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Buddhist meditation trains you to bear witness by strengthening your awareness of thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they arise and pass. As your awareness strengthens, you begin to experience spaciousness and stability and see that you have a choice in your response to what is arising. Over time, you learn to bear witness to all the elements that are arising with a curious and compassionate attitude. This does not mean repressing the strong emotions that arise or stopping the escape into story drama, but rather being aware of what you are choosing to feed.

A wise old tale often attributed to the Cherokee warns that when many demons are struggling inside you, the one that you feed is the one that will become the strongest.

lotus petal a metaphorical story teaching you how to turn loss into love Manual

You alone are responsible for what you feed. Bearing witness can allow you to eventually come to terms with the most difficult life circumstances. The practice is always available to you regardless of the time, place, situation, or people involved. There is nothing that you cannot bear witness to, from dusting the lint off your sweater to living in a pit for two years. In bearing witness, you are actively engaged and embodied, even struggling, with whatever is arising.

Sometimes spiritual practices can have a neutralizing effect, flattening feelings rather than stimulating them. To hold to the center is not about becoming a spiritual zombie; it is about living the fullness of your own humanity. You are alive, so be fully alive. The third tenet is Taking Action. It is impossible to predict what the action in any situation will be, or the timetable for when it will arise or what might result from it.

It is a gait not unlike that produced by a woman today walking in very high, uncomfortable heels — the feminized walk described by a group of British researchers at Portsmouth University as supernormal stimuli. Often, how a woman walks in high heels has less to do with the height of the heel itself and more to do with how well the shoe is attached to her foot, and how much pain she is in.

With the more extreme bound feet, however, the distinctive walk they produced was involuntary. This elicited a sort of behavioral gender dimorphism in addition to the change in the culturally accepted female body shape. Natural feet were considered manly, and so the natural state of the body became masculine; one had to sculpt, suffer, and reinvent to be read as female. The lotus flower is a symbol of enlightenment in Buddhism, and has at times been used as a sexual metaphor in Taoist texts.

Growing as it does out of the muck, it is often harnessed as an image of beauty in adversity. Ideas about what exactly high heels do to the female body have changed over time, as have descriptions of the walk. Do high heels make women totter? Do they make the body appear curvier, or leaner? Much has been written about the way high heels are supposed to emphasize the breasts and buttocks, making these two words sound like they refer to cuts of meat rather than regions on a woman. Do they force a curve into the lower spine and push the ribcage open?

The Dandelion Flower: Its Meanings & Symbolism

Perhaps they encourage , rather than force. High heels do make the legs look longer, increasing their ratio to the rest of the body by putting more distance between where the toes touch down and the hips. Long before Western fashion allowed for trousers and short skirts on women, the high-heel-wearing men of seventeenth-century Europe discovered that a raised heel causes the muscles of the exposed calves and thighs to flex and look shapelier.

They are like push-up bras for everything below the waist. Bound feet were painful, but they were also beautiful, because society decided it was so. The pain was worth it because beauty was worth. As a woman, the more beautiful you were, the more worth you had. Beauty was pain and pain beauty. A Han woman without bound feet in Imperial China was considered ugly and unmarriageable, and to get married and come under the legal and sexual aegis of a man was then, and continues to be, the primary expectation of women worldwide.

Many versions of the Cinderella story can be found all over the world. From ancient Egypt, to medieval Korea, to the Brothers Grimm in early nineteenth-century Prussia, each version involves four key elements. The first three are as follows: a beautiful young girl in a low social position, a man in a high social position, and a lost shoe that serves to unite them. But not always.

January 2018

Sometimes it is merely a matter of circumstance that throws the girl and the man together. In some versions of the story, the shoe is made by the girl herself, and has been crafted or embroidered so finely that the man simply must meet and marry its craftswoman. Often, as with Yexian, it is the tiny size of the shoe that impresses the man, suggesting to him the bodily delicacy of its wearer in her absence. Every version of the story ends with a wedding as deus ex machina : The beautiful, intelligent, kind, or talented girl of low or reduced social status becomes a woman of high social status because she has been selected for marriage by a high-status man.

In fairy tales, women and girls are often asked to pay a price of pain, or silence, or both. In her book The Body in Pain , Elaine Scarry explains that one of the primary functions of pain is as a destroyer of language. Physical pain of all kinds defies meaningful description in its aftermath, and while it is happening, in extremis, it functions to dismantle speech into the kind of pre-linguistic sounds that can scarcely be deemed voluntary.

As Virginia Woolf once wrote , let a sufferer try to describe a pain in his head to a doctor and language at once runs dry. As if pain itself did not render one inarticulate enough, women have long been encouraged not only to tolerate physical pain, but to do so without complaining. Original sin lies conveniently with Eve, a woman wanting knowledge. In the Disney retelling of his maritime tale, the price of pain is eclipsed by silence, to soften it for younger, contemporary audiences.

It is a well-known maxim that women must suffer to be beautiful. It is a mantra we repeat to ourselves as we are tweezed, waxed, and threaded; as we endure another hour of cardio, or ignore pangs of hunger; as runway models swallow tissues and cotton balls in lieu of food to stay skeletal and employable; as we shiver in the cold while our dates stand secure in sturdy jeans and wool blazers; as the high heels that we have tolerated throughout an evening of dancing grow bolder and begin to make their assault at the end of the night, with ten blocks left to walk home.

The near universal acceptance of high heels says something about compulsory female handicap. Ultimately, Charles becomes a great artist whose works now hang in museums throughout the United States.

What Can a Citizen Do? But things take a not-so-super turn when she realizes her superhero cape is stuck at the dry cleaner. Will she be able to face her fears, help her friends, and be the true hero everyone knows she is?


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Hudson Being a big sister is a big job. It takes a lot of work, and patience, but it s a lot of fun, too.

This charming picture book explores the anticipation, excitement, and pride a young girl experiences as she helps to welcome a new baby to the family. Caleb dreams of venturing beyond their ordinary small town, but his dad likes the family to stay close to home.

Styx is sixteen and oozes cool. Styx promises Caleb and Bobby Gene that together, they can pull off the Great Escalator Trade—exchanging one small thing for something better until they achieve their wildest dream. And then see their brother present them with toys and sweets and special gifts! Zoey must work with her mom and Sassafras to find a cure — and quickly! Will Rosie be able to invent a contraption to help one of the Riveters paint in the annual mural competition?

Starstruck: The Cosmic Journey of Neil deGrasse Tyson by Kathleen Krull A picture-book biography on science superstar Neil deGrasse Tyson, the groundbreaking American astrophysicist whose work has inspired a generation of young scientists and astronomers to reach for the stars! Perfect for STEM curricula and readers of all ages. Lorraine by Ketch Secor Lorraine and her Pa Paw spend their days celebrating life with the music of the Tennessee hills. But when a fearsome storm rolls in and their instruments are nowhere to be found, can Lorraine find the music inside herself to get them through?

Even Olympians have to start somewhere. And in this charming illustrated book, Laurie Hernandez tells the story of Zoe, a little girl who dreams of flying—and becoming a gymnast. When Zoe sees a gymnast on TV, she realizes that gymnastics is just like flying. Lu by Jason Reynolds Ghost. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash.

But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. Thank You, Omu! One by one, they follow their noses toward the scrumptious scent. Soon the pot is empty.