‘Me too’ and the transformation of patriarchy

‘Me too’ and the transformation of patriarchy

The line has been drawn.

The fire has been lit and is now raging.

The women’s march. The ‘me too’ movement. President Trump. Harvey Weinstein. Michael Fallon and others.

Sexual manipulation by those in positions of power is unacceptable.

 The first step in any transformation is to bring what is hidden, denied or avoided into the open.
 
Thanks to social media, secrecy has become difficult.
 
A behaviour that has been normalized in the past is no longer acceptable.
 
That much is clear.
 
We also know that the repression of ‘carnal desires’ doesn’t work.  Sanctions don’t work. 
 
There is one solution that is genuinely transformative. 
 
That solution amounts to a transformation of the patriarchal paradigm in which such behaviours have been normalised.
 
The world seems to be struggling with what I would call right relationship between Masculine and Feminine right now.

In the current patriarchal paradigm, this is often made out to be a gender issue. But, patriarchy limits the potential of men just as much as it does women.

Patriarchy has done its best to de-power the Feminine. Men have an inner feminine aspect. The growth and development of that aspect has clearly been stunted and distorted in those that manipulate, objectify and marginalise women.

We’ve been presented with an authoritive, abusive, ‘power over’ framework.

Men, as well as women, have been denied knowledge of the true roles of the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine. 

Some of you will know that I have an ongoing and deep interest in the practices of the Indian traditions of Kashmir Shaivism and Sri Vidya.
 
What I love most about these traditions is that the metaphor and art are illustrations of right relationship between Masculine and Feminine.
 
Yes, much of the imagery is erotic. But it’s not meant to be interpreted through the lens of carnal desire. 
 
The Feminine Herself is the transformative force. She is inter-dependent with the Divine Masculine.

She is the expression of His power! He is the necessary containing and supportive force to Her expression. Her power lacks direction without this Masculine function.

Elevated from carnal knowledge to divine wisdom these images speak of the potential of every man and woman.

The Masculine and Feminine are energetic principles. When the Feminine is suppressed, the Divine Masculine is inaccessible too.
  

The ‘me too’ movement is bringing what has been hidden out into the open. This is just the first step in a healing process that if for the benefit of both sexes.

Becoming a stabilising force in the midst of chaos

Becoming a stabilising force in the midst of chaos

Autumn is such a potent season for those who are interested in personal and collective awakening and transformation.

This year, the gentle lessons we receive from observing the changing autumn leaves, are juxtaposed by evidence of the devastating power of nature in many parts of the world. The world has been shaking – literally – as hurricanes cause devastation in the Caribbean and the United States, an earthquake causes further deaths and damage in Mexico City and Asia experiences its worst monsoon flooding in years. In the southern hemisphere, there are spring bush fires in Australia and a volcano threatening eruption in Bali.

No wonder some are speaking of an apocalypse. (In fact, some say that will happen next week. Google it!)

The apocalypse theory is based on biblical information. Meanwhile, ancient Vedic teachings speak of a long period of destruction, hardship and decay of morality known as the Kali Yuga. The bad news is that the Earth is just 5000 years into this long cycle, said to last a few hundred thousand years!

But, there is a silver lining to this cloud…..

The Kali Yuga is considered to be the easiest age in which to awaken. Why? The transformational energies that hold the power of dissolution also hold the power to upgrade consciousness. It is said that a personal transformation that would take many lifetimes in more settled ages can be achieved in just a few decades in the Kali Yuga.

Here is the motivation to maintain commitment to whatever type of transformational work you do. And, here is the inspiration to step onto ‘the path’ if you have not yet developed a transformational practice.

The metaphor of the calm ‘eye’ at the centre of the hurricane prompts consideration of how we might become a stabilising force in the midst of chaos.

Applying this metaphor to ‘human play’ on the world stage, we have plenty of examples of ‘hurricane forces’. Terrorist attacks. Surprise election results that change the political landscape. Volatile leaders. Technically bankrupt countries. Greedy businesses that destroy the environment and avoid taxes.

The world is our mirror. In the face of devastating tragedy and suffering it is easy to feel impotent. Yes, we can send money to the causes that stir our hearts. We can turn our work towards the changes we would most like to see. But, for the broadest transformational impact, individually and collectively, inner work must accompany outer work.

