Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Abuse, Betrayal and Mean Girls at 65

Spinning Your Gold Blog: Words That Open Hearts and  Inspire Actions
At 65, I thought I would never have to deal with abuse, betrayal, and mean girls again

Not so.

Abuse lives on to touch you at any age. 
If you allow. 
And I did.
Others can collude in a "verbal cancer" that spreads as predominate as breast cancer. 

Rewind to last Sunday night.

Imagine reading this in your newsfeed on your college's group page. (FYI: The blue screen in the text shows up as it's an exact copy of the original post which has been deleted from the group page.)

The exact post from an alumna who doesn't use her real name:

“I too have great Sistahs, many wonderful memories & enjoy supporting other alum. But does anyone else wonder why Lore Raymond feels it's okay to use JUDSON'S special pages to consistently promote her business interests??

I enjoy seeing what ALL other alum are doing & not having this closed group monopolized, at times, by her self-serving promotional materials.

Finally, have some of you who "liked" her posts actually looked at her website? I've never met her & she's welcome to pay to promote her divergent ideas elsewhere. But honestly, some of her website gave me the creeps.

My Reply
Lore Raymond I make no money from the book I shared the link to. It's a story that celebrates *. This post does the same. I wish you well.


My Original Post
The post above was in response to my post on Saturday, September 15, that was from my PERSONAL Facebook page with a lovely meme:

“We often speak of sisters here on this group page. I know that one of the greatest gifts ever unconditionally given to me was my experience with my college sisters, 1971-74.
Who could have ever thought that a "Damn Yankee"--a Freshman from MD and one of only two Roman Catholics in the college--could find lasting friendships in a Southern Baptist college?

I did.
And I write about this journey in my story, "Carbonated Holiness" in the anthology Gratitude and Grace. (
My precious friendships continue growing, expanding, and changing to this day, 44 years and counting.
I am grateful, I am.
Just sayin'.
ROLL CALL! Who are the * Sisters that are you grateful for?”

I shared both posts with my alma mater and the alumnae president.
The college's email response was...

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Unfortunately, sometimes Facebook posts can get a little out of hand. 
(A little?! Name calling, shaming? A disrespectful, emboldened call to the group to agree with her opinion and contribute more mean, degrading statements?)

Hopefully soon our Facebook page will have guidelines that all members must adhere to. Those guidelines will address issues such as this.  However, it will also address posts that promote other websites, works, etc.  More to come on this later.

With that said, I feel it best to delete the whole post, not just her comment on your post. I hope you understand.”

No closing. 
No name. 
No expression of empathy or sympathy.

Hell, no! I don’t understand!

You "feel it best"? 
I'm to be silenced with my original post deleted?
(The posts you read above were deleted this morning despite my request that my post remain.)

Where is the compassion from my alma mater? 
Public apology? 

I am raging that this mean-spirited post showed up on the alumnae group page-- along with name calling and an invitation for other alumnae to join her in judgment that my posts are “self-promoting” and even more harming is that my website is “divergent” and “creepy.”

The college "sistah" using a Facebook pseudonym admits she doesn't know me yet confidently attacks my character, intention, and brand. That's a true tragedy--a woman attacking another woman.

What's most hurtful now is how the college is not responding--the evidence of the abuse and the abuser is--in a click-- 
now gone with the wind! 
(Forgive me, Margaret Mitchell.)

My dear college roomie, the current alumnae president, replied on Tuesday to my calls. While she offered some comforting words, she also suggested that I be understanding why the college staff was not responsive.

"I am so sorry..."

"We talked. She's going to call you, and the woman who posted about you. "

"Why hasn't she called?"

She's busy getting ready for the Trustees' meeting..."

Unreal, surreal nonsense.
I've been attacked. Let me put you on hold. Get back to you later. Sometime...

In this morning's conversation with the college rep, she stated: "I stand by my decision to delete the controversial post."

Stand by...what?
My post wasn't controversial. It was loving.
The abuser's comments were controversial and unacceptable.
So your leadership decision is to delete all of the post? You missed an opportunity to take a stand against bullying and inappropriate behavior.

 I rarely use this word but now I am shouting it out...
"A little out of hand." 
Shame on you. 
Shame, shame on all of you!
Shame on anyone who harms another by being silent.

You disagree with me? Good for you! 
You have a voice.
I applaud you.
There's a way to disagree: consider a one-to-one "sistah" conversation and not with veiled verbal attacks with a name and face that I can't connect with.

