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A R T I C L E S* &* S P E E C H E S

by Barbara Wilder


Wow! What an extraordinary night. Hillary Clinton won the New Hampshire Primary. An election that the media had called for the new rock-star politician, Barack Obama, ever since Hillaryís miserable third place showing in the Iowa caucus five days before. Marvelously, the pundits were caught completely off guard. How did it happen? Was it the tears? The pollsters were all wrong. Even Hillary and her own inside pollsters had it wrong. Everyone expected her to lose. What happened? What indeed? Hillary found her voice. This is something I have been waiting for for fifteen years.

In 1994 when Hillary was out stumping for her now infamous health care plan, I saw her speak at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I was so excited. I got there very early so that I could get as close as possible to the woman who had sent the Wall Street Journal and a great many American women into a tizzy, because she didnít bake cookies. I personally have baked very few cookies in my life. A batch of Toll House cookies now and then, mainly because I like to eat the dough. But on that bleak winter day in 1994 my enthusiasm was quickly muted. Hillary was boring. Stilted. No Charisma, whatsoever. Even her plan was bulky and awkward. I walked home in the freezing cold, deflated

Over the years I, along with the rest of the world, watched her grow. Her one-on- one interviews became almost watchable. When she became the Junior Senator from New York, I was impressed with what I heard from of her constituents, particularly those in upstate New York. From First Lady to Senator in one smooth move. Very impressive.

Then she began to run for President. On one level I was thrilled. I knew it was time for a woman to be in the White House. A major part of my writing and teaching is focused on women in the second half of life stepping into leadership roles, because the world must have new answers to the old problems, and women in the second half of life have the life experience, the wisdom, and the basic attributes of feminine power, love and nurture, to come up with those answers. Hillary was the obvious choice. She had all the credentials. But when I tried to listen to her speeches as she began to campaign I found myself cringing and turning off the television. Sure, I felt guilty about it. In my heart I wanted her to win. In fact, I felt in my gut that it was her destiny. (Donít quote me on that.) But I didnít know how it was going to happen. She was still a little boring, stilted, and lacked charisma. I pulled back from the campaign, but kept quietly supporting her.

I also realized that I felt vulnerable to the meanness that was being spewed at her, mainly from the media, but also from and her opponents, because she is my sister, she and all the worldís women. I took it personally. It was different from the campaign meanness that we have gotten used to over the past couple of decades, because this time it came from a deep and ancient hate and fear of women and feminine power - the misogyny that is deeply ingrained in our culture. And this didnít come from just men, but from other women. ďHillary isnít a woman. Sheís just a man dressed up in womenís clothes,Ē was something I was hearing over and over again from women and men. I knew this wasnít true. I kept trying to defend her. After all, this is the woman who wrote IT TAKES A VILLAGE, an extremely feminine concept. Her work has always been for children, women, healthcare. Where is the masculine power model in that?

But Hillary had thrown her hat into the ring of the biggest and most powerful boys club in the world, the United States presidential race. And it was unprecedented. How was she supposed to act, if not like a man? What woman could she emulate? She was going to have to create the prototype, and she hadnít quite figured it out. All the women who were part of the second wave of feminism that began in the 1950s were confronted by the same conundrum. We wanted power, but the only models to follow were men. So, we did that. Some more than others.

But now, fifty years into the movement, we are beginning to connect with our own kind of feminine power. And many of the women, especially those in the second half of life who tried the male way, are finding that that model of power doesnít fit right. Itís the square peg in the round hole syndrome. But itís difficult to find our feminine power, and even harder to embrace it. Itís buried deep in our collective and personal sub-conscious, and millennia of subjugation and persecution has created a great hurdle of fear to overcome to connect with it. It takes courage, stamina and great passion to do it. You have to dive down into the darkest place in your soul, and once there you have to allow your heart to be broken open. And then, miraculously, you will find yourself, your power, your true voice.

And on in the week leading up to the election on January 8, 2008 Hillary did just that. The loss in Iowa was devastating to her. But she didnít give up. She gathered all her courage and she rolled into New Hampshire, sleep deprived, depending on untapped stamina, and fueled by her passion. She went out to the voters and asked them to tell her what they wanted. Exhausted, she actually ďteared-upĒ on television, when a woman asked her from a place of real caring how she was doing? Later that day I heard her speaking at the rally at the Manchester Airport. She was a new Hillary. Her speech was alive. It was powerful and gentle and caring at the same time. It was full of good ideas and solid plans. She had stripped away her woman in manís clothes persona, and stood before us naked as a woman. The crowd loved it. I loved it. I loved her.

And then she won. Against all conventional wisdom, she won. Obama was the front runner. Supposed to win by at least 8 points, possibly double digits. She turned the media on their heads. They didnít know what to make of it. They stumbled through the evening not willing to call the race for her until late into the night. How did it happen?

And then she told us. She said as she began her victory speech, ďOver the last week I listened to you. And in the process I found my own voice.Ē

I was alone in my living room. I felt my heart break open. It was a magical feeling. It was the collective heart of the feminine bursting forth into the world after a very long absence.

She concluded her victory speech saying, ďIím going out there, but I wonít be alone. There will be millions and millions who believe as I do that this country is worth fighting for.Ē

We all are being called, especially women in the second half of life, to dive deep into the dark reaches of our souls and let our hearts break open and find our voices. Letís not let her do it all alone. She canít. It takes a village. It takes a nation. It takes a world. A world of women and soulful men with new ideas. Ideas based on the feminine principles of community, nurture, love, and caring.

Copyright © by Barbara Wilder 2008

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Barbara Wilder is an internationally acclaimed author, teacher, and healer. She is the author of Embracing Your Power Woman: 11 Steps to Coming of Age in Mid-Life and Money is Love: Reconnecting to the Sacred Origins of Money. A former actress, screenwriter, and film production executive, Wilder is a master teacher of light-energy healing and growth techniques and meditation. She currently lives in Boulder, Colorado, where she writes, teaches, and maintains her practice as an transformational therapist and light energy healer. She is the founder of The Transformational Light Center there. For more information on Barbara and her work, please visit her website www.BarbaraWilder.com.

Copyright © 2008 by Barbara Wilder


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