There is violence that exists within all of us….

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There is violence that exists within all of us. Turning a blind eye from ourselves is the thing that is the most destructive.

I went to see a play last night. It is called Nirbhaya. I left the theatre shell shocked.

The play outlines the story of the brutal rape and murder of a woman called, Jyoti Singh Pandey on December 16th, 2012. I remember hearing about this event. My friend Kamaraj called me weeping. “How does this happen?” I heard him say on the end of the other line.

“How does this keep happening?” I asked myself.

The show illustrates violence everywhere. Six women share their stories of abuse – supported by one male actor.

All of the performers are brave. They stand on stage and bear their souls like warriors for vulnerability and peace.

But I was most impressed by the man… who subtly and quietly supported all six stories. He took on the most heinous of all traits that exist in people and fearlessly represented the part of humanity that wants to tear, rip, rape and destroy another person… because he can.

The play was a beautiful, simple and profound depiction of honest stories. The women expose all parts of themselves with an astonishing level of commitment.

Now, what I keep thinking about is “How does this continue to happen?” and “How do we heal this?”

In my opinion we need to get humble. We need to look for our own violence and start caring for one another.

We need to educate ourselves. I recently finished the fifth of seven courses with the women’s organization I work with. The organization is called “Jness”. The course exposed the lack of understanding and compassion in a way I have never experienced and as a result I have gained a profound understanding of not only “why and how” this happens but “what” needs to happen to make this stop.

It is not simply more rallies and more awareness… we have got to change our internal process. We are animals right now… primitive creatures who lack awareness. The only way we will stop this cycle of violence is though maturing and evolving. Which demands education.

I feel blessed to live at this time. I feel blessed to have found the Jness education. I feel horrified this exists. I feel determined to make it end.

If you live in NYC or close to it, do not miss Nirbhaya. It is astonishing.

And if you want to know more about Jness check out our website. It seems simple at first blush, but it is not complexity we need to make this change, it is tenacity and commitment.

xo,
Allison

You know those days….

You know those days when you just feel like it would be a good idea to be anyone but yourself?

Like you wake up in the morning with a laundry lis of things to repair, redo, rewind? Those days when you think it might be best to disappear and start a new life, only this time with no intimacy? No closeness? Just a way distant existence where no one gets close enough to see the cracks in your sidewalk.

That was this morning for me.

I got in my car and decided to drive. On my drive I saw my friend. He was out for a morning walk. Usually I rush to say hello…This morning I wanted to speed by. But he caught my eye and waved me over. It would have been rude to accelerate away, so I made a u-turn and drove over to him.

“Good morning,” he said sweetly.

I melted.

Tears streaming down my face he held my chin and told me he was proud of me. Then he wished me a good day and kept walking.

A little later I had a virtual meeting with a very special group of friends I have met with weekly for over 2 years. We are all a part of the women’s movement I speak about, Jness. we have been though births, deaths, weddings, break-ups, and some pretty impressive arguments over the last 24 months and yet we still meet every wednesday morning at 8am EST.

I felt raw, apologetic and challenged. I was late to our meeting and the ladies were sitting quietly in my honor when I arrived.

Without punishment for my tardiness they asked if I was alright, then proceeded on with the meeting.

My fears were addressed, inadvertently. My fears were addressed in the form of love. They did not pressure me for answers nor ask me why I was so weepy. They simply held space for me to be vulnerable and upheld love.

Now, after the call, on my train my to NYC, I feel filled up. Wiping the dirt of my knees I can see that we all fall down, and sometimes all you need is a loving group of friends to stand by you as you figure out how to pick yourself up.

I am so grateful to my dear friend, Keith, on his morning walk and my beautiful friends Julia, Sara, Kim and Nati. Your gentle but unwavering hands really held me up this morning.

I am so wealthy in love.

xo,
a

#AskAllison October Q&A – You Asked, I Answered!

Welcome to #AskAllison!

For months I’ve been asking all of you for questions, and now I have answers.

Thanks to all of you on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and beyond who sent in their epic questions. You guys rock.

Keep sending me your questions. Just remember to hashtag #AskAllison.

Enjoy!

