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{ Volume XXIV, Number 3 } May & June 2009 A Publication of the Women’s Community Center of San Luis Obispo

po County

Ashley Wertheimer “Looking Up”

3 Mother’s Day 7 Voices Around 9 Unsung Heroine: 13

The Table Priscilla Mikesell

6 Thank You 8 Eve-o-lution 10 Motherhood

Lunafest Sponsors!
2 Women’sPress Women’s Press | May & June 2009 |

Courtney’s Quill Drum Circle Magic Part Six: ASHE

Becoming part
As spring lopes by and the weather toggles
from cool to extremely warm, I can’t help
of the circle
but look forward to summer. While I have By Kathleen Deragon
made it my goal to be present in the moment
and to appreciate each day in its singularity, My mother is a party girl, and I figured
I long for lingering summer days and warm she was also interested in what her “kooky-
evenings. Perhaps it’s because I’m a teacher: bird” daughter was doing when I told her
the late nights I spend grading papers, the I was going “drumming.” So recently when
low pay, and the persistent term “budget Mom flew up from LA for my brother’s
cuts” looming around the halls gets erased 50th birthday celebration, I invited her to
the minute I submit my grades and bask in come to drumming with me. Initially, she
the knowledge that for two and a half months refused, but curiosity and her desire for a
all I have to do is play with my kids, read for good time won out and she came to Oak
pleasure, and tend to my garden. So while I Haven Gardens and joined ten of us (ages
am trying to be present, I am also lost in my 50-75) for an incredible session. Mom, 82,
day dreams of a near future. initially sat outside our circle, but she was
But before summer comes my most cher- invited to join in using some percussion
ished personal holiday, Mother’s Day. Maya instruments that are always available, such
Angelou once said, “A mother’s love liber- as tambourines and rattles. The beats of our
ates.” To me this sums up my ultimate goal 40-minute improv session soon were ines-
as a mother. I want to liberate my children capable and Mom eventually was shaking
from hate, from unhealthy ego, from narcis- By Francesca Bolognini who have been stifled, discouraged, trau- and drumming along with the rest of us.
sistic desires, from…well, from all the worst matized, or prohibited, it is still just below She became part of our circle.
the world can offer. And while this lofty goal Welcome back to the circle. Our adven- the surface, and for the good of all, must If any of you readers are hesitant to join
is not completely possible, I do believe that tures in rhythm have covered the univer- be reconnected to our Souls. In her must in because you have never drummed, heed
it is somewhat attainable by trying to be a sal to the personal, modes of instruction read book on the history of drumming, this story. You, too, will find yourself part
mother that is aware, lives with intent, and and experience, the heart and the vocabu- When the Drummers Were Women, Priest- of our circle, keeping the beat, and hav-
teaches forgiveness and humility. And as you lary of drumming. We shall next explore ess of the Drum and accomplished author ing a grand time learning like the rest of us
can see from the amazing articles women sub- how drumming affects our shared con- Layne Redmond lays out an enlightening what it feels like to discover and express the
mitted about mothers, my sentiment is shared sciousness and by extension, our culture. timeline. She illustrates in concise, inspir- rhythms we all possess.
by many.
The term “Ashe” is an African word, trans- ing prose and fabulous pictorial documen- Join us for drumming! We have 100
Women’s Press also would like to announce
lating as “so be it”. Almost indefinable in tation, the progression of the ascent to the names on our notification list and would
our official entrance into the world of online
our culture, it refers a state to being, com- loss of our feminine focus in “civilized” cul- like to see yours there, too. We drum
technology. Yes, Women’s Press has an updated
pletely in the moment, balanced mentally, ture through the gain of rhythmic sophis- every 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month.
and hip website. Please visit us at www.wom-
physically, spiritually, and sexually, in touch tication and subsequent suppression in Contact us with your name, e-mail, and Furthermore, we are also
with Divine energy which is seen as gender- the service of war. This book is a real eye area of the county in which you live:
twittering. Follow us at
less, channeling both love and sensuality in opener, explaining the importance of our
press. And finally, we have a Facebook page.
a conscious, connected way. In this state, rhythmic heritage and empowerment to the
Find us under our email and add us as your
timing becomes perfect, the flow becomes expression of feminine influence and cre-
friend. Whew… are you still with me? I know
intuitive, and the groove irresistible, heal- ation of balance within societies and their Cover Artist Ashley Wertheimer
this is a lot to take in, but I also know that by
staying connected and in touch, we are much ing, and transformational. Such connection interactions with others. Our cover artist Ashley
stronger and more vocal. requires surrender to the moment, without To play in circle in a state of Ashe is to Wertheimer, is a art and
How did we get so technologically savvy, the crutches of analysis and critique as com- reach beyond the self. Often, when I feel design senior at Cal Poly,
you may be wondering? Well, it is not me. I fort zone. Focus must range to the center, exhausted with a certain rhythm, about to her piece ”Looking Up”
must give overwhelming praise to our amaz- embodying group consciousness. stop, one of the players or listeners will step was recently shown to the
ing intern, Cassandra Carlson. Cassie has This is a pivotal time on our planet. up to dance. Once they begin, I feel I can- the public in the Culti-
been working with us for six months and has We are in a unique position to affect the not stop because she just started, and so I vated Power senior work
diligently put together our website and twitter future of all life. To successfully heal serious play a bit longer. Subtly, because of surren- art show. Her painting
account. Cassie, a journalist major at Cal Poly environmental and social imbalances, it is der to the movement before me, I am swept takes a inferior view on
and feminist advocate, also helped build this imperative that women become empowered up by a wave of renewal, entranced and car- nature as the viewer looks
issue, showing us a few things about content to bring the divine feminine principles back ried far beyond my previous energy level up the tree trunks almost
and design. I anticipate that Cassie will have a to a prominent position in collective con- and into the realm of the Sacred. That’s looking to see the future.
sciousness. Values of nurturance, love, and what I’m talking about. Going beyond the Her use of warm colors “Surrender”
long and successful future ahead of her, and I
can only hope to always be her friend. sensuality are essential to both men and bounds of ego, where dancer, rhythm, and are used successfully as the picture exudes a
Finally, our next issue will have a special women. Men must have safe and enjoyable dance become one. So envision a balanced, perfect summer day for our May/June issue.
section focusing on creative women in cel- ways to express this energy as well. We, as peaceful world, and allow your sensual, In her free time Wertherimer enjoys full
ebration of Day of Creative Women (August women, however, have the advantage, in rhythmic self to manifest. Until next time, moon worshiping and loves to travel.
8, 2009 in Mission Plaza). Please send us your that this energy is natural to us. For those keep the beat!
thoughts, articles, and ideas. Until the next
time, thank you again for your continued WOMEN’S COMMUNITY CENTER BOARD
Courtney Angie King, President
Sonia Paz Baron-Vine
Robin Rinzler
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May & June 2009 | | Women’s Press LocalPerspectives: Mother’s Day 3

More Than Just Hands

Mother’s Day By Natalie Mendoza stabilized control over my hands is what I
have accomplished in order to establish this
While eating dinner at a prestigious res- passion of mine. Although my hands do
taurant, I noticed my mother fidgeting not have the ability to catch a victory pass
with her hands under the table. Discerning in football, my hands are capable enough to
my curious facial expression, she quickly create such a vivid image on paper.
responded in a self-conscious tone, “I com- My hands are objects of my creative
pletely forgot to put lotion on. I don’t even mind. I adorn and personalize all of my
want to show my hands.” My mother’s his- belongings, my hands being one of them.
tory of cleaning houses is visibly exposed I add excitement to my life by painting
through her ashy and wrinkled hands. With my nails with crazy colors and unpredict-
sympathy toward her concerns I responded, able designs. Every new pattern satisfies
“Don’t be embarrassed. Your hands are the my need for change; a new combination of
hands of a woman who has worked hard bright colors expresses the liveliness of my
her entire life.” At that moment my moth- emotions. I do not like to blend in and fit
er’s hands stood out as a representation of into what everybody else does. Decorating
someone who has physically struggled and my hands so that they do not look like any-
fought to survive, a representation of some- body else’s demonstrates my belief in indi-
one who has suffered through backbreaking viduality.
labor. My mom’s withered but sturdy hands Most importantly, my hands are the
represent who she is and the challenges she multi-functioning hands of a student.
has gone through. They have not been damaged by chemicals
Looking down at my own hands, with like my mother’s. My hands have not been
not a scratch to complain about, I felt I exposed to dangerous conditions, causing
should be the one embarrassed. The toil- them to age with unnatural rapidity. With
some work of my mother only made my the joined force of my signaling brain, my
placid lifestyle more obvious. Just like my hands have adapted to typing and writing
mom’s hands, my hands have a story to tell papers. I am able to work a calculator with
Photo by Scott M. Liddell about whom I am and what I do. My hands the rapid movement of a couple of fingers.
reflect my personality. My hands reveal the This ability is easily taken for granted by
Editor’s note: Happy Mother’s Day! person I dedicate myself to being. I believe many, but in my perspective, is significantly
Though this holiday is often viewed as “hallmark-y,” many of our readers went that hands are a direct and basic representa- valued through my belief.
beyond the obvious and sent us wonderful snippets of love and beauty. I think tion of individuality. By means of careful observation, I have
of mothers as not just women who have born children, but of women who have Unlike my mother, I do not have a sin- concluded that my hands are the simplest
taught, helped, lead, and supported, and really have been the foundation for gle scar on either of my hands. They are as version of my personality at its entirety.
which all has been built upon. I also view the power of motherhood in nature, as smooth and well preserved as can be. This They may not reveal such qualities that
exemplified by the name “Mother Nature.” is due to my weakness in athleticism and make my mother the wonderful person she
my fear of taking part in risky activities. My is, but they reveal the qualities that make
preference lies in the leisure of placid diver- me unique as an individual. A simple belief
sion. The rush and challenge that athletes in the meaning of hands carries valuable

The Lady I Called Mom feel when playing sports is what I feel when
I draw. The ability to be precise and to have
and revealing messages.

By MaryAine Cherry

I noticed when I would call home that Dad

answered the phone now, and I didn’t hear
Mom wanting to know who it was like she
used to. I always talked to Mom and not
so much to Dad. I thought the change was
because Mom had a hard time hearing with
the phone, but she was really just slipping
away: when visiting conversations became
misunderstood and lost any flow that took
place when each person clearly heard the
I moved back to SLO to be closer to
my elderly parents, family, and grandson. I
didn’t know what a short time I would have
with my beloved Mother. She didn’t talk years, she realized there was so much more
much, and when she did, it was often as if to loving and listening. I felt so understood
she was having a separate conversation. She by her that day.
seemed to be enjoying her own thoughts After her death, Dad and I went through
and company. I listened to her reflections boxes stored in the garage and found saved
on her past and was content to simply sit school work, rewards, holiday cards, and
with her, holding her hand. She often told drawings from our childhood. Five gen-
us we were miracles and special angels sent erations and 69 years of pictures were in
from God to bless her life. What a mom! albums. My mom was a housewife that
I didn’t notice how thin she became obviously cherished her nine children and
because she often wore oversized clothes. loved her family unconditionally. She saved
When she became very ill, I realized how bundles of letters that were written in the
thin she was as I helped her dress one day. I 40’s while Dad was in the Navy and kept
believe her body was shutting down slowly; mementos from all the places they lived
her organs were giving up life. during those early years.
As she sat on the couch, her mind In her later years, Mom started painting
drifted to happier times as she told me sto- watercolor nature scenes (all throughout her
ries about my brothers and sisters. She said seventies), giving all of us original works by Photo by Preston
she was going home to her mother and her. It’s never too late to learn something
father. They were waiting. I now under- new. Love, respect, and willingness to try
stand when she started calmly talking that are the qualities Mom gave us, and she was My Mother
way that she was preparing to die. an inspiring, well-loved, real lady. My spirit,
I miss having Mom cheer me on and like hers, is the strongest part of me and she By Lynne Levine I could be whatever I want to be, has been
tell me how life will work out. When I told showed me that I can do anything I put my the guiding light in my life. Love, indepen-
her I was getting a divorce several years ago, mind to. I have to believe in myself like she My Mother, Rae Klion, was so ahead of dence, and compassion were her legacy to
she simply said, “you haven’t met the right believed in me. her time in spirit and mind! Her uncondi- me and my children (whom she did not live
person yet and someday you will.” I never tional love for me taught me how to love to know), and has spanned two generations
imagined my mother would say something MaryAine Cherry is the founder of Return and her constant reminder that, as a young of Mothers -- me and my daughters. Her
like that to me, not with the strict religious To JOY! Release, Inspire, Believe. Her website woman (I was only 24 when she died at 48) teachings, by example, have indeed been
upbringing I had. Perhaps in her elder 89 is the foundation of our lives as Mothers.
4 LocalPerspectives: Mother’s Day Women’s Press | May & June 2009 |

Reciprocity With Mother Nature

Photos by Jeannie Greensfelder

By Jeannie Greensfelder A few monarchs flitted by and two jun- Before people arrived, Mother Nature’s gave something back. Believing something
cos trilled and jumped in a paired flurry wonders existed unheeded. Human beings mutual happened between my seeing and
On a hot-fudge sundae day, cold air with followed by a spring-time chase. When I were the first to reflect on beauty and to feel nature being seen invited a deeper aware-
blazing sunshine, I left the San Simeon pier reached the point, my vista included distant awe. Did our consciousness evolve because ness and heartfelt connection.
and walked half way down the beach to the mountains and nearby arched rocks. Beds nature wanted to be seen and appreciated? On my walk back, I observed the tex-
semi-secret trail that led to the point. of kelp danced below with each wave and We know people thrive when recognized tures and touched the bark of trees, feel-
Seeking nourishment, I inhaled the the blue sea merged with the sky. and valued. I received so much on this ing a new bond with the natural world that
good medicine of pine and eucalyptus trees. day and everyday and hoped my noticing more than ever needs attention.

