By Judith Gayle | Political Waves
GOOD IDEAS are everywhere, floating in the ethers. The old axioms tell us that there's nothing new under the Sun, so apparently all those ideas are part of the group mind, the universal consciousness, and it's shifting daily. There's virtue in that because if a light bulb goes on over your head, you can count on the same one appearing over someone else's. Oh, there are plenty of bad ideas going around too, waiting for the good ideas to catch up and dissolve them. In fact, that feels like how the world is recreating itself: the clash of the productive ideas versus the non-productive ones, all riding on this roller coaster experience that we call paradigm shift.
Collective idea. Collage by Danielle Voirin.
It's been a week full of conflicting ideas. While we are still experiencing a good deal of overwhelm in this new energy, we're also getting our sea legs on how to navigate the process. Paying attention is one of those balancing acts we do where part of us is doing our life, part of us is witnessing it and part of us is listening to that still, small voice that informs us.
This capacity to exist within our own mind, on many levels, has only been available to all of us lately; it used to be the exclusive territory of the spiritual greats who had the patent on enlightenment and gave us strict guidelines to achieve it. When I first learned about meditation, for instance, I found it almost impossible because the process itself was a very tight box: sit, get silent, empty yourself. Tough stuff for a mutable sign. After years of exploration, I discovered that meditation can take on many faces, and the artist in me locks into that energetic space effortlessly.
A form of meditation can be found in anything you're able to lose yourself in, anything that will fold time and make you look up from your activity realizing you're hungry or late for something, or that you lost a whole morning to the intensity of that liquid state you'd floated away in. For me that happens effortlessly when I tap into creativity. It can be found in music or nature or cooking or anything that gives you true pleasure; whatever you enjoy so completely that you lose your analytical grip on everything else around you.
Meditation, in essence, shifts our brainwaves. Wayne Dyer
tells us "the practice of meditation takes us on a fabulous journey into the gap between our thoughts, where all the advantages of a peaceful, stress-free, healthier, fatigue-free life are available, but are simply side benefits. The paramount reason for doing this soul-nourishing meditation practice is to get in the gap between our thoughts and make conscious contact with the creative energy of life itself."
The gaps between our thoughts are filled with what some call God-space; Dwyer calls it Source. The density of our bodies are illusionary, when you consider that they're composed of dancing molecules put together to create form. There is more God-space between those teensy bits of vibrating matter than molecules themselves. That's the reason that the gurus tell us the answer to every one of our questions is no farther away than our nose; what is within us is magnificent, waiting for us to connect with it. A major benefit of doing some kind of meditative activity is that aligning ourselves with Source defuses anger and allows us to lift our thoughts into a higher resonance.
Why are there so many
Songs about rainbows
And what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions,
But only illusions,
And rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we've been told and some choose to believe it.
I know they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.
Some of the voices out there are pretty angry, and I suspect they'll become angrier as time goes on. It seems as though just when we got a handle on how to move through life, having carefully studied the rulebook and aced the test, somebody changed the curriculum.
Some of us are furious at the changes, blaming everyone in sight. Others think there's something wrong with us, that we've failed to meet those former standards set for us, which has made us entirely too hard on ourselves; I suppose that's why we're so hard on others. These last years on planet Terra have been a pressure cooker experience; we're boiling up, looking to vent. Attack/defend and competition is not where we're going in this journey into newness; it's what we've been doing since time began.
Meditation. Photo by Danielle Voirin.
Here is a stunning truth: whenever our buttons get pushed, we are in a Holy Moment; the mirror we are looking into never gets brighter. If we are teachable, open to reflection, we are being given an opportunity to grow. A Course In Miracles
has it that we're never angry for the reason we think: it's always some earlier event, some cumulative string of unexpressed emotions that drives us to the moment of explosion and then UP goes the energy and commentary, and whatever erupts gets as much on us as on the one we directed it toward.
This is why I'm not going to personalize the e-note I received that suggested I was some kind of misogynistic miscreant for my commentary on Hillary Clinton's lack of grace last week, and probably a Gen Y type with self-esteem issues; accustomed to being called a 'bitch' and 'ho' by listening to too much low-life rap music. The note went on to suggest that Barack Obama has a low IQ and an inability to keep focus, which is where it lost me entirely.
