Restoring Gender Relations
Whole Man, Whole Woman, One Dance
In our work with restoring gender relations, we also run ‘Whole Man – Whole Woman’ circles. A process where an equal number of men and women are invited to sit in concentric circles. The inner circle is run for women, where men are asked to simply sit in the outer circle, hold the space and bear silent witness, without judgement or resistance, to the voice of ‘everywoman’ they hear as a set of collective, universal themes.
Next, the places are exchanged, as the women hold the space as the outer circle and the men get to voice their deepest hopes, fears and needs. Answering the same questions, starting with words, ‘As a man,….’
Needless to say, what follows is deeply poignant and revelatory for each gender, about their own reality, and that of the other. Men especially have not been socialized to feel their feelings and allow themselves to be vulnerable in such a safe way and both are equally shocked by the surfacing of the lesser known ‘masculine wound’. Around feelings of inadequacy of their fatherhood, their ability to provide for their loved ones, their personal legacy.
A profound compassion, what the Buddhists call ‘mahakaruna’ takes over the space, as each is able to better understand and forgive themselves and each other. And take away a lasting sense of deep respect and acceptance of their inter-dependent existence.
Thanks to such wonderful intensive work facilitating such circles, I journaled some elixir-amrita that emerged:
6500+ years of Patriarchy has not only led to a corrupt Masculine and a wounded Feminine, but equally to a corrupt Feminine and a wounded Masculine.
Come! It is TIME to grow up
Moving from the duel
Learning to dance
This sacred Duality of Genders
“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. But because your liberation is bound up with mine, let us walk/work together.”*
A prayer for those of us in relationships, or looking for one: May we find our partners to be self-aware, secure and generous enough to journey with us. And may we provide the same to them.
(*Quote adapted from Albert Camus and Lilla Watson
Albert Camus: “Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
Lilla Watson: If you have come here to help me, you are wasting our time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.)
“Maturity begins when we’re content to feel we’re right about something, without feeling the necessity to prove someone else is wrong.”
Sydney J. Harris