Jean Houston is in the air this weekend. My friends, Jennifer and Kimberly, spent some time in the middle of a women’s locker room discussing her contributions to the planet — and the role of women today. So I thought I’d share a special moment I had with her in Boulder, CO. Below is the transcript of my interview with this icon. Here’s the link to the audio. You’ll want to hear her say this. Oh what locker rooms can unlock!
Philosopher, scholar and cultural icon, Dr. Jean Houston is one of the foremost visionary thinkers and doers of our time, and one of the principal founders of the Human Potential Movement. She has worked intensively in 40 cultures and 100 countries helping to enhance and deepen their own uniqueness while they become part of the global community.
CAROLYN: I want to jump off a quote you said, “We have come to the stage where the real work of humanity begins.” You have been at this for a while, so where are we right now?
JEAN: We’re in the great “either/or” of history. Either we really blow it the next 20, 30, 40 years, and stay on the same path of same ol’ same ol’, or we consciously decide to rise to the challenges, the greatest challenge in human history. Other people thought they were “it”. They’re wrong. This is the most critical time in history.
CAROLYN: This is the “it”.
JEAN: This is it. This is it (laugh). You know I am something of a cultural historian and I can assure you, there’s nothing like today. And critical to the turning will be women. The rich mind-style of women. It’s the most important event of the last 5,000 years. Women, slowly but surely, rising to full partnership with men and the whole domain of human affairs. Terrible backlash, but it is going forward. And it’s going forward in spectacular ways. You know, I have worked with Middle Eastern women, and you go to some of these countries like Kuwait, and 70 to 75 percent of the college graduates are women. They are taking in the big professions. In America, who gets the degrees? 62 percent women. The managerial positions are now shifting towards women.
But what is important is that the nature of women’s process is that which is which will really make the world continue in a creative way. Because women’s emphasis is on process rather than on product. On making things cohere, development, grow, inner space equal to outer space – outer space and inner space being on a continuum. Relationship – the relationships between things, the patterns that connect, being critical. So a woman, for example, doesn’t just do her job, she braids her work with feeling, with compassion for the people she is working with. That isn’t true in every case (laugh), but in a great many cases, it is. Because I travel so much, that’s perhaps my one of my big claims to fame is I am one of the best-traveled human beings who has ever lived. I have worked in something like 107 countries and intensively in some 40 cultures. And everywhere I go, everywhere I go, I find that the people who are doing the work, 70 to 80 percent, I mean the key work, sustainability work, are women. And they tend to be of a certain age (laugh).
CAROLYN: And how old are they?
JEAN: Well, they’re past 40. 40-95 if what I have found.
CAROLYN: Wow, a new demographic taking place here.
JEAN: It’s a major demographic and no one is writing about it.
CAROLYN: That is interesting. We stop at 54.
JEAN: No, no, no. Way past that. The kids are grown. Where they don’t care about their reputation.
JEAN: Post-menopausal zest. They are out there and they are calling the conferences, making the projects happen and they are sustaining them. And they are training the young men and women in continuity and doing the things, and they keep the spirit up. And they’re good scolders too. They brook no whiney nay say. And that’s who’s doing it. And good men too. But I am seeing, no question, that the larger percentage is women.
CAROLYN: We’re all about getting the collective, the collective women together. We’re seeing a lot of women, like you, who are just icons. And we look up to you. But I think right now, everyone has got to be in the game. So my question is to you is: How can we rally, really rally the women, and come together as one as a collective force to make that, or help birth that shift that we’re talking about. The “either / or”.
JEAN: Well, I don’t know if it’s just a question of “we have to”. It’s something that is happening that is part of the collective mind-set of the human race.
CAROLYN: It’s happening already.
JEAN: One of the reasons why – well, me give you a little myth. The myth goes… we’re 1,000 years in the future, and some young woman is doing some kind of whatever is the equivalent of a graduate’s degree, and what she is doing is she’s studying the patterns of over a hundred planets that had high-level folks operating. And she discovers that there are in fact certain patterns, that after a certain point where there is an adequate population, the women or the female members of the species rise and begin to join with the male of the species in the full pattern, full access to planet building, soul crafting, mind shifting, etc. And as they do it, that’s when the planet moves into its renaissance – and a lot of the problems are solved, you see. So my myth goes that we are part of the planetary study and we are at the of point or grow or die. Evolve or perish. But it only can happen after women have stopped just being (not just — “being” it’s very important), just raising so many children, so many things to die.
I recently got access to one of the lineages of my family that I didn’t know much about. And they came over to America in 1630. And there was an average of eight to 17 children. The median was 11 that these women produced because they had to because so many of them with these children would die. Well, that’s not true anymore. And we cannot afford to keep this population going. This is why women is something like a huge urgency among women to extend their fertility into other directions. And that’s what’s happening.
CAROLYN: I love that.
JEAN: It’s happening through the unconscious of the earth and human spirit, whether we like it or not. So what we can do is help tend it. To begin to guide it in our rallies, in our women’s circles, in our seeing what has to be done and then doing it. So it’s happening regardless.
CAROLYN: Wow, you’re choking me up. That’s it. Extending our fertility on that level. So it’s the integration. The ultimate is the integration of the masculine and the feminine. But we have work to do right now.
JEAN: We have lots of work to do.
CAROLYN: So is it the “either” or the “or” for you?
JEAN: It’s “both” and much, much more.