What is it in your life that you really, really want?
Is there a change in the world you want to see; a place to visit; a person to meet; a personal challenge to accomplish? What are the powerful stirrings inside of you asking you to be or to do?
At my own Vision Day a couple of months ago, I wrote out a long list of goals and dreams that I really, really want.
On the top my big stack was this goal:
I have reconnected with Gloria Steinem.
(Tip: When writing your goals, create them as though they have already happened. I don’t know why it works, but it does! I’ve been testing it for years.)
When I was a political press secretary many years ago, I had the great fortune on occasion to talk with Gloria Steinem, the gracious and revered leader of the Women’s Movement.
Each encounter I had with her I would walk away so inspired — and always changed for the better.
She would be personally encouraging, honoring and focused on the possibilities of women – singularly and globally – to have want we want and need.
Last week, seemingly out of the blue, my Vision Day dream came true!
Some of the women leaders in Gloria’s living room included actress Kathy Najimy, Carol Gilligan, Gloria, and Kathy LeMay
Only weeks after my Vision Day, thanks to Woman on Fire Ellen Wingard, I was invited to reconnect with Gloria and spend an evening in her home. Pinch me!
Gloria opened her beautiful apartment to a group of women leaders to celebrate the writer Marianne Schnall who leads an organization near and dear to Gloria’s heart — feminist.com.
As I entered her warm and inviting brownstone on the Upper East Side of New York City, I could hardly believe it. I made mental notes of every thing and every one, because I wanted you to be with me to share it all.
I was dying to take pictures to show you her apartment’s 20-foot soaring ceilings, her beautiful treasures and pictures, her enchanting red bedroom with floor-to-ceiling dark wood bookshelves and dreamy ceiling mural.
Her home is so warm and cozy that I felt hugged being in her space.
But there is a great reverence for her – certainly not from her because she is so lovely, easy and self-deprecating — that to take pictures would somehow violate the sanctity of the honor to be in her home.
A professional photographer roamed about and did take pictures (that I hope to show you someday) while I chatted with Gloria in her beautiful bedroom where the bar was set up.
(This being New York City where you need to make good use of all space when there is only a living room, bedroom and galley kitchen!)
Gloria, who turns 78 on March 25, looked as chic as always – in her uniform of black pants and top with a metal belt wrapped around and slung low to her waist.
She was her warm and engaging self and eagerly asked for me to tell her all about “Women on Fire.”
Even in her own home, she is, as I’ve always experienced her: gentle and giving, curious and empathetic, preferring to turn her attention to others rather than seek any for herself.
Later, in her cozy living room, surrounded by us all and actress Kathy Najimy, feminist writer, ethicist, psychologist Carol Gilligan and former PBS president Pat Mitchell, Gloria told us she has lots of ideas for the future.
She sees women coming together in smaller groups where each woman can express herself and be heard. She suggests it should be an odd number of participants “so if there has to be a vote on something, there is no tie.”
“Laughter is the only free emotion,” she said to us. “You can’t compel laughter,” she said, laughing. And, she urged us to always keep “fun and joy, sex and poetry” in our hearts.
As a Woman on Fire, I sat enthralled, honored to be in the room with other women equally eager, empowered and enthusiastic to make a difference in our world.
Then, coincidentally, in the New York Times today, only days after being with Gloria, is an article entitled Gloria Steinem, A Woman Like No Other.
That is for sure.
In the piece, Christine Stansell, a University of Chicago history professor, said of Gloria that she “was to the women’s movement what Martin Luther King Jr. was to civil rights: the galvanizer.”
The piece raised the question but did not answer it. Who will be Gloria’s successor to lead women?
“Ms. Steinem’s DNA has been scattered into a million cells — in the blogs, as well as in the work of women whose labors do not land them on cable shows…” the article reports.
I believe that is the truth. And, that is the answer to the article of who will lead women. We will. We are the million cell the galvanizers — that will continue to change lives for ourselves, our families, our communities, our world.
So, what is it you really, really want? And, who are you bringing along with you to make it happen?
Thank you, Gloria Steinem, for bringing me and so others along with you all these years. You can be assured the seeds you planted so long ago are blossoming everywhere you look.
Once again, as I did in my 20s, 30s, 40s and now 50s, I walk away from you feeling as though I can take on more of the world that I dream of. I am so grateful to you, Gloria, my sister Ohioan.
Please share with our community on the Debbie Phillips blog what it is you really, really want? It’s inspiring to hear!