“When you operate out of the wounded places within yourself, places that are not your truest, the extremes seem irreconcilable. Life is too deep for cynicism or polarization. It just is. Compassion enables you to transcend these polarities at a place within yourself where you stand for the dignity of every human life.” — Sister Helen Prejean, IN SWEET COMPANY: CONVERSATIONS WITH EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN ABOUT LIVING A SPIRITUAL LIFE
I’ve been noticing a run on articles that offer opinions, statistics, and strategies that supposedly reveal the inside scoop on what women want. Pundits and strategists eager to win our votes or our dollars ask the question like beleaguered suitors or explorers from other planets, then provide responses that don’t much satisfy, that sometimes offend, that often infer our choices and behavior are bowed by a hormonal cycle that effects our ability to get to “the bottom line.”
On the upside, there are several wonderful books available (my own IN SWEET COMPANY: CONVERSATIONS ABOUT EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN ABOUT LIVING A SPIRITUAL LIFE included) that answer this question in clear and compelling ways. THE SPIRIT OF A WOMAN: STORIES TO EMPOWER AND INSPIRE, edited by psychotherapist Terry Laszlo-Gopadze (www.womens-spirit.com), and SIXTY YEARS, SIXTY VOICES: ISRAELI AND PALESTINIAN WOMEN, AN OBJECTIVE LOOK AT THE ODDS FOR PEACE THROUGH WOMEN’S EYES, by Patricia Smith Melton, Founder of PeacexPeace (www.peacexpeace.org), capture the desires and intentions of intelligent, compassionate, inspired women around the globe. Both books tell women’s stories in their own words. Both books transcend age, religious and cultural differences, and open us to the hearts and minds of women today.
So, what do women want? :
We want the opportunity to speak our truth as we know it, to be respected for who we are and encouraged to be who we dream of becoming. We want to pass on what we know to the next generation.
We want to acknowledge, welcome, diverse points of view and honor the right to disagree, to foster openness and compassionate discrimination instead of judgment, to encourage others to listen with their heart and their head.
We want to participate in the decision-making, to contribute, to share leadership and resources, to feel good at what we do and that what we do makes a difference.
We want equity. For all. We want to make the world a safer place, especially women and children. We want peace.
It takes strength and guts and humility and plenty of practice to put our wants into action. Our efforts — as well as our accomplishments — make it possible for women and men to live more meaningful lives, to know our species is not doomed, that we can create what we need when we need it and can rise to any occasion. We want to contribute to and expand the Greater Good and feel It at work in our own lives This s what women want.