Some years ago, I wrote a poem about the tearful state of women’s emancipation in Britain.
As you may know, the United Nations inspection a few years ago found Britain possibly the world’s most openly misogynistic country, with sexism worse than in some African countries and countries like Afghanistan. Yes, there is a lot of open hostility and sexism toward women here, with for example “fuckability” and number and frequency of heterosexual sexual service encounters seen as the only indicators of a woman’s worth, with women being taunted as useless, fragile and afraid, and with rape not really seen as a crime and women seen as deserving to be scorned, abused and dismissed. It’s considered so normal that most people in Britain saw nothing wrong with it (which is also why they didn’t recognize themselves in the UN report).
But things are very slowly getting better.
(Not just for women and not just in Britain. It is one of the topics I address in my new course. Did you know that Italy allowed women to go to university much earlier than Britain, that Italy has almost no gender pay gap and that Italy now also allows women “period leave”?)
Shortly after I arrived in Britain at the end of 2004, an accountant I spoke with surprised me greatly by telling me that Chamber of Commerce meetings were “safe for women to attend”. It sounded like something out of a western, to me. I think that worrying about one’s personal safety during business network meetings is no longer a concern for women in Britain these days.
1. Be yourself
“To be ourselves causes us to be exiled by many others and yet to comply with what others want causes us to be exiled from ourselves.”
2. Be strong
“To be strong does not mean to sprout muscles and flex. It means meeting one’s own luminosity without fleeing, actively living with the wild nature in one’s own way. It means to be able to learn, to be able to stand what we know. It means to stand and live.”
3. Getting away allows us to discover ourselves
“While exile is not a thing to desire for the fun of it, there is an unexpected gain from it; the gifts of exile are many. It takes out weakness by the pounding. It removes whininess, enables acute insight, heightens intuition, grants the power of keen observation and perspective that the ‘insider’ can never achieve.”
4. What happens when you don’t love yourself
“Our secret hunger for being loved is not beautiful. Our disuse and misuse of love is not beautiful. Our lack of loyalty and devotion is unloving, our state of separation from the soul is ugly, based on psychological warts, inadequacies, and childhood fancies.”
5. Authentic love
“Yet love in its fullest form is a series of deaths and rebirths. We let go of one phase, one aspect of love, and enter another. Passion dies and is brought back.”
6. Hit rock bottom
“The best land to plant and grow something new again is rock bottom. In that sense, hitting rock bottom, although extremely painful, is also the ground to sow new life on.”
7. Authentic growth
“If we live as we breathe, taking and releasing, we cannot make mistakes.”