I’m thinking about men today. Nope, not that way.
I’m thinking about this: What if you’re a man, a generally good man, who due to ignorance, wounding and the normalization of rape culture, has perpetrated sexually toward a woman or girl?
[Note: Some of you may not be what I call a “good man.” You may be a man who is incapable of feeling empathy, conscience and remorse. If that is you, and you probably know who you are, then this post is not for you.]
YOU DID THAT TO SOMEONE
So, Good Men: What if in the increasing conversation about Rape Culture it dawns on you that YOU did that to someone: You “grabbed her pussy,” or you bragged that you could. What if you minimized the harm done to a woman or girl through your inappropriate sexual comments, actions and projections directed toward her?
I’m imagining it would be pretty painful and shameful to wake up to that kind of awareness.
If that’s you I’m describing, I’d like to suggest a few things you can do right now to start making things right with yourself again, which may lead to things getting better in the world around you.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW TO HEAL
1. First of all, when you read about the ways in which public figures have shamed or mistreated women, don’t automatically separate yourself from them by putting them down or joking about how messed up they are.
Instead, do this: Tell yourself “I’ve done that.” Then, breathe and stay present with yourself. Be compassionate with yourself. Repeat this process over and over, not as a form of self-punishment, but as a way of busting your denial and being truthful with yourself. Being truthful with yourself is the royal road to inner freedom. Trust me on this.
2. A next step could be to share your story with a mature, wise friend–preferably male–who won’t minimize either you or your healthy sense of shame. A good therapist (preferably male) is another option here.
3. Another suggestion is that you refrain from laughing at the stories and jokes proffered by others (male and female) that demean women or anyone else. And then go one step further by saying: “I’m not feeling comfortable with this conversation.” And then explain why, perhaps including that you’re reflecting on the ways in which you’ve unconsciously contributed to Rape Culture.
4. Finally, make a living amends for the harm you’ve caused by making a donation of money, time and volunteer work for your local Rape Crisis Center. Ours here in Santa Fe is called Solace.
Healthy shame is a natural, instinctual response to our acting contrary to our core values. It’s important to pay attention to healthy shame as it is an ally in identifying and then changing those incongruent behaviors.
Toxic Shame, on the other hand, is a learned behavior that is intended to annihilate the worth of yourself or others as a means of having power over them.
Toxic shame is used to control or diminish you or others. It is invisible and infectious, especially in family systems that normalize it through the guises of religion and the narcissistic tyranny of emotionally immature adults.
Men—Rape Culture has fucked you up, too. You’ve been told that you and your love are worthless. In a Power-Over paradigm, a.k.a. Rape Culture, everyone loses. Men, women, children, animals, nature, the planet. Everyone.
It’s time to reclaim your worth, Men, by having the courage to own and take responsibility for healing the great wound you are carrying.
You learned to shame and devalue others (and in this case, we’re talking about the sexual degrading of women) because you were shamed and devalued.
To the extent that you, Good Man, are not owning your shame about yourself and your sexual improprieties, the girls and women onto whom you perpetrated will carry it as sexual shame, as body shame, as self-doubt.
But you can do something about this. You can help.
Toxic shame is a social and familial infection that can only be stemmed and contained when individuals take responsibility, feel appropriate remorse for their behaviors and then change those behaviors.
I believe in you, Good Men. I believe you can take responsibility and help both yourself and this world to be better, healthier, kinder and more loving.
You hold the key to letting yourself out of the prison of your secret shame, and you also have immense love and compassion-based power to share with the whole world.
I’m rooting for you. And I’m rooting for all of us.
Today is the Spring Equinox. In ancient calendars, this equinox was considered the beginning of summer, and summer solstice was the marker of mid-summer.
For some of us, this “beginning of summer” may come at a time when we are still wearing down jackets and scraping the ice off our windshields. And, yet, ancient earth-based cultures held an awareness not only of what is visible to us, but also of what is invisible and pulsing in our inner currents.
At the autumnal and vernal equinoxes, solar and lunar energies are in a state of equilibrium. At the Spring (vernal) Equinox the invisible downward growth of root systems, both plant roots and your own energy roots, now becomes counterbalanced by visible growth upward and outward.
THE NECESSITY OF DESCENT
Descending into the darkness of our unconscious and our inner selves is an age-old challenge for many human beings, as we encounter aspects of our psyches that feel threatening to our conscious ego-identities. C. G. Jung referred to this as our shadow material.
Challenging as this descent may be, it is a necessary encounter with our own depths. This descent has been the subject of many ancients myths: Inanna in Sumerian mythology, Persephone in Greek mythology, Osiris in Egyptian mythology, along with numerous other examples cross-culturally.
