“It is very exciting to be alive right now and bearing witness to this.”
This meant the shift in world leadership–from power structures to a collaborative model, largely a feminine one (by feminine I don’t mean female). These words came from Elizabeth Kapu’uwailani Lindsey, a woman on a Women’s Leadership panel broadcasted from the Bioneers Conference in California. She is a cultural anthropologist who is traveling the globe connecting with Elders to gather and thereby preserve stories and teachings–to ultimately bridge cultures. It’s all better explained on Mapping The Human Story. It’s amazing.
The other remarkable women sharing voice on the panel (Nina Simons, Gloria Feldt, Joan Blades and Akaya Windwood) batted around discussion about women redefining power on their own terms–the “power to” versus the “power over,” that power is actually, turns out, an infinite resource, that mothers should not be earning .60 to the $1 of men who are equally qualified and MomsRising.org is doing something about it, that it is time to take ownership of the incredible power women naturally wield, that women can discard the “we are weaker” story construct that raised them.
I absorbed it all, but focused my attention on Elizabeth Lindsey. I am in awe of her work. Watching her navigate the panel made me even more so. She talked slowly, even pausing deliberately for about three seconds at the end of sentence before continuing. She talked passionately. She was elegant. She was not desperate to voice herself or sell her vision. Unlike the other women, she seemed unaffected by the American city mentality that unless you speak your concise personal tag line fast enough, you will be passed over and ignored. She mostly listened to others, really listened with curiosity, not the kind of listening that involves planning how you are going to respond to what you are hearing. She sat like she carried the diverse stories of the world. She was not trying to prove herself.
Not one breath was a breath of self-importance.
Here was wisdom.
Here was leadership.
At the very end, Akaya Winwood redirected the conversation: “I want to hear from our sister Elizabeth who has been out to the reaches of the world.”
Without a hint of judgment, she offered:
“What I’m hearing around this table is a very Western story….”