Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Judge Not


When we learn to be more compassionate of others, we learn to be more compassionate of ourselves.

Matthew 7:1-3 (KJV)

7 -1 "Judge not, that ye be not judged."

2 "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."

3 "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

You can find more information about my Women's Empowerment Organization at:
Website Women's Empowerment: http://www.empowerment.ws/home.html
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EmpowermentWS?ref=hl
Website Kadan Martial Arts: http://kadanmartialarts.com
Poetry Musings Blog: http://speakyourart.blogspot.com

Thank you for honoring the feminine and thank you for visiting. Wishing you peace.
POI


www.empowerment.ws

Monday, October 27, 2014

Finding Strength in Our Struggles

 The story of the butterfly

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared.
He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours
as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.
Then it stopped, as if it couldn't go further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and
snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily but
it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch it,
expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge
and expand enough to support the body,
Neither happened!
In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life
crawling around.
It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness
and haste did not understand:
The restricting cocoon and the struggle
required by the butterfly to get through the opening
was a way of forcing the fluid from the body
into the wings so that it would be ready
for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly
what we need in our lives.
Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us.
We would not be as strong as we could have been
and we would never be able to fly, unless tempered
through our trials and troubles.



You can find more information about my Women's Empowerment Organization at:
Website Women's Empowerment: http://www.empowerment.ws/home.html
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EmpowermentWS?ref=hl
Website Kadan Martial Arts: http://kadanmartialarts.com
Poetry Musings Blog: http://speakyourart.blogspot.com

Thank you for honoring the feminine and thank you for visiting. Wishing you peace.
POI

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Empowering Images and Quotes for Women and Girls


The mind and emotions are integral aspects of our Women's Empowerment work. How we see ourselves creates the foundation for our unique perspective of life and dictates how we relate to our environment. We all have a "negative chatterbox" living inside our heads. Learning to quiet the inner-critic with understanding and positivity are essential in creating a foundation made of courage and self-reliance. Please enjoy this collection of empowering quotes and images in honor of our upcoming Women's Empowerment Basic 1 Workshop. We hope you will find them inspirational and useful. If inspired by this post, please share with your friends. Thank you.

"Don’t focus on what’s wrong. Things may not be perfect, but be grateful for the opportunity to experience each day. Live each day like it could be your last."~ Joel Osteen


We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us
so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid,
or we can let them soften us, and make us kinder.
We always have the choice. ~ Dalai Lama



“Some people see scars, and it is wounding they remember. 
To me they are proof of the fact that there is healing.” ~ Linda Hogan




It all starts with desire. In spite of what you might have been taught in Sunday School, desire is never wrong. It’s a signpost pointing towards what lights you up, feeds your soul, sparks your enthusiasm, and makes you feel alive. ~ Dr. Lissa Rankin



When you can’t change the direction of the wind — adjust your sails.
~ H. JACKSON BROWN JR.


When we are honest with ourselves, energy flows in our bodies in a more harmonious way. We are responding to everything and everyone around us. When we acknowledge how things are affecting us, we become empowered. When we become empowered, our minds will be at peace and our bodies can heal. ~ Robin Lee


It may seem impossible now, but one day, we really can look back at the storms we have weathered and give a silent thank you. For many of us, it is the storms of our lives that have given us compassion, kindness, and gentleness that we otherwise may not have known—and that we can now give away to others, because they are inside of us. ~ Serena Dyer



Don’t let your fears about not being able to figure things out keep you from following your heart.

~ Bethany Butzer



A little perspective, like a little humor, goes a long way. — Allen Klein




Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, 
to impress people they don’t like. ~Will Rogers




We must consistently check with ourselves: 
“am I committed to feeling good, or am I committed to growing?” 
Growth does not always feel good, and feeling good does not always provide growth.

~ GURU SINGH



Courage is the most important of all the virtues, 
because without courage you can't practice any other virtue consistently. 
You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.

