Masculinity

No achievement without self love

There is to be no achieving without self love!!

Last night in our men's group, we were talking about the different ways of "doing," and something revelatory (revolutionary) came out of it.

No task is worth achieving if it is done without self love.

There are all different kinds of reasons to "do" something: 
sense of obligation
necessity
desire to change
desire to achieve
you think you'll feel better
desire to please
...and so on.

Men have a unique relationship, in my opinion, with task completion. As the masculine is most often "provider," task completion can be so much about obligation that a sense of self or fulfillment in the task completion can get lost.

In this way, the relationship with taking action even in a positive direction, like if you want to change your life, can carry an implied burden. The distinction between obligation and something such as authentic desire is harder and harder to find.

Men become "do-ers" and wonder why they are unfulfilled. It's because your sense of what you actually desire has been abandoned, and habitually. And it's okay for you to carry desire. In fact, it's feeling to me like it's critical in order to keep this world turning that you act out of heart's desire and not blind obligation.

So, men, it's time you gave yourself permission to "do" out of love, and specifically, self love. No task completion without self love.

None.

If you abandon yourself, and the love for yourself, you can not expect any task completed to fill that hole. Period. You can not please another with emotional or physical labor and expect their reaction to fill that hole. You can not work enough to fill that hole.

Self love comes first, as priority. And from there, you will absolutely know what to do.

If you are a man that has perpetually sought to please others and have abandoned yourself, if you complete tasks out of obligation so much that you don't even know what you want anymore, and want to put yourself healthily at the core of your life, I have space for one-on-one support in my practice. Reach out.

Self love. Try it. It's radical and it's required.

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The perpetrator doesn't get to decide

The perpetrator doesn’t get to decide how long the victim should grieve. The process of grieving is inside each individual. Everyone will be affected differently.


The perpetrator doesn’t get to decide how quickly they should be forgiven, as if when they are finished thinking about their action everyone else should forgive them too. No. They do not dictate when they should be forgiven. They do not control another person’s forgiving process.


The perpetrator doesn’t get to decide the short term or long term actions or reactions to a victim’s healing process. This is where we see an increase of manipulative behaviors or outright threats when the victim begins to realize that they have inherent power to do something for themselves. The perpetrator’s power relies on stealing power from others, complacency, and silence.


The perpetrator doesn’t get to have a say over their victim’s psychological process. They do not get to dictate where the trauma gets stuck or how long it takes to work it out. Often in relationships when this happens, mention of the trauma is uncomfortable to the perpetrator, and therefore the mention of it or symptoms thereafter is often met with more attempts to control or suppress.


The perpetrator doesn’t get to go on being the perpetrator. Each and every one of us has at times been perpetrator as well as victim. And each and every one of us has the responsibility to own our own behavior. We need to do the mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual, physical processes. We need to attone. We need to understand that healing does not come through more demand or through a means of escape (religion included).


We live in a dominator culture, and thankfully the awareness of that is on the rise now, but we still have a long way to go. Men have historically been more violent, but it is the repression of authentic masculinity and femininity, and the emphasis on domination and control in the patriarchal system that has lead to this, and women are not exempt as we have learned to adopt dominator methods to attempt to gain control and power in this model.


This is so pervasive that unless one truly wills himself to change, and does the work to become aware of their patterns of domination, they will by default perpetuate. In my experience, it is uncomfortable to admit that you have been the perpetrator, but only while you are clinging to the dominator model as the only way.


bell hooks says in her book, The Will To Change: Men, Masculinity, & Love, “No man who does not actively choose to work to change and challenge the patriarchy escapes its impact. The most passive, kind, quiet man can come to violence if the seeds of patriarchal thinking have been embedded in his psyche.” I will add: the most loving man, the father, the man who is aware of his shadow, the man who goes to the men’s groups, the man who is aware of his mother wound - even these men will come to violence. It will happen, because this is the dominator culture we are rewriting now. It is default. Let’s make this conscious.


It also is important to note that over-identification as a victim will not help to rewrite the cultural narrative. This is where we get “all men” and “all women” finger pointing. Each person is responsible for how they have behaved and how they have moved through it. Each person is responsible for unpacking both the trauma that came before an event of perpetration and the event itself.


This past week, I co-hosted an event where the men in the circle were asked to write held judgements of women down on little slips of paper, and women were asked to write down judgements of men on little slips of paper. Then we put all the slips of paper into one basket. As we read each one aloud, we asked every person in the standing circle to take a step forward if they had ever been the perpetrator of what was on the slip of paper, and nearly every single time, nearly all of the men and women all stepped forward. Both. All. Taking accountability and meeting together to find a new way.


We are here in a new time, where personal responsibility is allowed, where your healing is welcome. If your shame of your perpetration is clouding your behavior, change it. Own it. If not, you will, by default, continue domination regardless of any attempts to subdue, avoid, or deny.


If you are not happy with how you’ve behaved or the feedback people are giving you about how you’ve behaved, you can, and need to, take action. When you do, you break the dominator model in your own life. Thank you for doing that. It benefits the whole.


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Masculinity & Soul

I had the pleasure of going to hear Michael Meade speak a few nights ago when he visited Asheville, NC. Mr. Meade speaks on the topic of the human soul like no other, in my opinion, and if you haven’t listened to it, his weekly podcast called Living Myth is exceptional.


While sitting in the audience, listening to him talk about the need for us to be willing to acknowledge our emotions in order to access our soul, my curiosities wandered to how this impacts men and masculinity in the current cultural context.  


The language of soul is not especially mainstream, though Meade and others - I’d count myself among them - do our best to bring this concept and language to the forefront in our work. Carl Jung was of course the pioneer of this inquiry of soul.


What the soul is is not easily defined. James Hillman said, “soul is a deliberately ambiguous concept.” It is a mysteries realm that, to me, involves the depth of a human, the psychological history and what is both conscious and unconscious. The soul is what makes us ourselves, what beckons us forward, what allows us to deeply feel and interact with life.


