Urgent and provocative, We: A Manifesto for Women Everwhere is “part self-help, part social theory, centered in the idea that instead of having it ‘all,’ women can live happier, better lives by becoming more free” (Glamour), from longtime friends Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel.
We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere is an uplifting, timely, and practical manual for creating change in women’s lives, with nine universal principles that help you confront life’s inevitable emotional and spiritual challenges. It’s about transitioning from a me-first culture and imagining what a we-based world might look like.
In We, Anderson and Nadel ask why so many women are locked in cycles of depression, addiction, self-criticism, and even self-harm. How much more effective and powerful would we all be if we replaced our current patterns of competition, criticism, and comparison with collaboration, cooperation, and compassion?
Putting these values at the center of our lives allows each of us to be happier and more empowered, and to replace harmful habits with a more positive, peaceful, and rewarding way of being. We is a rallying cry for “every woman, everywhere on the planet. Open to any page. And there you will find a truth that can set you free” (Christiane Northrup, MD, author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom).
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About the Author
Gillian Anderson is an award-winning film, television, and theater actor and producer, writer, and activist. She currently lives in London with her daughter and two sons.
Jennifer Nadel is an award-winning broadcast journalist, qualified attorney, writer, and activist. American-born, she lives in London with her three sons.
Read an Excerpt
AN INVITATION TO YOU
‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’
At some point in our lives, most of us feel the gentle calling of our soul. Sometimes it’s so quiet we can barely hear it – a soft tapping. No louder than a leaf falling from a tree.
We may imagine we didn’t hear it. Or perhaps it is louder and takes the form of a persistent ache, a nagging sense that there is something missing. ‘Is this it?’ we wonder when we wake in the dead of night or find ourselves caught in the treadmill of our daily grind.
It may be a hint of loneliness that endures even in the company of friends. Or a sense of injustice and a desire to change things that feels urgent and necessary, but also hopeless before it even begins.
Perhaps our heart tells us there is a better way of living, that we need to stop ignoring what really matters – the suffering of others and our planet’s future – but our head insists we’re naïve and tells us to knuckle down and get on with our lives as they are.
For others the call may take the form of a crisis – a break-up or breakdown, a betrayal or loss. Or perhaps it’s addiction, depression, or another serious illness.
However it comes, it is an invitation to take a journey. You may resist. Many of us have resisted it for years, even decades. Ultimately it’s your choice. But it will wait for you patiently, tapping daily or every so often in small and big ways to remind you that, in truth, you can’t avoid it if you truly want to live a meaningful life.
If you’ve heard that call, this book is for you. It’s for women who want happiness and meaning. It will guide you towards the path to inner peace and provide the power to help transform the world in which we all live.
WE is a journey based on a set of nine principles that have been taught by sages and saints throughout the ages and which have the power to transform your life and the world around you.
It isn’t a lifestyle choice to be bolted onto our normal me-centred way of living; it’s a path of radical transformation that puts compassion for the world at its core.
Use this book both as a guide and a source of inspiration. If you’re hurting, it will help you heal. If you’re lost, it will guide you home. If you’re searching for a purpose, it will gently lead you towards fulfilment.
We arrive in this world without instruction manuals and we grow up without an emotional toolkit. So it’s easy to lose our way.
As we go through life we amass emotional scar tissue from the knocks that we inevitably take. We become like electrical circuit boards that have got so clogged up by the silt of life that we can no longer connect with ourselves and our core beliefs, let alone with the world beyond.
All of us start out in life with a strong internal value system – a sense of what’s right and wrong and what’s fair and what’s unjust. But then life intervenes. In the cold light of reality our ideals can quickly seem naïve, unrealistic and untenable. However strong and heartfelt our intentions, it’s hard to give effect to our beliefs when we’re struggling, stressed or in emotional pain.
Before long we’ve abandoned those values in favour of the rules we’re taught by the world. Succeed, compete and accumulate. Deep down we feel conflicted, but at the end of the day we each have to get by, don’t we?
A gulf emerges between the values we choose for our personal lives and those we live by in the world at large. In our homes and families we believe in sharing and making sure everyone’s OK. But once we step outside our front door the rules change. The common good is replaced with the quest for personal success. Within seconds we dissolves into me and we’re elbowing each other out of the way in the race to get to the finishing line. Only, of course, there isn’t one – just a horizon that moves further away the closer we get.
The Nine Principles in this book heal our wounds and return us to our centre. As you learn to apply them to your life one by one, you will be taken on a journey from me to WE. Loneliness will evaporate. You will discover a sense of purpose and you will be freed – freed to live a life that is authentic, happy and meaningful.
Table of Contents
The Journey xiii
Why Now? xv
How WE Works xvii
Why We Wrote WE xix
WE's Vision xxiii
Part 1 The Essentials 1
Essential Practice 1 Gratitude: A Mind-Altering Substance 5
Essential Practice 2 Gentleness: Changing the Messages We Give Ourselves 13
Essential Practice 3 Responsibility: Taking Care of Ourselves 21
Essential Practice 4 Meditation: Creating a Safe Space and Making Way for the Sacred 39
Part 2 The 9 Principles 49
Principle 1 Honesty: Getting Real 55
Principle 2 Acceptance: Making Friends with What Is 83
Principle 3 Courage: Ending the Victim Trap 109
Principle 4 Trust: Living Without Fear 135
Principle 5 Humility: Unmasking Our Ego 157
Principle 6 Peace: Ending the Conflict Within 181
Principle 7 Love: Transforming Relationships 207
Principle 8 Joy: Living Fully 243
Principle 9 Kindness: Love in Action 267
Part 3 The Manifesto 293
A World in Need of Love 297
Further Reading 333