Today I am reflecting on how some types of communication can help create greater connection and healing between us, and some can distance us.
Our ability to heal is amplified when we can experience loving connections with others and learn from their experiences, and so this is a very important topic, in relation to deepening intimacy and creating the connection, trust and safety necessary for blissful sexual experiences!
The ‘normal’ modes of communication of daily life in modern Western society can limit our potential for vulnerability, transparency and authenticity.
Consider how often in your life you have been asked “how are you?” and then think of how often you have answered truthfully. Oftentimes, "how are you" is considered just a courtesy question, and that the only acceptable answer is “I’m good, I’m, fine, doing ok”…etc. If you are having a difficult day, or something truly difficult is going on and you answer this question truthfully many people will be thrown off guard! It's a great exercise though. Some people will surprise you with their genuine empathy, but many will fumble with a response and feel uncomfortable with an honest, perhaps emotionally loaded answer!
Our society puts a big focus on being successful and achievement. Looks and material status are equated with happiness and worth. Many people communicate and behave in ways which support those ideologies, both consciously and unconsciously.
There is nothing wrong with these values and goals at all, except for when they are at the forefront of our lives without the accompanying values of authenticity, spirituality, interconnectivity, integrity, cooperation…etc
I have read some wonderful stories and listened to lectures from indigenous peoples who are able to highlight this lack of spirituality and the lack of understanding about interconnectivity permeates modern western thought and behaviors. One example which stand out in my mind was Matin Pretchel, a Mayan Shaman, describing how westerners started putting him and his classmates through their schooling system and would make the children race. His classmates were unaccustomed to the idea of trying to beat each other and would always wait for each other and cross the finish line together! The teachers did not understand it.
I love that. And it’s a good example of the different guiding values between two societies.
So how does this relate to 'I statements'? I think I statement are like the children crossing the finish line together, rather than everyone trying to beat each other across. 'I statements' encourage togetherness and a sense of humbleness. When we share from our hearts with each other using 'I statements' were are simply inviting someone to share an experience with us. We may express a feeling, or a story from our past, or a thought about life in general. We frame it as our own experience. We do not assume that it is universal or that it must be accepted by the other person. We are simply offering a piece of our awareness.
It is a subtle change in language but can dramatically alter the effect of our self-expression.
Notice the effect you feel reading these two statements:
"I feel angry and hopeless after the election."
"People who voted for Trump are idiots who are responsible for the destruction of the planet."
When we can get to the core of what we are feeling and share that, rather than skipping over it and jumping into reactions, beliefs and judgments we, can create a bridge of understanding even while discussing triggering topics. Even if two people are sitting on different sides of an issue they are passionate about, through sharing our feelings and deeper inner experiences with each other it’s possible to find some common ground.
Here is another example:
"I was so sacred and worried last night when you got home late because I didn’t know where you were."
"You should have been home on time. You were so inconsiderate and irresponsible."
None of us are absolute authorities on truth and 'I statements' reflect that! As soon as we put ‘I’ at the beginning of a statement we are owning that whatever follows comes from our own unique view point. We are not asserting that our thoughts or feelings are universal or need to be shared by anyone else. We are really just offering a piece of ourselves to others.
This does make it more vulnerable! Of course people can choose to disregard what we say, belittle us, or choose to assert their truth in a more dominating way. It does happen! Just because we use 'I statements' and get vulnerable does not mean we will be met in the same way.
But I can say this from many, many years of employing 'I statements', They can move mountains at times. They have the power to help others connect with our hearts, and feel our words without needing to put up walls and get defensive. Sometimes our regular forms of communication can really be fire for the fuel for arguments and conflicts!
'I Statements' are very worth exploring! If you want to take this one step further I would recommend the book Non-Violent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall Rosenberg. Non- Violent Communication is the best tool I have found for creating more compassionate and harmonious communication and relationships. A true gem of a resource!
Keep lovin', keep livin' and keep it real ;)
I have a question for you, what examples of the expression masculine and feminine behaviours did you grow up with?
What were your mom and dad like, or your primary care giver(s)?
Did you witness love being expressed in your home life, emotionally? physically? verbally? Often or not? Gently? Passionately?
Did you see it between a man and a woman? Between men? Between women? What is the strongest memory of intimate love you can remember growing up with? What is the scariest expression of pain, trauma, disconnect or violence that you can remember?
These reflections are important. Because somewhere in your early years (and even in your mother’s womb) you were collecting information about love. You were figuring out what it is, what is ok and what is not, how to get it, and how to avoid having it taken away. You were discovering and strategizing about ways that you could become more like your mom, or your dad or whoever you looked up to. And you were forming your associations with what it means to be both a male and a female in this physical world.