The intellect alone can’t touch the soul. Living solely in the body can’t touch the soul. The soul is accessed only through the conscious interaction of mind, body, emotions and spirit, as I see it. When we don’t integrate all of these aspects into our lives, as many people do not, there can be what is called “soul loss.”

The soul wants us to reach our potential - not the kind of potential we reach when we get an MBA, but the kind of potential to be who we really are as an integrated person. What do you care about? What wakes you up at night? What is the deeper calling that you’ve always had but didn’t follow? What kind of love do you really want to experience? These questions point to what the soul is really wanting from us. Too many people simply ignore that inner voice and persist forward in intellectual or career pursuits, hoping for fulfillment but likely not authentically finding it. Ignoring that voice can have significant effects.


Symptoms of soul loss include feeling lost, feeling disconnected, isolating yourself from others, feeling as though you don’t have a purpose on earth or wanting a purpose but unable to define it, you have difficulty identifying what is positive, you have low self esteem, you picked up defensive behaviors after a traumatic event, you check out with mind-numbing behaviors, you feel unworthy and unappreciated, and daily life is task-driven and mundane.


Is anyone else reading that list and also making the connection to common conditions in modern men? If you didn’t get that on the first take, go back and reread that last paragraph and ask yourself if these are also common difficulties of modern men. In no way am I making a case that this is a problem unique only to men, but I am saying that there are almost certainly correlations between soul loss and the pressures, problems, and stigmas associated with modern masculinity and men.


Perhaps it is a bold claim, but it’s one I’m willing to make. As a woman, I have been studying men through the soul lens for a long time. I am a deep soul searcher, and in my close relationships with men, both professional and personal, there inevitably comes a time when there is a question of soul. A deeper opportunity, if you will, to step into the more vulnerable sphere of the soul and to claim hidden aspects of self. And time and time again, I have witnessed men denying this invitation, even if they so desperately want what their soul is showing them. A man can want to be a more connected leader, for example, but when the opportunity is before him will require him to lead with greater vulnerability, does he take it?


When I see a man deny the invitation to go vulnerably in the direction of his own soul, I see it as having abandoned himself, and I feel absolutely heartbroken. Every man that I have ever seen falter, in my judgement, it was due to a denial of his own soul. And when this happens, we can not feel him - the authentic him. He goes on upholding his ideas of how he must behave in order to maintain his authority, for example, and personal connection is often lost.


On the other hand, when I see a man accept this invitation, that is where I actually have increased hope for humanity and masculinity. It is that important. This is the space in which we can connect, problem solve together, lead with compassion, and understand one another authentically.

To come to know the soul is a process that requires a continual acknowledgement of one’s own vulnerability, and of the shadow, or the unconscious. Men’s groups like The ManKind Project incorporate shadow work into their initiatory experiences for men which bring glimpses into the wide world of the unconscious, and this is so important in order that modern men have the opportunity to acknowledge the masks they’ve been wearing and that they engage in ongoing personal inquiry of this inner realm.


Accessing the soul requires an acknowledgement that imperfections exist, that all the bravado in the world will not, in the end, save you. The Hero’s Journey itself is an invitation into the soul, into the inner realm through facing challenge and overcoming obstacles. If the obstacles are always on the outside and a man learns to succeed and function in the world by conquering them externally, his Warrior essence is essentially false as he has not met the obstacles within. He will defeat under any challenge that tests his soul strength.


Meeting those obstacles internally is essential for our authentic existence - each of us individually but also collectively. I wholeheartedly believe this, and I would encourage all of us, regardless of gender, to get a little closer to the nudging, authentic voice of our soul today. When we do, we have access to our own inner truth, and we can lay down a lot of the facade that most people carry.


As a woman, I do not want a false bravado or mask presented to me when I talk with a man. I want to see his soul, and I want to know that he knows himself in that space. So many men are afraid of their own soul as they focus their attention outward to pleasing others. It is my goal to offer, both personally and professionally, opportunities for accessing the soul as a point of strength.


Michael Meade is a storyteller and collects ancient myths from around the world and then tells them while he also plays a drum. He told a story from China on the stage, and he asked us when he was finished, “What was the part that was the most significant to you?” He said that the part of the story that impacted us the most was the most important part to our own soul and how we live in the world.


The line that stood out to me, without question, was, “I will not let you abandon your own self.”


Dear men, that is how I feel about you. I will not let you, whenever possible, abandon your soul. The world needs you, and your soul-infused masculinity, now. I believe in you, but more importantly than what you can accomplish or prove, I believe in your soul.  

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You can heal the Mother Wound in your relationship

Every boy wants to be held by the mother.

Every man with an UNresolved mother wound wants to be held by the mother, and projects this onto women, often angry for what they can not give him.

Every man who has Resolved his mother wound knows what it truly is to be held by the Feminine, The Divine Mother, and realizes that this is what he truly yearned for all along.

The feminine, giving freely, as she was always meant to.

Every woman wants to hold her child.

Every woman not initiated into her femininity will perpetuate, willingly or scornfully, the attempted nurturing of adult boys into men, but she can not. This arrangement will hold both hostage. If you make snide comments about having to raise your husband, you are both in this pattern.

Every woman has the responsibility to reclaim her own true feminine such that she recognizes the honor of the Divine Mother within her, and then she can stand beside a man, she can watch him crumble and hold him nonetheless, she can invite him into the space of her nurturing when necessary, and this is a man who knows the unmistakable force of the feminine which he is blessed to reside beside.

I can take your relationship through a mother wound pattern and together we heal it. If you are in therapy talking about issues of responsibility and emotional compatibility, it may be time to say "fuck this" and get to the heart of the issue, which is likely an imbalance in the archetypal energies in the relationship. This can and must be healed for healthy actualization of your relationship potential.

This is the result of thousands of years of mistaken understanding of what femininity and masculinity truly are, their potential, and in turn, your potential.

