Kamala Lopez is Goddess of the Week!

“I have always been motivated by the desire to improve the world for women, in particular in the media — because the media is the “face” of the collective philosophy; watching media tells you what we think of ourselves and our “ideal” images and states of being. Right now women’s place within that context is deeply troubling on a symbolic level and this translates to trouble for women in society and all over the world, as media is our most powerful export.”

— Kamala Lopez

Kamala Lopez, U.S. National Program Director for Global Girl Media

Kamala Lopez, U.S. Program Director for Global Girl Media, is on a mission to nurture the voices and self-expression of young women in underserved communities and developing nations to speak out about the issues that affect them most. Global Girl Media is a non-profit organization that links young women, ages 14 – 20, with seasoned broadcast and print journalists, documentary filmmakers, and digital media professionals with the bigger goal of  inspiring the future generation of female citizen broadcast journalists. Currently, Global Girl Media is training 20 girls in Soweto, South Africa and 10 girls in Los Angeles.

Tabby: What inspires you to do this work?

Kamala: I am inspired by the reality that actions we take in the real world, no matter how seemingly small, can have impact on people’s lives in a positive way. I have always been motivated by the desire to improve the world for women, in particular in the media — because the media is the “face” of the collective philosophy; watching media tells you what we think of ourselves and our “ideal” images and states of being. Right now women’s place within that context is deeply troubling on a symbolic level and this translates to trouble for women in society and all over the world, as media is our most powerful export.

Tabby: Is there anything else that motivates you?

Kamala: I also love the spirit of young girls and women and try to keep that spirit alive in my life and in my own personality as well as facilitate that spirit to have a place of respect and honor in our society. I am a firm believer that if we turned the running of the world over to the women things would improve markedly in many of the areas in which we find ourselves in trouble:  war, poverty, hunger, illiteracy, sexual violence, prejudice, etc.  I am not suggesting that there wouldn’t be other problems that would arise, perhaps even female-centric weaknesses that would be negative when given free reign. However, it is clear to me that the imbalance of power between the genders is a major part of the world’s problems right now. Anything out of balance is going to eventually be bad for us and presently the male energy and the worship of maleness is in fact a major contributor to the decaying state the world finds itself in. I could give you more analysis on this if needed but I think it’s pretty clear.

Tabby: Can you say more about women’s place in the media being deeply troubling on a symbolic level?

Kamala: First of all, if you look at the media landscape — what kind of women are being given the opportunity to be in media?

If you look at it, I would say in the world of narrative media there are certain female stereotypes that are always present. There’s usually the young girl who is very beautiful and somewhat innocent and then comes along a love interest; then maybe they’ll be a villainous who is overtly sexualized and uses her sexuality to manipulate men in some way or to achieve her agenda; and then there’s the crone. The portrayals of women really haven’t changed much in thousands of years.

I think just being out in the world as we are, we know so many more complex female characters — women whose interests extend beyond men and clothing and how they look – but these women are very rarely seen.

Tabby: How is the mission of Global Girl Media addressing this?

Kamala: The beauty of Global Girl Media is that the voice of the young woman — the 14 to 20-year old woman — is pretty much entirely absent in the social discourse. You do have some characters in bad television shows that are in that age range, but to actually hear the voices of these young women and what is concerning to them is extremely valuable to us in the society. Global Girl Media’s entire purpose is to provide guidance and give a forum to that absent voice worldwide — and to see whether giving that voice a platform will have an effect.

Tabby: Do you think it will?

Kamala: Yes. What’s been remarkable as we’ve been training our Global Girls is to hear the types of things these young women care about. For example, sexual violence, trafficking, peer pressure, eating disorders, immigration, the class wars, and race wars. You would never, ever guess this if you read Seventeen. You would think that what they care about is lip gloss, sandals, boys, and so forth – which I am sure they do on some level — but if you ask them what kinds of stories they want to tell, or what kinds of things are happening that they want to address, it’s extremely profound stuff.

Tabby: Much deeper than the current media would have us believe.

Kamala: We’ve been led to believe that we have a very dumbed-down society – and that people are not thinking and are just sort of interested in escapism. However, if you look at this young generation, what I’ve been noticing is that they are extremely compassionate. They are extremely globally aware and interested, and they want to participate in making the world a better place — but they don’t know how. As adults we are failing them by not providing them with any sort of guidance, any map, or any blueprint to do this stuff. That’s precisely what Global Girl is about.

Tabby: So the idea is that as the voices of these young women are heard more, there will be more of an acceptance and understanding of their true concerns and values?

Kamala: Right now we are operating on the advertising industry’s picture of a young teenage girl. The way we see teenage girls is based essentially on what products we are selling to them. But we are not really hearing from them at all. So when you do actually hear from them, you think, “Wow, that’s a completely different picture than I am looking at.” This is someone who is concerned about her mother, and how much her mother works every day. Concerned about her father who is drinking all of the time. Concerned about her older brother who dropped out of school and now he is a gangster. These are serious things.

Global Girls in South Africa

This isn’t only endemic to girls in the United States. These are issues that are affecting girls all over the world. Once these girls understand that they have these commonalities, and we can forge these alliances and build these bridges … can you imagine in 10 years if we were to have 50 Global Girl Media News Bureaus operating in the most economically disadvantaged places in the world, and those girls connect and form almost a network of support, education, and power? Well suddenly we really are affecting change.

Tabby: Yes, that would make real change.

Kamala: Amie Williams, who is the executive director of Global Girl Media, said when she was traveling and seeing news bureaus closing down everywhere, she thought to herself, Well, Global Girl Media is going to be opening up. We are going to be taking their place. Maybe CNN or ABC have to get out of Ramala, but we are going to go in.

We’ve left it in the hands of men for entirely to long. I love and adore men. I think their energy is so sexy, and fabulous, and active. But the imbalance in the male and female power is deadly. It is literally taking us to extinction.

Tabby: Tell me a little more about this.

Kamala: It’s really about the immediate rush to action versus deliberation. For example, if we look at 9/11, some hideous people come and destroy the lives of thousands of people. What other response could we have had in that moment that would have kept the world on our side? What other response could we have had that would have built empathy and compassion and would have supported another way to go that wasn’t about retaliation, revenge, and violence? There is another response. I believe if the female energy were more valued, that response would have been at least up for debate. Now any response that is not immediately aggressive is considered weak and a failure, and this is the shift we need to make.

