Apprenticeship to Love: Meditations on this Path to Authentic Relationship, October 5, 2023
• Today’s questions: Am I "stepping up" into my mastery, for myself, for others? Am I afraid to "step up?"
• Today's suggested practice: Day 5 of this month's practice, to notice & receive while in motion (see my "Short Practice,” below)
• My practice today: 4am: 75 minutes: Yoga for the Equinox, with mantra and pranayama (breathwork).
• My vulnerability practice: To see this silence as safety. To feel this tenderness as the necessary condition to know, and receive Her...
★ Wednesday, October 11 at 11am Pacific time I'll be hosting the October Apprenticeship to Love live virtual workshop on "Men & Dating," with Leroy Gordon. Free to all Premium and Premium+ Apprenticeship to Love subscribers. Register at sacredbodies.ca/events
VIDEO (a short excerpt from my conversation with colleague Sarah Anderson about our winter couples retreat)
I was talking to Jai Singh yesterday. He's a men's coach focusing on fatherhood, and that was the topic for our live podcast. Jai said lots of things that I reminded me of my early years as a dad. Hard years. Beautiful years. He also reminded me of how hard it was to learn to "step into" the leadership role in the family. Not to dominate, which is how my father certainly expressed that role. But to provide the structure for all of us to flourish.
That's called being in "the masculine." It's a different way of being than most of us who identify as men have been taught. So we need to practice. And we need ways to practice.
Several years ago I got my first real taste of instruction on how to be in my masculine energy at a retreat with John Wineland and Kendra Cunov. "The Art of Fearless Intimacy" was challenging. Revealing. Humbling. And profoundly empowering.
One of our exercises was a "dinner date" with another participant. As we prepared to leave the retreat space John challenged those of us in the masculine polarity. "You are the masters of time and space," he said. Meaning: It was our responsibility to create and hold the time and space for us to get to dinner, and to be back in time for the evening retreat work. It was up to us to choose the restaurant (subject to the feminine veto). It was up to us to pick up our "date" in time, and to get to the restaurant on time, taking into account the feminine capacity to lose time. It was up to use to wrap things up and bring us back to the retreat space. And all the while, to be continuing to practice the exercises of polarity and "fearless intimacy" that we'd learned that day.
It was hard work. It was good work. And I am reminded of this, and how important it is, every time I make plans with others. Every time I imagine plans with others, and especially with my beloved. But also my colleagues and friends who identify as feminine. Always remembering: one of my gifts to every relationship, whether romantic or friendly or business, is to step fully into myself as the "master of time and space."
When I do this at least two things happen:
- One, I feel my power to direct and guide. To lead. Not as imposition, but as vision.
- Two, I feel Her power to flow and create beauty and interest, sometimes even love, always wonder —any of the many expressions of this always changing energy.
This is one of the reasons I love the woman who is my beloved.
This is why I choose to work with these women who are my colleagues.
Here, I am expected to step into my mastery. Here, having stepped into my mastery, I experience and am nourished by their flow, their freedom to flow safely.
Learning to step into my mastery has become increasingly important to me for other reasons, and they have to do with fear.
I have, like all men, a river of feminine energy that flows through me. But, like most men, I have never learned how to enjoy this flow. It was considered "unmanly" to enjoy this flow, to feel it except as it erupted in anger. So, learning to step into myself as masculine energy —as awareness, as the capacity to create and hold safe space— I allow myself to feel this river, and to know its beauty, not just its terror. I allow myself to "do nothing" but feel, move, smell it all, taste it all. To wander off the trails.
And, learning how to do this for myself, I build the capacity to do this for the feminine as She appears in my life. In my children and grandchildren. In my mother and sister. In my friends, men and women. In the wind and the tides on the ocean as I sail. In those who allow me to hold them and dance them through the tandas of tango. And yes, in my beloved.
I know that I've been reluctant to step into this mastery of time and space, this way of being in my masculine.
Reluctant? That's an understatement. I've been afraid.
Afraid of failure. Of rejection.
And so, to practice. And notice. And to notice especially the many and subtle ways I still avoid mastery by equivocating, avoiding the decision.
She, the divine She who yearns to flow in all things and including in and through and around me, She needs nothing more than my decision to feel free to flow.
She needs nothing more than my decision to be the master of time and space to feel free to flow into Her fullest manifestation of everything I need. And so it is, in this art of fearless intimacy, to step into my mastery, and master my fear, and know an intimacy with myself, and with my beloved, that waits only for my decision. To step into my mastery.
It takes practice and experience for me to over my fears. This I have learned in the years since that retreat: I will always "fail." I will always stumble, make mistakes.
For the woman I love, this is not important. She needs only to experience my decision —my commitment— to feel her freedom to be herself, her beauty, her flow.
This is down to me. Will I step through my fear and into my mastery, to free her to be herself, fully? Always, down to me.
🌀Intuitive faith and trust are knowing without reason . . . an unreasonable knowing. This is the heart-centered brain and the brain of the gut . . . the hunch in your gut and the hint in your heart. On the other side of you, there’s your intelligent concern, the doubt that asks for reasons. This is not a bad thing…
... when the door to the master within you opens, you walk through and make yourself at home . . . like you own it. (Guru Singh and Guruperkarma Kaur)
🌀 …it’s a very freeing place to be. It’s sad though, isn’t it, that just feeling safe is somehow freeing? (Andrea, quoted in Abby Moss, “I spent my summer vacation naked with friends”)
🌀I want to be seen. I want to be accepted as I am. And loved for that. (My beloved, my Oracle & Siren)
TODAY'S SUGGESTED SHORT PRACTICE
Day 5 of this month's practice, to move and to notice, and to receive:
Please read through first, then ...
- Today, set two alarms, one for the early part of your day, one for mid-late afternoon when you may be feeling low energy.
- When the alarm sounds, wherever and however you are, take three, five, 11, or 30 minutes to do this short practice:
- When you’re done, sit or stand for another minute or two, breathing gently, slowly filling and emptying your belly. Here, as you breathe into your fullness, ask yourself, Am I "stepping up" into my mastery, for myself, for others? Am I afraid to "step up? And what would happen if simply stepped "through" this fear and became myself? What then?"
- Notice if your body-mind feels somehow changed. And whether you notice a change or not, be content with yourself, exactly as you are in this moment.
- Continue with your day until the next alarm sounds, and repeat.
- If you want to talk about your experience, or your resistance, or about anything that, as one reader has put it, "lands while reading these chapters," please set up a short (15-minute) chat for Zoom: http://sacredbodies.ca/chat.
- It may not be enough, but it'll be a start. And that's always a good thing.