22/04/2015 | No Comments » | Posted in Inspirational Women
Shakespeare’s quote, “Though she be but little, she is fierce,” couldn’t apply more to Malala Yousafzai. Now 17-years-old, she is the youngest recipient of The Noble Peace Prize and puts even the most popular of celebrities at a standstill when meeting her. Her road to worldwide recognition was not an overnight virtual sensation or via a reality TV show as so many other young faces make their debut. She was shot – in the face, point blank on her school bus by terrorists in her country of Pakistan. The reason: she was a female getting an education and encouraging others to do the same. Let’s talk about how Malala sls a young fighter, who is only getting stronger and what she can teach us about embodying wisdom beyond our years.
- She doesn’t bow to threats. It’s really easy to talk the talk. How many times have we made a bold statement, then when the time came to back it up, we dipped behind the curtain? Malala was bravely speaking out about the Taliban’s oppressive hand on education since she was 11-years-old. They told her to stop “or else” – and she kept going. When the Taliban stopped her bus and asked her schoolmates to point her out, she didn’t hide or try to deny her identity, or even beg for a chance to change her outspoken ways. Their bullying never altered her actions. Makes us think twice about backing up what we stand for.
- She owned the drama and didn’t let the drama own her. Think about when you were 14 (the age Malala was shot). If your best friend stopped sitting with you at lunch, it probably became a huge deal that involved party dis-invites and friend rallying. If we are honest, we all can look back on our 14-year-old reactions with a little embarrassment. In Malala’s case, she had every right to actually throw a big, dramatic fit. She was shot! By terrorists! And almost died! But instead, all of her statements issued were full of mature wisdom. This really encourages us to think and act from a higher level of consciousness with trouble hits the fan. A fighter owns their state of mind and Malala is an excellent example of keeping your head on the high road.
- She’s an honest fighter & admits when she’s afraid. There is a saying that true courage isn’t being fearless, its being completely scared out of your mind and doing it anyway. Malala is very forthright about the fears she experienced in the hospital shortly after the shooting –word was the terrorists may come after her family or to attack her again if she survived. Even to this day, there is still the occasional thought or two that will make an appearance as she continues her worldwide goodwill tour. But she gives us a glimpse into her pep talk (think inner “Braveheart” monologue), “Malala, you must be brave. You must not be afraid of anyone. You are only trying to get an education—you are not committing a crime.”
- She feels called to her fight. This may sound like an obvious, but unfortunately, many people put up a fight and join causes, beliefs, and social and political movements in which they have no personal conviction – only a sense of obligation or go with the flow syndrome. Malala isn’t a poster child regurgitating a performance or doing what she thinks someone else wants her to do, she is a young woman with a fierce drive to see what she believes in prevail. She knows her life is hers to live when she says, “I have the right of education. I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up.”
- She gives her fight, flight. Malala has written, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, which will forever document her account much like The Diary of Anne Frank has inspired generations long after she graced the Earth. While we don’t have to write a book or make a blockbuster about our struggle to overcome, recording some type of testament is always a way to help inspire future generations to come – podcasts, videos, blogs included!
- She’s a forgiving fighter. Malala has publically stated that she forgives the men who tried to shoot her. It’s hard to forgive. That alone is a fight. Makes the grudges we hold seem a lot more trivial when you think of her forgiving her would-be murders.
Thank you Malala for being a young, spirited solider for women’s educational rights and the right to be whoever we are period.
- We all are guilty of “talking the talk” and not walking that walk so much. What is the one “talk” you would like to embody for Malala style action with? What could that first action step be?
- Drama is disorienting. What is an area of your life that you can reality-check yourself and note that you might react a bit on the extreme side? How can you use Malala’s composed inspiration to stay grounded the next time the situation resurfaces?
- Admitting we are afraid takes the courage of a fighter, too. What is a fear you have been self-conscious of divulging to others? Dare to share?
- Malala obviously has a sacred connection and call to fight for women’s educational rights. As stated earlier, sometimes we find ourselves fighting a battle that really isn’t ours to fight. Has that happened to you along the way?
- The fact Malala can forgive her shooters and give them that public pardon is pretty impactful. What is a grudge you would like to release today?
15/04/2015 | No Comments » | Posted in Inspirational Women
Best known as the First Lady of Argentina, but equally referred to by her bestowed title of “The Spiritual Leader of the Nation of Argentina”, Eva (Evita) Perón is a highly regarded presence even decades after her passing. Argentines to this day say her consciousness penetrates their actions as citizens on the daily.
Here are 6 reasons the spirit of Evita still sparks the hearts of not only her people, but modern culture as a whole:
- She taught us you can’t change the past, but you can disregard it. Evita’s father was a wealthy Argentinian rancher who had multiple families (a practice that was not uncommon of wealthy Argentine men during the early 1900s). His “legitimate” family, however, was the only family to receive support after his untimely passing. This left Evita and her “illegitimate” branded family out on some of the poorest and most desolate streets of Argentina. Even there, her family faced a severe judgment as Argentine law highly frowned upon illegitimate children. Evita allegedly destroyed her birth certificate to erase this part of her past. While we may be technically unable to “erase” the past, we can expel the harmful traces of it. Throw out the love letters from an unfaithful ex or delete the verbally abusive text messages from your past partner. These traces of our past are no longer needed and the extra load lifted will only help us get to higher ground faster.
