Thursday, October 1, 2009

Women and Values, Women and Money: Toward a More Equitable Economic System and a More Humane World

“Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason. As a long and violent abuse of power, is generally the Means of calling the right of it into question (and in Matters too which might never have been thought of, had not the Sufferers been aggravated into the inquiry) and as the Patriarchy and Monotheism hath undertaken in their OWN RIGHTS, to support this SYSTEM in what they call THEIRS, and as the good WOMEN and Men of this world are grievously oppressed by the combination, they have an undoubted privilege to inquire into the pretensions of both, and equally to reject the usurpations of either.” Thomas Payne, Common Sense, (Revised to reflect current concerns between Patriarchy, monotheism, women and men rather than King and men as were addressed in the original treatise in 1776.)

“History is a set of lies agreed upon.” Napoleon

“In our larger societal lives, as in our individual lives, we continue repeating what we do not understand, what we have not resolved.” Charlotte Perkins Gilman

“Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the power of reflecting the figure of man at twice his natural size.” Virginia Woolf

“Morality represents the way people would like the world to work—whereas economics represents how it actually does work.” Anonymous

“No chivalry prevents men from getting women at the very lowest possible wages.” Elizabeth Robins

“A woman picking at a thread of discontent can unravel the world.” Author unknown

The economy is spiraling to its death. The government is bailing out the financial institutions and corporations whose greed and lust for power and prestige has brought about and perpetuated the collapse. The new president promises jobs and economic stimulus. The Federal Reserve, since its inception, has constantly injected more and more debt masked as money into the system. Will the new jobs be constructive outlets for our creative power? Will the stimulus packages undo decades and centuries of unsustainability inherent in our economic and financial systems? Will the ever expanding debt loads by the ever escalating proliferation of fiat money continue to destroy all value and thus ultimately result in a total collapse of life as we know it? It’s all happened before with cyclical regularity and at times with punctuated finality. This being the case, is the system worth preserving? Women especially must ponder these questions. We live in a world not of our making and because of such our feminine egalitarian values of fairness, nurturing, and cooperation, have neither been reflected in nor replicated in the current economic system.

It is a matter of historical fact that all of the institutions on our planet have been created by men for the benefit of men. Their principles of hierarchy, dominance, competition, aggression, and control have characterized the basis from which our world and world view has long been established. Our economics, laws, politics, religions, educational systems, family structures, architecture, philosophy, sexuality, etc.: all have been defined and constructed by men. Our histories and cultures have been recorded and society’s assembled by the winners: the most brutal of conquerors, the men with the biggest egos, the largest armies, the best scientists, the most creative financiers and bankers, the most destructive and efficient technologies, and the most organized religions that philosophically exploit our spiritual proclivities in order to assure our continued passive obedience. These creators of our old and new world orders have been men of power and personal ambition creating the social institutions which insure their continued authority while having learned to manipulate the populace by paying lip service to ideals such as democracy and freedom. Generally women (and sensitive, astute men) know, maybe not intellectually and spiritually, but rather we know emotionally and physically that these ideals are in theory only.

Our world is not a friendly and safe place—how can we be truly free if we do not feel safe? How can we be free when daily we are confronted with widespread violence, “entertainment” that perpetuates more violence physically as well as psychologically, crime, murder, rape, child abuse, spousal abuse, pornography, prostitution, poverty, malnutrition, disease, economic wars masking as religious wars, destruction of our ecosystem, pollution, irradiated chemically laden food, and financial machinations which periodically coalesce to destroy our lives—all under the auspices of freedom and democracy. Even our so longed for and proclaimed mantras of democracy and freedom are idealized values which are most often absent even within our very homes—our most cherished archetype.

Women have lived or continue to live within the realm of the monarchy, either with father, husband, or lover; we’ve lived within the castle of the king: “A man’s home is his castle.” Unfortunately the role of Queen, while rather exalted in myth, in fact, in the home is more akin to that of a chamber maid then equal cohort to the King.

