Last month I wrote about the transformational power of feeling safe and how that feeling is essential to women's sexual responsiveness. This month, I am offering what you might consider the essential polarity: the new definition of what it is to be a man. It is one of the most important conversations going on in our culture today because in order for women to feel safe, we need conscious men.
The subject of men is particularly poignant just now because of the summer solstice occurring on June 21. The solstice (meaning sun stands still) is universally recognized in all cultures as an important turning point -- it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Sun energy is at its peak and we feel its primal creative force. In Celtic tradition, it is the time of honoring masculine energy.
I believe there is no mistake that Father's Day is quite close to this date, and this year I paid attention to the words on cards, especially those given to my husband from our three grown daughters. My girls were saying "your support and encouragement have taught me to succeed" and they were appreciating their dad's "patience, wisdom, guidance, and love." These qualities are quite different from the hyper-masculine images seen in movies and videos of drawn-out bloody fights, car chases, swaggering bullies and players hunting women.
In honor of this season, I have chosen to write about men. Particularly, I want to mention some movements that are helping redefine what it is to be a man in our culture. I think of this whole decade as the "Great Redefining of What it is to Be a Man," and I'd love to see these new views become the norm. The movements I refer to are those of men choosing to right their collective wrongs and to diminish the energy of control and brute force that has so long held sway. The maxim "what you focus on expands" is critically important for spreading these positive actions on the part of men. As we focus on the groundbreaking new developments, these contributions will grow. So if you like what you see, please share.
There are two videos that bring tears to my eyes. One is a TED talk by Jackson Katz, Ph.D., who has been actively training men against violence for decades and is part of a growing movement of men who are standing up and speaking out to other men who have been traditionally "apathetic or openly hostile" to dealing with violence against women. He believes that our culture maintains a kind of silence with regard to the systems that perpetuate rape, abuse and domestic violence. He states that "victim blaming" is pervasive and it keeps the attention off men. One of his methods is what he calls the "bystander approach," which encourages men to speak up when women are being denigrated with jokes or by demeaning references. He also states that boys traumatized by adult male violence keep the cycle going. I urge you to listen to the difference Jackson Katz is making in redefining of what it is to be a man.
The second video is so heartfelt and moving that I was stunned the first time I watched it. This is a movement called The Manifesto for Conscious Men. The Manifesto was collectively written by a number of men and the ones you will see on the video have all volunteered to speak a section of an apology to women for all they have endured at the hands of men. It is also an expression of deep appreciation for the value of the feminine as a balance for the masculine. What moves me more than anything is the stark sincerity in their eyes as they speak with courage and humility, going straight to our hearts. I have recommended this video to many women who have experienced trauma at the hands of men: fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, boyfriends and husbands, as well as strangers.
More than anything, it is men such as Dr. Katz and those involved in the Manifesto that I would like to encourage. Unfortunately, many men feel they must be dominant, behaving like bad boys in order to be attractive to the women in their lives, but the hyper-masculine stance does not serve to deepen relationships. Therefore, I feel grateful for the goodhearted men in the world who are willing to stand up and break the silence, to make amends, and to truly value the gifts of the feminine. This is what I honor on this summer solstice; this is what will bring the balance of the Divine Feminine with the Divine Masculine. And with this balance couples will have the best platform for Sacred Partnership.
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