These descent myths share an understanding that one’s descent into darkness ensures fertility, growth and a renewal of life. (And, yes, the Christian resurrection story is a relatively recent adaptation of ancient mythologies.)
Without a conscious descent to the roots of our humanness, we have little empathy for all that lives and breathes, from the sacredness of this blessed earth to our fellow human beings. It could be said that our willingness to journey to our depths is a measure of our willingness to embrace the richness, complexity and mystery that is life itself.
The words human and humble derive from the Latin word humus meaning earth or ground. Without growing down into the dirt and darkness of the inner earth of our psyches we become desperately, even dangerously, separated from our humanness and our humbleness.
THE GIFT OF EMERGENCE
Periods of inward growth, if we seize the opportunity they afford us, connect us to a reckoning with the natural part of the growth cycle which is death. Death of the ego and death of the body: the psyche perceives them similarly.
The willingness to midwife yourself through this initiatory journey cultivates an awareness that all sentient beings are subject to this same dance of light and shadow, of life and death. The exquisite vulnerability of being human becomes something real and felt rather than quantifiable and intellectualized.
The balance of equal amounts of darkness and light at this time provides exceptional moments to integrate the shadow and the light, the lunar and the solar components of our psyches.
These extraordinary moments of Equinox, energetically speaking, are with us for about about a three to five day period. This is a a unique opportunity for releasing and detoxifying the compost from which we are emerging, while sending our first tender shoots of new growth upward toward the sun.
Has it been a challenging season of inward growth? Take a moment to imagine yourself curled up inside the hard, protective shell of your seed-self, and now: Unfurl, stretch, wake-up, open your eyes and shine forth into the light. It is time.
As human beings, we’re always engaged in an inner dialogue about our needs and wants. What do I need? What is negotiable in my friendships, work and intimate relationships, and what is not?
Thanks to the emergence of our understanding about the dynamics of Codependence about thirty years ago, there’s been a basic, albeit radical, shift in understanding about the underpinnings of our relational templates. We live in a culture that is pathologically detached from the principle of Eros. Carl Jung described Eros as the sensual, relational feminine aspect of our humanness, the part of us that values connection and holds human vulnerability in a place of deep respect. Too often this is a part of us with whom we are not in conscious relationship.
For both women and men, when our Eros function operates in the absence of guidance or conscious relationship, that function becomes impaired and wounded. We vaccillate from acting like a collapsed, wounded child in one moment to acting like a rigid, one-dimensional version of a punitive grown-up in the next. Both of these maladapted responses get us in a heap of trouble.
When I figured out that my isolated, hungry-for-validation little girl was running my adult life, I felt humbled and alarmed. But, not so alarmed that I couldn’t create an archeyptal healing plan for myself, as I was determined to go directly to the root cause level of my repetition of dysfunctional relational patterns. (I share this healing plan in my Transformation workshops.)
The central awakening that came to me (and it’s simple; a lot of you may have cottoned to this decades before I did) was this: What I was looking for outside of me could only manifest to the extent that I had the capacity to give it to myself. Instead of generating self-esteem, I was attempting to fill in my empty emotional spaces by being what Pia Mellody (one of my mentors and teachers) calls being other-esteemed.
It is challenging and sometimes almost impossible to access the deepest recesses of our ancestral and social conditioning that show up in our everyday lives. This is why shamanic work, and its abililty to bypass habitual ego-consciousness through entraining the brain to a conscious trance state has helped me, and a lot of my clients, to heal at a root-cause level.
In Love & Transformation,
It’s important to be physically and emotionally grounded as preparation for expanding your consciousness to spiritual, non-physical realms. Learning to consciously witness and relate to our emotions is critical to that grounding.
Almost all of us know and will readily say what we think. However, it’s rare that I find someone who can readily identify and express what they feel.*
I thought for years that I was very in touch with my emotions, until I went through a rough patch some years back. It was particularly rough because a present-day crisis opened the door to some very old wounds. Remember the old trick (I know you did this when you were a kid!), it’s summer time and you pick up the running garden hose, put a kink in it and then at a strategic moment, you release the blockage and whamo!
The mystics of every religion and earth-based spiritual practice have a secret to share with us. And it is this: To enter into a conscious relationship with the unseen worlds and receive their wisdom, one must first make an offering of intent. At the core of that offering is the willingness to release the illusion that your rational mind is all powerful.
To be receptive to the dimension where the gods, goddesses, archetypes and angels reside, you have to let go of control. You have to become psychically porous. This is why mystical practices such as shamanism are referred to as “ecstatic” spiritual techniques. To be “ecstatic” is to stand outside of mundane consciousness and be forever changed, even if subtly, by that alteration of one’s view of reality.
