Leather Spinsters Newsletter August 2000 Edition

Leather Spinsters Newsletter August 2000 Edition


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Inside this Newsletter

1. Articles

    A. A Journal in Search of Myself
    B. Woman of Inspiration: Cathleen Fillmore
2. Spinster Letters

3. Advertisements, Newsletters and Ezines


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A Journal in Search of Myself
By Kathleen Spring

Who is our own greatest enemy when it comes to progressing in the world? The government? The school system? Our parents? Okay, the list could go on and on, but we all know that probably our biggest obstacle to fulfilling our ultimate dreams is ourselves.

Why is it harder fighting our inner thoughts than fighting these mighty institution, like the government? Because we have tools to fight the government - lawyers, congressmen, etc. Plus, we have most of society on our side, that the government can be a bad guy. But what tools do we have to fight our own negative attitudes? Who would agree with us and say, yes, you're an underachiever, you're lazy. And, even if we have someone in our lives who is blunt and would say something like that, it is usually meant to hurt us, not inspire us.

So, we have to sit ourselves down some time and take stock. The first rule is to not wait until we have time to do this, or it will probably never happen. Set up an appointment with yourself. The next time all your loved ones, or room mates, are out for a few hours, don't think of it as a good time to wash the floor, take a nap, or play dead in front of the TV. Have a plan ready, and do it. Tell yourself, the next time I have a few free hours I will become Queen for the Day, and the most important person in this house. I will fix myself my favorite drink (non-alcoholic!), sit in my favorite chair, and pull out the pad of paper and pen that I bought in anticipation for this day.

Remember, you do absolutely nothing else during that time period. You don't get dinner ready, you don't pick the lint off the chair, you don't return grandma's call. You won't drop dead if you do all of these things later. If it helps matters, you can tell everyone when they return home that you were out too, and that's why dinner wasn't on the table. Eventually you should be able to tell them that you took care of private matters, and may be very surprised at how supportive your loved ones can be when you stand up for yourself.

So, what goes into that special notebook you bought? A list of your good assets. Just brainstorm. It could be anything, like baby soft hair or strong nails. Or, great organizer and party giver. On the opposite page, write your negatives. How does the list compare? Which side is longer? Surprised? What does this tell you?

Write down on the next page what your thoughts are. Then at the bottom write down a plan on how you want to change your perception of yourself. Try to be specific. Not just, be more positive (which is still very good); but, something like, don't beat myself up for being late to everything, but rather convert my great organizing skills into helping me leave for appointments on time. Now, that's constructive. It's an actual thing you can do, and it will have obvious good results. Put a box around that. Who's stopping you from doing that except yourself?

Now start a new page. Put on it things that you'd like to do in your life. Start with when you were a child, then a teen, then a young woman, and now. In the margin check off those things that you've accomplished. Remember these things don't have to be completed this year, but may take many more years to attain.

Look seriously at the goals left unchecked. Are they drastically unrealistic? If you put down that you wanted to be a professional basketball player, and you're only 5' 3", then cross that out. If you put down I wanted to be an athlete, and you moan, yea, running after the baby everyday and running to the store. Think more seriously about it. Is there really anything holding you back except yourself?

We've often heard the saying "Where there's a will, there's a way." If we change that "I can't", "They'll think it's stupid", "When will I have the time", "I'm too old now", into "I WILL," then "there's a way."

If you don't feel strong enough to do this on your own, look for counselors (which are available on a sliding scale, according to how much you can pay; or, through your medical insurance), or goal-oriented women's discussion groups, or workshops.

The first two weekends of September, Rocky Mt. Retreats is offering two workshops that will address different types of needs, and will give you the tools to continue your progress toward achieving your goals.

The first one, on Labor Day weekend, is called "Finding Your Mission in Life." The first half of the workshop will go over your personal history in much the same way as was briefly described above, and the second half will offer you ways in which to accomplish the newly clarified goals that come out of your self-searching.

Two of the things that hold people back from achieving their goals are fear of change, and fear of contradiction. How many people have stayed in a bad marriage or job, simply because they were afraid of what a new one would hold. And, how many have kept their goals silent for fear that someone they loved or held in esteem would consider it silly, irrelevant, or not for you.

In the workshop you will learn techniques to assist you in sticking up for yourself in accomplishing your goals. This is taught by Sylvia Braathen, a life coach for 20 years, and specializing in the "radical honesty, management and communication" technique.

Next, face your fear of transitions head on with Sue Wehrspann, one of Denver area's best known facilitators, who's compelling training and consulting style will challenge, inspire and empower you to improve your performance and productivity.

The workshop wraps up with information on what's hot in the job market and how to set up your own business. If finding your mission seems too drastic of a step right now, then consider the following weekend workshop, which centers around stories of the women who settled the West (in particular Colorado).

You will hear stories of every-thing from courage to common sense. Sandra Ford Walston will carry the theme of these wild and woolly stories into modern day stories that are remarkably similar. Stories of women who call on courage to change their lives, and taking that a step further to disclose practical exercises on using courage to transform obstacles into opportunities.

