This Is Woman’s Work

September 10, 2015

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Dominique Christina is a writer, performer, educator, and activist. She holds four national poetry slam titles, including the 2011 National Poetry Slam Champion. With Sounds True, Dominique has released a new book called This Is Woman’s Work: Calling Forth Your Inner Council of Wise, Brave, Crazy, Rebellious, Luminous, Loving Selves. In this episode of Insights at the Edge Tami Simon and Dominique discuss a deliberate use of language and how that use can help women to better author their own lives. They talk about courage, and how a woman taking control of the narrative of her own life is “a stunning act of bravery.” Finally, Tami and Dominique speak on the 20 different female archetypes introduced in This Is Woman’s Work, focusing on two of the most difficult: the Whisper Woman and the Ghost Woman. (63 minutes)

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Dominique Christina is a writer, performer, educator, and activist. She has over ten years of experience as a licensed teacher, holding double master’s degrees in education and English literature. She holds four national titles in the three years she has been competing in slam poetry, including the 2012 and 2014 Women of the World Slam Champion and 2011 National Poetry Slam Champion.

Dominique’s work has been published in various literary journals, magazines, and anthologies, including Alight Literary Journal, Tandem Poetry Anthology, The Dead Animal Handbook, Heart & Soul Magazine, and Hysteria, and has been featured on Upworthy and the Huffington Post. Her first full-length poetry book, The Bones, The Breaking, The Balm: A Colored Girl's Hymnal, was released 2014. Her first young adult novel will be published in 2016. She lives in Denver and New York City. For more, please see dominiquechristina.com.

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This Is Woman’s Work

Dominique Christina is a writer, performer, educator, and activist. She holds four national poetry slam titles, including the 2011 National Poetry Slam Champion. With Sounds True, Dominique has released a new book called This Is Woman’s Work: Calling Forth Your Inner Council of Wise, Brave, Crazy, Rebellious, Luminous, Loving Selves. In this episode of Insights at the Edge Tami Simon and Dominique discuss a deliberate use of language and how that use can help women to better author their own lives. They talk about courage, and how a woman taking control of the narrative of her own life is “a stunning act of bravery.” Finally, Tami and Dominique speak on the 20 different female archetypes introduced in This Is Woman’s Work, focusing on two of the most difficult: the Whisper Woman and the Ghost Woman. (63 minutes)

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With their acclaimed book In Search of Wisdom, three gifted friends—a monk, a philosopher, and a psychiatrist—shed light on our universal quest for meaning, purpose, and understanding. Now, in this new in-depth offering, they invite us to tend to the garden of our true nature: freedom.

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Send us a photo of your sacred space.

[Pictured here is the] Shechen Monastery in Nepal, where I live a good part of the year:

 

Monastery

 

[And] the views from my hermitage in Nepal:

 

vieew 1

 

 

view 2

 

If you could invite any three transformational leaders or spiritual teachers (throughout time) to dinner, who would they be and why?

I do not have dinner and he does not either, but if I had to choose to spend an hour quietly with someone alive today, it would be His Holiness the Dalai Lama. [He is] someone of boundless compassion and wisdom, who treats every sentient being—from the person who cleans the floor at the hotel when he travels, to a head of state—with the same kindness, respect, and attention.

As for [two people] who [are no longer] in this world, I would give everything to spend another hour in the presence of my two main spiritual teachers: Kangyur Rinpoche and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, who inspire every instant of my life.

Has your book taken on a new meaning in the world’s current circumstances? Is there anything you would have included in your book if you were writing it now?

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As a contemplative, I value tremendously [the] time spent alone in my hermitage in the Himalaya[s], cultivating fundamental human qualities that allow me to slowly become a better human being. I believe that among those qualities, inner freedom and compassion are two key factors and that, therefore, our dialogue [in Freedom for All of Us] is quite timely. Most of the subjects that we reflect upon seem very relevant [during] these troubled times and I hope that they will be useful!

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Translated from the original responses in French.

What is one unexpected thing or habit that inspires your writing practice? Is there a

playlist or album you listen to?

Sils Maria

Meditation really opens me up to write. Walking too. Above is a photo of me walking in Sils Maria, Switzerland, where Friedrich Nietzsche lived at one time. However, in my eyes, writing is never systematic [or methodical]. It’s not a [mere] technique. A writer has to render themself available to messages that come—in some sense—from beyond. Conversations with friends, explorations into the mundane, family life, the readings of the great thinkers, the practice of Zazen … all these things feed my desire to pick up my pen again. I write, or rather I dictate my writings, in silence. However, sometimes I do enjoy techno music, which keeps me going and wards off anything that could poison an idea I have; “the sad passions” as the philosopher, Baruch Spinoza, called them.

Send us a photo of you and your pet (and let us know if your pet had any role in helping you write your book)!

Grisette

We have a little hamster at home, Grisette, who is our children’s little darling. For me, he embodies peace and a certain serenity. When I look at him, I see a being that isn’t deep in denial and agitated. [Although] sometimes, when he frolics on his hamster wheel, I have the impression that he’s reminding me that my mind, too, can often run in [unnecessary] circles …

 

 

 

If there is a book that started your spiritual journey, what was it? How old were you, and

how did you discover it? How would you describe its impact?

When I was a child, I didn’t enjoy reading and I thought that wisdom was reserved for the elite. I considered culture to be so far removed from everyday problems that I avoided it completely. One day, I accompanied a friend into a bookstore. While I was waiting for her, I flipped through pages from books by Plato and Aristotle. The book [that made an impact] was L’étonnement philosophique [“Philosophic Wonder”] by Jeanne Hersch, which traces the history of Western thought. In my adolescence, that book gave me a great foundation, a benchmark, a marker, a starting point. It’s an admirable book. Afterwards, I really fell into reading the greats, like Plato, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Epictetus, all of which still inspire me today. I was 14 years old then, and reading had changed my life.

Below are portraits [of some of my favorite philosophers and spiritual teachers] painted by my son, Augustin.

portraits

 

 

 

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