Catchup – November 2015

[symple_box color=”black” fade_in=”false” float=”center” text_align=”left” width=”80%”]“Start small. Pick one issue that speaks to you. Read about it, study it, learn from others who are involved in bringing about change. Contribute your time and money and energy to make a difference. Change will not happen unless we decide to make it happen.”

Br. David Vryhof, SSJE[/symple_box]

 

Since my last communiqué with you, I have been working to figure out my next focus, to make sure my life will continue to be the amazing adventure I have been gifted with over 80 years.  An adventure requires new ventures.

Someone said to me many years ago, “Don’t die regretting all the things you did not do.”  I am trying to live that advice.

Here are some of my new ventures of the past few months.

A memorable 80th birthday celebration with all generations of my family and friends, so now my family has met many of the other people who profoundly shaped my life.

Michaela on FarmA glorious sojourn to a family farm in Burgundy, France.  A beloved young friend and his partner spent four years renovating the farm as a work of art, preserving the historical architecture of rural living.

A visit to an amazing public education project—the new Paris zoo.  This place is truly innovative in demonstrating a concept about our natural world, and how we humans need to learn to share it.  Don’t miss this.

Continuing work with college students who are UN-NGO interns. These women teach me much more than I can offer them.

Michaela and friendsThey are teaching me their understanding of the diversity that is their world.  I have spent most of my years trying to work ‘from the edge.’

They teach me that to succeed we have to work  ‘from the edge and from the center.’  Technology makes this possible.

The joyful and humbling experience of being part of the 16th Women’s World Banking Global Meeting in Berlin.  The 40 strong WWB affiliate network confirms the importance of the roots.

The basis of peer learning, peer leadership and peer bonding has created an amazing network over 40 years that we all continue to create and deepen.

Seeing the amazing young team who ran the week-long event and reuniting with the founders was a profound experience that is impossible for me to describe.

What more can I say as one of the founding members but thank you thank you to the WWB network and to successor Presidents Nancy Barry and Mary Ellen Iskenderian.  I pray that this amazing network continues to flourish, to be shared around the world, and to strengthen the lives and impact of women everywhere.

To all of you who are part of my life and experience over these many years, your friendship means everything to me. The loss of close friends and family members this year has made the value of friends even more clear.  I am hoping to travel widely and see many of you in person, to share my adventures with you, and to hear of your own new ideas and experiences.

I am grateful for so much that has been given to me as opportunities to learn, grow and be helpful.  I believe we all have much ahead to explore and enjoy.

Michaela Walsh
November 2015

Catchup – May 2015

I want to say how touched I was by the many responses to my February letter. It thrills me to know that we can stay in touch after months and years of separation. Thank you.

Recently I have been focusing more and more on the glass ceilings being broken by so many courageous, committed, intelligent, and creative women. I know this is having a deep impact on women worldwide, giving them courage to step up and take a risk, to raise their voices, to seek new adventures and leadership roles. As long as we continue to encourage the younger generation to take those risks, we will continue to find ways to create greater peace and security in this global world.

.As I think about these developments, I believe that one of the ways I can contribute to positive change is to use my deep and wide network of colleagues from so many years and so many continents. I plan to share with you ideas and events that come to me; we can all work together to inspire each other and new friends.

Our ability to connect easily and help one another came my way last week. For many years I have carried in my wallet a quote that is often a battle cry for workers and oppressed people. It is, “We are many; they are few.”   I wanted to know where that quote came from, and when I asked a few people online I quickly learned that is from an 1819 poem by the English poet Shelley. (The Mask of Anarchy.) Although the original phrase is “Ye are many,” it has been correctly understood, and used, to express the position of people as they seek to make changes in the established order. Thank you Nancy. I love being able to find information like this.

What I want to share today came to my attention from Byron Kennard, a colleague of many years, one of the original creators of Earth Day, and a brilliant man who continues to think and write about a just and productive economy. (Read more of Byron’s work at www.csbe.org).

Recently a comment by Byron stopped me cold. Byron was responding to remarks about how experience is defined for women. His comments refer to an article by Carl Anthony. Byron believes that the increasing power of woman around the globe is driving ever more anger toward woman, and thus a continued devaluation of their experience. In this case, the example is the unwillingness of the press to give any credit to Hillary Clinton for her extraordinary experience and service as First Lady for eight years.

hillary-clinton-working-on-the-truman-balcony Here is the essence of Byron’s remarks:
“… this analysis touches on very deep-seated and profound aspects of society. It strikes at the very heart of sexism.

“It casts light on hidden aspects of sexism that most people don’t see — how insidious it is, and how it is still powerfully at work. But – THE GOOD NEWS – all over the world men are losing power to women.  And, boy, oh, boy, do men hate this transformation. That’s what this struggle is really about.”

The link below will bring up the full Carl Anthony article; here is a small sampling:

“As was true during her failed candidacy for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, however, the print, broadcast and online mass media seems intent on yet again willfully ignoring the invaluable political skills, and one-of-a-kind professional experience she gained during those crucial first eight years she was a public figure, from January 20, 1993 to January 20, 2001. At this point, it certainly seems to be a willful decision – but why?

“In fact, the only aspects of her First Lady years which the media fixates on relate to her personal life, political scandals, and reaction to media and partisan attacks. Those lurid subjects decidedly fascinate the general public. Examined more rationally, some of them do offer legitimate grounds for consideration of her as a potential President.

“Emphasizing this, however, and belittling or ignoring the enormously substantive legacy of her First Lady years ultimately distorts the truth about Hillary Clinton as, arguably, the most visible woman in the world at the time – even, at times, among the most important.”

http://carlanthonyonline.com/2015/04/12/first-lady-president-hillary-clintons-ignored-first-lady-factor/

I would treasure any responses you have to this article and this opinion.

Now that winter in my part of the world has finally moved on, the tree outside my bedroom window has budded and the birds have returned. A joy to awake to sunshine.

Michaela

Catchup – Feb 2015

Wisdom is what you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.     –  Doug Larson

To all my families, friends, colleagues, everyone who has worked with me, friends on the web, and especially to those who have not been lost by my hacked emails, crashed computer, etc.   Thank you for staying connected.

Recently I found a quote that helped me understand my brain burnout after five years spent producing Founding A Movement. It is by the great writer Gabriel García Márquez, who just passed away.

When I finished one book, I wouldn’t write for a while.  Then I had to learn to do it all over again. The arm goes cold; there’s a learning process you have to go through again before you rediscover the warmth that comes over you when you are writing.

There have been many wonderful experiences since the publication of Founding a MovementFor me the most extraordinary was being part of the first global meeting of Stichting Women’s World Banking in nine years, which was held in Amman, Jordan, in November 2013.

I was thrilled to connect with so many members of the SWWB Global Network and to discover the enthusiasm they have for the voices of the founders, and for the work underway.

Michaela Walsh women-in-leadership-program-amman-jordanThe picture you see of me was taken at beautiful Petra, with two young women from NYC high schools who won scholarships to attend from WWB and Women’s Bond Club.

I continue to meet so many smart, committed, amazing young women who will carry us all into the future.

I am feeling truly fortunate with so many friends and colleagues and a life full of new adventures and ideas, some time to listen and focus on what these ideas and adventures mean to me and how they might fit into the future.  I plan to share some of these over the months ahead.

For now, I just wanted to send good wishes for the New Year, even though we are way beyond the traditional New Year greeting season.  I am planning to continue sending thoughts and wishes during the coming months.

Michaela Walsh
February 2015