I am a guilty feminist

I am not Martin Luther King Jr., but I have a dream. I have a dream. I have a dream that one day, I will make the same amount of money as a man for doing the same work. I have a dream that I make the same as a CEO, as an athlete, and as a doctor. I have a dream to make the same in government, in the tech industry, and in the healthcare.

I have a dream. I have a dream that boys and girls can grow up having the same dreams. I have a dream that your daughters are told to be smart before they are told to be beautiful. I have a dream that your daughters are told to be girls and act like girls, rather than to be told “to behave” and to act “lady like” even though “boys will be boys”.

I have a dream. I have a dream to be equal and to have my body respected. I have a dream to not be asked in my job interview when I am planning to have a baby, even tho my partner, who is a man and only 1 year older than me,  will never be asked that. I have a dream not to be objectified, catcalled or sexualized.

I have a dream. But. But – there’s always a butt – I want to confess to you in this post the guilty things I do and the hypocrisies, fears, and insecurities I have been a feminist in the 21st century.

Here is my first one: I am a feminist, but when my nephew turned 9 years old, I baked him a blue cake with moustaches all over. Because he is a big boy now. I a feminist, but I never bought my nephews a doll or a teddy bear even though I bought them cars and lego.

I am a feminist but I sing and dance to “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. I am a feminist but I actually know the words of “Crazy Rap” by Afroman. If you don’t know these songs, they are really bad. They catcall, sexualize and objectify women. I still dance tho, I find it really catchy. “I know you want it”…

I am a feminist and I believe in equality, but I do believe women need to take over because let’s face it, men are doing such a bad job. Jeez. If you are reading this and you are a man, sorry but you had your turn, but look at this world right now, you have chaos here. Chaos (and Donald Trump). I am joking… #amI?

I am a feminist, but if I got my period by surprise and need some tampons, I go around the room whispering to any women “hey do you have a tampon” rather than just using my normal voice or even saying out loud “hey, does anyone has a tampon, I need one”. Yeah, nah. I do whisper. I still feel awkward talking about my vagina when is bleeding.

I am a feminist, but, I do not stay at my boyfriend’s house, under any circumstances if I have forgotten my makeup bag and I have work the next day. Honestly, it’s no deal. My makeup bag is even more important than my toothbrush. When I say this out loud we really get it how my attitudes are twisted. But if I go to work, all natural, people ask me: are you sick? Are you tired? Do you want to talk? Thanks, but no thanks. I stick with the makeup.

For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”

Feminism is not: an aggressive movement, a non-bra movement and doesn’t mean you don’t shave your legs and intimate area. It really means, you too have a dream to be equal.

I quote Emma Watson here: “If you stand for equality, you are a feminist. I’m sorry to tell you that.

Well, I am 27 years old now, and for the first time in my life, I have a sense of self that I’m comfortable with. With all my insecurities, guilty and hypocrisies. I feel like that I actually do have things that I want to say and I want to be my most authentic self. Whatever this looks like. For this post, I am a guilty feminist.

And I want to leave you with the question: What does equality mean to you? What are you guilty of?

If you want to hear more stories of guilty feminists, go to the podcast: The Guilty Feminist

It’s hilarious and my inspiration for this post 🙂

Namaste

This post I want to talk about how yoga changed my life.

I know it may sound like a random topic to choose, or perhaps it sounds fairly typical for a new age twenty-something-year-old chick to talk about the “joys of yoga”… But nonetheless, it really has changed my life, and I think it could change yours too.

You see, it was through yoga that I’ve learned that we can’t always change what’s happening to us, but we CAN change the way we respond.

We all experience pain, right? – whether that pain is a headache, or back pain, stress, heartbreak, loneliness. Whatever is your pain, I am sure we’ve all experienced something, right?”e

We all experienced pain – but it is HOW we choose to experience that pain that is up to us – or more specifically, how we choose to react to that pain.

Imagine if I told you that you could change your response to pain and in the process be free from suffering  Would you believe me?

In 1963 amidst a protest of the persecution of Buddhists, a Vietnamese monk sat down on a road in a traditional meditative lotus position, poured a can of petrol over his head, and as recited a homage to Buddha, he lit himself on fire and meditated until he burned to death.

For most of us, we scream when our coffee is too hot or when the shower is too cold. We react to pain far too easily.

But ladies and gentlemen, what that Vietnames monk did that day is proof that we have absolute control over our mind, over our pain tolerance, and over the way that react to almost all situations.  And yoga offers us an insight into how we can control it.

For me, this lesson all started on my body, on the yoga mat.

The Chair pose (Utkatasana) is where I am often presented with this challenge. With my feet firmly grounded, and my knees bent, it involves dropping the tailbone and sitting down into the air. Holding the core tight, rolling the shoulders back/down and extending the arms out to create a dynamic tension through my body. Within this isometric hold, I must breathe to find balance and strength. After a period of time, the thighs begin to burn, the arms feel heavy, the breath naturally wants to shorten, the mind gets agitated— this is painful guys!! All I want to do is to come out of this hold and shake it off – everytime.