There has been little democracy in childcare, cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, decision making, or in taking care of the most basic daily needs of existence. These needs have primarily been defined to be the responsibility of women. We have historically been prescribed these duties. These fundamental needs as important as they are have been afforded NO VALUE in the masculine contrived market economy. Women have been given much responsibility but have had few rights—and little money and wealth. Rights have, constitutionally and practically, been the soul property of men, and especially of elite men. Their right to classify and craft every nuance of our social domain in their own image has been and remains virtually unchallenged and unacknowledged. Even with all the inroads into the public arena women have made over the past 40 years, we’re still just participating in a male defined construct and have yet to create another more humane model of existence.

Scholarship, especially from the past 50 years, much of it attributable to women who benefited educationally from the women’s movement in the 1960’s and 70’s, has ushered in a revolution in knowledge and understanding. As these researcher’s and writer’s have investigated and reported on issues close to their own hearts, they have used their own perspective as women and challenged over and over the status quo. This change in point of view from earlier scholarship opens up the vista of human experience 180 degrees. From the liberal arts, to medicine, mathematics, and the sciences, women have contributed their significant perspectives heretofore having been ignored

Anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson in her book Composing a Life suggests that the subversion of the female was “accomplished by taking advantage of 2 kinds of vulnerability that women raised in our society tend to have. First, is a quality of self-sacrifice—a learned willingness to set aside their own interests and be used and even used up by the community. The second kind of vulnerability trained into women is a readiness to believe messages of disdain and derogation.”

Historian Rosalind Miles in her excellent, witty overview of women’s history, Who Cooked the Last Supper: The Women’s History of the World recognized, “women are an oppressed class. We are exploited as sex objects, breeders, domestic servants and cheap labor…our prescribed behavior is enforced with threats of physical violence. Because we have lived so intimately with our oppressors, in isolation from each other, we have been kept from seeing our personal suffering as a political condition.”

Author Marilyn French points out how the androcentric or patriarchal system of control “distorts interdependency. By placing all rights in the male, granting males most of all of a society’s economic and political power, it transforms productive adult women into dependent minors. By devaluing women’s contributions…patriarchy disguises interdependency, giving it the appearance of dependency…The Personal is Political.”

In the early 20th century writings of economist Charlotte Perkins Gilman she analyzed how the “economic dependence of women made women the slaves of men and thereby hindered social evolution.” Thus subjected to men’s control women have historically “largely been limited to domestic servitude in exchange for food and shelter, an arrangement sanctioned by an androcentric church and state.” The limited role afforded women elevated the importance of marriage as nearly the sole respectable means of livelihood and status, so that “she must exaggerate sexual and maternal habits.” “So excessive was the sex distinctions between women and men that two divergent worldviews evolved. Two such individuals can hardly function as equal partners in marriage (much less in the public sphere); hence, a double standard exists.” Perkins then suggested that women seek economic independence though specialized work. Education would thus “diversify women’s capacities, and enable them to perform public service and lead to general social progress.”

Women have in many respects accomplished what Perkins had suggested. But still our labors can remain unpaid, underpaid, and under valued even by ourselves who after all have been brought up culturally to see ourselves as less important and significant then men. Surely we might deny this, however, we know and are reminded of our lesser position at every joke, putdown, lack of equal pay, lack of opportunities for advancement and leadership, and general lack of respect for the feminine.

How many compromises do we make daily in our interactions with our significant others be they the spouses, lovers, employers, teachers, political leaders, etc.? How often do we watch each other become quiet when a man is listening or speaking? How often do we watch our friends change before our eyes from strong and self-sufficient women into sycophants when a man enters the room or demands preferential treatment? How often have we seen or heard ourselves devalued and objectified in the media, in films, on television, in the streets, in our homes, and on our computers? How often do we stifle our needs, our opinions, our plans, our desires, and our goals in order to just get along and not be seen as bitches or shrews? How long will we allow ourselves to be controlled by such concerns? How many of our daily frustrations and slights are repressed, our anger turned inward toward depression and self-negation? And perhaps more significantly how long do we think we can continue to collaborate in this system which is undermining our very existence and all life on our planet?

