The Shaping of Power in a Woman
by Ariel Ky May 12, 2012
From her luxurious office in a large community center in an ecovillage situated in the mountains northeast of Kuala Lumpur, Kyra looked pensively out through the wall of windows to the lush orchid garden below. Everything that she had achieved in the past five years had been just short of miraculous, starting an international trade coalition that spanned the globe in several countries, founding the eco-village she presently lived in with several highly productive members who engaged in creative projects together, an ESL multimedia production company, a ship-building company that built yachts and ships with solar panels on the top deck and computerized sailing mechanisms, using sun and wind to power the engines as much as possible.
And that was only half of it, she’d also founded Women of the World United, a global collective primarily made up of working women acting in solidarity with each other to improve their lives and the establishment of Women of the World University, an all-women’s university that made it possible for women in developing countries to gain a higher education, with a growing number of adjunct campuses in several countries.
How had she succeeded so well in manifesting her many ideas and dreams? These had been busy years, too busy, but productive and satisfying. She hadn’t done it all alone, of course, but she’d been fortunate to find a way to work with other women that enabled them to reach their goals. It all started with some simple principles that everyone who worked with her agreed on: they would support each other in their projects in whatever ways were needed, they would work for the greater good and find ways to reward altruism.
They would share also share resources and give a helping hand up to those in need Everyone could continually adjust their work schedule according to the needs of their families and friends and the projects that they were working on. Women could devise their own daily schedule. Everyone had choices of activities: to study and train in new skills, to co-create, to work alone, to teach, to engage in new projects or maintaining existing ones, to travel or stay at home.
It had been her intention to put in place a new economic system that supported the poorest of the poor in the world to prosper. The global financial crisis brought about by criminal practices of crony capitalism (that was collapsing from its own corruption) had slowed everything down in countries everywhere. Nobody trusted the bankers or investors any more. Letters of credit were no longer used in trade.
Business practices had changed, but the majority of working people’s lives were not improved. Jobs were lost, wages went down, small businesses failed. Only the mega-rich flourished, becoming ever richer and more powerful, manipulating currencies and commodity markets to gain more profit from the labor of working people.
The reason that she had succeeded was that she had provided an alternative, a source of employment for millions of people who came into the international trade network they had developed, education and training for those who needed it most, and financing and support for small businesses and cottage industries in rural areas of developing countries. After the damaging release of radioactivity at Fukushima in Japan had shifted that country to using alternative energy, the market for wind and solar power and other sources of energy had expanded greatly.
Later, when one after another, eight old and deteriorating nuclear reactors had endured fires and meltdowns in the U.S. within the period of a year, that country had also started to shift away from nuclear power. Smaller is better had become an operative principle, with neighborhoods and communities finding ways to meet their energy needs by cooperating with each other in developing alternative sources, such as setting up arrays of solar panels that provided sufficient energy for a dozen households and wind farms that helped power a community.
One of the driving forces of their success had been the freedom people had to invent, with resources and support provided by the global network, as they’d streamlined ways to bring to market devices that helped generate power and used ingenious devices and processes which used less power to get things done. Solar powered street lights, flashlights, watches, calculators, phones, and laptops were only a few of the new line of energy efficient products that they’d been instrumental in disseminating globally. The invention of a low-cost electrical generator and capacitator for personal use in the home by one of their members had also benefited the growth of the trading network.
And they’d been the first to see that travel by plane would become prohibitively expensive with the decline of sources of oil. Shipping had taken off, and not just container traffic for international trade, but also passenger lines to transport people places. Their shipyards in Greece that they’d bought into three years ago had brought considerable funds into their network, and helped that country to pull out of its economic plight.
Kyra’s inner reflections on all that had taken place over the past five years had made her hungry. She rose gracefully from her ergonomically correct office chair, and started pacing, her trim figure as she walked an ongoing source of wonder to her, remembering how fat and slack her body had once been, thinking that in a minute she would head down to the cafe for lunch, and that later she’d go for a swim in the community pool.
The aquamarine telephone on the wall rang (that had been another successful product line in a range of bright colors previously unavailable, as people had returned to landlines after huge numbers of early adaptors of cell phones had developed brain tumors). She picked up the phone to talk with a representative from one of the shipping lines used by her network. The woman was proposing several new destinations to add to their distribution network.
Kyra asked her to find some people to analyze weather patterns along the proposed courses, and to work out the figures for increasing trade with these places to see how profitable it would be with their existing product lines. They discussed the need for building community centers at the new destinations to provide a hub for trading activities and production.
After the call, Kyra ran down the stairs, making her way to the cafe for lunch. There she found three friends already sitting down to eat, and making a heaping salad for herself first from the salad bar, soon joined them. The sun was pouring in, and the beautiful plants in the cafe made it a delight to sit there talking while they ate. The open structure of the cafe made it possible for breezes to waft through, so that it was quite pleasant.
