Category: Empowerment

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What’s your name, Goddess?

by Katina Hubbard

In a Venice, CA juice bar, a girl peeked over the counter to ask me a question:

“Wha sh ss gwen-ed?”
To which I replied, “Excuse me?”
“What’s your name, Nosshneis?”
Confused and frustrated by the whizzing blenders, I looked at her carefully for a moment. Did I know her from somewhere? After a pause I realized I’d never before seen her lovely face, and asked again, “What?”

Wonder Woman: “An amazon princess comes to the world of man to become one of the greatest superheroes of all time,” losing 90% of her clothes in the process.

To which she replied, clearly and loudly, “What’s your name, Goddess?”

Shocked by what she’d said and how rudely I’d ruined her delivery I said simply, “uh, Katina, what’s yours?” She told me and made another smoothie. I didn’t amend our awkward interaction, but what she said stuck with me for days.

We’re all trying to be better people. For me, specifically, a better woman, and a better Katina. There’s our little goals to be more healthy, get a better job, have a healthier relationship, but what if there’s a current running through all of us, that can make us become the better selves we want to be? What if there’s a secret?

Depending on the situation, a woman can become either a “goddess,” or a “bitch,” says Naomi Wolf in her latest novel, Vagina: A New Biography. Though there have been mixed reviews of this book, I find this tidbit anecdotally and personally kind-of-true.

If I’m happy, confident, well nourished, and un-stressed, I act loving, kind, generous, and healing to those I’m around me.

But if I’m tired, stressed, disrespected, insecure, resentful, or overwhelmed, I can become snappy, judgmental, pushy, impatient, and borderline rude. Dare I say it, bitchy.

We’re all dynamic, unique souls, and I don’t mean to generalize. But what I do want for myself and for all the women in my life, is to be more of a “Goddess,” more of the time.

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Successful Careers for Women: Do We Sabotage Ourselves?

There have been many articles over the years and of late dealing with the issue of women wanting to “have it all” – a career and a family life.  So I was extremely excited to find Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook’s commencement speech to Barnard College graduates on May 8, 2011, which shed incredible new light on the issue.

Sheryl is 42 years-young and happily married with two kids. In the meantime she’s been Chief of Staff of the U.S. Treasury, Vice President at Google, and now COO at Facebook, where she’s credited with turning the social network from “just another MySpace” into a $104 billion dollar company. (Regardless of your feelings about Facebook,) Sheryl has some extraordinarily insightful things to say to women about sticking with their careers and “having it all.”

Many of us would be happy raising five wonderful kids and spending a lifetime devoted to home, family, and friends. But almost every person I know has a yearning not only to have a family but to give their unique gift, whatever that is, to the world. We’re not all meant to be the CEO of a multinational company, but Sheryl points out that many women, myself included, sabotage their own careers, knowingly, and unknowingly, giving into the outdated idea that men are meant to have careers, and women aren’t. Check out her amazing speech, challenging us all to value and feed our inner voice that says “I’m special, I have something to give to the world, and I must give it.”

Commencement Speech to Barnard College Graduates*

by Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook

…Pulitzer Prize winners Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof visited this campus last year and they spoke about their critically important book, Half the Sky.  In that book, they assert that the fundamental moral challenge of the 19th century was slavery; of the 20th century, it was totalitarianism; and for our century, it is oppression of girls and women around the world.  Their book is a call to arms, to give women all over the world, women who are exactly like us except for the circumstances into which they were born, basic human rights.

Compared to these women, we are lucky.  In America, as in the entire developed world, we are equals under the law.  But the promise of equality is not equality.  As we sit here looking at this magnificent blue-robed class, we have to admit something that’s sad but true:  men run the world.  Of 190 heads of 2 state, nine are women.  Of all the parliaments around the world, 13% of those seats are held by women. Corporate America top jobs, 15% are women; numbers which have not moved at all in the past nine years.  Nine years.  Of full professors around the United States, only 24% are women. 