The Bridesmaid and the Plumber’s Friend Mystique of Feminine

Mom to the Rescue
By Laura Grace
By Judythe Guarnera Connie went to work. (I’ll bet she was
good with toilets, too!) When she fin- Women are inherently mystical. We have a
“You’ve got one shot at it, Judy,” Dad ished, we proclaimed the car “as good as natural tendency to experience a direct con-
warned me when I was ready to take my new.” I suspect that working in almost total nection with the Divine. This occurs not
driving test. “I’m getting a new car, and I darkness might have influenced our only during prayer, meditation, or worship
am not about to trust a novice driver with optimistic assessment. I hugged her and but at any time. Women frequently describe
my first new car,” he warned. headed for home, anxious to get to the a deep sense of connection to God as part of
I passed the test, all the while convinced safely of my room. motherhood. We see God in others, and we
that Dad would change his mind. My The next day, as I left for work, I real- see God in our children and grandchildren.
pleas fell on deaf ears, my excitement melt- ized that my step mom was already gone. Experiencing God by adhering to specific
ing like a popsicle on a hot summer day. I She hadn’t said anything about the fender. paths and procedures, guidelines and rules,
continued to take the bus to work as I had Whew! I guess we did get that dent out. is not a necessary component of the wom-
expected. A few months That sure brightened my an’s spiritual journey. We accept that God is
later, I had the final fitting day. infinitely too big to fit into one religion or while reflecting on some of the changes I am
for my wedding dress. That evening Mom one path. For women, our spiritual journey witnessing in her, I came across a quote by
When I asked came rushing into and our lives are one and the same. an unknown author: “Mothers and daugh-
Dad to drive me, the house. “Joe, Rabbi Nachman, the grandson of the ters are closest, when daughters become
he hesitated only come here and founder of mystical Judaism, Baal Shem mothers.” In some of our recent conversa-
a moment and see what hap- Tov, once stated that if one desires to find tions, she has wanted to discuss some of the
tossed me the pened.” I held the Shekkina, the Divine or Mystical Femi- stories that I have shared with her over the
keys to his new my breath. They nine, then one should go to the place where years. Her desire for closeness is stronger
car. I suspected were talking women tell “stories.” Women’s spirituality than before, and I am seeing how profound
that the comfort excitedly when entails relying on and sharing our personal the mother-daughter bond truly is.
of his chair and a they came back. experiences. In my own life, when teaching Transitioning through the different
roaring fire were Mom told us the or presenting a spiritual message, I find that phases of our lives: menarche, infertility,
sufficiently moti- strange thing that I experience the greatest fulfillment from childbirth, the loss of a child, the decision
vating to over- had happened relaying a significant experience that I have not to bear children, menopause—are part
come his fear of my driving. that afternoon. She was visiting a friend in faced and evolved through. Doing so allows of a woman’s rite of passage that are closely
I gleefully dashed out of the house to the hospital when she heard a crash. She me to connect with the heart and soul of connected to our spiritual lives. They are an
pick up Connie, my maid of honor. When rushed to look out the fifth floor window other women who either have, or perhaps intimate part of our evolution in which we
the fitting was over, I was reluctant to change to see a car hastily backing away from her someday will, face a similar situation. I also seek reason to rejoice and find strength.
into my jeans and sweater. I was imagining crumpled right fender. find that I learn the most from women who As we experience “Mother’s Day,” may
how my future husband would smile when Later, as I considered this turn of events, share their personal experiences with me. we share our stories of overcoming obsta-
he saw me. I was giddy with excitement I had two competing thoughts. One was Sharing our stories with our daughters is cles, handling grief, and celebrating life.
when I got behind the wheel. The euphoria that mom might have had her own fender one of the most powerful gifts we can offer May we honor the divine and mystical fem-
disappeared when I cut a corner too sharply bender and made up the preposterous story, them. It is food for their soul. Our daugh- inine within our daughters, nieces, sisters,
and heard a crunch, as the right fender went so Dad wouldn’t be upset. The second ters may not remember some of the things mothers, grandmothers, friends, and, our-
metal to wood with a telephone pole. After thought, and probably more likely, was that that we have strived to teach them, but they selves.
pulling over, we approached the damaged mom noticed the dent when she left the will remember our experiences. Our per-
fender with pounding hearts to witness one house in the morning. As moms often do, sonal stories reveal how the journey is simi- Laura Grace is the spiritual leader for the
serious dent. she probably spent the day trying to come lar from one generation to another and how an interfaith spiritual community Circle of
Undaunted, Connie said, “I can fix up with a plausible story that would get me deeply connected we are. The mystical fem- Spiritual Enlightenment in San Luis Obispo,
that.” She smiled conspiratorially. When off the hook. inine aspect within us recognizes that we a teacher and spiritual director and a mem-
we got to her apartment, she dashed inside, After dad died, and for the rest of her help each other grow through our life sto- ber of Spiritual Directors International. She is
emerging with a triumphant smile and a life, I toyed with the idea of confessing to ries. a syndicated columnist for more than twenty
plumber’s friend. My startled look was met her. Instead, I just held in my heart another As I write this, my daughter, Alexis, is publications and is the author of the books
with a smug, “I’ve seen them do this on TV. reason why I loved her so much. three months pregnant. A few days ago, Gifts of the Soul and The Intimate Soul.
It literally pulls out the dent. “
May & June 2009 | | Women’s Press Body&Soul 5

White Queen Days, a little inspiration

remember I AM STILL ME. I think of those small suc-
Inglis Carre’-Dellard to ask questions and to ponder vari-
by Anne R. Allen
cesses and moments of joy that make up who I am, and ous answers as they relate to our-
I call these crazed times “White Queen Days,” after remember that I once published a couple of novels to So many of us begin our artis- selves and our worlds. In addition
Lewis Carroll’s White Queen, who ruled a kingdom good reviews; that I’ve been rewarded for honest work; tic quest with the goal of making to feeding our visual hunger, an art
where “It takes all the running you can do to keep in the that I have loved and been loved; and I have sung and “beautiful” things. We think the work that has meaning feeds our
same place.” danced and reveled in the wonders of creation. well-made object that is harmoni- spirits and intellects. It calls into
The White Queen offered Alice this advice for Maybe we can keep running like Alice, clinging ous, balanced, and gratifying to the being a correspondence between
to the White Queen, or maybe we can’t. Maybe we’ll senses is our ultimate goal. Perhaps the viewer and the artist.
surviving her “Looking Glass” realm: “Speak in French
end up living in a tent city, scrounging recyclables, or en- the most “original” or novel tech- The way we put meaning into
when you can’t remember the English for a thing; turn
nique, subject, or color palette will our work is to strive to express our
out your toes as you walk, and remember who you are!” slaved to a sociopathic husband or boss, terrified of los-
grab the viewers’ attention and sat- own explorations of our inner and
Pretty good advice for the surreal world of 2009. ing insurance benefits. Maybe we’ll watch our children
isfy their need for “beauty”. outer worlds. Copying another art-
Well, the French and the toe thing—not so much—but slip into poverty from lack of education. But it’s all part ist’s technique will make this job
I see a couple of major prob-
“remember who you are” is true wisdom. of a mad game perpetrated by players we cannot under- harder because that artist’s tech-
lems with an artist making beauty
When I’m feeling beaten down by the horrors stand or control. What we can control is our dignity, our their singular goal. The first one is nique evolved as a response to his or
of present reality, watching my income dwindle and memories, our hope, and a rock-solid sense of self. that the perfection of beauty is rare her explorations, not ours. Express-
expenses explode and when I’m cut off by the drones of and only achieved by a minority of ing our unique and innermost
“customer service” after three hours on hold—or treated Anne R. Allen is a freelance writer based in Los works, while the rest fail in varying selves is a risky business, and often
like a soulless bug by the medical-industrial complex, I Osos. degrees to meet the standard. The downright uncomfortable. It also
authors of these works feel inad- requires a certain boldness. The
equate. It is no wonder that, with upside is that we don’t have to have
all the answers. The questions are
Sanctuary Disconnect
such a small chance of a “success-
ful” outcome, artists tackling a new more interesting anyway.
project experience a degree of fear We don’t have to squeeze our-
and timidity that stifles free expres- selves out all over the canvas like
The narrow lane is a death trap for teens; a sion. This situation makes finding paint from a tube in order to reveal
By Anne Schroeder
girl’s memorial cross marks the side of the one’s artistic voice almost impos- some of ourselves. All we have to
The idea of “home as sanctuary”— road. sible. do is to allow the viewer of our
what’s not to love? A place of meditation, The lesson my husband and I have The second problem is that art more than a view of the visual
contemplation, seclusion that leaves me learned is to be careful what we ask for. beauty, by itself, has only a short recording of what we see—to allow
strong, ready to fight my spiritual foe: Our sanctuary is sometimes too much of lived effect. Consuming it is like the viewer a glimpse of our core, a
at least, that’s what I keep telling myself. a good thing when it’s only the two of us, eating a sugary confection. The glimpse of our thoughts, feelings,
But this is the confession of a sanctuary and the evenings are long, and we miss the effects of the sugar will wear off in and questions about what we are
potato. social stimulation that town dwellers take an hour or two. What is needed painting. With this new, expanded
Eighteen years ago, when my for granted. is the complex carbohydrate of art goal before us, we may sometimes
husband and I were looking for a new Our home a sanctuary? It’s a quiet called “meaning”. Meaning is the create expressions that go beyond
house, a sanctuary was at the top of place, a place of prayer and reading. My quality that fills us up and contin- illustration and put the heart back
the list. We found a winding road in rural Atascadero, an writing shack is being constructed in our ues to engage us by stimulating us into art!
ancient path for Salinan Indians making their way inland spare time with salvaged lumber and antique store finds.
from their sacred place at Morro Rock. But all of this begs the question, what came first: house
A place where mountains block the sun morning and as sanctuary or sanctuary as house? At my door I have two
afternoon, where wild gobblers preen in the middle of the hangings, a framed collection of Chinese hand-painted
road and where, for many years, we were limited to a single miniature greetings and a Christian blessing.
television station. At the mantle I have a bundle of sage for burning.
But we were blessed to be living among nature. We have In my prayer center, I have a font of holy water near my
bear, fox, mountain lion, deer, coyote, possum, rattlesnakes, crucifix. My daughter has fung shei-ed us for financial and
skunk, buzzards that circle above, strutting Tom turkeys, personal success. Seems like I’m covered. But, in truth, my
and (one day) a yard filled with teen-age, second-string thoughts are my sanctuary—the house is merely a reflection
Toms commiserating unrequited love. of who I try to be.
The downside of living in a sanctuary is that friends
rarely drive six miles down a dead-end road to “drop in.” It’s Anne Schroeder’s writing can be found at www.
a long trip into town for random acts like gym workouts.

