Fear of the Inexplicable

We must assume our existence as broadly as we in any 
way can; everything, even the unheard-of, must be possible 
in it. That is at bottom the only courage that is demanded 
of us: to have courage for the most strange, the most 
singular and the most inexplicable that we may encounter. 
That mankind has in this sense been cowardly has done 
life endless harm; the experiences that are called “visions,” 
the whole so-called “spirit-world,” death, all those things 
that are so closely akin to us, have by daily parrying been 
so crowded out of life that the senses with which we could 
have grasped them are atrophied. To say nothing of God.

But fear of the inexplicable has not alone impoverished
 the existence of the individual; the relationship between 
one human being and another has also been cramped by it, 
as though it had been lifted out of the riverbed of
 endless possibilities and set down in a fallow spot on the
 bank, to which nothing happens. For it is not inertia alone 
that is responsible for human relationships repeating 
themselves from case to case, indescribably monotonous and 
unrenewed: it is shyness before any sort of new, unforeseeable 
experience with which one does not think oneself able to cope.

But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes 
nothing, not even the most enigmatical, will live the relation 
to another as something alive and will himself draw exhaustively
 from his own existence. For if we think of this existence of 
the individual as a larger or smaller room, it appears evident
 that most people learn to know only a corner of their room, a 
place by the window, a strip of floor on which they walk up and
 down. Thus they have a certain security. And yet that dangerous
 insecurity is so much more human which drives the prisoners in
 Poe’s stories to feel out the shapes of their horrible dungeons 
and not be strangers to the unspeakable terror of their abode.

We, however, are not prisoners. No traps or snares are set about
 us, and there is nothing which should intimidate or worry us.
 We are set down in life as in the element to which we best 
correspond, and over and above this we have through thousands of
 years of accommodation become so like this life, that when we
 hold still we are, through a happy mimicry, scarcely to be 
distinguished from all that surrounds us. We have no reason to
 mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors, 
they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us; 
are dangers at hand, we must try to love them. And if only we
 arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us 
that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now
 still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust 
and find most faithful. How should we be able to forget those
 ancient myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into 
princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses 
who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps 
everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless 
that wants help from us.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke



Today I am remembering that beauty and truth are eternal, but that forms are not. All forms change, evolve, dissolve, re-form. That is to say, everything transforms in time, through death or dissolution. It simply is.

Yet, nothing essential can ever be lost.

I love the metaphor of the wave and the water. Every wave rises, crests, falls, disappears entirely. What was lost?
The form of that wave.

What was that wave made of?

We suffer unnecessarily because we believe we are the wave.

But of course, at essence, we are the water.

This is not to say that we should not become attached to forms. I think it is inevitable and beautiful that we do become emotionally attached to our own lives and bodies, our loved ones, the form of a particular relationship or work, a place… and loss and grief are an integral and necessary part of this story. Recognizing our true essence does not mean disengaging from the bonds that we form. Engaging fully with life, in the full awareness of your vulnerability, takes courage and real strength. When the time of loss is here, we must grieve. To be willing to live so openly and courageously is the best way to live, I sense. I also imagine that it is nearly impossible to live so willingly open without some sense of the eternality of the essence of things, or without awareness of the wholeness that we belong to. So much of our suffering we create ourselves in resisting loss and death. We close our bodies down energetically in fear. Hearts become dry and dim. Our minds grow rigid. We get stuck in habit patterns that don’t even serve our own happiness, let alone the happiness of others.

