NO MORE! The Religiously Motivated Decisions of Patriarchy & the Infantilization of Girls & Women

In my seventies now, I remember the joy of celebrating the Roe v Wade decision that US girls and women had the legal right to choose what happened to their bodies.  It was no small thing then, to Canadian girls and women, because we all share the traumatizing fact of our past as chattel, that is, the possessions of white men and boys in charge.  Corporations had already determined to treat girls and women as bubble heads who wanted nothing more than to look good and be more popular than others.  It was very much a case of the water temperature being turned up over time – suddenly, we found ourselves boiling in the murky idea that our body image and looks, our hair and our rumps, were more important than our minds and our spirits, our hearts and our self-determination. That 1973 court decision lessened the impact of profit motivated businesses selling insecurity and self-hatred to girls and women. At least the courts found us intelligent, responsible, and wise enough to decide a fundamental life choice for ourselves.

Now,  even corporations are reacting to the court’s decision to reverse R v W; that’s how bad this current court’s decision is.  The white supremist view that the ever-creative power of the Universe is white, male, and murderous toward those who haven’t swallowed this vile white supremacy lie has revealed itself in the highest court in the land.  And we’re not having it.

Continue reading NO MORE! The Religiously Motivated Decisions of Patriarchy & the Infantilization of Girls & Women

Inspiration for when Father’s Day Triggers Fear, Rage, and Grief

Stephanie Foo’s What My Bones Know is the third memoir I’ve read in the last couple of years that has prompted meditations on my own father losses.  Foo’s father was present during some of her childhood, but neglectful of her need for protection from her violent and unpredictable mother during her earliest years.  When she was a young teen, her father left her alone in the family home to complete high school and navigate the college application gauntlet, with money – evidence of the reductionist belief that fathers are providers of cash but little else – but without any parental support.  Because her mother had abandoned her earlier, throughout her pivotal teen years Foo was without emotional comfort, intellectual guidance, and consistent, loving parenting.

In the weeks before immersing myself in Foo’s important discoveries about her Complex-PTSD diagnosis, I read Viola Davis’s Finding Me, her narrative describing the triumph of a creative spirit and the importance of sibling support in the face of vicious racism, crushing poverty, and a father’s mood swings from attentive and loving to life threatening. Like Foo, Davis discovers how inner resourcefulness leads traumatized children and teens to seek something that brings joy, even while struggling with the challenges created by the worst of these family and cultural experiences.  Davis’s seeking leads her to acting, the place where she expresses all the emotions she couldn’t express as a terrified child and teen. Early on, Foo’s inner resources lead her into research, writing, and, ultimately, journalism, a career that supports her compassionate understanding of her own traumatizing experiences and others’ traumas as well.

A couple of months before reading these insightful memoirs, I revisited Tara Westover’s Educated.  Westover, an interviewee during Vermont’s Howard Center 2022 spring mental-health conference, reminded participants of her survivalist father’s beliefs and attitudes as a fear-saturated individual at war because of his perception of governmental intention to curtail his freedoms. Two years before her participation in the conference, I discovered Westover’s descriptions of how one form of education, the formal kind the privileged tend to take for granted, helped to create the physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual safe spaces she needed to escape her earliest informal education as a terror-indoctrinated child.

All three women demonstrate the value of “telling” when answering the call to heal early trauma, their words providing a first-layer somatic release for the storied energies of trauma trapped in their bodies. Their telling also increases reader awareness of the necessity of total somatic involvement in our healing. These storytellers don’t simply tell.  Each in her way describes the physically arduous work of befriending and integrating the toxic contrails of the myriad abuses she experienced, abuses that continue to demand compassionate, healing attention.

Foo’s personal relationships and journalism work require physical as well as emotional and intellectual processing in which she remains present to her need to understand her reactivity – the physical phenomena which are the many voices of unhealed trauma. Her courageous “showing up” guides her into new situations where her reflective bent allows her first to name her normalized violent experiences as traumatic.  Once named, she can then seek help to understand and experience peace in the midst of her trauma generated, ongoing maelstrom.

Davis, similarly, experiences peace despite her childhood trauma’s aftershocks.  In her teens, she discovers her path to equilibrium comes through the physical, emotional, intellectual, and soulful demands of character creation and expression.  Driven by the terrors generated by family crises and racist experiences in the greater world,  she doggedly pursues the whole-body exhilaration that comes with developing the skill, empathy, and courage required to bring a character to life before a live audience or a camera. Through her public expression of the transformed traumatic energies trapped in her flesh, she releases the trauma load she carries. Through this release process, she provides cathartic experiences for all who witness her work.  Learning and teaching is Foo’s process; Davis’s process is dramatizing what she learns.

Westover, too, must constantly create and recreate her personal pathways to peace.  After making a physical escape from her high-risk childhood environment, she learns to question the validity of the beliefs that exposed her to life-threatening situations.  With her entire being – body, mind, heart, and spirit – she discovers more benign histories, more benign world views, more benign filters through which to view life’s order and chaos. In comparatively non-threatening learning environments to those in which she was first immersed, she can perceive the world in new ways.  These fresh, expansive perspectives free the energy she needs to experience and name her early traumas as they express through constant hypervigilance and spirit-killing isolation. Slowly, she begins the work of reinvention, finding more hospitable and supportive environments in which to become increasingly aware of the wounded child who will, consciously or unconsciously, inform the work of lessening her traumas’ impacts on daily life.

All three of these creative, courageous women teach readers about father-lack and father-love, about father misguidedness, and, at least in possibility, about father transformation.  Their fathers are not intentionally abusive although the damage they do to their daughters – to their attachment bonds, to their ability to trust, and to their sense of self and worth – is undeniable.  Victims of the same toxic masculinity fueling mass shootings, domestic murders, fear-driven racist policies, and power-hungry global aggressions, these fathers demonstrate the truism that ‘hurt people hurt people.’

And yet, acknowledging this dynamic cannot change the status quo. Only the actions fostered by self efficacy – the deeply held belief in our individual value, resourcefulness, and problem solving capabilities – can support our transition from patriarchy to partnership, from isolation to community. Only our full participation in the world as it is creates this change.

For 2000 years, boys and men have been blinded by the power imbalances that are the inevitable consequences of systemic sexism.  Simply being born into a male body representing each culture’s dominant class has ensured that many males are idealized as messiahs, gurus, moguls, priests, and government officials, with the right to exclusive sources of power.  Throughout patriarchal cultures, the majority of girls and women have been subtly and openly coerced to surrender their power, creativity, resourcefulness, desires, and individual rights to  fathers, brothers, husbands, and institutional authorities as fallible as the best and the worst members of our species. Here in the US, we see evidence of this power-over energy in current political moves to criminalize women’s rights to choose the best path forward for them when pregnant.

Without doubt, we are living through the transition from the dominating patriarchal energies of the past millennia to the formation of partnering cultures that require we work with one another, no matter our gender identities, to prevent yet more trauma – in our homes, on our streets, in our legislative bodies – and to end the war we’ve waged against our Earth Home. Naming our individual and collective experiences is vitally important, but this naming is only a first step toward the transformation we are creating together.  There is no denying that we are, individually and collectively, living through a bloody transition in which innocents are sacrificed to moldering patriarchal beliefs.  The memoirs of these courageous women illustrate just how bloody.

As we grieve the fathers who abused and abandoned us, as we rage at their cruelty and our culture’s complicity in this cruelty, as we fear the toxic masculine energy animating the traumatized boy-men who wield power legitimately and illegitimately, let us summon our own resourcefulness as Davis, Westover, and Foo continue to summon theirs.  We too have voices.  We too have the ability to make change by recognizing our own need for healing and acting upon this need.  We, the offspring of violent and absent fathers, have the power to face our fears, express our rage in safe and productive ways, and grieve our losses in circles of safety and support of our choosing. The willingness to acknowledge our traumas and commit to our healing – not once, but over and over and over again –  is the magic elixir supporting individual and cultural transformation.

Once we tell ourselves our stories, honestly, unflinchingly, we can share them with others, as Westover, Davis, and Foo have shared theirs.  As these women have discovered, when we tell, with the intention of healing, of seeking support, we summon the courage to move out of isolation and victimization, the toxic residue of patriarchal beliefs that suggest we deserve our suffering, that it is somehow due to our personal flaws and not evidence of the toxic familial and cultural views that sanction the exploitation of human beings the world over. Freed from this poisoned yoke, we move into relationship-supporting communities offering mutual support, inspiration, and innovative ways to address our individual traumas and our shared transitional challenges.

Coming out of isolation and into community, we heal our father wounds.

Coming out of isolation and into community, we experience our wholeness.

Coming out of isolation, we live, not from fear, rage, and grief, but from love.

