Saturday, June 16, 2012

What does ladylike look like?

I've seen many women struggle with the idea that being lady-like looks like the picture above; passive, well-coiffed, well dressed, demure.  Being a woman who transcends just her gender identification and acquires the description of "a lady," should be based more on one's character than costume and good cosmetics.  In general, we have given too much weight to the appearance of refinement instead of the actual acknowledgement and valuation of behavior and lives that showcase good core values, manners, sound character and compassion. The traits and behaviors that we admire in a lady are just as admirable in a gentleman, and the sooner women embrace them, the sooner men will be encouraged to do the same.  So for fun, take a moment to determine whether the words of wisdom below are from a man or a women, and whether they are gender specific or not.

1. No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.

2. Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.

3. In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.

4. All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind.

5. A man's character is like his shadow, which sometimes follows and sometimes precedes him, and which is occasionally longer, occasionally shorter, than he is. 

6.  Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

7. The more a man knows, the more he forgives.

8. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

9. The extent of your consciousness is limited only by your ability to love and to embrace with your love the space around you, and all it contains.

10. Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the highroad to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction.


1. Aesop 2. George Washington 3. Marianne Williamson 4. Abraham Lincoln 5. Madame de la Rochejaquelein 6. Leo Buscaglia 7. Catherine the Great 8. Audrey Hepburn 9. Napoleon Bonaparte 10. Margaret Thatcher

I very much believe that women set the tone for the way that men and children think about and carry themselves as we have been given the gift of understanding how best to nurture one another as well as how to express love and compassion. When we falter in these modes, the others suffer and are not encouraged to rise to the greatest expression of themselves.  Don't worry about how to sit properly or wear pearls as much as finding ways, everyday, to enliven your highest self.

"Elevate the girls, and you elevate the world."   That's mine.  ;)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Instincts, Altruism and Selflessness

Yes, yes, I know I am supposed to share inspiring stories of women who are really being great role models, but I found this story so moving that I wanted to share it with you.

The rescued infant.
Photo by Ghana News Agency
In Ghana, a woman believed she had lost her dog and had a search party helping to track her beloved canine friend down through the nearby forest.  They searched and searched, and eventually found this now heroic farm dog, cuddled up against a two week old baby that had been abandoned under a bridge.  Keeping the child warm and safe from harm, the dog was able to nurture something unfamiliar and most likely saved the child's life. Amazing!

I'm not one to play at personification of animals.  I truly love and embrace the nature of dogs and cats and praying mantises and whatever else, but in this instant, there is truly something so inspiring in the dog's behavior that I felt compelled to write about it.  

Animals have been known to accept the young of other animals into their litters, raising them as their own and resulting in puppies that grow up to clean themselves like kittens or baby hippos that are convinced their mother is a 130 year old giant male tortoise.

Photo Credit: Muhammad Hamed / Reuters 
There have been studies conducted on Animal Altruism, or the sacrificing of oneself for the protection or betterment of another. These acts of protecting another have helped to improve and evolve the species over time by insuring that all members of a species are given the opportunity to live, thrive, feel protected and inherit the traits and behaviors that will protect future generations.

I know many of us are hesitant to leave our safe places and venture into the unfamiliar, which is a part of our instinctive call to self-preservation.  Helping a stranger, accepting a new or unknown person or pet into our care, going to a part of town that you've never been to to help people you've never met, all pushes us out of our comfort zone.  But the truth is, what you instill in yourself, the trait of selflessness and altruism, is something you may also pass down to your friends, your family, your community and those that you help.  That farm dog left his meal bowl and everything familiar because something told him that someone needed his help.  And right now, in this world, I know someone needs you.