A teacher of mine says that to transcend is trance-ending. Another teacher says that to transcend healthfully, we do so in a way that is inclusive of all that came before rather than in a way that is dissociative. As our consciousness shifts to include perspectives that reflect a deeper truth than we could previously discern, there is yet an embrace of the more limited perspectives, and a respect for how they served us and for the particular nuances that each level of perception illuminates, but the spell of that more limited perspective is broken. As we begin to see that we are the wholeness as well as the part, it is possible to honor and love all the parts more deeply. As we transform our consciousness, it is possible to make space for fear and grief, and to feel them wholly while remaining rooted in the peace at the core. I think sometimes we remain rooted by a thread, and for all you can access it the peace at the core seems like a pipe dream, or worse, like delusion, but if you know that you don’t have to feel it or see it right now, if you even know that it might be true that at the core is peace, then in the willingness to consider this possibility there is an opening. As in the story of the man who awoke in the darkness of night to see the shadow of a fearful snake in the corner on the floor, who trembled in a panic for hours, and when a storm rolled in and a flash of lightning lit the sky and shined in through the windows, he saw… a rope coiled in the corner on the floor. And as the sky blackened once more he was no longer afraid, even though again he was in darkness. One moment of illumination can anchor us in a deeper truth, even while habit compels us to tumble back into the prevailing trance and doubt what was revealed.

Discipline = to become a disciple of the deepest truth or most adequate perspectives that you have ever accessed. To be a disciple means that we apprentice ourselves to the ongoing development of our capacity to live in integrity with our deepest awareness. This means that we are committed to the practice of surveying our consciousness, our lives, our choices, relationships, habits, and actions in order to discover where a less adequate perspective may be prevailing, and then to do the work of bringing everything into alignment with the deeper awareness, even as awareness is continuing to evolve. This can be deeply challenging at times. And it is in the challenges and contractions that we need to call on ourselves to remember what we saw in that streak of illumination — the snake was a rope — then we can gradually bring the light of that illumination into those shadowed blinds within us. I guess that this is what practicing faith is — not adherence to doctrine or hiding from fear within the fortress of orthodoxy — but reconnecting to the truths of our own moments of great love, deep clarity or intimations of a grand vista that is yet beyond our imagining. I think that faith is choosing to invest trust in what was revealed in those sublime moments, even when it seems most dim and distant and doubtful. Faith need not mean certainty. Only consideration of possibility and a willingness to remain open to it. Only humility.

With love,

Inner Marriage, the Men’s Movement, and the Feminine

This post is a complement to my post of an essay by Elisabeth Josephs-Serra on Embodied Feminism of a few days ago. It is written by her partner Mark Josephs-Serra (“Joseph”). Their website, A Culture of Honouring, is dedicated to “Exploring the possibility of a culture based on the honouring of both the Masculine and the Feminine.” If you like these essays, you can download a free e-book from their website here.

Firestarters by Kenny Weng

Inner Marriage, The Men’s Movement, and The Feminine

by Mark Josephs-Serra

Within himself he has opened to the daunting freedom and creative potency of the masculine, and the overwhelming mystery and wisdom of the feminine. The masculine in him energises his feminine. The feminine in him grounds his masculine. These universal energies are erotically united inside him. This is Inner Marriage.

And the courtship is hell! After all ~ why are we not already rested in the full nobility of the masculine?  Why are we not already surrendered to the full splendour of the feminine? Whatever our reasons ~ they are what need to burn. The First Man in us says ‘no’. The Second Man in us says ‘yes’ because he ought to. The emerging Third Man says ‘yes’ because he is already committed to facing being alive.

In the 1990’s the Men’s Movement seemed to be gathering quite some momentum. Iron John was a bestseller, men’s groups were popping up everywhere, and men were enquiring into the essence of manhood. Since then there has been some integration of this enquiry into mainstream culture, but the enquiry itself seems to have lost its erection, so to speak. The main thrust of menswork today seems to be the Men’s Rights Movement, which has its pros and cons, but certainly isn’t pursuing the enquiry into the essence of what it means to be a man.

This is a vast generalisation of course, and some menswork has continued (some of it quite vigorously), but I retreated from menswork for some time because I came to feel that we could only go so far without the women. And my sense is that most of the menswork that continues, although completely worthwhile, will eventually come to the dead end we came to…

In the 1990’s I started lots of men’s groups, camps and workshops, but then I took a break. I even left a men’s group I’d been in for many years. To caricature things (but also be brutally honest) it looked a bit like this:

I meet a male friend, Bob.
Me: How’s it going with your partner, Jenny?
Bob: Yeah, fine. You know, ups and downs.

Later that day I meet Jenny.
Me: How’s it going with Bob?
Jenny: Well, we’re in crisis. I think we might be splitting up.

