A few days ago I came across the art and blog of the very talented and incredibly sweet Hali Karla http://www.halikarla.com/ and I was profoundly touched by her January Prayer Art Invitation. Hali's proposition is surprisingly simple, and yet, incredibly powerful. Here's the excerpt from her blog that had me in tears:
"So I invite you to show up to your creative and spiritual practice this month by beginning with prayer, reflection or intention for ALL Women of the World
To know equality and divine love within, to heal, to be able to realize the sovereignty and brilliance of the life and body that is rightfully their own, to rise up in wholeness for every person, child, plant, mineral, animal, and drop of water. To know Peace."http://www.halikarla.com/2013/01/21/join-us-for-a-painting-vigil/
This had me thinking about all the times that we, women, tend to act in a way that is less sisterly, and more catty. We are not meant to be like that, it's simply the (very wrong) patriarchal assumption that women are petty, vindictive and jealous, and cannot possibly be together without conflict arising. We are raised to believe that, our little girls are constantly exposed to this myth, and we all end up believing it.
So I propose to declare today, the "Give a sister a Hug Day". Next time you see a beautiful woman, dressed provocatively, don't automatically assume she's a "slut" and despise (or envy) her for that. Perhaps she is dealing with the pain of not knowing whether someone will ever love her for the wonderful, gentle soul she is, and instead, always going for her looks. Give her a hug, it may be exactly what she needs today. When you see an overweight girl eating her third slice of pizza, don't judge her and silently say, "oh, well, no wonder she's that big!". Did you ever think that maybe, she's been in one abusive relationship after another, and earlier today she was, yet again, belittled and abused by her partner, whom she won't leave, because she believes that she's so unworthy, she should consider herself "lucky" to actually have someone, anyone. Can you understand why her self esteem is non existent and why she seeks comfort in food? Give her a hug, it might be just what she needs to feel worthy and cared for. If you come across a woman in her late forties, very businesslike and with a harsh, cold demeanor, don't automatically assume she's a dried up, lonely, corporate "bitch", who won't bother to develop meaningful relationships, or have a family, simply because she wants to be "one the guys". Think for a moment that she has to work twice as hard, to earn half as much as the male co-workers in the company. With that kind of commitment, she simply has no time to find someone, let alone, commit to a relationship or have children. Because the moment her focus is taken away, her place in the corporate ladder may be jeopardized. Trust me, I personally know someone who's been through that. Give her a hug, it may be all she needs to let that brutal tension she carries on her shoulders, melt away. Remember that homeless woman you saw earlier this week? Why do you automatically think she's a junkie and a loser and she brought that upon herself by snorting or shooting up all of her life away. It could very well be that after years and years of being in a violently abusive marriage, she finally found the courage to leave her husband. But he found her again and again at the shelters she took refuge, and now she sees no other option, and so she lives on the streets, hopefully never to be found again by the man who destroyed her life. Give her a tight hug, you know the guts it takes to leave your whole life behind? She desperately needs that hug! And that frazzled mother at the supermarket, being a little short with her kids? Before you judge her harshly, think for a moment, that it's entirely possible that she hasn't had a second to herself in years. Between the full time job, the kids, the cooking, cleaning, running errands, etc, she is completely overwhelmed and exhausted, and she has absolutely no help from her husband, who comes home after work, sits on the couch and never gets up till the end of the evening, because he worked hard all day and now he deserves to relax. She really needs that hug, this could be the first time anyone has shown any regard to her own needs, in a very long time, so she can appreciate that hug in a way you can't even begin to understand.
It's time we re-claim our Goddess given right to sisterhood and community, and to say no to the myths imposed on us, telling us that we are to be forever competing with each other, belittling, betraying and distrusting one another. Let's rise sisters, let's accept and celebrate ourselves, and most importantly, let's honor the Goddess in each of us, let us never forget that, and treat each other accordingly. And next time you find yourself judging a sister, pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, that sister is hanging on by a very thin thread, and all she needs to regain her strenght and desire to carry on, is a loving, sincere, non-judgmental sisterly hug. Give a sister a hug today! In fact, let's do that everyday!
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin