July 8, 2014

How to Let Men Be Men. ~ Tui Anderson

Men and Women

I want my spiritual man to be a strong man.

Recently, a couple I know visited Nepal from Bali.

I had met them in a Shamanic Journeying workshop in Ubud, a town known for it’s spiritual and yogic energies. A town known for its feminine energy—it is the in-joke in Ubud that there are eight women (travelers and expats) to every man and that even the men who are there tend towards the feminine energy.

This couple had come to Pokhara, Nepal for a visit. Pokhara is a hub of adventure travelling—trekking, paragliding, mountain biking—so it has a different energy than Ubud! And, they had come to Pokhara to learn paragliding.

I met the wife out for a walk on about their fourth day there—very upset because her husband had insisted on going up for his first solo flight, despite being a little under the recommended training hours. They had had a huge argument, where she expressed her concern for his safety and he told her she was fussing and worrying too much.

My friend could not understand how or why her usually open and sensitive husband was behaving like this. I gently pointed out to her that he was behaving like a man. Now, hang on, before you think I was judging. I am saying that completely without judgment—I am saying it as a description of his way of being at that time with no disparagement or negativity.

This man had been completely immersed in the very feminine energy of Ubud for about a year. Lots of communication, feelings, being in touch with himself and connecting with others. These are not things that are exclusive of men but I did suggest to my friend that it wasnot surprising that he was throwing himself into the achievement and energy of a group of adventurers learning a new skill and thus pushing some adrenaline boundaries.

I suggested that perhaps he needed to balance what he had been experiencing for a while with a solid dose of masculine energy. She didn’t seem thrilled with this perspective!

I have heard men in Ubud on several separate occasions discussing that the purpose of men is to be in service to the divine feminine. In service—really? I mean, I get the idea of humans being in service and choosing in relationships to act in service to each other, but to declare that the purpose of the masculine is to act in service to the feminine—that very idea just makes me cringe!

Is the sun in service to the earth? No. The sun simply Is what it Is. It does its sunny thing. That this helps to nourish and sustain the earth is not actually the sun’s purpose. As analogies go, there is a lot missing from this one (like how the feminine, in turn, benefits the masculine), but I think the idea stands (not in an “anyone revolves around anyone” kind of way though!)

I enjoyed a recent elephant journal article about Why Men Withdraw Emotionally, but was seriously bothered by a comment on the Facebook post of the article that suggested men should “get present or get out.”

I was also bothered that this comment got several likes, despite coming across as quite rude. But manners aside, who made the feminine style of communication or spirituality or life the standard? Who established that this is the way that men should simple learn and be okay with? Say what you will about the Mars/Venus thing being pop psychology, but I really appreciated that John Gray never suggested or even implied that one version was preferable or superior to the other.

He simply laid out the differences as a way for each to understand the other in the hopes of finding a middle ground.

As someone who requires considerable processing time for any serious or emotional discussion, I can sympathize with the stereotypical “male” position. I have had this issue end at least two relationships, where my need to simply absorb what I am being told and then process in my “cave” was deemed cold, distant and unacceptable, even though I had discussed that this was my style and I would come back to the conversation once I had some processing time.

I was told I needed to change my intrinsic communication style (which I would argue is actually impossible to do and remain true to myself), rather than us finding a way for each of us to have our communication needs met in the conversation.

Yes, there is a long history of masculine dominance to balance and the feminine has long been neglected or dismissed, however, reversing the disempowerment will not help. Men are not here to be of service to the divine feminine. Men are here to be the divine masculine. Full stop. No one is here to be in service to anyone.

A man who is strong in his masculine serves the other people in his life by being so, but that is not his purpose. He is simply being who he is. The fact that a woman can flourish in the presence of his strength and power does not make this his reason for existing. Each of us serves others by being truly in our own powerful selves, be that masculine, feminine or any other version. Standing strong in understanding ourselves and others, serves.

So, despite the title, I am not really writing to encourage women to “let” men be anything—it is not up to us. What is up to us is perhaps to be more understanding and accepting of the differences. To expect the differences. To encourage the differences. To revel in the differences!

Yes, the differences between men and women create challenges for us in personal relationships (whether you are straight, gay or anywhere else on the continuum, we all have some sort of relationships with the other gender/s).

I want my spiritual man to be a strong man, a happy man, a man who is being true to himself, whether that is being a football-playing spiritual man or a hamburger-eating spiritual man or a headstand-meditating-juicing spiritual man, I don’t really mind, as long as he is solid in himself.

Our reason for being here is because we are here. Our existence is its own reason. Life is its own reason. We are here to be exactly Who We Are.


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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Brian Henry Thompson/Flickr

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