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JOURNAL OF STRENGTH

I am thinking how I can start a Journal of Strength. By that I mean, start to compile a record of what women do to get through – ie what inner strength do they access when things are so dark that it seems not worth going ahead?

When I was in detention (prison) under Apartheid in South Africa, and did not know whether my children were being fed or whether they were being looked after; when I was being beaten by my cruel first partner and I stood against the wall covering my face with my hands; when I was caring for my darling late husband for 24 hours a day after his stroke and I was so tired I could not sleep ----- when these things were happening, what did I do?

I would like to ask women to tell what they do – where they get their strength from. What goes on inside our heads when we feel so low that we are afraid we cannot take the next step? Yet we do take the next step, and we leave a trail for other people to follow, whether it is through our organising in the community, our campaigning, our studies, our poetry, our art, our profession, caring for our families, watching out for our neighbour…... We get the courage to carry on. I would like to hear women say, for themselves, what it is that they DID in those dark moments.

And when I have collected enough of these Strengths, I would like to put them into a journal and make them available through Pulse Wire so that our Strengths will be each other's Strengths too.

All of us are survivors. What goes on in our heads when we think life is not worth continuing with and how do we continue through the next moment – the next day?

For me it was a repetition, my personal mantra I call it. This I remember now, through those dark times at trying to keep our home together, trying to start community projects against much opposition, while being questioned in prison about things I knew nothing about….I remember saying in my head, to whatever was in my way or hurting me (even when I was physically on my knees):

"YOU CAN BEAT ME BUT YOU CANNOT BEAT ME DOWN."

And I still say this today, to Arthritis when it eats into my bones!

What deep inside themselves have other sisters accessed to help them carry on?

If anyone would like to join me in compiling this journal, please write to me: monicaclarke@edev.org.uk, subject JOURNAL OF STRENGTH

Comments

marietta64's picture

hi

nice idea

usha kc's picture

good job Monica,, I will

good job Monica It really would help each other when your compilaion come out. I will write you soon.

Esnart Hamiyanda's picture

Brillianr idea

I agree with your idea 100%. I will write to you as i have a load of things to say on how i have lived my life with a positive mind amid so many challenges.

love2write's picture

Beautiful Idea

Monica,
This is an incredible idea and one that can have important impact. I will absolutely love to be a part of it.

Ellen Rosner Feig
Assistant Professor, Composition and Literature
Carl Wilkens Fellow, Genocide Intervention Network/Save Darfur

Monica Clarke's picture

Journal of Strength

Dear Eileen

Thank you for your response and encouragement. I have now constructed a test questionnaire, which I have asked a few women to complete. I will amend the questionnaire after receiving comments and suggestions, and hope then to send the questionnaire out to groups, asking group leaders to help women in their grassroots groups to complete the questionnaire and return it for collation.

That is the general idea. I'm not sure yet how it will all work out and where the information gathered and collated will eventually go. I do know, though, that the outcome will be a sharing of strengths amongst ourselves!

I am being helped in this first round by a World Pulse Listener. May I ask you, Eileen, to help in two ways at this stage?

(a) To look at the questionnaire and fill it in yourself and then send back comments. It is a very simple four question A4 sheet. I will need your email address to send it to you as an attachment if you will do this for us

(b) To think with us about how this can be distributed more broadly, and to help tag the responses with a veiw to eventually making some document available, which could be distributed back to groups who filled the questionnaire in?

My thinking might be a bit woolly, but it is an idea which is developing and evolving, and I hope will become a source of strength to all of us.

Sincerely, Monica (monicaclarke@edev.org.uk)

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Waqar Azim's picture

Excellent

This is an excellent idea.I am taking it diffrently.
As how to get strength at the time of distress.So it is equally importent
for everyone.
I am recollecting my views on the subject and at the same time waiting for the views of others.
Will be back here.
Thanks

Phoenixdocu's picture

Strong Women...

