Reporting Back from the 57th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women
by Laurie McCammon
I begin my three part report from the 57th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women with a hearty thank you to those who participated remotely in the grassroots effort to bring light and love to the center of the United Nations on March 5th. I am so happy to report that together we were hugely successful! Other of my colleagues reached out to their constituencies and hundreds of thousands of people were invited to join us in spirit for the synchronized meditation within the belly of the United Nations.
I was present in the cavernous hall which was high on the 21st floor of the Nigerian Mission, a multi-story space with three walls of windows looking up to the skies, one of the few quiet and peaceful spaces I encountered during my entire week at the United Nations. How appropriate, instead of at the belly, we were positioned high, at the heart chakra level of the United Nations sprawling complex of buildings. Three candles were lit, set atop multicolored scarves with special meaning from across the world. Three nested circles of chairs surrounded this central altar of the otherwise empty room where approximately 50 people (mostly women) sat silently with eyes closed in communion with one another for over an hour.
I have asked for others present to send me their stories, but for now I can only share mine. From approximately 4:05 to 4:10, I felt an influx of energy that was so strong I had to breathe deeply in order to ensure it kept flowing through my body and into the ground. I could absolutely feel the prayers of people from around the world who had chosen to join us at that time from wherever they were. The energy was deeply, deeply loving and intentional, and brought me to tears it was so beautiful and powerful. No one spoke for the hour. At the end, we were invited to speak aloud the names of those we wanted to bring into the circle. Many named loved ones, and others named world leaders, Gaia, all living beings, even perpetrators of violence that they be healed of their desire to harm.
Steve Beckow, Founder of the Golden Age of Gaia blog site recently wrote of a powerful dream in which he attended a conference but then realized that the “real” conference was something else entirely. I want to thank you, Steve, because I believe your vision arose at a time to help us to notice that this is exactly what was occurring at the United Nations this year (and I would suggest at conferences all over the planet right now.) We were attending a conference within a conference. Quietly, those with eyes to see realized that the “official” conference had gradually been reduced to a formality. In speaking to veteran attendees of the conference, there has been an ever so gradual erosion of effectiveness and welcome. Spaces for informal gathering have been systematically removed, venues have gradually spread out over as much as 50 blocks (a real challenge for women wandering in the biting winds in sandals and saris and with very little English language skills), food and water were no longer provided at all-day sessions, programs were given out not at registration, but at one single event which less than a quarter of attendees could attend. Workshops which challenged the status quo were cancelled or moved at the last minute with no vehicle for communicating the change. Caucuses which were designed to gather input from grassroots women instead have become tightly controlled report-to-the-people sessions. This is the old system in decline trying hard to slow the progress of the new story.
Why am I not discouraged? Because the “real” conference happened anyway. We do not need to fight for a platform or demand that we be heard. We are engaged in something far more powerful, lasting, and practical than those embedded in the old structure can possibly imagine. This is heart-connected activism, and it is heart-centered activism that is alive and well and growing by leaps and bounds in ways and places too numerous to count or control. One cannot look to the headlines to know what is really arising in the global women’s movement. It will only report the paltry results of the “official” conference or try to fan the flame of the old “mommy wars”(as is happening with the launch of Sandra Sandberg’s book, Lean-In.) The stories that guide our better future are passed heart to heart, person to person, and move well beyond the gridlock of the service-to-self paradigm. In these moments of connection, our hearts melt and our stories begin to merge. All busy work and positioning subside and we enter a timeless realm where truth shines through and where basic human values become the sustenance that feeds us.
My sense in being at the United Nations last week is that the old machinery is gradually grinding to a standstill. All the “oil” and “grease” which facilitates freedom of movement is not available in the old brittle structures any longer. Many refer to it as the collapse of the old grid. It is palpable. All the light, excitement and flow had moved to heart-connected activism, and to what connects us as whole human beings cross class, culture, age, and gender. It is not of the mind or of the ego or in the old patriarchy. Fear and political correctness cannot contain it. It is motivated by love and authentic connection between people who come in a spirit of service-to-others and service to future generations and the earth. It is deeply dedicated to solutions, and to moving beyond the victim-perpetrator-hero trap and into mutual empowerment and shared leadership as fully present solutionaries for our world. It hears of suffering and responds without hesitation or delay.
We came to the United Nations to speak our urgent desire for a global women’s conference (the first in 17 years), but we found ourselves modeling a new reality together which made the old paradigm of lobbying and influencing feel very old and slow and surprisingly irrelevant. “Speaking truth to power” is only important if you believe the power to change the world is in the hands of the “other.” When we combine our own inner truths with our own inner power, we reclaim the ability to begin living the new story now. Not tomorrow, not when the structures change, not when we are given permission or resources by someone else, but now. We don’t need permission to do this from anyone, least of all the “powers that be.” If anything, the “powers that be” are already the “powers that once were.” They become exceedingly irrelevant when you reclaim your own power and heart-connectedness with other people. Perhaps this was the true gift of going to the United Nations. We need not look beyond ourselves to live as united nations with our sisters and brothers from around the world right now. Waiting for the old structure to change has kept us in a state of confusion, separation, and disempowerment for far too long. It is not necessary to feel help back any longer. Our hearts are ready to lead the way to connection and healing right now. The new conference is here. You’ve already been living it.
In part II I will introduce Ambassador Chowdury, an angel of the New Story at the United Nations and a proven heart-led champion for women, and Dr. Jean Shinoda Bolen, who has been encouraging us towards a grassroots tipping point of heart-connected activism known as “the millionth circle. “
You can watch videos of his VERY IMPORTANT speech at
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