In March, we celebrate the women of achievement as well as women who have touched our lives and shaped us. A long list of names comes to my mind when I think of women who have helped me evolve into the person that I am today.
I will start with my mother of course. She was a star teacher and a great conversationalist. She was always engaged in a book and kept a legal pad filled with her written thoughts close by. My morning rituals replicate what I watched her do as she spiritually prepared before going out to face the world. I will start this piece my honoring my mother, Hazel.
There are so many women and here goes my list: Gloria Steinem put me on the track of independence when I saw her speak at my college when I was 19. I salute Alice Walker for allowing me to get inside of the mind and heart of a prolific writer. I have traveled with her from her first books such as Meridian to The Color Purple and beyond. I have been fortunate enough to see her on more than one occasion and most recently in 2013.
Then, there are my spiritual confidants. Her are some of them: Catherine Ponder, Florence Scovel Shinn, Myrtle Fillmore, Mary Kupferle, Martha Smock, Louise Hay, Margaret Stortz and Mary Baker Eddy. Their gentle words nudged me along the way as I traveled and continue to travel on my spiritual journey. Their varied styles have taken on a huge significance in pointing the way for me.
I recently did an in-depth post on Maya Angelou. To that portion of the list I will add these great writers: Paule Marshall; Jamaica Kincaid; Toni Cade Bambara; Toni Morrison; Ntozake Shange; Sarah Ban Breathnach; Eudora Welty; J. California Cooper; Gwendolyn Brooks; Terry McMillan; and Nikki Giovanni.
For style and grace, I think of women such: Jackie Kennedy Onassis; Katherine Hepburn; Phylicia Rashad; Debbie Allen; Lauren Bacall, Oprah Winfrey, Barbra Streisand and Barbara Stanwyck. They all had a quiet strength and showed some true grit.
I know that I am leaving off names, but I tried to think of women that I have studied over the years whether they were in my life, a spiritual coach, a writer or in film. They each had something that I have tried to emulate in some way. I am an observer of people and if they have something that I like and admire, I learn, study and grow as I acknowledge their strengths of character.
To all of those women of courage, here is a poem called Strength.
‘We often ask for more strength,
When the trials run a long length.
We sigh under the tough weight,
Knowing answers come. Not late!
We raise the banner of hope,
Tucking in corners to cope.
Strong, mighty, fearless and free,
Cleaving to faith. Let it be.’
I am sure that each of these women had their own challenges, but they still put on that brave front as they served as a great role model for me. We never know who is closely watching as we triple ax through this thing called life!
Lynn March 1, 2015