One of my favorite magazine reads is the last page of The Economist…Obituary.
No, it’s not because I’m morbid but because the obituaries are really stories of everyday people doing extraordinary things. People you likely never heard of but have made their mark and left a legacy worth writing about.
I am constantly reminded of how we are surrounded by brilliance, insight and lessons from those that have come before us. If only we would pay attention and make the time to soak up the amazing gifts that others have bequeathed us.
The most recent edition and Obituary tells the story of Katharine Whitehorn who died on January 8th at the age of 92.
As a young woman, with little to no financial resources, seeking stable work, moving from one hole in the wall to another, Katharine was struck by the lack of practical and useful information on food preparation. At the time, there were a lot of assumptions that women came to the kitchen replete with knowledge and a fully equipped kitchen to learn how to assemble ingredients and produce a good meal. Not at all a benefit to Katharine who had no knowledge or the kind of life the information at the time spoke to. Thus emerged, “Cooking with Bedsitter” (1961), “a bible for the cookery-challenged for decades afterwards, with its cheery insistence that yes, you could cook cabbage, if you chucked in a crust of bread to stop the smell getting into the curtains; and yes, you could knock up a delicious little dinner à deux out of packets and tins, as long as you got rid of the evidence.”
Her fierce resolve to provide practical, relevant advice that engaged a wider circle of women led to a career as a journalist in Britain who “gave voice to ordinary, non-decorative, muddling-through women and became the model for the dozens of confessional columns that followed.” She became a voice for all things relevant to women living in a patriarchal world, that would support, encourage and empower women to face and overcome their challenges.
It’s ironic how 60 years since Katharine Whitehorn began, the same obstacles exist for women today…finding their voice, willing to be seen, choosing to emerge.
The quest to take our rightful place in the world is still a struggle we women must contend with.
But if we take to heart Katharine’s example of an ordinary woman with extraordinary commitment, it’s a testament to how much we can matter and make a difference. How our choices and actions, based on the gaps and deficiencies we see in the world, organically arising from our heart, can have a profound reach and impact on many.
What I learned from this column is that Katharine became a National Treasure because of her prevailing wisdom that she shared with many others.
She gave messages of practical wisdom to women that gave them confidence. That allowed them to trust in themselves. That empowered them to never have to ask for validation. Confidence to believe that it’s all right. To know in their hearts that it is so.
Her wisdom is beautifully summed up in her quote,
“Don’t apologize, and NEVER ask “Is it all right?”~ Katharine Whitehorn
If we as women can start from this place, there’s no question we can thrive. Even as we move forward, with all of our imperfections. It’s All Right.
Encouraging you to take your next, right step. Knowing it’s all right. Giving yourself permission.
Lots of Love,