High School was a nightmare for me. I shiver at the thought of cliques shouting out their daily popularity index for their favorite cheerleader, back-biting and finger-pointing too often played out in the bathrooms for some reason, slick rumor mills and imitated moves meant to seduce in those pre-pubescent bodies. Unkindness was reserved for their targets, but really for the perpetrators.
Unfortunately, high school continues for many who never grow up.
In one of my first tastes of a women’s leadership workshop, I was dumbfounded by a list of shadows named. I never knew this was a common experience among women; I thought I was alone in my experience.
For twelve years I tried to drop my civil rights investigator knack at detecting discrimination until I reached a comfortable place where I was more often looking beyond gender, race, color, creed, religion etc., and seeing into the Buddha nature of each being I encountered.
Stepping into the territory of women of spirit and faith not only affirmed some observations that I never acknowledged but also made me realize that I was more comfortable among religious women. I am a straight though celibate nun, mind you, but “It’s just a feeling” that I am more comfortable with spiritual women. Not Asian religious fundamentalists of any tradition and not men who control and overpower. I sometimes dismiss “this feeling” because it is nothing rational or logical, and yet I am comforted and comfortable with how feelings are accepted as valid and intuitions are considered important among women of spirit and faith. Though I am very good at being logical and analytical, I cannot find all the answers through thinking. I stop thinking for answers.
This non-analytical and non-linear stream of consciousness is precisely what many spiritual seekers practice, including me on my Buddhist path. This and other inner spiritual methods may resonate with women who are interested in depth and deepening, perhaps more so than hands stretched toward the sky in the hopes of a hand extended in return.
This type of thinking (non-thinking mode), capable of being mastered by both men and women, requires awareness, egolessness, collaboration, being open to or even embracing differences through non-judgment, care, kindness and compassion. Qualities lacking in many earlier models of leadership, now more than ever, need to be brought to the fore.