I am no saint.

I was silent when someone I loved "took" my virginity at 19--now the word would be rape.

I was silent for decades about the congressional administrative aide who sexually harassed me every day--an intern--with his unwelcomed touches, nuzzles, and comments during the summer of Watergate. (Anita Hill's hearings brought these memories to the surface.)

I was silent as a first-year teacher about colleagues abusing elementary kids who used leather belts and whipped them for infringements.

I will not stay silent this time.

Verbal assault is different from physical assault.
Of course.
There is still pain and healing to move through any assault on one's tender body, mind, and soul. 

Let's agree to no more silence about any abuse.
Verbal, physical, emotional, or spiritual.

I will publicly tell my story.
You tell your story.
We all need to tell our stories.

I will hold you and me--and everyone who knows and didn't speak up--accountable.

Silence stops.

Let's also agree on this, dear sistahs:

P.S. I love this book's title, RAGE BECOMES HER. Going now to buy it!
Thanks, Carrassa Sands, for the suggestion.

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Great-Grandmother Shows Up!

Spinning Your Gold Blog: Words that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions

You are the fairy tale told by your ancestors.
 -Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut
I woke this morning knowing it was my favorite grandmother's birthday, Ella Esplin Lelash. 

Born in Arbroath, Angus, Scotland, she blessed me and our world from 1904 to 1983.

(L-r Sister Cathy, Mamie, me, Bump Bump, and brother Mike;  Huntington Beach, CA)
 "My Mamie" shaped me in ways that I continue to appreciate. This elegant, entrepreneurial and religious woman...

* Blessed me by birthing my precious mom, Clare Ann.

* Gifted me by renaming me "Lore" instead of Lorraine--a name too large she thought for such a wee lass weighing in at 6 pounds.

* Taught me how colors could be worn.

* Inspired decades of baking Scot's Shortbread enjoyed by dozens.

* Infused me with her devotion to God, the angels, family, and the sea.

Baby--grandmother--Mamie with my great-grandmother, Magdalene Jane Watt Esplin.

Out of curiosity, I scrolled the web for information about Mamie and came across a site my dear brother has kept updated. Reading the information about her and then, my great-grandmother, hit me like a lightning strike! 

What I didn't know until this morning was that Magdalene, my great-grandmother, arrived into the world on October 13 in 1881.

After 65 years, how could I have missed that my great grandmother and I shared back-to-back birthdays?!

My birthday is October 14; I arrived 13 hours "late" at 1:00 pm.

Seems some of Magdalene's and Mamie's Scottish independence transferred to me. I celebrate knowing that I come from a lineage of great women.

What my research also uncovered was Arbroath's location; in my ignorance, l imagined all these years that it was an inland city--not so! As you can see from the map above, it's a coastal town on the North Sea and one of Scotland's largest fishing ports. Now I better understand my Mamie's love of the sea.

These research revelations were all early, unwrapped birthday pressies for me. Thank you, Google.

Indeed, I am a fairy tale that's still being told. I pray that they're proudly reading my story.

Do you really know your ancestry? 
Perhaps it's time to check it out.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Where were you on 9-11?

Spinning Your Gold Blog: Words that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions
On 9-11-18, what appears to be the One World Trade Center, pokes into the sunrise.
The plane’s engine takes up the foreground.
Where were you the morning of 9-11?

Me? The coastal city of La Ceiba, Honduras.
Seventeen years ago I was teaching an 8th-grade science class at the International School of Mazapan.

A breathless student bolted into the classroom announcing, "One of the towers has been hit!"
"What tower?!" I exclaimed.
"The Twin Towers!" he gasped while dashing out of the classroom.

On this day 17 years ago--and despite being surrounded by 27 hormonally-charged teens--I felt the most alone sensations that I had ever experienced then, or now. Scary territory.

I put a student in charge and ran to the administration office!

The emotional hurricane that made landfall on my heart literally hurt.

I did see in real-time the plane hit the second tower.

I did watch in horror-- all of it--live on TV with colleagues huddled around a 17" TV screen in the Teacher's Lounge.

I did decide that day to return to the states after finishing my year of teaching. My plans to leave Honduras and teach at the Guatemala International School went up in smoke like Manhattan's clouds of grey ash!

I did yearn to close my eyes and imagine that I was watching a movie. And if that wasn't possible, I wanted to close my eyes and wake up in St. Petersburg, FL.

It never happened.

And I did return home a year later to a country forever changed.

What decisions did you make that day?

Daily inspirational color palettes can be found on Design Seeds.

As I walked back to the classroom, I felt like the unmanned skiff above, floating away from the "Known Island" on the horizon.

I felt like a cork bobbing on the ocean...small, powerless and out of control.

I felt like a Benedict Arnold for not being in my country.

My aching to be back in America shifted to full throttle.

How did you feel?

Here are four, forever expatriate takeaways from 9-11:

* I learned that feeling "safe" is an illusion. 

* I realized that if someone intends harm, it will most likely happen. No sense in trying to prevent anything. That worry energy attracts what you don't seek.

* I refueled my patriotic love and pride of being an American.

* I remembered that the family is everything

Be near and just love them because...

P.S. My prayers for healing continue streaming to all those who lost loved ones that day and for our collective loss of feeling secure and safe. Prayers also continue for all those who would harm anyone in this way.

P.P.S. You're invited to join my Writer's VisionQuest--a women's free, private Facebook group.  Our intention is to "transform your words into somewhere brilliant." 

Saturday, September 1, 2018

9 Ways to Sing September's Songs

Spinning Your Gold  Blog: Words that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions
September's song is a two-part harmony, 
as summer's lighthearted serenade ends and a deeper melody begins. 
~ Sarah Ban Breathnach
The art of celebrating September enjoys ancient roots. Summer ended and farmers gratefully gained extra time in the fields to work by the light of the harvest moon--also known as the Corn Moon, Barley Moon, Singing Moon, and Hazel Moon.

You may also be ending months of writing, creating, planning and hopefully playing and vacationing. It is now a time to assess your crops, gather your friends and family, and celebrate!

Enjoy these nine ways to sing September's songs:

1. Write 300 words on "What I Did and Didn't Do this Summer"
This is a spin on the typical, first back-to-school day assignment from a teacher. Your essay has two parts: writing a Summer Gratitude List and; writing an Always Advance Appreciation List for what can still unfoldTuck your essay into a place where you'll find it in May 2019 to remind you of that summer's goals. Invite your family to do the same.

2. Plan a Summer Gratitude Picnic
With your Summer Gratitude List and perhaps your family's lists, plan a farewell Summer Gratitude Picnic. Serve everyone's favorite summer drinks and finger foods with a simple setup in the backyard or on the living room floor--no chairs or utensils allowed! The focus of shared conversation and celebration: Let each person read their Summer Gratitude List. What songs might you sing together?

3. Clean out summer
Through the fresh, fall eyes of September, declutter your bookshelves and pantry. Tackle closets of summer clothes; this includes indoor and outdoor spaces from summer's shopping trips, sightseeing, and unfinished projects. Gather three bags or boxes and label them to gift, thrift, or toss. Now there's room to bring out your woolies, flannels, sweaters, boots, and socks. You might want to repeat the same gift, thrift, or toss process before putting them away. Consider the Hurricane Harvey relief programs.

September, the harvest month...Summer is over, and autumn has arrived. 
~ Cynthia Wickham

4. Go back to school
It's never too late to have a happy childhood! Now's the time to take an online course or join a Meetup to learn something just for fun. Consider volunteering or teaching something you love! 

5. Gather supplies and share
For whatever back-to-school adventure you choose, treat yourself to a Dollar Store visit. Set a budget of  $18.00 and see how many interesting things you can buy.  You can even find my favorite pen there, though not the bold ink pens--that's the Pilot G-2 10. Not only does it write forever, but it's manufactured in Jacksonville, Florida, my home state.

Keep $9.00 of the supplies for yourself, and then gift the other $9.00 to a teacher, church, or woman's shelter in the areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

As a former elementary school teacher in Selma, AL and then 20 years later in Roatan, Honduras, a surprise gift like this would send me over the moon! I recall one summer while visiting the states from Honduras, my friends Annie S. and Ann S. helped me purchase $50-$100 of school supplies. This included basic items and best of all, the FUN STUFF! It was always thrilling to share these gifts with my students who went crazy seeing them unpacked. 

6. Visit places of harvest and share
Schedule Adventure Field trips to a farmer's market, arts & crafts show or museum. Fly solo or invite besties to join you. Take a walk in a park you've never visited. 

