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Strong Women: Pandemic Reactions from April 7th, 2021

Laura Connelly is the facilitator of the Strong Women Project at KAXE/KBXE, funded by the MN Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.  She had this to say about latest virtual gathering: 

This focus group had a uniqueness to it – I picked up on more guiding, spiritual wisdom present in what the women talked about and the way they talked about it. Many women are already transforming the pain and grief of the last fourteen months into wisdom. Many women are focused on not going backwards, but rather moving forward in a way that is conscious of the things we value and the lessons learned about who we are today after all we have experienced in a relatively short time.

Women talked about their feelings of tension based on fragmented communities, polarized politics, and the imbalance of their ability to connect with others and staying home to keep themselves and others safe. They were talking about a natural tension between the world-as-it-is and the world-as-it-should-be.

We need public life, to get outside of ourselves, but when public life is more chaotic than usual, it makes sense that women talked about the peace and safety of their homes and how nice it was to not have to be in a constant state of reaction to the state of the world outside their houses.  

Wisdom Learned

It’s okay to be alone and to get to know yourself better. It is crucial to be in touch with one’s soul, especially during times of crisis. This is very different than the surplus of individualism we have seen in society as a whole, it is actually the only way to create and maintain genuine connections with others.

The absolute importance of being able to look at people, see their eyes when communicating, the importance of being seen, seeing others, and being seen. Human beings are meant to be engaged in life.

A shift from being hyper-connected but less in touch to deciding who and when to engage with people you really want to – i.e., getting off social media, or not engaging on social media in ways you did before. Social media platforms generally work for weak ties, but seldom lead to the kinds of connection you need when you are the most in need. But also recognizing the value in using platforms like zoom to connect in meaningful ways with people you want to.

 To stay in a heart place with people, rather than just a brain place, especially people who believe differently than you. To try and understand where they are coming from. To come from a place of love. We still need to continue to try and find enough in common to act together on the world we share.

It’s good for us to move out of our patterns and find out who we are now. It is how change happens and how to actually affect change. We are better able to be in the world from a deeper, more solid place so we can act to change things rather than be reactive.

The descriptive words that come to mind listening to the focus group again are:

  • Self-reliance & Perseverance, Adaptability & Independence
  • Solitude & Sacred Space, Steadiness & Awareness
  • Family & Regeneration & Gratitude

We'll be holding a few more groups before the end of June,email Heidi for more information.

Heidi Holtan is KAXE's Director of Content and Public Affairs where she manages producers and is the local host of Morning Edition from NPR. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North.