Posts tagged ‘women’s convention’

September 1, 2018


by lisa st john

“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future.

If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay.

Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously.

Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky.

Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.” –Thich Nhat Hanh


O.K. was born, then grew up to be okay.

There’s been a few times in my life when I heard something and–despite all the turmoil and fear and shitty things going on in the world–I knew that everything was going to be okay. I knew that good, true life was all around if I chose to see it. Here are a few examples.



After a class discussion on the relevance of A Handmaid’s Tale
Distraught looking white female student about to leave…
     Me: “Hey, are you okay?”
Student: “I…I think I just realized that I’m a minority.”
Sad looking white male student after hearing how often girls in the class have been catcalled …
     Student: “I am so sorry. I’m sorry. I never knew how bad it was for all of you out there. I never      knew.”

After walking into the ocean for the first time after Kent died

crying… “I’m still here. The ocean is always here, always, alive.”




The best examples of hearing the okay-ness of the world have come from my beautiful son. Happy Birthday, Little Bear.


During a National Geographic video
MOM… how can people look at giraffes and not believe in evolution?” (age: 6-ish)

After school
“Mom! You’re not gonna believe this poet I just found out about in English class today.”
Me: “Honey, I’m an English teacher myself I think I know….”
“Trust me mom, you don’t know THIS guy. His name is Charles Bukowski!” (age: high school)

During a guided viewing of the Robert de Niro & Kenneth Branagh Frankenstein film (because we all know who the real monster is)
Deep sigh, hands thrown in the air, head rolling back against couch…
Me: “What’s wrong? Is it getting too scary?”
Eye roll…
“NO! But, but NOW who am I supposed to feel sorry for?” (age: 8-ish)

During a visit to Detroit for the Women’s Convention
“Mom, we’ve got something to tell you. I’m going to be a father.”





How about some joy?           How about some deep, soulful joy?


One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these — to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do. –Pinkola Estes



November 9, 2017

Immeasurable Heaven

by lisa st john

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion 
And the act…                 
  –T.S.Eliot’s The Hollow Men” 



As I sit at the Detroit airport picking past the pretzels in my bar mix (say honest to god pretzels don’t taste the same as tree bark) I wonder about the in between.

The crumbs of the salty nacho bagel chips have to affect the smooth, oriental rice crackers. They are in there together, right?

Together and in between.

If I got nothing else out of the Women’s Convention it was this: we are all in this together, and to win we must work together and for each other. I don’t have what it takes to run for a local political office, but I DO have a hand on my sister’s back who does have the courage to run.

It’s changing. American society really is changing this time. Five years ago a female student argued with me about women being minorities. “Not anymore they’re not,” she decreed. I asked her to come back to me when she finished medical school to tell me I was wrong and that she was treated equally alongside her male peers. She hasn’t come back. I hoped she would be right. Not yet.

Between the conception
And the creation 
Between the emotion
And the response…

But standing next to my daughter-in-law in a hall with 3,000 other women who are working to change the status quo has given me real hope. We (I am 52 years old. Boomer? Gen X?) didn’t raise our daughters OR OUR SONS to be anything other than equal. Men are a huge part of this movement, and we need to make that a big part of the discussion.

Rose McGowan’s speech gave me goose bumps. But is was when Rev. Mark Thompson (the only male speaker) said, about sexual assault, “This didn’t start in Hollywood…it began when they first stepped off the boat here…continued throughout slavery…the white man turned on his own women…the true history of sexual assault is a straight line…” I realized that this isn’t just another movement. This is real. 

We aren’t rookies either. Look at how long it took to get marriage equality. We have been working on many levels for many causes, but it’s time to focus on women again.

Senator Nina Turner reminded us, “We have been here before.”

Side note: if you haven’t seen the documentary about the history of the Women’s Movement, SHE’S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE’S ANGRY, please watch it.

I cannot imagine my friends’ daughters letting someone tell them, “No. You can’t. You’re a girl.” They are the strongest generation because the daughters and granddaughters of the 1970’s are raising them.

“There is no Trump white house big or bad enough to stop women who are determined to shake this world.” (Sen. Turner) Pre and post Trump? Pre and post the social revolutions of the 70s and 80s?

Republicans versus Democrats? “Dr. Bernice King gave a speech earlier this year to the DNC. She said that, today, people are not looking for people just based on whether they’re Democrat or Republican — they’re looking for people who will stand up for humanity” (Nina Turner). Are there natural dichotomies? Or is everything in a state of in between?

Laniakea: immeasurable heaven. It’s where we live, in a supercluster of galaxies.
It’s in between

gorgeous galactic collisions. Tom Chi explains, in his awesome TED Talk “Everything is Connected” says that, “Every one of our heartbeats is connected” through iron. Fe. He explains it much better than I could. 

We are in between and we are together. “Every breath contributes to countless lives after you…Each one of these things that we put out into the world through the creative process … allow us to expand the Palate of Being for all of society after us” (Chi). We have to continue to fight for equal rights (that sounds so redundant and obvious when I type it out). My point is, we CAN make this happen. We CAN smile when our grandchildren ask us what is was like before the Equal Rights Amendment passed.
So we are in between right now. And in immeasurable heaven. And we are all connected.

Between the desire
And the spasm 
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent…
falls the shadow. 
What falls next is up to us.


%d bloggers like this: