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Kathe’s Blog

New Blog post at The Divine Feminine

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thedivinefeminine/2013/03/why-i-am-an-all/

A Tele-Circle Sharing Stories from the UN Commission on the Status of Women

Along with several Gather the Women Regional Coordinators, I recently participated in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York, which focused this year on eliminating and preventing all forms of violence against women and girls. This was a profound experience for us and we’d like to talk with you about it.

You are invited to join Suzan Nolan, Rowdy Brewick (both of South Dakota), Barbara Thorngren (New Hampshire) and Kathe (California) as we share stories and reflections on our experiences at the U.N.  And we want  to hear your wisdom as we deepen this exploration.

The call will be:

Monday, Mar. 18

9AM PST

Call in number is 712-432-1500

Access code 653823#.

Please join us for this lively and informative conversation.

Events at UN Commission on the Status of Women in NYC

I am heading for New York and ready for a week of events and conversations as women converge from around the world for UN Commission on the Status of Women. A reminder of the events we will co-anchor exploring this year’s theme of violence against women:

 

Saturday – March 2, 2013

10 am – 3 pm

Alchemy Project Exploratory Meeting

Marble Collegiate Church

1 West 29th Street

New York, NY  10001

Room 713

(near the corner of 5th and 29th)

 

Sunday – March 3

6-8 pm

WSF Local Circle

Quest Bookstore

240 East 53rd Street

New York, NY 10022

 

Monday, 4 March 2013

4:30 PM

Religion, Culture and Violence Against Women

(convened with Women’s Task Force at the Parliament of the World’s Religions)

Guild Hall

Armenian Convention Center,

630 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10016

 

Tuesday – March 5, 2013

8:30 – 10  AM

Women as Spiritual Leaders: Transforming Violence

Grumman Room, 8th Floor

Church Center for the UN

777 United Nations Plaza

New York, NY 10017

 

Wednesday – March 6, 2013

7-9 pm

Sacred Women’s Circle

Co-Hosted with Millionth Circle, Circle Connections, International Public Policy Institute, 5WCW and others

Chapel/ 1st floor –  Episcopal Church Center

815 Second Avenue

RSVP required: Susan Stanton – dancingmesa@icloud.com

Join the Conversation: Religion, Culture and Violence Against Women

As Co-Chair of The Women’s Task Force at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, I will participate in their events at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in March as women from around the world gather to focus on eliminating violence against women. One of our offerings will featured a panel of women leaders from diverse religious perspectives exploring the topic ” Religion, Culture and Violence Against Women”.

You are invited to join in this important conversation when we host our February tele-conference on this same topic. This teleconference will be a facilitated dialogue inviting your voice and participation. We value your insights, questions, concerns and perspectives on this complex and challenging topic.

There is no need to RSVP or register for this call. Simply use the call in number below and enter the access code. You will be warmly welcomed and guided into the conversation.

Religion, Culture and Violence Against Women
Tele-Conference and Dialogue
Sunday – February 10, 2013
2 pm Pacific Time / 3 pm Mountain Time/ 4 pm Central Time/ 5 pm Eastern Time
Call In Number (213) 342-3000
Access Code: 223322#

Women’s Task Force at the Parliament of the World’s Religions

As one of the founders and co-chairs of the Women’s Task Force at the Parliament of the World’s Religions, I have been involved in planning our participation in the upcoming UN – Commission on the Status of Women in NYC in early March. We will convene several parallel events on this year’s theme: eliminating violence against women.

We are also hosting a teleconference dialogue, open to the public, on this topic on the afternoon of February 10.

For details about how to join that call, visit the new blog of the Women’s Task Force:

http://womensprojectattheparliament.blogspot.com/

Events at UN Commission on the Status of Women

I will once again be participating in the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York in March. The theme of CSW this year is eliminating violence against women — an complex and important issue. In conjunction with Women of Spirit and Faith and the Women’s Task Force at the Parliament, I will be involved in several events:

 

Religion, Culture and Violence Against Women

(co-convened with Women’s Task Force at the Parliament of the World’s Religions)

Monday,  March 4, 2013

4:30 PM

Guild Hall

Armenian Convention Center,

630 2nd Avenue

New York, NY 10016

 

Women as Spiritual Leaders: Transforming Violence

Tuesday – March 5, 2013

8:30 – 10  AM

Grumman Room, 8th Floor

Church Center for the UN

777 United Nations Plaza

New York, NY 10017

 

Sacred Women’s Circle

Wednesday – March 6, 2013

7-9 pm

Co-Hosted with Millionth Circle, Circle Connections, International Public Policy Institute, 5WCW and others

Chapel/ 1st floor –  Episcopal Church Center

815 Second Avenue

New York, NY

 

TEDx Women Talk Now Online

On December 2, I had the great honor of being the opening speaker at TEDx Women- America’s Finest City in San Diego. My talk , Now Is The Time For Women’s Leadership, has just been posted online.

LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHYew9IweqM

 

Happy New Year — The Wisdom of Alice Walker

This seems a great way to begin 2013.  Alice Walker read this poem on September 28, 2012.  Her reading was replayed this morning on Democracy Now!

 

Democratic Womanism

You ask me why I smile
when you tell me you intend
in the coming national elections
to hold your nose
and vote for the lesser of two evils.
There are more than two evils out there,
is one reason I smile.
Another is that our old buddy Nostradamus
comes to mind, with his fearful
400 year old prophecy: that our world
and theirs too
(our “enemies” – lots of kids included there)
will end (by nuclear nakba or holocaust)
in our lifetime. Which makes the idea of elections
and the billions of dollars wasted on them
somewhat fatuous.
A Southerner of Color,
my people held the vote
very dear
while others, for centuries,
merely appeared to play
with it.
One thing I can assure
you of is this:
I will never betray such pure hearts
by voting for evil
even if it were microscopic
which, as you can see in any newscast
no matter the slant,
it is not.
I want something else;
a different system
entirely.
One not seen
on this earth
for thousands of years. If ever.
Democratic Womanism.
Notice how this word has “man” right in the middle of it?
That’s one reason I like it. He is right there, front and center. But he is surrounded.
I want to vote and work for a way of life
that honors the feminine;
a way that acknowledges
the theft of the wisdom
female and dark Mother leadership
might have provided our spaceship
all along.
I am not thinking
of a talking head
kind of gal:
happy to be mixing
it up
with the baddest
bad boys
on the planet
her eyes a slit
her mouth a zipper.
No, I am speaking of true
regime change.
Where women rise
to take their place
en masse
at the helm
of earth’s frail and failing ship;
where each thousand years
of our silence
is examined
with regret,
and the cruel manner in which our values
of compassion and kindness
have been ridiculed
and suppressed
brought to bear on the disaster
of the present time.
The past must be examined closely, I believe, before we can leave
it there.
I am thinking of Democratic, and, perhaps
Socialist, Womanism.
For who else knows so deeply
how to share but Mothers
and Grandmothers? Big sisters
and Aunts?
To love
and adore
both female and male?
Not to mention those in between.
To work at keeping
the entire community
fed, educated
and safe?
Democratic womanism,
Democratic Socialist
Womanism,
would have as its icons
such fierce warriors
for good as
Vandana Shiva
Aung San Suu Kyi,
Wangari Maathai
Harriet Tubman
Yoko Ono
Frida Kahlo
Angela Davis
& Barbara Lee:
With new ones always rising, wherever you look.

You are also on this list, but it is so long (Isis would appear midway) that I must stop or be unable to finish the poem! So just know I’ve stood you in a circle that includes Marian Wright Edelman, Amy Goodman, Sojourner Truth, Gloria Steinem and Mary McLeod Bethune. John Brown, Frederick Douglass, John Lennon and Howard Zinn are there. Happy to be surrounded!

There is no system
There is no system
now in place
that can change
the disastrous course
the Earth is on.
Who can doubt this?
The male leaders
of Earth
appear to have abandoned
their very senses
though most appear
to live now
entirely
in their heads.
They murder humans and other
animals
forests and rivers and mountains
every day
they are in office
and never seem
to notice it.
They eat and drink devastation.
Women of the world,
Women of the world,
Is this devastation Us?
Would we kill whole continents for oil
(or anything else)
rather than limit
the number of consumer offspring we produce
and learn how to make our own fire?
Democratic Womanism.
Democratic Socialist Womanism.
A system of governance
we can dream and imagine and build together. One that recognizes
at least six thousand years
of brutally enforced complicity
in the assassination
of Mother Earth, but foresees six thousand years
ahead of us when we will not submit.
What will we need? A hundred years
at least to plan: (five hundred will be handed us
gladly
when the planet is scared enough)
in which circles of women meet,
organize ourselves, and,
allied with men
brave enough to stand with women,
men brave enough to stand with women,
nurture our planet to a degree of health.
And without apology —-
(impossible to make
a bigger mess than has been made already) -—
devote ourselves, heedless of opposition,
to tirelessly serving and resuscitating Our Mother ship
and with gratitude
for Her care of us
worshipfully commit
to rehabilitating it.

MAKER OF MAGIC: The Amazing Complexity of My Role as a Woman

This article was originally published in GoOff: News and Views, December 15-21, 2002. I am revisiting it one decade later, at another time in my life. My boys are now grown, age 23 and 19.

The holidays have just ended and I am taking a moment to reflect in awe on what I accomplished. As usual, I did all the stuff that defines our holiday season. I carried the torch of what we “always do”; I made the magic happen for the people I love most in the world.

