As modernity’s brief flight into the stratosphere of the industrial age begins its final descent, those who have not turned away from watching the inevitable hard landing will have few choices, but those who have chosen not to strap on the their oxygen masks and tighten their seatbelts will have fewer still.
Fear is a big part of why people choose to remain asleep before the unveiling of the greatest show on earth. But they will soon discover their paralyzing fear has not been their friend. On the other hand, those who have faced and conquered their fear wait calmly as a result of at least having some remaining options depending on how this all unfolds. How those choices will matter during the coming changes may be largely unknown, but the fate of those who wake up too late is very well known, indeed.
Like many others, I am becoming fairly firm in my belief that we are past the point of being able to fix our problems. Like General George Custer wondering where all these Indians came from, the problems are too many and too intense. And I pray I’m wrong.
Being truly prepared for whatever may come, however, consists of a lot more than having a garden, some guns and ammo, and a year’s worth of food put away. While those individuals who do prepare that way are way ahead of the game, every bit as important are the mental, spiritual, and emotional aspects of preparation.
This article is going to touch on just one part of those aspects: doing our internal work around healing the deep wounds and shadows of the masculine and the feminine. Even in our present postmodern informational culture, many men and women are still at war with each other. The masculine denies the feminine, and the feminine denies the masculine. Not only is this war waged in the exterior realm between men and women, but it is also waged in the interior realms of each, mostly by denying one or the other of these two aspects of ourselves.
Our shadow aspects are the parts of ourselves that are hiding, and these aspects hold the truth of all the authentic parts of being human – your vulnerabilities, your discontentment, your jealousies, or an experience from the past you have not digested or come to terms with. How do we know what’s in shadow? One way is to look at what triggers us. Don’t like people who are brash, loud, or boisterous? Generally, these trigger traits can be parts of ourselves we don’t like and so we respond negatively to them in others.
Regardless of how well prepared we might be in the traditional role as a “prepper,” who knows what sort of situations might arise that trigger us, create reactionary responses, and bring up the hidden issues that might get in the way of our making good decisions that are sometimes needed on the spur of the moment. Just as in arms and combat training where we can “rehearse” how we will respond efficiently without thinking, doing our “shadow” work can help prevent us from being reactionary as opposed to being calm and cool. Think of shadow work as training for smoother relationships: with your partner, your community, and others you might come in contact with.
One of the things that a reset or collapse offers us – as long as we don’t end up in pure survival mode – is an opportunity to recreate ourselves and the world we live in. As the old systems continue to break down and become obsolete, we can create a new story of who we are in the new world, and that includes the relationship between the masculine and the feminine. The best time to do this work is now. If we possibly move into 19th century life conditions, there won’t be time later.
Over the last fifty years many women have become “over-masculinized” to compete in a “man’s world.” They have adapted their inner masculine to be “just like men,” and for many, the end result was that they adopted the only version of the masculine that was modeled for them: the Patriarchy.
At the same time, many postmodern men have adopted the softer, gentler, more caring aspects of their inner feminine, often because the masculine was so shamed that we denied even the healthy aspects of our masculine selves. The work I do with men in The Integral Warrior Men’s Process, helps men integrate their healthy feminine and then re-integrate and reclaim the healthy aspects and fullness of the new masculine without shame and with a strong sense of purpose and their mission, so that both are on board and can be called on as needed as each moment arises.
From the introduction to my book, Awakening the New Masculine:
“With increasing awareness and understandable anger at centuries of patriarchal behavior, or false male power, we have come to believe that masculinity, men, and patriarchy are the same thing. Consequently, we deny and repress the power and the gifts of the Divine Masculine.”
When men and women, no matter what their sexual orientation, integrate their internal masculine and feminine essences, something magnificent happens: a “sacred marriage” of both aspects within us. Speaking only for men, this sacred marriage is a quality that enables a man to open his heart without giving up his essential masculine essence—without going soft or being so much in his feminine that he loses the ability to penetrate the heart of his beloved. At the same time, he retains the ability to move between the masculine and feminine poles as needed in whatever moment arises, always with the intention of keeping the polarity, the tension between the opposites – the masculine and feminine – active and alive, always connected, always with the intention of giving the greatest gift the masculine can give the feminine: the ability to relax and to feel safe.