In relationship, in Conscious Union, your partner and you have the unique potential to help one another rebalance polarities. It's an inside job, which is why we work with all three of you - each partner (2, & gender matters not here) and the relationship (1).

Schedule a consult to see if this is right for you. Couples link here to read more.

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We Rise Together

Dear men,



On the day of the Women’s March, I am writing to you.



Because I trust that women who leave home today to march know why they are doing it. But it’s on my heart to talk to you. There are many questions in the air. My intention is to speak into this space in between us.



Admittedly, I am writing this as a woman who is currently tired. A woman who loves you and can’t see right now truly how to help you. I am writing this as a woman who has tried, in every way I know, to be what men have needed. A woman who now realizes, it is not my job.



I am resilient, I am feminine, I am independent, and I love men. I have walked for years as a conscious woman reclaiming my femininity, and I am well aware that to fight and be in opposition of men in this movement of the feminine rising is not the way to do it. I am a woman who loves and believes in men.



I have shown this to you. But as I’ve studied how I have been received, my efforts to lift men up, in fact my efforts to specifically stand as an ally to men at this time, have been met repeatedly with gratitude that I would speak solidarity, and yet when it comes down to it, you often want me to work for free, or you give a last minute power-over maneuver and say you don’t actually need to hire me, or you question what it is I truly know. Or you walk away. Most of you.



I realize now that this is in large part my own doing. Because in a system that has given men default power, I have continuously, in many varying forms, with many different disguises, given my power away. And I have asked you for yours. We have been fighting for power in an old power game.



We are all losing so long as this is the game.



Whether or not you know it or women know it, the women’s movement is a feminine rising movement. That is what we desire at the core. All of us - even you. This is not a women’s march. This is a feminine march. But we haven’t caught up in the collective consciousness to realize this, so we call it a women’s march. But “feminine” and “woman” are two different things.



Two thousand years ago, at the advent of Patriarchy, the feminine was decided to be a threat. Mary Magdalene herself held the magic of the feminine consciousness, held Christ consciousness, held a power so deep and inherent, held something in her very being that threatened the power of the church and how the church wanted to portray the Christ. The reason that the Christ was the Christ was not because of a man and his masculine father god, but because the masculine Christ was activated by the power of the feminine Sophia. One must have the other. This, understandably, is incredibly fucking threatening to a Patriarchal agenda. But Christ himself knew the necessity of the Sophia consciousness and invited it.



There is more power in the feminine than any masculine intelligence can ever understand with the cognitive mind. Because they are different, and complimentary, powers. And so, throughout history men attempted to control it, denying the feminine, which looks most obviously on the outside like repressing women. But the effect is that the feminine has been repressed in every human, including within men, and therefore a massive rebalancing is required. That is, I believe, what we are seeing now - the cry for this. It begins inside each human.



No one being is whole and complete until their healthy masculine and feminine have been integrated internally, into true Sovereignty. I will call this masculinity and femininity “sacred,” because we certainly have unhealthy examples at play as well.



Mostly, men and women are at odds with one another because of these unhealthy aspects in each of us. Most women are most often in an unhealthy masculine energy and most men are more affiliated with an unhealthy feminine aspect. We’ve taken what is glorious about both feminine and masculine and have sabotaged it. Both are grasping for power from these places. Of course this is oversimplified. See if you can stay with me.



We have a term now, “toxic masculinity” that points to “masculinity” as a problem, but true masculinity is never a problem. If each of us humans were to be fully integrated, we would not have gender wars, which I would say we certainly have, because we would not have to worry about anyone else taking our power. We would know that our sovereign union between the Christ and the Sophia within us, the masculine and the feminine, is divine and complete.



This sounds foreign because it is uncommon to discuss it, but it is not untrue. You will see more of this language.



In our society now we have the #metoo movement and women’s marches and we have a white male suicide rate that is the highest on record and I’m standing here as a woman waving the white flag and yet, I’m seeing we all still have a lot of fear ruling our daily actions. I’m feeling this in my own life and I want to be done with it.



A few years ago, I was working as a school principal, and my father visited our town while coming through on a business trip and took my son and I out for dinner. He had helped me to buy my house after my divorce, so of course, I thought, he was welcome to take over my son’s bed while in town. So while my son was asleep in mine, after we had enjoyed dinner, my father and I sat talking at my kitchen table. The conversation went south when he took it in the direction of religion, where we disagree. He’s a methodist. We’ve gone rounds about this before, though there was no yelling, and he knows I do not inherently agree with his views. And when we stood up to go to sleep, I found myself with my back nearly up against the front door while the familiar look of hatred took over his face, while his voice raised and he came at me, threatening me that I would burn in hell for eternity. Threatening me in the dark while no one else was looking.



His grandchild’s mother. His first born. A school principal. A caring woman who spent her days working for the benefit of children. But refusing, as I did forever, to subdue to his exact beliefs, he felt the need to threaten me to my core. Not only was I worthless, surely God would deem me the same, and I would burn for eternity. When I would not give over my power to him, our lifelong (forever-long) karma, he went for a drastic way to attempt to get it from me.



I’ve been told this, my prescribed fate in hell, by him in similar moments of threatening solitude my entire life. Especially since I became a sensual teenager. Then I got pregnant at eighteen, and I realize looking back that I gave most all my power away at that point because he largely determined what would happen, how the child’s father would not be involved, and that I could not possibly be successful on my own. I believed it. I birthed my child naturally and took care of her and my bodies, but the external choices did not feel like my own.



These things are engrained. I’ve been unpacking them, whether consciously or not, my whole life. I have lived a woman in the Patriarchy, and I’ve come to encourage a new way that is less hurtful for us all. I see that this is not a matter of who has power over the other.



I want you to see: my father is a decent man. He would place his three daughters at the center of his life, under God the Father, if pressed to order his priorities. And yet, he does not understand that at the route of his attempts to repeatedly overpower me is his own deep despisal of the feminine.



Many men, I would say most all, both crave and despise the feminine on some level. You’ve been hurt by the feminine, this force, and so you want to overpower it, either violently or by asking women inadvertently for their power. You do this repeatedly.



