JOHANNESBURG - As I grow older, rather ungracefully and in my quest to build conscious leadership capacity in a country somewhat bereft of one, I am often asked a barrage of questions by the many young women I mentor.
Their curiosity ranges from burning bra’s, to what is the essence of a woman and how to negotiate a man’s world without emasculating the men in their lives. The quality of thinking of many of the millennials that cross my path provide the hope for our future and their thinking is a powerful factor in creating their reality.
This brings me to Oprah Winfrey who rode into town last week for the Global Citizen Festival. She delivered a rousing keynote address on women power. I call it Shakti energy. Shakti , according to ancient Hindu wisdom is the primordial cosmic energy that represents the divine feminine creative power of strength, ability, beauty and energy, thought to move the entire universe.
“Women will be the ones to save South Africa.” Oprah declared in her inspirational speech. I agreed, however on reflection, as long as patriarchy, polygamy and patronage reigns supreme in the name of culture – it’s easier said than done. But it is up to us as women to “fuel a movement of individual acts of grace and heroism and humanity”, to quote Oprah.
Our Shakti energy has multiple facets. We need to first accept the divine feminine aspect of ourselves that is capable of ruling the world. As influencers, leaders and mothers or destined to become mothers of both boys and girls, it places us in a privileged position as creators of potential presidents, kings, world leaders or just plain decent conscious human beings. It is the ultimate expression of being a mother and an exceptional human being.
“Every single one of us has the ability to strengthen somebody through small acts of kindness”. Oprah asserted at the Global Citizen Festival. And she is right. It starts with simple and random acts of kindness, of being conscious of those around us. We all talk about sisterhood, about women empowerment and women’s rights but they are hollow words if we do not reach out and give off ourselves to each other. We can open our hearts and see that no child goes hungry nor cold. Where we can operate with absolute integrity and become aware of the little things that we could do to make a difference and make this planet a better place. Where we become warriors for the underdog, the underprivileged, the homeless, hungry and diseased. Where we take responsibility for all. That’s what being a woman is all about, more especially that’s what being human is about. No matter one’s title, wealth, status or power, no matter how little or small, every action we take as a woman will touch the lives of someone in need and make a difference. If we all did this – can you imagine the positive change and awesome world we could create?
We can all become a mentor to someone – it only requires an attitudinal change that reflects the essence of our humanity. If we are to help each other, if we are to teach and learn, we must do so in the knowledge that it will not always be easy. Sacrifice will be required. “What is to give light must endure burning,” A philosopher once said. It won’t be easy, we will have to give of ourselves and when the occasion demands, we will have to endure burning. After all, we embody the divine feminine.
Brenda Kali is the chief executive of Conscious Companies and the Founder of the Conscious Leadership Academy.