I am sorry women

In light of the conversations and pain lately around women, men and sexism, I want to say that I'm sorry. *And* I'm scared. I'm scared of standing up with feminism and saying the wrong thing. I'm scared of getting my ass kicked or being called sexist based on the actions of centuries of men. And truthfully, sometimes I am frozen in shame because I know that on some younger days I related a women to a man, rather than being blasted away by her light and giving that light independence, so I'm scared I don't deserve forgiveness. 

I am so truly sorry women that the world you live in doesn't fully make room for you. That I haven't either. 

My heart is wrestling with so much brokenness in men and women alike. Sometimes I feel small though I want to be my big self. Today I am clear - woman rock!, we need each other, and as men we got some makin' up to do. 

I hope I find spaces today in which I can care for women and they can already know that I see their wholeness. I hope I find ways to hold them with care and at the same time hold my own good heart.

Now I am committed to asking females, "what do you want? What precisely can I do that allows space for you to be here fully? I want all of you here. I need you."

And please, when I fall short, don't bang on me. Be soft and redirect my heart. Though the patriarchy is NOT fair, please play fair with me here right now. I'm your ally. I see you. I will speak up for you when needed.

Men, show your tender and loving partnership. Right. Now.

Wait not a moment longer. Men, we've been lied to. We've been hooked up to the tube that says we must be tough and push others away, including women. We've been taught that to be cared for, we have to be mean and on top. Stop. Arrive. Love equally now.

Give every female nothing less than your whole heart.

Men, yes, I know, I too was pummeled as a little guy if I wasn't perfect. I too learned to shut off my feelings, so it makes sense to push down women along with your confusing and overwhelming feelings. 

I gently invite you to make those feelings known. Come out and be seen.

As you notice parts of your old self that haven't played big, don't let a sea of shame take you under. If you haven't given women their full space, you still get to hold your heart today. You're good. I'm good. We're in this together. The women aren't out to get us, they are just hurting too. And they deserve to be - it's a f*cked up and unequal world out there!

Hold your heart in one hand. And their hand in your other. 

Love,

Leif

Who am I?

These are the first words ever written. Here that is. Post numero uno. So I'll tell you about the journey of getting this website successfully out to sea, and how it helped me find a speck of clarity for the direction of my compass.

Be kind and rewind six years and you'll find me getting axed from a job that I clearly didn't want in the first place. Forget that I didn't know there were other options in life. I thought that life was in opposition to one's career, and that work was supposed to be just bearable. From that place, I became good at doing just enough to get by. Give my whole self? No way! Is Friday here yet? I got a Friday ticket all right. Strike three Stringa, you're outta here!

Rinse and repeat the above experience two years later. Pema Chodron says, "nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know." I wouldn't come to understand this until years later. So what I know now is that when I'm not inspired from my own heart, not connected to something bigger than me, and when those around me seem like zombies waiting for lunch break, then Leif doesn't fully show up. I felt dampened so I raised a ruckus. Maybe more like shed a coat that didn't fit in the first place. I knew that I was much more than I appeared, yet my soul was locked in cultural conditioning of fake smiles, fancy suits, and hard work regardless of the low degree of personal satisfaction.

Tired of feeling my full energy, creativity, intelligence, and the ability to connect to people tucked away, life gave me what would become my three best friends and most steady allies. Me an alien meeting other aliens. Thank God! Right away our hard work, research, authenticity, not-so-clear action plan, love for snacks, and commitment for providing people with a framework for healthy love relationships, led me to finally know that a meaningful career was possible for me.

So as I once again stared at the cliché, "if you could do anything you wanted, what would you do?", a friend intelligently reframed it into a not-so-cliché, "the real question is what are you good at? If you do what you're good at you'll positively impact people because you enjoy it."

So I played in the dirty garden box of what I new wanted to grow from my heart.

I decided once-and-for-all to remove my nametag as that employee on the widget factory line.

I co-facilitated my first workshops to young people giving them a framework and set of tools to choose wisely in love relationships.

Nearly two years following this I facilitated my first introduction to nonviolent communication in a warm room of 24, and I've continued forward ever since. Learning, falling down, getting feedback, tweaking, growing, and giving more. My heart was full. I had more energy at the end than at the beginning!

Today I work with a variety of audiences, learn stuff every hour, and completely love what I do. But how the heck do I organize and communicate all that on a webpage?

With support, that's how.

I brain-dumped my squirrely lyrics then asked for support from my allies that make beautiful sentences. They generously said yep. You know who you are - thank you with applesauce on top. I've gotten better every day at asking for support.

So yes, I am pleased. I do feel proud. I feel vulnerable putting myself out here like this. And I'm doing it in the name of love. Of truth. Of service. I wonder what parts of these pages will reach folks. I wonder if I've made any sense of what I love to do. Your feedback is welcome. Love to you.

Yours truly,

Leif Goddard Stringer