The moral consequence of acceptance

The moral consequence of acceptance

Uncertain of our place, but standing with my sister and husband nonetheless, shoulder to shoulder, for others. Brattleboro Rally for Trans Justice. 2018.


I don’t feel safe to be a part of any community 
outside my own.

Of all the words spoken at last month’s Rally for Trans Justice | Brattleboro, these are the ones that most pierced my oblivion.

How affronting my hubris. How careless. How dangerous even. To dismiss another simply because he/she doesn’t look the way I expect she/he to look.

Acceptance is protection, declared one of the rally signs. I nodded my head in sobriety.

I have a responsibility here.

Hate is a choice. Trans is not, expressed another.

I felt that inside.

“Do better,” the speaker offered to those of us who identified as the sex to which we were born. “Talk to each other. Educate yourselves.”

I am and was so grateful to all those who were courageous enough and vulnerable enough to gather with people like me who want to be allies, but who have so much to learn.

I hope there are more and more spaces where people who identify as Trans feel safe and accepted and most of all feel that they—belong.

At one time I felt awkward around “them,” and then confused, and over time curious, and finally accepting, but now my heart is made glad when I see the woman at the register who kinda looks like a man but who is clearly a woman inside.

She’s always been warm and funny with me even when I accidently use the pronoun, He.

Advertisements
A budget is a moral document.

A budget is a moral document.

I guess it’s been said before but it landed in me for the first time when I heard it spoken last month at the Rally for Trans Justice | Brattleboro.

I jotted those words down in a tiny notebook that I keep in my purse:

A budget is a moral document.

Over the weekend, my husband and I revisited our budget which has long been neglected. Years ago, as my hormones began to change, I turned it all over to him; and as our kids came of age, I looked at it less and less.

We began budgeting when we became parents. I didn’t want to do it, but it was 1995, and it was the first time that I didn’t earn a substantial income. I was home with a child, which is where I discovered I had to remain, but I couldn’t figure out how to avoid credit card debt with my husband’s salary as a new teacher at $20,000 which didn’t include health coverage for the new baby or me.

A budget is a moral document.

I felt so ashamed when I reported to the State Office to arrange for supplemental food and medical care for our son. “I’m not taking this from others am I?” I asked. “I’m a teacher. This is a choice for me. I know it’s not for others.”

A budget is a moral document.

I learned to track every penny then so that we might afford to provide our children with a parent at home, and unpoisoned food, and health care and education that was integrative and whole.

Fuel assistance and the Reformer Christmas Stocking (providing winter wear for the kids each year) helped us get by.

A budget is a moral document.

It was a long haul. There were no true vacations. No dinners out. Not so much as a coffee at a cafe. Our clothes were second-hand. Our gifts were re-gifted. Even the presents under the tree were recycled from the previous year as long as our kids were too young to notice.

“Why don’t you ski?” my father asked, when he came with his doctor friends to ski in Vermont. “You live here. Why don’t you have skis?”

Years later, after my husband’s income climbed, we built our first home, and then he went two years without a teaching salary.

A budget can shrink and expand. We didn’t accrue any debt. I’m so proud of that time. We pulled together as a couple and as a family. The kids gave up their allowances.  The community supported my husband with side jobs. We got by with the unemployment provided by the state.

A budget is a moral document.

Last week I read that the United States is second among developed nations with credit card debt. Close to half of us carry that weight, while in say France or Germany or Australia, less than ten percent do.

With more and more education, and more and more experience, and with the opportunity that comes from that, my husband’s income grew exponentially and we neglected our budget more and more; while simultaneously my opportunities exponentially shrunk, as did my willingness to do just about anything for a buck so that my life could remain shaped around the home.

Instead I’ve began shaping my life around writing.

Is a budget immoral if it provides for an aging woman?
No one wants to sell the house.

Not only did our first-born put himself through college, but he makes more in a summer than I can scrape by in a year.

He called last night from a rally in Burlington–Bernie, Christine, Zuckerman. He was coordinating volunteers. I put him on speaker phone.

“Dad and I are working on the budget,” I said, a phrase which no doubt is a trigger for him given the financial struggles of our family’s early years.

He told us about the inspirational speeches and the enthusiasm, and then he had to go to the next event.

Turning back toward the budget, my husband and I were reminded about what’s at stake. How we provide. What we prioritize. And how spending time with the budget allows us to question this.

A budget is a moral document.

I’ll never forget the cartoon I saw when I was a young teacher. It made me question what was always taken for granted–that money was meant for “things” while “lives” went wasted.

Understanding TRANS

Understanding TRANS


I was alarmingly reluctant to find out more about VT’s Democratic candidate for Governor Christine Hallquist, simply because I was uncomfortable with her appearance.

After she won the primary, I made a mental note to lean in, but my discomfort persisted. When I heard that she would be in town, I put the event on my calendar. I’ve learned that seeing a candidate in person is the best gauge of whether I would trust them with my vote (which held true for Bernie and Obama.)

When I heard that the Trump administration wanted to remove ‘gender’ from United Nations Human Rights documents, my attention sharpened.

Simultaneously someone who I cared about shared their unfolding transgender journey.

This was the last push I needed to realize my response-ability to be engaged more fully; because I know first-hand what it is to be marginalized, degraded and physically threatened.

On Thursday night, my husband Casey Deane and I participated in the Rally for Trans Justice | Brattleboro (for which I shyly made my very first rally signs, imagining what I might want to feel/see if I was trans: SAFETY. BELONGING. DIGNITY. ALLY.)

Students from Brattleboro Union High School appreciated seeing my husband there, as did the manager of the Latchis Hotel; while I delighted in seeing one of our favorite grocery store clerks from the Brattleboro Food Co-op with her family.

Trans people and allies from all walks joined together, including a 5th grader who identified as non-binary and a grandmother who came with her family to support her grandchild.

Where had all these people been hiding, I wondered. Why hadn’t I seen them before? Why hadn’t I wondered more about the fullness of their humanity?

This morning, my husband and I did something we rarely do. We skipped our Saturday morning yoga date with Scott Willis at Hits The Spot Yoga so that we could attend Coffee with Christine and Danica Roem along with our son who was home for the weekend from Vermont Tech.

When our son would typically be sleeping in, we headed out the door in the icy snow, just ahead of an accident, and we arrived at The Works Bakery & Cafe to 3 seats open in a row at the reserved table.

But then I realized that these seats were right beside Christine D Hallquist, which seemed inappropriate for me to claim, given everything, but also inappropriate not to claim, given everything, so I sat right down next to her and she took a pause from her bagel to introduce herself, and I, in turn, introduced her to my son and husband when they sat down with their bagels.

What brought me to this particular event (instead of the others around town where Hallquist was speaking) was the presence of Danica Roem – Virginia Delegate who I heard speak on a YouTube clip after her victory. If she could come from Virginia, I thought, I could come down from the mountain.

She was just as compelling this morning. Clear thinking. Enthusiastic. Matter of fact.

Hallquist was equally so. I began to write down some of what she said:

I AM BULLISH ABOUT VERMONT.

CLOSING RURAL SCHOOLS IS THE WORST THING TO DO.

GROWING VT’S RURAL COMMUNITIES WILL PUT PEOPLE BACK IN THOSE SCHOOLS.

WE’RE GONNA SOLVE CLIMATE CHANGE BECAUSE WE CAN.

~

I don’t need to “like” a candidate, but I do want to respect them.

Right away I liked Hallquist. Her can-do attitude. Her forward thinking. Her humor. Her authenticity. Her clear sense of being a learner. Of visiting the prison and the Brattleboro Retreat. The Canadian delegation on climate change. The former Governor of Colorado–who has joined 19 states together–around climate. Hallquist’s vision to do the same with health care. She also shared her focus on broadband internet across the state.

“I don’t accept NO as an answer,” she said. “I don’t make excuses. We CAN solve problems BECAUSE we are small.”

This she offered in defense of Vermont, after sharing how she transformed Vermont Electric Coop by bringing people together.

Before we left this morning’s gathering, we made new acquaintances and another modest second donation to the campaign (the first after the news about the UN documents.)

We left with a bumper sticker and a lawn sign and a commitment to do more to get the word out: This candidate is worthy of your vote.

“She’s been on a marathon,” Senator Becca Balint, Vermont Senate Majority leader said of Hallquist’s campaign, “And now’s she’s in a sprint,” encouraging us to encourage others to make donations to help bolster the campaign in these last weeks.

“Here’s what I’d like to say to my grandchildren one day,” said Hallquist in her closing:

2018 WAS THE YEAR WE MADE HISTORY.

ps. i love her logo.

pps. Both my husband and I–to our son’s constant dismay–mistakenly referred to Christine as “he” even as I wrote this piece.

“I don’t understand,” my son said, “Why do you keep doing it?!

“Our brains aren’t as flexible as yours,” I explained. “We’ll need more practice.”

Women’s Gathering: 1st Chakra, November 1

Women’s Gathering: 1st Chakra, November 1

Dear Winter Women’s Circle,

I look forward to gathering with you on Thursday November 1st.

If you haven’t already and you’re willing, please add your name here:
https://www.facebook.com/events/112179716336035/

Expect an email with directions to my home.