Owning our power through meditation and non-resistance

ing. Not understanding, not controlling, not directing. Simply experiencing. Saying Yes to the moment
Ruth Cherry
and experiencing what is at any given second.
I get crazy when folks in my meditation group ask me “why” questions, or repeat what the current At first this exercise may serve to get us through a strained time, but eventually, and with time, it
guru has said on television, or talk in abstractions off the top of their heads. I am committed to making becomes a way of life. And then we don’t identify with the Controller, but with the one caught in
the Saturday morning meditation group a healing experience, but healing never happens intellectually. the current. We don’t know where we are being carried and we don’t need to. We simply say Yes
The Controller, or the side of us that wishes to take control, tells us to get into our heads. The Controller and go with the flow of our lives.
is trying to protect our vulnerability, to prevent too much feeling, and to live superficially. The Control- On an inner level we practice non-resistance to everything–I won’t fight any feeling which
ler is never the figure we call on when we want to live with passion and depth, the essence of medita- comes up, then acceptance of everything–thank you for this feeling which I don’t like, then
tion. trust–I say Yes to this second. Owning our power includes each of these steps. Non-resis-
The Controller helps us keep our lives going by attending to necessary details: keep food in the tance challenges those of us who like to act, who judge, and who want to correct. But as
fridge, cut the grass, balance the bank statement (or at least know pretty much where you stand), pay we accept that life is not a problem to be solved and that our minds (our Controllers) don’t
bills on time, change the sheets regularly, buy clothes on sale, and generally use good judgment in know best, we acknowledge the beauty and wisdom in the patterns of our lives, which
practical matters. lead us to heal. Life is for healing through experience. If our Controllers cut off our ex-
That’s great and we absolutely need the Controller’s input. I hope you have a strong Controller. perience, we can’t heal. Healing is messy and sometimes painful and always vulnerable,
But as with everything else, there is a time and place for the Controller. If we indulge the Control- and we’re never in control. Life knows what experiences we need to heal. We can go
ler with too much of our energy, we’ll have trouble sleeping, lose our spontaneity, forget how to with them or resist and stay in our heads.
have fun, and turn our lives into a series of projects to be completed. Owning our power may manifest in our gratitude for every little thing:“Thank you
The Controller is a subpersonality we develop from our experience growing up. In school we for my breath today.”“Thank you for that driver cutting me off and taking my park-
meet certain expectations; we arrive on time, keep our desks neat, hand in homework, and sit quietly ing place.” “Thank you for the latest disappointment.” How many times have I heard,
when the teacher speaks.We restrain our here-to-fore unrestrained natural enthusiasm in deference “That’s crazy to be thankful for what you don’t like and didn’t choose and don’t want!”
to the demands of the world around us.We all need to learn that lesson and to give it priority in It is. But what’s the alternative? To be angry or hurt and vengeful? To take it person-
many parts of our lives–our work, our responsibilities as citizens and neighbors, our conduct with ally and hate others? I’ve lived that way and it doesn’t feel good, it doesn’t empower me,
strangers, and our planning for the future. We don’t want to live without a Controller. and I don’t heal. My life works better when I say,“Yes, thank you, and what’s next?” I can
However, the Controller is not how we heal. Healing requires vulnerability and an get very angry and very self righteous and very intellectual when I’m hurt. I can demolish
open-ended commitment to be present and to see what happens. We don’t want another with my analysis and words. But where does it get me? I’m still in the world and
to use that presence and vulnerability with the tax collector. We give the state so are they, and I’ve just contributed a whole lot of pain that didn’t need to be there. All
its due. But just as we have responsibilities to the outside world, we also have because I was insulted, which is to say, not in control. Control is useful only in circumscribed
responsibilities to the inner world. “Why,” you ask,“is it not enough to obey situations. With God, the soul, eternity, feelings, or relationships, control is a dirty word.
the law, live a decent life, and contribute in our own particular way?” Certainly Meditation is practice for life. We practice letting go of our minds, accepting what comes,
no one will criticize you and you will build a comfortable life for yourself. If you are releasing what we no longer need to hold onto, breathing, trusting, and waiting to be shown
satisfied with ceasing your questing at that point, OK. the next step. If we can do that for twenty minutes we can do it throughout the day. We prac-
Some of us, however, feel pulled to look more deeply. The death of a child thrusts us into an agony tice the relationship we want to have with Life in meditation and then we live it all day. And
we don’t think we can survive. An unexpected turn of events leaves us without the future we had that’s owning our power.
counted on. Or simply living every day pulls us away from the world and into spaces inside which scare
us. For whatever reason, we want more.The surface verities don’t satisfy and our heads can’t answer soul- Ruth Cherry, Ph.D, is a clinical psychologist specializing midlife when psychological and
ful questions. spiritual dynamics merge. The power of the unconscious at midlife to heal and to transform
Our churches can offer comfort and support, but delving into the depths of ourselves is so personal is tapped in meditation. Besides writing about meditation, Ruth leads guided meditation
that we must set out alone. It would be easier if we could take the latest best seller with us and we could groups weekly both for the public and for inmates in a state penitentiary. Visit her Web site is
read about our lives, but at some point we must confront and experience our own lives. Just experienc-
6 ThankYou Women’s Press | May & June 2009 |

Women’s Press and Cal Poly Women’s Programs & Services want to say

Thank you The Conscious Colors Energy Center, shar-

ing the colors of higher consciousness: color,
sound, aromatherapy and chakra yoga.
Energy balancing classes & courses with

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Karen Hale
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May & June 2009 | | Women’s Press Voices 7

VoiceS AROUND THE TABLE The Answer is Isabella

“In these stressed times, what do women of the world need now?” By Tricia Wolanin I look back at that night with
inspiration, in hopes that my
Isabella turned 30 on Janu- birthday will hold as much excite-
We need to quiet that voice that Wine. Hah. No really, women Support. Women need to stop ary 11. Friends she has collected ment. Isabella did not have a lav-
echoes throughout every day. The need perspective. Every “time” is judging and tearing one another throughout the years surrounded ish apartment, high paying job,
one that tends to get louder as the stressed if you allow it to be. Take down and instead need to support her Valley Village apartment. or a significant other. She had
day comes to a close. It’s the one time to live in the moment and and build one another up. We can- They spanned the country and joy, which consciously lingered
that constantly reminds us that we appreciate what you have. Change not accomplish our goals and make time: Long Beach grade school for the following thirty days.
didn’t finish the laundry or pay the is inevitable, and it doesn’t have to ourselves better unless we help to Syracuse graduate school. Her She appropriately created
water bill or answer our best friend’s be a bad thing. those around us and receive help in two bedroom shared apartment a blog “30 days of 30.” This
email. So what? we need to say. -Kristin Tara McNamera exchange. We cannot succeed in our resembled a cheesy high school blog followed her quest to daily
How about teaching our inner voice roles as daughters, mothers, grand- dance. Black and gold balloons acknowledge herself for hav-
to say Ta Dah instead of To Do? Perspective. Keeping things in mothers, employees, wives, partners flooded the ceiling next to cin- ing lived on this earth for three
Will the water really get turned off? perspective is key, especially when or friends if we do not have the care ema themed decorations. decades. Some excerpts were filled
And our best friend is probably just one seems to be in a baren, dark, and support of other women. A make shift photo booth with alcohol debauchery and
as busy and will survive...and the lonely, or foggy season of life. Sea- -Jennifer Mowad stood in the corner, with whimsi- cake, while others were simply
laundry? Well, that’s just nonsense. sons always end; keeping a proper cal drapery surrounding the black quiet moments filled with peace.
-Deborah Reyes-Gardner perspective helps us see further ahead Each day we are given a choice and gold motif. Her brother I thought of Isabella, when
and not get bogged down by trou- on how to live. Do we want to view acted as the paparazzi as guests posed with the question “In these
The reassurance that the stock bles. It keeps us moving forward. I the current state as “stressed times” posed in their 80’s themed attire. stressed times, what do women
market will recover so we can live also think having a right perspective or a time for creativity and flexibility? Guests filled their stom- of the world need now?” Isa-
comfortably through our retirement of our personal roles, responsibili- Given that your spending capacities achs with potluck food and were bella was laid off twice the previ-
years and also comfort in knowing ties, and priorities is important (wife, are currently constrained, how can entertained by a borrowed Wii ous year and had a gut wrenching
that social security will be around mother, friend, sister, citizen of our you stretch that dollar? What free Rock Band. break up with her first love.
for us, our children, and grand- city, state, country, and the world). activities are available in your com- Then the countdown began, She could have chosen to wal-
children so we don’t have to work Remembering that the world doesn’t munity? How can you reconnect as it had two weeks before for low in her miseries, complain
until we are eighty. It would also be revolve around me, but that I have with friends and family the old fash- New Years. People surrounded about the poor job and stock
wonderful if there were peace and the opportunity to be a blessing to ioned way (board games anyone?) Isabella. They waited to hug and market, or seclude herself from
harmony in all corners of the world someone is important. Though the market may have fluctu- scream as the seconds neared others. Yet Isabella chose to cel-
and food for everyone. -Liza Hughes ated and deflated, it does not mean midnight. Another moment in ebrate life. And it was contagious
-Sue Kaplan our spirits need to. Stress in conta- time had been marked. to those around her.
Each other. gious, but so is joy.
More wine and sleep. Women of -Amy Hewes -Tricia Wolanin
developed nations need a wife. Ok,
seriously. Social acceptance of and
support for a woman who works
We need respect and no more
-Michelle Creedon
My Built-in Life Support
full time and has a family to care -Mary Kay Harrington believe will shape our reality, and
for. I think there is an increase in Relaxation tools; private down- By Hilda Heifetz
m a r k e t manipulators know
the anxiety in women because she is To relax and renew. To remem- time; meditation; playtime; joy in It must be my body and soul that, perhaps even better than we
expected to do it all - well. Univer- ber to breathe and try to stay focused. simple things. that are offended by the relentless do. On the positive side, drug
sal government assistance for child- Be present...I’d maybe throw good -Oak Haven meditation group attacks on my wellbeing by the companies and our doctors rec-
care if she is employed. sex in there too. *** mind-troubling health ads and ognize the placebo effect. Test-
-Laurel White -Sara Kaplan warnings. The so-called “medical ing a new drug takes into account
For the July/August issue:
industries” and the media seem to that when a patient believes he is
We need to step back and put Support from other women. How can women promote their equality
be conspiring to create an unre- taking the drug (though actually
into perspective the most important -Terry Brogno without being seen as radical? lieved state of un-ease (dis-ease) in given a sugar pill), his condition
things: freedom to express our tru- our human lives. The onslaught improves!
est selves, love, and health. Dogs. alone, with its resulting anxiety, On the negative side, we are
Express your voice at:
-Lisa Jouet -Sadie Johann can do us in! being made to believe that we
womenspress.slo@gmail We are aware that what we see Life support page8
8 Women’sStories Women’s Press | May & June 2009 |