I have practiced yoga five times a week for the last 24 months.  That means I’ve experienced this pose more than 520 times And I still feel the tension.  I still feel the fire. I still feel the burn.  Utkata means “wild,” “frightening,” “intense,” “furious,” “heavy”; and asana means “seat.” As I come into Utkatasana, I am literally sitting into a heavy, frightening, wild, intense fury—and honestly, it can feel that rough!

Now personally, having had to deal with  this pose has made me far more equipped to deal with other types of pain in my life too. There are so many uncomfortable aspects within our day to day actions, thoughts and relationships. Learning to choose to move through the pain of Utkatasana, and training my body, mind and spirit to sit more deeply into it, fully expanding my breathe and finding the heart centre of my practice, I take a step towards integration of my whole being.

Acknowledging the discomfort of life, yet staying there a moment longer to allow the feeling, acknowledging it as real, feeling its presence fully; holding it…and allowing the pain to change,  to pass… that is when I started to give mySelf the gift of complete presence and finding compassion.

Every day is a practice of life, whether we include yoga or not. Every day, we experience moments of discomfort.

Some days, the need to escape can be so intense and burning that it is difficult to think of anything else. But rather than leaving the discomfort, can you stay there a moment longer—a breath longer?

Can you find yourself fully present within the discomfort of being?

Can you sit deeply into the Utkatasana of life?

Yoga has taught me not to react but to embrace.  Not to judge, but to feel.

Yoga has taught me not to fight but surrender. Yoga has taught me the art of living.

As we say in yoga:

“The divine light in me honours the divine light in you.”

Namaste.

Maria

Photo: Bruce Simons

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Th%C3%ADch_Qu%E1%BA%A3ng_%C4%90%E1%BB%A9c

Who are you?

Now, if you could close your eyes. Take a deep breath and answer in your head this question: Who are you?

Have another breath and then open your eyes. How was your experience?

Sometimes it is difficult to answer this simple question, right? It seems that who you truly believe yourself to be dictates how you experience yourself and how people think about you. So, let’s say if you think that you are fat or skinny, or maybe you think you are what you eat, like I am a vegetarian or a vegan, that will be your primary experience of yourself. Believing it and thinking it reinforces who you are, or who do you think you are.

But, here is my question for you: is that really who you are? Can you define who you are based on your body size? Can you define who you are based on where you come from? Based on your what you eat or based on your mother tongue?

When you tap into your spirit and find out who you really are, it frees you from being locked into your expectations or societies lame rules. Because you know who you are and you don’t care what other people think about you. Because you know it is only their perspective of life. Because you know the truth about yourself and that is more than enough. And that… That sets you free.

So now, consider the possibility that you are not who you think you are. Who are you?

Well, in basic science class, we learn that all matter – everything – is composed of different combinations of elements. This applies to the human body as well. So, what are you? About 65 percent oxygen, 3 percent nitrogen, 0.25 percent sulphur. Your hair, your eyes, your fluids, your skin, your feet, – and even your fat – are made up of elements. So, in theory, you are just a sack of chemicals! Well, is what you are? A sack of chemicals?

Let me tell you a story. It is the true story of W Mitchell. Mr Mitchell as a young man, he lived life very much like everyone else. But, in one cold night, his life suddenly changed when he had a blazing motorcycle accident. He woke up in the hospital with ⅔ of his body burnt. He not only overcame that but fours years later, Mr Mitchell had a plane crash. This time he woke up in the hospital paralysed from his waist down. Try to imagine his emotional state. Most people, would ask: What now? What do I do now? But hey, not him. He asked: What else do I still have? Am I merely a body or am I something more? How can I contribute to the world?

Today he is a millionaire, a motivational speaker and a business leader. He is also, a living example of what will-power, courage and determination can achieve. But mostly, he is a living example of someone that knows himself. His body might be stuck in a wheelchair, his face might be burned and he might be missing most of his hands, but his spirit, well, his spirit is free.

And this is one of the most empowering things you can know, is that: I am. It’s really all you can know for sure. Everything else it is just a belief, everything else it is just a label; everything else it is just your reaction to fear. And that is it: You are. You exist.

As we believe in whatever labels we tell ourselves to be true, they become true. All of us view the world through our own lens, coloured by the experiences, meanings, and beliefs we’ve accumulated over the years.

So, if you could change your point of view of who you truly are, what would you say now?

The closer you get to answer the question of who you are,  the closer you get to the truth consciousness bliss. You have the choice of not marrying yourself to lame labels like your fat, skinny, vegetarian. In your spirit, you are not of that! You are not your profession or what you do! You simply are!

And tonight, I can tell you this much, no matter who you think you are, you are not that. And neither am I. Who am I?  I am free and I am enough. Who are you?

Maria

Photo: Scott Sinton