Arrive anytime after 4:30 and before 4:45 pm. Feel free to park and walk on the road alongside the brook/pond if you are early.

When you enter through the mudroom, do so in silence. We’ll remain in meditative silence until everyone arrives and we’ve had a chance to settle into ourselves, which is particularly potent for this first gathering in the first chakra.

With your first chakra comfort in mind, you might like to bring slippers or a shawl, a basket with a jar of water and or a favorite travel mug, a light meal for yourself or a snack (or beverage of any kind) to share. Some among us will be vegetarians, some vegans, some omnivores, some who avoid sugar or alcohol or chocolate, some who are allergic to gluten and some like me allergic to garlic  😦  Which is to say: Bring what you need–for you–and we will each have what we need.

When you arrive in the house you’ll find a bathroom at the bottom and top of the stairs. Feel free to fix yourself some tea or eat a light dinner that you’ve packed in, or write in your journal, or close your eyes. You decide. Make yourself cozy at the table, by the fire, on the stairs, on the couch or in a chair.

We will open in silence, and then delve into the first chakra with reading, response, music, meditation and perhaps some simple movement. You need not know anything. A favorite pen and a notebook or journal will come in handy. We’ll close in connection after 7 pm. (If a firm time is needed for your departure, don’t hesitate to let me know ahead of time.)

For this first chakra gathering, you might like to contemplate the color red, ancestors, rock, stone, root, earth, home, new beginnings.

If you’d like, you can wear something red or bring a photo or other token of an ancestor or some thing that represents a new beginning that you’d like to seed in the magic of women gathering at the turning of the year. Bringing something is optional. Contemplating is plenty. Being completely unprepared is entirely welcome. Come as you are. Meet yourself there.

Have I forgotten anything? Don’t hesitate to ask.

For those who’ve read this far but aren’t enrolled, there is at this posting–one spot open for November 1st and one spot open for the full season.

More here: https://thisvtlife.com/2018/10/03/when-women-gather/

Yours in nourishing & uplifting women’s spirits,
Kelly

Recap:

Arrival time: between 4:30 and 4:45 pm on Thursday, November 1st. (Address to be sent via email.)

Pack in: slippers? shawl? water? favorite mug? light supper? snack and or beverage to share?

Bring: Notebook of some kind and favorite pen.

Consider: the color red, ancestors, rock, earth, roots, home, beginnings; bring a long a token of some kind to place on altar?

Closing: around 7 pm.

Note: If you are enrolled for a single gathering or the full season, let me know as much in advance as possible if you can’t make so that I can adjust plans accordingly. Following your missed gathering, I will provide an offering for a home chakra practice for you.

If a gathering has to be cancelled due to weather, I will create an open gathering space online throughout the month with corresponding chakra explorations and practice in lieu of an in-person gathering.

If a gathering has to be cancelled due to something on my end, I will reschedule it on a consecutive Thursday (as available) and also offer online access in the event there are some who can’t make it to the rescheduled date.

when women gather!

when women gather!

still. nourish. rest. retreat. connect. slow.

an evening gathering in southern vermont
on the first thursday of each month from autumn to spring

with chakra-based music, meditation, writing & sharing prompts
along with extensions that vary each month according to chakra
with one gathering for each of the 7 chakras, beginning november 1st, 2018


opening in silence (4:30 ish)
(fix yourself some tea, journal, close your eyes, rest)
closing in connection (7:00 ish)
(self, spirit, other)

tea-kettle & potluck snacks/drinks available throughout the evening
(potluck supper at last gathering)

absolutely no skill of any kind required
(simply come as you are and be met without needing to change a thing)

enrollment:

full journey, autumn through spring: $175

(contact Kelly about the wait list, kel(at)sover.net)

opening with all souls day in november and continuing once a month through winter into spring (on the first thursday of every month) and culminating with beltane in early may.

together, we’ll shape a sangha (a community) of voices, deepening presence through the chakras (the body’s energy centers), for a journey that is both gentle and transformative.

note: participants will receive online access for a chakra-home inquiry for any missed gatherings.

~

single gathering: $49

(contact Kelly about the wait list, kel(at)sover.net)

this rate allows you to claim a spot in the first chakra gathering on thursday, november 1st. and to upgrade to the full journey if space allows

these women circles take place in a private residence on macarthur road just off route 9 in marlboro, VT (between wilmington & brattleboro.)

(note: women participating in the snail mail 3-season writing journey can reserve participation in the monthly women’s circle at an reduced rate; please inquire.)

Facilitator Kelly Salasin has been participating in transformational women’s circles since her early thirties (in the late 1900’s 🙂 In 2000, she began leading women’s workshops, circles and groups, including designing her online curriculum, Writing through the Chakras, which she leads with women from Crete to the Carolinas. Kelly is a certified yoga and yogadance instructor.

She regularly assists leading presenters at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Lenox, Massachusetts, including Jean Shinoda Bolen (author of The Millionth Circle), Julia Cameron (the Artist’s Way), Joan Borysenko (A Women’s Book of Life),Tara Brach (True Refuge), Tama Kieves (This Time I Dance) and Dani Shapiro (Still Writing.) Kelly studied with renown chakra teacher Anodea Judith (Wheels of Life) and has assisted teaching trainings with Megha Nancy Buttenheim, founder of Let Your Yoga Dance (a chakra-based movement practice.)

Each March, Kelly serves as an NGO representative at the annual Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations in New York City, gathering with women & men from around the globe to amplify women’s voices.

Contact Kelly with questions.

 

“Listening, witnessing, role modeling, reacting, deepening, mirroring, laughing, crying, grieving, drawing upon experience, and sharing the wisdom of experience, women in circles support each other and discover themselves…”
Jean Shinoda Bolen

Blessing-Moon Women’s Gathering

Blessing-Moon Women’s Gathering

woman-holding-the-moon-e13519969922181
The Full Moon of July is the Blessing Moon, arriving just before Lammas, the turning point of summer, the beginning of the harvest.

Think Humble Warrior.
Or better yet Revolved Warrior Pose.
Strong, like summer, but receptive, open hands…

In this second of the summer gatherings for women, we’ll move from the exploration of feminine strength to the tapping of receptivity–our capacity to receive that which we bend our will toward.

All women welcome. Skill & experience irrelevant. Come as you are. Curious. Hesitant. Weary. Energized. Introverted. Extroverted. Light. Burdened. Fearful. Hopeful. Ready.

Weather permitting, we’ll walk and move and listen on the land a bit, and mostly gather around the kitchen table and other receptive spaces–stairs & chairs & floors–journaling, speaking, listening, collaging–overhearing, ourselves, steeping in our own guidance and wisdom.

It is the third chakra that is most associated with summer–power, strength, will–and with that,the yogic principle of ahimsa–non-violence–which is an inside-out practice that we’ll embody in this evening gathering. Together we’ll shape a tapestry of strength and receptivity. Gently led from the inside out.

Host and lifelong educator KELLY SALASIN has been guiding women through the chakras locally, regionally and online for over a decade. She is a yoga teacher, a Let Your Yoga Dance instructor, the creator of Writing through the Chakras. She has studied with renown chakra author Anodea Judith and she is a regular assistant to leading presenters at Kripalu Yoga & Health Center, as well as an NGO delegate at the annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

CLAIM YOUR SPACE (open & welcoming, but alas, very limited) in the Blessing Moon Gathering with the link below. Add your name & email address to the payment along with a few lines about what most attracts you to this exploration of strength & receptivity at this moment in time.

Blessing-Moon Gathering for Women
https://www.paypal.me/KellySalasin/35

Home

Thursday, July 26th
6:00 pm
Marlboro, Vermont

(More information to follow upon registration.)

 

 

Strong-Moon Women’s Gathering

Strong-Moon Women’s Gathering


The Full Moon of June is the Strong Moon, aligned with the fire of summer and the alliance of the third chakra associated with strength, power & courage.

Think Warrior Pose.
Or better yet–GODDESS!

The third chakra is also associated with the yogic principle of ahimsa–non-violence–which is an inside-out practice.

Join a warm & welcoming gathering of women at my kitchen table on MacArthur Road in Marlboro–to write, move, listen, speak, create & express–in a journey through the body’s energy centers (aka. “chakras”) exploring our relationship to strength.

Women of all ages welcome. Skill & experience irrelevant. Come as you are. Curious. Hesitant. Weary. Energized. Introverted. Extroverted. Light. Burdened. Fearful. Hopeful. Ready.

Together we’ll shape a tapestry of strength, vitality & courage. Gently led from the inside out.

Host and lifelong educator KELLY SALASIN has been guiding women through the chakras locally, regionally and online for over a decade. She is a yoga teacher, a Let Your Yoga Dance instructor, the creator of Writing through the Chakras. She has studied with renown chakra author Anodea Judith and she is a regular assistant to leading presenters at Kripalu Yoga & Health Center, as well as an NGO delegate at the annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

CLAIM YOUR SPACE in the Strong Moon Gathering with the link below. (Add your name & email address to the payment along with a few lines about what most attracts you to this exploration of strength/focus/power at this moment in time.)

Strong-Moon Gathering for Women
https://www.paypal.me/KellySalasin/33.33

Home

Thursday, June 28th
6:30 pm
Marlboro, Vermont