I would define a transformational practitioner as someone who has learned to value life challenges because of the opportunity they bring to further personal growth and possible collective evolution.

Practitioners are needed. Scientific research confirms what many practitioners have experienced. Intentional prayer and meditation creates an energetic impact. Groups of practitioners magnify that impact.

Sustaining the calm ‘eye’ beyond a yoga mat or meditation cushion is achieved as a result of transforming inner emotional reactivity, including parts of the personality that take on the role of terrorist, dictator, destroyer or protector in the psyche. These are just some of the parts that might show up strongly when you feel challenged by life.

What better time to start, resume or create a new intent for practice and personal development than during autumn, as the leaves turn and we begin the season of ‘new year’ celebrations in the dark half of the year.

Personal ‘eclipses’ help you to stay on purpose

Personal ‘eclipses’ help you to stay on purpose

The American eclipse was big news last month.  My topic this month is what it means to experience a personal eclipse. 

A personal eclipse is a sudden change of direction, perhaps seemingly forced upon us or perhaps following an inner change of heart. The path we were on ‘gets eclipsed’ as a result.

In my experience, this feeling of something being eclipsed, while disorienting, is usually an indication that something in life needs to be reconsidered.

What you may not know about me is that 3 years ago I trained to be a wedding and funeral celebrant.

By chance, the first 2 funerals I conducted were for people of my own age. Thankfully, also by chance, so was the first wedding!

Of course, this made me think about my own life and what was important to me. And I realised, that while I enjoyed being a Celebrant and being of service to others in marking a rite of passage, I did not want to make such work into a full time occupation. It didn’t give me the same feeling of being ‘on purpose’ that I was lucky to experience when working as a coach and consultant earlier in my career.

I realised that I was making choices based on what made sense, given age and skills set. But, my deepest interests were hidden under limiting beliefs, such as ‘I’m too old’ or ‘it’s too late’ or ‘I haven’t got the resources’ for that type of business offering again.

Limiting thoughts and feelings are much easier to address once acknowledged. Since I’ve retrained as an Awakening Coach, and shifted the personal obstacles in the process, I feel ‘on purpose’ again.

For most people that feeling of being ‘on purpose’ makes a huge difference and is needed at every age and life stage.

If you have been experiencing a personal eclipse (which may be associated with the celestial one) ask yourself what might be needed for you to feel on purpose. And if you are in the middle of a life transition, as I was, it’s ok to consider a few options. But, please look carefully at your limiting points of view before deciding to believe them!

Premium travel at your personal edge? Or status quo economy?

Premium travel at your personal edge? Or status quo economy?

Around 8am in the morning of May 3rd, I was eating breakfast in Pret-a-Manger at London Heathrow, Terminal 3….

Some of you will no doubt consider me somewhat weird when I disclose my love of airports.

I admit that I have travelled more for my own purposes than I have for business reasons. This may be why I have retained a fascination for people watching and window shopping that transcends any frustration or boredom, should I experience long queues or flight delays.

What I noticed on the morning of May 3rd was how alive I felt, despite the early morning start a 10am flight necessitates.  I remembered a remark from a colleague some years ago. When I told him I liked airports, he’d said, ‘That makes sense Cathy. You like transitional, edgy places.’

So true. The thing about transitional, edgy places is that they are full of possibility and potential. I think this is what airports represent for me. Whether I am departing to a far flung destination or not, the thrill of adventure and the unknown is present as I look at the departures screen.

New environments bring new perspectives. When we travel we may encounter unfamiliar situations that force new and creative responses. In the process, we may also have to face our fears and reactive patterns. We can feel more alive when we explore new ways of being and doing. We will also feel more alive when we unravel the habitual patterns that have caused repeating problems in our lives.

But the status quo is a formidable opponent to growth. When we return to a familiar comfort zone, we literally lose our edge. It is harder to act on insights received at edgy places from the midst of the demands of familiar, daily life.

There are times in life when the comfort and stability of the status quo is necessary and enjoyable. However, when our comfort is punctuated by longings for adventure, we might consider what part of ourselves is lying dormant and asking for expression.

