Recently, I was forwarded a link to a Washington Post call for nominations for Women “over 40 to watch”. This caught my eye. As I am over 40, a woman, and hell, why not watch me?! But as I scanned the list of honorees from last year, I was dismayed. Apparently, “women to watch” meant attaching the letters CEO to your name and required at least several, if not all of the following: Having a Blog, FaceBook page, Website, Business, Ted Talk and or written a book. It also requires having won multiple awards, honors and/or grants as well as being a sought after speaker, workshop leader and teacher. (You know, the ones that get hired as Guest Artists or Master Teachers) . Oh yeah, and having lots of degrees from upstanding Colleges helps too. And being fit, thin, healthy, good looking… well known of that hurts either.
Not that theres anything wrong with any of this. Lets get this totally straight: I applaud these women whole-heartedly and openly. Each one of them. Everyone deserves success. Heaps of it, as a matter of fact. I myself fall into several of these categories, (sort of.)
But it occurred to me just how skewed this whole “rating system” is in the first place. I wondered if there is any space to honor, award and recognize those on a different path of success. Not one of high powered , very public ‘success’. But those choosing a quieter, no less authentic or powerful, presence for their work and life? Seems to me, these people are quite often under paid, under acknowledged, and pretty much invisible to the rest of the world. Hell, I know lots and lots and lots and lots of them. And I would love to see every single one of them given loads of money and recognition just to keep being who they are in a world where they consistently are swimming upstream. They are the unseen movers and shakers. And they are EVERYWHERE. Seriously.
They are the Moms who choose consciously and happily not to continue on a projected career path to focus on family instead, but who still keep working on their own projects and passions daily. They are the Dreamers and Seed Planters who have no resources to create their own business, often due to socio-economic status, but who sow their seeds freely and openly for the benefit of others around them. They are the Innovators who always have the newest idea 10 years before the public even thinks about it, but who have no desire for fame and instead teach small intimate classes and workshops to a dedicated few whose lives are truly, authentically, changed forever. They are the authentic Wisdom Keepers, who believe that charging money for their talents, skills, gifts and knowledge is just wrong. They are your neighbors, your mentors, your teachers who no body, outside your circle, has ever heard of, but whose value you see Oh-So-Clearly. Some of them, over the course of their lives, have touched thousands of others and created positive change on person at a time, and still, they are not winning awards and receiving National recognition. They are not “certified” by some fancy board or organization.
The question I am left asking myself is how do we recognize ’some’ as outstanding, and not see others who are just as outstanding, only by a different set of criteria? Is there any diversity, as I have described it, in how our society picks and choose who is eligible for “fame”? Doesn’t it seem narcissistic, to pile more awards on those who have already won them or achieved success? How is it that this is how we decide who is deserving of recognition? (and could you even follow that question?!)
I personally would like to see wide spread public recognition for those specifically under recognized leaders and contributors to society, who seem to fly under the radar with their work, talent, passion and commitment. And who work tirelessly and fully for those around them without much actual compensation for their amazing work. Sometimes its quiet work. Just planting the seeds of change so that the next generation can think they created it 😉 You know who you are. I know who you are. And I hope some of you reading this know who these people are too.
I love you all so so so much. You are absolutely a National Treasure. I amazed by your love, teaching and light. I am grateful beyond words for your presence here, now.
And I see you. I see you. Even if the rest of the world is still asleep.
Especially for my dearest Teachers & Friends including:
Don Kimes, Darin Somma, Kate DeChard, Andreas Mamet, Triz Remedios, Artis Moon Amarche, Stanley Lewis, Jacqui Garcia, Camille Capozzi, Mary Jane Piccuirro, Phil Piccuirro, Randall Exon, Emily Atwell, Melanie Brown, Neva Ingalls, Cheryl Sabo, Carla Stanz, Maria Fydova, Stanley Burgiel, Robin McCarthy, Mike Graglia, Julie Schwartz, Tammy Steinert, Kerry Kenny, Diana Sherblom, Pam Tinker, Renate Maile Moskowvitz and this list could go on and on and is just the beginning. I will keep adding to it!