My Birth Month~~~And The Wheel Turns Again!!!
As the quintessential optimist I so very much love Life and at the very same time I am so keenly aware of the pain I and others feel daily. Abuse and inequity enrage me. Knowing that I see clearly why education and empowerment for all are so important to me! Part of education and empowerment is knowing the story from which we came and mentoring the young people who come after us. In that spirit I want to acknowledge Billie Jean King who has long since been a woman I greatly admire. As Cokie Roberts said in her recent interview of Billie Jean King, "she forever changed American sports." I hope you’ll go to the April 4-6, 2008 issue at usaweekend.com to read the whole interview. Cokie Roberts notes that, “May 2008 marks the opening of the Sports Museum of America in New York, where the Billie Jean King International Women’s Sports Center will be the nation’s first permanent women’s sports hall of fame and exhibit.” The article further states, “In addition to its wing named for Billie Jean King, the museum will be the new home for the Heisman Trophy and include 600+ items in 19 galleries. For more information go to sportsmuseum.com. To read about other American icons go to usaweekend.com”. Her latest book, due out in August 2008, is titled, “Pressure Is A Privilege.” Among her greatest accomplishments, in my opinion, is her work for pay equity in prize money. In 1973 the U.S. Open was the first Grand Slam tennis tournament event to award the same prize money to the women’s and men’s champions. Wimbledon was “the last holdout” until 2007 to honor equity in prize money. This is just one example of Billie Jean's contributions to sports, to life, to empowerment, and to opportunity. Even though she ended her professional singles career in 1983 she is still heavily involved in mentoring the young stars of today. The article details Billie Jean’s influence on Venus Williams, a very prominent star on the current women’s tour. Venus wrote "an opinion piece in The Times (of London) in 2006 saying, 'Wimbledon was on the wrong side of history.' As Billie Jean further details, 'In 1968, we started that fight. The equal prize money’s not about the money--we're making lots of money. It’s about the message. It’s empowering girls to think they can do anything. I don't want girls, or boys, to ever think they’re inferior. Everyone deserves the dream. Everyone.” Lastly, I’ll comment on Billie Jean’s assessment of where we are today as asked by Cokie Roberts in their interview: “We’re shockingly off. We get 8% of the sports page. We have about $1 billion in sponsorship worldwide-- men have about $25 billion. And that’s just the beginning. We have so far to go in the sports world. And yet, sports are a microcosm of society."
I am detailing so much of this story for several very personal reasons. I have been a sports enthusiast and participant all my life. Sports was a huge part of my life when I was younger. In my early 30s I was playing in a women’s softball league. During one of the games after a particularly difficult catch I had made the young male umpire of our game said to our catcher, “I’ve never seen anyone play ball like that in my life.” For those of you who don’t know me perhaps it makes this a little more understandable if you know that as a result of severe birth trauma I have mild Cerebral Palsy. I did not, and do not, let that stop me from doing what I love to do. For those of you who know me now and who know about the power of visualization, for a few days that week in 1975 I had been visualizing making exactly that catch, and then lo, and behold, the Universe presents the opportunity in physical reality to do exactly what I was visualizing! In the same game there was another opportunity to make another very difficult catch and a player from the other bench yelled out, “Not her again.” I was laughing so hard I nearly fell down. I made that catch too! With a little bit of a flourish I flipped the ball behind my back so it would land on the pitcher’s mound. That catch ended their inning.
From a professional standpoint I know my physical situation has been a blessing in many circumstances. I’ve lived the reality that "you’re not limited unless you think you are." I've been a service coordinator for medically fragile infants and children. I’ve had the opportunity to say to parents, "Let your baby set the bar. They know what they can and cannot do." The parents understood what I was saying because they "knew" I had lived that very reality. On the opposite end of that spectrum I've also been denied opportunities due to my physical situation. They did not understand how physically strong I am and how intuitively I relate to people. They assumed inability based on what they thought they saw! They apparently didn’t see that I’d already been employed doing suicide watches in locked wards of state mental hospitals, that I'd already been employed as a manager of a halfway house for adults coming out of mental hospitals. They didn’t see me!
I'm detailing my personal story not only because this is my birth month but because my special affirmation this year is “Celebration.” As the quintessential optimist I recognize that every day is an opportunity for celebration. This year seems bigger still because I can sense such huge opportunities and possibilities unfolding. They’re always there. I’m just determined to appreciate them more and more each day because Life is so very special. I’m holding the vision for what I want and I’m leaving room for this or something better!
Beyond my personal world we are at such an important time in the story of our humanity. In 2008 we will either elect the first woman president of the US, or the first person of color to be president of the US, or the oldest person to ever be president of the US. Any of these scenarios once again highlights the power of one! How will we use or abuse our power? What vision do we individually and collectively hold for ourselves, our country, our shared world? How will we respond to pressure? Is it a privilege or a problem? Is the glass half empty, half full, or can we take the long view and live from the affirmative spiritual perspective that I love so very much, “All things are working together for my good and I am working with them in the Love, Wisdom, and Power of Spirit.” As the Abraham teachings so powerfully and compassionately remind us, “The goal of every action is relief.” When I find myself moving from despair to rage (one step up the ladder moving toward Joy) I pledge to hold the long view that reminds me of God Presence in me, as me; in you, as you; in all the world near and far. The Wheel of Life is indeed turning for us all every moment. As we focus on our passion, as we give thanks for our opportunities and challenges, we truly see that we are unlimited expressions of the Infinite. I have experienced the Joy of that knowingness so very many times. I hope you have experienced the Joy of that knowingness many times as well. I wish you the very best of Love, Peace, Joy, Wisdom and Understanding as we move forward in 2008! Blessings to you, dear friends, near and far! See you along the road of Life! Namaste!!!!
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