“Liberated relationships are one of the ways we actually create abundant justice, the understanding that there is enough attention, care, resource, and connection for all of us to access belonging, to be in our dignity, and to be safe in community”
— adrienne maree brown, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good
“The ecological crisis is doing what no other crisis in history has ever done – challenging us to a realization of a new humanity.”
— Jean Houston
We’ve been conditioned to seek scale, speed, and quick fixes to complex problems, but at SheEO we assert that everything is relationships. Transforming systems means being in right relationship with ourselves, each other, and the planet. We also build at the speed of trust — transitioning from transactional exchanges to relationships of mutual respect.
The idea of ‘being in right relationship’ comes from the Principle of Oneness, the interconnectedness of all things, and a recognition of the inability to compartmentalize. This means there is no such thing as externalities. We can’t actually ‘externalize’ costs, we simply defer them to later — a harm done to someone else or the planet is ultimately a harm done to me or my children, or my children’s children. Conversely, a benefit conferred can also ripple out through generations.
Some First Nations communities think seven generations ahead to visualize their future descendents when making decisions, and we would do well to do the same. A fundamental step in fixing our fragmented and fragile systems is to integrate and ‘internalize’ a holistic understanding of our interconnectedness.
Many spiritual traditions speak of a reality where all things come ‘into right relationship’ with one another — where there is universal acknowledgment of our oneness. Some examples include: the Jewish notion of Shalom, First Nations “All my Relations,” the Lakota phrase Mitakuye Oyasin, Nuutsumuut in the Hul’q’umi’num language, etc. While these are not equivalent concepts, there is a commonality to them that speaks to how we are to be in relationship with one another, and even farther, a mandate to transform relationships to be more just.
To deepen into this reality, we need to employ deep listening. Deep listening is a way of positioning ourselves in a place of non-judgment and compassion — both to others, and to ourselves. Thich Nhat Hanh, a renowned Buddhist monk, talks about deep listening as a tool for transformation, where we can help relieve the suffering of another person by letting them empty their heart of whatever he or she may be experiencing.
SheEO aims to create a network of women globally that are in right relationship with each other, themselves, and the planet — and to share our learnings as we discern what this means together. We know we will make mistakes in this process, but we take inspiration from Dr. Maya Angelou who says, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
Reflection questions: How am I using my resources to help put me in right relationship with myself, others, and the planet?
Where and how do I feel disconnected from myself, others, and nature today? How can I create space for connection and transformation?
BOOK How We Show Up — Mia Birdsong
ARTICLE Movement Generation — The Meaning of Home
SITE Pico Iyer on silence and ‘going nowhere’