THE BRA THAT CHANGED THE WORLD… The 1970s saw women coming into their own, working hard to create new roles at home and in sports, culture, politics, and business. It was also the start of the “fitness revolution.” At this unique intersection of feminism and athleticism, Lisa Lindahl’s game-changing entrepreneurial journey began. She invented the first sports bra, the “Jogbra,” in 1977. It was the right product at the right time, throwing Lisa into a high-stakes world of business and power—a world for which she was not fully prepared. Unleash the Girls is the improbable story of a young artist with a disability who used her powers of creativity to solve a vexing problem and ended up leveling the playing field for girls and women across the globe—literally, unleashing the girls. Her invention would become a feminist icon and the company she founded would change an industry. But amid the success, Lisa continued to search for meaning and the true nature of power and beauty. This is the untold story of the invention of the sports bra and how it changed the world for girls and women...and, along the way, changed Lisa, too.
Inventing the sports bra back in 1977 was just the beginning of this story. The real story is about the societal climate and challenges of the women of those transformational times, and to consider the import 'then' is having on 'now'. It is, however, my personal story, and I was unsure whether or not I would ever really publish it until I wrote the last sentence appearing in the excerpt here...
My editor wasn't sure this section should be included in the book. I felt strongly that it should. What do you think friends and readers?
Too much and too little is said about women's breasts...this is a reason why the sports bra wasn't invented and marketed until 1977. Here is what I have to say about breasts and our relationship with them.
Women and power. Women and ambition. Women working together...or not. These are a few of the topics I had to explore to adequately tell my story in "Unleash the Girls." To grow a business the entrepreneur has to grow herself...that is one of the true bottom lines.
What motivates you? I've noticed that sometimes the original motivation becomes so irrelevant, so inconsequential — lost in the impact of the eventual outcomes. It's almost as if the initial motivation is a con, one I'm pulling on myself, to get me to do something I think I should do. At least, it seems that was the case for me here. The fact that my motivation for starting to run was to lose weight became totally irrelevant and obscured once I experienced the joy I felt while running... and all the other positive effects running had on me in so many diverse areas of my life at that time! Heck, it resulted in the invention of the sports bra!
What really matters? Surprisingly, it is beauty—True Beauty. We have all experienced moments of True Beauty—whether seeing a field of flowers, hearing a child laugh, or feeling in harmony with everything around us. Practicing True Beauty—not to be mistaken for glamour—puts us in synchronicity with the healing of our planet as well as on the path of spiritual evolution. Most importantly, by learning to engage with beauty more often, we can heal our cultural dysfunctions and transform our world and our role within it to be more positive and generative. Beauty as Action guides us on the journey to become practitioners of True Beauty through simple, everyday actions that don’t require esoteric tools or objects. With humor, anecdotes, and dashes of philosophy, author, shamanic practitioner, and inventor Lisa Z. Lindahl shows us how we can: 1. Consciously practice the pursuit and cultivation of True Beauty beyond surfaces and appearances 2.Recognize and honor the presence of True Beauty while we actively engage in creating it 3. Preserve and return the prominence of True Beauty in our global culture For the sake of ourselves and our world, we must act now. Beauty as Action shows us how.
This is what I have witnessed: just noticing true beauty lifts one's spirits. Helping to create beauty creates happiness. Making more beauty dispels depression. The scientists can investigate and measure the fields and vibrations, chart the evidences and write the reports... but this I know: True Beauty is what really matters, and we humans can nourish it, make it, celebrate it. Or not. It is our choice. These days it is a very important choice.
Do you take notice of what you are seeing, or are you on "autopilot" much of the time? I know I am guilty of that too often! This first practice of active Beauty is a really fun one. Try it -- maybe right now!
Often when I tell people I've written a book about practicing beauty the first thing they think is: "Oh, how to practice being pretty!" There is the assumption that beauty is only about appearances, mostly our own appearance. No. Oh, no! Yet it is a totally understandable assumption in our current culture of implanted buttocks and boobs! No, True Beauty is about cosmology, not cosmetics. And it is free, no installment plans or kits to buy. Sweet!
What constitutes truth? What is real? What is correct? And who or what decides this? We live in a "both/and universe," NOT the "either/or universe" that fuels divisive duality that births conflict and can escalate into extremist behavior. Can two yolks appear in one egg? Is one economic model superior to another? One faith "truer" than another? Does the white paint cover the wet black medium already on my palette or blend into gray? In every war both side believed themselves to be righteous, the one with God on their side. The source of such divisive attitudes and behavior is the attendant belief that we live in an either/or universe rather the both/and universe. Practice operating in the both/and universe!
Do you think material "stuff" isn't important, special, at all? Or are things -- "stuff" -- important to you? Both ends of the viewpoint miss, I think, the essence of the matter (pun intended)... Because at less that 5% of the known universe, all luminous matter is precious. Whether toaster oven or emerald, maple leaf or plastic wrap -- matter, luminous matter being a tiny portion of our universe is rare and therefore very special. Some go so far as to say sacred, though most of us think it quite profane, common, everyday. This simple yet astounding fact makes me look at everything.. all "stuff" very differently.