Eve-o-lution: The Birth of Humankind

to understand that this journey was a choice
she and Adam were given by Wholly-One,
who wanted them to undertake it— but
only when they were ready. It had to be a
choice of free will, which was the natural law
in the Garden, as duality would be on Earth.
Previously, she had hesitated. Compassion
for generations of her future children stayed her
hand. She could see the road ahead, the blind-
ness, the misunderstandings, the hatred, the
pain and tears caused by their ignorance. Out
of those painful lessons would come under-
standing and remembrance. She would be
blessed always by Wholly-One as she was now.
She knew what Wholly-One wanted from her
when she was ready and now, finally, she was.
In joy and thankfulness, she put the sweet
fruit to her lips, and savored its fragrance and
flavor. This was the key to the Gates. She
reached out and took another fruit from the
sacred branch and giving it to Adam, encour-
aged him to eat with her. They once again dis-
cussed the odyssey they were to undertake. He
was not sure he was ready for separation and the
loneliness, for himself or for their children. He
grieved for the time in the story in which his
sons would forget the “wholiness” of his daugh-
By Heather Mendell would be given the chance again. Not eating another level of existence. Adam comfortably ters. Eve understood and lovingly encouraged
would ensure that innocence would remain in deferred to her intuitive sense in matters of him, knowing that everything would turn out
Her name means the mother of the living. the Garden. Innocence, she knew, was incom- discussions with Wholly-One, just as Eve, he just the way it should. She knew it was time.
As women, how do we regard her and how plete, inexperienced, and inert. She looked at knew, would willingly follow his plan once the Hesitating, he came to a decision. If Eve
does that affect the way we feel about ourselves? the warm, living fruit in her hand. The rosy course of action was decided. Balance and hap- was ready, he would follow her intuition. He
Eve, in Hebrew, Hava, can be understood in blush of the sacred fruit was as pleasing to piness, you see, really did reign in that Garden! ate of the fruit she had brought to him. It
an entirely different light once we realize that her eyes as its feel was to her hand. Eating of Eve knew how she would be vilified by was delicious. Savoring the wonder of it, he
the original story of our beginnings is told as this gift of creation would open for them the humanity in its childhood. For a time, many walked to the tree and took a second peach.
poetry rather than prose. Poetry speaks in met- gates of the Garden. They could step out into a of her sons would consider her the most evil Eve knew that his eating twice from the tree
aphor and when read literally, robs the reader material beginning. She looked at her beloved of beings because of her decision to start this would make memory more difficult for him
of the grandeur of the images. The most dra- Adam. As the separated beings they would journey. She knew that her wondrous intuitive but she would be there, at his side, to help him
matic result of such reading is a negative, patri- agree to become, they would experience loneli- sense, with which she communed with Whol- remember. In sleep and story they would have
archal assumption about the “mother of living”. ness. They would not be able to merge, as they ly-One would come to be detested and feared. the opportunity to cast off their human forms
Not the disobedient, temptress she has been could now, in this Garden of Oneness. Sexual Intuition would be symbolized by the awe- and revert to all they really were. She, Daugh-
maligned to represent, Eve is, in fact, the quint- fulfillment would be the closest they would some snake—an icon of wisdom and knowl- ter of Wholly-One gave thanks, honored and
essential heroine. She represents the bold and come to knowing the ecstasy of merging. edge— which, like Eve, would become feared joyful to be doing what had been desired, but
courageous intuitive aspect each human being Separation would be necessary because the and demonized. Wholly-One assured her that never asked, of her. She lay down next to him
possesses that moves the human story forward. material world on Earth would operate under although this early stage would seem like an and merged with him once more, for the last
Creating midrashim is an a traditional study the law of duality. The challenge for their eternity when they were in physical garments time, the two becoming one— inner and
of rereading biblical text by filling in the blanks. children would be to find a place of balance of skin, it would really be momentary. Time outer, active and receptive, male and female,
This month I offer a midrash I wrote in 1993. between the apparent opposites they would and space, after all, would be but illusions they intuitive and intellectual, thinking and feeling,
Eve stood beneath the branches of the Tree experience, to find the Oneness from which would devise in trying to understand and to wisdom and understanding, compassion and
at the center of the Garden. They surrounded they came. This would be the first exodus of remember. Each would claim their Divinity discernment — all at-one-ment in the garden.
her, protectively like the wings of those who many for the children of humanity, whose mis- when ready. Ultimately they would bless her “Tomorrow” the adventure would
sang so sweetly from the tree. She loved being sion would be incomplete until Oneness was and gratefully acknowledge her as their mother, begin. Eventually, they would return
here, at home, in the Garden. The glowing attained. Physicality would bring the wonder the spark of the start of physical experience. to the Garden, mature, whole and ful-
fruit was in her hand, warm, soft, and invit- of physical experience and emotion, as well as For much of its childhood, human- filled, having completed the task lovingly
ing. She knew that the juice would be sweet to loneliness and even forgetfulness: to be totally ity would take literally all the allegories their offered them. The wholly-one slept peace-
taste. Although time did not yet exist, here she present in their material world, their ener- priests and storytellers would invent regard- fully beneath the Tree of The Wholly One.
was able to gaze into what would become the gies and attention would have to focus on the ing their beginnings, until the time for matu- B’shalom
past and future of earth’s history. Once again physical realm. She and Adam, her soul-mate rity drew closer and understanding of symbol
she thought about her alternatives. She had and help-mate, would be the agents of con- and myth would softly creep into their con- Visit
been given the choice before, and she knew she sciousness that bring the God-force into yet sciousness. It would take these children time for more readings from Heather Mendel.

Life support it is reflected in my relationship

with my doctors and pharmacists.
Usually, most doctors will
So giving Nature a fair chance
to keep me whole, I don’t want to
be too quick to dismiss or ignore
continued from page 7
cannot live without the use of invite patients to report their what was provided as inherent
“health” products, that we are symptoms but not qualify them helpers for my survival. I resist
filled with dire symptoms, that to make any type of diagnosis. being exploited by tactics that
medication and science are our But my doctors are interested in scare me into buying products,
only recourse. The power of such both kinds of information from that want me to believe my life
repeated suggestion makes us fear- me as I interpret what my own depends on them. Could we slow
ful, faithful, consumers....and that body is telling me. Not entirely in down the trafficking in pathol-
brings in the profit. jest, I refer to this exchange as the ogy and start broadcasting the
What if I don’t buy into all this doctor being my “second opinion” celebration of the inborn benefits
salesmanship? What if I relate to a while I am my “first opinion.” It sustaining us? And the outer envi-
state of well-being, what if I think seems basic and sensible. Perhaps ronment’s interconnection?
my environment is friendly, what this mutual respect has had some- These things I prefer to believe:
thing to do with longevity? That we need to know ourselves,

A Girl Thing
if I give recognition to my buil-
tin protectors and healers? What I find myself rereading a chap- strengths and weaknesses, in dark-
of the natural intelligence of my ter in a remarkable book, “The ness and light...that life is the
body (which my mind can only Lives of a Cell” by Lewis Thomas, power to be an individual partici-
attempt to understand) and what practicing doctor, scientist, poet, pant in the cosmic process.
By Hannah Hewes-Clark in foreign cultures and, I’m sure, leaving and philosopher. The chapter, I would like to think that what
their own marks on the people who will of the spiritual participation of
my soul (which works in mysteri- “Your Very Good Health,” urges I choose (or is given to me) to
In my last article, I described my—is be lucky enough to encounter them. With us to have more trust in our own believe will be the compass for my
our good-byes quickly approaching, we ous ways)? I tend to feel they are
it safe to say?—unique relationship with ability to heal. He wrote, “We life’s journey, staying my course,
are analyzing more than ever the meaning both assigned to maintaining my
my girlfriends. I know with great certainty are paying too little attention and fulfilling my purpose.
of our relationship and how we’re going to survival.
that I wouldn’t be the person I am had I respect to the durability and sheer It is my belief that I am
change as we adapt to our respective new I believe my soul is married
never been friends with them. They have power of the human organism. Its obliged to speak out against coer-
locales. to my body, inseparable for life. I
all played a huge role in shaping my per- surest tendency is toward stability cion by predators, as this essay of
As I spoke about in the last article, our like to think they have taken an
sonality, my beliefs, and the manner in and balance. protest intends.
deep friendship has allowed us to under- oath to care for each other “till
which I present myself. Now, we’re get- It is a distortion, profoundly Most of all, it would be
stand ourselves better. Once we embraced death do us part,” letting nobody
ting ready to disperse ourselves around the disloyal, to picture the human important to find that all of my
our individual personalities, we began to or nothing “tear us asunder.” I feel
world—as I head off to New York City being as a teetering, fallible con- best beliefs defined my past 92
analyze each other—observe what makes that the guardianship over it all is
for college, two of them are going to be in traption, always needing watch- years and will attend my eventual
see Girls, page 9 my responsibility. So much so that
South America, spending a year soaking ing. departure.
May & June 2009 | | Women’s Press Women’sStories 9

Tending the Garden with Soul

By Berta Parrish examples...I’m celebrating 17 and a half years of being
clean and sober, and when you’re struggling with possi-
It’s springtime on the Central Coast and my garden bility and hope, any example is important.”
needs attention. Weeds abound, plants jump beyond She stresses that “it’s not just about recovery, but
their borders, and vines threaten their neighbors. having the tools to deal with life.”
Springtime is also a good time for reflection and the Priscilla’s gardening tools keep her connected to her
pruning of obsolete ideas and harmful habits. After Source and connected to the Earth. Spiritual practices
several careers and pursuits, joys and sorrows, dreams such as meditation, Tai Chi, poetry writing, Unity ser-
realized and dreams delayed, Priscilla Mikesell com- vices, and the 12 step program maintain the optimism
pares living to gardening. and energy she needs for her volunteer work. She’s a
“We check to see what works in our minds and member of the Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board, the
hearts and how that shows up in our lives. If it’s not Cambria Connection Board, and the Unity of Cambria
working, we weed it out to make room so something Board. Currently, she is also working at the Cambria
new can grow for us and those around us.” Teen Center as Assistant Director, helping to set up a
Priscilla’s life reflects this continual organic, transfor- nicer environment.
mative process. From union organizer to drug and alco- “It’s a good match,” she says, “Sometimes, I’m a 14
hol counselor to real estate agent/broker to soon-to-be to 15-year- old developmentally! We play pool, and I
paralegal, she has known when to tend the soul’s garden, use it as a teaching metaphor illustrating the need to
when let go of one thing to embrace another. However, slow down, to focus on the goal, to relax, and to realize
the common harvest in all these careers is sharing her that it’s just a game.”
journey, her insights, and her vegetables with others. Priscilla also helped establish the Senior Day Care
“Part of who many of us are is living our lives as Center in 2001 and planned the Aging Graciously Con-
ference in 2006.
Gardening itself is another spiritual exercise for
Priscilla. The entire process of composting, watering,
weeding, mulching, sowing, pruning, and fertilizing
develop an understanding for renewal, balance, wonder,
patience, presence, care, and letting go of the need to
control. These ideals are enhanced by a hobby in floral
“Taking pictures helps me slow down and see the
beauty around us,” she explains. “Everything is
about gratitude. You can’t feel thankful and fear-
ful at the same time. If you focus on fear, you’re
stuck. You don’t see the abundance. Just look-
ing at the lush green hills, children playing, and
blooming flowers can heal the heart.”
Priscilla Mikesell is an inspiration and a role
model for us as she passes on the gifts from her
tilled and cultivated life. We don’t need an exter-

UNSUNG HEROINE: nal garden to engage our senses, to evoke a sense

wonder, and to gain meaningful insights. As we

Priscilla Mikesell
tend of our inner gardens and share the bounty, we
are nourishing our souls in a greater appreciation of the
mysterious cycle of life.

Girls to learn from each other and learn about

ourselves through each other. From what
hooked up with my boyfriend,” or, “She
can’t date him because I did two years
continued from page 9 I’ve seen in my eighteen years of living, ago.” There’s even, “What a skank, you
each girl tick and how she handles her- there are many layers to female competi- know he’s only flirting with her because
self in certain situations. In this sense, tion, and some are easier to identify than she’s hardly wearing any clothes.” Girls
our friendship has not only given us others. in high school will find any reason to
independence, but it has also allowed us The most recognized and possi- dislike each other and usually the most
to understand other people, to become bly the most unfairly blamed reason available reason revolves around the
receptive to the differences that makes for competitive tension is men. In high guys. Girls hooking up with other girls’
every person’s mind his/her own—espe- school, you hear the same lines over boyfriends creates civil wars and major
cially that of women. and over: “She’s a bitch because she see Girls, page 14
As I look at other relationships
between girls and women—my mom
and her sister, other high school friend-
ships, my boss and her employees, and
of course my own relationship with
my mom—I wonder how we females
can avoid the stinging competition
that often plagues our relationships and
instead reach that point when we begin
10 Motherhood Women’s Press | May & June 2009 |

Birth & Baby Resource Network

By Jennifer Stover were touched deeply by a birth experience
and wish to reach out to others. Some had
Attached Parenting:
There is an organization of tireless vol- a beautiful, positive birth which touched
unteers working in our community who, them profoundly as women and mothers
like those in many other “women’s” orga- and they wish to help other women achieve
nizations, receive little recognition or fan- the same.
fare as they strive to educate, support, and Some had births that left deep wounds
empower young women starting families. on their female psyche from which they
What drives these women’s passion to reach are still recovering and hope to spare other
out and share their wis- women. Some have never
dom about pregnancy, experienced giving birth
birth, and early parent- but are drawn to the pro-

