The past two weeks have included two really fantabulous events all circling around The Red Tent in Delray Beach, Florida. The first was a viewing of Things We Don’t Talk About: Woman’s Stories from the Red Tent and an opportunity to meet and talk with the filmmaker, Dr. Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost.
I was so excited to see this movie and to meet Isadora. The movie stuns in its simplicity and rawness. So many times, there were women on the screen expressing things I had thought or things I had sat with friends and talked about. Simple. Raw. Compelling. This movie starts a fire in our women’s belly that drives us to share and connect – create our own Red Tents! I will do a further review on the movie because that is not what this post is about.
And how lucky were we that we got to see the movie in our very own local RED TENT that is owned by Lisa Kelly here in South Florida in Delray Beach!?! There could not have been a better space! I met Lisa Kelly, the owner of the Red Tent Women’s Healing Arts Center on Facebook. I had liked her business page – I loved the name and wanted to keep it on my radar for events. Instead of events, I began to see postings about her landlord trying to evict her over cats (feral cats that lived outdoors on the property). He was suggesting that a 24 hour locksmith DC could be called on her any moment now. Being the kitty mama that I am, I started to pay attention and eventually, Lisa and I started talking about her situation and upcoming court case. On the day of the court case, my son and I attended to support Lisa and I am tickled to say that she WON. Here is some further info about the case: Let me give you a synopsis and please understand – I am biased in my telling, of course – but the Judge did agree in the end. After 2 1/2 years of renting in this location and operating her fantastic women-oriented business, her landlord decided that he wanted to evict her and claimed that she was in violation of her lease for running a feral cat colony. He served her on Oct. 23 with a notice to stop feeding the wild and stray cats and was in violation of a county ordinance. Allow me to interject my observations here – Lisa did not bring these cats to the property. She WAS doing what any responsible animal lover would do and trying to manage the kitties there. She believes in a Trap-Release-Neuter methodology and you can read more here about her kitty philosophy here. The landlord and property management company undertook an aggressive approach that resulted in scooping the kitties and killing them. Lisa managed to save a few but actually lost her own kitty when the trapper came. The eviction and Lisa’s counterclaim went before a judge just a few weeks ago and it was ruled in Lisa’s favor. She was not to be evicted. Here is the letter from her attorney after the ruling. This, my darling readers, is all background. If you thought some of the previous actions were incredible, irrational, horrific and made you want to say WTF? – let me share with you what has happened since then. Broken windows, a spray painted sign, stolen items from outside her business, people associated with the landlord telling her she “deserved this” and repeated causes for police reports – petty, vandalous, mean-spirited acts in an attempt to … intimidate Lisa? force her out? punish her for winning in court? IMO, take your pick – bullies are not always rational. Today, I spent the day at The Red Tent with Lisa. It is the first of (I hope!) many days to come. I am a local business owner who works from home, I can easily work from there with wi-fi and we are going to be inviting other local business owners to do the same in the weeks to come. Today … my first day … I got to experience the front lines of the repeated bullying that Lisa has been experiencing for months. Upon our arrival at The Red Tent this morning, we discovered that the air conditioning was not working. Since we are in South Florida and temps are on the rise – this is a big deal. My astral ovaries (as coined by Nick!) do not take to the heat very well either, so watching the thermostats climb steadily was a bit concerning. The landlord’s office showed no interest in sending a maintenance person – instead, they forwarded language from Lisa’s lease that stated she was responsible if she was negligent. Relief and amazing kindness appeared in the form of Rob and Sandy – the husband and wife team of RNC Air Conditioning and Heating from Boca Raton. (Seriously, they should have been wearing capes!). They confirmed that BOTH air conditioning units had been tampered with by human hands. The police came and took another police report. Just in time for the evening yoga class, the A/C was performing beautifully. Not too big of a deal? Right? Except when you count the business lost – business was lost today because it was too hot to have massage or treatments and business has been lost for months Then you need to take into consideration the months of torment and the toll that takes on a business and the owner. I don’t know how Lisa does it – but she does. Smiling, laughing, trying not to take all this to heart and still keep everything together, Lisa is still putting one foot in front of the other. Lisa rocks. She pulls out her Goddess Walking Stick and keeps moving forward. And that is what she is going to continue to do because she is strong and fierce and this is HER BUSINESS – HER LIFE. Now, she has to wait for the bullies to make more mistakes – she waits because the bullies can’t win. I am going to wait with Lisa because it is harder to bully two people than one person. And we will invite more people to come and participate at The Red Tent because larger groups are harder to bully than one person. Watching this all today on the front lines with Lisa, she reminds me of a Maya Angelou poem – Still I Rise … this part seems so appropriate for Lisa and her indomitable spirit …
You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt But still, like dust, I’ll rise. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? ‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells Pumping in my living room. Just like moons and like suns, With the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll rise. Did you want to see me broken? Bowed head and lowered eyes? Shoulders falling down like teardrops. Weakened by my soulful cries. Does my haughtiness offend you? Don’t you take it awful hard ‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines Diggin’ in my own back yard. You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Lisa and The Red Tent are like air – they will always rise. If you have a moment, please like The Red Tent on Facebook and just say HI even if you aren’t in the area. Sunlight, Love and Laughter are like kryptonite for bullies. Another awesome moment in The Red Tent today? The Shakti here on my site is HANGING IN THE RED TENT. I love Goddess Synchronicity. Stay Tuned for more Epic Adventures in The Red Tent!