Shift in Perception

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.
John O’Donohue
To Bless the Space Between Us

 

Namaste,

Shobhna

 

 

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Belonging

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

 

Namaste,

Shobhna

In Communication

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.

Namaste,

Shobhna

Courage

Hatred and fear blind us,

We no longer see each other,

We only see the faces of monsters and

that gives us the courage

to destroy each other

by Thich Nhat Hahn.

I read this recently and it explains so much of what is happening within relationships around the world.  I have been concerned about the amount of hatred that is present in speeches given by leaders and the actions being taken against groups of people globally.  Courage rooted in hatred and fear will eventually dissolve, but after having harmed people and the earth. We have seen this happen over and over again in our history. In destroying others we invariably destroy ourselves too.

Removing fear and hatred within our own minds takes courage. Because we are left feeling vulnerable without the protection of the monsters face to scare others with. As that monstrous face peels of, the authentic, genuine  and compassionate face is revealed to ourselves and the world.  In the process we alleviate our own suffering and of those around us.

Cultivating peace, promoting well being and harmony in good times is easier to do. When there is anger, fear, hatred, greed and intolerance around us, it takes clarity, discernment, and sheer focus on actions enveloped in love. Courage that leaves us feeling vulnerable and wanting to protect ourselves and others from harm is rooted in love.

There are so many people all over the world who are  looking for food, shelter, safety, and belonging.  We can choose to turn away from their suffering or alleviate their suffering. We can choose to destroy them because of our own fears or  choose to protect them from harm.

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Namaste,

Shobhna

Vulnerability

For a few months, I left this quote on our kitchen wall as a constant reminder:

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage  ~ Lao Tzu

I believe in order to live an authentic life, we have to be vulnerable and in order to be vulnerable, we have to have courage.  To be courageous, we also need to feel safe, which is intricately connected to love  and trust.

Brené Brown has spent years doing research on vulnerability, shame, worthiness, connection and belonging. In this You tube clip she talks about moving past the critics, including the inner critic that don’t truly serve us.

Brené  quotes Theodore Roosevelt  in this talk as being pivotal  in shifting her  own perspective about critics.  The quote is poignant and sheds light on what resilience looks like and the courage it takes to keep trying.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

Namaste,

Shobhna