Preparing for
ing? Why do they feel it cess as a calling: a deep,
is necessary to continue abiding woman-to-
to struggle against the woman, sister-to-sister
tide of our current cul-
In 1992 a group of
experience in our core.
As in many other
areas of our female lives,
Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting
women interested in these women are com- so much happiness. Almost everything was
becoming midwifery ing to see our current set By Lisa Jouet
as we imagined or better. Our midwife and
assistants and doulas of cultural beliefs about her team were right there when we needed
met at a workshop. They birth as being a fraud The philosophy of attachment parenting them and for that we will be forever grate-
shared a common goal: perpetrated by the male- starts with preparing for pregnancy, birth, ful. Our healthy, alert daughter was born in
to make women’s birth dominated world of and parenting. I work directly with clients the wee hours of the morning, and we all
experiences better, less medicine and litigation. all day in our small business. These wonder- fell in love with her instantly.
hilde vanstraelen courtesy photo
medicalized, and more Women are drawn into ful people have shared their life stories with With some help from family, our beloved
woman-centered—ulti- the system by offers to me for over 14 years. As luck would have it, midwife and friends, we have tried our best
mately making women more self-empow- take away their pain and promises of per- many of them are women to parent and meet our child’s needs. An
ered. This meeting sparked an organization ceived safety. A large number of these women had important part of parenting is really listen-
that has changed names, changed members, No one tells them about the risks inher-
strong opinions about natural childbirth ing to children. We have always taken great
and changed locations over the years, but ent in the system or gives them an honest
and a few had home births. My mother’s pains to listen to our daughter, even before
has never changed its core beliefs that preg- choice. No one really shares how empow-
fifth birth was natural and two of my sisters she could speak. On one occasion, our week
nancy and birth are normal, healthy pro- ering birth can be for a woman. This is a
also had unmedicated births. These stories old baby girl was crying inconsolably for
cesses that women are uniquely equipped pivotal rite of passage for a woman and
empowered me to research and pursue what much longer than we were used to. We tried
to perform, and that women should have should not be directed by outside interests,
I knew in my heart would be the best start walking with her, we swaddled her, I tried
access to quality evidence-based care wher- such as the threat of a lawsuit, or someone
for our baby. My husband and I took child- to nurse her to no avail. Finally, we took
ever they choose to birth: in a hospital, else’s personal time schedule. Birth can’t be
birth classes that were two hours each week all of her clothes off, including her diaper.
home, or at freestanding birth centers. They quantified, regulated, put on a timeline,
believe that an educated woman will make or boxed into someone else’s preconceived for 12 weeks. The course recommended a My husband had read somewhere that an
her own best choices for herself and her notion of how it should be. Every woman high protein diet, daily exercises, and join- adult hair could be wrapped around her toe
family and that these choices should not be is unique, and so are her births. ing breastfeeding support groups. This work or something might be poking her. He was
made for her or taken away from her. This If you are interested in learning more helped me so much while I was pregnant, right! Her plastic umbilical clamp had fallen
group is the Birth & Baby Resource Net- about birth in our community or becoming and I urge other women to do the same. off, rolled around to her back and she had
work or BBRN. a member of the Birth & Baby Resource I also found a midwife we felt great been lying on it. As soon as we removed it,
As in many other “women’s” groups, Network visit them in Mission Plaza at about, and she encouraged us to learn more, she stopped crying and we were so relieved.
there is a coming and going of members their annual Birth & Baby Fair Saturday ask questions, and follow our instincts. I My husband and I anticipate each stage
as women try to balance the needs of their May 9 or on the BBRN website at www. even studied hypnotherapy, which added an and we constantly discuss and reevalu-
families, their lives, their work, and their element of calm to the day of our daugh- ate what works and what does not. Join
passions. It is always a blend of birthing ter’s birth. My husband was with me the me next time as I discuss the second stage
professionals, such as birth educators and Jennifer Stover is a birth educator and doula entire day and so were my mother and sis- of Attached Parenting: Feed with Love and
doulas, and women young and old who founder and vice president of BBRN. ters. I will always remember that day with Respect.

My Vaginal Birth After Cesarian: “women have the right to choose”

By Jen Kaplan beyond mainstream media. And I found them: advocacy for VBACs, and prevention against their instincts, bodies, and choices. Once an
families committed to a natural, attached, con- unnecessary C-sections. Through that organi- induction is begun, there is a series of events
Other than a strange affinity for blueber- scientious way of life. These mothers spoke zation, I found that SLO has a local chapter that have to take place. An IV and Electronic
ries, my first pregnancy was a very mainstream about how important, special, magical, amaz- and I soon found myself at the first monthly Fetal Monitoring must be used.When an epi-
and very typical. I was the perfect picture of ing their births were. They were in charge meeting of ICAN-SLO. There I found a dural is requested the mother from that point
a stereotypical expectant mother in our coun- of their bodies, listened to their instincts, and world of information provided by our leader, on must labor in bed, lying down. These are
try today. And the outcome was also a very strived to birth their babies naturally. I was a doula, midwifery student and mother of 2 all contraindicative to birthing normally and
typical story in today’s birthing environment. led to a world of doulas and midwives and Ina C-sections and 2 VBACs. At these meetings naturally.
One medical intervention after another started May Gaskin. It was eye opening and trans- I met other mothers who were determined Women who birth naturally are in a com-
a downward, unstoppable spiral. A 40 week formative. I began to realize how sad and to not be forced into a routine C-section and fortable environment, unrestricted, allowed
ultrasound showed that my baby was “very pathetic my birth story were also seeking out to eat, drink, bathe, and move. There must be
big,” much too large for “any woman” to birth. was. I researched C-sec- VBAC information. I movement for the babies to descend into the
A pathetic attempt to labor was quickly called
off since I was making no progress, proving
tions and felt like I had
lucked out. The list of Recommended learned that Accord-
ing to the World Health
birthing canal. Preferred pushing positions are
squatting or standing. When there are unnec-
that this baby was not meant to be born vag-
inally, and so I walked myself into the oper-
possible complications
for mother and baby
by the author Organization,
“There is no justi-
essary medical interventions, that then lead to
more medical interventions, this whole pro-
ating room, since that was what was “best for are long. Don’t get me “Pushed” by Jennifer Block. fication for any region cess is broken down. She now must birth in
the baby”. Within minutes my son was born wrong: when a cesarean “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” to have a cesarean rate the certain parameters and restrictions that
and being resuscitated while I was being given is medically necessary, it higher than 10-15 per- have been laid out before her. But if you leave
massive amounts of morphine. My son was can be a lifesaving tech- by Ina May Gaskin cent.” a mother alone to birth her baby and to trust
whisked away with my husband in hot pur- nique for both mother “Birthing From Within” And yet in our coun- the birthing process, we may not have so many
suit of all those first moment pictures. I was and baby, and worth the by Pam England try one in three births is unnecessary C-sections. C-sections rate across
alone with the nurses and doctors. The next risks involved. However a cesarean. This cesar- the world should be in the 10-15% rate. Why
the potential risks to
and films: ean rate increase has not are we at 33%?
4 days were a blur of pain, pills, and recov-
ery. However, I went home feeling fine, heal- babies from cesareans “The Business of Being Born” led to an improvement According to a recent press release by
ing well and successfully breastfeeding my son. can be deadly. “Pregnant in America” in the infant mortality ICAN, “Every pregnant woman in the U.S.
We were inseparable. I had no major compli- Knowing all this and morbidity rates, but should be alarmed by this rate. Half or more
cations from the surgery, my son was healthy, pushed me into the instead has put mothers of cesareans are avoidable and over using
and all was fine. direction of wanting--no needing--to have and babies at greater risk. I also learned that major surgery on otherwise healthy women
Fast forward to three years later when I a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). I was VBACs are safer for both mother and infant, and babies is taking a toll.” A major driver of
became pregnant again, and I was not the same determined to find out all I could about hav- in most cases, than is routine repeat cesarean, cesarean overuse is underuse of vaginal birth
person I was from my previous birth. Becom- ing a VBAC. My search was relatively easy. which is major surgery. after cesarean (VBAC). The VBAC rate cur-
ing a mother changed me. I am not the Online the information is everywhere. I I have heard labor and delivery nurses rently hovers around 8 percent, far lower than
mother portrayed in the popular baby books found an organization called International speak from both local hospitals. They all the Healthy People 2010 goal of 37 percent.
or magazines. I became a mother who nursed Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) which come to the same conclusion as to why so Driving this decline is the growing practice of
on demand, co-slept, and wore my baby. But helps educate and support women by pro- many births wind up in C-sections: induc- hospitals banning VBAC, due to unattainable
to find other mothers like me, I had to look moting birthing choices in the community, tions and epidurals. Mothers lose touch with guidelines that hospitals have to follow.
see VBAC, page 11
May & June 2009 | | Women’s Press Motherhood 11

