Hola mi Gente,
At one time I developed a “relationship workshop” for people in transition from active addiction. My rationale being that learning to navigate relationships is something we do not teach people who often relapse due to broken relationships. Of course, my workshop is really about the most important of all relationships -- the relationship with over selves.
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Men & Relationships
When women are depressed, they eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking.
-- Elaine Boosler
OK, before I start this one I need to make it clear that I’m starting from the assumption that I’m talking about reasonably adjusted men and women. I know both sides of the Love Wars will give me blank stares, but it’s true: there are evolved men and women out there -- somewhere.
Secondly, when I speak of masculine essence, I am not referring to men exclusively. Similarly, when I speak of feminine essence, I am speaking exclusively about women. Though it is true that most men are of a masculine essence and most women are of a feminine essence. It really doesn’t have anything to with sexual orientation or gender roles.
Rather think of these terms as another way to talk about yin and yang, the two principles in Taoism, one feminine (yin) and one masculine (yang) whose interaction influences our reality. Yin and yang are also the starting point for change. When something is whole, by definition it is unchanging and complete. So when you split something into two halves (yin/ yang) it upsets the equilibrium of wholeness. This compels both halves to chase after each other as they seek a new balance with each other:
I guess you might ask not just call it yin/ yang, right? Well, there is a reason for that, but I need to come to terms with these definitions at some other time. For now, I think if we accept that these energies create a polarity, our “conversation” can continue.
There are times in your life when you hear something. I mean really hear something and it stays with you, changes your perspective. Sometimes it is negative and sometimes it is something positive. This is why words (or text) can be used to hurt or heal. Language is a powerful tool.
One day I had such an experience. At the time was involved in a long-term, committed relationship (yes, someone dared LOL!). My partner had been going through a particularly difficult phase at her job and it had been taking its toll on her. My ex was the type that tends to internalize problems to the extent that some things made her physically ill. As the good and dutiful partner, I was there for her when she came home and needed to vent or just talk. You know the deal: you are in a relationship and after dinner and the dishes have been done, and the house monkey(s) put to bed, you it or lay together and you go over the day. It’s part of being in a relationship and probably something that many people miss (I don’t… kidding!).
For some time my ex’s job issues had dominated those late night discussion and I honestly did not mind, it felt good that I could be there for her. But this went on for a while, and we (really me) had had some “solution-centered” discussions. Still, the problem at her job stayed firmly entrenched.
One day she called me from work nearly in tears and started telling me about some new horror and I really felt her pain. It made me crazy that she was going through all that needless insanity. So I did what many men sometimes do: I went into a long, detailed, well-thought-out analysis of her problem complete with escape clauses, solutions -- well everything her problem needed. I was so happy, because I felt as if I had done something really great. And truth be told, I had given this a lot of thought. In my mind, I had “fixed” the problem. I was beside myself! I was so excited I became hard!
Then I noticed that there was complete silence on the other end of the line. Hello, are you there hun? I thought to myself.
Now, I admit to being extremely dense but I know silences -- especially relationship silences -- and this wasn’t a good relationship silence. This wasn’t an “I-took-her-breath-away-with-my-brilliance” silence. This was a foreboding silence, a “you-ain’t-getting-next-to-me-tonight-(or ever)” silence. So, I did the next thing many men do and asked if there was anything wrong. My ex answered in a somber, almost exhausted, patient tone usually reserved for clueless children we all love and I never forgot what she said. Don’t get me wrong, I had heard similar things in previous relationships, but for some reason this time it hit home. Her words were something to the effect of, If had wanted to call someone to fix my problem, I could’ve done that with a number of people. In fact, I’m a professional and despite what you may or may not think, I can handle myself quite well. I called you because I wanted to call someone to be there for me, not fix my problem.
Perhaps for people reading this, the above may not seem earth-shattering, but for me it was an epiphany. I mean, all I had to do was listen? Be there for her? Not fix anything?! I never knew!
Okay, I’m being a bit dramatic here, but her response actually took me for a loop. You see, as someone with a masculine essence, my tendency is to fix things. That’s what I do, I solve problems. I was like, Fuck all that talk shit, honey, let’s go break down some doors and take no prisoners. LOL My ex did not want to be fixed. In fact, I discovered, she did not like it when I went into “fix mode,” as she put it. What she wanted, I realized, was to feel my love, to experience my acceptance, to feel my caring for her. Instead, what she felt was my poking, looking for a loose screw here, a stuck emotion there.
The lesson is one I’m still learning. What I learned is that when the masculine truly understands the feminine heart, the need for probing and problem-solving is put aside. Instead, maybe a caring embrace is called for, or I might dance her around the room, or gently stroke here cheek, or tell her how much I love her. What I learned is that continuing give her my playful love and sensitivity opens her heart and she eventually radiates happiness. Then, if there are details in her life or the relationship that we need to deal with, we can do so without the noise or confusion. Rather than trying to fix things, I learned, I can apply my masculine sense of mission and direction to dealing with our lives in the world.
My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…
Labels: relationships, Taoism, sexual polarity, essence, communication, Tantra