The world now needs the ways in which we are different.
On Friday, May 31, a group of women assembled for dinner in a home in the hills west of Santa Fe. When I arrived, a cool evening breeze had brought wildfire smoke in for a visit, and the big screen TV was tracking the Oklahoma tornado invasion. The dynamic inspired a very unusual discussion.
We had gathered just for fun, but the drama abroad altered the energy of the evening. The evidence of inexorable change in climate inspired one of us, a professional facilitator, to lead an exercise that would consume the evening. It involved taking stock of the threshold on which each of us stood before moving forward with some form of service in behalf of the collective.
All of us have certain things in common. We are independent, have had very large life experiences, and have pioneered in many ways. We undoubtedly have many more adventurous and demanding miles to go before we rest, if we ever do. We are all driven by callings that inspired a prayer I have written.
I pray for the return of the Feminine Principle.
May she sit at the right hand of the Masculine,
With equal voice and equal sway.
May she return for the sake of the children,
For the sake of every creature that moves on this beautiful Earth,
For the sake of blue skies and quiet nights,
Living waters, fertile soil, and the Eternal Cycle.
May the Feminine Principle return
For the sake of balance and justice and a future.
Yesterday morning when I stepped out to get the newspaper, the air was full of smoke, possibly from both the Tres Lagunas Fire in the Santa Fe National Forest and the Thompson Ridge Fire near Jemez springs. A headline in the local newspaper announced that the Atlantic puffin is in peril worldwide, signaling the declining health of the seas.
I may have to start adding alcohol to my coffee to get through all the bad news in the papers each morning, but it is clear that we have not a moment to waste. And so on to a second proposed principle of feminine leadership:
The purpose of initiative is to serve balance.
It is often the case that women feel the need to mimic male ways in male-dominated settings and to prove equal aggression. What I am saying is that the world now needs the ways in which we are different. The purpose of the principles is to focus on those values.
The predicaments we are facing worldwide have been created by a quality of aggression unfamiliar to the feminine. The goal of aggression is to acquire advantage and then to work that advantage to even greater advantage. The goal of balance is, of course, the opposite.
The world is currently profoundly out of balance. There is wide and growing disparity in wealth, education, and opportunity. The drive for advantage is why we have such a huge defense budget, why Capitol Hill swarms with lobbyists, and why we live in a world of overheated commercial competition.
In pursuit of wealth and sustenance and space, we pillage not only the environments of wildlife but also fish, hunt, and crowd it to extinction. According to scientists, we are overheating the world with greenhouse gases to devastating effect. In fact, warming seas may be destroying the fish populations that feed the puffins.
With regard to the change I am proposing, there is no need to worry that the drive for advantage will ever disappear, and we need a certain amount of that in the world. We love to see this energy among athletes, for example, and life is enriched by the will to achieve. I’m just saying that we need balance.
And so for a woman in a leadership role contemplating some initiative, the challenge to be addressed is the simple question “Does this serve balance?” The number of case studies one could use to experiment with this question is nearly infinite.
The challenge is also to think long-term. For example, the effect of a subsidy for a certain crop or fuel, could serve balance over the short-term but create imbalance over the long-term. Will a simplified corporate tax code serve balance? Will legalizing pot serve balance? Does drone warfare serve balance? What about the morning after pill?
I am not saying that this is a simple standard to embrace. However, wouldn’t it be a great exercise for the development of feminine intellect? What actions individually or collectively will serve balance? With that question at large, an awakening would begin.
Nevertheless, as I said, this is just one idea for a set of principles of feminine leadership. I hope that any woman who reads this will be thinking about others. Soon, hopefully, there will be a gatherings to discuss them.