The Masculine Search For Freedom & Why It Matters To You

Ignorance of the masculine and feminine archetypal energies at play in our intimate relationships (straight or gay), can cost us everything. 

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The Author, Burning Man 2013

Freedom.

There’s something about the masculine nature that is always seeking freedom.

It’s that magical force in us all, men and women, that compels us to push beyond any limitation imposed on us by the world around us, and within us. It’s that onward urge that makes us create airplanes and rockets to break the heavy bonds of gravity so we can travel freely throughout the heavens.

The world’s economic system is set up such that the more money we make, the more social freedom we have to go wherever and do whatever we want. Thus the widespread obsession with making money. No one wants stacks of thin green paper piled high around in their living room; we want the social freedom it provides in the system mostly masculine people have created.Political leaders always know to rile up their base with cries of freedom: “Give me freedom or give me death!” Even those insane people terrorizing Iraq are essentially seeking freedom to live out their ideas as they wish, regardless of the hypocrisy they practice by brutally denying that same freedom to others.

Even sports are all about positioning ourselves within constraints (sidelined fields and courts, groomed fairways, etc.), setting a worthy adversary in front of us (a team, one person, ourselves), and then pushing at our limits until we break through to that one place that lives just beyond both adversary and constraint: the basket, goal, hole, end zone, finish line. If you’ve ever felt high after kicking a ball into a goal while 11 people tried to stop you – or just watched your favorite team do so – you know the ecstatic thrill of embodied freedom through sport.

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Femininity – which also can express itself in men and women – isn’t so concerned with the search for freedom. She doesn’t insist, “I want out!” Rather, feminine energy carries our longing for the embodied experiences of love, radiance and beauty. She’s always saying in endless ways, “Show me the love!

Author David Deida writes, the essential “Masculine plea” is, “I want out of here!” That doesn’t mean a man (or a more masculine woman) always wants to run away, but rather that his masculine nature is going to have him constantly seeking ways to escape the constraints he experiences in the world around and within him. Sometimes that means staying put and fighting through difficulties or constraints.

Standup comic, Patrice O’Neal, makes the face of a man in love: a scrunched-up dissatisfied look of exhausted resignation. We laugh at that cliche because it looms large in our collective experience. We know the masculine force in men (and women) longs for freedom. Then he makes the face of a woman in love: happy and carefree. “Yay!” he exclaims to more laughter, because again, reality is entertaining.

I want to be clear this isn’t strictly a man vs. woman thing. Both men and woman can express masculine and feminine energy. However, like author Marianne Williamson says, most people in their lives are majoring in either masculinity or femininity and minoring in the other. While it is typically men who major in masculinity, some women are majoring in it, too, just as some men major in femininity.

Here’s the point:

Awareness of the archetypal forces at play in our intimate relationships can make it easier to see why they are often so challenging.

Our ignorance sabotages us. Our high divorce rates aren’t falling, and might even be rising. Awareness can help us move through our challenges with more grace.

Android Jones - "Love is a riot"

Android Jones – “Love is a riot”

But no one had taught me the differences between femininity and masculinity.

My parents and everyone else seemed to be winging it through strings of failed relationships and strained marriages. I had no idea these primal forces were beginning to conspire in the shadows of my ignorance to destroy the most important relationship in my life.

A few years ago I was in living with a feminine woman, my girlfriend. She loved to bring in little crystals and seashells from the beach to make our home pretty. She loved to wear glitter and sparkly jewelry and hear from me how beautiful I thought she was. She had an office job, and she was brilliant at it, but her passion was children. Her biggest dream was building a home on a small plot of land in Argentina that her parents owned, having a garden with a fish pond and raising a family with me. Deeply connected to the femininity flowing through her, she was never really concerned about freedom from anything, except having to work. She was obsessed with whether or not I really loved her.

The basic pattern of our downward doom spiral was this: Uncertainty caused her to demand evidence of my love that made sense to her. I resented her attempts to change my behavior. This made her feel more uncertain and make more demands. Which I resisted and resented. Wash, rinse and repeat for 5 years until you have no hair left and the love you once had is now buried under a putrid mountain of resentment, anger and pain.

We thought we were fighting about jealousy or who was making more sacrifices or who did the hurtful thing first. But we weren’t. We were only always fighting about her deepest desire to feel my love and my deepest desire to uphold my freedom.

Had I been aware that the the predominant feminine forces in her were yearning to experience the depths of my love, I could have shown up completely differently for her. Had she understood that the predominant masculine forces in me were only yearning for freedom to live on my own terms, she could have been more thoughtful about trying to force me into actions that pleased her.

Of course she had a masculine desire for freedom, too. She didn’t want me telling her what to do either. Just as I had a feminine desire to feel her love. But she mostly got angry when she saw me do things that suggested I didn’t love her enough. And I mostly got angry when I felt she would never let me be who I wanted to be.

