Back in the mid 1960’s, I sat in my tiny suburban home, my three toddlers napping, while I read Betty Friedan’s, The Feminine Mystique. I’m old enough to have grown up at the time when women were still encouraged to prepare chiefly for lives as housewives and mothers. I liked my young adult life in the suburbs because, at the time, most women were still dwelling; and we could get together every day to talk about our life happenings.
Everyone’s life in my area was pretty homogenous. Then the world exploded with societal change of every kind. My early youth spiritual practices failed to induce my allegiance when I was subjected to the purposeful, immediate causes that rose to the surface in the late 1960’s. We girls, who have been keepers of the house and household, were called upon to bring our skills and talents to the larger society.
Become educated, liberate ourselves from limited lives, get work, influence the course of politics and business, depart domineerng husbands, insist upon shared child care, have more sex with more joy, talk the truth of our hearts and souls. And so, we did. By 1976, I was blessed, moved, gone to school, procured a job, danced in the streets, hitchhiked from north to south, given up a fresh six-bedroom home to travel the USA in a VW van, changed my diet, started to meditate and completely enjoy the wild ride of hippiedom.
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Needless to say, there were drawbacks too. Butfortunately, the tendency of the 1970’s was on personal development. This moved me to deeply analyze everything that has been happening to me and my society. My spirit blossomed. I learned from Native American teachers and Eastern philosophers and found that the mix of practices that really spoke to my heart. All around me, girls and men were making new decisions to make a better world. The atmosphere was sensually present we can, indeed, create heaven on Earth.
With a plan in mind for my role in this fantastic scheme, I started to study and experiment with types of communal living. Like many people who went”back to the land,” I discovered just how much I did not know about the natural world around me. I had never grown meals, chopped wood or taken water. Women of my era started to concentrate on those skills with fresh enthusiasm. Over time, many went on to specialize in things our grandmothers took for granted as trivial, things like midwifery, herbal medicine, folk singing and natural gardening.
Did you notice it?
Our moms had been “contemporary” and adopted consumer technology. Thus, lots of us were clueless about the origins of life: our very own birth, child bearing, the fertility of nature. Learning these hot truths — really, it’s all about gender in all its forms — has been incredibly intriguing. I’m still in awe about how plain dirt and teensy seeds and invisible organisms become a gourmet meal on my own table, then cycle through my life as”me” until, once more, I become “them.”
It’s mindboggling that nobody in my youth, not parents, teachers or priests, actually said this cycle of existence! Thankfully, times have changed. On the surface, it’s not quite the planet we young hippie flower children dreamed of, but the values of equity and love toward all people and all animals seems to have made the cut. There’s still poverty, war, ignorance and disease, but I also see empathy, tolerance, helpfulness and holistic health consciousness on a grand scale. I think we could do it.
As women, as mothers, as lovers of beauty, order and nourishment, I think that girls, in addition to the guys who love their own feminine elements, are seeing the current times as demanding everything we’ve ever learned, all the classes of our mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers on back. We’ve got the chance to utilize our college educations, street smarts, native wisdom, intuitive advice, love of the Earth, garden abilities, techno-competence, artistically innovative, socially constructive abilities in each moment of our lives. We can communicate around the world immediately.
We’ve got access to every spiritual tradition’s mysteries and truths. And we still have transportation, some money and all of the “stuff” we could possibly use. If that is not women’s liberation, I do not know what is. There are, as I said, still lots of obstacles on the path to heaven, but, girl, you’re equipped! At least the temptations are about two feet deep at the moment, so you should not have any trouble locating them. Read the ancient writers on women’s liberation, find a text which uses the pronoun”she” rather than”he” and see how it feels. Grow a tomato. Take a dip into something you thought you could never do. Become part of the wave of loving kindness that’s just starting to crest. With your help, we might get to the beach yet.