Cross-culturally and throughout dozens of millennia, there have been countless techniques for announcing to the spiritual realms our desire to engage: chanting, praying, fasting, dancing, clapping, shaking, drumming, singing and breath work, among them.
In contemporary shamanic practices (thank you, Sandra Ingerman and Michael Harner for distilling these ways for us), the primary form of preparation for entering into ecstatic states is through “calling in” spiritual power, primarily through drumming and rattling. The steady beat of these instruments slows the electrical activity of the brain, relieving us of intellect-dominated perception. More »
Click HERE to listen to Luisa’s radio interview on June 13, 2013 with Carey Benenson Taussig on “Balance Point” on KVSF Radio (101.5 FM).
“We hold an intent now to return to love, cooperation and respect as the guiding principles of our lives here on this blessed Earth.” —Luisa Kolker
We hold an intent for rain in Northern New Mexico and wherever else on the planet it is needed. And wherever rain is not needed (some places need not to have rain right now), we pray for rain of the spiritual variety—the spiritual rain that cleanses, heals and purifies.
We hold an intent for the restoration of balance and nourishment—physical/emotional/mental/spiritual—for all beings (plant, mineral, animal, human) in all the worlds of Grandmother Earth.
The restoration of Balance & Nourishment for All Beings begins with us humans, as we are the ones whose actions and inactions have resulted in the soul-sickness on this planet.
There are ways in which we have harmed the planet and ourselves AND we have the ability to repair this harm.
We hold an intent now to return to love, cooperation and respect as the guiding principles of our lives here on this blessed Earth.
Please join us and invite your friends, wherever you are. Whoever you are and wherever you are, we are made of the same stardust, rain, earth and sunlight. Your presence and your love make a difference in this world.
To join “The Five-Minute Rain Prayer” click here.
[Note: Last week I blogged about the “Five-Minute Rain Prayer.” The blog article above is an articulation of the intentions and core-values of our weekly five-minute gathering on the inner-planes on Sundays at noon US Mountain Time.]
This is the longest day of the year, representing the light of consciousness at its full power. In our annual Summer Solstice gathering here in Santa Fe tonight, we are ceremonializing and optimizing the energies of solstice to liberate parts of our inner selves (and therefore, parts of the macrocosm of human consciousness) from the darkness of exclusion.
To the extent that we exclude our own joy and inherent self-worth from expressing in our individual lives, we will consciously or unconsciously diminish and marginalize the joy and worth of others.
As we become more removed from the natural world outside us, we also become distanced from the naturalness and the wild and free places in our own beings. This entrainment to the world of the mind and the world of doing creates a mass-consciousness trance that tells us that to be joyful is shameful, that to be passionately awake in our bodies in our sexuality is shameful.
Tonight, as we connect with the illuminating and awakening powers of sun and fire, we have an opportunity to meet with the spirit of our own true natures—our naturalness. Through the energies of solstice, we are able to drop into the dimensions of the Timeless—where time stands still. Solstice means that moment when the sun apparently pauses in its movement. That pause on the inner planes grants us a meeting with the aspects of ourselves that are already fully-blossomed and awakened.
Today, at midsummer and solstice, let us harvest the light of the sun outside of us so that we may relate more consciously with and welcome the spark, fire and light of our inherent worth, our goodness, our joy, our pleasure.
And, most importantly, may the light of solstice provide a beacon with which to take the next, first step in expressing our light in service of all beings throughout space and time.
Summer Solstice is really mid-summer, not the beginning of summer in the Celtic calendar. After this evening, the days will begin shortening again.
There are many meanings attributed to this time of solar ripeness—many astrological attributions, many New Age theories.
To learn what this Solstice is about for you, take a few moments to get still. Breathe into your lower body (from your waist down into your energy roots in the earth) and into your back body (from your spine back behind your physical body).
Hold an intent in your womb-space or belly to merge with the Sun. Breathe into the Universe that is inside of you.
Ask your inner self:
• What is my current relationship with my ability to shine my light out into the world?
• What aspects of my self do I withhold from the light?
• Where may I be more generous with myself and others?
Then, ceremonialize your intention to acknowledge the energies of solstice. While a ceremony describes your overall intent to bridge the worlds of spirit and human concerns, rituals are the various actions within a ceremony that concretize your specific intentions so they may be known to our conscious minds and to the worlds of spirit.
One solstice ritual you might practice today (or tomorrow, Friday, is fine, too) is one of “dissolution and manifestation.” More »