~ Maya Angelou



"Everything we are, everything we’ve experienced, learned and suffered can be used in service of the healing and transformation of ourselves and our world. What matters is not so much who we are, but what we do with who we are. And the ultimate question we must ask ourselves is who and what does our life serve." ~ Karen Clark



Good is towing the line, being behaved, being quiet, being passive, fitting in, being liked, and great is being messy, having a belly, speaking your mind, standing up for what you believe in, fighting for another paradigm, not letting people talk you out of what you know to be true. ~ Eve Ensler




“The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.” ~ Albert Einstein



Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; 
the most massive characters are seared with scars. ~ Khalil Gibran




The hero is the one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by. The saint is the man who walks through the dark paths of the world, himself a light.  ~ FELIX ADLER




A really strong woman accepts the war she went through and is ennobled by her scars.
~ Carly Simon



I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become. ~ CARL GUSTAV JUNG



It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.
~ J. K. Rowling



Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement... get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.  ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel



Everything will line up perfectly when knowing and living the truth becomes more important than looking good. ~ ALAN COHEN



It takes courage to keep walking when the path is obscured by confusion. Trust. Believe. And just keep walking. The way will be revealed! ~ Sue Krebs


There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires. 
~ Nelson Mandela


To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. ~ LEWIS B. SMEDES


If you want to succeed in your life, remember this phrase: That past does not equal the future. Because you failed yesterday; or all day today; or a moment ago; or for the last six months; the last sixteen years; or the last fifty years of life, doesn’t mean anything… All that matters is: What are you going to do, right now? ~ ANTHONY ROBBINS



Trust that, no matter what, within you lies the ability to get through anything. Trust yourself.
~ Christine Gutierrez


For more information about Women's Empowerment Basic 1 Workshop check out the blog post at: http://empowermentws.blogspot.com/2015/02/womens-empowerment-basic-1-workshop.html
or join the event at: 

You can find more information about my Women's Empowerment Organization at:
Website Women's Empowerment: http://www.empowerment.ws/home.html
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EmpowermentWS?ref=hl
Website Kadan Martial Arts: http://kadanmartialarts.com
Poetry Musings Blog: http://speakyourart.blogspot.com

Thank you for honoring the feminine and thank you for visiting. Wishing you peace.
POI

Sunday, August 24, 2014

My Mother...My Greatest Teacher

For much of my life I've looked to women in the world that inspired me with strength, courage, integrity, idealism, compassion, and love. I've read their books or books written about them. I've seen their documentaries and listened to countless interviews. I've kept volumes of their quotes on paper and computer. I am grateful to all these amazing female forces of nature, from Dr. Maya Angelou to Joan of Arch. They have lifted me when I was down and encouraged me when life looked bleak.

As the years have passed I've gotten older and wiser. While I'm still in awe and gratitude to the many extraordinary female role models I've found throughout my life, one in particular stands out among them...my mother.

I had to look no further than her radiantly familiar green eyes to find all of the qualities in any of my heroines. My mother faced challenges in life that seem insurmountable to me. She showed courage and faith in the face of terrifying circumstances and all the while protecting me, her little girl. Here is a tiny bit of my mother's story, I share it for her birthday. I share it to let her know that she is my first, last and best Women's Empowerment Teacher. I share it because she showed me firsthand what it is to be an indomitable woman. I share it in hopes it may inspire you too.

My mother has always been about helping those in need. In fact many would say that is here defining characteristic. As a teen she would leave her home in the city (Havana) for the summer school break. She would travel for hours on a bus until the paved road ended then she would walk for miles on a dirt road until she found the small settlement of farmers she was to stay with for the summer. She was there as a volunteer teacher. She taught the adults and the children alike how to read, write and do arithmetic. She slept in a hammock outdoors and dealt with tarantulas and rats as nightly guests.  

Her wedding was also an ideological stand for her faith. Cuba's government forbade any type of church worship or the worship of God in anyway. Priests, ministers, nuns, clergy and those that wanted to worship were in prisoned and churches were closed. But instead of choosing just a civil union, which was the mandate, she married both civilly and in the church. She and my father risked imprisonment or worse by doing something many of us take for granted. But for my mother her faith was more important than keeping with the statues-quo. As for my father, my mother and her faith were worth the risk.

The country's government had become oppressive and brutal by the time my mom was pregnant with me. Artists, professors, clergy, and any other dissenting voices where put in prison or disappeared into the night. People had to whisperer any feelings of discontent in their own homes. They feared that a neighbor might hear them and would turn them in. It could mean arrest for you and your family. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion were eradicated and those that protested or tried to speak up were silenced and made examples of.

It was into this nightmare of oppression that I was to grow up. My father couldn't stand to think of me growing up without a voice, without faith and in constant fear. He pleaded with my mother that once I was born we all needed to leave the country. He wanted his child to grow up in a free country. My mother was in her last semester of Medical School. In less than six months she would be a practicing physician, fulfilling her life's dream, when the opportunity came to try to leave. I was 2 1/2 years old and my mother a mere 23 years old when we boarded the plane that would take us away to eventual freedom but separate our family for 9 years.

