Laboring To Be Born


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever does.” Margaret Mead


I’m not sure where this post is going to go, but I trust it will take us somewhere.

Two days ago,  I wrote about Voice and the many things that can support a woman in owning and speaking her truth. Many of you responded so positively to that post. It was truly a joy to read your comments and to notice the sense of coming together that occurred.

For me, the great joy of writing the post was noticing how I am one of many in the stream of women’s voices that are yearning to be spoken and heard. There was a sense of how one builds upon another, how where one woman’s words end, another’s begin. I wrote my post, then Jeanne wrote her post based on mine, then I wrote another based on hers. Suddenly a new woman appeared in the stream. Renae left me a wonderful comment, noting how she found my blog:

“a few weeks ago – from someone else’s site – and right now I don’t even remember who.  Brené’s work has played a part in me beginning to find my voice. The connections are simply stunning to me.”

Connections. One follows another, which follows another. This is the currency of the Internet.

I followed Renae’s link and discovered her blog and a new post, one in which she mentioned my post and the impact it had on her.

“So I press ever onward, sometimes feeling like I’m fighting the battle alone. And then I ran across this post: I’ve been reading Julie’s blog for a few weeks. I’m adding her to my blog roll. She touches the deep places in my soul. She makes me feel that the community I want for my daughters, might, just might, be possible.

And so, we move into a new year, ever closer to the teen years, with at least a little hope that my daughters will live in a world without shame about who they are. That they can spend their energy fighting new battles instead of the same old ones. That they will grow into their own voices and not need to find them, because they will have been there all along.”

As I read her entire post, I was so moved by it. I was moved by her clear love for her daughters and her hope that her daughters could find a community where there was no longer shame for being a woman, and by her hope that her daughters will know their voices, not having to discover them later in life.

I was moved by the fact that connections were made from Jeanne, to me, to Jeanne, to me, to Renae… and obviously there was no beginning and no end, just connections, just life moving as it does. Yet, if we had all stayed silent, we would never have met, we would never have been buoyed up, strengthened by our connectedness, by our shared longing for truth and expression.

I sat and pondered this. There is desire for something here, desire for a better way for women and girls, a better way for men, for the planet, for life itself. Mothers longing for it to be different for their daughters…and sons, husbands, brothers, sisters, men, women and life.

Something is wanting to be born, to come into existence through our words, through the impetus each of us feels inside to speak, to express, to share, to love, to create, to be in communion with each other and with life.

We are building something here, a community that is fluid, where people come and go, where ideas build upon the last, and where things fall away as new comes in. The stream meanders, finding its way.

Today, I came across this video on Leadership. It’s a simple homegrown video that’s fun to watch. And someone put some great commentary to it, with an interesting take on leadership. Watch it (it’s short) and see what happens.

Here’s this guy dancing. Just dancing and enjoying himself. His joy is contagious. One brave soul steps up and joins up, no longer able to contain the desire to join in. Then another two join. Then more. Suddenly there is a group of people dancing together. Soon a tipping point is reached and people are flocking in from all directions.

The commentator suggests the movement gets started when the first follower arrives. That seems to be true in the case of the dancing guy. Or is it when there are four. Or eight? Or twelve? What if the group split up into two? Or did the movement really begin when the music started?

Coming back to this deeper desire that is being born through women. What is this?

There are many groups of women, men and children that are creating a new world; but, I sense there is a movement happening that is being born by women. It doesn’t matter where it started, but we are now feeling the movement gain momentum.

This humanity of woman, carried out in suffering and humiliation, will then, when in the commutations of her external situation she will have stripped off the conventions of being only feminine, come to light, and those men, who do not yet feel it approaching today, will be astonished and stunned by it.
—– …some day there will be girls and women whose name will no longer signify merely an opposite of the masculine, but something in itself, something that makes one think, not of any complement and limit, but of life and existence: the female human being.

It’s this humanity of woman that is coming back into existence, but coming back into form after having been in exile for centuries.

It’s funny that this video of a joyful man dancing caught my attention. It’s not that men or women are so significantly different that we can’t see ourselves in the other.

Yet, there is something being born specifically by women, that only women can bring into being and it is something that can heal. It’s born of desire, a longing and yearning for life to be respected, loved and nurtured.

When I read Renae’s words about desire for something different for her daughters, I could feel this new vision trying to come into being.

I also can sense that it is time for our own inner masculine to become strong and active, for women to come into balance, knowing what we long for inside now must come into being through definitive action.

Marianne Williamson held a conference this past weekend titled Sister Giant. Prior to the conference, she created this video, that I find incredibly inspiring. While the event has passed, her message is loud and clear. We women have work to do.

Watching the dancing guy caused me to think about this movement, this movement of women rising up and saying, “Enough is Enough”. We can do it with joy. We can do it with passion. And we need solidarity, to come together, to find the one thing we all hold dear, the one thing we are willing to rise up for: the survival of the human species.

We are not alone in this. There is no starting point that can be pinpointed, nor does that matter. There are many leaders, many first followers, and many tipping points.

Something has been laboring to be born. The birth is imminent. The stream is gaining volume and speed. Where and how will we find the solidarity that allows us to hold our differences and yet stand strong, fierce and resilient?

By the way, I got to the end of this post, realized where it had taken me. I could see my own connections that I hadn’t seen before. I then knew the Mead quote was fitting.

