HerStory: The Blog
Look again. Take a good look at the clipart.
I know exactly where my eyes darted and held a pause. Where did your eyes dart and hold a pause? I know exactly what ran through my mind.
What ran through your mind before your started reading this article? If you don’t know what your immediate thoughts were, look again. Let it land and then, lets discuss this.
Yesterday I experienced yet another growth or expansion within my studies of HerStory. I am an Interfaith Minister and founder of New Light Sanctuary, LLC. Under that umbrella, I teach and ordain other people who feel they have a calling to ‘serve’. My classes are experiential as well as lectural. In service, I feel it is necessary to understand people as well as religions and theologies. Yesterday we had a panel of women in conversation. Our panel consisted of all types of women. Puerto Rican, European, Italian, Muslim, African and Hindi. We had older and younger women. These women were from varied educational and economical backgrounds. The conversation was enlightening. We spoke of the role that appearance plays in our lives.
I was sadly surprised to hear that, across the board, in this year 2017, appearance still is the first and the most outstanding instrument by which we measure the quality of our lives. It is still the first thing that defines us. Well, not all of us, but for sure, most of us. The women spoke honestly about how they judge another and feel judged by how they dress, what vehicle they drive, and the zip code that they live in. They said they didn’t want to ‘judge’ another that way, but that in this world, it is the reality that how you look determines how you are received. I could argue that this is just an opinion and then, there are the facts. In America, regardless of position or intelligence, we slaughter our female leaders with gossip about their looks. On our panel, we agreed that when we see Muslim women dressed in hijab, it is hard for us to see past their garb. We spoke of our youth and how disappointed we are that little girls are growing up too sexy and too fast. The elders said we have no sense of modesty. I hadn’t heard that word in a very long time.
It occurs to me that there are two extremes in our global culture. Both exploit women’s bodies. Both have lead us to believe that how our bodies look is more important than who are. Both have fooled us into believing that our looks are what speak first instead of our character. One tradition uses the exaggerated and distorted version of our curves and skin and hair to create profit. The other hides our curves and skin and hair to honor the interpretation of a religion. Whichever we may have bought into, we are allowing ourselves to be emotionally, physically and spiritually fooled. We are NOT our bodies. Sure we are in these fabulous skins and lets enjoy them! but, don’t be fooled into believing you are what the eye sees.
I know you have heard before that we are magnificent creatures regardless of how we look. We are creative, intelligent, strong, innovative, nurturing and have a plethora of attributes that serve our communities both small and large. You know that dressing up or down, modestly or provocatively should be our choice determined by us rather than law, either implied or enforced. And yes, I recognize the reality of this deep seeded notion that our appearance means so much. I also know that it hasn’t always been that way. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Once again, we can learn from our indigenous ancestors. And in many cases, we can also learn from modern indigenous like the Native American, Mayan, Aztec and Amazonian tribes. In tribal life, a person earns their status in the community by what they bring to the table instead of how they look. They earn the costumes they wear. In tribal life, the body is sacred or at the very least not used for exploitation. Within the indigenous we learn that we can come forward as a fully expressed Human Being and not be judged by what we look like.
Yes, I know we are judged first by how we look. I get that it is a hard to go against the tide. The peer pressure to look good is tremendous in our culture. So tremendous that we alter our bodies with plastics and toxins till we ‘like’ what we see. It takes a great deal of courage to dress modestly to avoid letting our bodies be a ‘distraction’. I also know that it is time for us to brake the silent code that says we must look a particular way. I assert that we all try using discernment before we step outside. Your body matters and you know people are looking. Choose form fitting or flowing before you leave for work. Sure, we dress to impress. Consider what impression you are wanting to make. Do you have the courage to dress modestly when you are wanting to be ‘heard’ instead of chosen because you ‘look good’?
I find the study of our human psyche profoundly fascinating. Knowing ourselves helps us to stand strong in creating our future. The women in our past were honored for ALL they were. We can learn from them. I look forward to sharing more stories with you and I welcome your comments and interpretations. It’s when we share our thoughts that we grow in wisdom.
Men and Women Are Not Equal
Thank you for your responses to last month’s HerStory article. I like that we are in this conversation together. In that article, I encouraged you to open your mind and consider that we have a ‘herstory’ as well as a ‘history’. Your feedback confirmed what I was saying. Life is cyclical. Each time thoughts come back around, we receive them differently. It was only 20 years ago that my article would have brought on a barrage of negative responses. When I first started sharing the possibility that perhaps women and men are NOT equal, I was met with comments like, “You’re holding us back”, “You should be ashamed of yourself” and “We’re not only equal, we’re better than men!” OMGoodness! The anger was intense. Feminism had its fist ready to fight for the right to be equal. I got it and I respected it. In fact, it was necessary to ‘fight for our rights’. Yet, it’s a new day and it’s time to revisit some old ideas and see where we stand now.
