Inspiring stories and thought-provoking reflections from the founder of Girls on the Run International.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Mary Jane in New Jersey sent this poem to me...and I was so moved by it...shaken by it really, that I had to print it here. Each time I read it, the words resonate with me and take me to a higher place.
A perfect example of a woman who cliches could never do justice is President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf pictured here. She is the president of Liberia and Africa’s first elected female head of state. President Sirleaf is recognized for her distinguished career over four decades of fighting for freedom, justice and equality both in the private and public domain of Liberia and internationally.
I had the privilege of meeting her a couple of years ago and she epitomizes MY definition of beauty. Strong, empowered, gracious, tender, directive and present. I felt my own strength, power and potential simply being in her presence. Now...onto that poem.
No More Clichés
That like a daisy opens its petals to the sun
So do you
Open your face to me as I turn the page.
Any man would be under your spell,
Oh, beauty of a magazine.
How many poems have been written to you?
How many Dantes have written to you, Beatrice?
To your obsessive illusion
To you manufacture fantasy.
But today I won't make one more Cliché
And write this poem to you.
No, no more clichés.
This poem is dedicated to those women
Whose beauty is in their charm,
In their intelligence,
In their character,
Not on their fabricated looks.
This poem is to you women,
That like a Shahrazade wake up
Everyday with a new story to tell,
A story that sings for change
That hopes for battles:
Battles for the love of the united flesh
Battles for passions aroused by a new day
Battle for the neglected rights
Or just battles to survive one more night.
Yes, to you women in a world of pain
To you, bright star in this ever-spending universe
To you, fighter of a thousand-and-one fights
To you, friend of my heart.
From now on, my head won't look down to a magazine
I am the founder of Girls on the Run International. Girls on the Run is a non-profit international program that inspires girls to Honor Their Bodies, Celebrate their Voices, Embrace their Gifts and Activate Their Power. Our program is currently in over 150 cities across North America. If you'd like to learn more, please check us out at www.girlsontherun.org.
Upcoming Speaking engagements and appearances: (For any information regarding these engagements or to consider me as a speaker (or facilitator) at your next event please contact Susan Gray at email@example.com.)
September 3rd, CPCC, Charlotte, NC
September 8th, Marvin Ridge Middle School, 6:30 p.m.
September 24th, TEDx Speaking Engagement, Charlotte, NC.
September 25th, "Lit From Within: An Evening Girls on the Run," Charlotte, NC
September 29th, Keynote at the YMCA Leadership Retreat, Cleveland County, NC.
October 1st, Presbyterian Heathcare, Journey to Health, Keynote, Charlotte, NC
October 3rd, Keynote at the Family Business Network Social Entrepreneurship Day, Chicago, IL.
October 12th, Keynote, Girls on the Run of Union County, Breakfast, Weddington, NC.
October 14th, Keynote and Facilitator, Ashoka's Youth Venture Program, Nashua, NH
October 19th, Keynote, Women of Faith, YMCA, Shelby, NC.
October 27th, CPCC, 6:15 p.m., Charlotte, NC
November 5th and 6th, Girls on the Run Activities, New Castle, Delaware
November 19th and 20th, Girls on the Run Activities and New Balance Girls on the Run 5k, Lynchburg, VA
December 4th, New Balance Girls on the Run 5k, Gastonia, NC
December 12th, Myers Park Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, NC.
January 6th, Charlotte Country Day School, Charlotte, NC
January 14th, Girls on the Run Activities, Maricopa County, AZ.
February 17th, NC Counseling Association, Concord, NC
April 3rd, Mother-Daughter Girls on the Run Day, Toronto, Canada.
June 10th, JV Washam Elementary School, Charlotte, NC.