Part II Black Woman’s Role in Life and Her Motivation for Living
Akin to West African Folklore, stories express the lifeblood of a culture and the roles men and women play in society. This is important for the essential nature of culture to survive. It teaches the values and morals of a group. This Module will deliver the discourse through Poetry and Talk.
Black Women, we are heirs to a legacy of Black Art. It espouses self-determination, self-reliance, self-respect, self-defense and true self-consciousness as a means for empowerment. Black becomes an identity in the search for meaning and purpose.
Black Women, we must become visible in the world.
We are the ones who must validate our own self-worth, existence and care about womanist values. The Black Woman must heal herself first and conduct self-therapy that documents her suffering and makes it accessible to others.
We Women are the very foundation of society. When we stand, the whole of Humanity will rise. The earth needs both masculine and feminine power. Even though the male and female are not clearly defined, both are required for life to exist.
There is a greater need for Black Women to adopt a womanist perspective for the future of ourselves, our children and the world. A collective story that honors the story and life of Black Women and the world we live in. You can write your own story. You are the author, director, and lead in the starring role.
The Feminine Aspect of Life cannot be controlled; Discover the True Essence of the Black Woman
Cultural Womanism is an idea about how we Black Women can fashion a new language from our experience. We must learn to value and validate our own life through writing and telling stories. One never arrives but always strives to construct a life that expresses a True Self.
Because of the double weight, we women must bear, we have yet to fully mature into our full womanhood. The load we carry draws us away from understanding the collective story of women in society. We take care of the family and face discrimination in the workplace. We have not recognized our collective struggle or victory, and this has hardened and disempowered the Woman.
We women, have power, but it is gentle and sprinkled with love, compassion, and courage. Most women have not had the temperament to thrive and manifest a full womanhood. We needed to survive, but let us do more that survive, let us thrive.
Furthermore, we women have lived through the masculine form and accomplished some amazing things. But what is truly required of women in the Twenty-First Century will take courage, compassion and feminine strength.
Become a powerful woman who is entirely confident in herself and can serve as a role model would reflect on more modest attributes of the Queen. Ideally, all women in “leadership positions” would also, largely embody the Ideal Queen.
Recognize that real feminine power lies not in anger and destruction but in self-knowledge, selfreflection, understanding, and transformation. We females can heal our mind and body as we discover a source of power from within.
Within the personal realm of life, there is a need for a sort of Spiritual Independence, to be able to discern evil from good and have the strength of character not to fall into condoning or looking the other way when a person creates a great evil.
It is by confronting the evil that we can cause such people to open their eyes. Hearing voices resounding with justice has the effect of activating the dormant good nature in the evil person’s heart. You must not be afraid to speak up or act in a way contrary to the widespread way of behaving, be it at work, home, or in your community.
A Spiritual Independence is inherent in the individual—this is the boundless and uncorrupted part of humanity. You have this power to bring forth an unlimited potential in your everyday life. This independent nature is apart from your allegiance to a nation ideology or family values. It is the difference between dependence and self-reliance, deference and empowerment.
All people can connect to this power of spirit. It is this driving force that created the United States and what we now call home. To be powerful is to assume control over one’s destiny. On another level, there is also an opposing force within the human heart.
There is this tension between good and evil. It is especially evident in those holding positions of authority in both government and religion. Evil unchallenged will consume everything. This struggle of the heart consists of the labor we wage in our hearts against our inner darkness or delusion—a battle against the negative and destructive forces within us. It is through strengthening our convictions and beliefs that we can possess this powerful nature of boundless energy. We can break through the darkness obscuring our goodness.
When you see evil in others, you have the potential for evil within yourself as well. By speaking out against any action that hinders the social good, you strengthen your power to contain the evil within yourself.It becomes crucial that you address evil or devilish functions during your life. To be passive in the face of such forces would be self-defeating because those forces are not passive. The idea of Spiritual Independence is a self-empowering philosophy
Our roles and self-image are tentative without permeance. We identify with our habits, thoughts, feelings, and personality, but these are subjective and bound to change. We may be sick one year and healthy or depressed the next. Therefore, we may respond in a different way. Nevertheless, in truth, our natures are not fixed. Begin to see the self as untrue and only a concept.
The Universal and Personal Dimensions:
Our lives have both a personal and universal dimension. These are the two truths we must respect if we are to be happy and free. Freedom comes when we do not cling to one state of mind but see the totality of the experience. We are spiritual beings that have a human form. It is a multilevel perspective that beseech you to step back and examine the situation.
The Universal Dimension is the Big Picture.
It reminds us that all things on earth are transitory and tentative, appearing out of emptiness and then disappearing. We are here to grow in wisdom and compassion and walk on the path of awakening. From the Universal Perspective, all things are born, and they will die. Death comes to our best friends and our parents, sometimes to our children. On the other hand, the Personal Realm of life is in the sacredness of form, our human bodies. We must respect the body and its limitation.
When I am confronting a difficult or challenging situation, this thought comes to mind: “this too will change.” I then align with the universal perspective of life, and rest in consciousness, and watch the pain fade away.
There are two aspects to the self, the universal and the personal. They both must be respected if you are to be happy and free. During childhood, the self can be created in healthy or unhealthy ways. The development happens so naturally that we soon began to realize we are different and separate from our parents.