You have been hurt by women who themselves have repressed their own divinity, and have therefore been hurtful, operating out of a weak or unhealthy masculine or feminine energy. So while you crave the Divine Mother, your cravings are unmet by women in the flesh. Your mother your first inherent disappointment - often either too smothering or too unloving. You become monsters toward women under the surface and have no cognitive idea why. So much so that you will do anything to conquer the feminine, and then you transfer that to women.  You both love and fear women. You want us and you don’t want to have to. You are conflicted. You want to control the entirety of a situation of which you are only half the equation.



We feel it. We have felt it for two thousand years.



We fear it. As I write this I feel fear. Because to expose a man is to threaten a man, and bad things happen when men feel threatened.



Reclaim the feminine in yourself, my loves. You must. The internal balance is the unity that brings you your most authentic power. And do men’s work. But the trouble I see with men’s work is that most are ignoring the role of the feminine altogether. A lot of men’s work is not actually correcting the problem of power-over. THAT is the internal struggle. That is the beast, the addiction, the tyrant, the killer. The addiction to power is what we’re playing with, here.



And when women march, or women say “me too,” those are attempts to get power back. And ultimately, it’s ineffective because we don’t understand the internal nature of this that I am describing here. And ultimately, it threatens men and we’re in an incessant loop.



If I am a woman who is fighting men for my power, or trying in any way to please men for my power, then I am not sovereign. I have been living this as a woman. I see that now. I have been giving aspects of myself away in service to men and hoping for some return, whether it be honor or love or respect or an equal opportunity. I have been hoping that somehow I would find a way to show up with men that eases the power-over game. But this is not an effective recipe and I am left feeling unmet. My service is incomplete if it is not done from a place of sovereign love.



We all want sovereign love and union, but we are playing a power game. We are calling it empowerment and romantic love and #metoo and even now the men’s movements. We won’t find it there.



I consciously walked myself in the direction of reclaiming my lost feminine starting about seven or eight years ago. My son was a toddler and I realized the ways I’d lost myself after my daughter’s adoption a decade earlier. I realized I was largely operating from an unhealthy aspect of masculine energy, always driving myself and others forward.



At that time, I was one of those bitches who dominated men, blamed men for my state, my then-husband included. One of the women with daddy issues who begged men to prove to me all I needed to see from the masculine. I have shamed men. I have been the perpetrator of oppressive energy over men. I have been associated with a masculine, driving force that attempted to gain power-over. Sometimes I still am.



And I’ve done so much self-work, often in self-reflection of relationships with men gone wrong, and so I’ve asked myself what kind of woman I’d have to be to be what men needed me to be. Go ahead and judge that, but I ensure you that this walk was a conscious one all along. I understand masculine and feminine. I work in this arena because it calls me from a place deeper inside of me than any other aspect of my life. I study this because I know it in my bones, to my core. I watch how the energies of the collective are the same energies in me, and vise versa. We are given many opportunities to see this if we are willing to look.



All the while, I have been giving myself to men in one way or another for twenty years. I have been trying to “get it right.” I have tried to please and heal the father. I have worked primarily in school populations of male adolescents. I have attempted to bolster masculinity in places where male mentors themselves didn’t know to do it. I have stood in the energy of the Priestess willing to hold space for men to heal. I have been the woman that men have yearned for and then turned on, projecting their deep confusion and hatred onto me. I have helped to build their empires only to be dismissed. And I have been the place they called Home and then left again, without care, when love gave way to fear. When the uncontrollable became too much to bear.



And I know what you men do in the dark. I know how you crave Her. I know how you yearn to simultaneously conquer and succumb to Her. With your hand around my throat and the deep yearning in your thrust. I know you. I know what it is that you yearn for. You almost find it in those moments. The only barrier is you, my love. Yourself. She is there for you. You must also surrender.



I have been the Magdelena inviting you forward. I have been the Priestess willing to help heal your wounded Soul. You see yourself here in this space of me. And it is a vulnerable place. And then I am the woman left to do what women do when the fear of men betrays us.



I am the mother, the daughter, the sister. I am the woman you despise, the woman you love, the woman you hope to raise to be different (but how will you, if this goes unaddressed?). I am every woman.



Her.



When you are in your fear, when I am in my fear, we want to prove our worth through one another, to gain our power through one another. This is not a winning game. It’s not just you. We both have to look at this and keep coming to this table. I want to own my part more than I have ever wanted to own my part. I have no proving left in me. I can not pretend to know the way all on my own.



I could be spinning this. Maybe I am. And maybe I’m observant and you’ve given me many opportunities. It’s both. But I tell you these things differently now. Rather than diagnosing, I am calling you. And I will not sacrifice myself to meet you there. We, women, need you to meet us. We will need you at times to lead us where we can’t see. We will need your trust.



I am a woman and see it through this lens, and I am also wise. I have been abused and hurt by men, and decided consciously to show up in front of you anyway. I hope I have gained your trust this way. I am not the victim and I want to be your sovereign sister, lover, mother. And I need you to live in this space with me of checking and assessing your own drive to maintain power. We need a new way.



When you are in your fear, you do not want me to hold the mirror as the woman. You do not want my sovereignty if you do not know your own. You find my help a threat, even though you crave it, because you see it as loss of power. I have seen this with many potential coaching clients, students, partners, bosses. You want to prove all the ways that you are good enough and this prevents your own growth. Sooner or later in relationship, you will realize that you’ve fallen into vulnerability, and you will assert your power over. It will not be pretty how you take your power back when you recognize you’ve given it away.  You will not lose your power to a woman, even when I am not actually threatening it. Your power maneuvers are consistent, insidious. The perpetuation of an old paradigm that we need to be done with.



Repeatedly, you depend on my resiliency as a woman, but you hate me for it.



You want my softness, until it requires yours.



You want to lose yourself in me, but you want to determine which direction we head into abandon.



