Think About, Celebrate a Strong Woman – Institute for Zen Leadership
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Women’s History Month: Think About, Celebrate a Strong Woman

Women’s History Month: Think About, Celebrate a Strong Woman

Adrienne Hampton reflects on Women’s History Month and a strong woman in her life. – March 2020

Women’s History Month: Think About, Celebrate a Strong Woman

How often do we wish we could carve out just a little more time for ourselves? We have so many competing demands on our time and attention, that we often crave some time out. 

Yesterday my Captain Marvel Journal* prompted me to think about a strong woman in my life for women’s history month, and to figure out a way to celebrate her.  I immediately thought of Roshi Ginny Whitelaw (in case you ever want to feel what it’s like to be a mountain, sit with Ginny), and I’d like to present a bit of her teaching that’s been speaking to me PERSONALLY of late.  From her book The Zen Leader**, here’s what I’ve taken so far from my adventures in chapter 4 — ‘From “Out There” to “In Here.”‘  This chapter details a technique for dealing with tough situations.  Our primary practice is sitting, but don’t turn down a pro tip. Life hacks inform sitting and vice versa.  I hope this prompts you to consider a question, and read the book — and re-read it, and re-read it — for yourself. 

‘From “Out There” to “In Here”‘ asks us to consider “Who is it that creates our reality?”  By the time information reaches us through our societal, cultural, and personal filters, how has it changed in content, meaning, significance, veracity, etc?  What happens is not always under our control, but we interpret, experience, and know the world and it’s happenings through our personal, idiosyncratic array of filters and overlays.  These are hard. to. see.  Which means things as they truly are, are hard to see.  Luckily, our experience of reality can give use clues about our filters and overlays, if we’re interested.  

That’s not to say at the dojo we’re all on the cushion actively dismantling all of our fears, biases and preconditioning; while we hope that’s an effect of sitting, that’s not our active process. But if we’re interested in why our reality looks like it does, we can ask ourselves how have we engineered our slice of reality to appear this way to us?  When some insights arise around that, things start to shift.  We realize there’s more of reality to see — there’s just more here — and then necessarily more ways to respond and behave in the field of what is.  Whitelaw Roshi closes the chapter with this:

1.) “See into the mirror” — what’s going on in your world and how does it mirror what’s going on in yourself?  They are not separate.

2.) “Find the root” — What’s the fear that’s holding this story in place?

3.) “Claim your power” — the grip of fear loosens once you name it.  

I hope this whets your appetite for Zen life hacks!  The Zen Leader outlines 10 of them.  Read the entire book for yourself; it’s fantastic.  

See you on the cushion!

*Captain Marvel Journal
**Read the zen leader

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