Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Raising consciousness

Is it ironic that radical feminism opened the door to seeing the interconnectedness of all existence?

Studying second-wave feminism introduced me to the idea that my life existed in a larger context than ... well, my life. If "the personal is political" and the states of mind and conditions I experience are also experienced by others, I'm not isolated by my experiences; they connect me to others.

"The first step is to accept our plight as a common plight, to see other women as reflections of ourselves, without obscuring, of course, the very real differences intelligence, temperament, age, education, and background create. ... Women involved in this struggle together will come to respect, love, and develop deep and abiding friendships with each other." -- The Florida Paper, Fall 1968.

I wasn't there when this was happening; it was history.  And by then, the inquiry had widened to include women in other cultures, to encompass economics, psychology, art, how we use resources, what we value, how we express ourselves, how we judge ourselves and others.

If women were restricted to certain roles/mind states/means of expression, men were equally limited to the remaining ones. If men were supposed to act or feel only certain ways, they were prohibited from acting or feeling in other ways that were reserved for women. When, really, all beings have limitless potential if they move beyond what defines them.

ALL beings -- without any labels related to gender identity or sexual preference -- want to be happy and safe, and want their loved ones and those they feel connected to be happy and safe. If I don't put arbitrary limits on what I think you can do, then you don't have to keep me in a box so that I don't threaten you. If we remove the labels that separate us, we are connected to everyone and everything.

Consciousness-raising is an ongoing process.

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