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In any intimate relationship, whether between a man and a woman, two women or two men, where that tingly electricity flows that we all so deeply crave, the archetypical energies of masculine and feminine are at play. Like the opposite poles of a powerful magnet, these forces can draw us inexorably, mysteriously, irresistibly, ecstatically towards each other. But if we don’t recognize the different melodies and rhythms inherent in each of their unique expressions, we will only experience a mad cacophony in their clashing that will eventually exhaust us and have us begging for silence.

Men are not defective versions of women. Women are not defective versions of men. There are primal archetypical energies at play in all of us, which iconic psychiatrist Carl Jung began mapping out 100 years ago.

I have been ignorant of those different rhythms for 25 years, and that ignorance has cost me every good woman I’ve ever had.

TRY THIS PRACTICE

If you’re the more Feminine partner: Look for how your more masculine partner’s actions and complaints may point to their general search for freedom. Notice this and see if you can enthusiastically support their desire for freedom in creative ways that are still in alignment with your needs.

If you’re the more Masculine partner: If you’re the more masculine partner, notice whether your partner’s actions or complaints may point to uncertainty around your commitment to the relationship, or to them. Or, even if certain you’re offering it, they might simply not feel the full presence of your love. And you might not actually be giving it if you’re working too much, watching a lot of TV, etc. Try to see beneath their complaint and demonstrate your love in ways they will understand. They’ll be more at ease once they feel the full depth of your masculine presence and love, which just might make solving their complaint a whole lot easier!

There are surely a lot of subtleties to this exploration, as we all express both masculine and feminine energies. But this article is a good place to start. Even a little awareness of these dynamics can make a huge difference in your relationships.

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Posted in Conscious Relationships, Masculine Feminine, Mature Masculinity, Mindfulness, Relationships, Sexuality

What makes a Woman Thrive?

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This past summer, I worked with 80 women as my coaching clients.

We shared deep, intimate conversations around their day-to-day challenges, their intimate struggles with men (and in some cases, women), their frustrations in the workplace, and more … and then we dove into what their hearts profoundly yearned for.

I worked with women who had everything: nice homes, their own businesses, children and partners, money. Yet in too many cases these same women felt as disconnected and empty as many men do who have also accumulated things and people only to find that somewhere along the way, they lost themselves. They forgot who they truly were in their deepest heart, if they ever knew at all.

Some women had no sense at all of who they really were.

Many women were raised by fathers who wished they were boys. As little girls, they quickly learned to get love from their dads by acting like boys. Then they brought that lesson into adulthood. They assumed they were more masculine women, but then never really liked the more feminine, wimpy men they attracted rather than the strong masculine men they really wanted.

Many women were raised by fathers who had so disowned their own internal feminine energies that they could not ever really connect with their daughters. So these feminine daughters grew up aching for a mature, full masculine presence to fill their hearts with masculine love. As adults, they tried over and over to fill that emptiness with substitute forms of masculine energy (men, work, ambition, etc.), which only made the wound hurt more when those substitutes could never provide the rich, unconditional love only a fully present father’s could provide.

Many women grew up abused by the boys and men in their midst. As many as 1 in 5 girls is a victim of child sexual abuse. These girls often bring that completely understandable distrust of masculine beings into their adult relationships.

All women were raised in a culture that worships masculine expression over feminine.

So most all women, just to survive, have to learn how to express their masculine energies at the expense of their more effortless feminine ways. For some women who are more masculine in their core experience, this isn’t as difficult (although even that has it’s challenges in our still quite misogynistic culture). But for most women who identify as being more feminine in their deepest core, this agony can burn inside their deepest heart for a lifetime.

Sadly, too many modern women have paved over that quiet despair with a masculine facade designed to help them survive – and even thrive – in the world of competitive business, government, education, and pretty much everywhere money is at stake.

In doing so, many modern women lose their sense of who they truly are, of what makes them feel truly alive.

They don’t really know how to give their wondrous feminine gifts to the world, to their partners. Don’t get me wrong, women are amazing and still manage to be great partners, lovers, mothers, friends, leaders, and more, despite the cultural winds oriented against them.

Perhaps a feminine woman’s greatest gift to the world is to radiate as love, itself. 

Her feminine heart is always seeking to express her love, and receive it, in all the countless ways that happens. But we don’t really pay well for that gift. Unless that love is sexualized. Otherwise, we pay far more for the masculine gifts of analysis and blowing through obstacles to accomplish a mission.

So women either learn to live more from their masculine energies, or they struggle to pay their bills. Either way, a predominantly feminine women struggles to truly thrive.

