Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

A Masculine Wound: An Obsession With Winning February 5, 2013

masculinewoundThis blog, Matrignosis, (Mother Knowing) is based on my profound need to understand and empower the wounded feminine in myself and society.  The same theme is explored in my three psychologically-oriented books. Although the most recent one is about creating equal partnership between the healthy masculine and feminine, in this book too I emphasized the feminine side of the equation. That seemed the most pressing need.

But recent dreams and outer events are making strong statements about certain masculine wounds.  Robert Bly, one of our most eloquent voices for healthy masculinity has written, “By the time a man is 35 he knows that the images of the right man, the tough man, the true man which he received in high school do not work in life.”

Women know this too, but immersion in a culture whose institutions are based on distorted images of masculinity blinds both genders to healthier images. Knowing in our hearts that something is wrong is one thing.  Acting on this knowledge when no one around us appears to see this elephant in the room is quite another.

A boy is filled with excited anticipation about his first hunting trip. If he misses (deliberately) the graceful doe he’s told to kill, he’s taunted and shamed for being “a girl.” If he cries, the adults are disgusted. If he dutifully kills her he earns their respect and praise. They’ve been through this themselves and see it as a rite of passage that will toughen the boy up and prepare him for “real life.”  It may do that, but at what cost? Of what value is a hardened heart that cannot feel its pain or empathize with the pain of those who have no voice?

A young athlete succumbs to the temptation to take illegal performance-enhancing drugs.  When he wins he enjoys his success and ignores the shame of his pricking conscience. Is being victorious over others truly the only valid definition of success? Sure, when human rights are in the balance, only the worst among us would argue that victory over oppression is not a successful outcome. But how about when greedy, fearful masculine-oriented egos conquer conscience, compassion and consciousness? Is this a successful win?

Catholic theologian Richard Rohr says a basic difference between the feminine and masculine psyches is that for the masculine it’s either win or lose. But the feminine, the Mother, can’t choose between winning and losing. All her children have to win! For her, win-win is the only justice.  Psychologically, everyone has a masculine (animus) and feminine (anima) side; but only our masculine side is vulnerable to obsessing over winning at all cost. This happens when he mindlessly aligns his natural love for winning with patriarchy’s five-milliennia-old obsession with subjugating our inner feminine and the outer women who remind us of her! At all cost!

How do we bridge the seemingly irreconcilable divide between our inner masculine and feminine? Our egos must invite the disowned Feminine Spirit Warrior, the Mother, into our awareness. She’s strong enough to feel the shame of our pricking conscience. Brave enough to suffer when we’ve caused others pain. Tough enough to admit our fallibility.  Caring enough to love and serve all our children.  Becoming an undivided Spirit Warrior who lives with compassion and balance while causing the least amount of harm to others is the true meaning of winning.

How might your life have been different if you’d been taught to respect the feminine instead of how to win the respect of a wounded, dysfunctional culture?

My newest book, Healing the Sacred Divide, can be found at this Amazon link or at Larson Publications, Inc.

 

To Be or Not to Be a Zombie: Part II February 1, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADream #4401: The Founder Wants My Help
I’m with a blonde-haired woman at a conference about wounded masculinity. It’s disorganized and unfocused. As I prepare to leave, a tall, attractive man in a gray suit invites me to meet the founder of this organization. I follow him to an oval woven basket on the ground. In it lies a man. He has a head, a withered trunk, a tiny right arm and no other limbs. His face, voice and personality are normal and vitally alive. He smiles warmly and says he’s been watching me. The tall man concurs, “He has a list of everything you did yesterday.” I think I’m being recruited to join this organization. I don’t want to because it would take time away from writing.

Associations: This aspect of my animus has a lively mind, acute powers of observation, and a pleasant personality. But he’s physically challenged and needs me. This dream and the one I discussed in my last post came on the same night. As such, they probably address the same issue. In the previous dream I met a part of my animus that speaks about consciousness. In this one I met the “founder.”  Does this reference the masculine half of the foundation of my psyche, the Self? He seems to want my involvement in healing the wounded masculine. But why? How?

Healing the Sacred Divide, is about integrating the wounded feminine and masculine into consciousness with a strong emphasis on the feminine. These dreams suggest that the Self wants me to bring the wounded masculine into consciousness and that this will require more organization, focus and “legwork.” Will I cling to my ego’s current standpoint, or will I trust the Self and leap into the unknown? My dream ego is reluctant to leap and I know why:  inertia, my sensitive nature, and uncertainty.

(1)Inertia: I’ve spent years studying the wounded feminine and it’s easy and fun to stay home and write about it. Studying wounded masculinity and making more presentations would require expending more energy in new directions. (2) Sensitivity: Traveling and speaking are stressful and expose me to potentially uncomfortable situations and people, some of whom might argue with me! I hate conflict! (3) Uncertainty: Exactly what “leap” am I being asked to make? To make more speeches about wounded masculinity, or to “speak” more about it in my writing?

I’ve actively pursued self-knowledge and consciousness for 24 years. Before every leap there was always a period of confusion and questioning, and I’ve learned that tolerating the tension of this “wait time” is essential. Our choices are rarely as polarized as they seem at first glance and it takes time to find the middle ground. Guidance from the depths does require choice, but choice requires discernment!

I’m not sure I want to move in new directions but I don’t want to be a rigid, unconscious zombie either. I’m getting a strong message that my scholar/speaker animus is withering and becoming a “basket case” and I can’t ignore that. He wants to do things and I am his vehicle. Is there a way to help him without betraying my needs for alone time, self-knowledge and writing?

I don’t know the answers right now, but I’m pretty sure I need a better understanding of my wounded animus so I’ll focus on that while I await answers. Meanwhile, I won’t be turning down any invitations to make presentations. And if you want to weigh in on my dilemma, I welcome your associations with these dreams.

My newest book, Healing the Sacred Divide, can be found at this Amazon link or at Larson Publications, Inc.

 

 
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