The anger was fierce back then. Perhaps it was the lessons we were taught about the female gender that were completely distorted and that is what made us so mad! We couldn’t get passed the fact that men and women were not treated equally in the most important areas of our civilized lives. The key words here are ‘treated equally’. It means not getting equal pay for the same job done; not being allowed to vote; using a male body as the general model for medical research, etc. and so on. You already know many of the inequalities in how women and men are treated differently.
Understandably, we were blinded and infuriated by being treated as some lesser class of people. There was a bizarre notion that women, were weaker, less intelligent creatures. So, of course we had to band together and yell loudly. We had to burn bras and throw away our virginity and basically, we had to brake all the rules to make our point. And we did make our points. We still have a way to go, yet, all those years ago, we certainly broke the mold that held us inside a tiny square box. I have no regrets.
On the other hand, I can understand how it would seem as though we as women, were lesser in the grand scheme of things. In our limited and outdated knowledge of ourselves, we thought having intuition and insights was silly instead of necessary. We thought nurture was more for cuddling up on the couch as opposed to bringing an idea to fruition. We thought making relationships while achieving our goals was too emotional and possibly messy. We didn’t understand that our feminine way of collaboration instead of competition was not only healthier for the workplace and the community, it also brings forth more valuable ideas and in the long run a more efficient service or product. We believed that we couldn’t manage a career and raise children. We thought that Mothers were more important than Fathers in raising our children. Much has changed.
We blamed our distorted lesser value on the physical and emotional makeup of the female. Instead of just realizing men and womyn are obviously different. The Feminine creature has an obvious cycle that her mind, body and spirit go through approximately every 28 days. In the modern world, that cycle doesn’t fit into the corporate structure. That corporate structure being defined as uninterrupted 9-5 and 7 days a week.
There was a time when we fought to be in that structure. To be in that structure we had to suffer the consequences of ignoring our feminine selves. We had to behave and believe more like men. Both genders miss out and suffer the consequences of this behavior. Rather than creating a structure that honored our cycles, we have tried to mask the un-maskable. In trying to achieve this, we end up somewhere in our 30-60’s at the psychotherapist’s office, saying, “I’ve lost myself”. When women live within their natural structure, they soar in every aspect of their lives and the entire community of men and women and children benefit.
We collaborate rather than compete.
Through researching our herstory, we find that instead of the 7 day week structure that has been ingrained in our lives, there is a natural structure that is already in place. The cycle women’s bodies, minds and spirits go through, is actually brilliant for creating a structure that is sound and solid on all levels professionally, personally and globally. Healthy and harmonious civilizations of yester year show us that, like our modern societies, original societies based and structured their daily activities according to their calendars. The difference is that their calendars were based on our moon instead of our sun. This allowed for the same approximate 365 days. ( I say approximate because a year is actually between 365.24 and 365.26 days) However, instead of 12 months and having 31, 30, 28 and sometimes 29 days, we were consistent with life cycles every 28 days and that meant 13 moons. Instead of corporate structure, there was a natural life structure and humanity went with that flow instead of trying to change nature itself. The feminine was in alignment with that flow. Her intuitions and insights were also in alignment with that flow. Men and women honored and sought after her advice regularly at certain times of the cycle when her intuitions and insights were more pronounced. We knew then that our E.Q. (emotional quotient) was as just as important as our I.Q. (intellectual quotient). In following natures structure, we are more productive with ease instead of discipline. We have more energy to devote to our tasks when we adhere to the cycles of life. Men and women were equally respected for what each brought to the community.
As I said in my last article, I find the study of our human existence profoundly fascinating. Knowing our past helps us stand stronger in creating our future. I look forward to sharing these ancient stories with you and I welcome your comments and interpretations. It’s when we share our thoughts that we grow in wisdom.
Let’s Prepare For Our HerStory
In general, we have a foundation of our origins through the history that we’ve been taught for millennia. Well, that’s great if you are a guy. Strong foundations build strong character and confidence. However, it’s evident that his-story is no longer working for women or the balance for men and women to co-exist powerfully and harmoniously. Now is the time for us to learn about our HerStory so that we, men and women, can build a better foundation for who we are as individuals with our differences and our similarities.
