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Wake Up Strong

Last night I found myself on the couch under a blanket, reeling from the shock of this election. I felt paralyzed to do anything save for wallow in fear and disbelief. But amid my despair I had a mantra: tomorrow, I wake up strong.

I must wake up strong because there is work to be done. A large percentage of quality people forgave the hateful speech, extreme narcissism and disregard for ethics exhibited by a wholly inexperienced candidate and elected him President of the United States. As a champion of Democracy I accept AND respect that people voted for change, voted in line with their Party, voted for their upward mobility, voted out of concern for the Supreme Court. But the fact that so many voters tolerated, repeated and supported the inflammatory rhetoric of his campaign … well, there is work to be done.

So today I woke up strong, and, from a place of strength, I made a to-do list:

1. Stand Up for Equality
My political passion is fueled by a desire to stand with those who are discriminated against and oppressed. Today, I especially want to add my voice and actions to the LGBTQ community who have had to fight tirelessly against bigotry, violence and ignorance to gain civil rights and protections that the rest of us enjoy as a given. The incoming administration openly intends to infringe upon these rights.
My feminism has also been fired up by this campaign. We need to elevate our standards of equality and reject these tired, inexcusable double standards of behavior!
So I ask myself, what can I do? I’m researching, but step one: Join the ACLU. Step two: Write more about this. Part of my research today included reading both the Democratic and Republic Party Platforms on these issues. There is a lot to say.

2. Remember: Art is Activism
Throughout our history, art in all its forms has given voice to the voiceless. It enlightens us and challenges us. It holds a mirror up to our humanity, for better or for worse. It is a respite and a resource. It INSPIRES us. It leaves a legacy. Furthermore, the artistic community is the most inclusive community I know; differences are celebrated, all are welcome. I renew my commitment to The Arts as a patron and a creator.

3. Do My Job
As it happens, I am in the business of wellness and individual expression. I need to take better ownership of my work because I firmly believe that if we take care of ourselves, we take care of each other. Peace begins within. Self-knowledge leads to greater wisdom and wisdom leads us to walk our paths with greater compassion. Expressing our individual light illuminates everything around us. I need to do my job and do it well.

4. Look, Learn, Love
Seek the best in others.
Become knowledgeable about the things that matter to me.
Spread the mighty power of love.

Hats

This is a piece I wrote back in 2011.  Seeing as it is October and I find myself making some changes, it seemed a good time to dust it off …

I am collector of hats.  Not the fancy fashionable ones.  No, I am talking metaphorical hats here.  I wear many in my life and, more specifically, in my avocations/occupations, both the ones that earn me money and the ones that don’t. (Yes, I have some bargain bin hats but I love them just the same!) Lately I have taken to wearing multiple hats at the same time. This seems to be making my head heavy. You would think that this head-heaviness would motivate me to pare down my collection but it doesn’t seem to work that way.

Classically October is a big “hat” seeking month for me.  I get restless and want to DO stuff.  Take some classes, make big changes, and be bold!  I look around at my collection of hats and none of them seem good enough.  Usually I just dive in and go get more, but this year I pause and ask myself: What’s with the hat hoarding, Luisa? Read more

Harvesting

I have never fancied myself much of a collector. That (seemingly) fanatical drive to seek out and amass Barbies, stamps, ornaments, etc., is beyond me. Plus, I can be a tad fanatical about throwing things out and de-cluttering, so collecting does not appear to be in my nature.

Or so I thought.

Lately, I have realized that I do have one specific penchant for collecting. My loot, the thing that I seek: amazing experiences. I collect memories.

This realization helps me relate to other collectors. I understand that there is comfort in surrounding yourself with things that have meaning for you, whatever those “things” might be.  Read more

80’s Movies: A Love Affair (and Quasi Book Review)

While browsing through a quaint bookshop last week, drawing my hand across stacked paperbacks on a table, I touched down on Hadley Freeman’s Life Moves Pretty Fast: The Lessons We Learned From Eighties Movies (And Why We Don’t Learn Them Anymore). I picked it up for a perfunctory flip-through and knew instantly it would be coming home with me.

If you, like me, were a movie-loving teen in the eighties you were lucky! Many now classic films were released, many of them with teenagers as the lead characters. This is when my love affair with the cinema blossomed and I came to know the power of film to connect us, enlighten us and make us feel less alone in the World.

In Life Moves Pretty Fast, journalist Hadley Freeman uses interviews and commentary by writers, directors and actors along with her own personal insights to explore the lessons of these films.  She discusses them with reverie, she is a BIG fan, but she also puts them in a social and cultural context that absolutely lit me up. Several times I had to slap the book down and say to myself: I never thought about it like that!

For example, the first chapter is about Dirty Dancing. I’ve seen this movie dozens of times and consider its main characters Baby (Jennifer Grey) and Johnny (Patrick Swayze) personal friends. But I never saw it as having a uniquely feminist point of view. Here Freeman quotes screenwriter Eleanor Bergstein:

“…I wanted to make a movie about what it is like, as a young woman, moving into the physical World, which means the sexual World,” says Bergstein. “So you get those shots of Jennifer looking up with her big eyes and then about a hundred shots of Patrick. I remember when we were in the editing suite and people were saying, ‘Why do you have all these shots of Patrick?’ I’d say, ‘It’s because that’s what she sees.’ The film is through the female gaze and most movies are not.” Read more