Tabby: Do you think its important for adult women to be mentors to this younger generation?

Kamala: As conscious adult women, if we really do care about the state of girls and women worldwide, we need to train this next generation of girls because they are going to be the ones taking over and they are going to be the ones that shift this paradigm. Unfortunately for our generation, we’ve been raised in a society where greed trumps all. In other words, where the bottom line is money … where money affects how we perceive each other, and how we perceive ourselves and our value. We need to break that now with this younger generation.

I feel very strongly that it is that mentality that has led to the sort of breakdown that we are experiencing right now. If you make the measure of every single thing money, you end up with an extremely vacuous, and extremely dangerous place for human beings to live in because it doesn’t allow for any other value system.

As conscious adult women, we need to instill a different value system. Actually, it is an innate value system. We need to tell the world that being compassionate about other people does not make you weak, and it is not intrinsically a female trait. It is a trait of the evolved human being, and it is a trait that we need to hold up as something of great worth. As women, we need to promote that, emphasize that, and nurture that. This is part of what we are doing with Global Girl Media.

Tabby: What have been some of the major challenges in building Global Girl Media?

Kamala: Our major challenge is funding.  Everything else, no matter how impossible, I seem to be able to do pretty easily and I have a lot of fun doing it. For example, three weeks ago we didn’t even have a space to work out of. Now we not only have a beautiful space, but we have the girls, the instructors, and I have a wonderful young woman, Daniela Choclan, helping me.

Tabby: Tell me more about the funding that you need.

Kamala: Right now we need about 80K for the Los Angeles program to pay for cameras and other film and sound equipment, internet, editing, meals, transportation, other staff, utilities, and other hard goods such as paper, pens, etc.

Tabby: How can people contribute?

Kamala: People can donate on the website at www.globalgirlmedia.org. All of the donations right now will go to the Los Angeles-based program, since the South Africa program is already funded. Anything from a dollar to a million, we’ll take it gratefully and give you a sweet tax deduction. Equipment donations are also very needed and welcome. We need computers, cameras, microphones, tripods, and a van or some sort of vehicle where I can move a team of girls around to do stories. The goal is sustainability so that we can continue to train girls in Los Angeles at the rate of maybe 10 girls every six months.

Tabby: What are some important leadership lessons you’ve learned in doing this work and what advice can you share with other women?

Kamala: As far as leadership goes, it’s important to know that we don’t have to act like men to be leaders. Since men have been all we have had to look to as examples of leaders, that’s how we think we have to act. But generally that’s not how we have to act. We just have to act like ourselves. We do have to maintain a collaborative spirit. Also, at the end of the day you do have to step into your own power and say, “Okay, I’ve listened to all of these different opinions, advice, and so forth, but I am deciding this and this is how we are going to go.” You have to get comfortable with that. Ultimately women have to start to trust themselves more and believe that they know what they are doing, and do it.

Tabby: So true. How can we as women help each other?

Kamala: I think we have to fight the idea — that I think a lot of us have internalized — that it is difficult to work with other women. We really need to embrace collaboration with other women. We need to seek out other women to promote. Just like you are doing with this column. It’s exactly what we need to be doing because if we wait for men to do that for us, it’s not going to happen. We have to work together. We have to support each other. When we hear about a wonderful woman, we have to tell other women about her. Help her, prop her up. Give her what she needs. That’s a big lesson.

To learn more about Global Girl Media, you can visit the website at www.globalgirlmedia.org.

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Kara Isreal is Goddess of the Week!

“Despite surviving the misfortunes that my family and I had to endure, I know that this world will throw more adversities and challenges not only at minority women but women in general. But now I also know that I have a solid foundation of confidence and strength that will allow me to overcome anything that gets in my way on my journey to success.”

— Kara Isreal, 2010 Step Up Teen Scholarship Recipient

Kara Isreal, 2010 Step Up Los Angeles Teen Scholarship Recipient

Kara Isreal is the recipient of the 2010 Step Up Women’s Network Los Angeles Teen Scholarship. Step Up is dedicated to connecting underserved teen girls with professional women mentors and enrichment programs to empower the girls to become confident, college-bound and career-ready. I had the great pleasure of hearing Kara speak at the Step Up Inspiration Awards last week in Beverly Hills. As Kara presented her winning essay, there was barely at dry eye in the room. She is truly a goddess of strength, determination, and grace.

The following is Kara’s winning essay that she shared with all of us last week at the 7th Annual Step Up Inspiration Awards.

Written by Kara Isreal

I wake up on the morning of October 4, 2008 feeling so excited – it’s my sweet sixteen! But then the reality of where I am kicks in. I’m in an unknown territory. I hear more sirens outside than normal, I hear the neighbors arguing about where the last drop off of drugs was and who was going to change the baby’s diaper. I look out of the window and see the transactions of narcotics and money from one hand to the next. I think to myself, this is why this neighborhood is called “the jungle” – people make up the animals in a jungle fighting over drugs, property, women and even parking spots. And this was supposed to be the start of a good day.

I close the blinds, having seen enough. I start to reminisce about birthdays of the past and think about how much I always love the annual call from my granddad who enthusiastically congratulates me on making it through another year in life. I sigh, knowing that I won’t get the call this year because he doesn’t have my number….NO ONE does because one month earlier, my family was evicted, and we have been bouncing from place to place, eating dinner in our car in McDonalds parking lots and on this morning, my 16th birthday, my family and I are staying in a two-bedroom bedroom apartment making room for 7 people. It was supposed to be my sweet 16 but it was more like salty tears and a super wet pillow. This was the beginning of the most challenging time in my life. Things got worse from there and I experienced the unimaginable, including being raped………more than once.

But through my pain and innumerable tears I found a way to walk with my head up and not have it hung in constant shame. In between the unpredictable travels between school and maybe a hotel room. I began to appreciate school and a new found safe haven in an organization called Step Up and the support system and stability it provided.  On a weekly basis I looked forward to Tuesdays because I knew I was going to be in a stable environment for an extra two hours after my school day. Step Up offered me refuge in programs such as Spoken Word and Poetry where I was able to write down all my feelings, kept in a place no one could criticize, grade or comment about. Step Up gave me the microphone I needed to either reach out for help or encourage my fellow Step Up sisters; which includes my younger sister who also found a safe space in Step Up.

