By Sat Purkh Kaur
In many ways, my generation is the one that fell. We’re the generation that was sacrificed by the Women’s Movement of the late 60s and 70s. That’s not to say that I would change what happened. The feminist movement has brought a lot of positive changes to the culture and continues to contribute to the global conversation of women’s rights; but it does mean that in the search for equality, an entire generation lowered themselves in ways they didn’t understand at the time—and my generation, the daughters of that movement, bore the cost.
What does it mean to have a generation fall? In discussions with my colleagues and friends, we agreed that in a lot of ways it simply means we were a generation in limbo—in-between. We weren’t our mothers, angry and longing for freedom, nor were we able to become the young women you see today, who clearly know what they want and aren’t ashamed to go out and get it. Unable to buy in to the traditional life of marriage and children yet unable to really own our own lives as single women either; we had very few role models of how to be modern women. I think the past ten years has brought a lot of progress in the story of what it means to be a woman and a feminist.
Chicks to Eagles
Yogi Bhajan spent the better part of 30 years trying to get women to see who and what they really are! Creative. Sacred. Invincible. He was baffled by the language used to refer to women—as “chicks”—and he turned it on its head by declaring that he was “going to turn chicks into eagles.”
My own mother was actually a conservative Phyllis Schlafly type, whose only political action in those very political times was protesting the Equal Rights Amendment, which was up for adoption by the State Senate in Austin, Texas in the 70s. Knowing me to be the feminist I am, she only recently confessed this to me a few years ago, with a sheepish grin.
You would think that growing up with a mother who protested the Equal Rights Amendment, I would have been consigned to these demeaning images of women. But you would be wrong. As much as my mother had her own issues with the feminist movement, she was no shrinking violet. She was a fighter who had a tremendous amount of self-respect. She didn’t take guff from any man—that was certain. But she also worshipped her father—and mine—and was a tremendously loyal and dutiful woman. She was the embodiment of the creative, sacred, and invincible woman Yogi Bhajan described so often.
A friend of ours had the habit of calling women ‘chickies’—and my mother’s blood would boil! The issues that my mother had with feminism are many of the same problems that Yogi Bhajan addressed when he came here: Stop trying to be like a man! Don’t sell yourself! Have a little dignity! Stand up for yourself! Never be a man’s property! In my own head, I honestly can’t hear the difference between my mother’s voice and Yogi Bhajan’s anymore.
My own journey reflects the journey of feminism in a way: reactionary, angry, an imbalanced understanding of power that expressed itself in outrageous behavior, and finally a return to center, to the ideals that every woman holds deep within her—kindness, compassion, nurturing, supportiveness, creativity, and intelligence. At this point in my life, it’s all about returning to innocence—my own and everyone else’s.
I was a powerhouse of a little girl: whip smart, outgoing, confident. Somewhere along the way, my internal knowing got turned upside down and inside out, and I began seeking affirmation and admiration from others. I became the all-too-familiar ‘good girl’ who just wanted to be liked, loved even, but could never quite seem to make it happen. This was the beginning of the end. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had lovely friends, a great career, and meaningful relationships with my family, my students, and my clients. But I also spent years giving away my power to men who had no reverence for it—and why should they? I had given it away hadn’t I? I had lost the “me” within me.
Fortunately, there was still that seed of longing, that aspiration toward liberation, that desire for Truth that my mother had given to me, which gave me the strength to keep searching. It was a long journey back. But in the Teachings of Yogi Bhajan I have found my voice again. I have been given the tools, the understanding, and the technology to be a woman—a graceful woman—and a leader in the Aquarian Age.
Women as Leaders
So—how do we, as women, lead? More and more, the demands of the Aquarian Age are being revealed. Whether we find it in the strain upon ourselves and our own relationships or in the daily news, we see evidence of the stress and overstimulation of the hyper-information Age in which we live. As women, we cannot settle for surviving, or just getting by. The demands of our family and our own future call for excellence, compassion, creativity and, yes, leadership. Our Sacred Circles now become the means for transformation: we are the peacemakers; we are the community builders; we are the mothers; and we are the makers of the future.
“In an increasingly polarized world, how can we hope to transform war into peace, scarcity into abundance, and hate into love? Women are the key. Mothers who’ve lost their sons to war; women who’ve been raped at the hands of the enemy; daughters who’ve witnessed their father’s powerlessness; if these women, who’ve experienced the worst that the human experience has to offer, can forgive, then there is hope.
"We see examples of this living hope all around the world: Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa and Central America; Palestinian and Jewish unity movements in Israel; Iranian women speaking up for political and social rights; the list goes on. These Sacred Circles of human beings reaching out to heal other human beings—even those who have harmed them—represent the transformative nature of relationships and a new culture of acceptance of the human condition.
“When we drop our defenses and tune in to the essence of these teachings—“be you”—we begin to relax. In that relaxed state, we sense the limitless, infinite, creative power that lies within us as women. That power is what will change the world in the coming Aquarian Age. Yogi Bhajan said that the Aquarian Age would not manifest without these teachings. So, it is up to us as women to lead the world to prosperity and peace. It is up to us to deliver the fruits of the Aquarian Age—creativity, community, transparency, and reliance upon Infinity.
“But before we can lead effectively, we must master our own inner conflicts and duality. We must recognize that our security doesn’t come from anything outside ourselves. It can only come from within; it can only come from our connection to the Infinite. We must acknowledge that we can only contain our world—not control it. But that simple act of prayerfully holding the world together—the epitome of the Adi Shakti —is our greatest virtue. We must know—deep in our bones—that we are the creators. Look around; if you don’t like what you see, change! Change yourself! The fruit of that consciousness will seed itself throughout the world in peace, prosperity, and grace.
“The most profound way for a woman to lead is by simply being herself—the graceful woman she is. Yes, she is the head of state, negotiating peace. She is the president of corporations, leading business to new standards in ethical practices, green production cycles, and social progress. She is the entrepreneur, bringing agility and flexibility to the marketplace. She is the artist, transforming the way people see each other. She is the singer, opening the hearts of all who hear her.
"She is the architect, designing the way we live. She is the scientist, discovering new medicines, new galaxies, new formulas. She is the mother who devotes everything, selflessly, for her children. She is the sister or the daughter who holds your hand and tells you silly jokes while you wait for the doctor. She is the wife who challenges, inspires, serves, and loves you. Yes, she is; and to borrow a now-famous phrase, “Yes, she can.”
"Women are the leaders of the Aquarian Age not because they have finally “won” the proverbial war of the sexes, but because they have finally recognized their own true nature and decided to serve it—and deliver it—for the good of all.”
-Excerpted from Everyday Grace: The Art of Being a Woman
Adi Shakti: Primal Power; feminine aspect of God that can manifest Creation
Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa has been singing for as long as she can remember. Her music focuses on using sound to move the body, the mind and the breath toward powerful transformative experiences that uplift the individual and serve the soul.
["When a Woman Falls, a Generation Falls" is a quote by Yogi Bhajan]
Everyday Grace: The Art of Being a Woman by Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa is available through KRI.