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December 11, 2014

Still Here 

“Still Here” is a short essay that I read in one of my workshops at Esalen and said that I would send it to them. Intuition after hearing from others about people they have lost: send it out to all. 

No matter what the cause, every time death comes to others, whether gently or like a Tsunami and we are spared, there is an inner felt affirmation that “I am still here.” Even in grief and mourning or guilt that “it should have been me,” there is this reality, “I am still here.” The challenge is to find or have the sense that there is meaning and purpose to being alive. If we are - as I believe - spiritual beings on a human path, it means that there is still more for us to experience, to do, to learn, or to love if we are still here.

Implicitly believed is that each of us has a soul. This means that something immortal has become embodied in each of us for a relatively short time. Each of us arrives as a vulnerable, dependent infant into the world, which is imperfect, dysfunctional, sometimes even terrifying. Encountering disappointment, betrayal, abandonment, limitation, is to be expected: suffering of one sort or another comes with life. Power to inflict pain on another or take advantage of another comes our way as well.

While this is so, the human experience offers opportunities to love and be loved, to feel awe and be moved by beauty, to make mistakes, to choose how we respond to what happens to us, to grow in compassion and wisdom, and to contribute by who we become to the sum of human potential.

The magnus opus each of us has is the life we have. Like a canvas, a manuscript, or music being improvised, while we are still here, the work is not yet finished. To be human is to intuitively know or to live with the possibility that we have some significance in a vast visible and invisible universe. Living from this premise, I believe that what we do here does matter and that someday, we will know.  

 Jean Shinoda Bolen, from: “The Art of Living: A Practical Guide to Being Alive: edited by Claire Elizabeth Terry, 2008

5WCW at the UN in Geneva
November 3 -5, 2014 Palais des Nations -Geneva, Switzerland

Click here to visit NGOCSW-Geneva website

I went to Geneva in November for the NGOCSW-Geneva and the beginning of the Economic Commission of Europe as advocate for 5WCW. I made headway—5WCW was the first recommendation from the Round Table on "Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women", and then 5WCW was thrown under the bus  — as if meetings to evaluate Beijing + 20 by government leaders could accomplish what bringing NGO leaders—especially the next generation together.  
It was good to see the 5WCW logo on the home page of NGOCSW-Geneva, better yet to read the eight page position paper by NGO CSW Geneva supporting 5WCW!

NGO CSW Geneva’s position paper on a 5th World Conference on Women (5WCW)

The NGO CSW-Geneva supports the holding of a 5th World Conference on Women including the 20 Year Review of the Beijing Platform for Action (1995). The Committee’s Position Paper on a 5th Women Conference on Women provides the background to this decision, the rationale for such support and the key issues for considerations.

I wrote to Gloria Steinem that there are U-Turns in the labyrinth (28 in the Chartres pattern) but the path continues to its goal nonetheless. While organizing yet another panel at the UNCSW as part of the advocacy for 5WCW may seem like pushing another boulder up the mountain again, I feel I am on  a labyrinth path, not doing a Sisyphean exercise.