Through Step Up I have gained mentors that have shaped my ambition, built my confidence and who I will never forget. Powerful Step Up women like Shannon Gabor; who I worked for last summer in Step Up’s internship program. Her achievements taught me no obstacle is too big and she pushed me to be a strong writer by having the confidence in me to give me important projects. Powerful Step Up women like Michelle Centeno, my Step Up SAT Prep and college applications instructor who guided me through the stressful processes. She is the first in her family to graduate from college and as I saw her walk across the stage at her UCLA graduation I was reminded that I have to set the standard for my younger siblings as she did for her own. Powerful Step Up women like my Step Up young luminaries mentor Reese Alexander who always keeps me on track with setting my goals and making sure they are realistic.

The most impactful thing Step Up has given me is the key out of Los Angeles. On our spring break Bay Area college tour during my junior year I finally realized that it was totally okay to leave the only place I had ever known. I wasn’t scared to step out of my boundaries and I placed myself in a picture without Downtown L.A. as the backdrop for my college home.

2009 Step Up Teen Scholarship recipient, Shalisa Craig, hugging Kara. Shalissa is currently attending Cal State Northridge & received a 4.0 GPA during her first semester of classes!

My goal in life is either to become a child psychologist with a private practice helping sexual, mentally and physically abused kids; or be a part of a marketing and advertising company. I set my sights high! Thanks to Step Up I am already on my way and can clearly see myself achieving these goals because I am proud to announce that this fall I will be attending Bethune-Cookman University a Historically Black College in Daytona Beach, Florida founded by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune a civil rights leader and an advisor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Dr. Bethune is the educated, influential black woman I strive to become.

Despite surviving the misfortunes that my family and I had to endure, I know that this world will throw more adversities and challenges not only at minority women but women in general. But now I also know that I have a solid foundation of confidence and strength that will allow me to overcome anything that gets in my way on my journey to success. I have escaped the dark place that they call the jungle, survived abuse, am optimistic about all of the brighter birthdays I will celebrate in the future. With my success I hope to reach down and help the women behind me. We have the power to rise above our circumstances. We have the power break down barriers. We have the power to break down barriers and crush all statistics that rise against us. We are women of manner and nobility. And I thank you all for your support along the way.

To learn more about Step Up Women’s Network, please visit www.suwn.org.

All photos by Maya Meyers.

Meade Palidofsky is Goddess of the Week!

My Interview with Meade Palidofsky

By Tabby Biddle

“These are kids who have enjoyed risk-taking – the thrill of drugs, the thrill of being in a street gang. One of the things we are trying to teach them is that there are healthy ways to take risk. A lot of the kids are scared before they go on stage, and then it’s thrilling to hear other people applaud you, particularly for kids who have never really been applauded before. So you are trying to transfer the feeling of thrill into something that’s healthy.”

— Meade Palidofsky,
Artistic Director of Storycatchers Theatre

Meade Palidofsky, artistic director of Storycatchers Theatre

For more than 30 years, Meade Palidofsky has been helping young people find their voice and tell their stories through performance art. In 1990, she started working in prisons. She says that was a real turning point because she felt like she met the population that she was meant to work with. Since that time, she has helped hundreds of incarcerated youth heal from past traumas and pave the way for a brighter future. I learned about her incredible work through the powerful documentary, “Girls on the Wall.”

Tabby: I was so moved by your work when I saw Girls on the Wall. What inspires you to do this work?

Meade: I have always been interested in working with teens, especially teens from challenging backgrounds. Many people want to write this age group off: which is why you can be tried as an adult in some states as early as 12 or 13! I think it’s an amazing age to work with. They are still capable of so much insight and change and mature enough to be able to process their lives.

The first time I walked into a detention center and saw the teens incarcerated there, it struck me that it was a tremendous opportunity to reach kids who are not easily reached otherwise. You will not find this population in schools or park programs. Locked up, they have plenty of time on their hands and a desire to fill that time, often volunteering to do things they wouldn’t on the outside — like writing and performing in a show about themselves.

Tabby: This is intense work. There must be some challenges. What are they?

Meade: Prisons and the justice system are political. Some places can be hard to work in. They are full of corruption or just believe more in punishment than rehabilitation. I have been fortunate to work in a state [Illinois] that has established a Juvenile Justice Department — and recently, the Governor took this department completely out of Corrections and put it in the Department of Children and Family Services. Hopefully, this will be a good move and the system will become evermore child centered.

The Aftercare system (or lack thereof) is the biggest challenge. We work with these kids to make better, healthier decisions and then they are released to the same dysfunctional families and neighborhoods — but with no services to mentor them.

Tabby: How have you overcome some of these challenges?

Meade: The biggest thing I have learned is to only work in institutions where there is a champion — someone in administration within the institution. It’s important when we leave — and on the days we aren’t there to have people support the teens. My staff and I go early to program in order to spend time with the institutional staff. It’s important to know everyone from security, dietary, and on up so that everyone supports what we are doing and helps us to accomplish it.

Tabby: Why do you think a girl or young woman telling her story is so healing?

Meade: A lot of the stories that the girls tell are being told for the first time. So it’s not just telling a story, it’s like telling a secret. These kids have been sexually abused and assaulted, and that in particular is often an unspeakable trauma. What we do is provide a safe way for the girls to tell their stories.

If you’ve held on to something forever, it just festers and you don’t heal. But

Rosa raps her story

once you tell the story, then you let it go. By sharing stories, you also hear that there are other people in the room who have had similar experiences. This is strengthening and empowering.

I think the biggest thing is that you are able to let it go. You tell the story on stage, so it’s formalized, it’s universalized, and other people relate to it. Then it becomes a story that exists in the world outside of yourself and so, you can kind of walk away from it. Furthermore, it becomes not just a story but a song or a scene in a show — and then it becomes artistic. It’s something that, although it reminds you of a time that was painful in your life, it also becomes beautiful.