Savoring the Moment out anyone asking for help or a snack, or just trailing
By Jen Mowad
me from room to room. I also enjoyed more one-on-
As my children grow at what feels to be something one time with my first daughter; we chatted more, we
akin to warp speed, I remind myself of the oft-re- cuddled on the couch with books, we ran up the street
marked but rarely heeded cliché “savor the moment”. to the park for a quick playtime. Yet once my second
I look at my daughters and marvel at how quickly they daughter arrived, naps and nursing quickly swallowed
are growing and changing and how soon they will be in up a big chunk of my day, and I’m still scrambling
By Lisa Pimental Johnson
school and I will be going back to work. Being a stay- ten months later. And as much as I worry about my
at-home mom means I should have more time with eldest feeling like her mommy time has been taken In honor of all
my kids, yet as I reflect on my three years as a stay- away by her baby sister, I worry about how little one- intergenerational
at-home mom, I realize the years have flown by, and on-one attention I provide my youngest daughter. Her women with
I’m not sure how well I’ve used schedule completely revolves families, I have
all that time with my beautiful “ Oh, the quality time, such a around my needs and some
girls. And knowing how many trite reference to something that days I worry she is an ador-
reviewed some of
my favorite books
working moms would love
to stay home with their chil-
is so essentially critical to our able accessory, as I wear her
in a carrier or hold her on my
about the wild
relationships with others. and tender world
dren, it feels like I have a duty
to appreciate and make use of ” hip more than I play with her
on the floor. Those are the
of Motherhood.
“The chil-
every day I get to stay home with my kids. days I am thankful that I am still nursing her, as it’s dren were having
But what exactly am I doing at home with these some of the best quality time she and I get all day. breakfast. This
wonderful children I am supposedly staying home to Oh, “quality time”, such a trite reference to some- was not a pleasant
benefit? Besides doing chores and meeting the kid’s thing that is so essentially critical to our relationships sight,” Jill Mur-
basic needs, which involves a baby that requires two with others. We spout about spending quality time phy simply and
naps a day and a toddler that naps right smack dab in with loved ones, but do we actually understand what accurately states
the middle of the day, I am constantly running errands it means to be invested in our time with others? Do in “Five Minutes Peace”. The mother elephant gets up in the morning
and providing my daughter with social and physi- we know how to shut off the technology that intrudes and tries to sneak away for five minutes of peace in her bathtub. Her
cal activities like play dates, preschool, and gymnas- upon us such as text messages, phone calls and Face- children are like heat seeking missiles and right away find her in the
tics, cooking healthy meals, and leading several mom’s book posts in order to dedicate our attention to one bathtub and offer to entertain her by playing their recorder, reading a
groups. And I’m exhausted half of the time. As much person? And even if we can ignore outside interrup- book and dumping two baskets of bath toys in the tub!
as I mentally abhor and verbally scoff the hectic pace tions, can we turn off that inner voice reminding us The enticing bubbles, warm water, and food on a tray are too
of our society and the frenetic schedules I hear many of all the things we could or should be doing with our much for the children and they end up in the bathtub, pajama’s and
school-aged children keep, am I not subjecting my time? Can we stop worrying about time long enough slippers too. The mother elephant gets out of the tub, wraps herself in
daughters to a similar pace? Is my family not headed to enjoy purely being in the moment with the ones we her ratty robe, and slips downstairs to make a new cup of tea and read
down the same time-constrained road as most families love? the paper alone. She has three and half minutes peace before three
today? So my charge to you (and to myself) is this: spend naked, dripping wet children join her again.
And where is the energy and attention I intended one week in which you purposefully ignore those inter- Every mother has craved and dreamed about five minutes of peace
to dedicate to raising my children? I imagined sitting ruptions that distract you from investing time into in her day, and this story is delightful in its truism.
with my kids painting and doing crafts, teaching them your relationships with those you care about. Devote Without grandmothers, there would be no mothers and family sto-
colors, or picnicking in the yard. I pictured lots of days ten minutes daily to each person in your family and ries would be much less colorful or entertaining. My grandmother was
spent in the yard blowing bubbles, making trips to give that time solely to them, without allowing any- French Canadian and loved to show her French side. Until her pass-
library story hour or a visit to feed animals at the local thing to detract or distract. Start a conversation, head ing at 92, she was fluttering her eyelashes, wrapping herself in French
farm. Of course we do enjoy many of these things, but outside to toss a ball around, or sit down with a book perfume and flowery scarves while flirting with any man!
unfortunately it seems to be squeezed in between the or short game. Although I have only made this con-
In the story, “Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Patridge,”
rest of our busy life, almost as an afterthought. scientious effort for a few days, the difference in my
by Mem Fox, the story of a young scrappy boy who lives next door to
The time constraints feel magnified now that I am attitude toward my children and husband has been
an old folks home in Australia is told. He likes all the old people and
a mother of two, and I wonder how mothers of three remarkable, and honestly, it makes me wish for even
his favorite is Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper, because she has
or more children manage their time. With one child, I more meaningful time with them. In this case, as in so
many names just like him. One day, Wilfred overhears his parents dis-
always had nap time to find a moment to breathe, eat many others, it seems the more you invest, the more
cussing Miss Nancy and commenting that she has lost her memory.
lunch in silence, and then get a few chores done with- you receive.
Thus begins his journey of discovering what memory means and
what it means to all his “old” friends. He learns it means something
warm, sad, funny: something from long ago and as precious as gold.
He starts to “collect” memories for Miss Nancy and places them in a
VBAC encouraging, and supportive staff of nurses who were
just as thrilled as I was to have a successful VBAC. All special box to give to her. As Miss Nancy tenderly removes each object
from the box, her memories come back in little bits and pieces to the
continued from page 10 through the night and next day I labored on, slow and
off the normal labor curve, but still progressing. We joyful delight of both of them!
were calm and capable and knowledgeable. We knew This is a story that gives respect to the older generation and
Thankfully here on the Central Coast, there are younger generation. It’s full of wit, imagination, and is sure to make
doctors and midwives that know and believe in the that this was not an emergency or a crisis. This was just
me, slowly having a baby. you want to create your own family memory box to laugh, cry, or
safety of VBACs. These doctors know that it is almost simply smile when you open it.
always safer to let a woman deliver vaginally. The very Finally, after 36 hours of prodromal labor and 20
small (less than 1%) risk of uterine rupture outweighs hours of active labor, I pushed my baby out into the
the risks associated with a C-section. One of the pre- world and into the hands of a doctor who held faith
cautionary guidelines for a VBAC birth is that there in the body’s ability to birth, surrounded by cheering
must an anesthesiologist in the hospital. The doctor nurses and a proud husband, and my doula who was
must also be with the patient during the whole deliv- with me every step of the way. When the baby was
ery. These are in place in case of a uterine rupture. The placed on my chest and was nursing shortly thereafter,
laboring mother and fetus must be able to have an I looked around calmly and knew that if I could do it,
emergency C-section quickly. Because of these limita- anyone could.
tions, the only place locally to attempt a VBAC deliv- Our own government wants to reduce the amount
ery is at Sierra Vista Regional Center with a handful of of C-sections being performed in our country. Our
doctors or at home with a licensed midwife. statistics are appalling and an embarrassment. Avoid-
From numerous recommendations I found a doc- ing unnecessary C-sections needs to be a priority in
tor that would take me as a VBAC patient; he assured his county. More accessibility and fewer restrictions to
me that all labors and all births are different. And this VBACs need to happen. Women should not be forced
time I would need to do some things differently. He into repeat C-sections. Women can--and have the
highly suggested that I labor at home for as long as pos- right--to say NO to an unnecessary surgery. Women
sible. He was happy that I had hired a doula, was a need to demand their right to a trial of labor. Mid-
member of ICAN, and was educated on the impor- wives are also an invaluable gift to our society. They
tance of a non-intervention birth, and that I had tools are the original catchers of babies. They are the most
to guide me through my labor this time. I learned that knowledgeable when it comes to birthing and mother-
failure to progress is a relative term and that all births ing. We need to seek out and utilize their wisdom and
have their own timeline. I learned to trust services. We are women. We can birth our babies.
my instincts, calm my fears, and to visualize
a normal, vaginal delivery.
I had a very uneventful pregnancy. No
complications. Felt great. My doctor was
a calm, experienced man who had deliv-
ered thousands of babies and who believes
in the safety and practice of VBACs. My
doula was a peaceful, strong, intelligent,
loving presence who guided, taught, and
supported me. Finally, 12 days past my due
date, my labor started very slowly. After 2
days of laboring at home, we went to the
hospital. We were greeted with an excited,
12 LocalPerspectives Women’s Press | May & June 2009 |

Photo provided by Sonia Paz Baron-Vine

Photo by Anita Patterson

Sisters Unite, Clean and Reforest
By Sonia Paz Baron-Vine where I had invited women to help me

Nurturing Ourselves Moments One hot December day in 2008, four

women, some professional, some artists,
clean and reforest this wonderful beach.
I remember as a teenager spending the
afternoon on the white sand under the huge
some stay at home moms, got together pine trees, looking at the clean blue ocean.
By Jeanie Greensfelder for daily exer- armed with garden utensils, gloves, and gar- But when my daughter showed me a
cise but haven’t bage bags, and spent the day cleaning and picture she had taken of the same place,
On an overnight visit with my baby grand- found the dis- reforesting a once pristine cove in the cen- 35 years later, the pine trees were gone, the
daughter Julia, I pampered her, anticipated cipline to cre- tral coast of Chile. beach was dirty, and the ocean in danger of
what she might want and gave it to her. ate a regular Why is this important you may ask? pollution by the oil tankers passing near by.
Exhausted when I got home, I wanted my writing time. Well, there is the obvious reason of So, my call to save the beach went across
own bouncy chair, a big wind-up swing, How are helping the environment, but of even more the miles in cyberspace all the way from
someone to fix my meals, sing me to sleep, you doing importance, these women were each from California to Chile and it was heard by
and carry me on demand. at mother- different cities, had never met personally, many, but only four brave sisters actually
I noticed my grown-up substitutes: a ing yourself? and were of different ages. went there and did something!!
recliner chair, a rocker, comfort foods, bed- Might you need more nurturing, some play The two things they had in common In the photo above are their faces. They
time music, hugs or cuddles, and massage. time and/or some organization of your pri- was their love of nature and that they had are my heroines! From the left: Berta, Rosa-
As a psychologist, I know that the need orities? Is your self-care balanced? To start, responded to a call by me via Facebook, rio, Marina, Paula, and Jessia.
for mother is ongoing. Not from our par- notice the tone of your internal voice and
ent, but the healing mothering we can cultivate a kind, caring one. Perhaps pick
give to ourselves. From childhood on, our one loving thing to do for yourself this
job is to learn what we need and provide week along with a playful one and one of
it. Sometimes we need extra comforts, but the more challenging things. Put time for A Monthly Series of Spiritual Workshops
other times structure and discipline serve us them, actually for you, on your calendar.
best. For instance, I’ve mastered my desire
Save the World
A Mother’s Day Lesson Congregation Beth David, 10180 Los Osos Valley Road, San Luis Obispo
Third Thursday of Each Month • 7-9 pm • $20
Contact or (805) 541-6874 for more information.
By Jill Turnbow

Mother’s Day is not so much a celebra-

tion for me as it is a reminder of how
Karma can bite you in the behind. I’m not
a mom myself, so I can merely spend the
day reflecting on the memories of my own
mother, who has now been gone for many
My mom was an “older” mom, being 36
when I came along. So in my prime mock-
ing years, my Mother was the age I am
today. As a teenager, my Dad and I found
my Mother to be wildly entertaining. We
just couldn’t figure out how she got through
a day. It was as if her shining light became finish a sentence. She would yell up the
a dim bulb. stairs, “JAN! Bring down the…” and her
During those years, we went through voice would trail off. I never knew what she
a teakettle about once a month. My mom wanted but later you could bet she would
would start the hot water for tea and then be furious that I didn’t bring down what-
May 21 • Gem Crystal Singing Bowls plete the evening with a candle ceremony
go take a bath…or go to the grocery store… ever it was. And it was pointless to mention
Balance your energy field with with sound honoring the Sun. Please dress comfortably
or go to the mall…anything but remember the fact that my name wasn’t Jan. therapist, Barbara Perry, and with guided and bring a yoga mat as the meditation is
that she had started the kettle. I would rou- So my Dad and I would constantly gig- imagery by Francine Jensen. Bring a blan- performed lying down.
tinely enter the kitchen and smell smoke, gle and tease her. And when I say “giggle” I ket & pillow. Shantel Beckers is a massage therapist
or see flames shooting from the stovetop. am being polite. We would guffaw at some
and the owner of Body Centered Ther-
Once I found the Crockpot shoved into of her mindless antics. How could she be so June 18 • Cultivating the apy, Inc. She has studied shamanism for
the corner of the counter and I went to put spacey? What has come over her? Sacred Feminine the past seven years with David Elliott, Car-
it away, only to find it was still on. I didn’t Ahhh, that’s where Karma comes in. The summer solstice is traditionally a time rie Woodburn and The Four Winds Soci-
remember having anything from the Crock- Yes, as I look back on those years from to honor the fertility of Mother Earth. ety as well as through travels to Thailand,
pot that week, so I lifted the lid, gently, to where I am today, I regret the laughs, the Through integrative breathwork meditation Tibet, India and Guatemala. She leads
see what lay inside. I’m still not sure what jabs, the ridicule... because I SOOOOO and guided imagery we will tap into the on-going meditation circles integrating
it was, but in a race with the Chia pet, it get it now. And I apologize, Mom… wait, sacred Feminine and plant the seeds of the pranayama breathwork and Native Ameri-
was winning. And my mother could never do I smell smoke? dreams we wish to cultivate. We will com- can shamanism.
March & April 2009 | | Women’s Press NOWNews 13
T h i s Pa g e P r e s e n t e d b y t h e N at i o n a l O r g a n i z at i o n f o r W o m e n

the purpose of NOW is to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of american society NOW!