Nayyirah Waheed wrote “All of the women. In me. Are tired.” I feel this, in my woman body, I feel this. I will stand with women in this march because I know what women know just by being born a woman, because the feminine is in my bones. I know the reality of being wanted and silently despised, of constantly giving with failed return. Of life being a power game and knowing what it feels like to be losing. Knowing that we all lose so long as this is about anyone having any other part of any of our power.



I want a different game. The time is now. We are noticing the breakdown of an old paradigm. Now we create together, anew. We create what is currently unimaginable, because it is beyond our constructs. We create by honoring personal sovereignty and the space for vulnerability. We create by honoring all of the fear generated as a result of this old system, and we look one another in the eye as we move forward together.



I do not want to be a woman in charge. I don't even want equal rights. I do not want to try to match power. That is all old, power-over paradigm.



I know a handful of men right now who are putting their hearts on the line and doing their personal work to look at how they assert power-over. One sat before me this week and delivered me a reflection that I can’t remember verbatim because it was a divine transmission out of the mouth of a man, and I cried, to be seen and offered respectful reflection to my core.



I know a man who is heartbroken and standing in his mission now, vulnerable and not giving up inside this space of incredible risk.



I know another man who honorably said to me, “When you are in your rawness, I am inspired to keep going, to keep choosing this.”



I know another who has recently been humbled by loss of a woman taking back her power and sat before me and this woman and said, “I was the Patriarchy. I tried every way to assert power over and I was willing to go to any length to ensure it.”



Create with me. Break down with me. Get vulnerable with me. Look at our collective fears with me.



There is a We that is emerging that I want to believe in. To my temporarily shattered core, I want to believe in Us.



Together, we let old paradigm crumble at our feet. So many of us are aware of this crumble right now, experiencing it first hand. I am saying, beloveds, that I believe it feels this way because we are being called to be new, to create anew, to imagine the New. To live it. Courageously and from our Hearts.



I have edited this for more time than I ever spend on any piece. All of the old and the new are still colliding within me. My recent loss is here, and I see that it is the catalyst for this wide open, vulnerable gain. I pray that we all see our own shattering as invitation, the invitation we’ve been asking for, actually. If we wanted a New, why did we not think we would have to experience a death of the Old?



We are the creators. We are the movement. It is not the movement you will see today on the news, as the collective takes some time to catch up to what is really happening. We are the catalysts. We are the ones we have been waiting for. The divine in me sees the divine in you. The masculine in me sees the masculine in you. The feminine in me sees the feminine in you. I want your sacred sovereignty. I want my own. I want it for our sons and daughters. We are the movement. We are the ones we have been waiting for.

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A paradigm shift or a culture war. We choose.

It’s not an either/or, masculine or feminine, man or woman.

As a culture war threatens, or maybe it’s already here, I urge us to consider another way.

When a women’s movement sprung up, and women rallied, “Me Too!”, men were whispering, “Well what about me? I’ve been abused too.”

At the time, I was one of those women that said, “Shh, not now. This time is for women.” And that felt really true, but that also perpetuates a polarity. Why wasn’t I allowing space for men to share their stories of abuse? Something inside me was saying, “This is not just about abuse, this is about evidence of a shifting paradigm. Let the women show they are rising.”

And I get that if we are looking through the eyes of a “men vs. women” scenario, that we would see most often “woman = victim” and “man = perpetrator.” And there are plenty of examples of this. But we are humans, and so not all men want to fall into the perpetrator category, and there’s a fear response within many men that they will be assigned this label. They don’t know if they will be called a perpetrator or if they deserve it, and there’s a surge in defensiveness as well as a massive quieting of men right now. I get that. And, yes, sometimes men are victims too.

What Ford/Kavanaugh symbolized to me was another step in the paradigm shift, and this time, about women’s voice. No matter what, Dr. Ford was going to tell her truth. In doing so, she reminded many, many women that this is a noble path, regardless of reception. In fact, we even saw less tolerance than ever before, historically, of a culture willing to defer to the judgement of men over a woman. We all knew what the GOP was really doing and we knew it was BS. And women know what Ford was doing. And a lot of us appreciate it and find some new resolve within ourselves as a result of her bravery.

Then, on the tales of this, inevitably, there are also attempts by men to say, “But wait, us too, our voices are suppressed to.” I’ve been involved in quite a few of these conversations, meanwhile navigating my own resurfacing of memories and lived experience, and my own stories that I’ve silenced or didn’t even know I could tell.

I hold space for men as well as women in my work, for all humans regardless of gender, and so I’m watching my own “stuff” come up meanwhile trying to stay open to what my male friends are saying. “We don’t feel like we can tell our truth either.”

I know. I know there is a repression of authentic male voice and that we are also collectively yelling about “toxic masculinity” at the same time we commonly don’t want to be holding space for men to do much about it. We want men to go do their work and yet we aren’t very tolerant of hearing about that work or creating space for it in our culture.

And so, when this conversation comes up, we question whether or not men are trying to steal women’s thunder if they also say, “Uh… I’m hurting too right now.” It’s messy. It’s especially messy when the focus is “winning” or proving that one gender has it better or worse.

Truly men, I think it’s actually indicative of a legitimate core problem with masculinity that men immediately want to go to women to “solve” their problems with masculinity. There’s nothing simple about this, right? But hear me out. Men often carry what Jung called The Mother Wound, and to ask the women in your life, in the middle of a women’s movement, to also hold your own victimhood, whether legitimate or not, is indicative of this wounding where men think that women are going to solve it for them, like Mommy would. The collective “Mommy” right now just might need a minute. And, go to a men’s group and talk about this. Please. We need men in this conversation checking their own shit and showing up having done some work. Because if you’re doing your personal work to heal your masculinity, we can have this conversation. I will have that conversation with you. But I’m not responsible for providing you with your reassurance right now, and I find it difficult to do so in the middle of a collective women’s movement when my own trauma responses are active.

When my trauma responses are active, and men attempt to prove that they’ve had it as bad as or worse than women, I feel tired.

