What happens when women lead


“I can see as clear as daylight that the hour is coming when women will lead humanity to a higher evolution.” This is how the 20th century Sufi mystic, Inayat Khan, saw the role of women in our time.

When I listen to women’s dreams, I catch glimpses of a way of working that has to do with how we hold something, how we live it. I remember speaking with a woman in Pennsylvania who drove me to a college where I was going to give a talk that afternoon.

On the drive home she shared a recurring dream in which she hears her daughter calling to her for help. It is so real that each time she gets up to check on her daughter, only to find her daughter sleeping peacefully.

We didn’t have long to talk, but I suggested that if she wanted to, there was something she could do. Each night before she goes to sleep she can hold her daughter in her heart, with love. I didn’t hear from her until a month later. “It works well,” she wrote. The recurring dreams stopped as she began to hold her daughter in her heart before going to sleep. A deep need in her daughter was being nourished.

Soon after came dreams of her former husband, calling out to her help in the exact, same way. At first she didn’t think that he deserved her love, but then she realized that her heart could hold him too. The recurring dreams stopped. She noticed that the relationships in the family began to transform.

But more often I find that when I hold someone in my heart, it is a time of unknowing. It is the prayer itself that holds – like a seed – what is to come even when I can do nothing else. In our meeting last week with a group of newly homeless women, something happened that speaks to the power of this way of listening and being. During the meditation a woman from Guatemala began to weep in the silence. She was homeless, once again, at the age of 56.

After the meditation was over, the woman next to her spoke up. At first, she said, it was difficult bear the crying, so she tried to distance herself. But then she realized “that we’re all interconnected. The tears are the hurting factor that raises us to be who we are meant to be ­­– a cleansing of the spirit.”

And now I return to Inayat Khan’s vision. For in these stories we see that in the most ordinary, sometimes impossible situations, we are bringing oneness to life.

Photo by Diana Badger

What happens when women lead
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12 years ago

Hi Cheryl, I am so grateful that you shared this experience. For this is what we feel, what we know, this process of being opened, this light of consciousness that is born through suffering and despair, and then surfaces from our depths as wonder and joy. I know it is so important to protect this connection to life…in each of us.

Cheryl Strand
12 years ago

Hi Anne, thank you for these blogs…it feels deeply nourishing to be connecting with you again, in this way…

Christina O'Rei...
12 years ago

thank you thank you. beautiful. pointing to where we can act in extreme situations when there is no where else to act. a blessing.