The story from there is long with a multitude of plot twists and painful realizations. I watched my mother face insurmountable fears and humiliating prejudice with grace and strength. She not only found a way to survive but she learned to thrive. She gave her every waking moments to three things; loving God, protecting me and getting my dad out of Cuba.

When things got really hard we'd spend hours at church. My mother knelt in silence with her eyes closed but I could hear her faith and her pleas with my heart. She wrote letter after letter. Took meetings with anyone that would listen to her story. She heard "I'm so sorry for your family's situation and for what your husband is going through in Cuba but I can't help you" for years. She never gave up, on her faith or on freeing my dad. It took her almost 10 years but she finally found a way to reunite us in the United States. We were all finally able to enjoy the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, together as a family.

Our family has grown from that day. I was blessed with a brother, a husband and two sons. While our lives have had their fair share of challenges we are still here and we are still standing. "We are", because of her...my incredibly strong, immensely generous and unconditionally loving mom. She's a great reminder to me and now I hope to you as well, to keep your faith, do your part, share your heart and to never give up.

Thank you mama for all the good you do and for teaching us through your example to live with hope, faith and love.


You can find more information about my Women's Empowerment Organization at:
Website Women's Empowerment: http://www.empowerment.ws/home.html
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EmpowermentWS?ref=hl
Website Kadan Martial Arts: http://kadanmartialarts.com
Poetry Musings Blog: http://speakyourart.blogspot.com

Thank you for honoring the feminine and thank you for visiting. Wishing you peace.
POI



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Today She Rose. Bidding a fond farewell to a Phenomenal Woman

Today we have lost a great soul. The world morns and the angels rejoice. Wednesday, May 28, 2014 we bid farewell and safe travels to a Phenomenal Woman...Dr. Maya Angelou. Her written words open the minds and healed the hearts of countless souls. She gave a powerful voice to the stories of prejudice, female oppression and social injustice.

Dr. Angelou's life was much too vast and far reaching to summarize in a single blog post. Instead I share two of my favorite Maya Angelou poems, two interviews and a link to the best interview I've ever seen. She held court as the queen of words. I can think of no one better to tell her story.

These two poems speak to the heart of who Dr. Angelou was and the message she wanted to share with the world.


"Phenomenal Woman"


 "And Still I Rise".


I had the great honor of being interviewed by Dr. Angelou on Sirius Oprah Radio a few years back. I sent her a poem I had written about being part of the American Family. I was over joyed when I received the call inviting me to speak with her. 

Growing up in Los Angeles I rarely get "star struck" but speaking with Dr. Angelou was a different story. She was one of my lifetime heroes. A person I had admired and respected since I was a teenager. She walked with Malcom X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela. She had faced war zones, segregation and being a teenage single mother. Dr. Maya Angelou was/is a giant to me. While you can't see us on radio, you can hear that I have a smile from ear to ear.
A few months before my interview I took my sons to see her when she spoke in Los Angeles. She was a captivating figure even into her 80s. She shared personal stories and read some poetry. The courage that she had in her life and in her art was inspiring. She broke through the mental and emotional cages of oppression, racism, sexism, poverty and abuse. She sang her courageous song without shame or apologies. Maya Angelou was the personification of what is possible.

In this interview from the Heaven and Earth Show Dr. Angelou shares stories about her grandmother, her faith, over coming challenges, Dr. King, Malcom X, brotherhood and sisterhood. It is a beautiful window into her soul. She says "human beings are more alike than unalike...The truth is we know each other and we tell ourselves we don't. There is a connection between human beings".

"I have no modesty. It's a dangerous affectation. Modesty is put on from without. Humility is what we want. Humility comes from within, out. Humility says someone was here before me. And I am here now. I have something to do. I too have responsibilities. And there will be someone coming behind me. Who I must prepare the way for." Maya Angelou quote from the Visionary Project. Follow this link to one of the most inspiring and comprehensive interviews of Dr. Maya Angelou. Visionary Project has a library of great minds here is the link to Dr. Angelou's interview http://www.visionaryproject.org/angeloumaya/. It is a must listen for any person wanting to realize their full human potential.

In this last video she shares this heartfelt and moving message to her daughter. And tells us that we are all her daughters. Take a moment to listen to her wisdom. Take a moment to open your heart to her love. (And if you get a chance to read the book please do. I loved it. The book was wise, witty and relevant.)
Dr. Maya Angelou will live forever in her works and in her words. May her legacy of "love conquering all" become the mantra for future generations.

For more information about Dr. Maya Angelou please visit her official website at http://mayaangelou.com
For more information about the Visionary Project please visit their website at http://www.visionaryproject.org/index.asp
We love you and thank you and wish you Peace.

