Every victim becomes a sister.
So the time has come for the fourth principle of feminine leadership. A symbol is needed to represent this final principle and all four at once. What could that be?
I would like to begin with the premise that the concept of The Other must be retired in order to develop a new world order. The challenge in this time of extreme polarization is to soften focus on our differences. Many entities are heavily invested in these differences, so this is going to be difficult.
When we step back and look at this country and the world, what we see is fraying relationships everywhere. In the United States, political differences rip friends and family apart. The issues of immigration and the Keystone Pipeline strain the fabric of our relationship with Mexico and Canada. Abroad, the European Union is coming apart at the seams. Tribal conflicts in the Middle East threaten to unravel every form of governance. The global ambitions of Russia and China are shredding the allegiance of their own people. On and on.
And all over the world, whoever is not “us” is The Other. That means people from other countries, other races, other religions, other income groups, and other political persuasions. There is only one exception. In the case of women and in the case of certain circumstances, the otherness vanishes.
I was thinking about this recently while reading an article about group therapy for survivors of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, known as the rape capital of the world. Anytime I read a story about rape—and there is an appalling number of such lately—I instantly identify with the victims.
Even though I have never experienced anything like this, I understand what it means and I am not alone. Feminine compassion has no boundaries, especially with regard to women in parts of the world where they have no rights, are treated like property, are attacked without consequence, and can be summarily executed to restore masculine “honor.” Color, religion, history—none of it matters. Every victim becomes a sister.
When I also read about the incredible courage women are showing in other parts of the world, risking death to go to school, to deliver polio vaccines, to learn how to drive, to make a love match, and to shed a garment that looks like a funeral shroud, I am awestruck. The understanding and respect these acts inspire are the ground of oneness that spiritual leaders so often refer to.
The disappearance of The Other must be hard for many men to imagine, because they have always been trained to be warriors. You cannot kill someone you sense as a brother at some level. You can only kill someone identified as an “it.” And even then it is traumatic, which is a major reason why so many men come back from war maimed in mind and spirit.
They come home needing to be healed, and that is largely the work of their women. By coincidence, I discovered yesterday other work women did for warriors in times of old. They learned how to quilt in order to create padded undergarments for armor. Suddenly I had the symbol I needed to conclude this discussion—the needle.
The earliest sewing needle discovered so far is South African, and it is more than 60,000 years old. The tool has appeared all over the world among unconnected peoples. It was first used to construct clothing from hides. Then fabric and thread were developed to create garments and tapestries, to embroider, to do needlework and bead work, and to make quilts.
Men may have used the earliest bone needles, but sewing eventually became the special province of women. Much of the early art has disappeared because the materials are fragile, but this task evolved into a primary outlet for feminine creativity. Needlework probably saved the sanity of many a woman confined by winter or circumstance.
But back to the quilt. A quilt is made up of many pieces of different sizes, shapes, and colors, and humanity is like that. We all want the edges of nationality defined to protect identity and provide security. However, we all share the same planet, and it is time to begin thinking how to work together to create a harmonious whole. Women have shown genius in turning scraps into beautiful works of art, and that work is symbolic of the skill needed to develop better relationships at all levels.
And now for the final principle and the overarching symbol of feminine leadership:
Our way is that of the needle.
The needle represents a unique and essentially feminine tool of creation. To help this idea travel, let’s imagine a goddess-like figure carrying a tall staff suggesting both authority and guidance. Its shape is the needle.
As we begin to come fully into our power and potential during this new age, we can imaginatively carry this staff worldwide on a mission to take better care of our earthly home, promote balance everywhere, and mend the fabric of civilization.
The moment has come. Let’s roll.