That’s just real. I’m human. And! I don’t want to perpetuate a divide. So I keep showing up, questioning myself, talking to my male friends, and writing about this at 5:30 in the morning.

I don’t want to send or perpetuate a “You’re broken, go fix yourself, we’re having a women’s movement over here” message to men.

And at the same time when I’m “in it” as a woman, and a man says, “Yeah but we don’t feel we can speak our truth either,” the first thing I want to do as a woman is attempt to recount why I think I had it worse. (Stick with me here...)

So I start in with my automatic replies, “Yeah but you don’t know what it’s like to live feeling suppressed by the other gender your entire life.” And then I think - I don’t know that that is absolutely true. That’s not actually fair to say. I know plenty of men who were actually suppressed by women their entire lives.

So I try another route, “Yeah but I have stories that I couldn’t share and my tongue felt caught in my throat until I unstuck it with all my might.” And then I think - I know men who this is absolutely true for.

So then I try, “Yeah but my body. My body lived the horror of an over-taxed nervous system and I felt like I was in fight or flight for most of my life for living in fear.” And then I think - this is not female exclusive.

This week, as a woman, I reactively wanted to really prove the differences, in order to prove why it’s important that we really allow space for women. But I can’t prove the differences on a human soul to human soul level. And my focus, now that I’ve reflected, is that it is not my work or interest to do so - to prove differences, or to perpetuate a divide.

I don’t want to compare wounds. It is no longer my interest.

I don’t want us to prove who had it worse as a result of the repression of the feminine - because THAT’S WHERE ALL OF THIS COMES FROM. There are two main archetypal energies in all of us - masculine and feminine - and guess what: the feminine has been repressed in all of us. ALL of us. That’s what this movement is. A bringing back, a reclamation, a re-integration of the feminine, AS WELL AS rediscovering what healthy femininity and masculinity truly is. We need to rediscover and rebalance that within each of us, individually. And, we need to do it collectively in the culture. The only way we are going to do this is together.

It’s not triggering for me to hold space for men who also have pain right now. It’s triggering for me to compare stories, to attempt to one-up the pain. And reflexively, this is where we go.

Let’s stop it. Reroute.

Ask questions. Seek understanding. Assume positive intent. Forgive. See how the people you love are trying. Reach out. Apologize. Listen to a story. Lean in. Go to a place where this conversation is happening to bridge a divide, or start one.

This is how we shift this old paradigm. This is the work I want to do and the way I want to live - in masculine/feminine union.

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To the men who are scared:


Men are scared right now. With each public case highlighting a man’s previous mistakes against women, men are scared that it could be them next. And the honest truth of it is that yes, if we are moving forward in this accusatory culture, then every man, or damn near every man, could expect to be at risk for prosecution.


I suffered at the hands of men, and starting at a young age. Too young. And then, when a teenager, I had a group of boys from the soccer team show up at my house, my boyfriend among them, and the rest of the boys stand outside the door while the expectation was that I would give him oral sex. When I exerted just a bit of push back, my head was pushed downward. First I bit him. Then I did it.


I am a woman in America. Of course I have a story like this. I have countless stories of male dominance - sexual, emotional, mental, and spiritual. It is because I have done much trauma work that I can state this directly, but I do want to say it. I get it. I know what it is like for the nervous system to live in self-protection and fear - I did it for the better part of 35 years. In fact, that’s a lie. I still, on dates with men, feel it in my body, the immediacy of the self-protective response of my body, even though countless healing sessions, trauma release, a meditation practice, and knowing all about this stuff. Still. My body knows because my body has grown a woman in America. It is that widespread. Do not think it isn’t. Every woman knows this story in her body.

But I don’t want to look up this man now and tell him he was wrong. I don’t care to, personally. I get that other women are having a host of various responses with their associated memories coming up from this public case, and I support each woman’s choice.

I don’t want to make sure he knows that he was wrong in that specific instance. What I want, is to call to men both near and far to be brave now, amidst the fear that every one of you might have a reason for some woman to come out with a story against you.


Relatively recently, I tried to have this sort of kind but honest conversation with two specific men in my life. They ran in fear, even though I was not talking about prosecution. They ran, they used their positional power, and the issues were never resolved. As a woman, I was left to deal with their choices. I lived an experience where because men still do have positional power-over, they could both choose to run due to their own fear. I was left, again, feeling the feeling that women know of unresolve, of cleaning ourselves up after a man has his way with us.


Because a culture of fear got us here, right now, we are only moving in the direction of more collective fear, as I see it. When what we really need is more bravery.


Yes, it is brave of a woman to tell her story. I am all for it. But men, my god, we need your bravery now too. We need you to come toward rather than back away.


I get that the reasons that many of you are currently unable to do this have to do with not knowing how. Men have grown up to assume that what they say goes. And now we have a culture of women saying that this is not okay anymore. It’s true. It is not okay anymore.


So here’s what you do, men. Come to the table. Come and sit down and say, “Help me to understand.” Say to the woman that you love in your own house, “Can you tell me how you feel as a woman when you hear this story in the news? What do you think that I, as a man, can do?”

A friend told me this week that when she told her male partner about her dreaded high school experience locked in a room with a man, he wanted to go hunt down that man and “make him pay.” And so she had stopped communicating to her partner, meanwhile she was reliving a visceral trauma response. Men, that is not exactly what I mean by bravery. Use her feelings of safety as a measure of bravery. If she feels safe as a result of your actions, and it creates more trust, you’re on the right path.


Men, you’ve been taught to think that you need to perform, know exactly what to do, fix it, or save us. We’re not asking for that now. We want you to ask questions, listen, check your self-protection, say an out-loud apology even if that woman isn’t in the room - say it to any woman. Admit that you don’t know what to do right now, and that you didn’t know what to do then. Ask a woman you trust for help. Not all women want to take you down. Some of us will hold you accountable meanwhile allowing you to rise into a more embodied, emboldened version of man. That’s what I want to do. That is what I am demanding by being the woman that I am in the world today. I will love the hell out of men, and, I will naturally demand the best of you. I will simultaneously no longer allow power-over to exist when I see it, and also, I will help to explain what I see with kindness and compassion. It’s up to you to step in, to not run in fear.