Beauty. Beauty is what really matters because it is the signature, the expression, the talisman of authenticity, of a truth, of order, of harmony. I wrote this book because right now we need the magic elixir and panacea that true, authentic beauty affords humanity. And we need it now. And it is so simple: find the beauty in all situations and relationships. Practice beauty. We can heal ourselves and our cosmos by simply reclaiming true beauty. Really.
Yep. I really said that: tricky authenticity. Being "authentic" has become such a buzz-word. As if it is a destination, or state one can arrive at, settle in, BE. Another achievement. Nope. That's why it is tricky. Authenticity isn't a static state. We evolve, and in that process change our minds, our preferences, our partners and what-all else? Black and white become nuanced grays. The obvious becomes less so. And so, our NISTs evolve as well, often becoming more self-imposed. Ah! Another clever trick we play...this time on ourselves.
Is it only the brain that gathers and processes the information and perceptions we process? No way...uh-uh! In fact now there's a name for other ways of knowing that modern science is busy confirming... .
Do you know anyone who has not had an experience of discovering the beautiful? Remember their delight? The surprise? Laughter? Smile? It might have been the sudden appearance of a rainbow, or a piece of music, or a warm hug from a loved one. Doesn't matter the form...doesn't matter what or when or how. It is the effect of true beauty that is magical, the juice of shared life and livingness and perhaps fuel of the life force itself.
It makes us uncomfortable. It isn't neat and orderly. Liminal space: that time and place between what has passed and what has yet to be born... Challenging, uncomfortable, liminal space is our powerful petrie dish of infinite possibilities.
Recent news is full of True Ugly, as defined in this section. This book's message -- to the high school students currently speaking out and all those trying to correct imbalances -- is that the Way of True Beauty is an effective form of sacred activism available to everyone, anyone.
I know I have been on automatic pilot when: I pull into my driveway with no recollection of the past three blocks… It is only the red jam I contemplate buying at the grocery store… I am annoyed when something is not in its “usual” place and I actually have to look for it! Oh, it is so much work to stay aware … let alone woke! LOL!
And how are we going to live it?This is one of the most challenging practices in my book. And most important I think. Why? Because we all make a zillion decisions every day... big and small, automatic or thought-through. Every day is an adventure in the Both/And Universe...
"Why do you label it 'Dynamic Self-Acceptance?'" someone recently asked me. I responded in part by citing the dictionary definition of 'dynamic': "characterized by energy or effective action...forceful...relating to power." Self acceptance is action, not a thing or state that can be achieved, archived, and put on a shelf with the declaration, "Whew! Got THAT done!" It is an ever-fluid dance with ourselves and life on-going. And as this excerpt highlights, as we encounter life’s inevitable failures and losses, that dance of self acceptance is a dynamic and integral of our conscious evolution.
Bringing True Beauty into your life is simple. Literally! The holiday season can overwhelm me -- both emotionally as well as physically, and practicing the K.I.S.S. method ("Keep it Simple, Sweetie") is a useful practice this time of year especially!
"Everything is in relationship to everything else!" and boy don't we feel this during the holidays! Or "holi-daze" as I am likely to say. Whether warm family memories, current family expectations or the lack of either, somehow the holiday season heightens our awareness of each other, doesn't it? So walk in Beauty, SEE one another and take care of yourself in the process! Happy Holidays-
While still in draft form I read the first lines of this chapter to a friend and she said, "Whatta mouthful! Really!?" After laughing together I thought, okay, how can I say this more simply, more directly...and found I could not. Can you? Because really: If True Beauty is our guiding principle and idea, the earth and all its species will be okay. Let me know your thoughts at www.lisalindahl.com.
The beauty of the natural world has very personal meaning for me. It is not just observational or academic. I experienced the connection between nature, its beauty, and our consciousness as beings when still a small child. I was 4 or 5 years old, standing alone on a second-story balcony. The top of the white wood railing was just at my eye line, and the trees beyond were still green. I liked being up high, noticing the leaves moving in a slight breeze, fluttering between sunlight and deep blue shadows. A blue jay call suddenly pierces the light… …and I am of it. All at once I am leaves-light-birdcall-breeze-me. I was one with all …. Then, in the nanosecond that I became aware of that oneness, it dissolved back into separateness. Leaves. Sunlight. Bird. Breeze. Me, standing there, hand on warm wooden railing. Separated again, looking out at, no longer with. What that sense of oneness felt like has stayed with me. The beauty and power of the natural world has stayed with me. The fact that I am a part in and of it is viscerally real for me. It fuels the passion behind this book.
When writing this section I was enthralled with this idea of maintaining awe and wonder in order to combat being critically judgmental of others. Reading it now I feel that, while engaging with awe in this way is a cool tool, I missed calling attention to the very essence of awe itself. And its intrinsic importance. Awe is reverential. And thankful. And neutral. When we choose to be grateful, we are in part being in awe of what is on our proverbial plates, both the bounty and those pesky “lessons” life keeps handing us! There was a time in my life when I forgot about being “awe-ful.” It was too easy to see all the ways in which things, people and the world in general were not measuring up to my expectations. Had I let a little awe in, I might have found the way through a little faster. Hmmm. I may have to do Practice VIII and engage in a bit of dynamic self-acceptance here! Learn...evolve...learn...adjust...repeat! Ain't life a hoot!
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