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Dispersion of inner power cured by ethical duty?

Categorized in these topics: Baba Yaga Feminine Matrix and Female Culture Women in Collaboration Women's Trauma Issues

Two grandmothers model the cure.

"The grandchildren are about the only facet of my life I feel it's OK to put everything else on hold for," wrote Connie Simpson. "I haven't planned it that way; it's an internal imperative."

Wouldn't it be possible for women, mothers and grandmothers to be specific, to rally that kind of cooperation for themselves that would confront the relentless interruptions, service rivaling the saints and rigid stereotyped roles demanded of our female sex?

What if we took Connie Simpson's statement to include us?

What would follow "The _______ are about the only facet of my life I feel it's ok to put everything on hold for. I haven't planned it that way; it's an internal imperative."

My very first reaction is to list the numerous ways women, mothers and grandmothers live out generations of not knowing solidarity with each other. Analysis is nothing less than paralysis, the "in your left brain" academic, if not science mode of approaching a problem, will repeatedly demand my energy to dissipate into invisibility. My focus or the blank after internal imperative -- "The _______" disappears.

Isn't it the same for no matter how catastrophic the statistics are or media images of violence and war, nothing changes? The wars continue and violence escalates with most shrugging their shoulders saying, 'how awful," as they walk away. We disappear. Along with our disappearances according to Larry Fine's report[i] on what has happened and continues to happen to women and children (yes, grandchildren) globally it is gynocidal- beyond genocide.

Not wanting to go on repeating analysis into paralysis, which for women is an intergeneration's lifelong state of shock, I advocate for observing similar statements and conversations between two grandmothers. One grandmother is from the Northwest of America and the other grandmother resides in Bosnia.

Connie Simpson's internal imperative constitutes a matri-clan,[ii] where women manifest choice and develop a structure to flourish their own families and local communities. Dr. Heide Goettner-Abendroth points out how "everyone has received some care as a child, therefore it is a principle of balance that all people, in turn, should care for children." In fact, Dr. Heide maintains that sharing the responsibility of caring for children is an "ethical duty," for all.

Connie's internal imperative is her profound insight into ethical duty. But what is the impact to grandmothers, mothers and daughters when it is not a shared responsibility? It is a global scourge in that ethical duty and the service it requires is assigned solely as a female burden.

Meanwhile, the mountains of unmitagating childcare and/or housework are the pillars holding up global economies. It is a well-known fact among feminists-both male and female-that global economies are feeding off the unpaid and unvalued small acts done by female labors.

You would think things would look very different for Bosnian mothers and grandmothers who survived the war –if not two wars- as the South Slavs struggle in the aftermath of war. Smacked with insight, Vahdeta, a Bosnian Muslim war survivor and a grandmother spoke of how her family life is painted with more meaning in the aftermath of war.

Intense curiosity took hold of me as I looked about the Bosnian strafed buildings, homes and dingy pallor of her town Novi Travnik, Bosnia. At first I thought it was denial, another energy bone marrow sucking feature of trauma. Denial and normalizing violence allows intergenerational violence towards her female sex to continue.

Denial deftly categories war/violence as "culture," while normalizing violence is about going underground with assaultive nature found in trauma. Denial and normalizing war and violence is known as spin doctoring in American politics. Look for example, the rumor that Iraq had "weapons of mass destruction."

Vahdeta and her professor husband, without the salaries or funds that were consistent before the war, found themselves working together as a family on their farm outside of Novi Travnik. Added to this work of becoming self-sustainable, their apartment balcony while mournfully gray and sad, is a greenhouse of plants, seeds that are sprouting, while the family's laundry is hung to dry.

Exclaiming how she is more intimate with her children and family relations, Vahdeta's internal imperative in face of the war and its aftermath was not one of fear. This is a great thing, not a good thing, since fear disperses female's inner power. Through the sharing of responsibility, through the small acts in self-sustainability efforts, Vahedta acknowledges how her preference for choice compresses fear into inner power.

The return to old South Slavic ways for the modern Bosnian grandmother was her choice and not done as a fear based decision. Instead, the common reference points and commonality between the American grandmother and Bosnian grandmother is how their internal imperative, call into ethical duty, becomes a shared responsibility with the millions of small acts and actions involved.

Another factor in the twin situations oceans apart, is Connie Simpson's balcony in the Northwest. Crammed, arrayed and dressed to the hilt with her garden vegetables and massive vines, the balcony overlooks a heavily treed ravine leading to a stream. Both Vahdeta's greenhouse balcony and Connie's garden balcony are internal imperatives. Their gardens have become reflecting pools of each other.


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