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 Rectangle3

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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

It’s Healthy For Men To Question Our Sexuality

When I was 22 and in the US Air Force, I spent 4 months wondering if I was gay.

(all pictures below are of my life as a military officer)

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I was stationed in Oklahoma City, deeply unhappy, certain I was supposed to be doing something on the planet far more inspired and evolutionary than learning about avionics systems on 50-year old KC-135 aircraft. Although I had no concept of this at the time, my world was dominated by a very rigid, even immature, masculine ethos largely cut off from healthy forms of feminine expression.

In other words, the military I experienced was teeming with men who couldn’t access much range of emotion, who couldn’t be vulnerable with each other, who were expected to think inside very narrow bandwidths of philosophy, and who commonly sought relief from all this through alcohol.

Carl

Even otherwise feminine women in this environment tended towards similar behavior (it was a survival adaptation thing, I get it). I desperately craved diversity, though I had no idea what that would look like.

To cope with my despair, I picked up an acoustic guitar one day and began creating soft, haunting melodies that would calm my inner angst like a loving mother. But the songs I wrote were the dark, heavy and foreboding ballads of a tortured soul. I was a functioning depressed person, unable to feel much but still able to get out of bed and show up for life. I couldn’t really laugh, and I could never cry. I felt completely misplaced inside my own life.

An engineering and math major at University, I had never considered myself an artist. I was that guy in college who had inspirational quotes pasted all over his wall, aching to throw himself into a passionate life of adventure and magic. But here I now was, imprisoned, passionless, slowly dying in a drab green and brown military uniform world. Yet as I began to express my pain out through the guitar, I started to notice something inside me grasping for beauty.

I wasn’t exposed to many feminine women. I’m not sure whether that was a contributing factor, but regardless, I began seeing beauty in places I thought I wasn’t supposed to. In men.

It was illegal to be gay in the military at that time.

I didn’t really know what was going on. I just knew that as I started playing the guitar and giving voice to the feminine ache inside my own heart, my experience of beauty started to defy social norms. I wasn’t experiencing sexual attraction to men, at least not that I could discern. But intellectually, I knew something unfamiliar was stirring within.

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I started to conduct thought-experiments in the presence of men. A tall blond male friend of mine came to my OKC suburbs home one day to practice playing the drumset I was keeping for him. While he was there, I wondered silently for an hour what it would be like if we started kissing. On the mouth. Sexually speaking. Like gay people must do.

Nothing happened. And I don’t know how I would have responded had he tried.

Regardless, after repeating that experiment many times during those few months, I realized I was just too powerfully drawn to the female form. Smooth undulating skin and long hair that smelled of fresh meadows after a rain storm is what naturally toggled my inner switches. Bristly beards and rippling muscles? Not at all.

But I went there. I allowed myself to question my sexuality, to really dive in and confront the truth of my nature, at least at that time. And I did so in an environment where the stakes were high if that truth turned out to be incompatible with my community’s ideals.

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I can’t say that this clarity relieved any of my despair. My sexuality and my pain inside the harsh military labyrinth were largely independent of one another. Well, I was hungering for exposure to more radiant forms of feminine expression. That was actually much of the diversity I craved. I was immersed in an oppressive masculine culture, and it sickened me.

Krishnamurti said “it is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

Had I been gay … so what? I now know that homophobia is merely the byproduct of an imbalanced society that does not value the gifts of feminine wisdom as equal to those of masculine wisdom.

At that time, I wouldn’t have fit into a sick society. Fortunately, times they are a’changing! When the military began to allow openly gay soldiers in 2011, I thought of Martin Luther King’s famous proclamation:

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

I felt immediate relief when gays were allowed to serve because the world was a little more just than it had been a moment before.

The result of genuinely questioning my sexuality years ago has been a calm clarity that allows me to build a life where I get to routinely experience exquisite human beings and colorful characters of all varieties of sexual persuasions.

I have been adored and loved by gay men; I have warmly hugged gay men for long deliciously therapeutic minutes; I have worked and lived with gay men; I have been the benefactor of a profound beauty and wisdom throughout my life, transmitted to me through incredible men who happened to be attracted sexually to men. Gay men are still among my most cherished friends.

My life is better for having questioned my sexuality so long ago.

I get to live amidst the rainbow. It’s a wild and wondrous place to be.

BryanCoco

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