In his most reasoned book, The Gender Knot: Unraveling our Patriarchal Legacy, sociologist Allan G. Johnson succinctly summarizes our dilemma in addressing the excesses of the world which we take for granted: “social systems often seem stable because they limit our lives and imaginations so much that we cannot see beyond them. This is especially true when a social system has existed for so long that its past extends beyond collective memory of anything different. As a result, it lays down laws of social life—involving various forms of privilege—that can easily be mistaken for some kind of normal and inevitable human condition. It then masks a fundamental long-term instability caused by the dynamic of privilege and oppression.” Johnson concludes, we are so “male dominant and male identified, along with not seeing women as oppressed we resist seeing men as the privileged oppressors group.”

As the new knowledge and observations gleaned from it, percolates down into society, perhaps there is a growing conviction that men and women have not merely distinct but opposed political needs and imperatives. We have begun to witness such in the political arena as women are choosing the lesser of two evils and are principally supporting Democratic candidates and policies. (I refer to Democrats as the lesser of the evils as both parties are corporate entities—and I believe it is “corporatism” which looks a lot like a renovated Middle Ages feudalism that enslaved the peasants—which must eventually be addressed by our society. The peasants were attached to the land, so that they physically understood their inslavement; we think that because we can move about we are free, but it is the "system" which enslaves us.)

The division of needs has been reflected in my study of Ancient Chinese Medicine, and Taoism. I have become convinced of the polar opposite needs of women and men as are reflected in the roles that have historically been assigned to each. Taoism, the philosophical basis of Chinese Medicine, long before it became a religion, was simply a study of balance and energy. The Taoist called the energies yin and yang and divided them into 5 elements: fire, earth (the masculine polarities); air, and water (the feminine polarities) and ether—in effect representing, Einstein’s Unified Field in which energy exists in balance. We might think of yang as electro- and yin as magnetic energies; thus defining the electromagnetic energy field in which all life exists.

As I came to understand the polar nature of these energies and how they interacted, I was reminded of a phrase I had encountered early in my spiritual journey, “that which is inside of you can destroy you or set you free.” I now believe that it is our ignorance of these energies (literally the metaphysical and natural world) which is behind the war between the sexes, the war with nature, and the very destruction of our ecosystem and our inability to do much about it. We are the only animal on the planet that is able to ignore natural law. As a consequence of our philosophies and religions we have been taught that we hold dominion over nature and might do with it as we please. Our chaotic world is a direct result of this manner of thinking and interacting with life on our planet.

Averting our spiral into catastrophe, from its trajectory into an abyss toward which we have been advancing for centuries, is made difficult to detect by our relatively short lives. We often confuse cause and effect and neglect to understand the root origins of our circumstances; as individuals as well as societies.

We must once more familiarize ourselves with natural law and learn to live accordingly. My personal education of such was facilitated by studying the I Ching (originally using Carol K. Anthony’s A Guide to the I Ching), Chinese Medicine, and astrology. The I Ching has been known as an ancient divination guide. I used it as such, but as I consulted the guide over time, I realized, more importantly, that it is rather a valuable resource for learning how to live more naturally and harmoniously. It was almost magical. As I was confronted by various difficult situations which triggered off my fears and emotional anxieties and would apply the advice from my readings these situations were favorably and easily resolved. I once read that the I Ching was not a religion but rather served as a lantern that we might hold over our paths to keep us from falling into every pit hole. Chinese Medicine, a 3,000 year old system of proactive health, and the I Ching both trace their origins to Taoist teachings on balance.

Astrology, although it has been much maligned in our time, is simply an ancient encrypted mathematical system, which measures the energy of the electromagnetic field. This system has been used from civilizations as diverse as the Babylonians, Egyptians, Hebrews, Mayans, Indians, Celts, etc. Astrology was taught in the universities in Europe at the time of the Renaissance. Ancient documents and knowledge, including the study of astrology, were brought back from the Middle East by the European Crusaders. This information was being disseminated into European society (and may be responsible for the exquisite Renaissance art as the occult knowledge—hidden-as in energy—was used to create beauty) until the Church eventually vilified the practice. The knowledge, however, continued to be used in medicine at least through the reign of Elizabeth I. Astrology had been championed by the father of Western medicine, Hippocrates who stated, “A physician without knowledge of astrology has no right to call himself a physician.”