I applaud your fabulous idea and am glad you found a voice in World Pulse. I am working on a documentary on the rise of women in China and discovered that many women draw strength and wisdom through themselves and faith. To change one's destiny --- women must engage in a paradigm shift themselves — in their own attitudes towards self-worth, confidence, dependency and traditions. Many societies do not promote those qualities because they see women as liabilities instead of assets. I look forward to hear the witnessing of these strong women...as you have proven to be one of them. Thanks for sharing this great idea.

susa's picture

Fabulous Idea

Monica, This is a great idea and i think World Pulse is a great forum to begin. I have been blessed in life and really have no story to tell, but I would love to help gather stories or contribute to the project in any way I can. Keep me apprised of how I can help.

Susan Spencer
A new World Pulse volunteer
English Language Instructor
Konya, Turkey & San Francisco, CA

Monica Clarke's picture

I DO NEED HELP!

Thanks for your offer to help, Susan. I posted the idea on PulseWire this morning, and have had about 40 responses....so it does touch on something which needs to be recorded.

Problem is, I'm not sure how to proceed! Most people are asking to 'be involved' and I need now to get back to them!

I was thinking of drawing up a simple questionnaire, asking people to record big fearful moments in their lives and telling how they overcame them at the time, and then to identify for themselves what their unique coping mechanism is....... not sure how this sounds. The questionnaire could be filled in personally but also I could ask that it be passed to third parties who could respond through World Pulse members.....

Please let me know what you think and if it is possible for me to discuss this with you on the phone or on Skype I should be most grateful...and/or perhaps there are others on the team who might have the time to run with me on this?

I'm in France - not sure where you are, and if you will have the time to speak with me.

If it's ok to skype you, please send me an sms on +44 7880 698 240 with your skype address and give me a convenient time to get back to you.....my Skype address is monicagracie.

I need to get back to folks within the next twenty four hours and am a bit daunted, coz I did not realise that there would be so much interest around this subject.

Lots of loving from nervous Monica - and thank sagain for being in touch

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Naomi's picture

re: new to worldpulse BUT

Hi Monica,
Im not sure if this goes to you only, or to the whole group so I will keep it short. I am working on a doctoral dissertation (in part) around this very topic! Would be thrilled to help- as are so many it seems. Should we strike some sort of committee or working group?

Naomi
ps- I am in Canada but will be in Paris mid July...

ccholai's picture

Journal of Strengths

Hi Monica,
This is a great idea - and I would like to contribute to it as well..
I would like to suggest maybe you can start on World Pulse by creating a section called "Journal of Strengths" and then we all can contribute by writing together on it - and you can use that to compile together.

Strengths come in different forms ey - a quote, a hug, a smile, stories, songs, people, children... so be good to share all...wow this is exciting!!!

Thanks for the initiative :)

-We all have a special purpose in life. It is up to us to pause for a while, identify it, grab on to it and follow through -

Carlotta's picture

hey there

Great idea, I would love to be a part of it.

Erna Surjadi's picture

Faith, Hope and Love

Dear Monica and All,

The idea of Journal of strength is interesting, marvelous and truly appreciated.
Physical strength is mostly related to men; however many stories talked also about the inner strength which comes from Faith, Hope and Love; to both men and women
Faith is not seen but can burn the whole body to still awake and alive for a better future.
Hope is the sunshine for tomorrow better than today; to let the yesterday past and became history.
Who can stand away from Love? Everybody needs the Love; gratefully God give the unfailing love, never ending...

I suggest to create collection of short stories of true life based on facts; you may give comment later on those collection.
Starting 2010, I wrote already three books based on true stories; taken from women;s problems and consultation (anonymously) and what people talked in the talk shows. They are Gender harmony; How to prevent domestic violence and Gender Skateboard. We have talkshows and videos - on youtube as well...
Strengh is the outcome if you feel confident, believe on certain principles (faith, inc to God) and when received other's Love/ want to give love or you have hopes... Hope to God would give you strength...

I have story of my own, when being betrayed by the strong organization thru power abused and corruption of certain top managements but the organization system does not have anything to defend the powerless but sacrifying them...
Not only as woman who has life partner, husband as soulmate; he reminded me of how special I am to be different fromn those mafia gank. It is a wonderful moment when you come to God's Love, Faith and Hope, surrender everything to Him; as you believe God has never loss; then it is true... I'm saved - they wanted to 'kill' my career and life by rejecting my performance and sabotaged my programmes - but apparently afterall they can not do it because God is always with the Truth and protecting me... You are right they could beat me in their organization, but they never turned me down in the world... Facts proved it; I produced books, credential works; the goverments, the people and networks are with me and it is escalating more and more...