Tabby: You are a woman helping young women tell their story. Do you find a healing and empowering element for you?

Meade: Oh yes. Even though I am hearing a lot of trauma, it’s enjoyable because I see kids who really seize the opportunity to tell their stories to work out trauma in their lives. I see kids who go from being scared to be on stage to feeling good about it and feeling good about telling their stories. You see them change. It’s really a remarkable thing to watch. When you see a light go on in somebody’s eyes and they understand, or they feel safe to tell something for the first time, when they reach out to other people and support them – it’s a wonderful feeling. When everybody gets on stage together and they become a team and really support each other – especially kids in jails that have been tearing each other down — when they begin to empathize with each other, it’s kind of a high for everyone.

Tabby: I notice from seeing Girls on the Wall that you have great instincts about when to push the girls and when to back off. Where does that come from?

Meade: I love to solve problems. If I have a kid where something isn’t happening, I go home at night and think about it. The next day I try a new approach. You have to be patient. I think what’s important is patience and realizing that everyone comes around in their own time. You can’t predict exactly when it will happen for everybody.

These kids need love. They have been abandoned by everybody in their

casting for the musical

families and have been left behind, and so they don’t trust people. So you really have to build their trust. And you have to love them. They really need to feel like you care about them. Even when you are disciplining them, you have to do it with love. I use a lot of terms of endearment, like “Stop it sweetheart.” They have to know you are doing it because you care about them, and not just because you are ordering them around. They don’t like to hear harsh tones in people’s voices.

It’s important to be the adult in the group. These kids are not looking for peer friends from you. They are looking for someone who will be a guide, and will assume an adult role in their life that has been missing.

Tabby: What are some important leadership lessons you’ve learned in working with these girls?

Meade: When I first started working I was really absorbed in it being my own work and absorbed in all of the one-on-one stuff with the kids. What I learned over time is that the more people you bring into the process, the more you get the staff involved and the administration involved, the better off the kids. You really need to do that to support the kids. You need to have a bigger structure. You also need to work in institutions where you have a champion – where people believe in what you are doing so you are not fighting the system.

Tabby: What are some of the common misperceptions about the work that you do?

Meade: I think when people think of kids that are locked up they think of them as bad kids, evils kids, or dysfunctional kids. They think that for anyone who is locked up, there is something wrong with them. I think what people learn when they come in to work with the girls is that what’s dysfunctional is our system. What’s dysfunctional is that we don’t have a lot of systems that work for kids on the outside. They learn that these kids are kids. They have potential. They learn that these kids are really likeable and smart and could be somebody if society helps them out.

When the girls tell their stories it becomes so clear why they are locked up. It usually starts from a trauma they have experienced causing them to be angry and depressed, which causes them to drop out of school, do drugs, join gangs, and eventually become incarcerated. It’s a pretty clear cycle. It can be surprising for some who come and work with the girls since they’ve never thought about it before.

Tabby: How has this worked changed your life?

Meade: Well, this is my life. [Laughter]. It’s my mission in life. When I first started doing this work it was more with kids out in the community and in high schools. When I started working in prisons in 1990, it was a real turning point because I felt like I met the population that I was meant to work with. From that point on it’s been a personal journey figuring out … I feel like I’ve been given a gift that I am a playwright and a lyricist. It’s a real gift to be able to use what you love to do to get other people to not only learn playwriting and songwriting, but to actually use that process to heal themselves. That’s joyful for me to do that.

Tabby: What’s your best advice to other women who want to follow their mission I life, but are scared to for one reason or another?

Meade: My best advice is that if you want to do something, you just have to do it. I grew up in Flint, Michigan with a father who always said ‘no.’ I used to tell him, “I’m not going to ask you about this, I’m just going to tell you because otherwise you’ll just say no.” My advice is don’t allow yourself to accept ‘no’ as an answer when you want to do something. Ask yourself the question: “What’s the worst that’s going to happen?” If you can live with the answer, then you should do it.

Tabby: What’s some of the best advice someone gave you in your life?

Meade: When I was a kid my teachers always told me that I could be anything I wanted to be. Having been told that, I believed it. I feel like that is one thing I have to do in life is to tell other young women the same thing: You can do it. Believe in yourself, and don’t be afraid of failure — see failure as an opportunity to learn.

To learn more about Meade’s work, visit www.storycatcherstheatre.org.

To see Girls on the Wall, visit www.girlsonthewallmovie.com.

Tabby Biddle, M.S.Ed., is a writer/editor dedicated to amplifying the voices of women making a positive difference in the world. Her work has been featured by The Huffington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today and other national media. She lives in Santa Monica, CA.

Caroline Myss is Goddess of the Week!

Presenting GODDESS OF THE WEEK …

Caroline Myss, Ph.D.

medical intuitive, author and international speaker on mysticism, power and healing

“Despite my business interest in alternative therapies … I wasn’t the least bit interested in them. I had no desire to meet any healers myself. I refused to meditate. I developed an absolute aversion to wind chimes, New Age music, and conversations on the benefits of organic gardening. I smoked while drinking coffee by the gallon, still fashioning myself after an image of a hard-boiled newspaper reporter. I was not at all primed for a mystical experience.”

— Caroline Myss, Ph.D.


Caroline Myss, Ph.D., medical intuitive, author and speaker on power and healing

I have chosen Caroline Myss as Goddess of the Week because by living and speaking her personal truth, she is helping millions of individuals heal from a soul level. Through her work, she is helping people wake up to their personal power and learn how to use it wisely, lovingly, and in a way that unleashes their best self.

Caroline Myss is a wise woman pioneer. Her life’s work is about personal transformation, healing, and the study of power and mysticism. Initially a newspaper journalist, she left journalism to get a master’s degree in theology. She eventually joined forces with two partners and started a publishing company publishing books about healing methods and alternative therapies. Although she had a business interest in these things, she says she had no interest in becoming personally involved in alternative therapies, or even meeting any healers. Life then took her by surprise.

“I was not at all primed for a mystical experience,” she says in her bestselling book, Anatomy of the Spirit.

Caroline found that her perceptual abilities were becoming quite keen. “For instance, a friend would mention that someone he knew was not feeling well, and an insight into the cause of the problem would pop into my head. I was uncannily accurate, and word of it spread through the local community.”

