall Street) remind us that the things we regard as ‘perfect’ simply are not. There is tremendous grace in knowing this truth. There is a profound gift their glass house lives offer us.
I have decided to love the holes in my perfectly crafted imperfection.
In the past, those holes spoke to me in a way that kept me small and isolated from others. Their voice sent a message to me that I was somehow not enough. When the voice of perfection became too loud I would attempt to puff myself up hoping to plug those holes from the world.
That only left me feeling more isolated in a darkness that felt smothering. Darkness should be sacred but for me that kind of darkness was frightening. I did not for a minute really believe the “puffed up” version of myself. It was toxic for me and for those I cared for.
So I have learned to unblock the holes and instead become accept me and all my imperfections as a lantern.
The light of wisdom collected from the many years of imperfection actually serves me now…well, at least if I allow it to serve me. It seems that life is always eager and in no hurry to take away the challenges. In fact, the more holes I “unplug” it seems more challenges show up.
That is the beauty of life. It is always asking me who I am and what I want. It is always handing me a paintbrush and saying, “Please, STOP, and paint your own masterpiece from the beautiful pallet called your life.” Life graces me every day in this very simple way.
All those imperfections I avoided; all those holes; they were drilled through the crust of my false ego with the intention to shed light on my own life’s path.
All those human mistakes and the living of my life have now become priceless gifts. I can now see myself a perfectly imperfect lantern full of holes that has been freed of its need to be perfect. Now those holes shed light and help me avoid the dark alley ways I used to unconsciously walk down.
I don’t know what the road ahead holds for me. All I know is, regardless of the darkness, I now have a light available showing me the way. If we can all unplug the holes in our illusory perfection, just imagine how light the world would become.
As Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream……”


I always wonder who is thinking for me…who is the puppeteer behind that conversation I just had?

You may know have the same conversations; it’s when I hear myself saying something that contradicts my core but I keep talking anyway. Hindsight always asks me: Was that my mother, father, aunt, uncle, distant 4th cousin’s voice? Or was it a fear born one day when my heart was breaking?

Then I wonder if it is the media advertisement campaigns or early influences from my peers. Sometimes I feel like a hijacked airplane, being taken off course in a direction I never wanted to go.We all know that voice that creeps up and takes over our brain. It is not the voice of discernment or wisdom that reacts; it is the voice of fear and confusion. It is so easy to default to that state of mind.

I am learning that my core authentic voice cries to be heard in the silent moments I spend with my thoughts. We all keep it quiet (even smothered) when we allow the outer world to give us our voice. We become blindly conditioned.It takes conscious awareness to peel those layers away so we can find our true authentic voice.

It takes authentic courage to face down those embarrassing moments have been a humbling experience, often achingly so.

Once I learned to lick my wounds and soothe my aching soul, somewhere in that darkness I found wisdom. Not the kind of false wisdom that dismisses another person that minimizes my responsibility in the event. But rather the kind of wisdom that wakes me up and keeps me aware so I dodge that dark alley in the future.

Like layers of contact paper piled one upon another, it takes time to peel away that which smothers our authentic voice. I remember hearing a teacher suggest that instead of being against war, to be for peace; instead of warring against drugs, be for freedom from that comes from self-care; instead of being at war with our spouse, our neighbor, our family, be compassionate toward their humanness.

The real truth is that the outside world only tells us how we are thinking. I am quite certain that the world outside of me can only change as I give my authenticity a chance to speak. Perhaps that is the gift that our fear and limitations leave at the doorstep of our hearts. Sometimes those gifts collect dust, never being opened. But each gift is our call to personal freedom.

Great inner wealth is found than when we discover the freedom sparked from a deeper sense of knowing. I wish everyone the opportunity to open those gifts, gifts that meant for you and you alone.

I really wish for your authentic voice its own melody…I do believe that we CAN learn to sing in perfect harmony!

Tuning in To Your Divinity


Tuning in To Your Divinity.


I practice weekly with a Master Mind partner, something I have been doing for over 20 years. I find it immensely valuable and essential for my well-being, my focus. Before we ask for each other’s support, we read from a short list of phrases that helps bring our week’s intention into a laser focus. For years, one of the phrases reminds me that I am “provided for” and always have what I need to accomplish my goals.  I have been reading that phrase for over 20 years and while I understood it intellectually, until this past Friday I didn’t truly understand what it meant. This “ah-ha” helped me grasp a few things that were embarrassingly apparent! First, some things take a long time to register (it’s called evolution); secondly, I have ALWAYS had what I needed to reach my goals, I just didn’t know it (having what you need does not mean there is not challenge or struggle); and third (and most important of all) is that I was fooled by the glitz and glamour of ads, life style, and “wants” to the point that I could not appreciate what I had. That led, unfortunately, to an unconscious whisper that often suggested I did not have enough.

Life is a wonderful teacher. If we are fortunate to live long enough, we discover the things that matter are before us, waiting for our recognition and acknowledgment. I would not trade one dark alley for the light I now occasionally bask in. I just wish my learning curve had been a little less steep; that the precious hours given to me could have been more often appreciated instead of survived. The infectious ads that told me I needed things I really didn’t simply created pressures within me that stole my peace, insisting that I needed more, needed to be more, and needed to do more. The fear generated within my unconscious from these messages became an actual threat to my health.

