Apprenticeship to Love: Meditations on this Path to Authentic Relationship, December 9, 2023
• Today’s questions: How is my nervous system tested today? How am I allowing myself to learn what needs to be learned, allowing myself to deepen into the strength and power that is already here, in this body, waiting for me to wake?
• Today's suggested practice: Day 5 of this month's practice, to step into your polarity (see my "Short Practice,” below)
• My practice today: 4:30am: 45 minutes: yoga, mantra, Heart Hum Meditation
• My vulnerability practice: She calls me ever-deeper. And, breathing deeply, I go...
• The December Apprenticeship to Love Virtual Workshop is on December 28 and features my co-host for the winter 2024 Arts of Sacred Intimacy couples retreat, Sarah Anderson. Free for Premium & Premium+ subscribers. Details at sacredbodies.ca/events
It is a month of spiritual high holy days. Among them, Hannukah. Which reminds us to look to the light, to be the light.
It is also the month of darkness. And on December 6 we remember a dark moment, emblematic of a darker tide that pulls this culture towards despair. The date marks Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. On this day in 1986 an angry (and most likely, hurting and fearful) man lined 14 women up in an engineering school classroom in Montreal. He ushered the men out. And, in the name of a war against feminism, murdered these 14 women.
I've been writing and teaching on this the past couple of days. For most of the years since 1986 the event was there, but not registering as it is now. One of the gifts of better listening, more awareness, greater sensisitivity.
Last year, it hit me: the woman I love is an engineer, living in Montreal. And, knowing her and how poorly her tenderness and her otherness is received in this world, I felt a terrible sadness.
This summer, in the wake of the Barbie movie, and the righteous indignation of so many angry (and, I'm assuming hurting and frightened) men, I invited men to join me in conversations about the movie. About what it stirred.
No man joined me.
And, again, a terrible sadness. I think we are so afraid to feel that even the opportunity to feel frightens us into silence.
This past week, December 6 once again called us men to remember and to act against violence against women. I invited men to join me in publicly standing with the women in their lives, against the tide of anger and hurt and fear that so many men are —passively and actively— turning on the women around them.
Only one man responded to my invitation to stand publicly.
And, again, I feel this terrible sadness. How much we are emasculated by our fear of seeming too tender, too full of care for our sisters and daughters and mothers and friends and colleagues.
I do not want to believe that we, masculine-identified men, are too timid to stand with our women.
I do not want to believe that we are too weak to protect our daughters and granddaughters and mothers and sisters, our wives and girlfriends, our colleagues and friends.
But the terrible sadness I feel is here in my heart and my belly because I see little sign that we men are capable of the greatness, the strength, the depth, and the light that the women —and children, including the boys— in our lives need from us.
When I first started to learn the arts of sexual yoga I, like so many of the men with me in that room, I'm sure, assumed we'd learn techniques of deeper pleasure. Deeper connection, yes. But mostly, pleasure and ways to have "more" sex. I was ready for that.
What I was not ready for was the teacher's assertion that this was a weekend retreat dedicated to "feminine safety." It was to be hours and days devoted, not so much to pleasure and ways of "getting more," but about learning the arts of being safe. Trustworthy. That the feminine feels safe, whether in a woman's body or in our own bodies, to move freely. Without fear. Without needing to doubt our every breath, our every move.
I learned that sexual yoga is really a form of husbandry.
Perhaps the most important form of husbandry: the gentle tending to the feminine energies that animate all of us and all of life, and especially in those who are most feminine-identified in our lives. Our women. Our children. Yes, "our" women, because if we are masculine-identified it is our sacred purpose to create and hold space for those we hold dear that they may flourish.
To be masculine enough, in our deepest awareness of feminine flow, that we see these women, these children. We see them. We hear them. We hold them, gently, as they express and experience so much that is beyond us. Not because we are incapable, as men, of feeling or expressing or experiencing, but because the way our bodies are formed and, especially, because of how our culture forms us, these women and children are the tender, sensitive-to-life, extensions of our own nervous systems. To be their fullest expression of who they are they need our respect. Our attention. Our care. Our protection. And even when they don't "need" it, we offer it so that they may feel safe. We offer it from the deepest place within us, from a place that they feel as trust.