There was so much emotional disconnection in the men. The sharing, and even the catharsis, that was happening in our men’s groups wasn’t carrying over into our lives. There was a chronic, ingrained resistance to the feminine – and whether we were gay or hetero, our feminine partners were freaking out.

The masculine wasn’t in deep, intimate connection with the feminine. We were cultivating our masculine together, and our feminine – but in everyday life things just weren’t coming together. We weren’t showing up in ways that won the respect our masculine so much wanted, and our feminine was just under-developed. We felt criticised, unsupported and undermined by our feminine partners, and they were feeling unprotected, unheard and unloved. The more they expressed their discomfort, the more defensive we’d become. When, inevitably, they expressed their discomfort in unreasonable and unfair ways, we’d latch onto the unfairness – in order to avoid the point: that we were shrivelled and contracted and defensive, and that they were deeply disillusioned with the men to whom they’d given themselves. Disillusioned, and sometimes desperate.

I am not only talking about ‘others’ here. I too was defended from my wife’s pain. I too felt blamed. Like so many men, I didn’t know how to expand into the fullness of my masculinity – I didn’t even know what it was. I was caught inside my own smallness, my own little ego. And fighting for its survival felt like life or death. Because of all this, my personal enquiry into manhood, once I had withdrawn from the men’s movement, had two concerns, (1) the freedom and genuine empowerment that allows the masculine to be open to the feminine, and (2) the deepening of my seeing into the heartful essence of the feminine.

Gradually I came to see and understand the choice I had: to identify either as a lone male ego, or as a participant in the collective evolution of the genders. I came to appreciate the fundamental natures of the masculine and feminine: how the masculine pulls in one direction – upwards, to the stars, to aloneness, to power, to purpose, to achievement, to freedom; and how the feminine pulls in the other – downwards, to the earth, to the senses, into connectedness, authentic relationship, towards pleasure and pain, and love. And I felt how this pulling in different directions is the erotic charge between them.

The problem is when these two charges get too far apart, or too close. The First Man stays too far away. He’s in his masculinity but, frankly, because he’s not connected to the feminine, he’s a bastard. He’s the patriarchal part of us who’s responsible for the environmental and social fragmentation we’re now in. But the new-agey Second Man gets too close. He gets so close he gets feminised. And there’s a big difference between being in-connection with the feminine (while rooted in the masculine), and being feminised. But either way, whether too far away or too close, there’s no erotic charge – and this erotic charge is not just sexual, it’s the excitement and creativity that enlivens our lives.

The problem for the masculine is individuation. In other words, while he still  fears being reabsorbed into mother, while he’s not separated-out and secure, and identified with the masculine, then he can’t maintain an openness towards the feminine. He has to be too far away or, in guilt and disempowerment, too close.

Full individuation is a profound journey into our aloneness, and into the unknown. It eventually opens out into peace, presentness and oneness – but it’s intense, and it requires not-less-than-everything. It’s a letting-go, a falling, and it requires great intellectual and spiritual skill. But it’s the hero’s journey the masculine has to make. It’s the homecoming of the masculine to itself.

From here the masculine can allow itself to be grounded and kept in-connection by the feminine – without feeling criticised or disrespected. Which is where the women, and feminine-dominant men, come in. At this point the masculine is finally able to receive them. At home in itself, the masculine is now able to receive the attunement the feminine offers – without flying off into spirit, or into some mental idealism, or just into numbness or disassociation.

Gradually the masculine becomes capable of maintaining continuous connection with the feminine. Not too close, not too distant. The Third Man. Open to himself, open to her. And through openness to her, opening to his own femininity. Opening to his own masculinity, opening to his own femininity. Power, Feeling. Eternity, time-and-space. Exquisite balance. Inner Marriage.

As we stabilise in The Third Man, The First Man and The Second Man are still there too – always ready to make their disempowering and disempowered contributions. The guidance of the feminine remains essential. And in humility, whenever we lose touch with ourselves (and therefore resist her), we just have to pick ourselves up, and forgive ourselves. In practice, rather than holding the idea of ‘becoming The Third Man’ as a destination to be reached, it is probably more nourishing to think in terms of the First, Second And Third Men each rising and falling within us, continuously – and accepting that, without abandoning our destination.