All this is normal as we grow and develop and are influenced by our immediate environment. Nevertheless, as we grow and mature, we begin to see ourselves in relationship to others in healthy or unhealthy ways through two processes.
The first self-view takes experiences as I, me, or mine. As a child, I created a self-based on feelings of unworthiness and being unlovable. After that, all my experiences mirrored this back to me. The second self-view is a compared view, which evaluates the sense of self as better than, worse than, or equal to others. This identification repeatedly happens whenever we hold our feelings, thoughts, and perceptions as me or mine during roles we play. I lived in the darkness and shadow of a true self.
Mindfulness allowed me to see what was invisible in the experience and investigate my feelings without judgement. I’ll introduce this step later. I saw how identification with the tentative and impermanent nature of the experience created suffering. I had to learn how to release my mind from this hurt.
While I was experiencing the pain of not feeling loved or valued, I looked to the clouds, and imagined I was floating on the lining with lightness and calm. This helped me release myself from the limiting beliefs that I was unlovable. These thoughts were created in very young mind too inexperienced to evaluate adult behavior. The less we cling to our beliefs, the happier we will be.
What I would want for you is to develop a self that is independent of the thoughts you have and the story you tell yourself. Learn to observe your thoughts without getting lost in them. Let go of the idea that you must believe every thought you have.
Walk into a situation with openness and abundance and the entire world opens. You will be able to see clearly which direction to take. On the other hand, if you have a pre-conceived notion of how things should go and if they do not you cling then suffering will ensue. Let go of the image you have of the self and you will experience fear, but a greater person will emerge, your true self. When we marry, we let go of being single. When our children leave home, we let go of managing their lives.
Another way we identify is by seeing ourselves as members of an ethnic group, religion, tribe, caste, and class. While searching for an understanding of self, do not ask about class, race, or birth. Instead, ask about heart and conduct. We can examine our self -image, our tribe, and our roles and acknowledge they are tentative. We can learn to honor them without becoming lost in the role.
There is Power in Purpose. Discover your purpose in life. It will direct your actions. Fleeting emotions and transient experiences will no longer consume you. Integrate the mental, and spiritual aspects of life and become a Powerful Presence in society.
Your Feelings, Beliefs, and Emotions
Beliefs motivate much of our behavior. They determine what we see, hear and how we behave in our daily life. During the Empowered Woman Module, I want you to examine your beliefs to see how they affect your everyday behavior and determine if they are who you truly want to be.
There is a deeper reality rooted in our emotions. You will learn to recognize it. But, first, realize there are two primary emotions. One is love and the other is fear. Everything else is a variation.
The fear-based emotions are loneliness, guilt, shame, anxiety, sadness, and depression. They create long-term effects and suffering. They damage the immune system, the endocrine system, and every other system in your body.
On the other hand, love-based emotions will bring you emotional and physical well-being. They are a joy, happiness, caring, trust, contentment, and satisfaction. Learn to live with your emotions and release them. You cannot control your feelings, but you can learn to be with them, transmute them, and live peacefully with them.
One of the most useful and grounding ways of attending to our body is the practice of walking meditation. Walking meditation is a simple and universal practice for developing calm, connectedness, and embodied awareness. It can be practiced regularly, before or after sitting meditation or any time on its own, such as after a busy day at work or on a lazy Sunday morning. The art of walking meditation is to learn to be aware as you walk, to use the natural movement of walking to cultivate mindfulness and wakeful presence.
To practice, select a quiet place where you can walk comfortably back and forth, indoors or out, about ten to thirty paces in length. Begin by standing at one end of this “walking path,” with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Let your hands rest easily, wherever they are comfortable. Open your senses to see and feel the whole surroundings. After a minute, bring your attention back to focus on the body. Center yourself, and feel how your body is standing on the earth. Feel the pressure on the bottoms of your feet and the other natural sensations of standing. Let yourself be present and alert.
Begin to walk a bit more slowly than usual. Let yourself walk with a sense of ease and dignity. Relax and let your walking be easy and natural, as if you were a king or queen out for a royal stroll. Pay attention to your body. With each step feel the sensations of lifting your foot and leg off of the earth. Then mindfully place your foot back down. Feel each step mindfully as you walk. When you reach the end of your path, pause for a moment. Center yourself, carefully turn around, pause again so that you can be aware of the first step as you walk back. You can experiment with the speed, walking at whatever pace keeps you most present.
Continue to walk back and forth for ten or twenty minutes or longer. As with the breath in sitting, your attention will wander away many times. As soon as you notice this, acknowledge where it went softly, “wandering,” “thinking,” “hearing,” “planning.” Then return to feel the next step. Like training a puppy, you will need to come back a thousand times. Whether you have been away for one second or for ten minutes, no matter. Simply acknowledge where you have been and then come back to being alive here and now with the next step you take.
Use the walking meditation to calm and collect yourself and to live more wakefully in your body. Practice at home first. You can then extend your mindful walking in an informal way when you go shopping, whenever you walk down the street or walk to or from your car. You can learn to enjoy walking for its own sake instead of the usual planning and thinking and, in this simple way, begin to be truly present, to bring your body, heart and mind together as your move through your life.