‘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.

Have men and women forgotten how to hunt?

Have men and women forgotten how to hunt?

Have men and women forgotten how to hunt? Is the secret to maintaining passion, sustaining a sense of purpose and using personal power effectively linked to keeping innate hunting instincts honed? 

I’ve been thinking about this recently, reviewing some of my own experiences and observing others around me. This contemplation began while watching the reality tv show Love Island! (my vice this last month)

Love Island wasn’t exactly a ‘back to the wild’ show. Far from that, a group of young, attractive singles are housed in a luxury villa in Majorca. The basic aim is for them to couple up over the 7 weeks of the show. There are challenges and twists, people being voted off and new islanders arriving by surprise etc.

I became fascinated by the journey of transformation that some of the contestants experienced and the clever way the whole show was constructed. The contestants may have been in a luxury ‘fishbowl’, but the behaviours were ‘back to the wild.’ The hunting process was clear.

There was the initial search as both girls and boys preened, showed off, flirted and claimed the person most attractive to them. Then there were the dances of power – arguments, games, alliances and resistance. And there was surrender when some let their guard down and bared their vulnerable hearts. Of course, that had to happen before the relationships became believable to the voting public. (My vice did not include voting.)

It seems to me that these 3 stages –  hunt (or quest), resistance, surrender – are essential for remaining in the flow of life and love, irrespective of whether the hunt is for a partner or for the renewal of passion for work or for enlightenment or for a wild animal to feed a tribe. The hunt infuses a sense of purpose. Some resistance is normal (to the process or from the ‘hunted’). But, re-newal, transformation and being ‘fed’ only happens following surrender.

Modern life does not help us to keep the hunting instinct sharp. I suggest that hunting skills get dulled by online shopping, take away meals and other conveniences. It’s hard for most people to stay in touch with the power of their wild inner core.

If we lead a defensive life, constantly in resistance, we are not honouring the cycle. We may experience stagnancy, repeated false starts and ensuing despair.

All of my mailing list will be too old to sign up for the next season of Love Island. Your best option to keep your hunting skills honed could be through your commitment to personal and spiritual growth!

Awakening is one thing that is not made easy for us in western culture. It’s not even valued! Maybe we should be thankful for that. This is one area of our lives where effort must be made, where we must develop the courage to turn against the status quo and the inner strength to face our personal set of resistances.

A person that engages fully in the type of personal journey that yields results must honour the 3 steps I’ve mentioned. A personal challenge may initiate a hunt for the right teacher, healer, coach or therapist. Certainly discernment must be exercised. And then we must watch for the inner resistances that impede progress.

There’s no passion in resistance, no passion in trying to control outcomes and no passion in not stepping forward in the first place.

I had a recent personal experience with my current coach who did not let me off the hook with a challenge to remain in the flow of my passion with regard to my work.

Initially I felt misunderstood and therefore resistant to his suggestions.

I did some parts work. (Parts work is a structured process and also offered an as an aspect of Awakening Coaching.) I dialogued with my ‘passion part’ and also with a ‘heartbreak part.’ There was nothing wrong with the passion part, which has plenty of ideas! But the heartbreak part said, ‘every time you allow passion free rein, heartbreak is the result. I’m protecting you.’

The unconscious limiting belief was thus revealed! And that had to happen before the brake that my coach was pointing to could be removed.

The impediment was inside me and not with the coach or the programme. There was something that I hadn’t seen that a good coach put his finger on. It’s always a shock when another reveals that which you have unconsciously been trying to protect. But, surrender and vulnerability are the keys to a breakthrough.

How about you? What I point to affects most of us, particularly in mid life during when duty and responsibility demands often take precedence over the wild longings of the heart and soul.

Apparently, the Love Island final had the highest viewing of any ITV2 show ever. I think I know why.

To begin the re-claim of passion, purpose and power, please reply to this mail. Let’s have a chat to discuss how my coaching can help with your unconscious limitations.

I’m off for a week of ‘back to nature’ camping and communing with a group of women in the wilds of Wales. My wild ‘hunting skills’ will be extra sharp when back! 🙂

Eros as a Feminine power

Eros as a Feminine power

I have a considerable amount of passion for this topic. Eros, defined as the desire for union, is a powerful force, albeit one that is often misunderstood and disrespected.

In secular life, this desire is interpreted narrowly and directed towards other human beings. Of course, this is important. But without a broader understanding of eros, we miss opportunities to experience the gift of life in all of its erotic splendour.

Some of our best loved poets speak of the desire for union with the Divine, or with nature, in erotic terms. Rumi would be one that is often quoted. I’ve loved a Deepak Chopra publication of his love poems. Rumi speaks of the erotic face of God and not of a human lover.

‘You arouse me with your touch
although I can’t see your hands.
You have kissed me with tenderness
although I haven’t seen your lips.
You are hidden from me

But it is you who keeps me alive’

In some traditions this erotic aspect is considered to be feminine.

This month I’ve been reading the biography of the man who built the Devipuram temple in South India. The temple faced controversy for its use of erotic icons. The Goddess and the Guru by Michael M. Boden is recently published and a very fascinating read.

The book tells of how one of India’s leading nuclear physicists left his job, following a spiritual awakening in his 40’s, and devoted the rest of his life to a Feminine tantric (non religious) spiritual path and social causes.

The separation of the secular world from the divine has led many to believe that it is necessary to separate oneself from family, from a lover, from income generating work and from other material responsibilities if one wants to live a spiritual life.

What drew me to tantra, as a mother and householder, was the promise of relevance to my life and concerns. My quest started around 15 years ago, after reading a book called Passionate Enlightenment by Miranda Shaw. Further fuel was added to the fire when I discovered Daniel Odier’s book, Tantric Quest, a few years later.

Sensationalism of tantra, in both India and the west, has led to many misunderstandings of the erotic images and sexual metaphor.

Although I never met Guruji Amritandanda/Dr. Sastry, who died in 2015, I have been a student of one of his senior students for 9 years. I have some understanding, therefore, of this man’s incredible gift to the world. I appreciate teachers, such as Guruji and the qigong masters that I follow, for their deep knowledge of science as well as spirit. They have brought teachings out of the mystical closet and given clear explanation of their relevance to modern life.

Amritananda/Dr. Sastry, in particular, took a stand for the Feminine. ‘Patriarchal religion, untempered by matriarchal wisdom, he asserted, is the root cause of the world’s strife and misery today, and balance must be restored.’

He wasn’t afraid to restore eros to her rightful place as a Feminine transformational power. The book details his courageous stand against prejudice, ignorance and prudery.

Here’s an excerpt from a notice that he posted outside the Devipuram temple.

‘This unique temple is built to tell you that you are goddesses and gods. If you like, you can be like them too. You are free here. Nobody stops you. All the powers shown here are dormant in you subconsciously. Your sadhana (practice) consists in bringing these powers out to use them for loving yourself, improving yourself and all those around you. You gain nothing by leering or laughing at the goddesses here. You gain everything by understanding your own nature as reflected in them. You are beautiful and lovable, just as you are. You are erotic. Nothing wrong with that! You can create your identity and destiny. You are not powerless. You don’t have to be what others tell you to be. We are with you in empowering you to be yourself.”