CAMBRIA GOES COUN- vice and Workshop day, To register, call or
TRY WITH PATSY CLINE! May 3, 2009. Dannion email Linda Brownson:
will discuss the “7 Les- Linda.sierraclub8@gmail.
Allied Arts and House- sons from Heaven”. The com (805.543.8717).
lights Theatre proudly workshop (directly after To save your place, send
present the boot-stomp- the Service) is $35. For your check in the amount
ing musical, ALWAYS… more information, con- of $40, made payable to
PATSY CLINE, written and tact the Circle of Spiritual the Santa Lucia Chap-
originally directed by Ted Enlightenment. ter/Sierra Club, P.O.
Swindley-based on a true Box 15755, San Luis
story. The show is filled NATURAL LIVING FESTI- Obispo, CA 93406. Par-
with all of Patsy’s greatest VAL MAY 30th tial proceeds will benefit
By Kimberly Anderson tuary. hits, backed by the “Boda- Serenity Natural Liv- the local chapter of the
The husband called a mortuary, who asked cious Bobcats”, a rockin’ ing Health and Wellness Sierra Club.
Recently, a nine-year-old, 80-pound girl in for a death certificate, which he did not have. 6-piece live band sure to Center has designated 2nd Annual “D.A.M. Art
Brazil, who had been beaten and raped by her They told him to call the coroner’s office, and have you up dancing in the Global Alliance for Bal- Show”
stepfather for three years, became pregnant the coroner’s office told him to call the police. the aisles! ance and Healing, a local Artists Dana Kim
with twins. Abortion is legal in Brazil, in cases The couple then found about 6 police offi- ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE nonprofit organization that Hixson, Anne Godsey, and
of rape or life endangerment. cers at their house, who had been told their will open May 22nd and provides free energy bal- Marylou Falstreau are
Brazilian Catholic Archbishop Jose Car- were “human remains in the freezer” and had run thru June 21st at ancing to humanity world hosting their 2nd annual
doso Sobrinho, supported by Cardinal searched the house without a warrant due to TOGS (Theatre at the Old wide, as the recipient of “D.A.M. Art Show” on
Giovanni Battista Re, head of the Vatican “exigent circumstances.” Grammar School), 1350 all donations received dur- June 27th and 28th at
Congregation for Bishops, excommunicated Main St. in Cambria. ing its Grand Opening and 423 Rennel Street, North
the doctors involved in the abortion and the Cheers! Shows are Friday and Sat- Natural Living Festival on Morro Bay.The clever
child’s mother, who arranged the procedure. Lower cost birth control pills and con- urday evenings at 7:30pm Saturday, May 30, from name came by combin-
When asked why he did not also excommuni- doms will be available again at some campus and Sundays at 3:00pm. 10:30am to 5:30pm. The ing the first initials of
cate the rapist, Archbishop Sobrinho claimed and community health centers, thanks to a Tickets are just $20 and Serenity Center is located these accomplished Cen-
that abortion was a more serious sin. provision in the Omnibus Appropriations Act can be purchased at the at 104 Main Street in tral Coast artists. This
After worldwide outrage that the church just passed by Congress. A big thank you to Cambria Chamber of Com- Templeton. There will year they are honored to
had taken the side of a rapist over an innocent the tens of thousands of NOW activists who merce or by calling 927- be product demonstra- announce the addition
child, Archbishop Rino Fisichella, claimed sent emails, letters, and made phone calls to 4667. tions, booths, tours, live of M.B.H.S. art student,
the excommunication had been a mistake… their representatives! Access to reduced-price This Houselights music, food and raffle Molly Wilson. Molly has
though only because an “innocent child’s” life birth control pills had been cut off by a provi- Theatre production will prizes. Additionally you been an integral part of
had been at stake. sion in the 2005 Deficit Reduction Act, which feature Jill Turnbow as will find mini-lectures on the planning of this show
NOW President Kim Gandy comments: made it difficult for pharmaceutical compa- Louise and Amanda Baker raw foods, meditation, and will be displaying
“In Brazil alone, more than one million nies to supply low-cost contraceptives to col- as Patsy. The role of and steps toward sustain- and selling her artwork
women are having unsafe, illegal abortions lege health centers and other clinics, causing Patsy Cline is also being ability. as well. The show runs
each year…” If doctors fear that they could the women who rely on these centers for birth understudied by Karen To learn more, visit from 11-4 each day. A
be expelled from their religious communities control to have to pay up to $50 per month, Anderson. Thom Wald- www.serenitynaturalliving. percentage of all sales
even in the most extreme, horrendous cases something they could not afford. man directs. com or call 434-1924. To by the D.A.M. artists will
like this… how does that affect their deci- learn more about Global go to support the Central
sions? How can they treat their patients under Nursing Mom’s Update SANTA BARBARA WEL- Alliance for Balance Coast Natural History
these conditions? And above all, what will Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, COMES THE LIVE OAK and Healing, visit www. Association.
happen to the women? recently announced that the House now MUSIC FESTIVAL Female Zen Master to
has nursing rooms! Here in California, state The 21st Annual Live Visit SLO on May 9th
More from my WTF? Files… law allows moms to nurse in public places, Oak Music Festival, a MONTHLY PHOTOG- A one-day Buddhist
A couple in Glendale had their house and there is a new bill, AB 513, which would three day concert and RAPHY WORKSHOPS meditation retreat in the
searched without a warrant after the wife mis- require insurance companies to pay for lac- camping event will be held OFFERED BY THE Serene Reflection Medita-
carried. She was approximately 5 weeks preg- tation consultants and breast-pump rentals. Father’s Day weekend in SIERRA CLUB tion Tradition (Soto Zen)
nant, and the miscarriage occurred over three This makes total sense, as some infants can- the beautiful and peaceful A series of monthly will be led by Rev. Master
days. She put the tissue in a bag in her freezer not tolerate any kind of formula, and also hills off Hwy 154, above Sierra Club Photogra- Phoebe of Pine Mountain
and asked her doctor what she should do with because breastfeeding can help prevent aller- Santa Barbara, California. phy Workshops will be Buddhist Temple, a Bud-
it. She was told she could either bring the gies, asthma, and a number of other expen- This year’s festival will be centered on the theme: dhist temple and retreat
embryonic tissue in for testing, or call a mor- sive ills. held on June 19, 20, and “Focus on the Environ- center in Ventura County.
21, 2009. 100% of Live ment…learning to com- The retreat will be held
Oak proceeds go to sup- municate your passion on Saturday, May 9, 10
port San Luis Obispo’s for the natural world AM to 3 PM in the Com-
ate from Harvard Medical School, founded
KCBX Public Radio. through still and video munity Room of the San
in 1783
To see the complete photography.” The first Luis Obispo Library at
June 24, 1903 - Madame Marie Curie
three day concert line-up workshop will be “…all 995 Palm St.
announces discovery of radium
May 8, 1914 - President Woodrow Wil- and to order your tickets about light,” and features The day will include
June 27, 1880 (1968) - Birthday of Helen
son signed a Joint Resolution designating for the 2009 Live Oak Photo-Painting with Paul several periods of sit-
Keller - Advocate for the disabled; writer;
the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day Music Festival, please McCloskey. This workshop ting and walking medita-
May 10, 1872 - Victoria Woodhull is visit the website at www. offers an opportunity for tion, a Dharma talk and
nominated as the first woman candidate for Get Involved - Join NOW! or by local photographers to discussion, and a short
U.S. president. phone at 805-781-3030. participate in learning the Buddhist ceremony. This
May 19, 2009 - NOW meeting at 6 pm Full festival adult tickets various methods McClos- event is sponsored by
May 26, 1951 - Birthday of Sally Ride are $115, teen tickets key employs to bring the the Central Coast Bud-
astrophysicist; first American woman astro- $75 and children’s tickets mystery and joy of light to dhist Meditation Group.
naut $35. Day tickets are $35 images that capture your There is no fee, but it
June 10, 1963 - Equal Pay Act enacted: for adults and teens and imagination. is good to show one’s
“To prohibit discrimination on account of $15 for children. This workshop will be appreciation and help
sex in the payment of wages by employers held Saturday, May 16th, support Buddhist monks
engaged in commerce or in the; production DANNION BRINKLEY TO 9:00am to 11:00am, in by making an offering
of goods for commerce.” (PL 88-38) SPEAK the Community Room of (dana) which is grate-
June 14, 1811 (1896) - Birthday of Har- The Circle of Spiritual First American Title Com- fully accepted. Please
riet Beecher Stowe - author of Uncle Tom’s NOW Chapter # CA 565 Enlightenment welcomes pany, Pacific and Morro, bring your own vegetarian
Cabin PO Box 1306, SLO, CA 93406 Dannion Brinkley at a Ser- in SLO. lunch.
June 16, 2009 - NOW meeting at 6 pm SLONOW @
June 23, 1940 - The first women gradu-
14 Women’sCommunityCenter Women’s Press | May & June 2009 |

Family Law
Action Committee
Dealing With Divorce
Our mission is: 3rd Wednesday of each month – 7 PM
• TO maintain an accessible center to Upcoming:
collect and exchange information of May 20, June 17 and July 22
interest and concern to women Talk with other women who have
• TO organize and facilitate work- been there, done that in a supportive,
shops, clinics, seminars, classes, and non-judgmental environment.
support groups on subjects of inter- $10 donation
est and need
• TO engage in and facilitate interac- Self-Represented Litigants’ Clinic
tion among local, state, and national 4th Tuesday of each month – 5:30 PM A Call For Artists, Musicians, Creative
agencies and organizations working Upcoming:
to benefit women May 26, June and July 28 Business Women And Craftswomen for
Get family law advice from local
Call for Volunteers
Hear ye, hear ye! The Women’s Commu-
attorneys and/or paralegals.
Reservations required. $40 donation Day with Creative Women
nity Center is looking for a few volun-
teers to help with several projects. Call 544-9313 for information Saturday, August 8, 2009

Calling all Creative Women! The Wom- women. Non-profit organizations are also
en’s Community Center of San Luis invited to reserve a booth to provide the
Obispo County invites you to participate community with information about

Classifieds in the 35th Annual Day with Creative

Women, to be held in Mission Plaza in
your services.
This event celebrates women’s creativ-
downtown San Luis Obispo on Saturday, ity in all spheres. We realize many women
Looking for women to tell stories Need a classified ad? August 8, 2009. This event draws over have male partners and we welcome them.
(amusing, bizarre, touching, erotic) of The Women’s Press is now offering 2500 people from all around the Central However, we do require that all booths be
amorous adventures in the 70’s for writer a classified section. No more than 40 Coast and beyond and features more than staffed by women during the event.
working on novel similar in structure to words, just $15. 80 vendors displaying their own creative Space on the Mission grounds is lim-
Boccacccio’s Decameron. Reach thousands of women on the arts. ited so reserve your booth now! For more
Contact Central Coast, from Orcutt to Paso If you create art or handcrafted items, information or booth space reservation,
for details. Robles and Cambria! you are invited to display and sell your call the Women’s Community Center at
works. If you are creating something for 805-544-9313 or download the vendorap-
sale, please submit pictures of your work plication form from
with your application. Early-bird discount booth rates are $50
Entertainers of all types will be per- for non-profits, $80 for a single 8’ by 8’
forming throughout the day. Last year’s space and $140 for a shared booth (2 or
line-up included African dancers, Mid- more vendors in one space). These rates