I understand there is a significant difference between survival needs (food, shelter, and clothing) and the life I now live. But essentially, the human spirit has everything it needs to overcome and provide for itself if we can only traverse the society that defines for us what “not enough” really means. What if for today, today only, you could acknowledge with deep gratitude the blessings you have and how they serve you (even the challenges)? What if you accept unconditionally your life circumstances: the job you go to, the food on your plate, the clothes on your body, the shape you carry physically, the relationships you have…what if for just today those things are enough? What if for today YOU are (with all your mistakes and victories) beautifully enough? Swimming in the pool of acceptance, you will find a deep sense of relief and joy. You will float (as a friend suggested) on water without effort, being held by some miraculous force, with complete freedom and in peace. Maybe this one day can lead to many and if it challenges the economy, oh well. My peace is worth that price.


I am finding that life is an unending series of questions, posed to challenge inquiry into how I live. Sometimes little questions crop up daily (should I eat that extra serving); sometimes questions come to me in little snippets (should I go play today or work; how about  a nap after a long day in front of my computer). Sometimes questions are harder and more taxing, challenging us at our very core (should I quit my job or leave a toxic relationship). I remember reading valuable reasons for setting my compass at the beginning of my day by asking the question:  How do I want to show up in my life today?  I often forget to ask that question until something challenges me. Even in retrospect, I find that I can reset my compass for the remainder of my day with those simple words. I love the questions…but I find that  my life’s degree of quality depends not so much on the question but my willingness to hear what the question is really asking me.

 

I have learned that a question is just a group of words until I consider my willingness to honestly answer it. When I do, and I answer it truthfully and with integrity, my answer usually leads me to a willingness to live my life more fully and in a way that is more aligned with my heart.  Willingness should not (at least in my mind) be considered “wimpy” or invalidate a person. It takes courage to truly change, not shift with the wind. Willingness is a valuable key that should always lead back to more valid questions. The power of “being willing” has unlocked my personal limitations and freed me to experience adventure and opportunity. What I have discovered is that my ability to “be willing” frees me from fears that keep my life small. If I am willing to consider what you have to say, then I will be more connected to you as a person; if I am willing to risk failure, than I might find success; if I am willing to be patient, kind and loving then I will find deep connections with the people I love.

 

I think the greatest block to our ability to “be willing” is the fear that we might make a mistake, look foolish, or even risk closeness with another human being. Willingness exposes us and softens the sharp edges of our life. Of course, there may be good reason to hold our personal point of view and only you can know what those reasons are. But I have found when I set my opinion aside, even if for a moment, amazingly positive things came my way! If I can be willing to hear you, even if we disagree, then I will see you and give you a chance to see me…not for what I do but for who I am, at least in that present moment. Should that happen, maybe I or both of us will have a shift toward the happiness we have longed for. If my willingness finds solution and acceptance and even resolution, well, that’s a revolution I want to be part of!

For more information about Candace’s services please visit her website

www.candaceconradi.com


We are approaching the one day each year set aside to honor motherhood. Having been a mother since the age of 19, my ideas of what motherhood means to me has shifted and changed over the last 39 years. At first, I witnessed motherhood as this fiercely protective defender of the rights of my child. The standing joke was I owned them until they were 18. It was the same message our mom gave us. Now, I see my role as a mother to be something more akin to a singing bowl, or a the drum casing. As my children live their lives, I am learning (and it has not been an easy lesson) to receive them into this space. If my echo from my own life experiences help them, then it is a gift for both of us. If the song I sing somehow has no landing-place I still sing it. But now I sing it with less expectations and truly more love and compassion.

As mothers we are taught to nurture and keep the family core together, even if it means doing so without a partner. Sometimes our sacrifices are viewed as selfish; other times as necessary by those we love. In my role, and by the example from my childhood, what I learned to do was keep my voice silent. Fear drove my actions and created misunderstandings that took time and patience to heal. What I can say, with all honesty, is that motherhood has been my greatest privilege and honor. It has not been a perfect performance, but I have done what I have done with deep and abiding love. As I have learned to let go, the voice of the Divine Mother gives me daily permission to speak what my heart tells me to be true. It still often comes from deep passion and fire, but at least I now can sing. Hopefully the fire is less hot and more warming to the souls I ushered into adulthood.

All cultures have a Divine Mother who represents the heart of all spiritual matters. To be a mother is a very Divine act, deeply spiritual. To drown out the voice of Divine Mother is to create a barrier between the very love we feel for our children and our own heart and intentions. It takes courage to be self-reflective, willing to ask for forgiveness, and facing the humbling fact we are not perfect. But, it also takes courage to ask for what we want of our children, to demand greatness from them and to help them see that all relationships (even the ones with our babies) eventually become adult relationships that involve both of us. I am blessed to have the most wonderful children any woman could hope for; I feel the same for the partners they share their life with. I appreciate their patience with me as I have unraveled what it means to me to be their mom. The voice of Divine Mother guides me, inspires me, and holds my hand when I am inclined down a road that does not serve my intention or my heart. Regardless of your faith, seek out the Divine Mother who can move your heart and actions. It will be your greatest Mother’s Day gift of all time.