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Do we have an internal voice anymore? An interior world that is our own? How many of us edit what is in our own journals so that we might project our best image, or a certain type of image, or please others, or not offend them with our real thoughts? When we have constant information and input flowing in (status updates, advertisements, music or muzak, tv, etc) how can we filter and develop an interior world?

And as women particularly is our interior world valued? Is it only valuable if other people like it? If we get so many 'likes' on Facebook, or some one pays us for our memoir? Our bodies are certainly picked apart. All of our parts must be approved by some external gaze - be it male or female. If a magazine tells us curvy is in then we can breathe a sigh of relief. We can defend our figures based on whatever health fad is in. Do we get to like our selves just because?

How can we embrace our bodies, our embodiedness (flesh, earthiness, corporeality, etc) without being only our bodies? Finding this blade thin balance feels impossible on days when I engage in mainstream media, but is only slightly more possible when I read philosophic or theological texts. Any wisdom gleaned is still problematic - all theory, all big words. And how do we find the razor thin line between personal and physical autonomy, still so necessary in our world, and communal participation, still so necessary in our world? Women especially still struggle in these areas. How can we embrace our desires and hopes, aspirations and ambitions, and also serve and care for others in a meaningful way?

The greatest mystery in life to me is finding the place of balance in all these questions. I think it is one of feminism's biggest challenges in the world. How do we embrace the myriad contradictions that make up our lives? To serve and be served? To love and be loved? To embrace power (such a problematic word in feminism) and yet not be crushed by it? To attain equality with men, but elevate that equality to something that provides freedom for women and men, for all people regardless of class, size, religion, sex, gender, race?

Ultimately, how do we become whole human beings?

Religiously and theologically I think the rise in paganisms and New Age movements speaks to many of these questions. I waver inbetween mono- and poly-theism. My personal practice is FAR more pagan than Christian. And yet to be honest I think that established religions, among them Christianity, have more tools, language, depth and nuance to tackle a lot of the questions. There is so much in the Christian tradition alone that is liberatory and radical, but church feels dead. How do we/I/you find personal meaning and depth and also have community?

The modern struggle of transience v permanence, individual v community, choice v duty, private and public, and so on. We never choose sides, it's always a negotiation. An ongoing negotiation until the day we die, I'm guessing.
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October 2010

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