It is now 30 years later, and because Caroline was courageous enough to live her truth as a medical intuitive, she has changed the lives of millions of people. Caroline’s gifts include being able to sense where someone is losing their life force, how soon that person will become ill, where that illness will likely locate, and why they will get that illness.

What makes Caroline’s work unique is that she marries mysticism with action.  She teaches and writes about the “unseen” world, while making the lessons practical and tangible. Through her work, she helps people get honest with themselves, with others, and most importantly, their soul.

“The journey is about becoming mystics outside of the monastery.” — Caroline Myss

What’s so exciting to me is that her work has opened the doors for many health professionals to practice medicine differently. In 1996, she and Harvard-trained neurosurgeon Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D., founded the Institute for the Science of Medical Intuition, which funds research in the field. Caroline herself partners with doctors providing them intuitive information that can help them better serve their patients.

In 2003, Caroline established her own educational institute, CMED (Caroline Myss Education), which offers a range of programs devoted to personal development, spirituality, and human consciousness research.

She is the author of five New York Times bestselling books including Sacred Contracts, Anatomy of the Spirit, and Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can.

Caroline says that over time she has become more comfortable in the life of someone falling into mysticism.

One of the most poignant lessons I have taken from her work is this: Your biography becomes your biology. In other words, if you don’t heal your spirit, you are endangering your physical body and putting yourself at great risk for illness and disease. Instead, she encourages individuals to focus their attention on learning to interpret their life’s challenges symbolically — and find meaning in them. This step alone has helped me tremendously.

Thank you Caroline for your incredibly courageous and groundbreaking goddess work. We all look forward to you continuing to live and speak your truth!

Caroline Myss, Ph.D., will be teaching at the I Can Do It! 2010 conference in San Diego, May 14 –16. Click here for more information.

Sonia Choquette is Goddess of the Week!

My Interview with Sonia Choquette

by Tabby Biddle

“I feel very strongly that we are evolving from homosapiens to homospiritists. We are taking the next steps. We are in process of morphing evolutionarily into a higher expression of consciousness … human consciousness on this planet … We are beginning on a collective level to intuitively sense that we will self-destruct unless we evolve.”

— Sonia Choquette, Ph.D.

Sonia Choquette

For more than 30 years, Sonia Choquette has been sharing with the world her wisdom and experience with six-sensory perception. Even when others thought she was a “kook” and a “deviant,” she pressed on. She never let others’ judgments prevent her from sharing what she knew to be true. Today, she is a world-renowned author, storyteller, healer, intuitive guide and spiritual teacher.

T:  I just started reading your book “Soul Lessons and Soul Purpose.” In the book you said, “The sooner we individually raise our vibrations, the sooner we’ll collectively heal the suffering on the planet. We have no time to waste.” Can you say more about this?

S:  I believe that what we have been genuinely unconscious about is that even though we have free will, what we choose, and how we live, and how we go about our daily life affects the whole. Nobody is having an autonomous experience that is independent of the collective experience. Conversely, for every one of us that elevates our vibration, our intentions, our direction, our priorities, and our commitment to living as a responsible, creative, contributing human being versus a victimized, dispirited, uncreative, non-contributing, non-interested person — we will, by the laws of entrainment, affect those around us. As our vibration is felt, it inspires and activates those same inclinations in others. It begins to set off a chain of events where one can affect five; five can affect 25; 25 can affect 125, and so on and so on — like ripples in a lake.

So until individuals really begin to feel and embrace their personal responsibility and power to influence the whole, we won’t see a change. Now, having said that, that book was written a few years ago. I actually see that that kind of awareness is really beginning to kick in and take place.

T:  I absolutely agree. It feels as if in the past couple of years things have rapidly increased in terms of consciousness. Do you think the pace has quickened? And if so, why?

S:  I definitely think you are accurate about the quickening pace. I think that in the last 24 months things have become extremely destabilized in terms of our personal comfort zone. Our financial systems are imploding. Our jobs and the things we assume to be there — or be reliably consistent — have fallen apart. The earth under our feet is rocking and rolling, firing and spewing. Although some would say it’s been happening all along, certainly not at a time and place in civilization where so many people have been affected. In other words, we may have had earthquakes for the entire history of the planet, but huge societies were not necessarily built on those places where those quakes were taking place.

People are beginning to recognize that there is a dependency on one another and a dependency on our earth that is elevating our awareness of how we treat one another and how we treat our planet. In many cases, it’s bringing out the best in us, not the worst. We are more creative, conscientious, and have spirited awareness. So, I think that the disturbances are sort of like the metaphor: It almost kills a butterfly to get out of a cocoon, but the same effort gives its wings the power to fly.

T:  I know you work a lot with guides, angels, and emissaries. Are they playing a part in the more drastic phenomena?

S:  I do think that the veil between the third, fourth, and fifth dimensions is thinning. I think the level of perception in the average human being is elevating, and that we are beginning to sense on many different levels that we are not alone in this Universe. And that our human voice is not the only voice that has influence – that we have a subtle, intuitive voice. We are beginning to sense the subtle conscious realm of Divine beings. This is happening in rapid rates.

I do feel that the parts of people’s brains that have been dormant and inactive are starting to get stimulated because of all this change. This includes the pineal gland, which is the source of the Third Eye – the inner knowing that gives us the ability to perceive subtle energy. I feel very strongly that we are evolving from homosapiens to homospiritists. We are taking the next steps. We are in process of morphing evolutionarily into a higher expression of consciousness … human consciousness on this planet.

T:  That’s pretty cool.

S:  It is cool. Every evolutionary step in human consciousness has been adaptive, and we are adapting now to a lot of shifts in terms of how to survive as a species. Homosapien is ego-centered, and ego-centered is “me against you.” So we are killing each other. “Me against you” in the physical body is called cancer.

We are beginning on a collective level to intuitively sense that we will self-destruct unless we evolve. So it is our adaptive sense of survival that is activating this higher consciousness.

T:  How do think the upcoming I Can Do It! conference can help people?

S:  Every one of us who comes to speak at those conferences are all messengers – and we all have very unique and very important ways and means and gifts to share.