Here is a very rudimentary and concise explanation of energy as I understand it in order to summarize the general characteristics of energy as pertains to this article.

Yin energy generally represents the feminine; expansive and giving. Yang, the masculine energy is contractive and can be selfish. We all consist of both yin and yang. Each type of energy can be subdivided into their elements: Yin into air and water (intellectual and emotional), yang into fire and earth (spiritual and physical). An integration of all the energies must occur in order to balance.

I hypothesize that since the beginning of the patriarchy, the masculine polarity has been elevated in importance as the feminine characteristics of intellect and emotions have been denigrated. The masculine polarities of spirit and body are more easily controlled separated as they became from the feminine polarities of emotions and intellect. We have all been restricted ever since the origins of monotheism into a segmented reality. What came to be the "official" cosmology justified an elevated status for men, made in God’s image, and relegated women to a lesser position having little value other than as might be utilized by men. Pantheism, which was replaced by the monotheistic order, can be seen as being a philosophy of acknowledging the sacredness inherent within all of life rather than the exclusionary monotheism which puts worth in one God who resides outside or above the Earth, and then by proxy predominantly in men who were made in “his” image. As that God can only be accessed by an elite, male, organization which serves as intermediary, a priestly and kingly order was violently and brutally established over the peoples of Earth, wave by wave, first by killing off all opposition and then by co-opting the remaining indigenous peoples spiritual proclivities, as well as, by instituting legal and economic systems of control. We now all live under this repressive system. What begin in the Middle East with the enslavement of the Israelites as recorded in the Bible, eventually spread into Africa, Europe and Asia, and finally encompassing the Americas and the Islands.

It is only in light of our understanding how much we have been elementally divided can we begin to rebalance ourselves and our Earth home which is experiencing ecological chaos due to centuries of our imbalance.

We’ve advanced a long way intellectually since the beginning of “history.” Our intellectual pursuits were managed throughout the past thousands of years by controlling education and limiting those who had access to such—especially by the exclusion of women and minorities. But in order to truly become whole and reclaim our freedom we must embody our emotional self. This is probably the most difficult piece of ourselves which we must integrate in order to become whole. We have been well taught to repress our emotions. Instead of seeing our unruly emotions as messages from our soul to make changes in our out of balance lives we have learned to bottle them up and ostracize those who may live closer to their emotions—particularly women. We might ask what purpose such control serves. Even in our world today in much of alternative medicines and philosophies to which people are turning more and more, the concern has been limited to an integration of mind, body, and spirit.

Why would the water element (or emotions) be neglected? In my study of energy, I found that the ancients recognized wisdom as being a product of the water element. Wisdom does not originate from the intellect but rather from the emotions. Certainly this is true for we have often seen many things justified intellectually which we know are wrong because we FEEL (the emotions corresponding with the body) them to be dishonest and often immoral. I surmise that in our repressing of emotions we have been led far astray. Rather then feel our emotions and understand them as messages from our core for change, we have for generations, repressed them and been denigrated for our feelings by being labeled as “too sensitive.” Men have been characterized historically as the rational ones and thus the natural leaders while women, as the irrational emotional gender, have not been generally allowed to rule or participate in the public affairs of society. This has been used as justification to limit women from having any real active and vital roles in shaping our world.

An understanding of the energies led me to realize that in order to balance, yin must “consciously” contract by putting herself first so that yang will “expand.” This does not happen unconsciously normally until the mid-life crises of women, when having given too much, our own needs rarely having been adequately met, we contract with a vengeance—all of our repressed anger erupting often into misdirected and misunderstood rage.(Yin turns into yang, yang into yin.) (In my own experience, the feelings come long before the understanding from whence such extreme emotions arise.)