Ask yourself, what does it mean to be masculine? Try it. Write down whatever comes to mind. Now ask yourself, what does it mean to be feminine? Write down everything that comes to mind. Don’t try to filter any of the words. Draw pictures if you like. Write the names of songs or movies or characters that come to mind.
Finding this interesting yet? Has anything you wrote or remembered surprised you? I hope so, if it has that means you have learned something already.
Now let's try something just a bit different. I want you to ask your self what is the divine masculine? What does the divine masculine look like, feel like, sound like and act like in it’s most ‘perfect’ form. What is that to you?
Again write any words that come to your heart and mind, draw pictures, write song lyrics, list characters… go with whatever shows up. Don’t filter.
And you know what comes next. Consider what you think the divine feminine is. What does the divine feminine look like, feel like, sound like and act like in it’s most ‘perfect’ form. What is that to you?
Now I want you to compare the first lists of masculine and feminine traits with the second lists of divine masculine and feminine traits. Are there differences? Which list was easier to make? What jumps out at you after doing this exercise? Any ah-ha moments? Anything that surprised you most?
I did an exercise like this recently with a girlfriend of mine. We asked each other what the feminine was and listened to each other’s responses. Then we asked each other what the divine feminine was. I was shocked at how different my answers were based on the slight change in the wording of the question! What a shift. And I realized what had happened. I had tapped into first the idea of what feminine is in our very wounded culture and then I asked myself what it was in my heart, with out attachment to all the drama of the world. It was remarkable! I found I had in me an awareness of the wounded feminine I see and experience everyday in the world, but I also had in me an empowered divine feminine expression.
This kind of reflection on the divine nature of both masculine and feminine expression and the degree to which this divine expression is missing in the world around us has been an important part of my training and healing in the art of sacred sexuality and Tantra.
Each one of us has within us these two important aspects of the divine- masculine and feminine. These are energetic qualities, not physical forms and they exist in The Divine and nature and everything that lives and breathes. We embody one physical form or another which tends to lead us to identify more strongly with either male or female, but ultimately we are always both.
It’s important and healing to explore what both of these aspects are because the more we do, the more we can connect with our source and connection to the creative flow of life all around us. The more we can identify our divine masculine and feminine aspects the more we can express our creative life force in the world, in our relationships and in our purpose. We become powerful and whole, and more than whole, we become interconnected back with the fabric of existence! We become expansive.
However, achieving this kind of expansion requires us to do some detective work. We must discover where we have anchored into our mind and hearts false beliefs, unhealthy models of what it means to be masculine and feminine. These false beliefs often stem from the models we had when we were young, and from the media, from its songs, and stories which form a library of reference points in our consciousness.
As we identify the stories and references which are not healthy and not true to our ecstatic, empowered and loving creative nature, we can weed them out and stop nurturing them, stop growing them in our minds and our hearts. We can choose instead to start to focus on examples of the divine masculine and feminine we nurture the blissful life giving thoughts, attitudes and behaviors those archetypes offer us. We can get back to the flow of creation, we can start to live it and breathe and and bear its delicious fruits in our lives.
So here’s where you can start.
I have made a short list below of some traits for you to consider of the divine masculine and feminine. I have also outlined some of the unhealthy expressions we see in our world of the masculine and the wounded forms we see of the feminine. Take a look. Consider them. See how they line up (or don’t) with your own lists. And then start to notice the information you take in about these aspects of our existence. Notice the movies you watch, the relationships you see, the relationships you are in, and the memories and thoughts you carry. Seek out experiences, relationships and information which will help you realign with the divinity of masculine and feminine. Observe experiences and things which do not match those divine expressions with awareness. Cultivate your divinity.
Able to express her emotions in truth and love
Comfortable in her body
Able to be vulnerable
Able to surrender
Abundant- source of endless creativity and life
A servant of Peace
Ashamed of her body
There are also a couple GREAT books you can check out to dive deeper into Masculine and Feminine archetypes. These are from a psychological perspective not from a tantric perspective but the theories are complementary ;)
King, Warrior, Magician, Lover- Rediscovering the archetypes of the mature masculine- By Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette
Goddesses in Every Woman- Powerful Archetypes in Woman's Lives- By Jean Shinoda Bolen M.D
Women who Run with the Wolves
And a big nudge towards any of Jordan Peterson's Youtube Lectures on the subjects of masculinity!!
