and I haven’t always been.
Inklings of Emerging Wisdom
On April 26, I posted on my Facebook timeline Gloria Steinem’s words of wisdom heard on a PBS news segment.
Gloria received 61 likes, 9 comments, and 10 shares.
On April 28, while teaching a Church School class, I quoted myself. My friend, Carol, said, “That was a great quote. Who said that?”
I told her, “I did! I’ve been saying that since before 2012.”
Carol inspired me to post my quote. I did so on April 29.
I received 107 likes, 27 comments, and 14 shares.
Almost immediately after I posted, a colleague wanted to know if she could use it. I told her, “Yes, just give me credit. These are the wisest words I’ve ever said.”
Discovering a new direction
I took note. No other Facebook post had received so much attention. I figured my Facebook friends were hungry to hear from women. And so, I began listening for Women’s Wisdom and posting their pictures and words three times a week.
This activity gives me pleasure and I feel as though I am making some kind of contribution. I believe the world needs more of women’s wisdom. Seems like the torch I’m carrying these days.
At the request of one of my blog followers who does not participate on Facebook, I am going to start including Women’s Wisdom in my blog.
The Story Behind My Quote
Sometime before 2012, my cousin, Mike, who lives in South Carolina, and I had a conversation about our sadness about the emotional distance in our family. We are just not a close family.
We decided to begin having regular phone conversations to get to know each other better. I had one caveat … that we talk experience, not beliefs. Mike and I have very different religious beliefs and I didn’t want our conversations to end in alienation. He has a good heart and I respect his beliefs … I just don’t share them. I have no need to evangelize him and would prefer he not evangelize me. Fortunately, Mike agreed to my request.
Validating My Wisdom
He talked about having had lymphoma, going through a divorce, losing a job and worrying about health insurance. I noted that he experienced some of the same hard knocks in life that I had experienced … only he dealt with them in a much better way than I was dealing with mine. I wanted the serenity and equanimity Mark possessed.
I had never heard of Mark, so I searched for him on the internet, sure that he was from California and way out of reach for me. Much to my surprise and delight, he is from Kalamazoo, Michigan … a six-hour drive from my home. I signed up for his year-long program. Later, when I told my friend, Dan, about it, he signed up, too.
At one of our sessions, I relayed the story of the way my cousin and I are growing closer along with the ground rules I requested. A few months after the end of the program, I received an email from Mark.
He asked permission to include my wisdom in the book he was currently writing … The Endless Practice. In the chapter, “Praise and Blame” Mark wrote:
Beliefs tend to harden us by confirming our own view, while sharing what happens to us lets us discover the common center that lives within all personal experience. ~Mark Nepo
I received further validation during an interview with an integral qualitative analyst following the 2016 election. I responded to her question about how we might overcome the polarization in our country with …
“I think if we could share our experience with each other instead of arguing beliefs, we might come to at least understand each other even if we don’t agree.”
Later she revealed to me that she was struck by the wisdom in that suggestion.
Then, in April of 2017, I received another email from Mark. He had shared my story while speaking in Southern California.
“I share that story often, and it is even more potent in our time today. Just wanted you to know that what you learned is reaching others. Much love, Mark”
I am a slow learner. At last, with all this validation, I am able to claim:
Today I Am a Woman of Wisdom!
What about you?
How have you found yourself in a process of growing in wisdom?
What wisdom has life taught you?
What words of wisdom do you have to share with us?