There are many people of God's disciples who helped and are helping me
I believe also God has never asked us to punish them; I forget them already though the legal procedure is till on going; they are not worth to the real life but dirt only - God will punish them by His Hand or mercy if they asked for...
Our life is not depend on other's acts but ourselves and God to glorify Thy name...
Be the part of blessings not the part of world's problems...; someday sooner or later everybody needs to pay or to get reward based on their acts....

Nobody is perfect - however lets' stay in peace and harmony...
Have a blessed day!
Live in harmony with your love ones, be a path of blessings to help others...
The treasure is in your heart... - LOVE!

www.genderharmony.info

Monica Clarke's picture

UPDATE 1 SEPTEMBER 2011

Dear Sisters and Brothers

Wow! The response since I posted this idea yesterday has been overwhelming. Thank you so much everyone. Thank you for sharing your stories and ideas, (especially thank you, Erna, for sending me such a lot of strength through your idea of story writing. I shall be watching your space carefully. And thank you, Susan, for offering your help).

To those who have sent me email addresses: I have written back to each one of you by email.

To those who have NOT sent email addresses: Please send me an email address (emails are easier for group mailings and attachments)

NEXT STEP: I will try to send out a circular email with a Questionnaire to everyone whose email addresses I have by the weekend.

Until then, strength to everyone.

Lots of loving from sunny South of France

Monica

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Teresa Temweka's picture

Incredible Idea

This is so commendable and i would love to be a part of it. i anticipate reading what keeps women going. This i think would help women all over the world, including in my small developing country Malawi where women do not seem to matter alot, yet we know they matter a great deal.

I am encouraged with just your introduction on the subject, it tells a great and moving story. This i think will reflect in the Journal of Strength..

Teresa

Monica Clarke's picture

Thank you, from Monica

Dear Teresa

Thank you so much for your encouragement. I look forward to seeing where this project will lead. My idea is that when we have found out from as many women as possible what makes them get through their journeys, we will compile their biggest strengths and celebrate them around the world! That way we will all learn from each other.

I have, this morning, sent out the following update to all respondees to date. Please let me have your email address so that I can send the Questionnaire direct to you (see below).

Thank you again
With warm greetings from
Monica

ONLINE UPDATE 1 SEPTEMBER 2011

Dear Sisters and Brothers

Wow! The response since I posted this idea yesterday has been overwhelming. Thank you so much everyone. Thank you for sharing your stories and ideas, (especially thank you, Erna, for sending me such a lot of strength through your idea of story writing. I shall be watching your space carefully. And thank you, Susan, for offering your help).

To those who have sent me email addresses: I have written back to each one of you by email

To those who have NOT sent email addresses: Please send me an email address (emails are easier for group mailings and attachments)

NEXT STEP: I will try to send out a circular email with a Questionnaire to everyone whose email addresses I have by the weekend.

Until then, strength to everyone.
Lots of loving from sunny South of France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Domina Msonge's picture

I DON'T MISS IT

Dear Monica,
Thanks for your good idea which has touched most of us especially my side where women are not counted as assets.

my email dmsonge@gmail.com so that I can get the copy of the questionnaire

Domina

Domina Makene Msonge
Geologist

nabwire joyce im amother of four children my parents died's picture

be strong

Hi monica
you as awoman dont give up wake up dont think what have happened to you look front tell god to give stregth im telling you my sister you will make it God bless you.

Kabita's picture

good job

I agree with you Monica. I have also a lot stories of my life how I lived it. looking forward your compile version of journal.

wachuka's picture

Exciting

Hi Monica,
This is quite exciting.Whom do I turn to?To whom do I tell my experiences.It will be a good forum for women across the world to share thier stories.I would like to be part of this team.Great idea

Mary
email:wambaria @hotmail.com

Thanks for your response, Mary. I will be sending you an email shortly. I hope we will be working together in future! Lots of loving from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Cali gal Michelle's picture

journal

I hope this gets off the ground! I could use some advice myself on how to get through each minute while in severe pain. I, too, am thinking of how to begin a group journal of thankfulness.... I know it's not directly related to giving women a voice or whatever, but it takes the focus off of self. Gratefulness/thankfulness is one of the foundations of becoming a woman of action.