We never know where the stream will take us. We just need to step into it, knowing how many others are already wet and long for the strength, commitment and determination that solidarity can bring.

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16 Replies to “Laboring To Be Born”

  1. Thank you for this lovely, moving tribute to the power of womanhood in all of her shapes, all of her voices. What strikes me the most about this internet community is the purity of the connection: we are stripped of many of the identifiers that segregate people in the real world, and free to be ourselves, represented by our voices. I love that. It’s such an authentic way to be known. And I am so grateful to have found your voice, which makes me feel less alone. Thank you.

    1. Lindsey – Yes, so beautifully put. “the purity of the connection: we are stripped of many of the identifiers that segregate people in the real world, and free to be ourselves, represented by our voices.” Our voices as a representation of that which is pure about us. And, I would add, that which is the same within each of us, that which recognizes the divine in you, in me, in all others. Thank you, Lindsey.

  2. There is something to this tipping point of which you speak, Julie. It began for me when I first read The Mists of Avalon, cover to cover, in one weekend. It continued to rest in me, quietly, until the birth of my son almost fifteen years ago. Then it became a restless longing for my tribe of like-minded women–the knowingness that I was not to be rearing my child in isolation. And now, everywhere I turn, I am met with glances from knowing eyes of my kinswomen. We acknowledge each other in our intuitive understanding, moving together to create our groups that will change the world. I love the way Eve Ensler of The Vagina Monologues wraps it up in her outspoken way in this TED talk I just watched yesterday Enjoy, and I will meet you on the shore….

    1. Cynthia – Thank you for stopping by and sharing your wisdom with me. Your story is beautiful. The way you speak of this resonates deeply with me. “…everywhere I turn, I am met with glances from knowing eyes of my kinswomen.” Thank you for sharing Eve’s TED talk. I just posted about the talk (and included the video) a few days back: I look forward to deepening our friendship. We will meet on the shore. Julie

  3. As a result of Gwen Bell, I found Jeanne. From Jeanne, I found you and then (Coach)Dian and then (SquarePeg)Karen and then Angela Kelsey…and after your post, I’ve found Renae.. and it continues to snowball. I love the connectedness that the internet brings but I agree. This is more than just a results of the world wide web. This is about women and our place and our voice and our love for one another. As always, thank you!

  4. I’m noting that the theme about women finding their voice and place in the world is an old, old one – grappled with over the centuries by many unique and powerful female ‘voices’ – some of which if we wished to listen we still might hear. *

    I put forward that women already have found their voice – the question however ALWAYS remains how they will use it.

    How will you use yours? I also put forward that the women whose voices we (could) remember are those who spoke in more than just words…….!!!! Trite but true ladies – ACTIONS speak louder than WORDS.

    *Just for an example, Mary Wollstonecraft’s “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” or Simone De Beauvoir’s “The Second Sex” – or perhaps Emmeline Pankhurst, who Time Magazine names as one of the 100 most important persons in the 20th century – why, there was even good old Queen Elizabeth I who cheered her armies on to victory with the word’s “I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too.” These women not only had something to say, but also something to ACCOMPLISH.

  5. I am so full from this post I don’t know what to say except that it voices so many of my own thoughts and feelings so eloquently and beautifully. These connections are so precious and I am immensely grateful for them – for you. In a very small attempt to place honor where honor is due, there is a little award for you here, when you have a moment to receive it.

  6. Julie — I’ve just spent some time exploring — and savoring — your website — I was sent here by Renae — I heard Mary Daly speak a few years ago at Harvard Divinity School when I took my daughter to a conference there, “Religion and the Feminist Movement.” At the time, I was writing my book on gender, JOINING FORCES: BALANCING MASCULINE AND FEMININE — and my daughter was in seminary. We surprise people, both of us — because we come from a conservative religious tradition but are not conservative….we are both adventurers and rebels in our world….quietly trying to bring about change. I love what you are doing — and celebrate it. Feminine power is SO powerful, and it MUST be accessed, expressed and encouraged. We are at our best as women when we can bring forth from the rich depths of our feminine souls the creativity, wisdom, boldness and tenderness the world needs.
    Thank you for the light you are beaming across the world.
    Jeanie Miley — Houston, Texas

  7. Jennifer – yes, our love for one another. It’s a beautiful thing. I am so glad to know you, and love you.

    Debra – Thank you for stopping here and leaving your thoughts. While I agree that action is very important, I also know that many women are still finding their voices. I sense you feel confident in yours and that’s a wonderful thing. I imagine you have much to offer the world and are most likely taking action that will inspire many. Thank goodness we have the freedom and avenues to speak them aloud. Blessings.

    Jeanie – It’s a pleasure to meet you. What an opportunity that was to hear Mary Daly speak. I will have to read your book! Yes, our creativity, wisdom, boldness and tenderness…the world so needs it all…and we all bring it forth with our own uniqueness. I’ve checked out your blog and will be coming back often. Blessings.

  8. Ah Julie… your voice is always one of inspiration; heralding a new time and way of being for women and men alike. I so appreciate you and what you are helping to midwife through these pages.
    And I LOVE your new banner (no doubt it’s not new at all, but it’s new to me and I find it very beautiful – peonies are my favorite flower EVER). Thank you.

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