We can’t expect our leaders to be what we are afraid to be ourselves. We can’t expect our leaders to take actions that we are afraid to take ourselves. We can’t expect our leaders to take us where we refuse to go on our own accord. It is up to each one of us to recognize within what we are searching for in our leaders. If we truly want our candidate to win and succeed then we must embody that which we are asking of our leaders. We must be willing to walk the path with them. As I see it, this is the meaning behind Gandhi’s quote:
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
We have all, men and women, been highly conditioned by our parents, cultures, religions and society at large. This conditioning is the basis of our personal ego. This ego has its own gods (beliefs and opinions) and these gods are the ones the ego believes all should follow. For example, with regards to the Hilary Clinton vs. Sarah Palin debate, on one level we may believe that the way Hilary carries herself in the world (beliefs, character, background, actions) is better than the way Palin carries herself…or, perhaps, for many others that Palin is “better than” Hilary. It all depends on the way we have been conditioned. But, conditioning is conditioning. Period. All conditioning is a box that has been created to keep each one of us in conformity and a false sense of security and safety. And, even though we have outgrown our conditioning, we keep choosing and acting from it so that we stay part of the ‘tribe’.
We are on the brink of something new, something fresh. What is required is true leadership from each American. We must quiet the fearful cries of our egos so that we may hear our own truth and ‘be’ this truth in the world. This does take trust in our own wisdom. It means taking a stand for what we know to be true within our own being. It means responding rather than reacting. It means questioning our reliance on our leaders to be responsible to us when we haven’t found our own means of being responsible to ourselves. It means becoming citizens again, citizens of not only this country, but citizens of our world.
There is an amazing opportunity presenting itself. We have the opportunity to heal the cultural distrust between men and women, and between women themselves. This distrust has been passed down from generation to generation as part of the cultural conditioning. It has been part of our cultural shadow for hundreds of years and for this distrust to heal, the shadow needs to be seen, acknowledged and personally owned. What we fear within ourselves we project out onto others. How does the shadow show up for you? What are your deepest fears about women in positions of power? How are you judging the women and men involved in the campaign rather than objectively looking at their qualifications? In what ways do the candidates, and their opinions and beliefs scare you? In what ways do you align with them?
Right now things feel chaotic. They are. This election has suddenly, and beautifully, brought in new voices, the voices of women, voices that have for too long been kept quiet. Things are changing and the change feels overwhelming to that part of us that wants to ensure our own beliefs will win.
But, in chaos is opportunity. How can we use this amazing opportunity to create something new and fresh in our political and cultural landscape with regards to women and men leading together?
True creativity, something truly fresh and innovative, can only come into existence when we trust in our own nature and in what we know to be true for ourselves.
Here are a few thoughts I have with regard to the current dialogue regarding women and the elections:
- As women, we can choose not to disrespect another woman simply for holding other views and opinions. We need to own our projections. We must separate out what we hate and fear about the ‘other’, and what we disagree with about their position. What we hate and fear about the ‘other’ is what we hate and fear about ourselves.Our cultural conditioning is misogynistic. This means both men and women have been conditioned to see women in ways that are belittling and demeaning. It shows up in subtle ways, and we are all guilty of it. If we can see our own part in this and consciously find a way to heal whatever it is within ourselves that feeds this dynamic, then we will be actively embodying the change we hope to see in those who lead our country.
- As women, we can recognize that we have all found a way to survive in this male-dominated culture. We continue to rely on our conditioned strategies to stay in the fold, whatever fold we have found to rely on be it Democrat, Republican, or Independent. Our parties seem to have become tribes that keep us seeing ourselves as different and separate than those of the other tribes.It helps to own that we are all clinging to our worn out strategies and beliefs, ones that no longer truly serve a society that is moving towards a different perspective of power and prosperity.
- Why should we be surprised that women running for office would hold wildly differing views? Men have for centuries, and women will, too. Can we separate out gender from clearly defined positions and platforms? Yes, it would be amazing to have a woman in office, but to vote for a candidate simply because of gender would truly be a mistake if we don’t genuinely agree with the positions the candidate espouses or the integrity with which they lead.
- Can we choose to not act out of fear and negativity? Everywhere we look, something is feeding our fear. Everything is about ‘fighting’ and winning the war on fill-in-the-blank. This perspective of fear and fight continues to cause us to see the world in which we live as an enemy to be conquered rather than an environment that can sustain us if we see ourselves in relationship with it rather than dominators.
- We each must step up to the plate and be willing to be in action. We must be that which we are asking of our leaders. This means finding and claiming our own authority to act from our integrity and authenticity, those qualities that define successful visionary leaders. Then, regardless of who wins in November, we will be walking our talk and living our values…being the change we wish to see right here in our own backyard. Doing this brings forth the peace within that we are looking for out there.
Hopefully, we can open to a new way of seeing our personal role in this election, and beyond it to the rest of the world. How will we hold our relationships with other women, especially those who hold differing views? Can we agree to disagree, while maintaining a sense of compassion and respect for each other as women? Can we begin to build and nurture the humanity of women, a web that connects us to each other and to the sacred feminine?
Can we refuse to do to each other what has been done to us as a gender for hundreds of years?