I know my gift. I am more than a messenger … I am an alchemist. What I create within my workshop is that I actually activate the vibration for the frequency and the experience of vibrating at that higher level of consciousness. I activate the four chambers of the heart. I activate the pineal gland. I engage the participants’ voice of intuition. It’s sort of like I jump start people into this higher frequency and they feel it. So it’s not a matter of taking notes and hearing about it and thinking this is a destination you are going to be in one day if you stay the course. I actually put them in the experience – and give them the vibrational jolt.

T:  What role do you think intellect plays in all of this?

S:  I think that the intellect is important. This is how we learn. First we see it. Then we hear about it. Then we experience it. Then we own it. It’s sort of like window-shopping. You’ve got to let something be introduced to you before you even know it’s out there. It’s like when you see something beautiful in the window and you think, “Hmmmm … I might like that.”

My workshops are about having the experience, and then my books are a way to educate the intellect to support the experience rather than undermine it.

T:  What can you share about guidance?

S:  Every human being has had some experience of guidance. That is not our challenge. Our challenge is: Will our ego humble enough to acknowledge that there is more than the ego running the world and the experience of the human journey through life?

My mother used to say this all the time: “Never assume what you know is all there is to know, or you’re in a lot of trouble.”

Be open to being surprised with guidance. One of the ways to accelerate guidance is to talk about it in a positive way.

T:  Can you say more about this?

S:  I gave this whole workshop one day about guidance, and I said, “Talk about it in a positive way.” At the end of the workshop, three of my students came up and said, “Oh, I’ve got to tell you about this really weird thing. It’s really bizarre.” And I said, “What’s positive about that?”

If you frame guidance as being abnormal or peculiar, then you set up subconscious resistance. Instead, you can say: “The most beautiful thing came through today. I can’t explain it, but I’ll take it.”

T:  Do you remember your very first moment of being guided?

S:  I never have a moment of my life where I remember not being guided. To me, that’s like the worst handicap that I can fathom. That is why I am devoting my life to activate the higher octave of our eyes and ears, our intuition. With intuition in place all will be okay. And without it, I can’t make the same claim.

T:  In closing, any last words you want to share about intuition?

S:  The question has definitely matured. It’s no longer, “Does it exist?” The question has evolved into, “How does it work?” “How can I get it to work consistently?” How can I get it to work for me?” And that’s the question that I’ve devoted my life work to.

Sonia Choquette will be teaching at the I Can Do It! 2010 conference in San Diego, May 14 –16. Click here for more information.

You can visit her website at www.soniachoquette.com.

Anne Wells is Goddess of the Week!

Interview with Anne Wells

by Tabby Biddle

“For me, each and every experience in Tanzania leaves me humbled, grateful and yearning for more!” — Anne

Anne Wells is the founder of UNITE The World With Africa. "I believe that extreme poverty on this planet is ALL of our problems… not just those who suffer directly," she says.

T: Tell me about the work that you do.

A: I recently founded the social organization “UNITE The World With Africa” to empower and facilitate meaningful giving and service opportunities between Americans and Tanzanians. Specifically, I design and run humanitarian outreach tours to Africa in which participants are partnered with their peer-counterparts to share their time and talents in targeted and impactful ways.

T: Why do you do this work?

A: I believe it is of utmost importance to get more Americans directly involved in international development. We all can’t be Angelina Jolie or an ambassador for CARE or Save The Children, but we can do our part and contribute. I believe that extreme poverty on this planet is ALL of our problems… not just those who suffer directly. First, it is our duty to care. As David Lamb so eloquently writes in his book The Africans, “To be oblivious to the problems of Africa is to promote more international misery, hunger, instability – and to increase threats to peace in the world.” And second, it is our human right to care. When we stand side-by-side and celebrate all that unites us … our common humanity … we grow. We develop. We break down walls in our hearts. Our lives are forever better.

By bringing Americans to Tanzania in a manner in which they can cultivate meaningful relationships, give of themselves in personal and impactful ways, and experience village life as it is – not as it may be seen through the eyes of a tourist – I believe that we create the space and opportunity for transformation. While most first-time visitors may be struck and saddened by the extreme poverty, more so they are deeply touched by the rich Tanzanian sense of community, family and faith. It is my experience that when someone has nothing to give (meaning no “things”) they give of themselves… their hearts, truths and joys. It is here that I believe we are starving as a people.

So, I chose this path to facilitate and empower giving and receiving, learning and teaching, self-exploration and discovery. For me, each and every experience in Tanzania leaves me humbled, grateful and yearning for more!

T: You have a Women’s Empowerment tour coming up. Tell me about that.

A: During our 2010 June tour our team will work alongside our Tanzanian peer-counterparts and extended community partners — in a series of train-the-trainer style workshops — to address some of the most pressing issues faced by women in rural Tanzania, including maternal & infant health; education; vocational training & microfinance and business development; HIV/AIDS education; leadership training; and more. During our time in-country we will visit with schools, orphanages, women’s groups, medical clinics and others groups/organizations in the Northern District of Tanzania.

T: How do you put together your outreach tours?

A: To execute these tours, I partner with a number of local grassroots non-profit organizations that are doing their work in excellence and having a positive and measurable impact on their communities, and who are also in great need of support and assistance from the West.

With my partners, I take a look at the unique skill sets of my given Team — which this year includes women’s health, public health, leadership training, microfinance, business development and economics, education and even jewelry making — and overlay that with a thorough community-level needs assessment, and then we determine the best way to put my Team to work during our time in country. Prior to our arrival, we collaborate to create requested training materials, and my Team also works to raise funds directly for UNITE’s NGO partners to support their programmatic work in Tanzania.

T: How does your Team raise funds?

A: We do everything from bake sales, private parties and corporate giving to used-clothing, book and medicine drives. A little goes a long way, and each UNITE team member is asked to do his or her best to support our friends in need.

T: You used the term “work in excellence.” What does that mean?

A:  What I mean by that is that the NGOs we partner with are moving within the natural flow of the villages. They are “bottom up,” not “top down” approaches. Their work and programs are sustainable and scalable. They empower local people through education, microfinance programs, vocational training, etc. In other words, they don’t create a dependence on hand-outs.

