Women are Emerging

Women are standing up to take their place in their world is greater and greater numbers. Others are "Measuring" them.

My stand in relationship to women's role in this world has shifted greatly from my birth community's teachings.

If we measure with a ruler with digits missing, the entire structure will be unstable. The same is true with women. If we begin with incorrect or missing truths, their value will be lost. As a Radical Mystic, I will share new views for contemplation.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Circles, Female Leadership and the World


One of the things that has been brought up over the years is the question as tp the value of women's gatherings where there seems to be a lot of talking and little focus on “actions” to be taken. In my experience with the organization of Gather theWomen Global Matrix, the Conveners have always held the line at gathering, experiencing Circle Principles, staying in that commitment. They have indicated that Gather the Women is not to become an activist organization. It wasn’t until I gathered and attended my own circle with sisters in Seattle, WA that I came to understand the value of what I had heard from so many GTW Conveners over the years.
Here is what I have learned. I hope it will be helpful to others who are called to be in the gathering of women. I will not share the concepts in any particular order, just that they emerged and came together for me.
First, I have learned the value of emergence. As I let myself say “yes” to an invitation to be with other women just because I felt an inner “yes”, I realized that the gift could not be described by a flyer or conversation. The gift was unformed until I showed up, mingled with the others who showed up and stayed in the heart of connecting. The stated “purpose” of the gathering was not the “purpose” or gift that emerged for me.
I saw this modeled impeccably at the Women of Spirit and Faith’s Alchemy gathering in 2013. The conveners were in constant communication as they observed what ideas, concerns, and gifting presentations emerged throughout each day. These emerging pieces were woven into the gathering as if they had been in the original plan. They certainly had outlined the week-end and yet were committed to let the workshop unfold moment by moment. So Emergence happens when women get together, share and listen.
Second, I learned to understand Paradoxes more deeply. Paradox: something (such as a situation) that is made up of two opposite things  that seem impossible or contradictory but actually both have value and are true or possible. 
The paradox that shows us in circles is male/left brain leadership and female/right brain leadership. These terms are very general however, the discussion needs a way to distinguish these two styles of leading.
The male model is top-down. The leader gives the directives and those in positions under him have their jobs in order to meet the goal that has been set. We are very familiar with this style and it has value.
The female model is collaborative. The space is open for discussion, conversations, all being seen and treated equally. One idea may lead to another idea. One possibility will trigger another possibility. Often, although there is value, this model has been discredited as a waste of time.
When building with paradoxes, one must realize that you cannot build the strongest system with just one of the two legs. Too much top-down and the workers feel disenchanted, unheard and a divide is created. Too much collaborative conversation and one can become bored and lost in a sea of words with no forward moving.
The answer is to work with inclusion of both in appropriate measure.
This brings me to the Circle Principles of Gather the Women.
Women have been raised in a society that has discriminated in favor of men. We have not been taught to know, experience and understand HOW we naturally assess, design and lead. The model we have been given is top down, claw your way to the top, as we have seen men do. What we get to experience in Circles is the space of safety to share, respectful listening of what our voices speak from heart. All of these require time, space and are the foundation of collaboration. And Collaboration is fundamental to women. It allows space for evaluation of her world, creative field of ideas for her re-design and a unified supportive model for her roles leadership.
Knowing when to move from female/collaborative space into male/top-down leadership is what will make the difference as women participate in changing the world.
I have come to see Circle work as the space to re-awaken women’s voices and re-acquaint them to themselves as leaders.
The other concept that I found intriguing after years with my circle is the murmuration principle. You may know this word as it is applied to the family of birds called starlings. There are many youtube videos showing the murmuration flight of starlings. To understand how this applies, check out a murmuration video and then search for a geese in flight video. You will see two very different ways of flying from here to there. They are excellent examples of top-down leadership and collaborative leadership.
The geese fly in a V formation. As the point goose gets tired, another goose from the V flies up to take the lead point. All of the others stay in a pretty tight formation behind the leader.
The starlings, however, dance from on location to another. They are certainly in a committed “field”. Yet, they freely take “side” trips along the way, maybe a new air current, an desire to try a new turn skill, or whatever might intrigue a starling to dance as the greater “field” moves along. That is what women do. A circle is a committed community of caring women. Yet, within that circle, an idea for action might come up. In mumuration, it is not expected that the entire “field” follow the bird with the idea for action, not is there any movement to stop the action. So one, two or twenty birds will dance with the new idea, take action in that direction while never losing sight or contact with the “field”. 
In a top-down model, that would be considered breaking up or fracturing the formation of the group.
I have come to understand that it is women's circles using the principles of respectful listening, confidence with each other's words, voicing what is in the heart and being present with what emerges that women are re-learning their way of contribution and of leading. The world will shift when women step into their place of designing a world that is Good for All and commands that all distracts, diminishes or destroys that Good be removed.

What will the world look like when the culture from which all manifests is the based on the Values that Women Hold for Those They Love? 
Much love to all of you!