I’ve just had a great two days with poet David Whyte.Â We were playing with courageous conversations.Â Â He shared with us last night one that is still ringing in my ears.
if you move carefully
through the forest,
like the ones
in the old stories,
who could cross
a shimmering bed of leaves
without a sound,
to a place
whose only task
is to trouble you
but frightening requests,
conceived out of nowhere
but in this place
beginning to lead everywhere.
Requests to stop what
you are doing right now,
to stop what you
while you do it,
that can make
that have patiently
waited for you,
that have no right
to go away.
~David Whyte from Everything Is Waiting For You
Here’s something that’s been brewing in me for a while. I received a comment yesterday from someone that got me stirred up enough to write about it. (or maybe it was my inner god).
I hear all the time about goddess programs, goddess groups, awesome women groups, crone circles, wise women enclaves, goddess training, women empowerment groups, etc. Where are the male equivalents? Before anyone gets on the their high horse that those groups came out of the response to the overwhelming male dominated society – I grant that.
As a child of progressive parents who raised my brother and I endogenously and to recognize that women are equal to men I have grown up to be a male feminist. My closest colleagues are women and have surrounded myself with awesome women role models.
That’s great AND
I feel like we’re missing something. Like the balance has been tipped too far the other way. For example when and why has it become acceptable to have national women’s networking groups but not acceptable to have nationwide male networking group? I think the historical argument was valid, but the world is changing, women are changing, men are changing, society is changing. Do women still need to learn about their own personal power and goddess withing? Absolutely! AND that is not the point of my comments here.
My point is, What about the men? What about the conscious men out there who see women as equal partners in life yet while being supportive of women they feel like they have lost their identity of being male, of being the gods (to use the same god/goddess metaphor, Even now as I am writing this I have a twinge of embarrassment in using that word, like I don’t have the rite to use it, but it is ok to use goddess). Are we not all gods and goddesses?
Where are the programs for gods AND goddesses?
Where are the programs for male energy ritual? rites of passage? The ones that celebrate the male spirit? male comradeship (outside of the inane sports metaphors)? The ones that explore what it means to be male in todays society and how to be the best men we can be? What would that look like? Instead of saying what is wrong with men – what is right about us? What is enviable? What is good? What is sacred? What is grounding? What is uplifting? in the male energy.
The Mankind project and its ilk are one variety of maleness training. They seem outdated. They seem to be outgrowths of the 60s&80s – go to the forest, chant, scream, cry and then return to your family and obligations. They seem to make men wrong to make them right. It is not an attractive option for me.
What is the creative, resourceful and whole approach?
I want more. I want a program that is evolved. I want a program that shares with me why I should be proud to be a man. I want a program that shares with me how together men and women will create a better place on earth. I want a place where it is ok to talk about and express and be with all of our emotions anger, love, empathy, wounds, delight, joy, ecstasy. With out being made wrong for doing so.
Comments welcome. Solicitations not! Discussion about coming together/partnering to talk about creating such a program may be of interest.
Feels great getting that out there.
Matthew Egan Rochte