While a holiday might ‘take the edge’ off that hunger for a short while, we will soon be back. Unless we’ve worked out what needs to change while we are away and acted on it, we may soon be re-experiencing the signals for the need for change, such as boredom, tiredness, frustration or restlessness. There may even be depression if a situation has become chronic.

After I boarded my flight to Philadelphia on May 3rd, I took out my phone and headphones and recorded the insights that form the basis of this newsletter. I didn’t want to lose them. By the time the plane was in the air, I’d also recorded insights regarding choices I need to make with regard to my own direction over forthcoming months. That included a decision re the right coaching support to invest in for the next phase of my life and work.

My question to you this month is to ask whether you are in touch with your growing edge? Are you feeling excited as you engage with the frontier of your life? Or, do you need help to decide where the frontier is? Or, having found the frontier, have you discovered inner saboteurs that seem to lie in wait to persuade you that the status quo really is acceptable?

Yesterday I was speaking to a friend who is selling the house that his grown up children and elderly mother are fond of. They would rather he didn’t sell. But, he has strong personal reasons to make a move that he has delayed for some time.

He said, ‘The status quo is no longer an option.’ I thought that was a great statement!

For a house move, the appropriate support comes from estate agents and solicitors. But, personal edges, which challenge us to call forward underdeveloped parts of ourselves in order to shift our work and relationships to new levels, are different.

Is it wise to wait until a crisis brings you to a forced edge? Might you prefer the premium choice of hiring the support of someone who can keep both keep you in touch with the potential of your growing edge and support you as you make changes? If there’s a part of you that knows you have inner challenges to address in order to make outer changes, coaching can shift you out of a vicious cycle or a downward spiral.  

The art of engaging with ‘dark nights of the soul’

The art of engaging with ‘dark nights of the soul’

As we emerge from the ‘dark season’ in the northern hemisphere, I’ve been contemplating ‘dark nights of the soul’ in general and my own experiences in particular.

Around the time of the lunar eclipse on 11 February, I thought I might be heading into one. A sudden loss of direction was accompanied by an unwelcome sense of futility. A void beckoned… I wanted to disappear and do nothing.

The desire to disappear was accompanied by fantasies of tropical beaches. With fantasies like this we must ask ourselves whether the tropical beach (or other holiday) is really what is needed or whether it would be a-void-dance.

I knew the timing wasn’t right for a holiday. But, I did need to stop and take stock. I was losing sight of what was most important to me.

I also knew that the best way to deal with any state is to turn into it and experience it fully. Re-connection to soulful work and callings happen when we accept and engage with our experience, even when neither convenient nor desired.

Surrendering to a Celestial STOP

As I see it, a ‘dark night’ is an encounter with a celestial STOP sign. It’s an invitation to deepen into who and what you truly are. It’s a demand for integrity. Outcomes almost always include greater humility and awe for the life forces that are greater than the mind, which has a tendency to attach to specific outcomes.

From my experience with ‘dark nights’, I know that resistance can be a feature at the beginning. And indulgence can feature towards the end.

I felt the resistance to a call to STOP and reconsider in February. It was an interruption to my plan. ( BTW, eclipses can have this ‘stopping’ effect. What is no longer working for you gets ‘eclipsed’.)

But, I have learned to trust my ‘inner daimon’ or guiding force.

After a couple of weeks of ‘waiting’, I was back in touch with my calling. I recovered my ability to be discriminating with regard to both inner and outer imperatives to get things done.

Waiting is under rated. So often we are encouraged to worship the gods of action and outer achievement.

‘Dark nights’, whether short or long, are invitations to re-calibrate. They are opportunities to listen and get so close to your own truth that you cannot betray it.

The art of engaging with a ‘dark night’ includes learning how to surrender into it and how, and when, to rise like a phoenix from the ashes.

Rising like a Phoenix

It can be just as scary to act on the fruits of our realisations during a ‘dark night’ as it is to surrender into the experience in the first place.

Certainly, there was a part of me that wanted to prolong my short visit to this realm in February. But, there was a stronger imperative to be of service and remain visible.

You?

Are you either resisting a dark night or wallowing in it? Are you honouring your soul’s calling?

Do you need to wait for something new to emerge?

Or, is it time to answer a call to be of service?