We are creating a new way. We need to do so together, even though our traumas are real, even though we don’t yet know what to say, even though we feel fear. We all want to feel bravery and love, in our bodies, in our men, in our women.


Rumi says, “Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”


I’ll meet you there.

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I don't care if you believe me. I am a woman. So is she.

Perhaps the bravest thing I’ve ever seen is a man leaning into the feminine mystery. Because the feminine mystery, if I must spell it out, is the most powerful force in all of nature.

The forceful conquer and control of men is not the most powerful force in nature. It is a farce the world has fallen for.

With all the examples of fear we’ve got, with all the men who have told us to stay small, attempted to discern from some perceived vantage point whether or not a woman is credible, I am also experiencing the opposite.

Sweet relief.

Neither trying to dominate or diminish or run - a man who wants to explore the mystery. Who bows to it. Who asks to learn more.

Lusty women are forever being told that we’re too much. Men, really, you are still trying most often to shame us for our sexuality or conquer it. You’re bullshitting yourself if you disagree, I’ll debate you on it.

Or, you often run and don’t even try. Or you dominate in such a way that the true power and lust never comes out of her. So sad for us all. So sad for this world.

If any of you try that conquering bit here, and some of you have, what you find is a mirror so clear that your own fear will conquer you. And you never even touch the mystery.

I’ve seen it. Oh have I seen it. It's so sad.

Until I was surprised. Until a man stood steady, acknowledging his shaky knees while coming ever closer to the ocean of me.

Ask me what I’ll do for a man who has leaned in to whisper: I am here to ensure that you, woman, come completely unleashed.

Unleashed.

The ocean of me. Invited into as infinite a space as needed. He will hold me.

This is the place the masculine holds for the feminine, if he is able. Men, take some lessons here.

His intimidation he acknowledges, but exhilaration replaces any fright. Seeing and valuing the role of the feminine at this time, and not only believing her, but holding her up. Creating space for her to be bold in a world that so often does the opposite.

Unleashed.

He craves to swim in the waters of the feminine unleashed.

You all do.
Men, I promise you, you all do.

And you repressors, you men who think that you can control this wave of the feminine divine rising, you stand no chance. Your tight brains and your wild dicks inside your expensive suits will be your own destruction. You will die in the house of your own fear. Do your work. Do your damn work. I still believe you can. I believe you must.

I have offered to help. I've got an ocean of feminine receptivity. But that sounds wild to you, doesn't it? You must be able to find yourself in the waters untamed.

It requires being brave enough to stand in the ocean of the feminine that, yes, is bigger than you. Wider, vaster, and different. You have another value. There is another way. You will never find it so long as you spend your time attempting to control this ocean.

Unleash, Women, unleash. Be wide. Be vast. Be your lusty, uncontrollable selves. If there's not a man around who can hold that for you, be that with other women. Be it now.

We will teach the men how to come along. We need them. Some of you are showing you are ready. Thank you.

Perhaps the bravest thing I’ve ever seen is a man leaning into the feminine mystery.

I am looking for the examples of men who are encouraging the mystery now.


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The necessary embodiment of men.

I'm not a man and I'm not in the body of a man. But I do love men and observe them closely. 

I've studied men, and, for reasons only my Soul knows (in other words, I'm not aware of all of them yet), I am here to be of service to men. (And women. And everyone in between. Of course.) 

But men, and white male men, are suffering. They are. I happen to be born a woman amongst mostly white middle class men. It is said that these men are the most privileged, the ones with the most power. However, 7 out of 10 suicides in the US are committed by white males, mostly middle aged. 

So, we're not getting it right. And here I find myself, advocating for the group that is supposedly the most privileged and the least wanting... because who is going to advocate for supposedly privileged white men? It's not emotionally safe for white men to advocate for themselves most of the time. If they do, can you imagine the backlash?

"You're the most privileged and yet you want more. Oh POOR you." For example. 

When #metoo was happening, and a male friend was adamant that men should be included in that movement, himself having experienced sexual abuse at the hands of his father, I insisted he was wrong to say that men were being left out of that movement. Yes, be acknowledged, be uplifted, but not immediately upon a women's movement. My thinking at the time was that we needed to allow women to have that movement.

Maybe I was wrong. Because when are white men going to get a movement? 

Right. They're not. 

I love men and I have NOT had an easy life with men. I want to make that clear. I am not daddy's girl. That man is a blessing in my life but he's not easy. I have an ex-husband. After I got divorced, which was really something I felt needed to happen as I was walking back into reclaiming what had been lost of my own feminine and soulful nature, I spent a year alone. I was so traumatized in my body from a lifetime of held trauma, anxiety, nervousness, and lack of esteem that I went to Hakomi (somatic) therapy every week. 

A year later, an old friend of mine saw how tattered I still was, and he extended to me that if I needed a safe space to "come back," he would be that. You could laugh at this - see it as a man saying he was willing to get laid - or you could see the healing gesture in this. That's what it was. I said yes, and through the way that man puts his hands on my body, meanwhile also of course holding a safe emotional space, I was able to realize safety in ways that my traumatized and fragile self never had. 

Over the course of a year with him, in the hands of a man, I was able to heal. 

I really want both men and women to hear me say this. When I opened to a man, who was present to my process, I learned a greater depth of me. So often we stay separated from other humans and true trust based on our previous traumas - and this happens even if we're married and functionally having sex with someone for years! True leaning in is another story. 

Fast forward years later and here I am advocating for men. Why? 

The suicide rates. Men tell me that they think of suicide more often than most people going about their ho-hum lives ever know that men are considering. 

And I could go on about a million other ways that men are suffering, but today, this one really hit me: 

Being someone who has personally learned that my body is central to my healing, as someone who can say #metoo and has a trauma history that made it difficult for me to be comfortable in my body for a long time, I don't think that we have made it safe for men to be in men's bodies either.

Generally speaking, we haven't made it safe for men to have wants, urges, anger, emotions, rage, sexual desires, silence, voice, or to utilize their own bodies in ways that express all of the above. I wonder what men have to say about this. 

I was getting all of these Facebook requests over the last few months from men wishing me "love and light" and I started asking myself what in the world was going on. I do embodiment work and shadow work. I do deep archetypal work with men and hold space for them to explore their Sovereignty and masculinity. We don't find the archetypal masculine through love and light, so what is going on? 

Oh. 

Because we don't have healthy cultural rites of passage for men, or elders who understand true masculinity to teach our younger boys, and because we have a culture that doesn't build men up but then tears them down for being who they are, it's not safe to be a man. It's not safe to be in a man's body. It's not safe to have wants and needs like those listed above (sex, rage, voice or no voice, etc). 

I spent the last year in a relationship with a strong man. He looked like a Warrior. He was a Lover. He loved the mystery of the Magician. He desired the King. Our souls danced. Our bodies were like magnets in ways that I never knew bodies could be. We explored the depths of eros. And then, it got too real. (My words.) It got too real. There wasn't safety in eros, he seemed to realize. There wasn't predictability, and to stay with me would have been to allow himself into uncharted territory, and sometimes uncharted feels unsafe. And in his 48 years on this planet, he had set up a lot of safety. 

He desired physicality. He desired the embodiment we experienced. I will say that in our relationship, embodiment was central. Being in the body was required and incredibly joyful. And yet it seemed to be too real, too much proof of something he couldn't turn himself fully over to, because to do so would have meant getting in touch with deeper parts of himself. I think the relationship was too much of an invitation for him to lose control, and loss of control felt unsafe. And in the end, he shut himself off to it, finally saying to me, "I choose to be a simple man of God." 

And so I experienced this retreat, from safety found in the body, back to the safety and predictability of God, of "love and light" over human connection. And I'm no wild woman, so really what was offered in that relationship was simply Real. 

I believe that culturally, we haven't made it acceptable for men to lose control, to be fully sensual, to want what they want, to know their bodies, to not fear their own desires. We haven't made it safe for men to express themselves, be angry, or simply want to get fucked, without also being a culture that shames men, tells them to put away their desires, and have it safely all under predictable control. 

For example, my son is nine, and for years, his impulse is to play and pounce, and for years, he's been told to keep his hands to himself. It starts young. 

And so instead we have a culture of men who take refuge in some god or spiritual practice, and we have a culture of high suicide rates among men. Or they turn to alcohol, or porn, or gaming, or other means of shutting themselves down. Surely, spirituality is preferred to all of the latter, and I still advocate that we look at the escapism inherent in all of it. 

I want to invite men back into their bodies. Back into their truth. I believe in you. We need you, strong and embodied. Our boys need you to show them a new way. When you are embodied, you can access your truth, feel more resilient even while vulnerable, you can access these archetypes if you choose, and you know better how you want to conduct your whole self in the world. When you're embodied, you don't just want to fuck, you want to feel. 

What could this look like for you? When do you feel strongest in your body? Is there a race you can train for, or a pick up sport you can join? How can you get into your body every day? I believe that there is possibility there. 

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Love like you've never been hurt

Love like you've never been hurt. Is that how that saying goes?

We stand guarded. Most all of us, most all of the time. We present our guarded and protected selves to the world. In so many ways, it's societally necessary, or at least, subliminally demanded. We are constantly expected to be that which does not feel natural to be.

Recently, I watched the movie "The Mask You Live In" with my teenage male students. (Watch it.) The movie uses the metaphor of the mask to discuss the formal presentation that we often put forward, meanwhile, what is on the under-side of the mask is usually something far different.

This movie discusses one of the most important topics of our time, in my opinion: the pressure on young men to develop into an idea of masculinity that is ultimately harmful and actually juxtaposes the inherent male sensitivity to the expectation that males be tough and emotionally removed. It is damaging, damn it, in utterly corrosive ways. I am the mother of a son, I've spent a career closely engaged in the development of teenage boys, and I've paid very close attention to the men in my life. I'm no expert, but I've got vested interest.

There will be more blog posts on this topic of masculinity (and femininity), rest assured. I could write a book at this point. I bring it up here in order to attempt to nail down that our attempts to hide our true nature and protect our vulnerability is as old as.... well... they are very old.  And guess what. Women, we didn't escape this either. I like to examine our collective pain through the lens of the masculine and feminine, but it's just one lens.

We are a society of hiding and shaming. We have wounds that we perpetuate because it isn't safe to admit them, bring them to light, and therefore heal them. We have very few safe places to do so, and one has to be pretty brave to even step forth. We shame those who have been victimized. We keep silent when we need help. We don't dance, so often, like we are comfortable being seen. It took me over three decades, and still, it's not likely I'll hop on the dance floor without looking around to see who's watching first.

And, sadly, we are often so confused, hidden, and protected when it comes to love - love of our partner, love of our students or coworkers or the guy bagging our groceries, and love of ourselves.

This is a blog post. I can't write the book on the examination of all of this and how to climb the hell out of it in a blog post. Here's what I want to say.

I want to love like I've never been hurt. I think I may finally be able and ready - a truth so amazingly sweet, and one I truly never knew when I was spending all of that time guarded. I was guarded for a reason. Trauma is real and never, ever, will I tell someone to just get over what they are going through. We don't just snap out of the reasons that we guard ourselves, because the memory (cognitive, emotional, spiritual, or somatic) of it makes it feel like staying guarded is necessity. Until we bring it to light. And we need to co-create safe spaces for us to do this.

We learn to love unguarded when we show up for one another. When, step by step, we are able to courageously admit that we are vulnerable, but that we'd like to step forward letting a bit more of our old story go, in order to create a new one.

May we start now, today. May we extend an unguarded hand. May we begin to know another way.

May 2017