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Saturday, May 18, 2013

An open letter to my younger sisters

yinyangThe gathering is a wonderful magical time full of lots of sweat, usually some tears and a great opportunity to grow as a human being.  If you're in your late teens or twenties, you probably know that the world is full of men who want to get to know you in an intimate way.   I like to believe that the brothers who gather are the kindest, most compassionate, most loving men and that despite their interest in getting to you know will respect any boundaries you place on any interaction.

This brings us to today's vocabulary lesson, the word "no."  No is a powerful word.  When you were two years old (give or take) you excelled at saying no.  So what happens as we grow?  

femaleSeems to me we live in a culture STILL (as I thought we'd be more evolved by now, but so it goes) that places different expectations on how young women handle their sex lives and how young men do.  Very often, women are taught that no means you are protesting but you are willing to change your mind if persuaded.  Well I think this approach sucks.  And speaking from personal experience, a lot of men can't tell the difference between a no that means stop right now and a no that means I'm open to persuasion. So to all my young sisters, let's give the brothers some clear communication.

Dog and Cat Hugging  Stock Photo - 7535588Say YES when you mean yes and NO when you mean no.  Feel free to say yes to a hug and no to a kiss.  Feel free to say yes to making out, but no to anything further.  Feel free to get naked and say yes to one thing and no to another.  Feel free to say yes and then change your mind and say no if it doesn't feel right for you.  This is your life and you have the right to be 100% comfortable with what how you share or do not share your body with anyone.
maleUnfortunately, while most of our brothers are kind, loving, respectful humans, at every gathering, there are people who have come home because they need to learn how to be kind, loving, respectful humans and who may make some mistakes on their road to healing. Any time we gather ten thousand people in one place, the odds are very high that one or two people show up just to prey on kind, loving people.

Some thoughts as you figure out how you want to navigate life:
  • Use the words yes and no to mean their surface meaning.
  • If you say no and some belly does not respect your no, yell Shanti Sena and family will show up to support you.
  • If you use mind altering substances of any kind, do so with your friends (old or new).  Hang out at one of the larger kitchens where music and companionship will be plentiful and respect and love will be in abundance. Or use the buddy system and wander the gathering all night long.
  • Plug into sister space to share with other sisters in a supportive environment what's going on and how you're dealing or not dealing with life's challenges.
  • If you have any problems at all, go to CALM/First Aid, INFO, Granola Funk, or Kid Village and tell a sister that you have an issue you need to discuss.
  • Go to the Antique Roadshow at the ovens and talk to all the wise older sisters in this family - they are an amazing awe-inspiring bunch.

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."  ~~ Helen Keller

As with most gathering related issues, there's a rap for that:

~~ RAP 121 ~~

Respect our sisters and help create a safe place for everyone.
Nudity is natural; not a sexual invitation.
Ask before hugging or touching women & remember: “No means No!”
Brother Circles offer support & encourage understanding.
Love happens – Carry condoms.

Respect yourselves & trust your instincts.
If you don’t feel comfortable being intimate or alone with a man it’s OK to say “No.”
Sister Circles share strength & support between women.
Love happens – Carry condoms.

This is a society based on love & respect.
We’re here for a spiritual purpose; Respect each other and do no harm.
Brother-Sister Circles create trust & understanding.

We are all Shanti Sena – “Peace Keepers”


  1. Well written easily understood......an easy non tedious message.

  2. Personally I find this offensive and sexist. It portrays men as being perpetrators who always want sex and women who are the gatekeepers and victims of sexual contact. I find the advice good, but stop targeting men with your accusations. As a man who was tied down and repeatedly raped by a woman at a past gathering, I can tell you that the Brothers: and Sisters: sections equally apply to the other gender as well.

    Stop being sexist.

  3. Sometimes people need reminders. This was a good idea. We need to care for one another and unfourtunatly in our society we do have preditors. The wold is a much diffrent place for a young woman verses an older woman. We women know this is true. Knowing where a safe place is important for any young person male or female. Its not sexist just true.

  4. It's Timmy, I'm in Manitou, soon to be heading north... anyone want to go up with me?


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