- She worked for the dream and she fought for the dream. Due to her family’s poverty stance, Evita, her mother and sisters began working as cooks in the homes of the local townspeople to support the rent of their one-bedroom apartment. Up until this time, all Evita knew was kitchen work and struggling to get by, but an unsuspecting bug bit her—the acting bug. While performing in school plays, Evita developed a steady passion for the dramatic arts. Her mother however, had other plans, hoping to marry her off to a local bachelor in town. Evita reinforced her desire to become an actress though, and made plans of her own. She soon found her way to Buenos Aires, the capital and largest city in Argentina, and began securing play roles, radio spots, and modeling gigs. Evita officially launched her new life (and new bleached blonde hair) in Buenos Aires. A great example of respecting your dreams enough to not care if you stir some feathers to get there.
- She showed us formal education isn’t the only education. Even in the 1930s, it was hard to secure work without a formal education. Instead of letting this hinder her spirits, Evita honed in her acting craft and persistently secured contract gigs with theatre tours, radio dramas and B-grade movies, eventually becoming co-owner of the radio station itself and one of the highest paid radio actresses in the nation. She even came to own her very own apartment in an exclusive part of town. A degree is only one road to an education. You can put yourself in the field itself and learn skills that can still get you noticed and on your way!
- She blazed a trail – literally. When Evita married rising political star, Juan Perón, she became the first woman in Argentina’s history to appear in public and co-campaign with her husband. She covered every corner of the country during the campaign trail. This action actually offended wealthy politicians and military leaders, but the rest of the public was affectionate of Evita due to her popularity in film and radio. It was during this time that she asked the public not to refer to her as Eva Perón, but as her nickname, Evita. Blazing your own trail despite the naysayers is a necessary step towards all great deeds.
- She became a founder of change. Evita started the Eva Perón Foundation to address the poverty her upbringing was so plagued by, but it soon grew beyond her own expectations. It ended up accumulating to the exchange rate of over $200 million and this was in the 1940s! It employed 14,000 workers and collectively distributed 400,000 pairs of shoes, 500,000 sewing machines, and 200,000 cooking pots annually. The foundation also gave scholarships, built homes, hospitals, and other charitable institutions. Every aspect of the foundation was under Evita's management. She characteristically set aside many hours a day to meet with the poor who requested help. During these encounters, she was often seen kissing the poor and allowing them to kiss her. She was even spotted placing her hands in the wounds of the sick and poor, touching the leprous, and kissing the syphilitic. The foundation also built entire communities, such as Evita City, which still exists today. Many historians claim that her foundation led to the first wave of equality in Argentine healthcare. We often hear the phrase, “Be the change you want to see,” and Evita did just that with the resources she had been gifted. Many consider her a saint due to her foundation efforts to this day. She also used the gift of her radio station to publicize the women’s suffrage movement and promote their right to vote.
- She stood for what she believed as long as she could. At the young age of 33, Evita’s cervical cancer had rapidly spread in her tiny frame. When riding in a parade celebrating her husband’s re-election, she wore an oversized fur coat that harbored a casing made of wire and plaster that allowed her to stand for the parade’s duration despite her weakness. With the cancer ultimately taking Evita’s life, her legacy encouraged a throng of female leaders in Argentine politics and sent a nation into mourning. For more than 2 weeks, several blocks of city streets were congested with mourners wishing to pay their respects. Political leaders site Evita as their inspiration for being involved in government even today.
Evita’s life is not only proof, but also inspirational rocket fuel for rising above the conditions of your past. The young girl who once dreamed of becoming an actress became not only that, but a nation’s spiritual leader –and ironically continues to inspire the film industry she so loved in her honor.
- Evita’s family was often subject to stigmas because of their illegitimate label. What labels do you feel your family had growing up? How did they affect you in the long-term?
- Evita caught a case of the acting bug and never looked back. What burning dreams and desires did you have in your youth? Did you pursue them or leave them behind? What factors influenced your decision?
- Many times we let our resumes and lack of credentials talk us out of our pursuits. Evita proved that a formal education is only one way to reach your goals. What is one way you can directly involve yourself with your current passion? For example, if you always wanted to be a news anchor, could you start submitted stories for a local station’s online blog to get your foot in the door?
- When Evita started campaigning alongside her husband, this angered many wealthy politicians and military leaders, but she continued despite their opinions. Haters are everywhere and in every generation. In what ways can you overcome the naysayers in your life today?
- The story of Evita hiding a physical support system under her fur coat during her husband’s parade is touching. She didn’t want to concern the public, but also wanted to be apart of a nation and its people that she had grown so deeply in love with. What is something in your life that you would stand for as long as you were able?