Still Here as Advocate for UN 5WCW
Women and Girls Empower One Another: Lessons from Beijing and the Women’s Movement. Women and Girls Empower Each Other—this is the  point of advocating UN 5WCW in New Delhi, India, more than 20 years after 4WCW in Beijing.
I went to Geneva for the NGOCSW-Geneva ECE meeting and heard Laksmi Puri Deputy Executive Director of UN Women say that the regional conferences and other high level meetings will be reviewing Beijing +20, and that these meetings would accomplish what 5WCW would do. It made me realize that the need and purpose for 5WCW has not been understood and not clearly stated
In the Forum plenary organized by NGOCSW-Geneva, during a Q & A,  a young woman noticed that there were very few young people present, and asked how might young people become involved. I was recognized immediately after, and said that this is why we need 5WCW, that it would bring together young women in NGOs from all over the world who would learn from each other, become friends and allies and communicate through internet devices with each other and with mentors and role models.  Earlier when the members of the audience had been asked to raise their hands if they had attended any of the four UN World Conferences on Women, a large majority  did so. Going to Beijing as a young NGO leader had changed their lives and given them purpose. My books, The Millionth Circle, Urgent Message From Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World and Moving Toward the Millionth Circle: Energizing the Global Women’s Movement, explain how ordinary people reach critical mass and change the world. Small circles of women--girlfriends who learn from each other, have each other’s back, look after each other’s children in a pinch, raise consciousness, encourage each other to do what they believe will help make this world better, and with courage, grit, brains, laughter and organization became the women’s movement.  Over thirty thousand women attended the NGO Forum in Beijing. The ripple effect from this was in the psyches of the women and the now hundreds of thousands of NGOs are in existence that began with ideas and connections made at the Forum.  
In a 1995 paper, "More Than Just Talking: UN Fourth Conference on Women, Beijing 1995",  Dr. Ilise L. Feltshans describes the 1995 NGO Forum at the UN 4WCW as the first part of a two part conference, a division that was made quite confusing by the powers in charge of it. First, the NGO Forum began on August 31, 1995 and ended September 8, 1995. Second, the official diplomatic delegates to 4WCW met from September 4, 1995 through September 15, 1995. The second conference produced the Platform for Action, and was addressed by USA First Lady, Hilary Clinton in her “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” speech. Felshans explained what happened in the Forum was the female mode of verbal communication, where Process is the Product.  Process-oreiented communication develops a profound common bond between the participants. It united women in a long term process from every part of the world.
The Alchemy of Activism
Writing The Millionth Circle was my first step into 5WCW activism. The response of others led to forming The Millionth Circle Initiative, which in turn brought me to the United Nations, informing me about the courage and plight of women and girls. It became the first of my activist-and-archetypal books:
Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman is out in the world as a book and as an unabridged Audible audio book in my voice (Audible has this on sale for $5.45). In Greek mythology, Artemis was the goddess of the hunt and of the moon whose realm was the wilderness, the twin of Apollo. She is the archetype in women who are activists, feminists, environmentalists, social justice advocates, animal and forest protectors, those who have a sense of sisterhood with women and equality with men. A capacity for inner reflection, a sense of oneness in nature, mystical bonds are qualities. In this storytelling book, many real life examples and myths provide a depth psychology view, including related archetypes that often develop in the  second half and last third of life. Artemis is also an inner image of the feminine or anima in a man’s psyche. It will be published by in Spanish and in Italian. 
Descriptions & More Details

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 - Mt. View, CA
East-West Book Shop

Book Signing. Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman

324 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94041

(650) 988-9800

February 13-15, 2015 - Seattle, WA
Women of Wisdom Conference

Friday, February 13, Keynote Lecture, 7 pm
The Indomitable Spirit in Women: The Goddess, Archetype & Inner Child

Saturday, February 14, Workshop 9 am to 4:30 pm
Path with Soul, Path with Heart: Trusting Your Inner Compass

North Seattle Community College
9600 College Way N, Seattle, WA
(206) 782-3363 


Friday, February 27, 2015 - Seattle, WA
East-West Bookshop

Book Signing - 7:30 pm
Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman

6500 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115
(206) 523-3726

Saturday, February 28 - Seattle, WA
Seattle University Book Festival

Piggott Auditorium, Seattle University 
901 12th Avenue Seattle, WA 98122-1090

June 21-27 - Helena, MT
Feathered Pipe Ranch
Week-Long Retreat

Women’s Retreat: Water, Moon, Yin: A Women's Retreat

NOTE: Jean will be attending UN CSW meetings (March 9 -20, 2015) in New York City and the Parliament of the World's Religions in Salt Lake City, October 15 -19, 2015.  She will also be doing a five-day workshop at Esalen in August or in November 2015, and an Online seminar sponsored by the Intelligent Optimist on three consecutive Saturdays mornings, March 28, April 4, April 11th, 2015. Click Here for Details
Events will be posted at when they are added to her schedule.

Water, Moon, Yin: A Women’s Retreat 
June 20 -27, 2015
For the first time, a river will run through the workshop–we will journey down the Missouri River in the middle of the week. The moon will be moving out of new moon into first quarter when we begin, which is an aspect of Artemis the Goddess of the Hunt and Moon, archetype of the sister, goal achiever, and activist, whose realm is the wilderness. There will be time to listen to stories and myths, to be playful, to be in circle, to have opportunities for friendship and solitude. In the midst of the beauty of the outer world of big sky, trees, hills and lake at Feathered Pipe, the inner world is evoked, the inner child remembered. -

With love, hope, perseverance and optimism, (my activist mantra)

Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD

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Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD
655 Redwood Highway, Suite 336, Mill Valley, CA, 94941