After eight years of George Bush, I have my own litmus test for "smart;" don't you? The feminist issue that colored the Clinton campaign is challenging us to think about who we are as women and as humans, and how the world treats us; it's a conversation worth having. Let's have it new paradigm style.
In this new space we're entering, my generational differentiation shouldn't count for much; it's just one more stereotype. I don't fit into that generational model thing, anyhow; I'm pre-Boomer by about forty days, give or take, but I count myself among 'em. Mind is ageless, God-space infinite. I'm 60 plus some, and frankly I can't keep track; it's not important.
It's not that chronological age doesn't intrude itself on my experience, from time to time. Now when I look in the mirror, I see who I used to be along with who I've become, and wonder whose idea it was to give us all hamster-skin that we can damn near turn around in at some point in the journey.
But that's just earth trappings. My ever-evolving philosophy of life has little to do with how many years, or how few, I've been around in this body.
I've never thought of myself as a feminist -- but I passionately support all issues of equality. I've marched for free speech and equal rights and end of war but I left the women's movement to those who were fighting the notion that it's a man's world. I've never believed that, so I'm not at war with men.
Now patriarchy, mindless authority that victimizes both women and
men, that's another thing entirely. That's the "keep 'em in their place" model. Stereotypes that keep us pigeonholed in some kind of cultural trap work my nerves. Yes, women make less than men in the workplace and are denied power; they hit glass ceilings. People of color are defined by their skin and language, kept behind the color line. Seniors can't find jobs unless they want to be a Wal-Mart greeter or a McDonalds server; is that a gray ceiling? All of that is a grotesque waste of talent and capability.
Now that John McCain is the Republican presumptive, we'll see more about ageism. As the oldest candidate in our history, he is neither robust nor attractive. Unfortunately for Mac, both his physical presence and his outlook put him in the "old" column. I wonder if we're at the place where ideas and essence can trump image and stereotype? Probably not entirely -- we're still floating up all that's no longer workable to see if we'll keep it or pitch it. That's what all the things that surface now are about; we're cleaning out the attic and hauling stuff to the curb. And I think it should be obvious that the old, angry model of feminism needs a shift too.
I don't have unlimited patience with flag wavers; which is to say, if you filter all your thoughts and emotions through a very small lens, our conversation will be limited. I'm not sure how to approach die-hard feminists who are sure that there can be NO other reason than sexism for why their candidate lost in this recent race. If they wrap themselves in their flag then their self-definition leaves them no room to change their minds; and in a time of evolution, minds must change before anything else does.
There is no way to convince them that I was pleased as punch to have a woman compete this year but not so pleased with the old-style politics she employed. I doubt if they would believe that I was not some wild-eyed Obama maniac, that I was an Edwards supporter who cast my vote for his populism even after he'd withdrawn. It's nearly impossible to get them to shift their attention off themselves and their cause, which is part of what drew them towards Hillary Clinton initially; and in fact, it's not my job. The inappropriate anger that this event has produced is the result of "either/or" thinking, of competition. Yet we are moving toward a paradigm in which "both/and" has exploded a desire for collaboration and leaves some of us looking back over our shoulder, stunned at the anger directed at us.
This recent race was an extraordinary event. Both candidates determined early to run above their respective issues and offer a glimpse of their individual styles and abilities. Evolution happens in front of our very eyes when we watch two people break through stereotypes to give us another model; we have an opportunity to notice that what we were taught about either demographic is not true. That is why I'm sorrowful that the feminist overlay has driven the last week's conversation; what are we showing the world about our enlightened stance as women? What are we offering in this moment to prove our sensibilities superior to what we're accustomed to?
Those who focus on the supposed limitations of race and sex, and qualify their votes based on either, have missed the entire point of this powerful moment. I'm the first to admit that there was an egregious amount of sexism foisted upon Mrs. Clinton from mainstream media and that the same was true for racism as regards Mr. Obama. It's that time: all that stuff's coming down from the attic. Call the junk man, but don't put it in my yard.
Sexism is a broad and often subconscious problem in our society; it is darker and more obvious in other parts of the world. The majority of the Middle East is a repressive society with an horrific history of human rights violations propped up by the least enlightened interpretation of Sharia law, giving it a free hand to minimize, control and murder women. In the Congo
, rape and brutality has become an effective tool of war. And right here at home, women in the military
report serious abuse gone ignored under a paternalistic blind eye.
