Remarkable Lives, Remarkable Legacies:Women as Architects of Change

Posted by on Oct 27, 2007 in Events and Happenings, Happiness, Rhonda's Reflections | Comments Off on Remarkable Lives, Remarkable Legacies:Women as Architects of Change

Dear Treasured Traveling Companions,

I am writing this from Southern California
with ash still raining from the sky as a result
of the devastating fires that surround me in
Long Beach as I visit my three grandsons. To
the north is Malibu, to the south is Orange
County and San Diego, and to the east are the
fires in Lake Arrowhead and the forests of San
Bernardino County. The creepy orange glow
of the sun struggles to be seen through the
already too smoggy LA basin. How can there be
happiness knowing tragedy haunts so many.
And yet, if we are willing to see, positive things
can emerge even amidst such heartache and
challenge. From the ashes rises the Phoenix.

Just a couple of days ago before the fires had
made any progress toward containment I had
the opportunity to attend the afternoon session
of the Women’s Conference 2007, a day devoted
to honoring women hosted by Maria Shriver.
Here women gathered for a day of empowerment,
inspiration, acknowledgment. The meaning of the
day expanded as together we imagined ways to
provide relief for affected families. Together we
reflected on them, loosing their homes, jobs, and
life as they had known it, and attempted to vision
resilience for new beginnings. What we focus on
expands, and so we visioned peace and courage
for these families, and the safety of those risking
their lives to fight the fires.

It was amazing to hear the powerful presentations
of women such as Maria Shriver, Jamie Lee Curtis,
Linda Ellerbee, Nora Effron, and Nobel Peace Prize
recipient and activist Jody Williams. Distributed
were the Minerva Awards. The Maria Shriver Minerva
Award features Minerva, the Roman Goddess of
war and wisdom.

According to mythology, with her helmet on,
Minerva is a tireless warrior; without it she is the
goddess of peace. Today, women are warriors in
their everyday lives who nurture, protect and
fight for the people and causes they hold dear.
In her endeavors, Minerva embodies the qualities
of courage, wisdom and strength.

It was equally as powerful learn more about the
recipients of this award as it was to overhear the
conversations of ordinary women while standing in
line awaiting to be inspired. In a way, it was as touching
to hear these informal circles of women sharing from
their heart and imagining outside the box the ways
that they might be of service to those who were
experiencing loss in the surrounding communities.
Through contributions of time, energy, and money
and informal commitments made, a day devoted to
honoring women altered it’s focus to include offering
relief to the fire victims. Happiness honed by heartache
teaches us that we are all one and connected in some
way.

This conference is an event I will now plan to attend
each year, and many women there had already made it
an annual ritual pilgrimage. To hear/see clips of this
year’s conference, and years past, visit:
http://www.californiagovernorsconference.org/.

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