Filmmaker Joni Steele Kimberlin: Get Real Wise Women Speak

By Joni Steele Kimberlin, edited by Jim Luce

New York, N.Y.  I want to share with you some things I learned recently as I made a film called Get Real Wise Women Speak –about amazing women in the third stage of their lives, and the inner fire that propels them to use their wisdom and experience to make a difference in the world.

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Joni Steele Kimberlin of Third Fire Films presenting on her film at Intrepid . Photo: DLF.

I was disgusted with the way popular media portrays women, young or old. So I went in search of modern day wise women.  After all, mythology and ancient literature across the board in nearly every culture, represents wisdom as feminine.  No surprise there!

There are 18 women in my film including Marianne Williamson, Della Reese, Jane Fonda, Nobel Prize winner Jody Williams, poet Nikki Giovanni, Susan L. Taylor, and the council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers.

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Photo: David Lynch Foundation.

I learned that motivation shifts in life when ambition is replaced by meaning.  An inner fire is sparked, often in the third stage of life, propelling individuals to use their time, experience and wisdom to improve the world.  We call this burning desire to infuse action with meaning the Third Fire.  As cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien told us, It has to have fire, or I won’t do it.

What has fire for these women? Helping others – and that frequently means women and girls.  Jane Fonda’s passion is working with adolescent girls. Susan Taylor told me that she is ‘on fire’ to help young people –her foundation mentors young people.  Swannee Hunt works to improve the lives of women in violent conditions. Jody Williams won a Nobel Prize for her work against landmines.  Tenzin Palmo is a Buddhist nun who created a nunnery in the foothills of the Himalayas for girls – who escape on foot through the mountains of Tibet to reach it.

Some women in the film who are dear to me are from the Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers who travel the world with their tribal knowledge creating peace and healing.  Flordemayo who is of Mayan descent tells us, women are the keepers of the knowledge of the feminine.  Our culture is very family- and community-oriented.  Our young girls are not left alone.  They’re being taken care of. And it’s the role of women to be advisors to girls.

So how do we help vulnerable girls and young women?  One of the standout takeaways from my film is the importance the women place on creating Sacred Space in their lives.  Della Reese said, “My Favorite quote is ‘Be still, and know that I am God.’  That’s more than just a sentence. Stop running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Be still, and know that you know what you know.” Indigenous Grandmother Agnes, aNative American Elder, advises, to be a woman of wisdom you need to incorporate spirit world, and listen to spirit world.

The wise women in my film take time daily to commune with their inner Selves, release stress and become more effective.  So it’s no surprise that many of these women including the indigenous grandmothers practice Transcendental Meditation – which has been scientifically verified in 100s of studies in prestigious journals to effectively release stress and create inner happiness. It’s an incredibly effective technique that has been proven to work over and over for decades.

One of the things I’m on fire for is to help our most vulnerable young people by bringing T.M. to them.  That’s why I’m on the Board of the David Lynch Foundation and why I help fund Children of the Night (link).  One of my cherished memories is meditating with Children of the Night kids last year in L.A.  They are no different than my own kids in their hopes and dreams for the future – and I’m so deeply happy that T.M. is going to help them get there.

I’d like to close with a quote from the film by Angeles Arrien.  “The elders’ greatest responsibility is to re-enchant the world. To bring magic, possibility and great love into children’s’ lives and assure them that they can do anything.  It’s a part of mentoring the next generation and planting seeds so that they become our future.”  I don’t know a better way to ensure the future of our girls and young women than to give them the gift of Transcendental Meditation.

Bio Pic- GET REAL Joni Steele Kimberlin is director and producer of Third Fire Films.

The symposium “Women, Violence, and Meditation” was held at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City, March 31, 2012 sponsored by the David Lynch Foundation and Third Fire Films.  Every nine seconds, a woman is assaulted or beaten in the U.S.  One in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime around the world.  Most often, it is a member of her own family.  Over 19,000 women veterans have been victims of military sexual assault during the past year.Healing and Empowering Women and Girls.  For more information on how you can help secure funds to support outreach to women and girls, please contact the David Lynch Foundation’s Women’s Initiative, 654 Madison Avenue, Suite 805, New York, N.Y. 10065 or by e-mail.

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