dle Eastern dancers, Hawaiian danc- increase after July 25, 2008.
ers, mimed folk tales by Fran Dukehart, Day with Creative Women celebrates
singers Sheri O, Jennifer Young and Tra- women’s creativity with music and enter-
Continued from page 9 something bad or good, he’s still assured vis Larson, Karen Tyler, Jill Knight, and tainment, arts and crafts for display and
a pat on the back from another man. the Motowners. If you are a member of sale, continuous entertainment, delicious
“trash talking,” while the actual guys who Women haven’t always had that privi- a woman-oriented band, let us know and food, and children’s activities, and is a
cheated seem to just shrug and walk away lege, and therefore, though the feminist we can make a spot for you! fundraising event to benefit the Women’s
without even a scratch. At this age, boys movement has come an extraordinarily This year we encourage women in Community Center of San Luis Obispo
are too often an excuse for girls to lash long way, women still feel the pressure business to submit applications for a County, dedicated to the empowerment
out at each other. So why are girls so des- to get ahead and show men that they can booth to market your creative skills. of women. For more information, check
perate for a good cat fight? Perhaps it’s do everything just as well, if not better. Please submit a short essay (no more the website, call 805-544-
partly just for dramatic effect, but what’s While a normal high school girl’s idea of than one page) describing how your 9313, or email us at
even stronger than that is the discom- “feminism” may be sexual freedom and business is creative and how it benefits
fort that girls can feel during their high wearing a low-cut prom dress, women
school ages. We are still getting to know in college and beyond have a natural
ourselves and becoming more acquainted tendency to show themselves as just as
with our sexual identities. Therefore, as
high school girls “experiment” with their
sexuality, they’re put under criticism and
strong, smart, intelligent, and indepen-
dent as men.
How do we abolish this competition
Help! I’ve Fallen & I Can’t Get Up!
usually hypocritical scrutiny. Contrast- without making Betty Friedan turn in her By Jackie Turner
ingly, because my friends and I helped grave? Is it as simple as becoming com-
each other reach that place of self-con- fortable with ourselves, or does that only What’s the sound of a thud on a public
fidence, we haven’t felt the need to call apply to a younger generation? Although sidewalk if no one sees, hears, or pays atten-
each other “hoes” and “bitches.” In high the answers to these questions are rela- tion to the body lying on the floor?
school, those who are most comfortable tive and therefore ultimately unanswer- That is exactly what happened to me last
with themselves are usually the most well- able, I do believe that if we celebrate each week, in daylight, on Marsh Street, in plain
liked. For my group of friends, the trick other’s accomplishments, and help each sight of cars, passersby, and even bicyclists.
to having a strong, respecting relation- other out during our failures, we’d create I was walking along and all of a sudden, I
ship was to help each other figure out and a much more respectful environment that tripped on the uneven pavement: my bag
accept our own identities. lacks gossip and other forms of cattiness. went flying and my body sprawled across
Perhaps the root of women’s issues is As I move on to Barnard—an all women’s the sidewalk. I lay there like a dead per-
sexism. Throughout history, men have college—I look forward to meeting smart son for 5 seconds, while the world went on
always had the upper hand in society. and independent women who I can learn around (without) me.
They’ve been able to go to college where from and support. This is the women’s A man walked by on his cell phone and
they want, work where they want, dress world I hope to build for myself. almost tripped on my supine body; the
how they want, etc. When a man does driver of a big pickup truck watched me fall
but raced by to catch the changing light; something worse? Are people too obliv-
the group of people across the street that ious, too detached, too uncaring to help
were laughing and talking to each other – I someone in need?
think one of them might have even waved Luckily for me, I picked myself up,
at me. dusted myself off and went on with my
What is going on here? Am I either too day —a little bruised—inside and out.
old or too young to deserve help? Or, is it
May & June 2009 | | Women’s Press Resources 15
ABUSE Safe and Sober Support Group Stroke Support Group
Adults Molested as Children Support Group (AMAC) 473.6507 471.8102 (SLO)
Rape Survivors Support Group, SLO St. Barnabas (Depression/Divorce/Grief) Caregivers of Stroke Survivors
Support Group for Sexual Assault Survivors 489.2990 544.2266 (SLO)
545.8888 Talk/Listen - Emotional support Women’s Support/Therapy v (general)
Center for Alternatives to Domestic Violence 489.5481 534.1101
781.6406 Transformations Counseling Center Women’s Healthcare Specialists
North County Women’s Shelter & Resource Center, Free monthly workshops 541.7908 544.4883
(inc. domestic violence support groups) FINANCE/BUSINESS POLITICAL
461.1338 Consumer Credit Counseling Services Code Pink
SARP (Sexual Assault Recovery & Prevention) 800.540.2227
545.8888 or 800.656.HOPE (4673) Commission on Status of Women
Women’s Shelter Program of SLO GAY & LESBIAN 545.8412; Dawn Williams
781.6401 Gay and Lesbian Alliance of the Central Coast Democratic Women United
ADDICTIONS 541.4252 541.4252
PFLAG.Parents & Friends of Lesbians & Gays League of Women Voters
AA Meeting 438.3889
541.3211 543.2220
SOL (Single Older Lesbians) NOW (National Organization for Women)
Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) Mostly socializing! Call 474.9405
534.9204 Hospice of SLO County, AIDS Bereavement Group Adult Literacy
Cambria Connection (12 step support) 544.2266 and 434.1164 541-4219
927.1654 Hospice Partners of the Central Coast Creative Writing Group
Casa Solana 782.8608 748-2676; contact Gloria
Women’s Recovery Home 481.8555 Nightwriters
Chemical Dependency intensive JOBS/CAREERS
outpatient program
549.9656; contact Shirley Powell
AARP Sisters in Crime
541-9113 788.2643
Compulsive Eaters Anonymous, H.O.W. Concept Cal Poly Foundation
546.1178 Jobline 756.7107 SENIORS
Drug & Alcohol Services Cal Poly University Adult Day Care
781.4275 or 800.549.7730 756.1533 489.8894 (Arroyo Grande);
Overeaters Anonymous Cuesta College 434.2081 (Templeton); 927.4290 (Cambria)
541.3164 Jobline 546.3127 Adult Protective Services
SCA, SLAA & SAA (Sex, Love & Romance Addictions) The Creekside Career Center 781.1790
461.6084 788.2600 or 237.3014 Computerooters:
TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) Department of Rehabilitation Computer help: 489.6230
929.1789 549.3361 Department of Social Services:
Women for Sobriety Mission Community Services Corporation In-Home Support 781.1790
215.536.8026 Women’s Business Partners Nursing help for the terminally ill 781.5540
595.1357 Elder and Dependent Adult Advocacy and Outreach –
CHILDREN & FAMILIES Private Industry Council (PIC) Victim Witness Assistance Center
Birth and Baby Resource Center 788.2601
546.3755 781-5821
LEGAL Elder Law, Geraldine E. Champion, Attorney
Childcare Resource Connection
541.2272 or 800.727.2272 Core Mediation Services 473.4747
Foster Grandparents.Senior Companions
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) 544.6334 782.9200
“A child’s voice in Court in SLO County” District Attorney’s Office – Victim Witness Center Senior Ballroom Dance club
541.6542 781.5821 489.5481
Children’s Services Network Family Law Facilitator Senior Peer Counseling
781.1847 788.3418 Free, trained in.home counseling for 60+
First 5: Children & Families Commission Lawyers Referral Services/Legal Aid Alternative
781.4058; ask for Susan Hughs 788.2099 547.7025 ext. 15
Homeschooling in SLO County (HSC) Pro Per Divorce Workshop SPIRITUAL
462.0726; ask for Barbara 544.9313 Circle of Spiritual Enlightenment
La Clinica De Tolosa 238.5334 Senior Legal Services 541.1963;
La Leche League 543.5140 Awakening Interfaith Spiritual Community
489.9128 Meditation Monday evenings 7-8 pm
Migrant Childcare Program MEDICAL SUPPORT/SERVICES
ALS Support Group (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) Open to all. 772-0306
544.4355 and 466.3444 Hungry Hearts Spiritual Community
MOMS Club of South SLO county 227.4785 or 674.4162
RC liturgy with womanpriest 546.8672
473. 2548 Alzheimer’s Support Meditation Group
Partnership for Children 547.3830, 534.9234 (SLO/Los Osos) Mondays, 7:30–8:30 PM; 772.0306
541.8666; ask for Beth 888.488.6555 New Beginnings Church
Real F.A.C.T.S. (Forum on Abused Children) American Cancer Society Every Sunday, Coalesce Bookstore, MB
460.9016 San Luis Obispo 543.1481, 238.9657 Self-Realization Fellowship
Social Services Templeton 434.3051 Sunday Services 995-1599
781.1600 Anorexia Nervosa & Bulimia Support Group
Support for Kids Coping with Domestic Violence 541.9113 WOMEN’S CENTERS/SHELTERS
473.6507 Arthritis Foundation Homeless Shelter
892.5556 781-3993
EMERGENCY/CRISIS Cancer/ Breast Cancer Support Groups Housing Authority
Hotline 543.1481 ext. 3 for information 543.4478 800.549.8989 Caregivers of Aging Parents North County Women’s Resource Center, Shelter
Sexual & Rape Prevention (SARP) 543.7969 461.1338
545.8888 or 800.656.HOPE (4673) Celiac Disease Support Group Prado Day Center (for the homeless)
Temporary Restraining Order & Victim Witness 226.9893 786.0617
Program 781.5821 Endometriosis Association Women’s Community Center, SLO
Enhancement, Inc. (for breast cancer survivors) Women’s Shelter Program of SLO
A.D.A.P.T. (Aid in Divorce Adjustment Problems Today) 771.8640
543.0388 549.8989 (crises), 781.6401 (business)
EOC Health Services Clinics
Alzheimer/Dementia Resource Center no or low cost reproductive health services
434.2081 or 534.9234 or 888.488.6555 544.2478 (SLO); 489.4026 (Arroyo Grande) OTHER WOMEN’S ORGANIZATIONS
CALL–Concerned Agoraphobics Learning to Live Healthworks of the Central Coast Altrusa International, Inc.
543.3764 No or low cost reproductive health services 481.1039; Cici Wynn, President
Co-Dependents Anonymous (CoDA)
542.0577 (SLO) 481.5093 (Grover Beach) 542.0900 American Association of University Women
Hearst Cancer Resource Center 781-0922 Karen
927.1654 (Cambria) 466.8600 (North County) 542.6269 Camping Women
Community Counseling Center IC Interstitial Cystitis/Painful Bladder Syndrome 440.2723
543.7969 3rd Thursday, SLO, 7 -9 pm 464-0564 Hadassah.SLO
Dealing With Divorce Long-term Care Ombudsman Services of SLO County 543.9452
544.9313 785.0132
Depresson and Bipolar Support Alliance Group Lymphedema Education & Support Group OTHER GROUPS & GATHERINGS
927.3703 2nd Monday, 4-5 pm, 782-9300 Central Coast Peace and Environmental Council
Divorce Discussion Group Parkinson’s Support Groups 544.3399 or 783.2383
489.2990, 466.7226 (Atascadero/Templeton) Compassion & Choices (or Final Exit)
Eating Disorders Support Group 800.247.7421 or 489-5481
546-3774; free, meets weekly in SLO 481.7424 (Arroyo Grande)
Project Lifesaver 541.8633 (SLO)
Planned Parenthood
SLO 549.9446 Please send additions, corrections or deletions to: or leave a message at
the WCC: 805.544.9313. Last update 4/27/09.
Near Downtown
Deluxe Continental Breakfast
Pool & Spa
Fitness Room
Guest Laundry
2050 Garfield Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Toll Free: 800.544.7250
805.549.9911 Fax: 805.546.0734

Where to find Women’s Press

All Libraries and the following exceptionally fine establishments!

• NORTH COUNTY: Atascadero – The Coffee House and Deli, Starbuck’s at

Von’s Plaza, Green Goods, Player’s Pizza, Harvest Health Food Store, North
County Connection, Senior Center, Women’s Resource Center/Shelter Office,
Curves. Paso Robles – Cuesta College North Campus, Café Vio, Curves, DK
Donuts, Panolivo French Cafe, NCI Village Thrift Shop, Paso Robles Health
Foods; Templeton – Twin Cities Hospital, Templeton Market & Deli, Affinity
Chiropractic, Kinship Center, Jobella’s Coffee; Santa Margarita– Santa Margarita
• NORTHERN COAST: Baywood – Coffee & Things; Cambria – Cambria
Connection, Cambria Pines Lodge, Chamber of Commerce, Gym One, 7 Sisters,
Azevedo Chiropractic, Lilly’s, Alloco’s, Cambria Drug and Gift, Bob & Jan’s Auto
Shop, Linn’s, Donna’s Nail Salon, Cookie Crock, Rainbow Bean and Coffee
Shop; Cayucos – Cayucos Super Market, Kelley’s EsPresso & Dessert, Ocean
Front Pizza, Chevron Station, Mobile Balloons; Los Osos – Starbuck’s, Baywood
Laundry, Cad’s, Carlock’s Bakery, Chamber of Commerce, Copa de Oro, Garden
Café, Los Osos Deli Liquor, Volumes of Pleasure; Morro Bay – Backstage Salon,
Coalesce Bookstore, Coffee Pot Restaurant, The Rock, Southern Port Traders,
Sunshine Health Foods, Two Dogs Coffee, La Parisienne Bakery.
• SAN LUIS OBISPO: Broad St. Laundry, Cool Cats Café, La Crepes, Edna
Market, Booboo Records, Creekside Center, GALA, Marigold Nails, Palm
Theatre, Susan Polk Insurance, Utopia Bakery, Unity Church, Zoe Wells,
Naturopath, Cal Poly Library and Women’s Center, Center for Alternatives to
Violence, Chamber of Commerce, Cuesta College Library, EOC Health Services
Clinic, HealthWorks, Healing Alternatives, Laguna Laundry, Linnaea’s, Monterey
Express, Natural Foods Coop, New Frontiers, Nautical Bean, Outspoken
Beverage Bistro, Phoenix Books, Planned Parenthood, West End Espresso & Tea,
San Luis Obispo Housing Authority Office, SARP, The Secret Garden, SLO Perk
Coffee, Spirit Winds Therapy, The Studio Fitness for Women, Uptown Cafe,
Yoga Centre, Ahshe Hair Salon, Apropos Clothing, Soho Hair Salon, Hempshak,
YMCA, KCBX, Salon on Monterey, Jaffa Café, Med Stop (Madonna Plaza),
World Rhythm and Motion, Steynberg Gallery, Correa Chiropractic, High St.
Deli, Sunset N. Car Wash, Jamaica You, United Blood Services.
• SOUTH COUNTY: Arroyo Grande – Mongo’s, Act II Boutique, Central
Coast Yoga, CJ’s Restaurant, Curves-AG, Cutting Edge, EOC Health Services
Clinic, Girls Restaurant, Grande Whole Foods, Chameleon; Avila Beach– Avila
Grocery, Custom House, Sycamore Hot Springs, Inn at Avila, Joe Mamma’s;
Grover Beach – Back Door Deli, Cindi’s Wash House, Nan’s Pre-owned
Books, Therapeutic Body Center, 30-minute Fitness; Halcyon – Halcyon Store;
Nipomo – Anna’s Creekside Coffee House, Healing Touch Spa, Curves, La Placita
Market, Healthy Inspirations, World Gym, Trendy Sister Salon, Senior Centers;
Pismo Beach – Honeymoon Café, Pismo Athletic Club, RETurn to JOY!; Shell
Beach – De Palo & Sons Deli, Seaside Cafe, Steaming Bean.
• SANTA MARIA: Café Monet, Hunter’s Landing, Library, Curves on Main and
on Broadway, Lassen’s.
• ORCUTT: Loading Dock, Oasis Spa.