When Kyra joined her friends, Tina, the artist from Finland who’d joined their collective just the year before, was talking about why she’d finally joined the collective and come to live in the community. She said, “Every woman I knew who was part of this collective was powerful. You were all taking your ideas and making them happen. In the end, that was irresistible.”
Tina was in a talkative mood for her, and continued. “And to think it all started here in Malaysia, with you, Kyra, unemployed for several months, so lonely that a local tribe of monkeys took pity on you and befriended you, and so poor that you’d gone a whole week without eating before you decided to ask your friends and family for support and started writing your newsletter, “From the Edge of Asia.” It was the turning point for you where you made the shift from having ideas, to writing about them, to finding people who were also interested in doing those things, and making them happen.
“That’s not the whole story of how I became such a powerful women,” Kyra protested, with a wry smile for her friends. “Do you want to know the real secret to how I became powerful and able to carry out every idea, good or bad, that I come up with? Her friends leaned in, nodding their heads, eagerly, “Yes, yes. Let’s hear it.”
Kyra stretched leisurely. She’d finished eating her salad and pushed the plate away. The crystal earrings she wore sparkled in the sunlight and an inner glow came into her eyes. “What I learned at Cherating Beach was how to work with the earth’s energy, and to trust my instincts. I used to go beachcombing the next morning after the thunderstorms had passed the night before that came up so fast there with towering cumulous clouds, thunder rolling across the water, and super bright flashes of lightning that played across the tops of the clouds.
I’d pick up shells, driftwood, stones, and even the jawbone of a large fish once. And I’d find a cove and build a sea altar there, knowing full well that the next incoming tide would wipe it out. I laid out the shells and stone in spirals and patterns as I was inspired, and then when it seemed done, I’d step back and overtone or chant until I entered a trance state.”
Kyra stopped talking then, assessing her friends to see if they were open to what she had to say next. Their scrutiny was intense; they urged her to go on. “When I was in the trance state, I would communicate telepathically with the spirit of the earth.” No, they all groaned together. “Oh come on,” said Judy, the most pragmatic of the four, “Don’t tell me that’s your secret. I don’t believe it.”
”No, seriously,” Kyra insisted, “that’s my secret. I would have a conversation with the Earth Spirit, and I’d ask questions and get answers on what I should do next. And sometimes the spirit of the Earth would bring certain matters to my attention and tell me things I needed to do.”
Kyra could see that her friends wanted to believe her, but that their doubt was making it difficult. So she said, “I’ll tell you what. Let’s take the afternoon off work and go out in our yacht, the Seabird. We’ll go out to one of the islands and make a sea altar. I’ll show you how it’s done, and you can tell me later if you were able to hear any messages from the Spirit of the Earth.
Only Janice protested, saying that she had a deadline that she was up against, so she excused herself, standing up and picking up her plate, silverware and glass, and taking it over to the window to the kitchen. Kyra and her other two friends also cleared their places and decided to meet at the pier in 30 minutes, after they’d changed their clothes and gotten ready to sail. The coast wasn’t that close to where they lived; it took them a couple hours to drive to the place where their sailing boat was docked, but the time passed quickly as they sang songs on the way, laughing at each other’s voices.
The three friends often sailed together, and soon had the Seabird skipping over the water. A strong breeze moved them briskly along. The trip to one of the islands only took an hour. As they pulled their boat up onto the shore, it was a bit of a struggle as a series of large waves started coming in just then.
The island was uninhabited, and they were pleased to see that nobody had been there recently. There were plenty of shells just a few feet from the water as it was high tide. So they soon had the makings of a sea altar, and Kyra showed her friends how to lay out the shells. They each made a design so that they had three altars when they were done. Kyra could see that they were finding out how this simple creative act could be so satisfying. The altars were remarkable in their beauty. Then Kyra led them in toning and their voices blended beautifully with the sounds of the birds darting about overhead. They were quiet then, each of them going within in a silent meditation.
After a bit, they walked back to the boat together, sharing what had happened when they were meditating at their sea altars. Judy said, “You were right. I got a message from the Earth Spirit. She told me that she was glad that I’d finally made it to Her, and that she had a request, a task for me to carry out.” Judy looked as though she might just start crying any minute. ” Yeah, what was the task?” asked Kyra.
Judy looked subdued then. “The spirit of the earth told me that my great-aunt Rose would die soon, and that I was to visit her, and that she would need me to run some errands for her, and that Rose had something she wanted to tell me, a family story that she’d been keeping that she didn’t want to take the grave with her.”
“Oh my,” said, Tina, “That was a very specific message. Mine wasn’t like that at all. In fact, I didn’t even get words, but I did see an image, and I’m going to paint it. I’ll show you both what I saw from our Earth Mother when I’m finished,” she promised them.
