(Photo Credit: Eric Michael Pearson)
When I was a senior at Rutgers University, I took 2 semesters of American Indian Studies with Professor Calvin Luther Martin. “Calvin”, as he preferred to be called, led our large lecture hall by standing behind us with a microphone under dim lights, just bright enough for students to take notes. This voice from beyond told stories– stories that demonstrated values of American Indian life… We learned of mythic time, the duty of caring for the earth (which is an extension of the self, not separate from self), chaos versus order, honoring ancestors, and shapeshifting. Like campfire storytime at dusk.
Add to that list of cultural values: Beauty. Calvin encouraged us students to request of the Rutgers administration more courses that are beautiful. (!!!)
Decades later in 2014, I took an online course designed by Dr. Claire Zammit and psychotherapist Katherine Woodward Thomas titled Feminine Power. The 7 week program explored the riches of feminine values, philosophies, and practices– empowering women from all walks of life around the globe.
At first glance of the phrase “feminine power”, it can seem odd, contradicting– even confusing? It did for me.
Claire and Katherine explained: The dissonance lies in the fact we as a culture equate “power” with masculine values and psychology: win, defeat, beat the competition. Heck, crush the competition.
Claire and Katherine intelligently mapped out at the start of Feminine Power a list of comparative words as they relate to masculine and feminine: external/internal, head/body, hard/soft, control/surrender, contained/wild—and so on. The pairs of words are counterpart to each other, and the second word is often considered less valuable, less valid than the first word. Our culture (especially in the U.S.A.) associates the first word of each pair to masculine, the second to feminine.
Climbing to the top of a ladder, correct calculations, linear mapping, and logical sequences are all trademarks of the most classic of patriarchal institutions: that of business entrepreneurship.
In the early 90’s, sitting in a trance in Calvin’s class as a young adult, there was little chance I would join a business school. The concept was contrary to my creative writing and Grateful Dead concert habits. The pursuit of money for the sake of riches was empty. For years as a waitress I involuntarily listened to business meetings that occurred daily in stiff attire over restaurant coffee, rolling my eyes and mentally yawning at the self-importance, the apparent greed, the ego-boasting, and the theoretical number talk.
Boom: Here I am in 2019 at the start of Marie Forleo’s B School—an 8 week online training program–a business school–for any entrepreneur seeking to learn how to successfully build and market a business via the Internet. Thanks to Marie’s carving of her own entrepreneurial path and diligently mapping out her life lessons, she has built one practical AND inspiring, self-caring AND service-minded business school.
As a B School student, I get the best of both masculine and feminine worlds. B School 2019 only just began, but I can already tell B School subscribes to measurable outcomes and rational thinking as much as it includes healthy doses of listening to the gut, brainstorming, intuition, generosity, empathy, and goodwill. And confetti! And fun.
In B School I hear things like: “No business tactic or strategy replaces the importance of integrity and caring.” Or: “Higher profits are commensurate with your higher purpose.”
… Such is the beauty of Marie Forleo’s B School, which I am only beginning.
Marie Forleo is a life and business coach, hip-hop dancer, journalist, teacher, author, and founder/owner/star of MarieTV and Marie Forleo International. She has been featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday (named a “thought leader for the next generation” by Oprah), featured in Inc. Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine, and included in Forbes.com’s top 100 Websites for Entrepreneurs.
She is a disciplined, wise, and playful leader for anyone seeking to live life and do business with authenticity, creativity, altruism, and financial success. And that internal, vulnerable “F” word: feminism.
I never requested beautiful courses from Rutgers University, but the universe did answer a call for a beautiful business school.
(Anyone with access to the Internet can watch MarieTV, where she either interviews entrepreneurial/trailblazing guests or answers questions from the audience. You can’t help but learn and grow. The show us full of substance and a hoot to watch!)
I’ll see you on the flip side of B School. Wearing confetti. =)