Heart of Compassion International Community
Three Belarusian women challengers have come together, doing what their menfolk could not do, by uniting their fellow citizens, to take on the man known as the last European dictator. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is one of those women and she is running against this last tyrant for President of Belarus! Stay tuned as the election is Sunday August 9th.
It goes without saying that, Mahatma Gandhi was not a warmonger. Furthermore, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was known as The Iron Lady. So, generalizing that all men rattle the sabers of war and that all women are crucial peace negotiators and equity reconstructionist is simply fake news. Still, there is a key ingredient that research data shows will increase the likelihood of sustainable peace agreements and equitable restructuring in war’s aftermath. And studies show, that key ingredient is women! Not just any woman however, but those with real decision-making power in the spaces where rulings are made. And also, these women must be unfettered by other competing commitments. With so much at stake, I am sharing with you, what are some of the attributes that form peace-making and equity restructuring platforms that are actualized, in women and in men of good will.
A good place to start this investigation is Our own Christian Tradition where, The Sixth Beatitude in Matthew’s Gospel says; “Blessed are the single-hearted for they shall see God.” Mary Magdalene’s Gospel says; “It’s the eye of the heart, which is between the spirit and soul that perceives the vision.” Both evangelists are pointing to the need to do the spiritual work necessary to overcome the divided or split heart. Mary Magdalene’s Gospel gives us a process for transforming the forces that can divide and split our commitments. According to The Magdalene, the inner powers one needs to renovate are; darkness, craving, ignorance, enslavement to the physical body, the false peace and the compulsion to rage. If only more people would tap into her ancient perennial wisdom! Unfortunately, spiritual processes are often thought of as, just for the indulgent individual and not for the good of the collective. But I can see that working Magdalene’s or other authentic spiritual programs can benefit the entire spectrum of human relationships and not just our personal ones. Yet, there are prerequisites to the spiritual journey. One needs to have intentional willingness to divest oneself of those divisive attachments to do this inner work. Even before that comes, the need for real self-knowledge. Finally, the last essential component from what I can see is to construct narratives that affirm inner transformational efforts as vital for peace and equity throughout all our connections of human experience. In other words, we need convincing arguments that time spent on authentic spiritual practices is what real strong people do. Authentic prayer and spiritual practices are not for wimps!
Which leads me to introduce you to a Muslim woman named; Manal Omar who was born to Palestinian parents in Saudi Arabia and later immigrated to the United States. Having a background like hers causes her to divest herself of other weighted alignments and loyalties, to a singular focus. on the project of sustainable peace and equity, for all in The Middle East. Regrettably, this isn’t the case for many who live in that part of the world. As a matter of fact, she reports that the cause of peace, in The Middle East, has developed a bad name. Omar acknowledges that currently, nation-states are not waging war the way they used to. What is on the rise are violent extremists. While at the same time trust in nation-state governments has lessened dramatically. In conditions such as these, groups of people become more fractured into what she calls sub-identities; religion, ethnic allegiances, job and economic loyalties which divide households and communities. With all these active competing forces in mind, how does someone like Manal Omar remain optimistic?
According to Omar, one of the remedies for these dangerous splits are women. Why is that so? Well, for starters, you will find women know violence. Sadly, more women died, from violence against them, than all those who died during the wars of the 20th century! Those women have died from starvation, rape, honor killings, infanticide and other reasons. Additionally, more than 4 million women world-wide, disappear each year! Manal remarks, that’s like the entire population of LA disappearing annually. Because women face the worst of the consequences of war and inequitable peace, they are amongst the first to take the steps to real peace-building and equitable restructuring in the aftereffects of conflict.
We know that it is not every woman, who is committed to cause of equitable peace. But don’t be discouraged by women not committed to real sisterhood though. The good news is, there are known attributes and characteristics that can be developed in and recognized by those women who activate them. True peace-building women are empowered integrated women who know their communities well. They recognize when unsettling changes are happening in their region quickly. But what’s also key is that these empowered women are not vested in the competing conditions that benefit from conflict.. It’s those empowered, integrated and unfettered women who are more likely to cross religious, ethnic and political boundaries. Omar reports that it was women such as these, who were on the front lines of The Arab Spring actions that happened about a decade ago. Interestingly, bold women acting in this way, will often energize the men in their groups, who are now ashamed by doing nothing, while their women are acting so brave.
Astonishingly, Omar Manal who is a Muslim woman asserts that we need to help these women to be fully embodied and integrated. And stunningly, it’s Omar who says, this includes the power of women’s sexuality. Just like so many western spiritual leaders, Omar reports that full self-knowledge is essential. Female sexual strengths are vital life force energies, that women for far too long, have been taught to suppress! Suffocating women’s life force energy, according to Omar is like shutting down their inner GPS system! Even more so, suppressing them is like causing a drain, similar to the kind we know that leads to dead batteries in the car. Be reassured by Omar, that one does not need to have sex, to be able to integrate this vital life force energy into our peace and equitable restructuring leadership.
To recap, there is a remedy to that which ails our world! That hidden remedy… in need of awakening is women! The question is, do women have the courage to consciously choose to transform our own inner competing forces? Do we have the willingness to intentionally, cultivate our embodied, sexual and integrated selves? We as women come out at these transformational tasks, with the embodied force that brings new life into this world. These energies are our birthright! Let’s awaken them! We can do this, not by replacing men of good will but by co-creating with them the sustainable and equitable future everyone longs for! Amen
Rev. Karen Kerrigan ARCWP
Gathering Priest along The Huron, Rouge & Detroit Rivers and The Great Lakes Watershed.
Grateful Member of St. Peter’s Peace & Social Justice Community, Detroit.
Contributing Weaver Priest, Heart of Compassion International Community (HOC). Windsor/Detroit
From Co-Leader: Jen Harvey’s Reflection: Jen shared her experience of learning about Hiroshima and Nagasaki while visiting Japan. She shared her richly detailed knowledge of going to memorial to Sadako Sasaki, who died from leukemia caused by radiation poisoning, 10 years after the bombing of Hiroshima 75 years ago. Sadako was taught by another patient at her hospital that making a thousand paper cranes would bring good wishes. Sadako was able to construct about 675 paper cranes before she died at 12 years old. People all over the world have been making paper cranes in her memory ever since. Jen named Sadako, “The midwife of peace in Japan!”
If you wish here are instructions to make paper cranes.
How to make origami paper cranes.
Materials: Paper, scissors, three markers or crayons: pink, blue and orange.
Use this youtube instructions to create your paper crane.