(*NOTE: this isn’t just a man/woman thing. Many men will resonate with the ongoing despair of living in a world that doesn’t really appreciate his core feminine gifts, either.)

We can only be authentically happy when we are giving the gift of our true self to the world.

As a man with three amazing sisters and two powerful, brilliant mothers, who grew up with disoriented masculine fathers, I know how critical this conversation is, for women AND for men.

After working with these 80 female clients … after serving in the US Air Force with women who had to act like men to get by … in witnessing just how violent our planet remains, not just in war and crime, but in cutthroat business and politics, and in our everyday communities where 70% of women will experience some form of violence in their lifetimes … and with all I’m learning about what it means to be a healthy, mature masculine man, and how ignorant I’ve been my whole life … after all that, I simply must take action to address the collective insanity.

I must take action to restore healthy respect of the feminine gift on our planet. Not at the expense of healthy masculine expression, but in partnership with it. Our planet does not currently express a predominantly heathy masculine energy, so I’ve got work to do there, too.

I know this is a big mission. I doubt it’ll get fixed in my lifetime. But I can’t imagine a more worthy adventure to throw myself into now. Nor a more important one. Human civilization may very well be at stake, if we allow the immature masculine ethos to continue running rampant across the planet, trampling in ways big and small the essential gifts of the feminine nature.

This is why I have created “The Thriving Woman Experience,” which begins tonight as a free teleconference.

I’m partnering with an amazing woman, Kristina Italic, who coaches woman in business and in life, and we’re inviting women to offer their input on this essential question: What does it take for a woman to thrive in the 21st Century?

Register for this FREE 3-part teleconference series that begins tonight … http://bit.ly/thethrivingwoman

This is what we’re exploring over the next 3 weeks:

* September 17 ~ Theme: “What does it really mean to Thrive in the 21st Century?”
* September 24 ~ Theme: “Feminine Thriving in a Masculine-dominated World”
* October 1 ~ Theme: “The Essentials of Feminine Wisdom and Power

Men are welcome. Strongly encouraged, even.

Please share this with others. For I believe that …

As women thrive, so shall our entire planet truly thrive. It cannot be any other way.

Thriving Woman Rectangle4b

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Posted in Masculine Feminine, Sexuality

Women Feel Unsafe And It Is Our Fault

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“We have to take responsibility for what
we are not responsible for.”

(from the book, King Warrior Magician Lover)

In 2013, I attended a Tony Robbins event with 2000 people, about half men and women. Tony asked this question one day of the men: “Men, raise your hand if you have felt unsafe at any point during the last week.” Maybe 5 hands went up, of a thousand men.

Then he asked the same question of the women: “Ladies, how many of you have felt unsafe at any time during the last week?

A thousand female hands shot up, while men looked around shocked at the revelation.

Our women feel unsafe … constantly. And yes, it’s the fault of Men. All of us.

I write a lot about masculine awakening, what I’m discovering it means to be a mature healthy masculine man in the 21st century. Women, for the most part, love what I write. They’re aching for the mature man my blogs describe. Men, though, are sometimes triggered by what I write.

Men feel I’m shaming them; a new-age anti-man feminist sympathizing misandrist who blames all men (even the “good” ones) for women’s ills and excuses women from all responsibility.

Men also sometimes accuse me of writing this stuff just to get laid. Let’s be clear. I love sex. I’m single. If writing got me laid that would be awesome. But it doesn’t. I would do better to pick up a guitar.

I write because I’m a man who’s been disoriented for 20 years, and as that realization awakens in me, I look out and see an entire world of disorientated men and women struggling to thrive.

I’m not into shaming men.

But I do believe in taking responsibility for our role in the reality we’re living. And the reality we live in is women routinely feel unsafe in our society; they are constantly subject to behavior from men that devalues their worth as human beings with something meaningful to offer the planet beyond male sexual release and motherhood.

Women are unsafe and aggressed upon because so many Men are stuck in a perpetual adolescence. As a male culture, we haven’t yet fully achieved the mature experience of our masculine nature. Too many men still demean “girls” by pulling on their pigtails, bullying and hitting them, tricking them into showing their boobs and calling them bad names. They just do it now wearing business suits and NFL uniforms, drinking beer instead of kool-aid.

I know many good men don’t treat women this way. But it’s common enough that the majority of women experience it all the time, from our city streets to college dorms to US Congress.

women violence

However, there’s another fascinating reason women routinely feel unsafe:

Most men haven’t learned to infuse their innate masculine aggression with heart.

I wrote a popular article recently about how I grew up believing women were only afraid of aggression in men, so I suppressed any experience of aggression in myself, especially sexual aggression. I did not want women to ever feel unsafe around me. While this enabled me to cultivate beautiful friendships with women, in disowning the primal aggression inherent in my masculinity, I also left women to fend for themselves in many ways.

