Monday, June 22, 2009

What Women Want (Men, Too)

My new Episcopalian priest pal calls me a "Mediatrix", a term with which I wasn't familiar, though it appears to be akin to worldbridger, shaman, healer. Father Charles wrote to me in an email:

"The mediatrix recognizes in herself aspects of the collective unconscious and attempts to give them form and expression. She mediates between the world of the unconscious and the outer world. She may even be a mystic healer. Our culture does not quite know what to do with a mediatrix, and so her path can be especially difficult."

What's more fascinating is, when we were discussing my service in the world and I mentioned that many men are drawn to what I offer as a spiritual midwife, he said, "Part of what you do is represent to them their own anima in a strong and challenging way. The male maturation process involves accepting and incorporating the anima, although there needs to be growth beyond that point as well. Yet there is much in our culture that can prevent men from accepting their anima."

He suggested I read Knights Without Armor: A Practical Guide for Men in Quest of Masculine Soul by Aaron Kipnis. On page 99, the book provides a chart of triads illustrating the path of development from the old to transitional to new masculinity, encompassing physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions.

Look at some of these triads:

Heroic — Feminized — Authentic
Hard — Soft — Flexible
Closed — Unprotected — Receptive
Cynical — Naive — Fresh/humorous
Splitting — Joining — Holds paradox
Repressed — Contained — Wild/playful
Dogma — Belief — Direct experience

Father Charles wrote, "My observation is that, on the whole, women in our society are ahead of men in these matters. The first two items in a triad may be gender-specific. But the final item tends not to be. Both women and men are meant to be authentic, flexible, fresh/humorous, wild/playful. And that sounds delicious to me."

He is so right on. This is exactly how my own journey has played out. In fact, I often use these precise words and expressions in describing my life now, such as this piece I penned right after my emergence from the womb in '98, on Embracing Paradox, or this perennially popular one, on How to See Yourself As An Artist. The more we merge into Oneness, the more we realize we're All One, never alone. As always, a subtle shift makes all the difference.

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