You can find more information about my Women's Empowerment Organization at:
Website Women's Empowerment: http://www.empowerment.ws/home.html
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EmpowermentWS?ref=hl
Website Kadan Martial Arts: http://kadanmartialarts.com
Poetry Musings Blog: http://speakyourart.blogspot.com

Thank you for honoring the feminine and thank you for visiting. Wishing you peace.
POI



Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day 2014


You can find more information about my Women's Empowerment Organization at:
Website Women's Empowerment: http://www.empowerment.ws/home.html
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EmpowermentWS?ref=hl
Website Kadan Martial Arts: http://kadanmartialarts.com
Poetry Musings Blog: http://speakyourart.blogspot.com

Thank you for honoring the feminine and thank you for visiting. Wishing you peace.
POI

Friday, March 7, 2014

Collection of empowering quotes celebrating women and girls

This Women's Empowerment blog post is dedicated to the upcoming 2014 International Women's Day. Here are posts, quotes, artwork that honor, celebrate and empower women and girls. We hope you'll find one to inspire you and help you celebrate International Women's Day. Thank you to all the artists and organizations that contributed. 
Wishing everyone a Happy International Women's Day 2014! 



“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ~ Maya Angelou


"I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome." ~ Golda Meir


"The most beautiful curve on a woman's body is her smile." ~ Bob Marley


“The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It's the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows & the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.” 
~ Audrey Hepburn


“The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy.” 
~ Yves Saint-Laurent



"Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition." ~ Timothy Leary



“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.” 
~ Oprah Winfrey



“Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to require the most from you.” ~ Caroline Myss




"The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world." ~ Charles Malik



"I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass." ~ Maya Angelou



"Be not ashamed women, … You are the gates of the body, and you are the gates of the soul." 
~ Walt Whitman



“Women are the real architects of society.” ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe



"It is past time for women to take their rightful place, side by side with men, in the rooms where the fates of peoples, where their children’s and grandchildren’s fates, are decided." ~ Hillary Clinton



Lady Freedom: E pluribus Unum - Out of many ONE.



Lady Liberty -
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
by Emma Lazarus



"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much." ~ Mother Theresa



"How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!" ~ Maya Angelou



"There is in every true woman's heart, a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.
~ Washington Irving


“Well-behaved women seldom make history.” ~ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich


“As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.” ~ Virginia Woolf

“Women hold up half the sky.” ~ Chinese proverb


“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” ~ Virginia Woolf


“How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?” ~ Ana├»s Nin

"In too many instances, the march to globalization has also meant the marginalization of women and girls. And that must change." ~ Hillary Clinton


“The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” ~ Ayn Rand


"Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got." ~ Janis Joplin


“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh


“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” ~ Katharine Hepburn


"Modern dance isn't anything except one thing in my mind: the freedom of women in America."
~ Martha Graham

“Love is anterior to Life, Posterior to Death, Initial of Creation, and The Exponent of Earth.” 
~ Emily Dickinson


“I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt


“We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.” ~ Marie Curie


“It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends.” ~  J. K. Rowling


“Men and boys, we show our manhood through the way we treat our women. Our wives, our sisters, our mothers.” ~ Archbishop Desmond Tutu


"My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her."
~ George Washington


“In the book Soldiers on the Home Front, I was greatly struck by the fact that in childbirth alone, women commonly suffer more pain, illness and misery than any war hero ever does. An what's her reward for enduring all that pain? She gets pushed aside when she's disfigured by birth, her children soon leave, hear beauty is gone. Women, who struggle and suffer pain to ensure the continuation of the human race, make much tougher and more courageous soldiers than all those big-mouthed freedom-fighting heroes put together.” ~ Anne Frank


"Do you really want to look back on your life and see how wonderful it could have been had you not been afraid to live it?" ~ Caroline Myss


"I think God made a woman to be strong and not to be trampled under the feet of men. I've always felt this way because my mother was a very strong woman, without a husband." ~ Little Richard


“One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” ~ Simone de Beauvoir


"This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women's equal rights across the world for centuries. At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.... The truth is that male religious leaders have had -- and still have -- an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter." ~ Jimmy Carter

You can find more information about my Women's Empowerment Organization at:
Website Women's Empowerment: http://www.empowerment.ws/home.html
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EmpowermentWS?ref=hl
Website Kadan Martial Arts: http://kadanmartialarts.com
Poetry Musings Blog: http://speakyourart.blogspot.com

Thank you for honoring the feminine and thank you for visiting. Wishing you peace.
POI