Updated: Aug 9
Something is beginning to take shape – within me and outside of me.
I began to feel the change happening deep inside, during my midlife unraveling, when I was forced to reckon with how I had slowly become trapped within the very conventions against which I had rebelled.
As I continue to patiently dig through the squishy muck at the bottom of the pond of my unconscious, the treasure is slowly revealing itself to me.
In this post, I offer a peek into how my gifts and renewed sense of purpose are informing my work. I hope you enjoy.
More Deep Thinking at Alverno College
Once again, a diverse group of students, alumni, faculty and community members joined me for a conversation, this time about transcending the fear-based approach to resisting patriarchy.
In a way, it was a continuation of a conversation that had begun two years earlier, with a discussion about the wounds that both men and women carry as a result of how the feminine and masculine energies became imprisoned by tying them to gender in a way that denigrated the feminine, women, the body, sexuality and nature. (Click here to read about this workshop).
A year later, our conversation turned to understanding that patriarchy is a system of domination, hierarchy and ranking. The ranking plays out between women and women, heterosexual men and gay men, adults and children, police officers and citizens, people with wealth and those without, etc.
Patriarchy survives by inflicting trauma through violence that comes in many forms, including economic. We went deeper into how it is not an accident that women’s bodies and sexuality are the very battle ground on which the fight to maintain patriarchy is fought, and how religion has acted to reinforce this system by insisting that pain and suffering are righteous.
We discussed how reconciling sexuality and spirituality – especially for women – is critical to dismantling a system of hierarchy and ranking. (Click here to read about this workshop).
This year, we continued the conversation with the realization that fighting patriarchy is a losing battle. It’s the wrong thing on which to focus. Patriarchy is fighting to survive right now. Just getting out of its way will accelerate its demise. Watching its desperation is actually entertaining. To support what is already beginning to emerge requires the opposite of what feels natural – surrender. Surrender simply means refocusing one’s energy from what is dying to finding and feeding what is emerging.
What was once denigrated and assigned to the female gender – the feminine, nature, women, women’s bodies and sexuality – must be reclaimed. To come into relationship with the feminine though requires awkwardness, vulnerability, and surrender, which the wounded masculine fears. The clinging to patriarchy that we see today illustrates Carol Gilligan’s (Gilligan & Snider, 2018) theory that patriarchy has become a defense mechanism to avoid the vulnerability required for deep connection.
This is our new frontier – exploring the realm of the feminine.
The recording of my workshop (click here to watch) includes a hands-on opportunity to reconnect with the feminine through the body. Feeling silly will be a clue that you may have a one-sided relationship with your inner masculine. Feeling silly also means you are in for an amazing treat. Coming into relationship with the feminine is arousing on so many levels.
Speaking of Arousal . . .
Sexual Attraction as an Invitation from God/Self
Draft two of my memoir When Sex Meets God: One Woman’s Experience of Inner Reconciliation is complete!
Written in the form of a novel, it is the story about a woman whose hunger for self-determination can no longer be contained within her twenty-four-year marriage.
First, she must face the buried shame related to her sexuality and spirituality, wounds she never knew existed. Then, she must pay the price of admission to being swept up in her first post-divorce relationship – embracing awkwardness and vulnerability. Not easy for a control freak. Something deep inside the man, who is seventeen years younger than she, is calling to something deep inside her, and the irony that their spiritual framework could NOT be more different only enhances the allure.
Willingly surrendering to the mysterious relationship, where conventional sex is prohibited, plunges her into a new world of unexpected pleasure, which results from reconciling sexuality and spirituality, the two most powerful human instincts according to C.G. Jung.
Knowing that the true meaning and purpose of the relationship had been pre-determined by some transcendent force would prepare her for what came next. Sort of.
Stay tuned for an upcoming glimpse into one of my chapters, and a reading on Tik Tok.
I could use your help finding beta readers, which just means they get a free copy of my book in return for sharing their experience of reading it. Their feedback will inform my final edits. Share this post with others who might enjoy being a beta reader and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in finding out more.
Sex, God and the End of Patriarchy: Reconciling with the Feminine and Healing the Masculine
I’m excited to report that the book proposal to publish my research that I submitted to Routledge has passed the first marker. Next stop is external review. The book is inspired by my research, which brought to life women’s experience of the relationship between sexuality and spirituality, through the lens of Jungian theory of individuation. Transitioning from student researcher to authority figure kicked my ass, but I did it. Here’s what it’s about:
It’s here! The beginning of the end of patriarchy. How can we create a space to safely manage the battle between the fear-based attachment to the old dominator model and the unleashing of desire for new levels of tolerance and freedom to find personal truth? C.G. Jung put all his hopes in the self-reflecting individual. His individuation framework is useful but must be freed from its stubborn attachment to masculine ways of knowing.
The capacity for vulnerability and humility required during the heroine part of the journey can facilitate the healing of the masculine, which in its current form is dysfunctional and wounded as a result of its heavy burden. Priority must be given to reconciling the two human instincts Jung suggested were the strongest and most difficult with which to wrestle. Releasing sexuality and spirituality from the prison of literal and limited notions can free energy needed to facilitate what is seeking expression now from the collective unconscious.
Stay tuned for updates.
Growing My Coaching Business
More and more people are coming to me wanting something different than the typical therapy or coaching model. Too much in the head, I think. It’s a great sign, and I believe it is a reflection of the willingness by some to open up to what’s emerging during the beginning of the end of the patriarchal way of living.
It takes guts to get out of your head and take a journey to the mysterious world of the unconscious, the realm of the feminine, where paradox is key to finding truth. This AND that, as my sister says.
I’ve been facilitating more active imagination activities, and people are gaining insights that they admit they never would have imagined gaining through their intellect. Movement, drawing, having dialogue with inner characters, and mining the guidance in dreams, fantasy images, and Netflix obsessions.
The ego often obstructs the truth your Self is trying to communicate. I’ll teach you how to speak the mysterious language of the unconscious so you can figure out what the mind is trying to keep you from figuring out.
If you or someone you know could benefit by a different approach to personal growth, send me a note at email@example.com.
Next time you’re feeling stuck or confused, and you need some guidance from within:
Grab some paper and the medium of choice – color pencils, crayons, markers, pastels, paints.
Find a place that’s comfortable and conducive to artwork.
Light a candle, place an essential oil diffuser at your workspace, and/or place any meaningful objects near your sacred space.
Take a big belly breath in, hold and then release. Do this a couple times.
Close your eyes.
If you have a specific question, place your hand on your heart and ask it.
If you don’t have a specific question, please your hands somewhere palms facing up and express your willingness to surrender to what wants to come.
Keep your eyes closed.
Experience what comes – image, emotion, bodily sensation, voice, words, shapes, colors.
Open your eyes and breathe again.
Draw the experience in whatever way it wants to be expressed. The drawing could be very specific, or it could be scribbles that want to express a texture or feeling, or it could be expressed as shapes and colors, or even words.
Notice the emotions that arise when you look at your drawing. Don’t judge.
Journal about your experience. What questions come up? What meaning can you make? Where are these questions and images and meaning occurring in your life?
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