I have regrets about my unwillingness and unknowingness, of how to be the man I am. I have not been so good at this deepest level of trustworthiness.
I am, however, as my beloved says, not like I was. I feel her trust in me, growing. It is the most beautiful thing I've ever experienced. The deepest sexual experience, as it stirs a profound desire to penetrate her, not with my body, but with my energetic capacity to hold her and know her, gently. Thoroughly.
Even so, no longer as untrustworthy as I was, she says to me, I test you.
She tests me, not to make me feel less-than. Not to make me feel insecure, to doubt myself. No! Anything but!
She tests me because she lives in a world where women are shot dead for wanting to be engineers.
She tests me because she lives in a world where women are still ritually killed, ritually raped, ritually defiled. Not listened to. Not loved for being who they are.
She tests me because, in her life, she's experienced the untrustworthiness of men. How men have relished her vulnerability and her open-heartedness, her open body, and failed to hold her safe.
She tests me because I have been one of these men.
She tests me, that I may know that I am capable of being more, so much more, than I imagine myself to be. She tests me, and tells me so. And tells me also, You're not like that anymore.
I am capable of being the light I seek. The love I seek.
I am here to serve my purpose. That purpose is to, as Wineland says, deepen into awareness. To know how to hold safe space for the feminine, and to make this one of the precepts of how I live.
In this moment, this purpose manifests as teaching men, and women. But especially men. To teach men what I have learned & what I am learning about how to live, and how to live well.
To teach men about learning the husbandry of the feminine. How to tend to that tenderness and vulnerability that nourishes life. How to better create and hold the safe spaces for the feminine to flourish.
And to invite men to step up to this work that needs doing, the work we do with each other, as brothers and colleagues and friends, as fathers and sons.
We have so much work to do.
On December 6, 1986 a man chose 14 women, 13 engineering students and one administrator, at a school in Montreal, and killed them. Because they were women.
My beloved is a woman. An engineer. Living in Montreal. Beautiful. Tender. Yearning for masculine integrity. She suffers. We are, most of us, unwilling or incapable of the depth and integrity that she and her sisters need, that they may flourish.
I teach. And I learn, how to be the man worthy of her trust.
I am held in an ocean of love. It is deep. It is silent. I learn to feel its presence and its power. I become less afraid. I become ready to be the man I am.
🌀 Destiny is a seed within a protective shell that brings our core identity in close touch with our daily activities. Once we drop the need for this protective shell, it sets up some form of purpose as the driver in each moment. It does this without holding anything back. When we relate to this sense of purpose, even when we’re not completely sure of what it might be, our identity is nourished as a “real sense of self.” (Guru Singh and Guruperkarma Kaur)
🌀The Conscious Warrior prioritizes the creation of an unshakable tether to consciousness, stillness, and depth. (John Wineland, Precept 3)
🌀I test you. (My beloved, my Oracle and Siren)
TODAY'S SUGGESTED SHORT PRACTICE
Day 5 of this month's practice, to step into your polarity:
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 five minutes to do this short practice:
- First, ask yourself: How is my nervous system tested today? How am I allowing myself to learn what needs to be learned, allowing myself to deepen into the strength and power that is already here, in this body, waiting for me to wake?
- Then, follow the short practice here:
- 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, Do I feel right? In alignment with the man or woman I am? Do I even have an inkling what that might feel like? Do I even have an inkling of what it feels like to be out of alignment with myself?
- 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.
★ Why Marry? I'm preparing a live Apprenticeship to Love Virtual Workshop for 2024. The topic,"Why Marry?" Free for Premium and Premium+ subscribers. LMK if you're interested in being part of the panel or in being a part of the workshop. Send an email to email@example.com or leave a voice message via Whatsapp: http://sacredbodies.ca/voice