A big lesson came for me in 2018 during a training I was in with Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés.
A woman stood up to ask a question—something about “the patriarchy”.
As soon as she said the words, Dr. E stopped her. “I don’t use that term, the patriarchy,” she said.
I could feel half the room shifting in their seats, their attachments to “the enemy” being challenged by this teacher they admire, someone who has dedicated her life to activist work and empowering women.
I had my own attachments to the term… living out my teens and 20s smashing bottles and screaming “fuck the patriarchy” to anyone who would listen.
Dr. E began to explain: The word “patriarchy” is a neutral term meaning men in leadership. There is nothing inherently wrong or bad about it, though we’ve collectively begun to attach a meaning of toxicity to it, for obvious reasons.
But her perspective wasn’t so much about the meaning of the word, as it was about the division that’s created when we use it in the way we do.
“Othering” others keeps us all trapped in cycles of violence, abuse, and oppression.
She then went on to draw out the famous Drama Triangle on the whiteboard:
“No matter who you are and what your lineage is, somewhere down the lines, there were people who were oppressors and there were people who were oppressed. If left unchecked, oppressed people will turn to oppress others from a self-righteousness birthed from their own hurt, pain, and trauma—and the cycle continues.”
This cycle is insidious and most of us, including myself, unconsciously engage in it to some degree or another—typically through making others wrong or bad to justify our own feelings, beliefs, and experiences.
But it is in this severance of ourselves from “Other” that pain is perpetuated.
Our interconnectedness is undeniable. There is a singular pulse that weaves us all together. When we lose touch with that pulse, we suffer.
The universe is an expression of “unity without uniformity”, as my soul friend Murshida VA says. Just look at Nature.
Our attunement to the pulse of unity WITHIN diversity is the path to our liberation.
Can you keep your finger on “the pulse” when you whole-heartedly disagree with someone? or when you’re alive with rage, hurt, or grief? or when feelings of fear, jealousy, or scarcity are arising? THAT is the practice, and the art of true Feminine Leadership…FEELING IT ALL without severing.