I bought all the gifts and wrapped all the gifts and shipped all the gifts that had to be shipped. I didn’t do this in any careless, hasty way; I spent time holding each recipient in my heart, choosing something that would be resonant and validating of how special each person is in our lives. I lay awake a bit at night or early in the morning strategizing about how to create the magic of Christmas for my family. I was Santa – and when my youngest lost a tooth on December 23, I also doubled as the Tooth Fairy for one night.

I struggled a bit over our holiday cards, worrying whether the picture reflected well how we each look at this point in our life process. I put the photos on the cards and updated our mailing list and printed labels and bought stamps and set up an assembly line with my kids to get them all ready for the mail. I wrote personal notes when it was important to honor a connection.
I attended our neighborhood cookie exchange, bringing my nine dozen cookies (all one kind, baked at 6 a.m. one morning, along with a copy of the recipe to be put in a little recipe book by the equally creative hostess) and laughed with friends and drank coffee and sampled a few of the cookies and returned home with nine dozen assorted cookies. We “always” have to have cookies for the holiday.

I selected and decorated the Christmas tree with my kids, hung the stockings, made sure the outside lights and decorations all worked. These are the things we “always do”, the kind of reliable and consistent foundation that is so important to my kids – or any kids for that matter. It is what makes them feel safe in a crazy world; they know there are certain things we will “always do”.

I attended all of my children’s musical concerts, recitals and sporting events, as I do every week of the year. I took the teenager to movies with his friends. I made sure they attended all their guitar and piano lessons and did their practicing; I made sure one son took his antibiotics every day so that his ear infection would clear up and the specialist would quit threatening to put tubes in his ears. The dog developed some bumps under her chin and needed to visit the vet to assure us this was not a reoccurrence of a previous melanoma. At some point we realized (as we do every year) that the boys’ dress slacks no longer fit either of them and we had to face the holiday shopping hoards again in order to find black slacks for that chorus concert. I used the time alone with each of them in the car to check in with them about how they were doing, to connect with some real conversation.

I worked at my office, seeing clients in my psychotherapy practice. The holidays are particularly stressful times for people, on many levels, and my practice always gets active between Thanksgiving and New Years as people revisit old family dynamics and other relational struggles. There is something about the contrast between the hype and the reality that brings up lots of truth for many of us during this month, and I often see a number of my old clients return for a few visits as they cycle through another important layer of their process. I consider it a sacred honor to participate with these people on their amazing journeys.

I hosted a family who visited from out of state; I took a group of eight to Disneyland for ten hours and a group of six up to the mountains for a few days of snowboarding. I cooked dinner for nine one night, thirteen the next night, and nine the night after that. I picked up endlessly behind kids who left a trail of dirty paper plates, candy wrappers, half–emptied drink containers and plastic wrappers as they opened all of the things they had gotten for Christmas. I had great conversations with my sister. I also listened as my kids laughed with their cousins, shared stories about life as it is unfolding for each of them, negotiated conflicts and differences.

There were moments in all of this when I complained, when I screamed at the car ahead of me in parking lot and when I snuck off to a quiet corner to have a little cry because I needed to. I was not necessarily sad or angry or afraid or overwhelmed; I just needed to let off a little emotional steam to make room for all the incoming experiences and feelings during this complex relational time with people I love.

I did what women do, what they have done for generations. I held the needs of others in my heart and did my best to honor them. I listened and mirrored what others were saying. I created the space for them to experience love and connection. I planned ahead and anticipated and multi-tasked and intuited and remained as flexible as I could so that I could bend with the flow of events and not break. I showed up for the people around me on a physical, an intellectual and an emotional level. I carried forward the traditions, the safety of what we “always do”, for the members of my family so that they can each relax somewhere deep inside and more fully express their own unique human potential.

Writing Women Back into History

Though we are not often included in the recorded history of our world, women have been here all along. We have been bringing our unique gifts to shape our families, our communities, our workplace, our church, temple or mosque. We have enriched the culture with both innovation and continuity, courage and grace. We have embodied Meg Wheatley’s definition of leadership: A leader is anyone who is willing to help.

In the December 15 issue of  The Interfaith Observer, I write about a few of the women who have shaped and guided the modern interfaith movement in the past 20 years. 

I was so inspired by what I learned about the remarkable women of interfaith that Women of Spirit and Faith will celebrate more of them in a new series in January 2013 on our blog The Divine Feminine, exploring the theme “Standing for the Greatness of Each Other”. Women everywhere are invited to contribute a post celebrating and honoring another woman who has inspired them. Send your contributions to divine.feminine.wsf@gmail.com.

It feels good to write women back into history.

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"Kathe Schaaf is a gift for all of us looking for new authentic leadership models in these times of global change and challenge! Her honesty, energy and willingness to be vulnerable inspire deep commitment to making a better world. She has a wonderful way of igniting people to do the work they have come here to do and I personally have been kindled by her kindness, courage and visionary ways." — Clare Peterson, Gather the Women Canada