On January 1st, Iceland started enforcing a new law where any employer with 25 or more employess, is required to pay men and women equally for the same job. This law makes Iceland the 1st country in the world to make it illegal for men to get paid more than women.
In the United States women are paid on an average of 80 cents per dollar that a man earns for the same job. The gap is higher for women of color. In Europe women earn 84 cents on every dollar a man earns for the same job. In India women earn 25% less than men.
Hearing about wage equality in Iceland gives me hope that someday equal pay will be part of the norm. Per the World Economic Forum, In the U.S. we should reach economic gender equality in 2059. Globally we wont see economic equality until 2133. Because it will have taken many people to have advocated for the right to receive equal pay, I sincerely hope that in 2133 people rejoice and celebrate as economic inequality becomes a thing of the past.
In the present, however I am happy knowing that in 1 corner of our world, in Iceland, the government has recognized the value of equality in pay. The message on the surface is that men and women will get paid equally. But deeper than that are so many other factors that make this a monumental shift. With equal pay, life for so many will be transformed. Now that it is happening in Iceland, perhaps other countries won’t want to be left far behind and might catch up. A cause for healthy competition.
I am grateful for other healthy shifts taking place as well and I am mindful that they did not happen overnight. Whether a personal shift in perception or a collective one, it all leads to a better world. Wishing everyone a blessed year and liberating shifts of perception. In John O’Donohue’s words:
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.
To Bless the Space Between Us
When I was a kid we celebrated Christmas with family friends. They came over to our home for Diwali and we to their home for Christmas. I also attended a catholic school and we celebrated Jesus Christ and enjoyed nativity plays. This was in Calcutta, India.
When we immigrated to the United States, our traditions changed a bit, but we continued to celebrate both Diwali and Christmas with family and friends. We had friends who celebrated Eid and Hanukkah and we celebrated along with them.
My husband and his family are Celtic. We have continued the tradition of celebrating Diwali and Christmas. We have also in recent years celebrated Hannukah because part of our larger family is Jewish.
So for us, ‘happy holidays’ start sometime in October and seem to continue to the end of December. We feel blessed to live among and be a part of diverse family. We are grateful for this life experience of having faith in our deep rooted traditions and comfortably belonging in each other’s beliefs. Practicing loving kindness towards all has been a natural inclusion.
At the root of all the holidays we recognize the true spirit of peace, happiness, love, kindness and wishes for everyone’s well-being.
Wishing everyone a harmonious Christmas today.
Fran Peavey, in her book Heart Politics talks about an experience she had at Stanford University. She was walking on the campus one day when she came up to a group of people carrying recording equipment. They were recording a male chimp who was loose and a female chimp on a long chain. The scientists and spectators (mostly men) were trying to get them to mate. Every time the male chimpanzee approached the female chimp, she whimpered and backed away, to avoid his advances. Peavey says as she watched this scene, a wave of empathy swept through her. In the next moment, the female chimp, yanked her chain out of the male chimps grasp and walked through the crowd of people standing directly to Peavey, and took her hand. Then she proceeded to take Peavey back into the circle towards the only two other women there and joined hands with 1 of them. The 3 of them then stood together in the circle. Peavey says the chimp had formed her own support group.
This story affirms how we instinctively seek support, look for cues of safety and have the deep need to be seen, heard and recognized. Paying deep and focused attention to others allows us to be attuned to their experiences, creating space for the person to feel seen and heard. As Peavey stood there, feeling empathy for the chimpanzee, the chimpanzee sensed this support and found her safe space.
Listening deeply to others requires stepping out of our own constant inner dialogue. When we listen and attune our inner selves to the other person we also reduce the gap of separation of “us” and “them”.
“One of the deepest longings of the human soul is to be seen” ~John Donohue
“There is a force in the universe, call it God or spirituality or whatever you like, that wants the victory of truth and justice. This force will help you if you are steady, humble, brave, and patient. Never, ever give up, however bad things get.”
~ Nelson Mandela
In The Lost Art of Good Conversation, Sakyong Mipham provides simple ways to have authentic conversations. Conversations that engage the heart and mind so people feel heard, seen and understood. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche is the head of the Shambhala lineage and much like in his teachings, in this book he focuses on kindness, compassion, wisdom and bravery so that people can genuinely connect and relate to each others goodness. His words create their own joyful rhythm leaving the reader inspired to lean into simple and difficult conversations.
The book is full of stories and practical advice which can be used seamlessly in daily conversations and in personal reflections. The book can be read multiple times as each chapter focuses on different aspects of conversations.
I chose this book from http://www.bloggingforbooks.com and my recommendation of this book is based on my own opinion. I would suggest this book to anyone who has conversations; to anyone who wants to support people in being their best and to anyone who wants peace in their heart and in the world.
In each moment we have the opportunity to greet what we seek.
We yearn for connection
while speaking of the inconsequential
We long for community
yet we are divided by ethnicity
We speak of peace
and engage in wars
We want unity
while excluding diversity
An open mind and kind hearted spirit
is needed now more than ever
so we can boldly yet gently
be in this space of ambiguity
moving beyond fear
hand in hand, together