Until next time


Celebrating Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison’s long and wondrous life ended this week, on August 5, 2019. All of us alive today have been touched by her body of work whether we know it or not. For me, Toni shone as a woman in a man’s world, and more audaciously, as a black woman in that world. The literary canon still taught in many out-dated colleges and universities carries the heavy load of racial and cultural bias, skewing students’ beliefs about what makes literature great. Toni, along with many other women, outed that lie simply by writing.

As a literature student, always and forever – because story is the humanizing principle of our species – I will miss the anticipation of a new Toni Morrison offering. And I will revisit her literary children and watch the film Beloved again and again, for the heart and the soul of pain and healing it transmits through its cadences, its images, and the shocks and pleasures of its characters. So many women writing today carry on the deep soul work of our best writers. I am grateful for all of them, and especially for Toni Morrison, the woman who emerged from the literary mists of my young adulthood to assure me that the world of story, lasting, vital story, was not the exclusive property of dead white men.

Now I am on the hunt for the new documentary, Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am. Up in this neck of the very white woods that is northern Vermont, we have two theatres that will likely show it, The Savoy in Montpelier, and The Roxy in Burlington. I know I can watch it on one of the platforms available to us in our homes, but I don’t want to experience this last documented Toni-Morrison moment by myself. I want the public experience of sharing her with others who love and value her work as a writer, a way-shower, a guide back to deep justice, tenderness, and love.

Thank you, Toni, for every word, uttered and written. You are and always will be a light in the darkness of human folly and treachery. First at so many things, you will continue to shine through these dark times and we, all of us, will continue to be blessed by your shining.

EFT and Grief

Losing Ms Morrison is an immediate and sorrowful event for me. I want to feel all my feelings about her courage and her work and the considerable loss I feel at her passing. EFT is useful when grief will not shift on its own. It is not a deadening tool, but rather a relieving one. I have no need to tap on my grief at losing this giant of literature because feeling this grief is part of what makes me human.

If, however, her loss leads to an unshakable depression about the state of the world, then using EFT to release that dread and hopelessness will become a forward path. Just now, I feel nothing but the loss of a spiritual teacher. I want to feel how much I will miss Toni Morrison. Missing her will lead me to revisit her books and her interviews, and this revisiting process will enrich me further.

EFT is useful for chronic, relentless grief. What I and so many others are experiencing now is the healthy expression of mourning. This grief assures us we are alive to the pain and wonder of the world. This grief is a gift. It is at the heart of the human experience. Feeling this powerful emotion for the loss of Toni Morrison, one so bravely present to the world in all its beauty and horror, is a privilege.

Until next time,


Visit to learn more about how the use of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) supports the resolution of inner and outer conflicts, informs more loving and respectful relationships, and empowers its users to contribute to the changes we want to see in the world.

Jane is an EFT International Accredited Master Trainer,  writer, coach, and educator specializing in neutralizing the long-term effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)  as well as the cultural limitations that interfere with our ability to imagine, create, and live the lives we desire.  To engage Jane for individual or group coaching services, EFT International(AAMET)  Accredited, Certified Mentoring sessions,  and EFT Level One and Two Training for your group, call Jane at  (802) 533-9277 or email .  Visit to learn more about how Jane supports and inspires individuals, groups, and communities.

Please Note:  This educational website cannot replace therapy with certified psychologists, family therapists, or psychiatrists.  Before training with EFT International, Jane taught at the elementary, secondary, and college levels, in Ontario, and at the Community College of Vermont. She is an early trauma survivor who works exclusively as a learning coach using the best practices of EFT as taught by EFT International.  She created this website to support the most effective use of EFT to reduce general and specific stresses and to increase the joy of daily living through self regulation and pro-social experiences.

Judy Rebick, Early Childhood Trauma, and Telling Our Stories

Please Note:  Winter Blooms is an educational website created to support the most effective use of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) to reduce stress and increase joy.  To experience the benefits of EFT for in-the-moment, trauma-informed emotional support and to build emotional resilience over the long term, contact Jane by phone at (802) 533-9277 or email

Visit, and to learn more about how EFT supports the resolution of inner and outer conflicts, informs more loving and respectful relationships, and empowers its users to contribute to the changes we want to see in the world.

