From Ghandi, to Martin Luther King, to all the change-makers who responded to injustice with all their being and won, LOVE was the secret weapon.
For a long time, I felt anger burning within me against powers I found unjust. Particularly, the patriarchy; the male-dominated, male-dictated, male-manipulated system that feeds through government, family, and self in the Arab world.
A system where the masculine is celebrated and empowered, and the feminine is silenced and devalued. Where emotions are considered a “problem,” or “uncontrollable,” and career is all about building a “strategic” and impersonal resume…and where your life as an Arab woman is pretty much dictated by the same cultural expectations that have created the mess we now inhabit.
In this, there is no space to celebrate the feminine. To value inner worlds and wildness, and cherish the subtler aspects of being alive… in beauty, and connection.
For a long time, this reality frustrated me, and made me really angry.
And over time, that frustration only grew, especially after I moved back to Jordan five years ago and began to witness how male-dominated life here is.
How I was expected to sacrifice my freedom and OBEY my father. He would say things like “Ana ma bamoon bi banati,” which translates to a mourning version of “I suck as a father because I can’t control my daughters”, a reflection of one of the cultural expectations of the land: that a father is entitled to rule over his daughters.
That the unconscious masculine is ENTITLED to rule and dominate the feminine.
I’ve seen disturbing violations in close circles, and in extremes as well, in the women who’ve joined my trainings. Recently, one woman went back to her parents after being in an abusive relationship with a husband who disrespected and beat her, only to be further humiliated by her parents to whom she had retreated, who “TOOK her phone away from her,” as though she was a child again.
The problem, however, is not the system itself.
The system is there, and that’s fact. So if we are to engage, there must be a better way, I thought to myself. And the answers began to emerge.
Our first step is to see this reality for what it is, and to observe how it operates within the people around us, even the people we love.
The variable then becomes how we choose to face it, and respond to it.
My revolutionary heart always beat with rebellion, a sense of ZERO tolerance for injustice or being stripped of my basic rights or freedom. Freedom was not a luxury, but a basic soul right.
And this created a lot of torment within me, as I suffered in my non-acceptance of what was.
Recently, a conversation with my Coach, a Hayhouse published author and Public Speaker, shed a new light on the situation (as all coaching conversations do), making me realize the anger was not serving me any more.
That now I was in a point in my life in which I understand what I stand for, as well as my deepest values, so I could choose a different response: to come back to the water.
To being water.
I remembered the great change-makers in history again, the true soulful revolutionaries who made a difference.
They made that difference through LOVE and non-violence.
Fire has its purpose, when need be. But in most cases, it is water that soothes, and brings forth the healing.
That is how I’ve witnessed and learned from my partner’s gentle way of responding to really difficult circumstances in his life. With love and compassion, no matter what surfaces.
That is the most difficult, and yet POWERFUL, decision.
To choose love.
To face injustice, and hundreds of years of disempowerment, with forgiveness, and LOVE.
That is what will melt the patriarchy: Drop the atomic bombs and radiate a love that unites.
That is what people like Nelson Mandela stood for, changing history, and expanding possibilities to say: there is a different way.
What would happen if we stood in front of what angered and enraged us with LOVE?
What if we surrendered our arms, our anger, our hatred, and gave love to those who have faulted us?
At first, it will be hard.
But perhaps our own hearts will gradually open, and we will gradually heal.
From that place, we will stand in a field of LOVE that will actually change the world, looking perpetrators in the eyes, but seeing only the wounded child inside.
That is how we heal ourselves with LOVE.
And in so doing, we also heal the world.
My coach shared with me these words, which touched me: “You can smash the patriarchy and still love your dad, and accept him as someone who is doing his best.”
And that is what I am trying to do now.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Make sure to leave your comments and thoughts below.