Again, in a spirit of generosity and gratitude, take some of the fresh produce to a food pantry. My experience, as both a giver and a recipient, is that fresh produce is always a very welcomed donation.

I'm passing the idea forward because of my parent's big hearts. On weekend trips heading back home from a grandparent's visit, they would always stop at a roadside stand to buy six flats of strawberries. The next stop was the convent at St. Francis de Sales Church and School in Riverside, California. The Dominican sisters happily received the sweet, red treats.
We kept one flat. (Do you think that's why I always got good grades?)

7. Take Yourself to Market
Take inventory of business materials, i.e., stationary, business cards and brochures; consider something new like pens, bookmarks or postcards to send to clients. It's your harvest time to share all that's been created by planting seed thoughts in the spring and weeding and watering them all summer.

8. Celebrate the Full Harvest Moon, September 24
Go outside and walk. Consider walking in silence. Some would call this process a "walking meditation." Soak up the light as you reflect with gratitude on your harvest of many blessings. Talk with Moon. She's sure to answer you back. It is the closest full moon to the autumnal equinox.

9. Host a Fall Equinox Feast, September 22 
Make a list of favorite fall foods and drinks. Might some of your favorites be caramel apples; different popcorn flavors; pumpkin spice latte; anything roasted and slow-cooked or; mac and cheese? Plan your menu.

Enjoy creating a fall tablescape with mums, small veggies, soy candles, and vintage linens. Go outside and bring some back inside with leaves, twigs, and rocks. Be sure to ask Mother Nature--the Pachamama- if it's okay to take these items. Cue up moon songs for a sing-along! Most importantly, write a grace to bless your feast.

 Live In or Near Tampa Bay? 
Please Stay Connected with Me 
at these September Events:

September 9 > Register >>

September 22 >The Art of Decluttering: Feng Shui Your Desk! >>

Join the Writer's VisionQuest, a free & private FB Group > 

Plus...A Cornucopia of Favorite Links...Just for You
* Old Farmer's Almanac, "Full Corn Moon."
* National Geographic, "Full Moons: What's in a Name?"
* Rachel Kieffer, Health Nut Girl, Holistic Health Coach
* Tarah Abram, Juicy Living by Design for holistic health and lifestyle design for busy moms on the go
* Fall Tablescape Ideas
* The Best Songs with Moon in the Title

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

5 Letting Go Rituals for Women in Transition

Spinning Your Gold  Blog: Words that Open Hearts and Inspire Actions

It’s never too late in life to edit or revise.” -Nancy Thayer

It seems that many women believe this if you witness the explosive growth of solo-preneurs, coaches, and authors! My hometown area of Tampa Bay, Florida, boasts the largest number of women entrepreneurs in the state which is one of the most entrepreneurial states in the nation. The new, bright red cover on my school calendar echoes Nancy’s belief with this quote:

It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” -George Eliot

All this is to confirm that if you are not feeling blessed and blissed out with your life then, please…Edit. Revise. Change!

Are any of these a part of your life with: 
* New projects or efforts that disappoint?
* Vampire relationships that drain?
* Expectations that exhaust? 
* Schedules that overwhelm? 
* Work that demeans?
* Unmet dreams that depress?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, there is a solution.

Here are the seven most important words you may ever hear:

"When the horse is dead, get off!"

While research credits “Anonymous” with this quote, I first heard it years ago from Rosita Perez, a talented professional speaker. Sadly, she's left her "earthly suit" though her inspiration remains.

So with an open heart, make a conscious assessment of what dead horses you’re trying to still ride and be willing to take inspired actions--all key to your spiritual and emotional growth. 

You can’t start a new journey if you’re carrying heavy baggage or dragging garbage along.  In fact, you can be downright stinky after riding that dead horse—and the possible reason why abundance, happiness, and health are avoiding you!

Once you're off that dead horse, what next? The first step is to engage in letting go rituals. 

Why are rituals important? Francesca Gino and Michael I. Norton in Scientific American explained, “While anthropologists have documented rituals across cultures, this earlier research has been primarily observational. Recently, a series of investigations by psychologists have revealed intriguing new results demonstrating that rituals can have a causal impact on people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Here are 5 Letting Go Rituals for Women in Transition:

1) Alphabet List
This is a good starting place to identify the “names” of the dead horses you’re riding. Find a quiet place free of noises and distractions. Bring your journal and a pen. Then ask yourself, “WHAT who do I need to let go of that no longer serves me?

Allow the answers to come. Go through the alphabet. Keep your hand moving. Don’t judge what you are writing. If you get stuck on one alphabet letter and can’t think of anything, move on. Then, return to it.

Then repeat, only this time ask, “WHO do I need let go of that no longer serves me?

You may want to repeat this writing process; it’s guaranteed to identify existing and new information. You can then use your Alphabet List with the…

2) Pencil Drop
This is a simple, active practice that Judy McNutt, a visionary writing sister, and healer, used in our coaching session. She invited me to think of the thought I wanted to drop. 

Then she asked me to hold that specific thought in my mind while breathing and holding a pencil in one hand. 

Her next instruction was, “Just drop the pencil! Let it go. Let the thought go.” Repeat as necessary. 

This might be a daily ritual while online and reading negative information--or as thoughts of larger issues with your transition surface. If letting go still remains challenging, then consider the…

Facing Machu Picchu, "Old Mountain", 2008 -Not behind me!
3) Peruvian with Love, with Release Ritual
Before taking any rock or shell, I follow a sacred ritual, asking the Pachamama or Mother Earth if it is "okay" for me to take the rock or shell with me. Several times the answer was a clear "NO."

This ritual process of first asking was taught to me by Don Jorge Luis Delgado, my shaman co-leader in 2008. He shared that the Andean people believed that we are one with the earth and everything is sacred: the rocks, rivers, animals, birds, plants, trees, and especially the mountains. 

To take something from the earth without thoughtful reflection would have been inappropriate. Happily, the Pachamama said "yes" to a small handful of rocks that did make their way home to Florida for ceremonial use.

Rocks are used for releasing what Don Jorge calls "dark, heavy energies." Try breathing into a special rock three times, saying, "I release all feelings of _____ (name of an emotion) about_____ (name of a person, thing, and event)." Then move or toss the rock to another place. 
You’re encouraged to do this near a body of water.  

Be conscious of your actions. Never underestimate the power of natural treasures you may find and always ask, "Dear Pachamama (Mother Earth), is this rock, shell or leaf okay for me to take?"

4) Monkey Trap Jar
Do you know how they trap a monkey in the forest? I learned about this method while living in Honduras where many small monkeys are trapped and sold as pets. Trappers place a favorite food in a small-necked glass jar on the ground. 

When the monkey tries to pull its hand out, it is stuck! The now clenched fist around the treat makes the withdrawal through the opening impossible.

Rarely does the monkey let go. Sadly, it becomes a prisoner; the monkey is stuck on the ground unable to climb the tree to escape the trapper.

To make a Monkey Trap Jar, find a glass jar with a small neck. (Thrift stores are great places to find one for pennies.) Keep it near your computer or on the kitchen counter. Then on sticky notes or slips of paper, write all the things that you feel are “sweet treats” in your life as possible entrapments. 

This could include the expectations of appreciation, awards, and rewards that you are holding onto with a tight, clenched fist—a fist that won’t allow you to let go! It could be a lack of self-care and self-nurturing actions. It also might be a  habit that no longer serves your best and Highest good.

Consider adding to your jar once a day as part of your daily letting go ritual. At the close of a week or month, remove all the sticky notes and burn them with sage. You could do this privately or at a group…

5) Letting Go Celebration!  
Gather friends in person.  Light a white candle after saging the circle area. Maybe it's a dining room table. Allow each friend to write and share what or who they are letting go of and why. 

When everyone has spoken, go to another person until everyone has spoken all of their letting go statements. There might be several rounds. You’ll know that everyone is complete when there is silence. (You might want to burn the contents of the Monkey Trap Jar.)

To wrap up, listen to the Ho'Oponopono Prayer. Blow out the white candle.

If you are a woman in transition and feel called to take inspired actions, consider making time to embrace these five letting go rituals over the next 18 days. 

These five rituals will better help you remember what Rosita Perez suggested,“When the horse is dead, get off!”

P.S. Do you live in Tampa Bay? If "yes," your special invitations await you to my monthly writing and creativity classes and Day Trips! Visit Lore Raymond - Author I Speaker I Writing & Creativity Coach or my Author Amazon Author Page for details; gratefully, classes and trips are often sold out weeks in advance!

Copyright Lore Raymond, 2018.  No portion of the blog post or information on this site may be reprinted, re-used or copied to another site without prior written permission from the author.