In his book, Eve’s Seed: Biology, the Sexes, and the Course of History, historian Robert S. McElvaine quotes the administrator of the U.N. Development Program speaking at a 1995 worldwide survey on the status of women: “life is dramatically unfair to women.” McElvaine then goes on to discuss how “history was shaped in fundamental ways by the belief in female inferiority.” It is “men who have defined the battle lines in the punitive war between the sexes—those who have, in truth, been the ones who declared the war—have drawn those battle grounds so sharply that the middle ground is a minefield.” Given such constrictions, it is little wonder women’s anger finally erupts—despite having been trained since childhood of the inappropriateness of such a passion in women. We have been raised on the ideals of social equality and it takes many years to finally discern that the “emperor has no clothes.” Anger is an appropriate response and a necessary one if we are ever to have justice. Without consciously connecting with our anger, we would simply continue to suffer our abuse. When women are totally in touch with, and claim their anger, we are on our way to healing—what a paradox! Giving ourselves the right to feel our emotions—whatever they might be, understand their messages, and incorporating this new information into our lives and choices is essential to our path to wholeness. This is a healthy understanding of natural law. If one pulls the tale of a tiger, one is going to suffer the consequences and get bitten or worse.

Consciousness is key. We have been so brainwashed since birth about how the world should be, that we unconsciously have learned to accommodate the systemic abuses. As we consciously feel our emotions, we can choose different options to address the offenses we suffer; otherwise we act out of our imbalanced gender stereotypes. The good news is that, as the Taoist say, “if you wish to change the world, you need only change yourself. That is all that is required.” How could this be? Upon reflection I have realized that as we rebalance, the world around us begins to rebalance. I used to use the analogy of a child’s game of magnets to understand how energy might move. If you had a board of magnets of various sizes and moved one magnet, all of the magnets on the board would shift. We are like magnets, as we shift our energy we affect the entire world; and the more of us involved in learning to shift our energies, the greater the momentum toward systemic change.

During the past 5,000 +/- years since the time when the sky gods—Greeks and Hebrews pantheons—arose and over threw the existing earth goddess civilizations, a rupture was introduced into, and spread throughout, our planetary history. Energy, always in balance has been maintained with the masculine energy or yang dominating in the public sphere and yin or feminine energy limited to the private sphere. The problem with this division of energy from a systemic perspective is that although the arrangement has ostensibly worked; individually we all have been out of balance. This individual imbalance has led to our current economic, political, cultural, and ecological crises—as we are the building blocks from on all else is dependent. It is as if humanity made a wrong turn since the time of Plato (the beginning of misogyny, wars without end, abuse of the natural world, etc., traces to this time) and our trajectory as a planet has been off course ever since..

We have not understood the psychological impact of the events which led to the beginnings of history as witnessed by the rise of the Greeks, Hebrew patriarchs and monotheism. Stories preserved in written form from the Bible (Noah’s flood), Plato’s Timaeus and Critias and those legends passed orally by indigenous peoples all over the planet, tell of a world wide catastrophe which disrupted the previous world order. Most probably these stories of global cataclysm refer to our planet being hit by asteroids; geologically, there is evidence of two such events over the past 10,000 years—the last occurring approximately 5,000 year ago—paralleling exactly the rise of the patriarchs. Such a global disaster was beyond our collective imagination until witnessing; at least 21 discernable pieces of Comet Shoemaker-Levy collide into the planet Jupiter from July 16 through July 22, 1994. This was the first collision of two solar system bodies observed in “history.”

An understanding of the devastation and personal trauma experienced by those who survived such a planetary disaster might go far in explaining the reactive schizophrenic split of the masculine and feminine spheres of influence. A psychological rejection of nature and of the feminine does not seem like a far fetched explanation for what followed as humans sought to control their environment. McElvaine suggests also that such a catastrophe is most likely to “kill off the most educated and sophisticated people” who are usually clustered in cities. Those left, mostly the uneducated, being caught up in the chaos, became “invaders, claiming god status” and rising up to displace the old ways by using the pandemonium as a means of securing their own survival needs. “History” thus begins from chaos and trauma.

