1982 began my quest to understand my life and the world in which I lived. I journeyed to Paris, Hawaii, Virginia and Washington D.C. and back to the inner realm of my life. Life was a mystery that I wanted to unravel. My mind is an inquisitive nature that seeks to understand.
The biggest discovery thusfar has been the power of the human mind to reconstruct life. I am a student of Psychology and just recently Buddhist Psychology, which explains the nature of the mind. I have come to believe that the Mind contains all the knowledge of all time. It is like a reservoir.
We as humans have created the internet to resemble this mind. At any time, I can pose a question, and have it answered. All the information I may need is at my fingertips.
There was this gnawing feeling inside of me. I wondered why I acted the way I did. A Psychology class opened the window to my mind and heart, and I found a lacking. A lacking for love and a lacking for genuine relationships which caused me to seek out attention in unhealthy ways.
I identified with the problems in my life. Was I crazy? I wondered what was wrong with me. I tried to uncover the source of my suffering. I did not know what it was, so I invented something. I was depressed. I had Anxiety. I had Anger Issue. There were many negative labels I attached to myself because I did not know who I was. Thirty years later that quest has led me to the internet and the boundless array of information that I can consume and quench my thirst for understanding.
Uncovering a Big Secret
There was a big secret, and I wanted to find out what it was. The secret lay buried in my life. It was the secret about who I was and what I was here to do. I saw glimpses of a life I desired. The images seeped out into my daily life. I was confused and held self-doubt about what I was capable of. I did not fully believe in myself and consequently I lived in fear and self-doubt.
I was a Black Woman in a male, white Christian society. When I looked in the mirror, a Black Woman was the reflection I saw. I must be wrong if they were right, so there must have been something wrong with me.
That Black Woman, who one Summer decided to sign up for Army R.O.T.C. to prove her worth. If I could do what the white man did, I must be as good as him. I watched one supervisor at work and figured if I dressed like him then I would be a part of the work environment. It did not work; management terminated me from this job. I was a loner, a thinker and a reader, who tried to find out who and what she was.
First, Feminine Leaders, to fulfill your role properly, would do well to embody the best qualities represented by at least one of the following archetypes. Archetypes are, by their very nature, universal and eternal. They are based on rational forms of thought, and if we accept the idea of a collective consciousness as an image for a deep cultural foundation common to Humanity, then they are universal—hence their power to move, to affect and influence. The archetypes are practical because they provide us with a natural way to understand the essence of a group of traits that connect directly with the unconscious mind.
These archetypes provide both spiritual and emotional pictures that immediately connect with individuals and groups. It is a better way to grasp a feminine model of leadership instead of relying on intellectual analysis of individual attributes.
I will borrow Carl Jung’s archetypes for female leadership. He distinguished himself from noted Psychologist at the time. He recognized the presence and meaning of the personality —which earlier thinkers have called the spirit. Jung recognized and valued those aspects of a person’s whole being.
Jung accepted the spiritual dimension. He knew it was a way to understand the character and the complex system of beliefs, attributes, and virtues that make up a person. If we are to understand leadership as a character trait, then it too becomes amenable that we assign it a more spiritual understanding.
Jung’s concept of the archetypes arises from the repeated observation he made, for instance, of the myths and fairytales of world literature. The literature contained definite themes that cropped up everywhere. We often see the same themes in fantasies, dreams and delusion of individuals living today.
Leadership is an elusive subject not easily recognized because there are complex qualities in the actions of others that elude easy categorization or analysis.
In ancient times “natural leaders”, were persons who possessed the ability to motivate and direct others. Ancient leaders assumed the role of leader at birth or rose to the province. If the person happened to be of weak leadership ability, training would compensate for the weakness in leadership ability. Culture became more complex and social roles followed. Leadership roles have mainly become increasingly “gendered” to reflect social realities.
Paths for Girls and Young Women (The Faerie)
If the Prince develops through the path of the warrior, the princess develops through the path of the Faerie. If you are to evolve to your fullness, you must earn your Queen-ship through a path that involves trial and suffering as the way to experience and maturity. It is the path to Queen Ship.
The Faerie is a symbol of all that is fair and beautiful, all that transcends material existence. She produces poetry, music, and history. The Faerie virtues are intangible and ethereal. At times, they can seem self-sacrificial. Just as if the warrior appears most fully when he gives himself over to death in an act of self-denial, the Faerie seems most complete when she denies herself intercourse with men. This is the source of her power. She places herself outside of any man’s power. Thus, the Faerie can inspire and attract.
An example of Faerie to Queen is Ester in the Bible. Ester agreed to marry Xerces King of Persia, as a possible mate for the sake of her people. The people selected her to be the new Queen. Since she does not marry for love, but rather for duty, she is free of passionate attachments and partakes of the Faerie.
She embraces an unrestrained life force of Eros or pleasure in life itself. This archetype is lifeaffirming and creative; one known modern example is (Beyoncé). She shuns order, sacrifice, and rational knowledge. She is not easily resolved with the orderly world of Queen. She poses a problem in the context of leadership because she is a with a man.
There were many lovers in my life. I thought I could have their power. My husband labeled me as insatiable. This feeling was akin to a hunger that could never be quite satisfied. I wanted to be lost in the sexual passion and lose myself inside of this man, become one with him and absorb the power I thought he had.
(The Wise One)
Another path to Queen Ship leads through the archetype of the Wise One. The Wise One lives in the shadows. She is at home near the earth, even inside the earth, inside the dark, moist primordial womb; she is at home on the land. The Wise One is no longer young. She is mature, rooted, and likely to be old. She is a Mother or likely a Grand-Mother. She has been a companion to male, she may have even loved a man, but she now transcends all that. She has reached a state of superior wisdom.
Her subtle mind seeks not to penetrate beneath the surface of things and probe the mysteries of nature; rather she looks inward into the mysteries of being alive. This earthly knowledge extends to the body more specifically the distinct realities of the female body. The male does not understand this type of woman. She is not under his control. Thus, during the time of the Inquisition, men in power labeled these women as witches and killed them.
It is natural for the Wise-One to seek separation from her sisters who toil in the world. Her quest for unique knowledge requires long hours of solitude for study and reflection. The Wise One becomes a Seer or an Advisor. She may rise to be Queen becoming, “The Wise Queen. “Historically the Queen of Sheba and her counterpoint Solomon fit in this category. The most powerful and inspiring of the archetype of the Wise One is the mystical Figure of Sophia—The Rise of Sophia as the symbol of Divine Wisdom.
The Lover is suspicious of the knowledge of the Wise One because The Wise One has transcended the Lover phase. The Lover seeks to empty herself out and merge or become the beloved. The Female Lover gains the tremendous power of transcendence, but she is subjected to “the other” and, therefore, lacks freedom of the other archetypes. This is her power and limitation.
I too myself have lived a life of solitude. When I was young, it was a source of suffering. A friend drew the conclusion when asked where I had been. My time spent was with a man. Now I understood the power of the Lover in her quest for power which I will allude to later. Female leaders, to fulfill the role properly, would do well to embody the best qualities represented by at least one of the mature feminine archetypes.
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
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.