The workshop also includes crafts and memoir writing which will draw on quiet times and skills that nurtured the early women pioneers, and will offer opportunities for women to talk and bond, like in the old quilting bees.

Getting away from the family and lists of duties is an important part of this introspective search. If you feel you can't do it at home, then use this weekend workshop to kick start the search for the new you. The workshop offers an opportunity for you to relax in nature in the mountainside cabins located near Long's Peak.

Continue to use your journal/notebook as a place to record your thoughts, goals, accomplishments. Be sure to start a page, listing your deadlines and accomplishments. It's okay to pat yourself on the back. For many pioneer women, their journals, letters and memoirs were the only thing that seemed to keep them sane, and acknowledged the struggles and triumphs they experienced.

In a journal by Mrs. E. Walker, in 1839, she wrote: "My Dear Husband, I find it in vain to expect my journal will escape your eyes and indeed why should I wish to have it so? Certainly my mind knows no sweeter solace than the privilege of unbosoming itself to you.

It frequently happens that when I think of much I wish to say to you, you are either so much fatigued, so drowsy or so busy that I find no convenient opportunity till what I would have said is forgotten. I have therefore determined to address my journal to you. I shall at all times address you with the unrestrained freedom of a fond and confiding wife. When therefore you have leisure and inclination to know my heart, you may here find it ready for converse." (from "Women of the West" by Luchetti and Olwell).

Use your journal so that you will know your heart. ======================================================

By Kathleen Spring, writer and teacher "Finding Your Mission in Life - A Powerful, Playful, Process" September 1 to 4, 2000 - $399 "Women of the Wild West - You Go West, Girl!" September 8 to 10, 2000 - $299. Includes lectures, workshops, lodging, meals and evening entertainment. Located near Estes Park, Colorado and the Rocky Mt. National Park. (303)823-0997 - www.rockymtretreats.com/womenww.htm Rocky Mt. Retreats, Tours and Workshops for the Mind & Spirit, Specializing in Single Travellers, 132 Choctaw Rd., Lyons, CO 80540 ###

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The footsteps of those proud spinsters that have gone before and those that are soon to follow.

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Woman of Inspiration: Cathleen Fillmore

My life revolved around men…. I always had a man that I was fussing and fuming over….mostly fuming. I went from one abusive relationship to another until finally, after a decade or two, I began to catch on; to slowly open my eyes and wake up after a long slumber.

While my awakening was a slow process, it was thorough. I realized that few people turn around an abusive history l00%. While many women escape abusive relationships, they often carry their scars with them the rest of their lives.

I was determined to get rid of everything about me that helped to make me a victim; to be a thriver instead of merely a survivor; to turn those scars into a fabulous test pattern. After years of giving my life over to men, I wanted it all back.

I sold my house, gave up my teaching career, left my children and other family members to go to another part of the country and start over. I had little financial or moral support as I faced my deepest fears alone. I’d often wake up in the night and literally tremble, thinking to myself "I’m just not cut out to take these kinds of risks – I need a steady income." But then I’d remind myself that these were not new fears; they were the fears I’d repressed all the time I’d been working and they were bubbling up to be released.

And slowly I did that, as I took on new challenges. I devoted myself to writing and speaking, started a new chapter of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (the Canadian version of the National Speakers Association) in Halifax, Nova Scotia and began a marketing newsletter for speakers, sharing with others what I’d learned.

Since then, I’ve addressed huge audiences, written and had over 70 articles published, and had some of North America’s top speakers contribute to my newsletter. And I’m just getting started. I’m back in Toronto now, putting everything I learned into practice and showing my children by example how to regain control of life.

Leap and the net will appear a friend once said to me. I’m not sure if she’d fully tested her theory but I took her seriously and I took that leap. I’m just in mid-flight now and constructing my own net. I wouldn’t have missed the journey for the world. Even the hair-raising moments have been fun.

And the view is spectacular…

Cathleen Fillmore, writer, professional speaker and coach, can be reached at: 416-466-6540, fax: 416-466-5253 or cfillmore@idirect.com www.speakersgold.com.

Spinster Letters

Hello everybody I would like to take this time to let you know there will be no ezine for this month. I've been so busy and doing alot of traveling I wasn't able to concentrate my efforts on the ezine. Next month the publication of both the ezine and newsletter will resume.

Also I would like to extend a hearty welcome to all newcomers to this newsletter and I do hope that you feel you're surrounded by friends and share your life stories. This newsletter has been blessed in so many different ways one of which is the good-natureness of the readers. Occasionally we get negative letters directed at letter, stories, and yes, me. They're all "good" for we can learn from them about ourselves and the world we live in. I said that to let you know your opinions are welcomed and appreciated so don't be shy voice what you feel. Before I go I must encourage you to support events geared for women, especially single women. It's hard getting others to understand the importance of such events if the people it's aimed at will not support it, please take advantage of programs for you! Regena English

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