T: This is really incredible work you are doing. How did you choose this path?

A: I have a long history living, studying and working in Tanzania. My first visit was in 1991 as a student of wildlife and human cultural management. I literally “fell in love” with the country and have been working to build bridges back ever since.

In 1994 I traveled alone through the northern district spending time at a snake park and dairy farm and even charting a walking safari to the Maasai Mountain of God – Oldoinyo Lengai. Years later, while living in St. Louis – after being married, having three young daughters and establishing a successful career as a writer, journalist and marketing/communications executive – I met a man named Father Dennis Mnyanyi, an Anglican priest from Tanzania. Dennis and I became fast friends, and he tolerated my endless questions about Tanzania, development and how Americans can best be of service – if indeed at all. Dennis requested that I come to Tanzania to identify local Tanzanian-run groups doing their work in excellence for whom I could garner for support in the U.S. I did that with my husband in 2008, and a year later in 2009 I brought my first group of 14 Americans to Tanzania.

T: How did that go?

A: We worked in a number of villages teaching First Aid, basic lifesaving and public health. We visited schools and orphanages, parishes and women’s groups, hospitals and clinics, and as a result of those experiences – I believe – the trajectory of lives were changed.

When I came from that tour, I left my job as the marketing director of a prominent U.S.-based NGO and committed myself full-time to growing this work in Africa. And today not only do I have a network of brilliant and trusted local leaders in Tanzania who have partnered with me to grow this venture and continue to plant the seeds of change, but I also have the commitment and faith of the Americans who travel with me. I am the bridge, and for that I am deeply blessed.

T: It sounds almost seamless. What have been some of the obstacles?

A: Wow — they are many! My biggest challenge is determining how to organize and mobilize people who are thousands of miles apart with extremely different cultures and expectations to come together to have meaningful and impactful exchanges in a concentrated period of time.  Also, finding the support I need has been a long, laborious process. Not everyone wants to spend two weeks of their year SERVING others in rural Africa. So I court many dozens and dozens of people for each team member that commits. And fundraising for my non-profit partners in Tanzania is an ongoing challenge.

T: How have you moved through these challenges?

A:  I have partnered with a handful of excellent leaders in Tanzania with whom I work to address — to the best of our abilities — all questions and challenges in advance of my team’s arrival. And, as I said earlier, we partner my UNITE team members with their peer counterparts in Tanzania so a doctor is training medical professionals, a teacher is working with teachers and educators, etc. This effort, combined with tons of advanced preparation and communications, empowers us to be impactful during our time in country.

And – thankfully — with each passing day, week, month I find a few more people who care and want to help… be it with Global Girls UNITE (my mommy-daughter club) or with fundraising or gathering items for second suitcases. Some even say they want to come with me to Africa some day!! So I focus on the miracle of these people who indeed DO care and are willing to give of their time, talent and treasure to support those in need in a world away. These people give me the fuel I need to carry on!

T: Bless those people! What about fears … have you had any?

A: My two main fears are sickness and dissatisfaction. The sickness threat is obvious — Africa is Africa and lots can go wrong. However, I do everything possible to keep my team healthy and after ensuring safe transport, water, food, lodging, bed nets, malaria meds, vaccines, etc…. I just have to pray for the best.  As for dissatisfaction, I am doing everything in my power to ensure that my team has an extraordinary, unique, personalized, impactful and meaningful experience, but of course I cannot guarantee that they feel these things — even if I do!

But honestly I believe that these fears are in fact good because they remind me of the illusion of control and bring me back to my very strong and very clear faith. My faith gives me courage, laser focus and a strength and stamina I didn’t know I had. This work that I do is really about God, the universe, and the divine that resides deep within us all and UNITES us. When I feel alone, overwhelmed, scared or simply exhausted, I pray for guidance and strength… and so far so good because I am still here, working at it as hard as I can!!

T: Wow! That is powerful. How can other people get involved with the work you are doing?

A: People can get involved with UNITE The World With Africa in a number of ways.

  1. They can come with me on a tour. I will be returning to Tanzania each year and also expanding into new countries. For example, this fall I will be in Botswana scouting an outreach tour in parts of the Kalahari Desert. I am always looking for bright, motivated, committed and adventuresome individuals who want to join me!
  2. They can work with me to raise funds for my partner NGOs in Africa. I work with small, grassroots organizations that do what they do in excellence but that also need lots of support. Friends often support UNITE by hosting house parties during which I can speak to their extended networks about the work we do and our beneficiaries, and about the very specific tasks/expertise that we need at that given moment.
  3. They can help spread the word by sending news of UNITE to their friends and colleagues who may be interested in doing hands-on development work in Africa.
  4. They can email me directly at atmwells@gmail.com, and we can brainstorm. I am always open to new ideas and possibilities.

T: Thank you Anne!

A: Karibu sana! (You are most welcome!)

Michelle Obama is Goddess of the Week

Written by Tabby Biddle

Presenting GODDESS OF THE WEEK …

Michelle Obama

First Lady and Leader of Let’s Move


god•dess n:
1. one of a group of superstar female beings who uses her feminine wisdom and supernatural powers to heal the collective consciousness and create good in the world.
2. a woman who pursues causes and concerns with passion, unconcerned about challengers and naysayers.
3. a woman who is courageous, gutsy and dares to live her truth.
4. a female who emanates love, beauty, and grace just by showing up.

I have chosen Michelle Obama as Goddess of the Week because she is working BIG TIME on helping America raise a healthier generation of kids, and in effect improving the overall health of our country.

For those not familiar yet with her program, Michelle is leading an initiative called “Let’s Move” to help solve our country’s epidemic of childhood obesity. Did you know that childhood obesity has tripled in the last 30 years, and that one third of America’s children are obese? Childhood obesity is not only damaging our kids physically, mentally, and emotionally, it is also destroying the health of our country.

“Before coming to the White House the President and I lived lives like most families. Two working parents – busy — trying to maintain some balance — picking kids up from school, and trying to get things done at work. Just too busy. Not enough time. And what I found myself doing was probably making up for being unable to cook a good meal for my kids – was going to fast food a little more than I’d like, ordering pizza, … And I started to see the effects on my family, particularly my kids. It got to the point where our pediatrician basically said you may want to make some changes. So I started making those changes. Short, easy changes. But they led to some really good results.”

