The other day I learned that there are people who think women didn't want to have careers and didn't have callings outside of taking care of men and children. It never occurred to me that anyone could think that. I always thought people were consciously oppressing 51% of the population, not that anyone could actually believe women didn't want to have careers, independence, own property, have a say in how the world is run.
Throughout my childhood I was told repeatedly that I could not be this or that when I grow up because I am a female. It didn’t occur to me that my oppressors put those limitations in place to ‘protect me’. Protect me from what, I wondered? Were they protecting me from benefitting society? Protecting me from experiencing my bliss? I knew they were wrong about my desire to develop my talents, but I didn’t know how to get them to support me in my pursuits. I learned to do the best I could on my own, in spite of the fact that they could never imagine me fulfilling my dreams.
By age 5, I announced that my calling was to be as much like the prophet as possible, a priest, and a healer. Of course I was denied; the adults in my life were followers of a sexist religion. By 12, I left the religion I was raised in, knowing any practice that did not include equality, was not worthy of my dedication. As I grew into adulthood, I studied with shamans and midwives, taught Hatha Yoga for 22 years, Pranayama, Meditation, Visualization, I shared Herbal remedies, shared and taught Reiki along with other forms of energy and movement healing work in my T.O.M / Temple of Movement workshops. I taught vegan nutrition and cooking techniques, I coached and trained people. With an eye that could replace binary sexist words like ‘him’ and ‘father’ to ‘all’ and ‘creator’ and ‘heaven’ to ‘source’, I re read many passages in the bible and the Gospels of Saint Thomas. Studying world religions, in particular indigenous spiritual practices, was as enjoyable as studying mythology for me. Those studies inspired theatrical, multimedia shows about archetypes. While in group energy that is meditating, visioning, expressing gratitude for life, if that group happens to be part of a sexist organization, I’ll either change the language in my head or leave. The adults in my childhood were correct, I could not be a religious leader and be a woman, not the kind of woman I am.
Like most, I was told it was not ‘right’ or safe for a woman to travel without a man. Those warnings meant nothing to me as I traveled for months at a time to Morocco, Brazil, Mexico / Yucatan, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, with stints in Iceland, Amsterdam and Canada. The experience of traveling to countries where most of the locals didn’t speak English (90’s) enriched my life. It forced me into a state of openness and awareness. I was reading the energy and body language of every person I encountered and went wherever I felt called. Those adventures were transcendent. Like Dorothy and Alice, I was full of wide- eyed wonder every day, living with locals and soaking up as much of the culture as an American artist could. Back in the states I moved from the suburbs my family home was in, to inner city Detroit, NYC, New Orleans, Chicago, Seattle, and L.A. Each city informed my art much the same way different mediums do. They called forth different aspects of my being. As I drove across the country numerous times through some 38 states or so, I was able to study and appreciate the diversity this country I was born in and love, has to offer. I know what it is to be brought to my knees by the many varied and glorious splendors of the world, to have my heart expanded by the generosity of spirit and unconditional love encountered, and to know the kindness of fellow travelers. I felt more safe while traveling, than not.
Meeting people in different cultures whose personalities so closely matched those I knew in the states, informed my civil rights activism. Living in local’s homes decades before AirBnB, and learning about various cultures, was an enjoyable way to be humbled. Being exposed to a variety of healing remedies for the lung ailment that often and randomly disabled me, whether those remedies helped my physical ailment or not, were healing on a soul level. I lived a low- income life and experienced poverty at times, but the call to travel fueled a rich experience. The Hilton or Four Seasons experience didn’t interest me back then; my travels were about learning the culture. Odd jobs- sometimes two, three or four at a time funded most of my travels. The privilege of being born in a Greek family allowed me to travel further with the deep understanding that if I ever needed help, I could always go home. No matter where I was, I could get a job in any Greek establishment if I needed to (thanks Pike Street Souvlaki stand). That privilege gave me the confidence to continue exploring on even the tightest budget. While I certainly lacked financial privilege, I had youthful, beauty privilege, skin tone privilege, the privilege of “passing’ as a local in most countries I traveled to and an easy openness with people. Traveling was worth the sacrifice; it was healing, revealing, it informed my parenting, activism, and my art. I learned from my travel and time in the hospital (at least 5 days per month while growing up) that no matter how much I suffered, there were people suffering more and they were family to me- we are all one. There is always a way to ease somoneone's suffering- everywhere, everyone can use uplfitment.
Perhaps some of my passion for traveling the world was due to my shorter life expectancy? One day, when natural remedies for my lungs fell short, modern medicine came up with a pill and a new type of inhaler that would free me from constant life threat. The hours and energy I spent daily on breathing exercises and lung healing practices were suddenly freed up. I set my sights on writing, directing and producing film and television- and on a distant grander vision of a sanctuary / studio. I chose the 'on set' training path and worked my way up from the bottom of the totem pole, working in nearly every dept., collecting gems (cast and crew) along the way. Several times I was told that I couldn’t be a director, because I'm a female. I've seen women with talent and skills being passed over for directing gigs that went to men who weren't ready, weren't yet worthy of the budgets, many times over. It's a common for women who pursue directing careers to be discouraged. So what? Centuries of women’s oppression or not, I'm a woman and I’m a director. I'm forever in gratitude for the encouragement I’ve received from actors who inform me that I’m a “actors director” - their praise runs through my head anytime someone denies my calling. My gratitude for producers, scripties, DPs, gaffers, grips, make up, costumers, production designers, every kind of crewmember who has ever cheered me on, inspires me. I'm also a producer and a collaborative writer. I have vision. I'm going to keep going, developing skills that support my talents, surpassing my goals, telling stories, achieving higher production values, reaching wider and wider audiences. I'm using the time I thought I didn't have, to make a difference.
Now, regardless of the enormous setback in civil rights that the USA is about to implode with, my vision continues, strengthens and picks up speed. My long-term vision is for the MetaHara Healing and Storytelling Sanctuary. It's a studio, a school, an amphitheater, a healing center and it's permaculture. As an adult, I’ve been told to my face that I am a talented and skilled director. I have a calling, a purpose, and a career --a life that is worthy of equal rights. I am dedicated – I am living my life as long and fully as I can.#director #writer #producer #film #TV #action #scifi #adventure#timeless #universal #storytelling #MetaHara#ReachaWiderAudience#BuildItandTheyWillCome#MetaHaraHealingandStorytellingSanctuary