What is better than the feeling of electric, nourishing, ecstatic, blissful, deep and satisfying love flowing through our hearts and spiralling together?? It truly is a portal to experiencing heaven on earth.
We are here, each of us, as master alchemists, whether we realize it or not. We are made of the dust of the heavens and the crust of the earth and we are each a bridge between the two. Our hearts- the centre pieces of creation.
This truth however is still hidden from many and much of what interests me most, in terms of Sacred Intimacy practices, is helping to uncover this powerful and blissful reality and to assist the opening of the heart so that we can each fully experience it.
I love the process! I love the journey! And I find myself sinking into deeper lessons now about the nature of our conditioning which limit our ability to experience more of this bliss in our lives. As I understand more about our conditioning, I am able to honour my own truth more fully, because my ability to be conscious of what does not serve me, allows me to choose new thought patterns and ways of living and ways of loving which better serve me.
So I would like to share some of the realizations I have been discovering with you today. I believe now more than ever, we are experiencing our interconnectedness in new ways. I see my thoughts and my emotions as a part of a collective experience. They are coming from my lens of perception, but we are all in this together. Our truths illuminate each other.
One truth which has been showing up for years as I have been moving more fully into a path of sharing tantric teachings and healings, is that there is a yearning in most people for something more. Most people I meet are not satisfied emotionally, sexually, spiritually, or physically in their lives. Starved for touch, starved for acknowledgement, staved for purpose, starved for inspiration. These themes come up over, and over, and over and over! It’s mind blowing. And I will quickly tie in here that sky rocketing mental and emotional illnesses are a by product of these unmet needs! We may be a rich country here in Canada but most people are poor in terms of intimacy, true community and spiritual empowerment.
Another truth being highlighted to me is the insanity of our concepts of masculine and feminine empowerment and how it effects our ways of relating.
Let’s just jump right in and start with the twisted version of feminism which has been rearing its ugly head. Feminism at its core is about women becoming empowered. In its pure essence this is something most of us who are on a healing, conscious life path can celebrate and support. What I see happening too much, is that the voice of the feminine, in it’s anger and it’s pain, has created bitterness and at times even hatred.
I believe it is essential for women to have a voice, and to be able to get in touch with the anger and pain which stems from very real abuse, inequality and oppression. But there has to be an end point. There has to be a healing, a shift an acceptance which allows that pain to become an anchor of compassion and wisdom within and no longer a trigger point like a loaded gun ready to go off at any moment.
When we are full of anger, fear and hate because of our traumas, we are not empowered. If we are attacking, judging, belittling, manipulating, blocking or shutting out men because of our pain, we are just passing the buck along. We are re-wounding, rather than transforming and healing. We have to look at this cultural pattern. Sadly right now women expressing emotions in toxic and unhealthy ways is almost celebrated! It's become a cultural norm which the extreme side of feminism defends at the expense of those who are injured by unbridled emotionally volatile behaviour. I shudder to hear songs like "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood as much as I would hearing any rap song which propagates demeaning women and treating them as sex objects. They are both reflections of the unhealthy aspects of the feminine (emotional volatility and victim behavior) and the masculine (sexual aggression and domination). We can do better.
I want to put forth, that true empowerment is being able to have healthy boundaries, to make healthy decisions for one’s well-being and to be able to live from a place of compassion, understanding and empathy. This is what I see empowered women able to do. I see them able to recognize if they are in a situation that does not serve them, I see them able to communicate and meet their needs and to detach from anything that does not serve them. I see them able to use their creativity and talents to create wellness, abundance and a good life for themselves and the people they love. I see them able to have an incredible capacity to love, nurture and care for themselves and the world around them. I see them able to process their pain, to hold space for their pain, to accept it, transform it and learn from it.
Women living from this place truly can, will and do change the world. Women living from this place have no desire to stay in a victim mode, to be malicious or to put forth an image of ‘strength’ which involves dominating or belittling another sex, or any person.
And now we get to Men.
How many men grew up with empowered role models for women, like what I mentioned above? Not enough. Women have been on a journey of gaining their independence and discovering their power and their voice. Men have been growing up going along for the ride with their mothers on this journey.
What are the effects? What are the effects of not having a mother around when you are young, not having a mother emotionally available? Of not having a mother have her voice heard in the family? Of not seeing a mother in her strength? What does this teach men about their own feminine side? And what are they learning from fathers? How many fathers are playing a role in raising their son? How many fathers are demonstrating a loving, committed and respectful relationship with their partners? How many father’s are carrying GENERATIONS of conditioning that they have to be strong, they can’t break down, cry, feel, be vulnerable,…etc
This may not land well with too many people, but I have to say, I feel like at this time when I look at my community, I think men are getting the short end of the stick. There are so few supports for men compared to women. And the party line is that men have it better because they have not been oppressed the way women have, they tend to get paid more, they are not stuck raising children and having to work…it goes on and on and on. I call Bullshit. Men are oppressed emotionally, they are oppressed by the conditioning put on them to have to make a lot of money and be successful at all costs, to fit into ‘cultural norm’ of what a man is, to be strong and to lead- even if they have NO model of how to do that, and they carry the collective burden of women’s unhealed pain bodies, even if they have played very little part in creating that trauma.
They pay the price every day, in the court system ruling in favour of women in custody battles, in accusation of rape and molestation or even issues as small as break ups. I watch time and time again how quick people can be to side with a woman, without examining the situation!
This is our insanity. And we can put an end to it. The first reference point which nips this crap in the bud is that we are ALL MASCULINE AND FEMININE. We may have differently shaped bodies but the distinction of man or woman is not as black and white as we make it. What’s more, in order to heal we need to go within and deal with our internal believes, habits, and the related emotions.
If I am a woman and I have man issues, then I need to look at healing and developing my masculine side. And I can tell you when that side is healed I am not going around blaming men for hurting me anymore, I feel safe in the world, I make healthy choices, I have a knight in shinning armour inside me who is both aware and compassionate. That part of me helps me be courageous, helps me take care of my own needs, frees me of co-dependant patterns and keeps me out of victim mode. If I am attacking the world, and laying blame all around me, I have not done my work yet.
As for the feminine side, this is the side we need both men and woman to learn about and develop in order for us to see true healing of our emotional wounding. The feminine side gives us the courage to feel, the courage to love even the darkest of emotions, the ability in integrate our darker emotions and to come to a place of deep acceptance and emotional wholeness. The feminine side helps us to be vulnerable, to be fully awake and alive and ecstatic. The feminine can go as deep into joy and pleasure as she can go into pain. We all desperately need these traits at this time when there is so much pain and disconnection in the world. And we need the healthy masculine traits along side these feminine traits so that we can create safety for ourselves as we allow our vulnerability and our love to shine through. Otherwise we do risk getting hurt and closing down this beautiful side of ourselves.
So here is the bottom line. Women have been oppressed and are on a journey of learning how to be more in touch with their healthy masculine traits of being independent, living their purpose and being their own knight in shining armor. Men have also been oppressed and are learning how to be in touch with their healthy feminine traits of vulnerability, empathy and emotional connection.
We all need to look within and realize we are a blend of both of these universal forces. We need to learn about both, honour both in others, and start to be curious about our journey so that we can approach our healing from a place of openness and understanding, rather than judgment and anger.
As we do we gain access to the seed of life, the spark of creation inside each of us which is a blend of these two aspects. We can create peace within ourselves, heal deeper and acts as agents of love and transformation in the world around us. The sex gets better too. Not a bad perk. ;P But really folks we need to end the shit show. Let's not get dragged through the drama any more. Let's really examine our world from the lens of wide open hearts. Freedom awaits along with a brilliant, abundant life! That's our birthright. That's the truth in each of us. Time to live it.
The word unconditional according to dictionary means - not subject to any conditions.
Some synonyms are unrestricted; unlimited; absolute and unquestioning. The word love according to the dictionary has many varied meanings from an intense feeling of affection; deep romantic or sexual attraction; and a great interest or pleasure in something.
How the word is described in the meaning of love; appears to me to be an attachment or conditional. However, to me love is a state of being.
I consider love a state of being we come into the world with; lose somewhere along the way in our human journey and arrive back at through various life experience, challenges and trials and tribulations.
Unconditional love is the hardest state to achieve over all. It takes a true amount of faith in something greater than ourselves, as well as a lot of self-reflection and self-understanding. To me it means, standing in or own truth, often alone and uncomfortable.
It is not just about putting others happiness before our own nor is it only existence when people are meeting our needs.
Unconditional love is exemplified when everything seemingly goes wrong, when we make mistakes or say things we may not necessarily mean and the person is still there without judgement, or punishment. They may not agree, however, there is a deep level of acceptance for our human flaws.
I believe this can only be achieved once we love our self in this way.
We cannot extend what we do not have or do not know.
What has your experience been? What do you think?
Rev. Pamela Robinson is a Reiki Master, Ordained Revered and Certified Hypnotherapy Practitioner. She offers Hypnosis and Spiritual Counselling in Hamilton and Toronto