Powerful And GUTSY

I have a birth to announce.

Beautiful babies come in various packages. Some in the warm skin of an infant son or daughter. Others as works of art, music, photography, dance, the written word.

Joan Scharff just gave birth to a wonderful book of poems and pictures. I met her several years ago when she was at our GUTSY Women weekend. Then a year later she completed our flagship Total Leadership Connections program.

Now she has taken two of her passions, photography and poetry and has birthed a beautiful book “Lessons I’ve Learned from a Flower.”

I am so awed by what she has done I want everyone to know about this beautiful new book.

I am including one of the poems. It was sparked by what she learned when she was requested to explore her family history, her Sankofa Map, to see how it connects with her present life at work and home. It is a deep probing of the intricacies of generational connections. Here she used incredible and sensitive language to show how women, mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts give and get from each other. I have printed the entire poem here for all to enjoy:

STRONG STOCK

I come from strong stock

And a long line of strong women too

Sometimes, strong women are silenced

Beaten down

Criticized

Enslaved by housework and thankless tasks

Held back and hidden

Surprisingly even by

And sometimes especially by

Their own mothers

And eventually by their own doing

It is not always safe to be a strong woman

Look at history

DNA remembers

The days when strong women were exiled

Used and abused

Burned in flames

Ostracized and bloodied

With threats and lifetimes of conditioning

On how to stay alive

Even after the need to condition and control have long

Since disappeared

Still tongues are tempered and tamed

Behavior patterns en-grained

Stay small

Stay hidden

For intended survival

Fear lives long after threat is gone

Or motives are remembered

Leaves one believing I must be wrong to want more

Emphasis is put on attributes that serve

Put another’s pleasure first, wait for someone else to move

Even when the cost is steep

Keep your mouth shut

Some attributes matter little in the end

Can be stolen or replaced when tired and old

External beauty weathers

She was so nice, such a good girl

Sweet one

What happened, why is she so bitter and cold?

Bury alive our powers, connection and gifts

All the while fire in the belly smolders

Secret wishes to be more, call and whisper in her ears,

Perhaps by all the others, those before her

Generation upon generation of mothers, sisters, aunts and daughters

A call to come alive again

Buried strength and talents awakened

DNA remembers these too

Wild spirit

Hidden sparks

Passion ignited

By the bands and tribe

By the burning need leaves one thinking, I am so honored

To be alive

Yes

To be strong

To be part of strong stock

You can email Joan at joan.m.scharff@lmco.com Connect with her to thank her for her dedication to this wonderful project and the book is a marvelous gift for birthdays and Valentine’s Day to arrive soon.

Sylvia Lafair

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