When I found out I was pregnant with a girl I grieved for a few days because I know what it means to be female in this world, and it fucking sucks. Because #MeToo includes harassment as well as assault I’ll go out on a pretty sturdy limb and wager that every woman for the past 5,000 years has experienced it. My four-year-old daughter has fucking experienced it. When I took her to the doctor for her two-year check up the pediatrician, a jovial old white man, commented on how beautiful she is; that the boys are going to be lining up for her. Yuck! If you think that’s innocent I invite you to imagine the equivalent being said abut a toddler boy. “Little Johnny’s quite the stud! He’s going to break a lot of hearts, wink wink.” It’s sexualizing children and it’s gross.
And of course it’s not just women who experience sexual abuse, assault, and harassment. The problem is so much bigger than that. One word for it is patriarchy, but I’m not sure that’s even broad enough. In addition to the rape culture that #MeToo addresses, the problem looks like racism, it looks like toxic masculinity, it looks like genocide, it looks like homophobia and transphobia, it looks like environmental destruction, it looks like war, it looks like nationalism, and if we’re really being honest, it looks like Lassez Faire capitalism. It’s all the same thing— the delusion that we’re separate and that the Other is dangerous and bad.
It’s systemic and it’s baked in. We’re operating at an evolutionary genetic level when we feel threatened by something/someone we perceive as different, and when I think about all the institutions we’ve built upon this premise that perpetuate and exacerbate it, it starts to feel impossible. It’s SO entrenched. But there is good news. The first is that because it’s so fundamental, it’s not our fault. We’ve literally inherited this from thousands of years of human evolution. The other good news is that it’s getting better. We’re evolving. Things are definitely fucked up now, but they’re a lot better than they were a few generations ago, and a few generations before then, and so on.
So the question becomes not whether or not change is gonna come, but rather how quickly do we want it? Rapid transformation is possible. We can do this, and we’ve already been shown the way:
Step 1: Own it. It may not be my fault, but it is my responsibility. I will not be able to address all the greed, hatred, and delusion out in the world until I face it within myself. Period. This step requires discomfort and soul searching because it isn’t easy to ask, “How am I like that?” But it is necessary. How am I racist? How do I believe men and women should be a certain way? How do I perpetuate inequality? The trick is to do this in a spirit of love and compassion and not self-flagellation. Because hating ourselves only feeds the demon. We can’t heal the hatred within us by hating it more. Love yourself and forgive yourself. Over and over, forever.
Step 2: Be the change you want to see in the world (sorry! some of the cliches are true). Now that I’m aware of my own patterns, of how I act out inequality- I get to make a new decision. I get to act and think differently. And, perhaps even more importantly, I find that I can’t let injustice go unchallenged when I see it in the world. When I’ve faced it within myself I can’t be in integrity and not challenge it elsewhere.
Step 3: Imagine the world we want: visualize it, dream it, and believe it. If we want to make change happen faster than the glacial evolutionary pace that’s inevitable, we have to start actively creating it and that begins with a vision. If we can’t imagine a future without patriarchy/racism/war how can we possibly expect to achieve it? I’m serious. I know it sounds woo-woo, but it’s actually quite practical. If John F. Kennedy hadn’t said he wanted us to get to the moon, if he hadn’t held that vision, it would not have been possible. So it is with peace and justice. This might actually be the hardest of the steps, though. I know it is for me. I have a very difficult time envisioning a just and equitable world. Because one of fear’s greatest tricks is to convince us that we’re too small, or that it’s always been this way so it always will be.
But actually, the lie is the separation. Unity, grace, and love are what’s real. Every mystical tradition points to the underlying wholeness that we’re part of, and that’s what we’re evolving toward. But it’s on each of us to pick up the pace. Because honestly, I don’t think we have the luxury to sit back and let nature take its course when so many humans are hell-bent on destruction. Which is why I am committed to imagining another way. I hope you’ll join me, so the world can be as one (I know! Again with the cliches. Sorry not sorry.)
by April b.
I'm the human behind Mind Altering Reality, and this is where you'll find things I've written about me, about life, and about my practice.