Thank you for your idea!

Peace-
M.

Peace and Hope-
Michelle
aka: Cali gal

Listener
Sister-Mentor
@CaliGalMichelle
facebook.com/caligalmichelle

Monica Clarke's picture

with gratitude!

Thank you Cali gal Michelle for your kind words. I am keeping fingers crossed with my journal, which is taking off slowly. I shall be writing on this wall in the next week or so to let everyone know how things are going.

Your journal of thankfulness sounds like a great idea...keep us posted.

Love and hugs from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Hello, Monica:

Thank you for this inspiration. It amazes me how my mind loops around my faults and failures when I am down, instead of developing the pattern of focussing on my (many, actually) strengths. I say many actually because one wouldn't know it from the way my mind works.

I am learning though, and getting some new habits that are helping me. Like when I have trouble sleeping, a new technique is to imagine my mother's love, from across the stratosphere....time, form, and resistance have no hold in reality.

A strength I also love is my core strength I access in Anusara Yoga practice. It keeps me engaged with my physical core and strength. (Yes, that is pretty redundant...and it is still true.)

Thank you for this successful conversation.

Anna

Speaking my Peace

Thanks for your comment, Anna. Any chance you would let me pick your brain for a few minutes on the phone? Or Skype? If you send me your telephone number by email I could call you, as I have reasonable phone rates to the US. If ok please send me your phone number and skype ID to monicaclarke@edev.org.uk .

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

MzGolden's picture

This is a beautiful idea,

This is a beautiful idea, Stories from other's help us with our own personal struggles and growth and teach us we are not alone. It also may give another person the right word at the right time perhaps showing them something they did not see with their own struggle. It also may give encouragement to someone who thought they could not continue.

Touching other people's hearts can only have positive results, I wish you well with this Monica :)

Monica Clarke's picture

Thank you MzGolden for your

Thank you MzGolden for your words and well wishes. I love the song on your profile I am Woman. It says it all!

Love and hugs from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Judy Samwel's picture

Hope am not late!!

Dear Monica,
I have currently joined the World Pulse and when i joined i was overwhelmed by exams, so i did not get ample time to read on people journal'posts .Your journal was my first to read, I want to contribute something about my life story, may be it can add some taste in your journal.
Please if its not too late and u are interested let me know,
This is my email address: jdekayz@yahoo.com
Skype account: Judy Samwel.

Wish u good lucky,

Hope to hear from u soon.

Judith.

Monica Clarke's picture

Thanks

Dear Judith

Comment allez-vous aujourd'hui? Thanks for writing to me. I hope your exams went well!

Oh Judith, the Journal of Strength did not take off. I was disappointed, but we did not receive enough interest to continue. I had asked people to send me their comments, but they did not repond, so I shelved the idea. Not putting it away forever, just had to take an educated view that perhaps the timing was not right, and that, some other time, it might be a good idea, but not just then.

I hope you will become an active member in the community, there is so much you can lend to other people to help them along.

Good luck with your studies and your stay in China.

Love and hugs from Monica in France

Monica Clarke, Writer & Storyteller, bringing human rights alive.
I wish you 'Nangamso', that is: May you continue to do the good work which you do so well.
(A blessing from my ancestors, the Khoikhoi, the first people of South Africa).

Judy Samwel's picture

Thanks!

Dear Monica,
Je suis tres bien!!!
It's ok, the time u will continue with it, i will be there for some contributions. Everything is going on well here, I have the holiday of 4 weeks.

Wish u goodlucky and plenty of God's blessings!!

Judith.

Fenella's picture

JOURNAL OF STRENGTH

Hi Monica,

Would like too know how the journal of strength is progressing or has it been published.

Greetings from Papua New Guinea

Fenella

Fenella
Papua New Guinea

Archie's picture

Really Nice

A medium to support share

dedrea's picture

Sounds wonderful

Your post makes me reflect about those times that were so uncomfortable for me as I was going through a storm. I cannot put my finger on what gave me the strength to endure. But I know I couldn't turn around or hurry past it, I could only go through the storm. I want to say it made me stronger but I would rather say I learned to make better choices. I can';t say that I did learn. It just so much to think about.

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