— Michelle Obama

Michelle is now bringing the lessons she learned to the White House, and to the country at large.

The Let’s Move initiative has four key components:

  1. Helping parents make healthier choices for their families
  2. Healthier foods in the schools
  3. Access and affordability of healthy foods
  4. Increased physical activity for our kids

“Let’s Move is going to take families out of their isolation and give them the nationwide support that they need in a whole range of industries to get their kids on track to live healthier lives, to eat right, to get more exercise, and to be ready to face the challenges of the future,” said Michelle in an interview posted on the Let’s Move website.

Yipppeee!

Thank you Michelle for putting the focus of government where it needs to be – supporting the health and well-being of its citizens. Without healthy people in America, we’ve pretty much lost our course. If America aims to be a leader in the world, demonstrating healthy growth, prosperity, safety and peace for its people, then how we take care of ourselves as individuals and as a nation has to be the number one priority. Who cares how many tall buildings we construct, how much technology we invent, or how many companies we build? Without healthy citizens, it doesn’t mean much.

You can learn more and get involved by going to Let’sMove.gov.

Goddess of the Week! Dr. Christiane Northrup

god•dess n:
1. one of a group of superstar female beings who uses her feminine wisdom and supernatural powers to heal the collective consciousness and create good in the world.
2. a woman who pursues causes and concerns with passion, unconcerned about challengers and naysayers.
3. a woman who is courageous, gutsy and dares to live her truth.
4. a female who emanates love, beauty, and grace just by showing up.

My intention in creating Goddess of the Week is to make women and their great work more visible.   Goddess of the Week is just a start to my efforts in promoting women. I’ll be adding new elements in the coming months. Stay tuned.

Presenting the GODDESS OF THE WEEK

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

OB/GYN, visionary, author and international speaker for women’s health and healing

“I’ve spent the first half of my life studying and footnoting everything that can go wrong with the female body – and figuring out how to fix it. I’m dedicating the second half of my life to illuminating everything that can go right with the female body, including teaching women how to truly flourish.”

— Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., author, visionary, women's healer

I have chosen Christiane Northrup as Goddess of the Week because by living her personal truth, she is helping women reclaim their power as sexual, sensual, soulful and spiritual beings!
Christiane Northrup is healing women around the world. While trained traditionally at Dartmouth Medical School and Tufts New England Medical Center, Christiane found the courage to speak up and voice the knowledge that was coming to her through her intuitive wisdom. Combining her expertise as a classically-trained physician in Western medicine with her feminine intuitive healing wisdom, she became an advocate for looking at women’s health from a whole person perspective (as opposed to a mechanistic perspective). In the mid ‘80s, she co-founded the Women to Women health care center in Yarmouth, Maine, which has become a model for women’s clinics nationwide. These clinics are devoted to healthcare for women, by women and combine alternative and conventional medicine. The work at these clinics is focused on the underlying causes of a woman’s illness, rather than simply treating the symptoms. It is based around the premise that many physical health problems have their roots in a woman’s mental, emotional and spiritual bodies as well as in her lifestyle choices. Thus when a woman changes the basic conditions of her life that have led to her health problems, she heals faster, more completely, and with far fewer medical interventions.

Christiane’s groundbreaking book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, hit the stands in 1994. Over 1.4 million copies have been sold in 16 languages. The book has empowered women around the world to understand their health from a holistic standpoint of self-awareness. It has given them the tools to actively heal themselves. Additionally, she has broken the taboos of conversation around natural processes such as menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, providing women a space for self-acceptance, compassion, and ownership of their unique and beautiful feminine bodies.

In 2000, Christiane published The Wisdom of Menopause, which has been changing the dialogue about menopause and radically changing women’s lives. No longer do women feel their feminine life is over when they hit 50 or thereabouts. It’s actually blossoming! She debunks the stereotype of menopause being a frenzy of hot flashes and mood swings. Instead, she proves it to be a time of incredible creativity and wisdom for women.

More recently, she wrote a book called Mother-Daughter Wisdom, which explores how the mother-daughter bond sets the stage for a woman’s health throughout her life. And in 2008, published The Secret Pleasures of Menopause, proving that the “The Big M” can actually be one the most pleasurable times of life for a woman!

This is actually only a snippet of Christiane’s Northrup’s incredible work.  Read more about how Christiane’s work has directly affected me in Fearless Women.

Yay Christiane! Your work is outstanding and is healing women on such a deep level. The world is a better place because of your courage to speak and live your truth.

Thank you.

NEW FEATURE! Goddess of the Week

Written by Tabby Biddle

god•dess n:
1. one of a group of superstar female beings who uses her feminine wisdom and supernatural powers to heal the collective consciousness and create good in the world.
2. a woman who pursues causes and concerns with passion, unconcerned about challengers and naysayers.
3. a woman who is courageous, gutsy and dares to live her truth.
4. a female who emanates love, beauty, and grace just by showing up.

Each week I will be featuring a woman who is doing good things in the world and/or daring to live her truth. These women will come from all fields including education, health, arts and entertainment, journalism, politics, world relations, motherhood, business, finance, technology, media and more.

My intention in creating Goddess of the Week is to make women and their great work more visible. I think traditional media is a little too wrapped up in women as beauty icons, fashionistas, and boy-crazy bloodhounds. While I love beauty, fashion and boys (let’s make that men), what about the incredible work that women are doing every day all over the world?

Goddess of the Week is just a start to my efforts in promoting women. I’ll be adding new elements in the coming months. If you are on my mailing list, you will be informed about these things. If you are not on my list and want to stay up to date, please consider signing up. I promise not to over-email. You can always unsubscribe at any time.

GODDESS OF THE WEEK:

Vicki Abeles, Director and Producer of  Race to Nowhere

Vicki Abeles, filmmaker

Vicki is a mom to three children living in Lafayette, CA. She has a background as a corporate attorney and consultant, and now as a filmmaker is on a mission to bring to center stage the need for workable solutions to issues surrounding America’s education system. Read on to the next post for details about her INCREDIBLE work. Thank you Vicki for all that you are doing!