Trauma, both personal and collective, is difficult to process; our tendency is to shut down emotionally rather than experience the pain. Only if we process our trauma consciously might we understand from where it is derived and ultimately heal it. The time to do so is now. Those calamities from our geological past may have been beyond our ability to change, but the problems we have created from that time forward are not.

In her excellent book, Necessary Dreams: Ambition in Women’s Changing Lives, Anna Fels describes how “throughout their lives women are subtly discouraged from pursuing their goals by a pervasive lack of recognition for their accomplishments. Parents, peers, teachers, professors, bosses, and institutions all understate work by females and therefore unwittingly withhold appropriate praise and support. All too often girls and young women incrementally lose their early convictions about their abilities and talents. A belief in the likelihood of achieving their goals slowly fades and is supplanted by aspirations for more socially available types of attention, particularly attention for sexual attractiveness.” In order to encourage each other to throw off the shackles of our mind which has been our legacy from the past, we must begin to build the support networks with other women who can provide the recognition that we need so that we may succeed in our personal endeavors and help rebalance the world. Each of us has a vital role to play and a personal destiny to fulfill.

Women have much to contribute to our ailing world—we are the most attuned to the water element and therefore to wisdom. Our brains, being more interconnected then men’s brains, allow us to excel in understanding the big picture. If women were truly partners in society, we would innately inject balance into the extremes of our androcentric world. My own spiritual journey began with the reading of Philosopher Ken Wilbur’s book Sex, Ecology, Spirituality as he called for a dose of the healthy, whole, feminine energy to rebalance the out-of-balance masculine world. I understood and acknowledged the validity of his work and being convinced have consciously striven these past 13 years to contribute my share. It’s not been particularly pleasant or easy but I have remained true to this vision throughout; regardless of the consequences.

“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” Audre Lorde

Our path to wholeness begins as we tune into and decipher our physical and emotional responses as guides to transforming ourselves and ultimately our society. Our spirit, body, and intellect have a role but as we have learned: wisdom is not a product of the intellect but rather of the emotions. When we ignore or repress our feelings in favor of accommodating an unbalanced world, we actively participate in prolonging its volatility and instability. Our raw emotions can be quite frightening and don’t feel particularly good to experience. It is often much easier to masks our emotional wounds through addictions like drugs, alcohol, sex, food, shopping, smoking, etc. Our work involves learning to allow the emotions to rise and to feel them. Try not to use your emotions to confront others, but rather find a private space where you might safely vent. Emotions are energy in motion. Move and let the emotion move through you. They are like the weather, sometimes stormy; but calm, nice conditions always return. Once the storm has passed, usually within a day or two, expect and look for having a personal epiphany. (Comfort with crying is a personal must. Although we have often been ashamed of our tears, as they have not been respected in the male ideology and seen as a sign of weakness, crying is how a woman releases her stress—and we’ve all been quite stressed. An artist friend, having studied transcendental meditation, once told me, “We’ve mountains of stress trapped in our bodies.”)

It is difficult, and often quite inconvenient, learning to be true to oneself in all things; we have spent much of our lives serving many other masters. One should not underestimate the degree in which such a shift from one’s willingness to accommodate the status quo will disrupt those around you who are vested in the current world view. The toil ahead will not be effortless; there is much internal work to be done to bolster the diminished self. As women begin to get in touch with their core values, which will rise to consciousness as the inner work progresses, we will then be able to constructively balance the out-of-control masculine energy which continues to dominate and destroy our world.

The inner work will yield many nuggets of gold. Many early folklores and myths tell of the riches to be gained in confronting ones shadow and reincorporating the split-off portions of oneself. New ways of seeing and interacting with the world will result from this internal work. The feminine energy you are questing for is not passive but rather magnetic; it draws what it needs. You need not actively pursue your destiny (this is the manifestation of the masculine energy.) You need only allow your life and purpose to unfold. Trust that you will receive what you require and rise every day doing only what is before you. Understand that sometimes what you need to experience or understand is not always what you’d necessarily choose, but that all serves a bigger purpose on the path to wholeness. Learn to live in the now and not to worry about the future. Go with the flow. Go downstream; everything you need is downstream. Be gentle with yourself. Learn to clear your mind, get in touch with your body and most importantly breathe: especially when life shakes you up: breathe—long, deep, slow breaths from the abdomen.