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xo,

Allison Mack

 

This is Jness. And all I want to be a part of making happen. I love this…

“The girl and the woman, in their new, individual unfolding, will only in passing be imitators of male behavior and misbehavior and repeaters of male professions. After the uncertainty of such transitions, it will become obvious that women were going through the abundance and variation of those (often ridiculous) disguises just so that they could purify their own essential nature and wash out the deforming influences of the other sex. Women, in whom life lingers and dwells more immediately , more fruitfully, and more confidently, must surely have become riper and more human in their depths than light, easygoing man, who is not pulled down beneath the surface of life by the weight of any bodily fruit and who, arrogant and hasty, undervalues what he thinks he loves. This humanity of woman, carried in her womb through all her suffering and humiliation, will come to light when she has stripped off the conventions of mere femaleness in the transformations of her outward status, and those men who do not yet feel it approaching will be astonished by it. Someday (and even now, especially in the countries of northern Europe, trustworthy signs are already speaking and shining), someday there will be girls and women whose name will no longer mean the mere opposite of the male, but something in itself, something that makes one think not of any complement and limit, but only of life and reality: the female human being.
 

This advance (at first very much against the will of the outdistanced men) will transform the love experience, which is now filled with error, will change it from the ground up, and reshape it into a relationship that is meant to be between one human being and another, no longer one that flows from man to woman. And this more human love (which will fulfill itself with infinite consideration and gentleness, and kindness and clarity in binding and releasing) will resemble what we are now preparing painfully and with great struggle: the love that consists in this: that two solitudes protect and border and greet each other.”
 
-Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters To a Young Poet.

Mentors

I recently spoke of a “mentor” of mine and the responses surprised me. People seemed to be very resistant to the idea that I have a person in my life I turn to for advice when asking myself the tough questions.
If I am reading the responses right, people seemed to think that by honoring my teachers or mentors I was diminishing myself. The objections inspired me to take a deeper look at my own thoughts on these relationships.

 

I find it strange how uncomfortable we are in North America with words like “guru”, “mentor” and “teacher.” In most parts of the world the relationship between teacher and apprentice is an obvious part of life. You find these relationships in areas of skill. For instance, even in North America, if you want to become a welder you apprentice a tradesman. You work “under” someone who is more “masterful” at this practice and you build your skill alongside them. Is it really that odd to have someone you look up to when learning about compassion and relationships? Really?

 

I am shaped and molded by the wise mentors of my life. They have made a permanent impression on me. I am imprinted by my experience and everything I am now is affected by them.

 

I look at something as simple and superficial as the clothes in my closet and I see so many past influences: my first acting teachers in the wooden, silver and gold bangles I keep hanging on my dresser; I see Diane Keaton in the over-sized trousers I store next to my collection of men’s dress shirts and vests; I see three of my best friends in the silk, Indian scarves that drape over porcelain hooks coming out of my wall.

 

I am a cornucopia of those I have been inspired by, an amalgamation of their expressions and mine. Because I have known them I allow myself to be more flamboyant, more creative, and more, well. . . me. I choose bits of wisdom they offer in all ways and I benefit from that.

 

I am committed to openly admitting there is always more to learn and scouring the world for all types of “gurus.” This is, I believe, a practice of gratitude, respect, and enlightenment. I kind of think it is the point of existence. And in recognizing these teachers I am more defined in myself.

 

John Glover and Greg Beeman are two great mentors of mine in acting and directing.

 

Keith Raniere is a man who epitomizes mindfulness and compassion for me. Esther Chiappone is a fiercely truthful woman I know. They are both my mentors in being a true humanitarian.

 

My dear friend and editor Rob Gray is my mentor in communication and the beauty of a lyrical life.

 

My boyfriend is my mentor in unconditional love and finding balance through depthy play.

 

My best girl friends are my mentors in forgiveness, patience, and laughter. And good wine and chocolate.

 

My mom is my mentor in family. My nephew, my mentor in the simplicity of joy.

 

These people are all my mentors, people I consider teachers of great expertise, some teach through accomplishment, others through just being. In my opinion, to see greatness in others is to live a life of curiosity and humility.

 

I search for those who understand what I don’t and when I find someone who has qualities I long for, qualities I don’t yet understand, I pay attention.

 

I listen, I observe, and I grow.

 

But teachers are all around us: the Travelocity operator I decided to lose my patience with who challenged me to learn greater empathy and patience; the woman I drank a glass of wine with at The Henry Public House who told stories of her web romance and taught me that, internet or not, we are all just seeking some sense of love and belonging; the boisterous kid on a swing set who at the top of his lungs inspired the entire playground to join in singing an acapella remix of “I like to move it, move it” and reminded me of the inherent joy in free and unapologetic expression; all these wise mentors are disguised as everyday people, each offering valuable life lessons.

 

These moments that often go unrecognized are like the healthy meals that never get the appreciation they deserve. They propel us forward humbly and with quiet potency.

 

I want to thank each of you for continuing to teach me about the corners of humanity I could never see without you. I am eternally enriched because of your presence and participation. Know that I am grateful, enthusiastic, and open to hearing, reading, and watching your authentic and personal stories, thoughts and ideas. I am a better woman for it.