They got to the boat then, and headed back. The weather was roughening and clouds were moving in, so they were relieved to dock the Seabird, and made it to the car just as rain started to pour down. The sun was setting, but it was too dark from the storm to see much. They were oddly quite on the drive back. Kyra needed her full attention for driving in the pouring rain.
As they finally reached Terra Haven, the ecovillage that was their home, the rain had stopped. Kyra parked the car and they went into the café for dinner, a hot homemade tomato soup with dill, grilled cheese sandwiches on rye, and lemon tarts for dessert. It was a Western food dinner that night, but it really suited them after being out on the water. As they were all pretty tired then, they bade each other good night and made their way to their separate sleeping huts.
The next week, Kyra ran into Judy in the café again, and asked her if she’d been to see her Great-Aunt Rose. Judy was eager to share what had happened, and they sat down and drank their iced tea with lemon while she talked. “You know, it’s the strangest thing, but the telepathic message I got was entirely accurate. I’m still running errands for my aunt, and she doesn’t have much time left.” Kyra was curious to find out if Judy had learned the family secret yet.
Judy said that her Great-Aunt Rose had told her the family secret, and that Kyra was going to be blown away by what it was because it was also her family secret. “I found out,” Judy said, drawing out the moment, “that you and I are actually sisters.”
“No way,” said Kyra. “Go away! What are you saying? How could we be sisters? No, it isn’t possible.”
Kyra felt a flash of anger. She’d always loved her friend Judy, but this was going too far.
“No, really. Great-Aunt Rose told me that your mother had a wild affair as a teenager. She got pregnant and had the baby. It was all hushed up though. They sent her away to one of those dreary homes for pregnant women, so that none of the neighbors or church members would know about it. Most of the people in the family never even knew. Great-Aunt Rose knew because they asked her for money and she paid for everything.”
“Wait, wait, Judy. This doesn’t make any sense. If we were sisters, your Great-Aunt-Rose would also be my great aunt. And I’ve never even met her.” Kyra was bewildered by this far-fetched story of Judy’s.
That’s when Judy reached out and touched her hand. “I’m sorry Kyra. Great-Aunt Rose IS also your aunt. She had a falling out with the family over this, and hasn’t spoken to your grandmother or anyone else, for that matter, since this happened.”
“What?” Kyra felt as though the ground had given out under her. How could Judy be her sister? She didn’t know if she liked that idea. She didn’t know what she felt.
Judy explained further. Your grandmother, Rose’s sister, made your mother give you up for adoption. Rose was very much against this decision, and wasn’t willing to have you grow up without any of your family around you, so she paid the couple who adopted you to go along with pretending that she was the sister of your adopted mother’s mother. Everyone in your adopted family went along with this. The money that Rose paid them was substantial, and they were able to make the down payment on a house with it.
Our mother was forced by her parents to marry a man the next year who they chose for her. She wore a white wedding dress and had a beautiful wedding. She never tried to find me. So we don’t have the same father. I never knew who my father actually was. I’ve always thought that the people who adopted me were my real family. They never told me. Nobody did. My life has been a lie. I still don’t know who my father was. I wish I did.”
Kyra was beginning to feel that Judy was telling the truth. She still didn’t know how she felt about finding out that her best friend was actually her half sister. She was still taking in the story when it suddenly occurred to her that Great-Aunt Rose might have gone to the grave with this secret if Judy hadn’t gotten the message from the Earth Spirit about it. She asked Judy if they’d talked about whether Great-Aunt Rose would have summoned her if she hadn’t gone to see her first.
“Yes, I did ask her that question,” responded Judy. She told me that it was more of yearning to tell me than a decision, and that she’d been feeling weaker and weaker, and just wasn’t sure how she was going to get her affairs in order before she died. She hadn’t really considered before I came to see her that I might take care of business for her. And now she’s so grateful that I’ve been there for her at the end that she’s decided to leave me her house and money instead of giving it to the Humane Society as she was planning. So one of the tasks that she’s had me doing is meeting with her attorney and getting her will changed.
“Wow,” said Kyra. “This is all pretty incredible.” Right then, Tina came by and greeted Kyra and Judy. There did seem to be some kind of synchronocity going on with the three of them. She was carrying a large painting. “Oh there you are,” said Tina as she approached them. “I’m so glad to find you here. I’ve got the painting of the vision that I saw when we built our sea altars.” I don’t know what was going on, but as you can see, I’ve painted both of you on either side of this older woman. She looks a little bit like both of you. I can see a resemblance between the three of you. But I’ve never seen this woman before.”
Kyra and Judy looked at each other. The woman standing with both of them in Tina’s painting was clearly Kyra’s mother. Then they knew. It was a sign that the Earth Mother intended for Judy to meet her real mother and for the three of them to be family. Just then, Janice showed up and saw the three friends with each other. She asked them, “Have I been missing out on something?”