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Weathering Grief By Cheryl Jones

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Weathering Grief By Cheryl Jones
ruby-bridges

Ruby Bridges by Norman Rockwell

Last night my choir, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, performed a benefit concert for the Ruby Bridges School in Alameda, California. We’ve done that for the past few years and it’s always great. I love our service concerts; prisons, schools, homeless shelters, nursing homes. I sound altruistic, but really, I admit, it’s a little selfish. It feels good when the music touches people down deep and that’s always true when we give it as a pure gift!

Anyway, I was up there in the alto section, robed and ready. The curtain opened and suddenly my heart put two and two together. This “bunch of misfits” (as the director Terrance Kelly likes to call us) would not have been possible, let alone flourishing, without people like Ruby Bridges, Martin Luther King Jr., my dad (he would be so embarrassed to be in the same sentence that way). People showed up, they risked, they walked into enemy territory with no weapon, they went to jail or school or lunch counters and the main point was that we humans needed to be together, not separate.

That’s what Ruby Bridges said last night. Some day, when we are in trouble (and we will be) we will not care what the person looks like who helps us.

That made me think back a few years. My mother was in the intensive care unit for a bleeding ulcer when she hemorrhaged. Blood coming out of everywhere and, through the tiny window in the hall, my wife and I saw person after person rush to her bed. It seemed like the whole staff of the ICU was crowded around that tiny bed (that was very close to the truth, as it turned out). I had just arrived at the hospital and before my wife spoke, I knew things weren’t good. “It’s bad, honey,” she said and moments later, they rushed her out, literally running to the OR. Her nurse, the one we liked the best, came out and gave us the details, betraying his lack of confidence in her chances for survival.

It’s funny what you do at a time like that. I called the section leader from the choir to let her know I wouldn’t be at rehearsal (!) She said, “I can’t believe you’re calling me,” or something like that, and I said, almost as an afterthought, “ask people to pray, please.”

I pray, but in a pretty “equal opportunity” way. “God, whatever you are, whatever is true, please walk with me to the best outcome. Please support me (or whoever I’m praying for) for the greater good.” Stuff like that. Having tried on Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Native American practices, and many others ways of looking at the Mystery, I find they all lead to the same place in me, so I don’t discriminate. I knew already that when you ask an interfaith gospel choir to pray, well, you are going to get nearly every kind of prayer known to humankind and that’s part of what I love about the choir. I was immediately glad I had thought to ask.

The days passed and somehow, she lived. Medical personnel found it hard to believe and dropped by her room just to confirm she was still kicking (that was definitely a figure of speech at that point). One told her that he didn’t expect to ever see again in his career someone who lived through what she did. The doctor told us right after surgery that things were a mess and he didn’t even know exactly whether he had succeeded but then, several days in, told her, “well, I guess you’re going to make it.”

All of this was coming back to me up on that stage. I was looking across at Ruby Bridges, who walked, alone, into a river of white kids, the first child, at six, to integrate that southern school and she was surrounded by a sea of at least 50 children, every color, clamoring around the stage and high-fiving our director as they looked up at us, every religion and spiritual tradition, every color too, and a diversity of sexual orientations, reflecting what Ruby Bridge’s courage had helped create.

“Pray for my mom.”

I called the section leader back a few days later to tell her it looked like my mom was going to make it. I told her it was a miracle (I could think of no other word). Then out of my mouth came, “It looks like when we all pray for the same thing, God says, ‘All my people are together; I guess we should give them what they want.”

 

On Good Grief we explore the losses that define our lives. Each week, we talk with people who have transformed themselves through the profound act of grieving. Why settle for surviving? Say yes to the many experiences that embody loss! Grief can teach you where your strengths are, and ignite your courage. It can heighten your awareness of what is important to you and help you let go of what is not.
On Good Grief, we are inspired by people who have made something miraculous out of their deepest heartaches! We listen as they share how they have walked through their own exquisite pain and what they have gained as a result. We come away ready to follow our own dreams to a deeper, more meaningful time on this beautiful earth! Listen for Good Grief, broadcast live every Wednesday at 2 PM Pacific Time on the VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Channel.

DeAnna L’am: Red Tents in Every Neighborhood World Summit by Leslie Carol Botha

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DeAnna L’am: Red Tents in Every Neighborhood World Summit by Leslie Carol Botha

deannaTune in to Holy Hormones Honey! with Leslie Botha for her New Episode “DeAnna L’am: Red Tents in Every Neighborhood World Summit” on the Voiceamerica Health and Wellness Channel airs Thursday January 9th 9am Pacific Time.

How would the world be different if girls growing up today had a Red Tent to go to in their own neighborhood?

Judith Duerk first asked in 1989: “How might your life have been different if there had been a place for you to be, a place of women, where you were nurtured as you sought to become yourself?”

DeAnna L’am has gathered 30 women from around the world to participate in the first-ever Red Tent Summit.

Why is the Red Tent such a phenomenon?

It seems that women around the world are touched to their core by this story of the biblical Hebrew tribe of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, told through the lens and voice of its women.

At the center of these women’s experience is the ‘Red Tent’: a sacred space where women gathered to rest, renew, and share their stories.

The Red Tent is now a global movement inspiring women to honor and celebrate each others stories and achievements.

DeAnna will share her inspirational wisdom on the revival of the Red Tent tradition for women of all ages.

Guest Bio: DeAnna L’am

A pioneer in Menstrual Empowerment, DeAnna L’am is a recognized world expert in helping women and girls make coming-of-age easier, and womanhood richer.

Like many women, DeAnna struggled with PMS and for many years viewed her period as a bother and a nuisance. In 1992 she began a personal journey toward embracing her monthly cycle, which led her to “reverse the curse!”

Having already been a trained coach and facilitator at the time, she called her first Menstrual Empowerment circle in 1994. The response was overwhelming, and the journey embarked upon — profound.
DeAnna empowers women to reclaim menstruation as source of inner guidance and spiritual renewal; coaching Moms in the art of welcoming their daughters into empowered womanhood, and training women to hold Red Tents in their communities.  DeAnna is author of Becoming Peers – Mentoring Girls Into Womanhood and A Diva’s Guide To Getting Your Period.

Botha-player-wide

About Leslie Carol Botha

Leslie Carol Botha is host of Holy Hormones Honey! on the VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Channel.  Botha is also a Women’s Health Educator and Internationally Recognized Expert on Women’s Hormones and Behaviors. She is the co-author of the highly acclaimed Understanding Your Mind, Mood, and Hormone Cycle, the first in a menstrual health education series that provides women with the education they never received about how their hormone cycle affects not only their minds, and moods, but their personal and professional relationships and their overall health and happiness.

Botha is a member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research, and an advisory board member for the Cycles Research Institute. In 2006, Botha received the Edward R. Dewey Award for her pioneering research on how women’s hormonal fluctuations affect their behaviors. The award was bequeathed by the Foundation for the Study of Cycles.

Her research is also featured in The World According to Cycles- How Recurring Forces Can Predict the Future and Change Your Life by Samuel A. Schreiner, Jr., published by Skyhorse Publishing, New York City. Schreiner has noted that Botha is “one of the most prominent twenty-first century natural cycle thinkers.”

Botha has been a radio broadcast journalist for over 30 years. Her message is loud and clear: it is time for women to reclaim their health, and her passion and drive is to provide information to assist women in making informed choices about their health and well-being.

 

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