a second cup of coffee

Can I do a do-over for virtual coffee this week? Or how about just invite you all over for a second cup?

I need a second cup because there’s something I want to talk to you about. Lean in close because I want to shout it across the skies. I’ve been overwhelmed with the positive words and support I’ve gotten since I first announced I’d be working with SOLD, and then especially since we actually arrived in Thailand and started doing it.

It was a year ago, I first read a book (Half the Sky) and got an idea and watched a summit and got INSPIRED.

And now that summit is BACK!

I really really wish we were meeting for coffee today, because if we were, I would drag you to the nearest computer and make you watch this summit with me. But since we are doing this virtually, I’m just going to pretend I have you by the hand and am tugging at you.

This summit is the Women In the World Summit. It involves women from all over the world…women including: Madeline Albright, Hillary Clinton, Christiane Amanpour, Melinda Gates, Amy Gutmann, Cherie Blair, Amy Chua, Aung San Suu Kyi, Barbara Walters…oh god the list goes on. It also includes amazing and inspiring women working in their own communities to educate and empower women to tackle some of the most difficult questions of our time.

Questions like: how do we get more women in leadership roles; how do we deal with gender equality in countries like China; how do we make sure more women survive childbirth; how do we stop the trafficking of young girls; how do we stop the use of rape as a weapon of war; how do we stop acid attacks & FGM; what (if anything) should be done about the use of the Muslim veil in European countries – and how does this affect multiculturalism?

What it is NOT about is wallowing in self-pity about the problems of the world. It is NOT about pushing the liberal elite guilt button. It’s NOT even about bra-burning feminism.

It is about our responsibility to empower and educate our young women, in ways that break the cycles of poverty and abuse. It’s about having the freedom to live the life we choose, whether that involves raising families and future generations or leading nations.

There is no Democrat. There is no Republican. There is no red or blue. (That doesn’t even make sense once you start talking global.) Just real world problems and real women coming together to offer their unique and local, grassroots perspectives on how to solve them. Most often, solutions don’t require more money. They require thinking about problems differently. These women have done extraordinary work, but to look at them you realize how very much like you and me they are.

If there is any one thing I can say about my experience living in Thailand and working for SOLD is that living abroad is like having the gauze ripped off you. Life in the States was safe…and numb. Sure there are problems and joys, but some days you really gotta’ dig deep to feel. And I’m a feeling kinda’ gal. Here, I experience everything as if there is no barrier between me and the rest of life. Watching the Women in the World Summit is much the same. It’s like living more deeply. It’s like discovering, ah, real life. The real world. There you are. For before now, I had only been dabbling in real.

Have you ever felt like you just don’t have the time or energy to look beyond our borders (however those are defined)? Like, gawddamn I have enough sh*t to deal with just trying to get my own stuff taken care of, I couldn’t handle even thinking about the problems half a world away. Trust me, if you’ve felt this way, I totally understand.

But I dare you to listen to these women’s stories and NOT feel inspired, and NOT feel more powerful about your own life: your capabilities and the wealth of choice that’s actually available to you. I dare you to watch for 10 minutes and not get sucked in. Even just put it on in the background as you go about your regular business.

If you’re willing to take my dare, here’s the info you need:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsmaker/women-in-the-world/

RSVP to watch the livestream here:

http://fb.me/BlmigHs2

And then can we get back together and talk about how alive we all feel?

* This doesn’t fit neatly under Bigger Picture Moments, but I’m linking up because I think it’s just the kind of thing you gals would be interested in. Then again…it was a simple moment that changed my life, so maybe it does fit after all.

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3 thoughts on “a second cup of coffee

  1. That's what I like about your blog; you're a deep thinker and willing to touch on the subjects near and dear to me. So many people aren't willing/able to go there. Even my own mother, when I talk about world issues, I see her eyes glaze over with disinterest. It's sad really. It's not all pretty out there and we need to talk about it. Having lived abroad myself has opened my eyes. I'm reading a book about Iraq right now, written by a journalist who speaks fluent Arabic but is American, and it has humanized for me the people living in the Middle East. In so many ways we are all the same.

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words. They touch deep. And I think you are so right. So many people really don't want to think or talk about these things, though I don't really understand why. I look at a lot of blogs and most people are comfortable talking about their own victimization: the issues and challenges surrounding motherhood, especially, in the community I'm most closely linked into. But talking about the victimization of others? It's almost as if they are afraid of getting close to that pain. But what exactly so frightening that prevents people from emerging in solidarity with others? Why are the problems of other people "boring"?

    The book you're reading sounds fascinating. And thank you so much for being willing to converse about these issues with me too.