I recognize that this is a vast improvement from generations in the past. 

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On Dead Bodies and Speaking Your Truth: A Note From Your Yoga Teacher

Finding peace isn’t always peaceful. Ron Swanson chooses to stand instead of sit in protest of a 6 hour meditation he has to attend.

This week, I’m thrilled to host internationally-beloved yoga teacher and a woman-well-loved, Sarah Willis. Sarah teaches yoga with incredible mastery, humor, and the rare down-to-earth patience and understanding that provides the ultimate safe space for growth. She also hosts startlingly affordable life-changing yoga retreats in Mexico, where you have the pleasure of experiencing her loving guidance and patience in person, in paradise. Here she’ll talk about the science behind using our voices through chanting mantras: energy-based sounds that distill the power of our speech to create immense positive change and clarity for our bodies and minds!

Over the years I’ve come to believe that a lot of what “holds me back” from manifesting my ideal self is a deep core belief that I’m not good enough, that I’m not loved, and that I don’t deserve to be great. What a load of bullshit, right?

However, latent negative beliefs about ourselves are the most powerful tool we have for self-sabotage. It’s that quiet, hardly noticeable voice in our ear that says, “you can’t,” or whatever our specific issues are. 

But we have the power to reverse our negative thought patterns and use powerful tools to override the negative programming in our bodies! I often talk about using affirmations: short, powerful statements you can use to take control of your conscious thoughts. Here Sarah will explain how singing mantras, whether it’s Sanskrit in a yoga studio or a singing along to empowering, positive songs, our voices are our power!

Why Mantras?

By Sarah Willis

Have you been to a Yoga class with enthusiastic chanting? Or attended a rollicking kirtan evening? If you’re like me, the first time you heard chanting, you were a little freaked out.

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Please Judge Me by My Shoes

By Katina Hubbard

It’s true: I judge people’s shoes. Fortunately I don’t do it to place them in a master shoe hierarchy or a dichotomy of good and bad shoes, oh no, I am not capable of this sort of cranial computation.

Instead, I learned to look at people’s shoes due to an extreme hippy upbringing that fostered all sorts of open-minded, non-judgmental behavior in me such as taking a bus into the Congo when I was 19 and having “heart-to-hearts” with strangers on New York City subways. Somewhere along the line I started using shoes as an indicator of where people are going and who they might be.

And now I notice shoes in a borderline idiot savant sort of way. I actually remember people by their shoes and will regularly describe strangers as “the one wearing the tan loafers with dark laces” which has proved particularly unhelpful to some of my dearest male colleagues and counterparts.

But I love shoes for the stories they hint at, how specific to space and time they are, and for their subtle indications of who their wearer might be.

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Single or Paired-off: It’s Time to Get Engaged

By Joshunda Sanders

Graffiti helps some of us cope with the deep sadness and pressure associated with finding “The One”

*****

This Valentine’s Day, I’m thrilled to host my first guest writer, Joshunda Sanders. Her blog regularly takes my breath away, inspiring me to delve deeper into the love and pain in my writing. She has worked as a  journalist at the Houston Chronicle, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the San Francisco Chronicle, in addition to publishing articles at Bitch Magazine, VIBE Magazine, and many others. You can currently find her teaching in the Journalism Department at the University of Texas. I dare you not to lose/find yourself in this post.

*****

In my twenties, I lived on the West Coast.

Around the year I turned 25, I was living in California, land of the free, home of the hippies. The Bay Area Joan Didion made come alive for me was not the post-dot com environment that I slurped soup in. But what I loved about it was that I could just do whatever I wanted. I could work out with a group of other single people on steps overlooking Lake Merritt down the street from the Peacock Building where I lived in a cramped studio. Or I could run around the lake, when I got strong enough. I took a meditation class, and learned to love the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning, with a cup of Peet’s Coffee afterwards.