The first time I heard The Dalai Lama speak these words was at Seeds of Compassion, a large event I helped organize in Seattle….
The Dalai Lama was on stage next to the governor of Washington at the time, “Western woman” Christine Gregoire, and surrounded by 50,000 enthusiastic attendees (75% Western women) at Seahawks Stadium — coincidentally, a NFL field which my mother, another pacesetting politician and Western woman, helped build.
Western Cultures are Key to Lasting Change
Why focus on the West?
If the world is going to have a tipping point in a more favorable direction, Western society (given its dominant culture) must be willing to make a paradigm shift from an overly consumptive, self-centered way of thinking and living, to a more selfless, altruistic way of behaving….
As the saying goes, “If we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’ll keep getting what we’re getting,” and the planet and her people really can’t sustain its current level of unchecked consumption much longer.
The health of our planet — and any hope of global peace — is largely dependent on the western world waking the heck up and making different choices, collectively and consciously.
So Why Western Women?
Over time, I began to realize The Dalai Lama might really be onto something….
My own teachings on mindfulness, peace and compassion began to deepen as well as my commitment to spreading compassion. I also began to see others — both women and men — increasing their commitment to help heal our challenged planet through compassion.
But, why was he singling out Western women?
One of the core messages of the Dalai Lama is compassion. Compassion, by definition, is the desire to relieve suffering and is based on a sense of courage,connection and caring.
This means that we must have the courage to drop into our hearts, connectionto the pain and suffering in the world, and caring to alleviate that suffering…
And what do women do so beautifully? Women naturally and openly nurture.
Women are more likely to drop into their heart, connect to the pain of a another, and take immediate action to stop the pain and bring comfort. Women are empathy machines; we honestly mean it when we say we “feel your pain”!
This characteristic is not isolated to women and certainly not to the Western woman. However, I think I understand what the Dalai Lama means…
Western women have an unprecedented opportunity to take the lead — as part of a well-resourced, free and empowered culture — by using our innate nurturing capabilities, our inherent capacity for empathy and compassion and our intuitive, heart-centered intelligence, to help make the necessary cultural shifts that will save this wonderful planet we are privileged to call home.
So just how do we do that?…
Through my teaching and working with hundreds of students and colleagues, I’ve discovered 5 common traits of Western women who are working fiercely to change the world:
- They’re mindful.They’ve learned how to become very present and connect to their core essence and the life-enhancing values of love, peace and compassion among others. From this mindful place, they intentionally choose thoughts, words and actions that contribute to a more peaceful world that works for all. And, they start at home. Although none of us are perfect, we do our best to live from this mindful, centered, values-driven place.
- They connect UP, seeking higher guidance from their source. Changemakers realize that it’s essential to gather strength from many places — seen and unseen — when putting on a cape to help the world. For me, I call on my higher self or spirit who I call Big Em; she’s my strongest, best self and she has a much larger view of the world than I could ever have. Others call on God, Masters, Saints, their soul, their archangels or grandmother Agnes who passed away 10 years ago.It’s helpful to remember that we mere mortals are never alone and we have help from outside forces whether we tap into this source of spirituality through prayer, meditation or simple daily conversations.
- They connect DOWN, anchoring into Mother Earth.Those who are in the transformational business know how important it is to be grounded in the practicalities of living. They work hard to build a strong foundation — food, shelter, support for their families, connecting with nature, radical self-care, energy management and strong boundaries.While it’s inspiring to be idealistic, we must also be rooted firmly in meeting our own basic needs — and anchored in inner peace practices — so that we have a solid foundation from which to give.
When sleeping women wake, mountains move.
- They’re rooted in their hearts.
Scientists are learning that the heart plays a much greater role in our functioning than previously thought. In fact, when measured, the heart has an electromagnetic field that reaches out several feet beyond our body to affect others. Imagine if every human being directed their heart’s energy toward a common goal?We would provide an alternative energy source that would blow your mind (and transform the world!)! The heart is a powerful tool for transformation and those who are changing the world, have the ability to tune their hearts into the healing frequencies of courage, peace, kindness, caring and compassion.
- They avoid the temptation to indulge in overwhelm!
It can be easy to become overwhelmed by all of the pain and suffering in the world. To avoid this, we often keep ourselves overly busy with unreasonable daily obligations, distracting us from the pain of the world. Some of us numb out through seemingly harmless indulgences — including overeating, drinking excessively, obsessing on reality TV and binging on social media — to escape global tragedies and planetary concerns.
Those who are skilled in transforming the planet, know how to effectively empathize and process the pain in the world — without allowing it to overwhelm them, or drain their vital energy. They feel in real time and then get to work skillfully addressing the root cause of the suffering, be it homelessness, hunger, racial inequality, natural disasters or broken political systems.
Neuroscience has proven that ALL human beings have the inherent capacity for compassion and caring. And it’s not isolated to any gender or nationality.
I believe it’s the ideology, opportunities and actions of Western women that are a critical part of the solution… AND that it’s up to all races and genders to step up and save the planet.
The good news is that we’re stepping up!
More and more people around the world are mindfully and spiritually waking up. People from continent to continent, are opening their hearts fully and fiercely to face the real pain of our planet.
We’re tackling the issues with the help of our higher guidance and the courage of the lions and lionesses that we are. (And, we can always do more!)
The Dalai Lama — a man committed to compassion and peace — has thrown down the gauntlet to those of us in the West…
Will you join me in compassionately picking it up?