Ruth L. Schwartz: Recovering from Losses and Teaching Others How to Be Conscious Girlfriends
Read the full blog post and view photos.This week on the Finding Fertile Ground podcast, I interview Ruth L. Schwartz, a writer, teacher, and consciousness-shifter. Ruth has published eight books and taught at six universities, and now she runs the Conscious Girlfriend Academy, the leading global program supporting lesbians and queer women to date wisely and love well.Ruth was born to parents who were only 18 and 20 when she was born. Her mother had never even held a baby before and they didn’t know they had to burp a baby. They all had to learn together how to be parents. When her dad was off at a college class, she and her mom would be sat home, crying together.Her father was brilliant, but his life was a cautionary tale for Ruth. He changed from a magical figure in her early childhood to mentally unstable, volatile, and addicted to speed when she was 10. As an emergency room physician, he was a thrill seeker until he lost his job and ended up on the streets addicted to heroin. He died earlier this year at the age of 79.Ruth places a big emphasis on trying to make use of things that have happened to her in life.“You often hear that the wounds become the gifts, but also the gifts become the wounds.”Ruth came out as a lesbian at the age of 20 when she was in college. “I love the complexity of being with women.”Perhaps because she’s drawn to complexity, some of her relationships have been complex as well. When Ruth was 28, she fell in love with a Puerto Rican woman named Gladys whose kidneys failed a few years later. “I donated my kidney to her because I loved her. It just seemed like the thing to do. I had two. She needed one.”Then several years ago a long-time partner transitioned from female to male. They started Conscious Girlfriend together in 2013 to teach other queer women how to be conscious girlfriends. In the past 7-1/2 years, women from 22 countries have taken Ruth’s classes.Her students who come out later in life are often floored at the degree of intensity that often exists in relationships with other women. Ruth teaches queer women how to navigate the complexities of relationships with women and how to date more wisely.The Conscious Girlfriend Academy is a worldwide community of women who thought they were the only ones who had experienced these things. What Ruth enjoys the most is helping women find other likeminded, growth-oriented women.Before Ruth founded Conscious Girlfriend, she wrote poetry, taught creative writing, worked as a health educator, and earned a PhD in transpersonal psychology. Ruth is inspired by the women she works with every day through the Conscious Girlfriend Academy. She told of a recent conversation with a woman who suppressed her own sexual identity because she lives in a conservative area in the south. Now she is meeting other women with similar stories, and she's getting to talk about her relationships in ways she has never had the chance to before. She describes it as grit and resilience all the time.“I feel very fortunate that all the ways I've woven all accidents into my purpose have led me to this place.”Next week I interview Julie Allen with Mary Rose Boutique NW and Mary Rose Foundation on Companies That Care. Julie’s created a clothing boutique where every woman can leave feeling beautiful, and her sister foundation raises money to pay for eating disorder treatment for girls who cannot afford it. The following week I’ll be back to Finding Fertile Ground with Melissa Pierce, who was widowed with two young children at a very young age.