I believe we don’t stand up for women enough.

Culturally. Individually. On TV. At work. In our conversations with other men.

I know the male voice isn’t completely missing. I know the men reading this are probably the good ones.

But I’m also one of the “good ones” and I’ve stayed quiet knowing certain male acquaintances would act terribly towards women, unconsciously content in knowing at least I wasn’t the one acting badly.

The evolved masculine nature can be an aggressive force for good. When connected to heart, the mature masculine essence (which is not just a man thing, as women can express masculine energy, too) fights aggressively for the well-being of all beings inside the kingdom. It protects its charges from the forces of chaos and ruin lurking outside the castle walls.

The mature masculine man (or masculine woman) doesn’t disconnect from his innate aggression, nor does he wield it for purely self-serving means. The mature masculine man infuses his aggression with love, using that power to enrich the greater good.

For thousands of years our more “civilized” cultures have been expressing this aggressive aspect of masculine force in overwhelmingly destructive ways, disconnected from heart, as oppressor, denier, abuser, exploiter, conquerer. As this immature Lord of the Flies era continues to play out on a planetary scale, our immature masculine nature runs amok, expressing in abundance the entire range of perverted masculine behaviors that destroy our feminine counterparts, from kidnapping them in African villages to sexualizing them in our offices to beating them up in elevators.

Comedian Louis CK points out that men are the number one threat to women.: ‘Yeah, I’ll go out with you, alone, at night … I’ll get in your car with you, with my little shoulders. Hi, where are we going?’ … To your death, statistically.

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The classic book on masculine archetypes, King Warrior Magician Lover, is about the evolution in males from the “boy psychology” to “man psychology.” They say this about man psychology:

“Man psychology … has perhaps always been a rare thing on our planet. It is certainly a rare thing today. The horrible physical and psychological circumstances under which most human beings have lived most places, most of the time, are staggering. Hostile environments always lead to the stunting, twisting, and mutating of an organism. … Let us frankly admit the enormous difficulty of our situation, for it is only when we allow ourselves to see the seriousness of any problem and to admit what it is we are up against that we can begin to take appropriate action, action that will be life-enhancing for us and for others.”

I’m writing this article because this morning I spoke with a strong female coaching client of mine in San Francisco who melted into tears relating recent stories of daily harassment at the greedy hands of men. Not just your cliche construction workers, but co-workers, colleagues, men at networking events, and even a casual male friend she didn’t trust to have in her home because he was always testing her with his sexual agenda. And she’s no passive pushover woman who can’t handle herself – though why should she have to “handle herself” at all?

Despite our advanced modern technologies, so many modern men are the modern product of ages of warped and twisted masculine expression.

Fox TV regular, Arthur Aidala, in a recent segment on sexual harassment in Congress, proudly demonstrated his technique for “complementing” women on the street by standing up and clapping as an imaginary woman walked by. He says his “smile success rate” is 90%. My coaching client pointed out – as did Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams – that women smile because they know if they don’t give such a man what he clearly wants (attention, acknowledgment) there’s a high likelihood he’ll get nasty and call them a cunt. Aidala’s “success rate” relies on a woman’s survival tactic.

arthur aidala clapping

Oh, the woeful ignorance of such men.

I grew up surrounded by women. Throughout my life I have heard their stories, and the stories of my girlfriends and female friends, about the demeaning behavior of male colleagues, bosses, friends, strangers, dates, and even their own intimate partners.

The authors of King Warrior Magician Lover also remind us that we must learn to take responsibility for that which we are not responsible for. It does innocent men no good to simply rest in the comfort of knowing they’re not the perpetrators. It is our close male friends, our brothers, our fathers, our sons, and even many of us blind to our own behavior, who are making life distasteful to women on a daily basis. Our joking approval, even our silence, in conversations with each other only perpetuates women’s suffering.

I do not wish men shame. I know women demean men, too; they also have their growing up to do.

Still, it’s on men to confront our own masculine disorientation, to explore where we are stuck in boy psychology – or trapped in the dark shadow aspects of man psychology, which is to say, living as men disconnected from heart. Our unwillingness to face our own selves, whether or not we’re acting in these demoralizing ways to women, keeps our world twisted and stunted, and keeps our women feeling unsafe even in the presence of so many “safe” men.

We must learn to use our innate masculine aggression as a constant force for good, lest we leave our women to fend for themselves in a world that still disrespects them daily. We must study and explore and work authentically with other men to uncover what it means to be mature masculine men. We must each do the inner work necessary to claim our 21st century Manhood, to create a world for our women in which they can finally feel safe.

King Warrior Magician Lover on Amazon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJsSMT0GEiY

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Posted in Conscious Relationships, Mature Masculinity, Relationships, Self-awareness, Take Action, Telling The Truth
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