If you are Canadian and a Boomer, or a feminist of any nationality, you know the name Judy Rebick.  She has been at the forefront of humanitarian causes since the 1970s, and her fearlessness as an advocate and activist is legendary.  She championed Dr. Henry Morgentaler and Dr. Robert Scott when The Morgentaler Clinic was under assault from extremists in the Right to Life movement.  She also advocated for deaf-culture individuals and agencies and for labour unions threatened by NAFTA.   The author of several books, her new memoir, Heroes in My Head, is a must read for anyone concerned with early childhood trauma, it’s long-term health and relationship effects, and its profound power to unleash the protective genius of a child experiencing assault.

Continue reading Judy Rebick, Early Childhood Trauma, and Telling Our Stories

From: Learning, Loss, and Love – A Memoir and a Tool Kit

Please Note:  Winter Blooms is an educational website in no way meant to replace building a relationship with a trained EFT practitioner, counselor, or therapist.  To find an EFT Practitioner, visit the AAMET website, the Gary Craig website, the EFT Universe website, the Tapping Solution website, or contact Jane for EFT coaching support.

One of the most healing tools we have at our disposal is our ability to tell our stories through art.  Some of us dance the pain out of our bodies and psyches, some of us paint, and some of us write.  While I have done all three, my most consistent mode of expression  is what I think of as “telling.”  My telling involves my journal and my keyboard and a long and tender commitment to becoming whole by embracing all my broken places.  As I’ve watched this current election contest spin out of control, my personal work has led me to see this election in the same archetypal terms that have helped me to understand my personal family dynamic.  Donald Trump, in my scheme of things, represents full blown patriarchy, a system that both knowingly and unconsciously exploits and “conquers” groups perceived as outsiders.  In our day, these groups include women, all people of colour, the GBLTQ community, people in poverty, and anyone who worships differently from the fundamentalist Christian faith designed by white patriarchs to keep these groups in physical shame and spiritual distress.

Because of my early childhood trauma, I came to address patriarchy full on when I was in my thirties and forties.  I understood I had to undertake this task in order to heal from my personal father wound and a lingering sense of victimization.  My father left me as a baby, my inner story went, and no one was there to “keep me safe, give me a name I could be proud of, teach me what it meant to be a woman . . . ,” and on and on.  Formal therapy, undertaken because of a terrifying depression that took hold of me after I had achieved a major goal and was living my dream, helped me to find the context in which patriarchy played out in my personal life and in the larger world.

Hillary Clinton, as the Democratic nominee for President of the US, is and will continue to call out of all the dark places patriarchy’s last rampages.  When we do our personal work, this contest takes on mythic proportions.  No matter whether we are for Trump, for Clinton, for Stein, or continuing to cling to Sanders as our “saviour,” these current unsettling political times bring forward the personal work we must do regarding our personal belief systems.  Do our beliefs shore up the status quo?  Do they energize woman hatred in subtle ways?  Do they continually play the race card?  Whatever we feel and think politically sheds light on the personal work we are invited to do.  If we do this work well – by examining and deconstructing our skewed beliefs – we will elect the most competent and experienced candidate; if we don’t, we’ll vote in reaction to our darkest fears and hatred.

With Barack Obama’s election came a wave of overt racism, the likes of which we have not seen since the fifties and sixties.  In like manner, we will no doubt see overt misogyny rise to the surface now that Clinton has secured the Democratic Party nomination.  There are signs, however, that patriarchy is crumbling.  Fox News has replaced Roger Ailes, a man who consistently behaved as Archetypal Patriarch, contaminating the work place with degrading requests and views of women and other groups even as he gave Donald Trump a platform from which to spread fear and disinformation.

Happily, as Dylan sings, these times they are a changing.  Eight years ago, Barack Obama reminded us, despite the obvious failings of an imperfect democratic system, we have reason to hope.  And now, Hillary Clinton has stepped forward as our lightning rod.  She took on the woman haters in 2008 and she takes them on now, with the difference that she is not taking them on alone.  In the interim many of us have worked through a lot of our unconscious prejudices, largely because we could see Barack Obama move through the racist wall of hate with such amazing courage, intelligence, and grace.  Now we get to watch Hillary Clinton do the same. What a privilege to be alive today, and to participate in our evolution out of patriarchy and into maturity, kindness, intelligence, and wisdom, these qualities creating an intersection of all empowered peoples.

If you are curious about what catalyzed my healing perspective regarding what I perceived as patriarchy’s out-sized privilege, please click the link below to read an excerpt from Learning, Loss, and Love, my unpublished memoir.

Continue reading From: Learning, Loss, and Love – A Memoir and a Tool Kit