Monday, November 25, 2013

Hunger Games

I watched Hunger Games last night.

That is a modern day adult version of a princess movie!  Strong beautiful capable female character, slightly sheepish but boyishly handsome fellow.

Authentic and deeply rooted in virtuous ways even in the face of her own life, finding a solution that cleverishly out wits the establishment, saves her boy, and honors the dead.

I avoided watching/reading it for so long, turned away by the premise of the movie.  Interesting platform for telling the story of variations in human interaction.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Lean In Discussion

I’m a few chapters into Lean In by Sheryl Sandburg, and I find a few things that strike a chord or are highly relatable.

The fraud syndrome, which is feeling like an impostor, and expecting at any time someone might “find me out”.  Under celebrating successes, having the impression that they came from luck or some outside help.  I can relate to that.  And, as the book points out, silly and self-inflicted.

Needing to balance between stereotyped expectations of feminine traits like community with being dubbed the bitch.  I don’t experience it as dissonant as she describes it.  For example, I am a communal person by nature (not speaking for all women) and part of my expertise is helping teams be awesome. “Nurturing” individuals through empowerment.  I get results from that.

Advice on “we” vs “I.”  I tend to use “we” vs “I” when talking about successes; I am acutely aware and appreciative of  the influences along the way that made up what it is that I accomplished.  It’s a philosophical discussion regarding we are all one.  There’s appropriate uses of I and we, and I could argue that men overuse “I” and would do well to reflect their connections in their choice of language.  If you cut down the tree, sawed it up, hauled it, split it, and stacked it in a pile, “I” is appropriate.  Rarely is that solely a one person job.  “I seeded the idea,” “I created this portion,” “I was influenced by,” “I brought it to fruition,”  sure.

The subject on having to come across as nice as a female leader.  Sure, that exists.  But to me, is not an attempt on making everyone happy, it’s treating people with unfaltering respect and authenticity under any condition, especially the hard conditions.  “Nice” in my mind, is trusting that someone will always treat me respectfully regardless of the hard decisions that  occur.  Having to fire someone is an example of this.  The actions leading up to it, and the conversation of termination combined…respect.  It is not in my best interest to judge a person of their self-worth.  Respect includes being aware of what’s knowable about a person. What I know is how they behave in the environment they are employed into; that is a tiny sliver of insight into a vast human being.  I think because respect can be a very difficult thing to act on in every situation, niceness is sometimes a fluffy word describing under-skilled respect, both genders.  I might argue that men are given the benefit of the doubt when they act like an ass more so than women.

The book does tend to beat a topic to death.  If I weren’t listening to audio, I would probably skim some sections having “gotten it” before she’s done talking about it.  In some instances she talks about characteristics as  good vs bad, whether she means to, and occasionally I think it should be phrased as “this is what women bring to the table, and what makes gender diversity matter”.

I also find, being a mom of a daughter, that I challenge myself not to perpetuate as much of the negative gender biases as possible.  It is deeply ingrained, I agree with the author completely!  Lillian’s generation is our opportunity to learn to embrace our specialties and overcome external and internal barriers of female leadership.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Power Girl!

Goldieblox (which is already on order for underneath our Christmas tree) is a representation of a fundamental change in the upbringing of girls this generation.  Recognizing the impact of "feminine" toys, perceptions, and expectations, there is a need for coming up with solutions so that we raise competent, and intellectually confident girls for the workforce in the coming decades.  I happen to be in one of the industries where women make up only 11%, thus I find myself highly passionate about innovations like GoldieBlox, seeing first hand how more women in software engineering would have a positive impact.

It's this-generation's women's movement.  We need more of this!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Relentlessly pursue the best version of you -- This will make you the best mommy, partner & woman you can be." - Kerri Walsh Jennings

Monday, November 11, 2013

That idea space in your mind will drift to sleep by the gentle rocking of routine.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


I encounter an intense amount of guilt when looking back on moments where I hit the end of my rope, find my bucket of patience empty, hear myself say "I've got nothin' left".  With my kids, that's at least 365 times a year.  Frustration abated, I am diligent to apologize, letting them know that my love for them is strong regardless of mood.  But I drift off to sleep with thoughts of how they deserve a better mom, they don't deserve the anger of an adult; they are just curious beings learning the ways of the world, much like myself, and I wish not to squash that.

I observe in my world, that anger, sorrow, frustration, guilt, ect are all feelings within human nature.  I practice embracing it.  "Hello anger", and holding fast to its temporary nature.  The study of mindfulness brings me back to this again and again.  "youth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, dissociation from the loved is suffering, not getting what one wants is suffering"  "it is the common bond we all share" -Ajahn Sumedho

My role as a parent is a catalyst for learning, for providing the environment where they can collect tools in their tool belt for life.  Tools even, for how to handle their anger.  I find I talk a lot, but I see the best results when I've set a consistent solid example.  Pleases and Thank yous, napkin in the lap, underpants before pants, all mirrored behaviors that no amount of nagging would achieve.  Even my childhood memories lack phrasing, rather, comprises entirely of modeling, such as guiding me through a decision making process with presence and compassion rather than telling my stubborn being "no", how the adults around me treated each other, whether they picked up trash on the trail side, or donated their time to others.  I act just like, or just unlike, my parents.  Damn it then, my daily frustration, welling up, as I attempt to tell my kids what they should know. 

It occurs to me a victory I was not quiet enough to see until recently, and I thank my best friend for being the catalyst on this one.  The very act of recognizing my anger, taking ownership of it, talking out loud with them about when my anger has left me, what it felt like, that I love them regardless of how I feel, to address why I felt angry and collaborate on future improvement, IS in its very nature more powerful than any lesson I could consciously teach.

It is my responsibility to behave respectfully in anger, to avoid damaging words, and to respect another person's body. 

Each time anger arises, "hello anger" again I say; experiencing it with my children however authentically it comes out, learning gradually to describe it without threat or blame or condescension.  Responses like: "I'm going to spank you" or "you did this out of spite" or "you are a bad child" are learned reactions grounded in our own fear.  Be joyous in knowing, that if these reactions are present in your mind, they can be unlearned, if you wish.  Replacing them with phrases like: "I have a need to keep you safe", "I won't let you act that rough", or "I need two minutes of breathing, sit with me if you'd like".  

What I personally need to sit with is following through with compassion for myself when I have felt frustrated and acted out of anger.  That's not an easy thing to do, it's effectively my punishment for behaving so badly.  However, anger is not bad, and punishment does not have positive lasting consequences, nor is it deserved.  May I be so bold as to set a good example to my kids for extending compassion for ones self in time of error.  How liberating would it be for a child not to loath their harder feelings and accept them with grace, and knowing how to do it because they're copying their mom (and dad) grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, or cousin who can do that too.

Compassion is thinking to ones self or vocalizing:  I am a passionate human being, with sovereignty of thought, and that sometimes includes anger.  May I be aware of ideas that improve the emergence of my anger throughout my lifetime.  May I remove the obstacles in my mind such as false beliefs, resistance, and misunderstanding, which prompt the Anger to arise.  "Hopefully each time it occurs, we learn something that makes it less likely to happen again." -MJ Kabat-Zinn