The best allies that women have on our paths to wholeness are each other—the patriarchy sustained itself primarily by keeping us ignorant and separate. We have been deprived of each other and have primarily looked to men for validation, love and support both physically and emotionally. We have learned the hard way that this reliance comes at a price which often includes our remaining energetically unbalanced, submissive, weak, and dependent. Most importantly, we are learning that our emotional needs can never be fulfilled by men. Men generally have neither the emotional capacity nor any real interests in fulfilling women’s emotional needs.

In his latest book, Why Mars and Venus Collide: Improving Relationships by Understanding How Men and Women Cope Differently with Stress, John Gray suggests that men can only fulfill 10% of the necessary levels of oxytocin (the love and cuddle hormone of support and well being) in women. The rest (or 90%) of the necessary levels of oxytocin are women’s own responsibility. Means of increasing a woman’s levels of oxytocin are most easily produced by pampering oneself and through quality time spent with friends. If this is the case, then we might easily see that the priorities of women throughout the patriarchy have been to our own physical and emotional detriment by putting husband and family first. Ideally women must put themselves and their relationships with friends first—only then might we receive the support which literally and hormonally, will nourish our health and well-being, thus allowing us to succeed on our terms.

We are poised at an auspicious moment. We are just beginning to experience a global, protracted, economic collapse—which seems to be currently intentionally delayed as the fiat system continues to create money out of thin air, thus exaserbating a “dollar bubble” which the rest of the world is becoming most eager to pop—they’ve suffered the American hegemony of the dollar long enough. Cycles of economic depressions generally last from 15-18 years. This would seem depressing if one sees it from the view point of the status quo, but seen from a balanced perspective, is rather an opportunity for a planetary healing crisis. Alternative and ancient medicines have long recognized that a true healing is often instigated by a shocking event. Only when dreams, that have held us mesmerized for so long, are exposed as having no value can we awaken to create something new. We can only then begin to reevaluate our needs from a balanced perspective and fabricate new types of social, political and economic enterprises which support our new stability. Our whole world is up for reevaluation and revision.

There is a choice to be made: either one might heed the economic breakdown as a wakeup call and adapt one’s behavior toward a journey to wholeness, or one might shut down emotionally to withstand the coming disruptions and accompanying trauma and once the danger passes, resume life as if nothing had happened thus sowing the seeds for the next crisis and repeating the 5,000 year old patterns of disharmony.

The winter's frost must rend the burr of the nut before the fruit is seen. So adversity tempers the human heart, to discover its real worth.
- Honore de Balzac

If it’s any consolation, I have had my own personal, economic, healing crises the past 17 years. I will relate my journey in my memoir Izzy’s Daring Digression which I will post in serial installments on this blog. My wish is that it might serve as a joyfully resolved illustration of what is possibly ahead for all of us. As historian Gerda Lerner highlights in her book, The Creation of Patriarchy, “The system of patriarchy is a historical construct, it had a beginning; it will have an end.” I would remind you that everything that we know was created by someone and that we are all creators. We can, we must, and we will recreate a better world. Lerner once more, in regards to women and our role in revolutionizing our world: “To be women centered…means developing the intellectual courage, the courage to stand alone, the courage to reach farther than our grasp, the courage to risk failure. Perhaps the greatest challenge to the thinking woman is the challenge to move from the desire for safety and approval to the most “unfeminine” quality of all—that of intellectual arrogance, the supreme hubris which asserts to itself the right to reorder the world, the hubris of the god makers, the hubris of the male, system builders.” We must “free our minds from patriarchal thought and practice and at last build a world free of dominance and hierarchy, a world that is truly humane.” The only way to do such is by rebalancing our own energies by reclaiming our water element. In many ways, we will be healing not just our current reality and our future prospects, but bridging the original rift opened so long ago. Won’t you join me on the path to healing and wholeness? It won’t be easy but together we can persevere and ultimately thrive.

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