Writer and poet Louise M. Paré returned to Oregon seven years ago after living in Oakland, Calif., and St. Paul, Minn. She grew up in the north end of the Rogue Valley, three miles from Murphy, and her family still owns a 6-acre farm within walking distance of the Applegate River.
The Ashland resident has been published in several women's spirituality anthologies and her words are included in the 2013 We'Moon day planner and wall calendar.
Since the 1970s, she has been teaching around the world about women's spirituality, Superconscious Meditation and holistic lifestyle management techniques, most recently for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Ashland.
Favorite aspects about Ashland: Culturally rich with theater; Ashland Independent Film Festival; surrounded by beautiful mountains and inhabited by lots of fascinating people who put their caring into action on behalf of others and our global home Mother Earth.
Give us a few other career highlights: I am a member of the first cohort of women to achieve a Ph.D. in Women's Spirituality in 2003 from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I was the co-founder and director of the North Dakota Peace Network, which passed the Nuclear Freeze Referendum in 1982. In 1997, I designed and taught women's spirituality workshops in Cherkassy, Ukraine, and later developed and implemented a regional adult education program through the Religious Education Institute in Fort Wayne, Ind., with 400 annual participants. I established the statewide organization Nurturing Network of North Dakota under the auspices of the North Dakota Children's Trust Fund.
What are you teaching next? Women in the Global Community: A Spirituality of Empowerment, for OLLI in the fall, and Moonrise: Global Women Rising, starting this week at a private home.
What fact about your subject gets your class' attention? The magnitude and reality of the suffering of women globally and the powerful work for change that women are doing in light of this reality — changing oppression into opportunity. That women's spirituality has a documented history that goes back to Paleolithic times and provides the basis for a spirituality of empowerment that is sourcing women's outrageous acts and creative rebellions around the world today.
How do you first introduce yourself to your class? I create a ritual circle in which each participant has the opportunity to share something with the class.
I also introduce myself with this adapted quote from the Portland-based magazine World Pulse: "I have a vision of a world where women aren't only free, but empowered so greatly as to be unstoppable. A world where a woman can transform her life as well as the lives of those around her, by simply raising her voice."
This is what I mean when I say I'm a feminist and a global women's spirituality educator and activist. This is why I offer the class.
What do you like to do in Ashland during your time off? See movies at local theaters; work out at the YMCA; read and write poetry; hike in Lithia Park; participate in public improvisational movement experiences; create collaborations with other women artists and activists to benefit the local and global community; garden; create memorable meals for friends.
What's still on your to-do list? I don't really have a bucket list, but if I did, it would contain the following: Visit the Himalayan International Institute's ashram in northern India; eat saganaki on a Greek island while on a Goddess Tour; learn to bike for enjoyment and lower my carbon footprint; attend the Cannes Film Festival; take a group of women on a Goddess Tour to Ukraine; become fluent in Spanish through an immersion experience at Isla Mujeres (the Island of Women in Quintana Roo, Mexico); revise and publish my dissertation so the stories of women whose lives were transformed by their Improvisational Movement practices can be a source of inspiration for other women; learn to bake really good pies; attend a Continuum Movement experience in Italy; create a new business called Center for Women's Spirituality Education and Empowerment; and mentor a woman through World Pulse's Voices of the Future Program.
And if we wanted to learn more about you? I don't have a website, but my writing can be found in a number of books, including "Talking to Goddess: Powerful Voices From Many Traditions" (Lilith Institute); "She is Everywhere! Vol. 2" (iUniverse); and "Streams From The Sacred River: Women's Spiritual Wisdom" (Yes International Publishers).