#MeToo: A Sacred Masculine Lens
Once again the Divine Feminine is moving to intervene in our cultural crisis. Right after the inauguration she roared by marching in the street of many communities. Now she roars with a flood of reports of sexual abuse, harassment, assault and mistreatment. Once again she takes the lead calling all of us to face our individual, national and cultural shadow. Hopefully this will be an important step in facing and eventually healing the other wounds of racial strife and warmongering that are also so powerful among us.
Virtually every woman I know has a story- actually a truth- about experiences of harassment, abuse or assault. Our mothers, daughters, granddaughters, sisters, girlfriends and wives are targeted every day. We live in a world and culture of deeply ingrained violence that is present all around us and poses an imminent threat to our loved ones.
With crisis and especially #metoo we are presented with an enormous spiritual opportunity to face ourselves and bring fierce, loving attention to what has been a powerful dark quality of our nation.
So I share six responses that the Sacred Masculine can adopt:
1. MOURN. Don’t try to fix anything. Don’t do anything except sit in the intensity of the heart break, sorrow and grief. We need to let this pain seep deeply into our bones and into the depths of our Soul. The people we love the most are scared and deeply wounded by this. Sit with the pain. It is vital that we connect with it. We need to move deeply into the sorrow and see the sickness that surrounds us. The protection of women requires it and the liberation of men from this sickness is tied to this mourning.
2. SELF-INQURIRY. The next step of this process is self-reflection about the processes of gender harassment and violence. The intention here is not to connect with guilt and shame but with wisdom. Guilt is of little value and is mostly destructive. Rather the intention is to become wise about the process and our part in it. We need to become experts in how it works so we can stop it in ourselves and others. This is no simple task. The processes are often well hidden and the costs of speaking up are often major. The power structure often closes ranks and protects itself. The goal of self-inquiry is to become experts in the process so that we not only mourn but can become empowered to act.
3. OWN IT. We all have actions in our past that we regret and would never repeat and for which we now need to take responsibility so that we truly see. For example, in my thirties I thought gender based humor was perfectly acceptable and quite funny. After all, I thought, it is just a joke and no one really believes this absurd stuff. I had not one iota of consciousness about the way it contributes to an atmosphere of dehumanization. Owning this and seeing it clearly took blinders off my eyes and was great benefit to my personal liberation and my effectiveness as an advocate for the women in my life. This sort of humor is the gateway to harassment and thus is never acceptable. As a college student in the 1960s the modern feminist revolt erupted on to the culture. It immediately began teaching me about equality. And it has taught me again and again and again about the dynamics of the patriarchal system and the damage it wreaks upon all of us. Men all need to constantly learn. In this way men too benefit as we are liberated from our imprisonment in old ways of living and bondage to limited destructive roles.
4. SEE BEYOND THE ICEBERG. It is necessary that men of power who are being called out in this time be dealt with and removed from their positions. This is part of the process. Every single one of these instances needs to be taken seriously. We cannot let this become stale as time goes on. Calling out the powerful is merely the beginning. The charges cannot become old news. Even after a thousand or ten thousand charges each one is new. These charges are the first step in cleansing the wound. This is a deep infection that is as resistant to treatment as any strain of MERSA. The charges are a dose of anti-biotic starting the process of draining and cleansing the wound. And these high-profile cases are just the tip of the iceberg. We need to be willing to stay with this until it moves into the locker room, living room, bed room, the board room and kitchen table. This will not heal until we speak up in average daily situations. For example, harassment is often excused as ‘locker room talk’ or joking around. It is time for men to speak up and object to the talk as despicable and juvenile.
5. RAISING CHILDREN. We need to raise our children, all our children, differently. We need to teach our daughters that they need never sacrifice their integrity, innocence or body to some powermonger. It is never worth it. But it is not just about the girls. That is, our boys need to be taught they have no right to power over a woman’s life or body. It is vital for the health of their heart and soul that they learn to be equal, respectful partners. It is impossible to have a truly healthy intimate relationship with someone you secretly believe you can control.
6. NO BUTS. As I researched on line for this posting I ran into a troubling pattern. It was almost universal that articles agreed the #metoo was a good thing. However, many then went on with objections. Essentially saying it is a good thing BUT…. In this setting BUT MEANS NO. It is the strategy of agreeing and then negating. The Sacred Masculine tolerates no silencing of the Divine Feminine. Numerous articles criticized the movement for adopting a victim mentality. The reality of this is the exact opposite. This movement is throwing off being the victim of the code of silence that is such a powerful tool of the patriarchy. Silence is intolerable.
Spiritual forces move within and behind these events and movements as surely as they moved in Galilee during the life of Jesus. Those forces give us the opportunity to heal individually and culturally. In the process we come to know ourselves, others and Spirit in deeper more Soulful ways. As women’s voices call out these men of societal power, Spirit calls to the rest of us to join in.