Consider that Life is Cyclical. Our Universe spins around the heavens; our planets spin around the Sun; the Stars and all creation follows in suit. Each time they make a pass, they are just a bit different. Life has happened and it takes its toll. Nonetheless, we keep spinning. What was once young becomes older; passes on or dies, to only come around again. Season after season, no two winters are alike… yet, we know to expect winter after autumn; and spring after winter; and summer after spring …and so it goes.
On the material, conscious and biological level, all things run through a cycle and return to their beginnings over and over again. The landscape goes through its cycle year after year. Each time it comes back, it is the same yet different. They are not the same leaves from the year past, yet the tree blooms so similarly. The earth’s waters are the same waters that they’ve always been, yet, year in and year out shorelines are reconstructed. Erosion both seen and unseen, has occurred during the ebb and flow of the tides. Not the kind of changes that make the shoreline unrecognizable, but a slight change. It is the same with life forms. The insects we see today are the same type of bugs from yesteryear with slightly different features showing up all the time. The human body has changed over the years as well. We used to be shorter, we had more hair. Our internal organs have adjusted to meet our more modern needs. We live longer.
On the level of conscious thought we see change as well. Thoughts are very real for us. A thought can lift your spirits or make you ill. We see differently through the eyes of maturity. What we witnessed as a child we see differently as an adult. Collectively as a people, a tribe, a nation, we understand life differently with each new hypothesis or invention or evidence. These too are cyclical. When we understood the world to be flat, we thought differently about travel, time and space. Our perspectives as men and women and the roles we play have also changed with our maturity. In earlier days, in our collective social conscious, a bride wore white to symbolically portray her virginity. Certainly our collective thought has changed about that. The white dress still comes to the tradition, but the reason has evolved. From fashion to science, we are always restoring the old to new again because we learn new things.
As a collective people, we started off as all first people did. We lived off and with the land. We were part of nature instead of lording over it. We’ve come very far from that original thought. We’ve farmed and cultivated and have grown food instead of finding and migrating to where the food grows naturally. We’ve manipulated our land to the extreme. We’ve misused and abused and drained this beautiful planet and all her creatures and fortunately now we are returning to a love of her with our organics and animal care and energy prospects.
It’s all in the nature of things. It’s all cyclical. I like to imagine it like the symbol of the Tao. Yang follows Yin and Yin in turn follows Yang, and we spin and spin and spin. Life is constant movement and it is cyclical.
I’d like you to consider that there is no ‘reason’ for this. It’s just the way it is. There is no right or wrong. We accept that the tides will come and go and that the waves alter the shoreline. It’s when we can live with the changing of the tides that we find peace and empowerment. We learn from our past and improve when the thoughts and actions come back around. Here, I will offer you a possibility of change for your future as I offer you a different perspective on our past.
For the most part, as westerners, we have been taught history, (That’s His Story from His point of view of the Facts). And that’s all fine and well as long as we consider that there is a herstory, (That’s Her Story from Her point of view of the Facts).
Imagine you are existing some 50,000 years ago. No electricity, no politics, no religions, no communities, no vocabulary! We are roaming the planet with all the other animals, just figuring out how to survive. We are just as curious as we are today, however we learn from observation, trial and error. We observe the four legged creatures that eat from the earth. Fruit and vegetable are easily accessible. Just pick or pluck and eat. We also observe animals eating other animals. It’s more complex. First the animal must bleed and die and then dinner is served. So we learn that a bleeding creature means death. Or does it?
All those years ago, we also spent time observing each other. In the raw, women and men observed women and men. We observed women would periodically bleed. This blood seemed abundant and coming from their loins and women didn’t die. Can you imagine the first thoughts in this observation? If a man bled, seemingly abundantly from his loins, good chance he would die. Whereas, the feminine creature stayed on a cycle. The blood would come and go and she would be fine. Imagine the ‘awe’. And even more astonishing, women’s bellies would grow large and humans would come out of them! Again, let your imagination consider these first observations. What instinctively do you feel about the feminine gender? Start to shift your understanding of our origins and allow a new perspective. It can only influence your life for the better
I am one who indulges in the study of ‘the feminine’. As did famous authors Carl Jung, Monica Soju, Barbara Mor, Craig S. Barnes and so many more. I find archeology and studies of our human existence profoundly fascinating. Knowing our past helps us stand stronger in creating our future.
I look forward to sharing these ancient stories with you and I welcome your comments and interpretations. It’s when we share our thoughts that we grow in wisdom.
Featured in Great South Bay Magazine
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