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If you are reading this, chances are you are on the path of growth. The opposite of stagnancy, self-healing is a journey that allows us to continue to evolve, experience the depth and joy in our lives, and support the planet in thriving. Part of the self-healing and self-love journey is working with the stories we inherit from our parents, our culture, our religions, our fairy tales and myths, and the society at large. These stories have an impact on our mental health, our emotional well-being, the decisions we make, and how we view ourselves and the world.
Through practices such as meditation, journaling, working with oracle or tarot decks, or any other self-reflection practices, we begin to discover that there are programs running in our minds that no longer serve us. There are beliefs that have held us back and are ready to be transmuted into a more empowered version. Noticing this is the first step in bringing ourselves and each other into a lived experience that is empowering, joyful, and fulfilling.
The Story of Men and Women
We live in a modern time where the way we have done things in the past is revealing its limitations. As more and more of us become interested in the likes of self-love, healing, wellness, astrology, activism, and mindfulness, we are looking towards alternative perspectives. We are welcoming stories and systems that feel expansive, just, and in alignment with high-consciousness living.
One of these areas is the way we look at men and women. Honoring that gender identity is fluid and non-dualistic, those born with or transition to a biologically female body have a different experience than those born in or transition to a biologically male body. We are socialized differently according to cultural and familial belief structures around what it means to be man or a woman.
Men in many cultures are looked at as superior. They take on the roles of protector and provider, and are considered the stronger and more intelligent sex. A man's emotional expression is considered weak. Where as women are stereotypically treated as inferior, weaker, submissive, and have been diagnosed throughout history with things such as hysteria and mania for their emotional expression.
Looking at one of the original monotheistic stories of Adam and Eve, Eve was deemed "second born and first to sin." Eve was responsible for mankind experiencing death. The view of women as inferior and subjugate to man has been going on beyond millennia. And yet, more than ever the global village is stepping forward and asking that a new narrative be written - one where men and women are respected for their differences and invited into the shared understanding of their personal power, their access to the spectrum of human experiences, emotions, and expressions, and recognized by the organizing systems as treated with equal respect.
Recognizing a Non-Gendered Masculine and Feminine
Because those in female bodies have been told their whole lives that they are less than, many internalize it as true. Those in male bodies also internalize a sense of superiority since that is the popular narrative that has transcended time and, for the most part, culture. This is a hard place for a woman to be, as it means she is kept from experiencing her power, and instead is subject to the dominance of a man. This is not to say that all the issues between men and women stem from this narrative of implicit hierarchy, but it does lend to the disempowered/empowered dichotomy.
What we have come to label as "woman" and what it means to be a "man" have become quite outdated and too small for an awakening collective. It has shaped our expectations, and how we see the world and others. What might be more helpful is to look at a non-gendered binary of universal forces in order to describe the various qualities and states that, when brought together, bring harmony and balance.
Think of the Yin and Yang symbol. Two sides fit each other perfectly, are part of the whole, and yet are different. The polarities that each side occupies come together to form a whole. These forces have been labeled "feminine" and "masculine". Fitting them into the gender narrative helps our minds to understand it. Yet, as we know, this gender narrative is extremely limiting and does not account for the depth within all humans - a depth that has access to the rainbow of human experiences. We each have dark and light with many shades in between. We each have ying and yang.
This is important because as we move towards the healing of our minds, bodies, and spirits individually and collectively, we must be aware of the various universal energies that work together to create harmony within and around us - beyond the gender narratives we've been taught while embracing the polarities that do exist. For now, we will stay with the words "masculine and feminine" to talk about the polarities of universal forces, knowing that more expansive language is surely on its way and that there is a divine energy at play within the full range.
For those who identify as women, the idea of the "masculine" is something external. It belongs to men, and sometimes because of personal and collective trauma, it has a negative connotation. Yet, it is empowering to know that all of us possess the energy that is deemed "masculine." We all have the side of us that is connected to stability, structure, willpower, pragmatism, and is oriented towards action. Though women in many cultures have been socialized to deny these aspects of themselves in favor of staying in a more "feminine" role, women innately possess masculine energy.
Every time a woman uses her voice and asserts her perspective, she is empowering the masculine inside of her. Reclaiming the Inner Masculine for those who do not have a relationship with these energies is one of the most important acts of self-healing a woman can do for herself. One important thing to note is in order to do this, many woman have to separate the idea of "masculine" from those they have been hurt by. Bringing one's masculine into balance with one's feminine is a uniquely individual exploration.
The same goes for those who identify as men and who are served in their personal expansion by working with their inner feminine. Tapping into emotion, being receptive, seeing from multiple angles and perspective, connecting to intuition, and softness, are all more feminine or lunar qualities. When a man goes against the outdated view that experiencing one's feminine makes him weak or allows himself to feel fully, he is welcoming his totality to emerge.
As all of us humans do our work to bring ourselves into balance, to allow for our wholeness rather than our internalized stereotypes to guide the way forward, we will contribute to our healing - both for ourselves and our global society. When we embrace both the moon and the sun, the shadow and the light - we have access to an earth that can experience harmony, compassion, and unity.