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Surrounded by People of Goodwill

I am still thrilled through and through from the Beijing Women's Conference. I kept saying, "This is as close to heaven as I've ever been." What I meant was that since I was a little girl, I wanted to believe that the world's people could really get along. I wanted to believe that we were really all one people and that we all wanted pretty much the same thing-to live and learn and love and work cooperatively with one another. In China, I came closer to seeing that vision become a reality than I've ever experienced. I used to try to imagine what heaven would be like, all the world's people living in peace, caring for one another, smiling and connecting deeply with one another. Now I have a real-life idea of how good living on this earth could be, if we all decided to support one another like we all really want to do. It was as close as I've ever been to a world where humans don't hurt humans.

The Chinese society felt very safe . . . we all knew that no one was going to get mugged, raped, or shot. The Chinese people, both male and female, treated us so well. They really tried hard to make us feel at home and welcome. There is a lot of sweetness and goodness in their society.

At the Conference we were surrounded with 35,000 women. I can't tell you how much my body relaxed after a few days, just noticing, "Oh, I'm safe here. I don't have to look over my shoulder. I am surrounded by people of goodwill." I could really notice what women have to offer the world in a bigger way than I've ever had the opportunity to see. What a huge contradiction to hopelessness this Conference, and being in China together, was for me.

If I felt a little flat, all I had to do was walk onto the Conference site and look into the eyes of women from all over the world, and I soon became thrilled again. I would walk down the path and look into the eyes of some woman and she'd look back, I'd smile with my whole heart, she'd smile back with her whole heart, and I could feel a huge connection and the joy of closeness with a complete stranger, dressed in a completely different way. It happened over and over again, day after day, several times in a half-hour period . . . an Indian woman, followed by an African woman, then a woman from the South Pacific or from Asia. It was so great to fall in love instantly, over and over again.

It was so easy to stop and talk to people and soon be excited about our conversation. Then would come the exchanging of addresses and the welcoming each other into our homes if the other should ever come to our country. I have women friends all over the world now. How can I ever thank RC enough for that? How can I ever thank Diane Balser, our great women's leader, and Diane Shisk, who did so much to organize this whole experience for us, enough? Women came ready to get to know each other. They came ready to learn from one another. People were so accessible there.

I was overwhelmed by the huge impact we were able to have. Hundreds of people who understood the value of paying attention, listening, validating, and discharging bad feelings, going around making friends, seeing that everything around us went well, and running support groups, introductory lectures, and scheduled Conference meetings.

We had various formally scheduled workshops, and people responded to all of them with their hearts and open arms. Such diversity. In one of the three workshops I led there were eighteen different countries represented and six different translations going on!

The result of our work and our caring is that there are women all over the world who want us to come to their country and lead a workshop for fifty or a hundred people that they will gather together for us. They loved what we had to offer. They knew that support groups would be helpful to the women they lead, so that they can get rid of their bad, discouraging feelings and operate at their best to create the lives they want for themselves, for their families, and for their world. This Women's Conference was a "great leap forward" for peer counseling and for all the RC women and men of all ages, countries, races who attended. My own leadership will always be more confident and sound because of this. I will always know in a bigger way than I've ever known that what we have is what people of the world need to function at their best. I will always be more hopeful that one day all the world's people will know how to get good support for themselves so that they can flourish.

I have so much more to say. I find it hard to put this life-changing experience into words. Life is indeed very good.

I also enjoyed seeing first hand what I always knew, that by far most of the world's women are not "white." They come in such a wide variety of beautiful shades, each one just right and beautiful.

I loved seeing women from grassroots movements there. Poor women all over the world are getting organized. The women's movement is much broader and more comprehensive than I could tell just looking at the USA.

I found it interesting that our RC knowledge seemed so easy to spread there. People were so receptive. I couldn't tell whether that was because we were talking to a group of people who were already leaders, or because most people in the world are not so individualistic as they are in the US where they just aren't as easily open to the idea of showing feelings in a group or working together in some particular way.

I'm pretty good at interesting people in the US in trying our process, but in Huairou it was easier than I've ever experienced. Women just opened up and said, "Yes! Thank you. This is exactly what my people need. When can you come and help us get started in my country?"

There was almost no "male bashing" at the Conference. Women from all over the world seemed to understand that men are not the enemy.

Finally, it's never been clearer to me that "we are the ones." We have very fortunately had the chance to learn RC and so are prepared to be the ones to help other people learn this process. When everyone learns to pay attention to one another well, it will completely change how everything operates. Decisions will become ever more rational as old distresses are discharged. People all over the world are eager to learn how to help one another move toward good lives.

Gwen Brown
Wilmington, Delaware, USA

Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00