As we become committed to the journey of The Third Man we become more and more comfortable in the exquisite beauty of the unknown ‘now’, and from this place can honour the truth of the reflection our personalities receive from the feminine. But to sustain this commitment we need the support of other men, other men who are equally committed. We need their community. When my commitment is strong it sustains them, and when my commitment is weak their strength sustains me.

In this way, lacking the ‘vertical’ support that men once received from their fathers, their grandfathers and the elders of the culture, we receive the ‘horizontal’ support system of a brotherhood committed to a shared context: the path of The Third Man – a male community committed to honouring both the masculine and the feminine.

And this, of course, brings us back to men’s groups, or at least to male community. Whether or not it is a statistical fact that The Men’s Movement has gone into a bit of a lull, I am convinced that as men we can only go so far alone, and that our next evolutionary step is to honour the superior emotional knowing of the feminine, and to bow to her guidance – which is, of course, really, really tough for our egos.

It’s up to each of us. We can take this evolutionary invitation, or not. The choice is: to go on our personal journeys of aloneness, freedom and empowerment, open to the feminine and let go into the bliss of wholeness; or remain stuck up egoic little pricks, caught in our minds, bickering tooth and nail, defending by attacking (or defending by grovelling), and perpetuating the chaos of a disintegrating patriarchy.

As I see it, for the Men’s Movement to have an evolutionary future, there will need to be enough men with enough determination and humility to take up the invitation to masculine empowerment AND feminine empowerment. We need context, and we need commitment. This will create an atmosphere of solidarity that will strengthen us enough to be able to fall to our knees – again and again. Which, paradoxically, and heart-breakingly, is where true masculine power is honed for use in the world.

Image: “Firestarters” by Kenny Weng

Embodied Feminism

This is a fantastically lucid and compelling essay. It’s rather long, so settle in.


The Way Of The Feminine Woman

by Elisabeth Josephs-Serra

(see Elisabeth and Mark Josephs-Serra’s website A Culture of Honouring here.)


I remember the days when I began to awaken as woman and, left behind the innocence of childhood. I felt a surge from deep within me, I felt an ecstatic electric feeling in my body, I felt alive, radiant and I knew something was exploding inside. I began to feel that this thing within me was something that all men wanted, and I believed that if I was to be a true woman I would offer it as a gift. Soon it became obvious to me that this precious thing that was budding within was certainly wanted, and that it was equally true that if I went out ready to share it, it was going to be snatched and consumed, and not receive the honouring and respect it deserved. In other words I was going to be the sacrificial lamb.

Fortunately I soon learned the game, and that if I was to survive in this man’s world, I needed to protect that which I valued the most. I traveled a long windy road before I realized what it meant to be a young woman living in our western culture. I learned to hide my inner world, and created a front, an outer shell to help me get by. It took me years of education to master the art of pretending, which I later spent two decades painstakingly uprooting – removing the conditioning that had kept me separate from all that is true and alive within me and others.

That early surge of pure body aliveness was kept seated in classrooms, learning facts and figures to develop my brain. My body was exercised to keep it a fit and supple machine, but my heart, my feelings, and deep intuitive knowing, well – no one seemed to talk about those. All matters of the heart took second place, and all lived quietly inside me. For the most part, the unspoken rule was clear (except for the occasional outburst of feelings, which were usually unconscious and out of control) – although anger was OK (mainly for men), grief, and pain in general, was to be abolished and treated as something to be fixed and controlled.

I learned that the core imperative of Patriarchy is to repress feeling, exert control through the mind, and strive toward perfection in order to get recognition and worth. Well, you may say, that is fair enough – it is the ego imperative to find identity in the world. But isn’t the ego supposed to be a structure that protects the soft core that holds our depth, not something cut off from it. So the ego lives on from early childhood to later life, and for most of us, it seems to be our way of coping, and blocks us off from our hearts’ hidden existence.

All our education prepares us to focus on the outer, and the inner is left aside to find its own way. I for one became a seeker of meaning, exploring beyond our materialistic, narcissistic, complacent 20th century reality. So from my late teens I was in India seeking an Eastern philosophy to point toward the missing piece. I spent years searching through male organized traditions to find inner freedom, God, enlightenment, and higher states of consciousness, and even though  I touched the heights and found profound meaning in Buddhism, Yoga and various meditation practices, none of them addressed the experiences of body-aliveness I’d had back in my teens.

For the last 5000 years most human civilizations have been patriarchal in one way or another, but the fact is that modern Patriarchy and its scientific revolution, has alienated us from the feminine deeper than ever before. The women’s liberation movement, instigated by the amazing courage of many women and men fighting passionately for what we take for granted today, offered women their human rights, and socio-economic possibilities and choices that none of our foremothers could have dreamed of. But the equality of women in modern society is only a doorway through which we can now begin to reclaim the radiant fierce aliveness of the deep feminine.

The Core Of Patriarchy
Gradually, by my early twenties, I lost contact with that feminine essence in my body. In order to belong I came under the spell of Patriarchy. Patriarchy is a way of interpreting our existence. If I was to name the aspect of Patriarchy that has had the biggest consequences in terms of the collective crises we are experiencing today, I would say it was the prioritizing of mind over body. And if I was to make a list of what is valued in patriarchy, and what has been repressed, it would look like this:

Mind over body
Logos over Eros
Will to power over will to love
The universal over the particular
God over humanity
Masculine over feminine
External over internal
Right over left
Consciousness over unconscious
Heaven over earth
Spirit over matter
Doing over being
Order over chaos
Pleasure over pain
Perfection over imperfection
Structure over flow
Division over unity
Centralism over diversity
Linear over cyclical

The words on the right (right brain) represent the feminine, which has been silenced, and the disturbances we see in today’s world are the consequences and symptoms of the masculine/feminine split. Women were allocated the body, matter, the particular, the individual and Eros – and men took the rest. Women were dumb, their work was silenced, their instinct and intuition was unknown, undeclared, unexpanded, and illegitimate. Women became objects (bodies) for men, the subjects (minds).

Today’s women have obtained social equality, but although we are now voting, driving cars, and have almost equally paid jobs, we are still breathing, talking, and moving within a paradigm that is patriarchal in its essence. What that has meant and still means for women, is that in order to have power in a manmade world, we need to value and develop what is most valued on men’s maps. Many of us, in order to survive, are behaving like men in drag, while others still play the male-defined Cindy role of the submissive, perfect doll.

During my years in India a learned to disembody, and to transcend feelings and sensations, using the powers of higher knowledge held by the Lamas. I was even told by my teachers that women, in order to get enlightened, needed to create enough good enough karma to reincarnate as a man. I could recount endless events that pointed out how, as woman, I was still an inferior – and that if I wanted power I had to be more like a man. In those days, I certainly tried my very best!

What I am pointing towards is the fact that what we need to unveil, for the most part, still remains underground. The feminine within (all of the qualities on the left hand side of the list above) – her true original creative thinking, her voice, her feeling and depths – is still silenced. We can see it in sexuality, medicine, law, birth, death, and education – they have all become gradually dehumanized in service of progress.

I don’t reject our history. Don’t get me wrong! I deeply honour men and the masculine. I love their productivity, their direction, their doing capacity, their ability to direct and be fast. I love the power and clarity of thought, philosophy, knowledge, the sciences. I love the command of men, their virility and their courage, and I respect all that we have built over the last millennia: but we need to embrace what we have neglected. Perhaps the current eco-socio-political crisis is a turning point, and a new paradigm is calling us forth.

This feminine is a universal principle, it lives within men and women, within the animal and vegetable kingdoms. Women, due to their biology, have a privileged affinity with it, as men tend to have an affinity with the masculine. I’ve have come to feel that progress was perhaps what we needed, and so the feminine needed to be repressed,  and yet my heart says that we can’t go any further without reclaiming what has been rejected along the way. The split now lives deep within us all. We are all busy repressing the feminine.

I often hear people talking about the Great Mother, the Goddess using the better/worse language of the patriarchal paradigm. And recently I’ve been getting a lot of e–mails attempting to bring value to women by demeaning and making fun of men. At the same time, the whole penis enlargement syndrome is a reflection of the shaky masculinity experienced by men as women now bring their own dose of testosterone into the home, and to work. But all of this just further perpetuates the split, and the dualistic superior/inferior, persecutor/victim perspective.

After two decades reclaiming and rehonouring the feminine, I have now come to feel radically feminine. By this I mean radically free to be what I am, which is the first challenge. I feel free to be, and ‘being’ is a continuous infinite flow – today I feel this, and tomorrow I’ll feel different, and I will be thinking a little differently. Freedom is to allow myself all these changes, to let myself flow, even though thoughts say ‘I am expected to be more or less the same’. Our patriarchally conditioned thoughts tell us to hold a posture, an ideology, and a role, and to remain bound by abstract definitions. These set definitions are rooted in fear, and attempt to control the inevitable flow of life.

You may be thinking that holding a position, and a role, is crucial – otherwise we’d have inner and outer anarchy. I am not advocating amputating the masculine pole, what I am pointing out is the loss we experience when we hold one position forever – without the ever-changing sensual motion of direct experience, and knowing how to move with differences and respond with flexibility. The truth is that we need them both. We need two legs to walk on the earth, and similarly we need to feel the love and the thinking, the ground and the goal, we need to pay attention and walk on the earth and be open to spirit. We see this flow in nature, a constant change – evolving patterns that are held within a cohesive whole. The only thing that doesn’t change is change.

In order to allow this flow I needed to be in direct immediate contact with my inner world, my body with its five senses, my organs, my heart, my uterus, my feelings, my sensing, my mind. Gradually, as I began to trust and listen to the sum total of an experiencing BODY that was telling me, not everything, but everything I needed to know, moment to moment, I began to reconnect with that early erotic presence I had felt back in my teens. I came to feel the downward pull of the earth’s beating earth once again – giving me the safety, the fire, and the belonging, that I had learned to look for in others and in external experience.

Life from this embodied perspective becomes a real co-creative act. This co-creative act bridges both my inner and my outer realities. The embodied feminine experience rests beyond duality, embracing differences as an essential ingredient of the dance of apparent duality. We need to learn to think viscerally, and bring our thinking to the heart. Bridging all those learned apparent splits we can return to flow within and without.

What Is The Feminine Exactly?
Over the last few years I have been teaching a 7000 year old dance. This dance empowers women through experiencing our bodies as a source of spiritual knowledge. We learn to root this knowledge deeply in our bodies – for personal and global evolution. Through this dance we can return the over-masculinised body, and over-emphasized mind of western civilization into harmony with our innate intelligence that can connect with the intelligence of the plants, minerals, animals and elementals as well as each other. We learn to once again feel deeply, and conduct our energy. It is so moving to witness women becoming radiant, connected to their subjective sexuality, and hear their hearts speaking their deep knowing in the moment – fresh, spontaneous, and alive.

So Where To Look For The Feminine?
The feminine is that ache that you felt yesterday, and you didn’t know why.
It’s in the discomfort we feel in visiting a friend, or our mother.
Is in that shy, silent doubt that comes when you think about your wedding, your work, your profession.
It’s in the thinly veiled will to do something that you are not even thinking about doing, and that you are not allowed to do.
The feminine is hidden in the artificiality we use when we are with such and such a person.
It’s knocking when we feel anxiety, in the sleepless nights, in the depression, and in the sudden rise of sadness.
It’s in that pain we are not willing to feel.
It’s inside the addiction we feel trapped in.
It’s in the explanations and diversions that we create to run from an inner experience that is causing us pain.
It’s in the distortions we create in order not to admit the naked truth that wants to free us.
It’s like those birth contractions that eventually pass, and yet leave us changed and different.
It’s in the body that is asking for care, and yet we are not able to escape the routine.
It’s crying silently in the little attention we pay to our dreams.
It’s screaming against the fear, the fear – the fear of change, fear of getting it wrong, fear of shame, fear of our aloneness.
It’s in the deep disappointment after intercourse that has not delivered the promise of love’s deepest blessings.
It’s in the sobbing when we remain unseen, untouched by beauty, by life, by others.
It’s every incomplete breath that keeps us away from the earth’s frequency, from our roots, and from what we are feeling.

We are in Patriarchy every time our words do not match what we really feel and want.
We are in Patriarchy when we maintain within the separation between body and mind.
We are in Patriarchy when we deliver beautiful speeches (about the earth, the goddess and the feminine), and we do not identify them in our daily lives, our feelings, our relationships, our thoughts.
We are in Patriarchy when we do not bring consciousness to our dark sides.
When we close one eye we are accomplices in maintaining the structures that close us in pre-established ways.
We are affirming Patriarchy when we become separate from the world, living only our own private lives, caring for ‘our things’, we are colluding when ‘for love’ we accept a role, and we become silent.

This uncomfortable internal buzzing inside us is the serpent of the deep feminine reclaiming her sacrifice – it is asking you to stop and look for yourself. She is with you, and she loves you with humility, passion and clarity. The naked truth is that to be alive is not a romantic, pink adventure (this is the illusion, the veil that has been pulled over our eyes). The fact is that birth hurts and our entry into the world is full of blood and mess and guts. To grow, and to become, hurts. Yes, it is painful to loose our innocence, and yet I feel that what causes the most pain is our romantic attachment to life in pink, and our valuing pink romantic perfection over and above the wisdom of being fully alive.

I remember throughout my childhood reclaiming the lies with the truth – and never understanding why they presented things to me in such way. I would rather have known what was real from the start – to see women giving birth, and to receive honouring and gifts from those who cared for me (rather than some abstract figure like ‘father christmas’). Every fairy tale points us towards that moment of betrayal on the hero or heroine’s journey when innocence is lost, and they have to meet the dark, the pain, the less-than-pink reality.

Despite being constantly put to sleep and filled with some superimposed fantasy from our early childhood, we receive deep blows. We can’t forever blame our parents for not giving us the tenderness we needed. Their situation was often even harder. From the feminine perspective I like to look at true innocence as the tenderness in our heart that wants to love, and insist on loving, no matter how hard the blows, and how many. The question is how can we become stronger, and learn the lessons of living without losing our tenderness – without developing a shell that makes us impenetrable to life, and the love we are.

And is this not exactly what we have overlooked and undervalued – all that is indispensable for maintaining the tender and radiant heart we are? The pain of growing up held in the feminine offers us the possibility to discriminate, to learn to love more effectively, and use the finite time of our life in the best possible way, within the complex conditions we find ourselves in. The Greek myths talk about the tribulations of the gods. To me they speak to us of the awakening to a fully embodied humanity, in and through the painful journey that is experienced by the gods and goddesses we are.

What Are We Choosing To Nourish?
Why create new models? Are women are nurturers? We are all nurturers when we open to the feminine. Some of us nurture consumerism, football, bear, celebrity magazines, Playboy, etc.. Some of us nourish new values. It’s a question of choice, and in order to choose we need to be conscious of what we are doing – of the consequences of our actions, choices and perspectives. We need to become conscious of how the way we think and live is impacting the world.
The days of theological discussion about God as an abstract entity, as universal but absent from the particular are coming to an end. Now that’s what I would call mental masturbation – it can give pleasure, but it bears no fruit.

We are now called to have an erotic mind and a thinking heart – thoughts that touch us viscerally and are rooted in our experience, rather than abstract thoughts that have nothing to do with what we feel. This thinking nourishes our capacity to feel both the pain and the joy, to be with the pain of others and the world – without quick answers and actions that cut us from the heartful action, the action that comes from being intimate with another.

As women and man we need to become conscious of ‘the silent other’ inside us, the one we have ignored for so long – the one who converses with us in the unknown, the one who sends messages, sensations, warnings, sudden intuitions, unwanted thoughts, and others that save us. Only when we enter true dialogue with ourselves, is true dialogue with others possible. Prior to that there is only prefabricated meeting according to roles, lifestyles, and similar mindsets – we do not meet as free beings, alive in the movement, original, and free.