It's shocking to think that we tolerate such behavior in the 21st century; but it is the blatant excess of the dying patriarchal system that calls attention to the problem. Leadership must pay more than lip service to these problems. Obama has a perfect score on women's issues from NARAL Pro-Choice; he comes from a tradition of strong women and obvious respect for both women's issues and the plight of the underdog. I hope he will quickly undo the damage Bush has done here and abroad with his faith-based nonsense. If we cannot quickly level the playing field of bias and unexamined attitudes in this country, we can surely begin to reform laws and programs that give women a stronger platform. Quickly is the key word there -- the issues that Hillary Clinton brought to the forefront by her candidacy gives us another opportunity to confront traditions that are going to die a hard and protracted death. Indeed, both sexism and racism are touchstones of our era; there is no room for them in the new one being born.
To an interesting degree, the generational issues do inform us about feminism as it currently stands. Mrs. Clinton had women of a certain age: women who could relate to being pushed back from their aspirations, who were empathetic about gender victimization and sympathetic to attacks of blatant sexism. But if feminism is worth its salt, it must evolve. It cannot remain a generational issue, and it cannot employ such anger if it wants to bring its issues into the light.
I have mourned, for instance, the apparent inability of one generation to embrace the achievements of the last and run with it; too many young women take Roe vs. Wade for granted, unaware, or perhaps unconcerned, that it has been under massive assault for more than a decade. Just as God has no grandchildren, feminists have no daughters; it's a one-on-one relationship with one's own internal understanding and each soul has to take that journey themselves.
Many of our young girls seem more obsessed with Paris Hilton's belly button ring than with being all they can be; but the last generations have given us a multitude of female doctors and lawyers, astronauts and politicians that are modeling high standards of achievement. We have women on power lines, women on oilrigs, women in battle and in all manner of jobs once thought to be male-only.
I have to trust that all our young women see around them will compensate for their inattention to the women's movement. Maybe they don't define themselves as feminist because they don't see themselves as victimized. Maybe their humanness has trumped their femaleness. Maybe they'll change the world because they expect it to rise up to meet them; expectations are powerful. Times change and old norms fade away.
Who said that every wish
Would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that
And someone believed it.
Look what it's done so far.
What's so amazing that keeps us star gazing
And what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.
As for me, I refuse to give my power away to flawed mythology that I live in a man's world, much as people of color must refuse to accept that they're inferior and gays must reject that their lifestyle is abnormal; just because someone is treated in a diminishing fashion does not validate a flawed premise. Most of my life I've been told that I'm being victimized by a male-dominated society; then why are men being victimized as well?
It's patriarchy and authoritarianism, religion and politics, commerce and media that run us through this maze of confusion: not men, per se. If we have a fight to pick, let's go after institutionalized repression, not one another. I don't think there is argument that some of our current problems with male/female relationships are occurring because of women's demand for equality and men's rethink of authority: not only are we balancing our relationships with one another, redefining our roles, but we're balancing our internal male and female personas. That was never going to be easy, but we've had a bit of time to move into it, explore it. The answers we find are a matter of individual enlightenment and awareness; blaming one another is a waste of time.
There is no war against sexism we can wage without confirming enforced domination as the defining principle for change. That has never worked, it never will and it only continues the loop of aggression and furthers the methods of patriarchy. In terms of metaphysical principal, I am wary of projecting anger out in some type of victimization scenario that creates us as defensive rather than allowing us to stand in our power as equals.
If the flawed perceptions about women are to change, we will have to continue to teach people how we are to be treated. Every day, every interaction. Thoughtfully, intelligently. Accepting our personhood and everyone else's, without limiting or stereotyping others. Giving away what we want. Confident that we can leave old paradigm attacks behind because the new paradigm asks us to respect ourselves and others. Taking hands over our common problems and working together to change history.
We're all in this together. Our highest vision comes to us with our most loving and respectful intention to remake our world for the wellbeing of each of us. When we open our hearts, stop finger-pointing and calling names, take a moment to find our Source, then we're all hearing that same little voice; with a hat tip to the Frog.
Have you been half asleep?
And have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound
That calls the young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same
I've heard it too many times to ignore it
It's something that I'm s'posed to be...
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers, and me.
~ The Rainbow Connection
Lyrics by Kenny Ascher and Paul Williams
Kermit from the Muppet Movie