A. Shortest explanation:
OWL: O refers to Old; W refers to White; L refers to Lady (a blog of reflections by an Old White Lady). Age, Race, Gender: the three driving forces in our national and global cultural shifts. And … Owls as an iconic image of wisdom.
courage: to take action perceived as a good in the face of fear; lower case to reflect the many small courageous choices humans make all the time.
B. Clearly longer explanation:
“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”
Seven years ago I started developing this blog site , and below is my initial invitation to readers, written four years ago, to enter this shared exploration. I am now 78, embarking on yet another phase of a life journey with many curious transitions. Then I focused on conflict engagement as my central personal investment in increasing light on planet earth. My new and complementary one is professional coaching.
I write this as I have concluded my preparation for this role, a commitment to coaching certification: an investment in training at the Hudson Institute of Coaching and subsequent certification by the International Coaching Federation. Concurrently, I am refining my unique focus in my coaching: services in particular for those interested in realizing their personal potential for wisdom work. I am quite specifically issuing an invitation to those interested in their potential as an elder. We collectively have need of them.
And so below I share my reflections , about courage and about OWL: the insights emergent from my role/status/self-description as an Old White Lady. If you want to know about my coaching services, that information is available on the website that uses my name as a subtle clue: www.phylliskritek.com.
This early posting is an opportunity for me to “explain myself”.
I am starting this blog to encourage personal reflection and respectful, meaningful conversations about issues important to all humans. I also would like it to be a fun experience, evoking thoughtful laughter. I’ll share my thoughts and you, the reader, can opt to reflect, start a conversation, or laugh …. Or all three things. Sometimes you may want to share it with others. I hope so.
The site name emerged over time.
“courage” is the name of the sole proprietorship I started at the age of 60, leaving behind over 30 years of academic service to encourage creative and constructive conflict engagement among my health care colleagues, particularly my nurse colleagues, the group I view as most likely to succeed in that effort. While I had done this work “on the side” since the late 1980s, I decided to do it full time, creating my sole proprietorship.
I named it “courage” because I think conflict engagement requires courage, and think this concept, courage, is misunderstood. I believe courage is a trait one develops, and emerges from feeling and facing fear, and acting in spite of the fear from a personal conviction about right and wrong. It is not fearlessness, a trait I do not have. But I do understand the call to courage, and have used the lower case to indicate that I do not suppose that courage is always large and powerful but is often modest and even shaky. Nonetheless, it is courage. If presented in lower case, it alleviates the discomfort of recommending courage to others: it is better to manifest courage in a modest and shaky way than to fail to manifest courage at all.
OWL emerges from the most common conflicts I encountered, those most resistant to my best efforts. OWL refers to Old White Lady, which at the age of 74 seems an apt description of my current state.
“Old” points to our persistent struggle to converse across the generational “divides”. “White” points to our persistent struggle to converse across the racial, cultural and ethnic “divides”. And of course, “Lady” points to our persistent struggle to converse across the gender “divides”.
Up front, I am acknowledging that I come with the bias of an elderly, German-American woman, with a personal history that shapes my perceptions and views. I am also, however, curious about the possibility of unveiling my connectivity with all others, to find our common humanity and celebrate our differences. I view differences as the stuff of discovery and creativity. Each difference I experience with another person is an invitation for me to learn about what I do not know, have never experienced or imagined, and yet know to be part of the human enterprise. If we connect, something potentially totally unusual may emerge.
There is also, of course, the common symbolism of the owl as an iconic image of wisdom. It expresses my quiet commitment to both seek and express wisdom to the best of my ability. Claiming wisdom is a dangerous proposition, so I offer a disclaimer here: I know I have limited wisdom and concurrently know it is a human good to share the little I have acquired.
So I am going to post some observations and invite others to ponder these observations. I opted to post without comments invited. I do not wish to contribute to the destructive or harmful communication such an option may evoke, so it will not be part of the conversation. Other sites accommodate these impulses so those can go elsewhere. I recognize some may wish to offer affirming comments. I am pondering that reality…
I will start each post with a great quote from a great thinker. I do this so no matter what you read, you will at least have access to some great quotes.
I will not post every day, but plan on doing so at least weekly. Length and quality will doubtless vary. Sometimes I will post poetry. May Sarton once noted that she wrote prose to see what she was thinking and poetry to see what she was feeling. This distinction makes sense to me. Hence, both genres.
Welcome to OWLcourage!