As I turned my attention to the deep feminine, to my inner, I discovered that I was not always beautiful and good. I found my ashes, the dark that is human – and if it was in me, it was in all of us. As I have come to trust all seasons, all cycles, I am beginning to place equal amount of weight on both legs and my walking is becoming graceful, effective and connected. It is the way we think and love that changes our lives and the world. Entering the feminine means reading what the fullness of our body is saying to us moment to moment, and hearing what is needed in the moment. This way of dialoguing moves us on from the alienation of the abstract thinking map, into a deep intimate connection with the whole.

Embracing The Feminine – A Relational Paradigm

Up until now as women we have been in service of patriarchal values mediated by men. We have served the men, who are serving the ‘superior objectives’ that generate our history, by giving them the material conditions and affection they need so that they can rule. Today things are a little agitated, and we are witnessing a long process of historical transition, but to fully embrace truly embodied values it’s going to take generations. Our hearts know that we are not bystanders to evolution, that we are evolution itself, and that we are co-creating it right now. As much as we are encouraged by new trends to live ‘in the now’, our lives do not arise just from this moment. The ground that we’ve walked collectively is the foundation upon which we walk today.

Women were that ground. The world that they governed was the soil for the evolution of human cultures, and with it human consciousness. That ground is the arms of the mother, the cradle, the home, the gathering and holding, the affection, the food, the clean cloths, the listening, the patience, the perseverance, the strength of character, the faith, the confidence, the docility, the beauty, the flesh, the continuity of the species, the base, the earth that begs for reverence and acknowledgement.

As women, more than ever, we are now called to listen to our bodies, and to notice when we’re acting out the same mechanisms that are oppressing us. We need to trust that the body is speaking to us. The body symptomizes, and feels all that has not been given voice. As women we have forgotten to trust and value what we feel. Men do the same (multiplied by a hundred), since they have been forbidden to have any dialogue with their e-motions and feelings – they have even been forbidden to feel them. My husband and I run and organization called The Culture Of Honouring Project. We run courses for men, women and couples – to empower both the masculine and feminine to bring about this paradigm shift.

In general it’s the women who tend to somatize (express symptoms through the body) the dis-ease in our intimate relationships. We were sharing this work with one couple in which the woman tended to suffer from headaches, which she came to identify as ‘her screaming to the unexpressed in the relationship’. Her man always suggested that it was her problem, and that she should take a paracetamol. For the first few years she’d complied, until she decided to listen to her headaches and stop the pain killers. She began to express her fear of him, and the passive-aggressive energy he sprayed around the house, while disguised as good nice man. Eventually the eruption happened, he exploded, and the headaches stopped. As she refused to remain silent he began to listen, and enquired as to how that pain was related to the relationship, and gradually their distant but comfy relationship became real and full of passion and alivenness.

This new paradigm invites individuals, and couples, to become allies. He and She together are needed if we are going to bring spirit and matter together, and body to thought – accepting the change and transformation that their union is going to bring about. The body does not speak in words, it communicates through feelings and sensations. As the earth is doing. As women we carry the womb, wherein lies our greatest capacity to feel, to be receptive – which is not something passive, but an active sensitivity and response to stimuli. We need to honour our knowing, and withstand all the voices of our conditioning and listen to the erotic presence in our uterus, in our wombs, in our hearts’ longing, and bring back that which has been buried underground – so that we can walk hand in hand, and guide the actions of Man and Woman with the regained confidence and open hearts.

And perhaps, who knows, for first time in his-story, Logos and Eros can listen to each other, and make love with each other, rather than remaining forever apart and reducing themselves to having sex, and to mere togetherness. When the Great Masculine and the Great Feminine are lived through us we can enrich each other in ways that only live in our imagination, or as it was for me, through childhood on into my early, budding, pubescent years.

All changes are birthed from within us – all scientific discoveries, ideals, art, and revolutions. They are born out of the deep, dark within, and it is to that deep, dark foundation that we need to return – and as women we lead the way. When mind (Logos) and body (Eros) love each other again this love will generate fruit and will transform our reality, and we enable us to feel the divine, erotic presence of being alive on this glorious planet earth.