I remember sitting in the girls locker room before gym class – I could hear the playful boisterous voices of my classmates down the hall – however I was alone. I was 12 years old, and the only girl in my class at school. I wanted so badly to be like the boys – to be accepted by them to be allowed to play with them – I tried to rid myself of all “girly” qualities and blend in.
Two days ago three of my friends, two men and a woman, were discussing different “games” we could share with a larger group of our friends to help alleviate fear and develop trust in our community. There were certain things we could not all agree upon – and I was perplexed as to why! I easily slip back to my childhood where I forget to notice just how different we are from each other, neither good nor bad, just different. For the past two years, I have been a part of a women’s organization – Jness - which imparts a curricula developed to help women distinguish the differences between men and women, understand the differences and embrace them. Through this education I am learning about the essence of a woman in me and the beauty of vulnerability, and the true strength we have within us.
In history women have stood together to bring about change peacefully, to stop violence through non-violence, yet here at home, we are often blind to it. Here it is a subtle violence, one we all participate in: We destroy our own essence, by trying to blend in, by judging our differences, by believing the modern day image of a woman is who we are or should be – through this we destroy the essence of both man and woman.
Women have a special capacity to lead us to a more peaceful world with compassion, affection and kindness. And there is no more important time for that than this moment.
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama