Jan Bowman

Entry # 98 – READERS TALK BOOKS – Iron Butterflies: Lead with the Strength of Vulnerability – Reviewed by Laura Mueller

Today marks the first Tuesday of the Month of October (2012) and we are fortunate to have a new brief review from Laura Mueller about a book she recently read and found interesting and useful.  Here are her comments about a book by Birute Regine.    

Laura A. Mueller, M.Ac., L.Ac.
Acupuncture & Zero Balancing©
Feel free to comment on the blog site or contact Laura, if you’d like to write to her about this review. 
IRON BUTTERFLIES:  Lead with the Strength of Vulnerability   
by Birute Regine.
I loved reading these very inspiring stories of 60 Iron Butterflies—“Women Transforming Themselves and the World”— which shows how governments, business, education, and communities improved with women’s financial success and contributions in eight countries. Regine offers practical wisdom about how to succeed and handle difficulties, as well as the way women’s wisdom can transform communities. 

Reading Birute Regine’s Iron Butterflies gave me the confidence to persevere recently in dealing with, and reducing a long-standing frustration in my own community. For years amplified sound levels from two local concert venues exceeded legal limits and tested the endurance of many residents. Finally, some of us decided to collaborate with the Bureau of Environmental Health and local police to educate managers about the impact of their facilities’ sound levels on neighbors and their health. As a result, each facility upgraded its policies, procedures and equipment so amplified sounds from events are more respectful and within the law.

Regine’s wisdom fills the thirteen chapters, with titles such as Chapter #1 “Webs: Earning My Wings” to Chapter #8 “Chrysalis: Shedding Self-Imposed Limitations” and ending with Chapter #13 “Leadership: Cultivating Feminine Presence.”

Here are some interesting examples taken from the compelling Chapter # 7, “Split Vision: Dispelling Gender Distortion.” She describes a sample of difficulties that comes from gender distortion, for example: on page 141… 
“Men formulate 80% of ads for women, and the images of women they project teach us to see ourselves not through our own eyes but through eyes of fantasizing men. As a result, many women internalize a male perspective of themselves, which represents not our natural sense of ourselves but a sense of ourselves being appreciated by another. … 
When this happens we see ourselves in split vision: on one side, who we are, on the other side, who others want us to be (or, more accurately, how they want us to look)…. Instead of living in our skins, feeling our bodies, being embodied, we are prepossessed with a chronic self-observation. …
[T]his phenomenon and … unconscious cultural assumptions about women’s competence and media bias undermine our perceptions of women as leaders. I doubt we women can fully realize our full leadership potential until we resolve the split-vision screen into a clear, focused picture of who we are and what we want people to see.”
Regine says this applies to women as well as to men who develop feminine skills and values of inclusion, empathy, relational awareness, emotional strength, and holisitic perspective. 
In the final chapter (#13) the headings add up to “Five Guides for Enhancing Feminine Presence,” whether embodied by women or men:
* Nurture the collaborative spirit.
* Dream big.
* Wed vulnerability to collective power.
* Discover the spirituality of hospitality.
* Initiate the cascading power of care.
Regine defines “vulnerability” as “a profound openness with an element of risk,” which enhances deep connections among people as a source for great leadership strength and paradoxical power. A group formed this month in my own community with plans to meet each First Friday for an Iron Butterfly “Happy Hour” to explore, evolve, and embody these skills and values. If you would like to know more contact Laura Mueller at her website.

As Lightning to the Children eased / With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually / Or every man be blind.
~ Emily Dickinson
REMEMBER – YOU’RE INVITED – email:  janbowmanwriter@gmail.com
Send me your thoughts about what you’ve read and want to share and I’ll plan to post it on the first Tuesday of each month.  Here’s what you do:
Write a couple of paragraphs if you would like to talk about a book.  Don’t worry about being particularly academic.  This is not intended to be a formal review, unless you really long to write one, and in any case – write what you wish from your own impressions and reactions. 
Then send an email to me. I will collect these, edit a bit, if necessary, before posting your comments on the first Tuesday of the month under the title: READERS TALK.       Send to:  janbowmanwriter@gmail.com


Jan Bowman’s work has appeared in Roanoke Review, Big Muddy, Broadkill Review, Trajectory, Third Wednesday, Minimus, Buffalo Spree (97), Folio, The Potomac Review, Musings, Potato Eyes, and others. She won the 2012 Roanoke Review Prize for Fiction. Her stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best American Short Stories and a story was a finalist in the “So To Speak” Fiction Contest. She is working on two collections of short stories and currently shopping for a publisher for a completed story collection. She has nonfiction work pending publication in Spring 2013 Issues of Trajectory and Pen-in-Hand. She writes a weekly blog of “Reflections” on the writing life and posts regular interviews with writers and publishers.   Learn more at:

Website – www.janbowmanwriter.com

Blogsite – http://janbowmanwriter.blogspot.com