Likewise, the gift from the feminine to the masculine is the ability to keep our hearts open and not close down.
Once men and women have fully integrated their masculine and feminine sides, they are able to move between the two at will when either is needed in a given situation. Sometimes known as “presence,” this ability allows the feminine and the masculine to become the essence of freedom and love—both in the same person, regardless of gender. Therein lies the possibility of sacred union and higher purpose for the good of all beings and is the ultimate expression of BE-ing. These are also the qualities that allow the masculine and feminine to enter into Conscious Relationship, something that can’t happen until we’ve done the work around integrating the oppositional aspects of the masculine and feminine…and there’s more.
There is no doubt that men are playing catch up with the work women have been doing over the last fifty years. Women got the jump on men in doing their conscious work because they had to. Most men were largely pretty happy with the way things were, and why wouldn’t they be, where women had to begin to ask existential questions about their place in the world out of necessity. This “head start” is one of the reasons so many men have been and largely remain clueless about the feminine.
Today, men are finally beginning this evolutionary process as it is required for the survival of the species. The feminine requires it so that, together, they can change the world in perfectly imperfect partnership through sacred union and conscious relationship. Together, we are exponentially more powerful than by ourselves. The Divine Feminine and the Sacred Masculine are waking up because the planet and our survival demand it.
This is part of our new initiation, and part of our new creation story.
Conscious Relationship between the masculine and the feminine is about honest communication, intimacy, being each other’s healers, safety, staying in our hearts more than our minds, and relating to ourselves through another person. Conscious Relationship also requires the courage to talk about what we are feeling, to let down the walls and defenses we’ve erected to keep ourselves safe – the shadow. Something most men have not learned to do.
But you can’t just take people who have “done their work,” who are conscious, and set them in a relationship with each other and expect that relationship to be conscious. We’re always going to come up against the unfinished childhood wounds that either didn’t come up in earlier relationships or were not healed in them. The work of Conscious Relationship must be done within the context of that particular relationship. Even people who have done shadow work before they got into their relationship discover that they are not done, that there’s more work to be done…there’s always more work to be done.
Here’s the good news: If both partners are committed to the relationship and to spiritual growth, healing, and purpose, Conscious Relationship is one of the fastest ways to awaken. Conscious relationship can be learned and is ultimately mastery of our ability to stay present. Why aren’t we in Conscious Relationship? It’s because we haven’t learned the tools, skills, and understandings that will help us transform our relationship into a safe, fulfilling, conscious one.
If more of us can just make that one shift, we will have made good use of the transition already begun, and will have helped birth a new human for a new earth.
About Gary: Gary has a PhD in Shamanic Psychospiritual Studies. He is an ordained Shamanic Minister in the lineage of Venus Rising Institute for Shamanic Healing Arts, west of Asheville, North Carolina, and a Shamanic Priest through the Lineage of Brad Collins and Venus Rising. Gary is a Certified Level II Reiki Practitioner, a Pastoral Counselor and a Certified Shamanic Breathwork™ Facilitator. Gary also has a degree in graphic design and Illustration and is an international award-winning artist and designer, and was a professional singer for ten years, leading his own band in Las Vegas, nightclubs, and concerts.
He has been a pioneer in the Integral Salon movement, having co-founded and led SeattleIntegral, one of the largest integral salons in the world and a model for other salons around the world. Gary is also a member of the integral leadership Salon, an international consortium of salon leaders, and has a certificate in “Generating Transformative Change in Human Systems” from Seattle’s Pacific Integral.
Gary’s book, Awakening The New Masculine: The Path of the Integral Warrior, is scheduled to be released in January.
Gary’s passions include creating community and sharing with others how to embody the Integral and Shamanic consciousness of the Integral Warrior. Gary lives in intentional community at the Isis Cove Retreat center and Community with his Beloved Anyaa in Western North Carolina.
Visit Gary’s new website Collapsing Into Consciousness