Is it true that a woman’s work is never done? Maybe. Our drawer full of hats, that we as women wear, proves how many roles we play throughout our lives. We are sisters, wives, mothers, and daughters. All of the above are busy working, cooking, cleaning, serving, teaching, dancing, washing, sewing, healing and raising children. Although none of these duties or expectations are small, this is what makes everything about a woman so great. The woman provides a sense of stability and harmony in the lives of others, from the household to the community. We would take more pride in our role as women if we truly understand how valuable it is.
As a student at the Earth Center, I had the privilege to go on a pilgrimage to Merita (Africa). Besides the beauty of the land, the beauty of the women left a permanent mark on my mind and heart. Yes, their outer beauty was apparent, but it was something much more than an image out of a coffee table pictorial. I observed how incredibly hard they worked. No woman was left to fulfill a task alone. All the women there take responsibility for each other and the genuine appreciation they have for one another was, and is, an unspoken language. Their energy was so pure it could melt one’s heart. The women in Merita truly exemplify the definition of sisterhood.
There is an entire world full of women, and to most of us in modern society, it is not a secret that this concept of sisterhood seems strange and unfamiliar. Most of us women can’t imagine having a community of women around us to help us cook, wash laundry and raise our children. Maybe we are preoccupied with cooking up a pot of our own that is filled to the brim with jealousy, a pinch of anger, and a dash of envy. We serve this to our sisters with smiles on our faces. Why do we do this to each other? It’s like we get pleasure out of seeing one of our sisters suffer. One day, this will be you. If you are evil enough to feed the people around you a bowl of death, destruction and hatred, be sure that you are the only one cooking in the kitchen. Living in this society it is a never ending cycle of evil and corrupt behaviors. We have the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” mentality.
This society is very tricky and has made women believe that being independent and doing things by our lonesome is an accomplishment. It becomes difficult for us to receive the help of others and as a result we actually become offended by those who want to lend a hand. Society has taught us that if someone offers to help you, you must not be doing a very good job. It is at this point where we allow our egos and emotions to override our logic. Think about how much work could be completed if the women in your community had the same goals as you. It is as if we like being overwhelmed with our responsibilities, and in the act of being overwhelmed, we try to play “catch up” and never really quite catch up.
It was amazing to see the women in Merita take naps or walks, in between all the smiles and laughter they made room for. They had leisure time to gather and talk, or sit by a tree and meditate under the warm sun. All of these things are very possible after a hard day’s worth of work because they are able to apply their understanding of sisterhood and work together. Obviously, for us as women living under the structure of the colonial system, there is a lot of effort needed to achieve the goal of practicing true sisterhood. For hundreds of years we have been victims of the divide and conquer method and have forgotten how much we affect our own lives, families, neighbors and overall society. This is a result of us being trained to think as individuals instead of a group.
We can begin to extract these corrupt behaviors by taking the necessary first steps and look inside our own hearts. Ask yourself what it is that you want. Is the goal to reclaim your culture? Is the goal to re-establish harmony with the women of your community? If this is the goal, it starts with cleansing our own hearts and peeling off the layers of hate that we as women have for one another. Everything that happens in our lives should not be a battle or contest. What are we competing against? Understand that this is not the real battle. Clearly the true battle is against our colonizers who control us. They’ve built a smoke screen, successfully fogged our vision and have taken the focus off of them and pointed the finger at us.
Just imagine if all of us had the understanding of sisterhood in our hearts and minds. This, I know, seems a bit far fetched; the world we live in is not perfect. But the concept of sisterhood starts with the individual. Eventually some of us will get tired of living in a world of chaos and disharmony. You may not be able to change the hearts of every woman in the world, but you can start with…guess who? You.