Posted in Beloved Partnership, Relationships

A Dating Questionnaire for the Awakened

This is for all those I know who are way beyond the co-dependency currently favored in the western relationship model.  We are no longer looking for completion – we are looking for mutual honor, respect and an equal partnership of shared and complementary gifts.  We are looking for Beloved Partnership and Self-actualized Love.

 

I don’t care how much money you make,

What car you drive or where you live.

I want to know your Soul.

But for me to know your Soul,

You must know it first:

 

Have you died and lived a thousand deaths?

Tell me how your life has brought you to your knees.

What did you learn about yourself in the process?

Who have you found yourself to be on the other side of lying prostrate?

Have you walked through the fires of hell

and made friends with your demons?

 

How do you treat the broken and fragile things of this world?

Are you friends with your own vulnerability?

Is there room in your heart and your actions

For foreigners and immigrants?

The mentally ill and disabled?

The aging and the ailing?

The homeless, abused, neglected, forgotten and ignored?

Those who struggle day to day just to survive?

Is there room in your heart for “they?”

 

How are you walking kindly and gently upon this earth?

Can you see the earth as another living thing in need of our love?

 

Are you moved to tears by both the beauty and the horrors of our world?

Can you laugh at yourself?

Are you strong in the face of danger and

Weak in the Presence of Love?

Are you able to be alone…and quiet…and still?

Do you find comfort in silence and inspiration in song?

Can you hold space for one who is breaking –

Especially when the broken one is You?

Copyright Lauri Ann Lumby

 

For support in your journey of love – moving beyond “You Complete Me” to “Beloved Partnership, read and entertain the activities in my book:

Buy it now on Amazon
Posted in Beloved Partnership

Coming Soon! “Happily Ever After”

Coming Soon! 

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Happily Ever After – the Transformational Journey from “You Complete Me” to Beloved Partnership presents a new model for intimate partnership along with the process for getting there. Happily Ever After recognizes that as long as we are looking outside of ourselves for completion our relationships are doomed to fail – supporting the belief that the healthy, fulfilling and enduring love we all long for is built upon the foundation of two individuals who are complete within themselves and who have chosen to come together as equals in mutual love and support.  Interdependence, rather than co-dependency is the goal of this book and the outcome of this process.

Through personal narrative, informative dialogue, poetry, mindfulness practices, and creativity exercises; you will be invited to deconstruct existing and former patterns of co-dependency while building the foundation upon which you can find happiness and fulfillment within while preparing for the possibility of healthy interdependency with another – what is here called beloved partnership.  Once you are complete within yourself, you will settle for nothing less.

 

Testimonials from Course Participants:

I embarked on the journey of the “Happily Ever After” course, with the gifted and inspirational tour guide; Lauri Ann Lumby. This process of reflections, creative exercises and self discovery revealed the power we have within to discover our own true source of happiness, fulfillment and peace so that then we can create a foundation for a healthy, mutually loving and supportive partnership.  R. M. Oshkosh, WI

Lauri’s Happily Ever After course is an essential tool for emotional well-being. I’ve benefitted greatly by learning who I am, what my needs are, and how to prevent myself from falling back into unhealthy codependent relationships. Everyone can benefit from Lauri’s guidance. You’re going to learn so much about yourself along the way!”   K.B. Appleton, WI

I feel this course allowed me to bring even more awareness to the benefit of really being your own beloved first and foremost. With the thoughtful questions and exercises- building on chapter to chapter – it allowed patterns to be brought to the surface for awareness and healing. I also gained insight into what I am really looking for in a relationship and what I am about as a woman. This course also complimented a wonderful relationship I have with the utmost Beloved-God which only looks for what is in the best for my highest good. .No more settling!   L. J. Larsen, WI

lauricurtsie2Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, MATS has been known as mother, daughter, sister, friend, wife, lover, student, teacher, counselor, minister, healer, writer, poet, heretic, witch, professional shit-disturber, heretic, and blasphemer. After more than fifty years of asking the question, “Who am I?” Lauri has come to the realization that she is just plain Lauri, and that on any given day, she can be whomever she wants to be.  Lauri is the author of the Song of the Beloved – the Gospel According to Mary Magdalene, Returning – A Woman’s Midlife Journey to Herself, Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy and Christouch – a Christ-centered Approach to Energy Medicine through Hands-on Healing.   She is also the owner of Authentic Freedom Academy in Oshkosh, Wisconsin where she lives with her two amazing children.  You can learn more about Lauri, her professional services and workshops at www.authenticfreedomacademy.com.

 

Posted in Beloved Partnership, codependency, men, Relationships, women

The Plight of the Modern Woman in Search for the Modern Man

To all my magnificent single sisters: This one’s for you! 

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The Plight of the Modern Woman in Search for the Modern Man

Intelligent, independent, courageous and strong,

Beautiful, generous, thoughtful and kind.

Laughing with you over the Holy Grail.

Speaking your language of Tarantino, fantasy, adventure and sci-fi.

Tossing down pints and whiskey shots.

Cursing like a sailor.

And beneath it all, a quiet and tender heart

Where your fears can come home.

She’ll cook you dinner, rub your shoulders,

And make mad, passionate love to you,

freeing your mind from the worries of the day.

She’s the one you can come home to –

The one you can trust.

Satisfied in her own pursuits,

Seeking only to love and to know love in return.

How could you want for more?

And yet, she strikes fear in the hearts of many a man,

Because while she wants you more than anything in this world,

She’s not seeking completion from one who feels empty inside.

She’s looking for a true partner.

One who can stand on his own

And who in spite of his wholeness,

Chooses to be with her

Because together

They can change the world.

copyright 2016  Lauri Ann Lumby

From "you complete me" to Beloved Partnership (within ourselves and in preparation for with another).
From “you complete me” to Beloved Partnership (within ourselves and in preparation for with another).
Posted in codependency, Relationships

Help for the Dark Night of the Relationship

The Dark Night of a Relationship is an important stage in any long-standing, committed relationship.  This is a stage that no one tells us about, neither would we believe it could happen to us as we stand doe-eyed awaiting the celebratory nuptials.  The Dark Night of the Relationship is real, it is necessary and when committed and aware, some relationships will survive it. Some will not have the knowledge, patience, trust or stamina to survive.  And some will find after the stage of the Dark Night that the relationship should not continue and termination or divorce is a necessary and supportive option.  The following is my current best understanding of this necessary stage in a committed relationship.

1)  We meet someone and fall in love.  We see the other party and the relationship through the eyes of idealization.  One or both parties are still carrying around with them the unhealed wounds of their past and are probably looking for the other party to be their source of fulfillment and satisfaction, ie:  “you complete me.”

2)  One or both parties begin to feel restless and the blinders of the early stage of the relationship begin to fall away.  We begin to see each others’ wounds, strange behaviors, etc.  We enter into a stage of disillusionment, frustration maybe even anger.

3)  If we are open, we might realize that part of the source of frustration is our own unhealed wounds and we might begin to do the work of healing our old wounds and work toward the realization of our own deeper truth.  If we are lucky, our partner has a similar realization and begins to do their own work as well.   This is the stage in which one or both parties does the work of shedding the ego and the false self (the person they brought into the marriage) so that their true self can emerge.  The old self has to die so that the new self can be born.

4) At some stage in the process (whether or not both parties are working toward their own healing), the realization is made that the marriage or relationship is not what it used to be.  Both, or one party has now changed and the relationship has to change as well.  This is the dark night of the marriage.  The marriage that was (or the illusion of the marriage) has to die so that a new marriage can emerge.  The marriage based on the ego-filled self cannot survive the newly born self-realized individuals.  This stage, like any other death, is a time of grief, sorrow, bargaining, denial and rage.    NOTE:  This is an especially difficult stage if only one of the parties in the relationship are doing their work of self-actualization, especially when it is revealed that for the self-actualizing party, divorce is a life-giving and supportive choice.  Divorce in this stage is often met by resistance, surprise and anger on the part of the un-realized individual.

5) Now….here is the delicate part of this process.  If the couple steps into this stage of the process with open communication, patience, courage and faith, and enter into it with no attachment to outcome….the new life of the relationship may emerge.  Unfortunately, most people bail before even trying to take this step.  Now, the trickiest part to this stage is to accept the possibility that continuing in a committed relationship may no longer be in the highest good of the individual parties.  After the dark night of the marriage, after honest renegotiation of who we are as individuals and who we want to be as a couple, we might realize that staying in a committed relationship is no longer mutually supportive and life-giving.  At this point, the couple ends their commitment and move on as individuals from a place of loving acceptance and compassionate support of each other as they go along their individual journeys.  In this place, divorce can be a beautiful ritual of supportive release.

6) Some marriages, after completing the process of the dark night, may discover that it is in the highest good of both parties to remain as a committed couple and enter into the process of allowing a new marriage to emerge.  The old marriage has died and the couple allows themselves to be open to a new marriage.  In this stage, an attitude of openness and detachment are necessary.  We are not creating this new marriage on our own, but allowing the universe to present to us the kind of marriage that will be mutually supportive and life-giving.  We allow ourselves to be free of ego in allowing this new relationship to emerge.

Again, I am no expert on this subject, and I hope that shedding light on the Dark Night of the Relationship as a necessary and important stage in the spiritual journey has provided comfort, support and affirmation for those who have experienced or may be facing this stage in their own committed relationship.  While the Dark Night of the Relationship is a painful part of our spiritual journey, the promise for those who survive it is a new life that is nurturing, supportive and free.

If you are looking for support through the Dark Night of a Relationship, or looking to build a happier and healthier relationship after a breakup or divorce, check out my online course, “Happily Ever After.”  Click on the image below to learn more.   (P.S. It’s cheaper than counseling or a dating service!)

Register HERE
Register HERE
Posted in Midlife Journey, women

A Balm for My Soul – the Poetry of Wendy E. Slater

I love how chance (or perhaps it is fate) brings us exactly what we need exactly when we need it.  This is how I came upon the heart-rendering poetry of Wendy E. Slater, in her latest release, Into the Hearth.  “Heart-rendering” is exactly what happens when one feeds upon the words out of which I imagine Wendy’s own heart was reborn and made whole.  At least that was my experience when feasting upon her words.  Part confession, part soul-retrieval, one is laid bare through the gentle nuances of Wendy’s willingness to be naked, vulnerable and uncompromisingly honest about the midlife journey of “Everywoman” – born out of the pain of loss and out of the labor of the Soul’s excavation, exhuming the corpses of what has been to discover what will be.  Thank you Wendy for baring your own Soul so that other women, like you, might be free in the true liberation that midlife brings.

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I get it. Totally.

In entirety

Like the full moon beaming

From my head,

I have failed as

A non-smoking, yoga, retreatee,

Vegetarian diet

With practicality

Crippling colored waters

Of herbs

That do me no good.

I know I belong with a beer,

An occasional smoke,

Freedom to choose

Who I love and what I love

When for me, I love

To leave and will in 5 days,

First class if I have to

As a celebration of my

Success of knowing

Where I belong and who I am.

 

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If I dove up and

Through the arched and veined

Dome of ivy trellised

Over the crown

Would I reach through to you

And would I find

Myself at home

In the stars, of the ocean

And in the forest

Of love

Clasped as 2 hands

In a voyage

Of the unknown

And trust in the

Celebration of

Surrendering all the feminine

Into your masculine

Dowry of treasures unfolding

As sacred nectar

Cultivates and ripens

To flower in the always,

Wisdom to be

Held

As we disrobe

Into nothingness?

Poems copyright 2015 Wendy E. Slater.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.

Wendy E.SlaterWendy E. Slater lives in Vermont.  After a 20 year hiatus from writing poetry, 20 volumes of spiritual poetry were written starting during a trip to Scotland in 2001.  You can learn more about Wendy, her poetry and services at www.traduka.com.

Posted in Relationships

Relationship Conflict: Taking Back Our Power

In our journey of ascension, spiritual evolution, enlightenment, self-actualization, personal growth: we come upon a practice that helps us to manage the relationship conflicts in our lives and keep them in the proper perspective. The practice teaches us that every relationship conflict we experience is there as a teacher, revealing to us our own unhealed wounds.  With this practice, instead of lashing out at or projecting blame upon the other person in the conflict, we STOP and take a look within:  What is being triggered in me relating to an unhealed wound or unacknowledged fear?  What can I do to help support the healing and release of this wound/fear?  This practices invites us to ask the question, “What is mine in this?” while freeing us from the temptation to harbor resentment, blame, anger or to entertain thoughts of retaliation toward the other person in the conflict – owning what is ours and taking care of our own sh.t.  This practice also frees us from the temptation of wanting to “fix” or “correct” the other person in the conflict, recognizing that we are only responsible for our own healing and leaving them to work on themselves (if they choose to do so).

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Holding ourselves accountable to our own part in relationship conflict is a profoundly freeing practice. It facilitates our own self-awareness.  We experience healing and release of fear and the wounds that are still haunting us.  We are able to enter into a place of detachment in our inter-personal communications – freeing ourselves from reaction, blame, projection, resentment, hurt and anger.  We are also able to grow in compassion toward the “other.”  As we realize our own woundedness we become more sensitive to the unhealed wounds of others, allowing us to have empathy for those who have not yet found healing.

This practice of self-reflection and self-scrutiny is a powerful and important step in our individual journeys toward wholeness and while we should never NOT engage in this practice, there is one grave danger we must be conscious and aware of:

OVER RESPONSIBILITY

As we engage in the practice of self-scrutiny and self-evaluation in our relationship conflicts, it is easy to fall into patterns of taking all the blame for the conflict and neglecting to hold the other person accountable for their own unhealed wounds and unacknowledged fears. This over-responsibility shows up in subtle patterns of self-blame, shame and sometimes even evolves into self-loathing.  To put it simply, we find ourselves always questioning our actions, motivations, roles in relationship challenges and we neglect to REMEMBER that the other person is AT LEAST 50% of the problem.  As it is said, “it takes two to tango.”  We feel these patterns inwardly as a sense of heaviness, feeling burdened, even depressed or slightly angry or resentful.

When we find ourselves bearing the full burden of blame in any relationship conflict, it is time to TAKE OUR POWER BACK! Yes, it is important to enter into self-evaluation, acknowledging our part in a relationship conflict, but it doesn’t end there.  It is critical that we also acknowledge (to the best of our ability), the other person’s role in the conflict.  We might even know them well enough to surmise the unhealed wound or unacknowledged fear that caused their part of the conflict.  Whether we are able to do this or not….it is IMPERITIVE to keep the responsibility where it truly lies – and at least 50% of that burden lies on the shoulder of “the other,” and that is where it should remain.  In taking back our power, we acknowledge what is ours and do the work of cleaning that up, and we leave the rest for the other person to deal with.  Whether they deal with it or not is none of our business as the only person we are truly responsible for is ourselves – and that is work enough on its own!

Posted in codependency, Relationships

10 Characteristics of Healthy Love

10 Characteristics of Healthy Love

Leave it to Abraham Maslow to be generations ahead of the curve!  In his groundbreaking work, Toward a Psychology of Being, he perfectly articulates the difference between co-dependent love (what he refers to as “deficit love”) and interdependent love (what he calls “B-love”).  The latter, is what I believe we are evolving toward as a species and which I have been working to support in myself, my clients and students through Authentic Freedom Academy.  Co-dependent love seeks after the other to fill an emptiness one feels within.  Interdependent love arises out of two healthy and already whole individuals and by its very nature supports the fullest development of both.  As Maslow asks, “It is a real question whether the full development of the human being is possible without it” (Maslow, 1968, p. 43).

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This is how you can know if you are operating out of interdependent and healthy love:

1) Love is non-possessive: Your attitude in your love relationship is admiring rather than needy.

2) Your love grows greater over time: Love is the end rather than the means and is enjoyable by its nature.

3) Possessing qualities of a peak experience: The love you engage in is uplifting, ecstatic, unitive, pleasurable….and this is not just about sex.

4) Possessing therapeutic (healing) effects: Healthy love heals – producing hormones which stimulates physical, emotional, mental and spiritual healing.

5) More valuable, enriching, expansive than most other love relationships you witness.

6) Not directed toward gratification: Not being a need-based love, healthy love does not seek after gratification.

7) Absence of anxiety and/or hostility: While anxiety for the other may be present, there is a marked absence of anxiety (looking for needs to be met) or hostility (resentment over not getting needs met) within the relationship.

8) Interdependence: In Maslow’s exact words,

“Lovers are more independent of each other, more autonomous, less jealous or threatened, less needful, more individual, more disinterested, but also simultaneously more eager to help the other toward self-actualization, more proud of his triumphs, more altruistic, generous and fostering.” (Maslow, 1968, Toward a Psychology of Being, p. 43, New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company)

10) Allows the other to be created: This kind of love relationship supports each partner in becoming their truest, most authentic, most fully developed self.  It supports our positive and healthy development.

 

If this is the kind of love that you seek and do not yet possess, call Lauri Ann Lumby to schedule a private session to begin working on developing the traits within yourself to support this kind of love. (920) 230-1313 or lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com.

 

 

Posted in codependency, Relationships

The Number One Reason Relationships Fail

In the twenty-plus years I have been counseling individuals and couples, I have identified the number one reason relationships fail:

Looking for the other person to complete us.

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Co-Dependency

In the recovery world, co-dependency is limited to addictive/compulsive patterns of enabling.  Here, co-dependency is expanded to include any behaviors, attitudes and relationship dynamics which are rooted in the search for another person to complete us.  Co-dependency arises out of a deep inner longing that says, “I am not enough,” making us feel incomplete, fractured and fragmented.  In an effort to quell this longing, we look for “the other” who will complete us.  We find someone who we believe might complete us, and for a time (as long as we are in the infatuation stage of the relationship), they might.  Eventually, however, the longing returns (because we never healed the true source of the longing), the fantasies we have created about our partner fall and we begin to see them for who they really are – fractured and imperfect just like we are.  Resentment sets in and trouble begins.

If you recognize patterns of co-dependency in your relationship patterns, you are not alone.  99% of relationships have their origins in the search for completion.  For help in this area, check out our upcoming course, “Happily Ever After – from Co-Dependency to the Fulfillment of Love.”  Learn More HERE.

Search for the Other vs. Search for Ourselves

When we are searching outside of ourselves for someone to complete us, it is because we do not know ourselves.  The longing that drives this search for “the other” in reality, has nothing to do with “the other.” Instead, this longing is really the longing to know ourselves.  Until we know otherwise, or until the bottom falls out (whichever comes first), the longing to know ourselves disguises itself in the longing for another to complete us.  We are never fulfilled in our relationships, however, until we turn this longing for “the other” inward and start doing the work of coming to know ourselves.  In coming to know ourselves, we discover our own unique gifts, our passions, what gives us joy and makes us feel complete – WITHIN OURSELVES.  When we know ourselves, we no longer look for someone to complete us, instead, we wait for another complete person with whom we can enjoy the journey of life in a mutually supportive, interdependent relationship where both are honored as sacred and holy and where the two work together to support the needs of each other in service to the betterment of the world.

Sign up today for the “Happily Ever After” course and find support for your own journey of coming to know yourself. 

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Or call Lauri Lumby (920) 230-1313 to schedule a one-on-one private consultation.

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Posted in Being Human, God, Midlife Journey, Relationships, Spiritual Practices

Love – the Unanswerable Question

As a facilitator of programs which help to support self-actualization in individuals, I teach a wide variety of practices and techniques for transcending fear, managing anxiety, discerning, cultivating and embracing truth.  Soul is what I hope to help people birth – the uniquely creative way in which they have been gifted to find meaning, purpose and fulfillment in their lives and through which they are called to serve the betterment of the world.    With all of these programs, practices and techniques, however, I am unable to respond to one of the deepest longings of the human heart- the longing for loving, intimate, partnership.  When challenged with the question, “What good is it doing all this work if I cannot satisfy the deepest longing of my heart, which is for partnership?”  I find I have no response.  When I look into the faces of the amazing women and men I know who are healthy, whole, magnificent and complete within themselves, intimately connected with the God (of their understanding), experiencing meaning, purpose and fulfillment through their unique giftedness: and see that behind that fulfillment remains the unfulfilled longing for love, I have no answer. These programs should help us be content no matter what our relationship status – right?  Apparently NOT!  Why is it that healthy, inwardly fulfilled, amazingly gifted men and women still find themselves alone and wanting because of it?

Millions of books have been written that promise the perfect formula for finding your one true love, your soulmate, your twinflame….” Professional matchmakers hang their shingle to the tune of $5000.00 with the promise of finding your true love.  Are these amazing men and women alone because they haven’t perfected the magic formula or paid someone enough money to find love for them?  I have a hard time believing any of this to be the cause.  I cannot believe that these men and women are alone because they haven’t taken action by following the guidelines of all the world’s “dating experts.”  Neither is it because they have been thinking the wrong thoughts or because they have failed to “call in the one.”  I don’t believe there is some magical formula for finding love, neither do I believe there is some dark magic that holds love at bay.  It just makes no sense to me – amazingly beautiful (inside and out), eligible men and women who have been unable to find an equally amazing partner to share their life with, but even more troubling is the longing that remains, in spite of the person’s contentment and wholeness within themselves. What is the cause and purpose of this longing?

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Is it simply the biological drive for partnership that causes this longing?  Is it really about our longing for God?  Is the journey to self-actualization not yet complete because this longing remains?  Are these people alone  because of their decision to embrace their inner growth?  Have they simply outgrown the potential field of prospects?  Abraham Maslow suggested that only 1% of the population is self-actualized.  Is it then a simple matter of statistics?  (for the record, I believe that more than 1% of the population is self-actualized and that this figure is growing as we continue to evolve). Or is it something else?  Again, the most difficult aspect to this quandary is the longing that remains.  Even in the healthiest, most self-actualized people, the longing for love remains.  And those who are alone can protest all they want, “I’m fine living alone.  I’m content being single.  Apparently God wants me to be celibate for now,” the truth is that we protesteth too much and the higher self knows otherwise.  I think I’ve come to understand that the human longing for love is part of who we are and a force that cannot be contained.  And until that longing is fulfilled, the longing remains.

As I further ponder this question about love and longing, two distinctly different spiritual voices emerge:

1) The Voice from the Zen Den:  This voice says something like, “Longing is about wishing for something other than what one has right now.  Longing leads to suffering, therefore, one must detach from one’s longing by returning to one’s mindfulness practice, bringing one’s self back to the present moment, the only place where we find peace.”

2) The Voice of the Artist:  “Longing is my muse.  It is in longing that I find my inspiration.  Longing compels me to create and through my creativity to inspire others.”

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As I sit with these voices, I realize that both of them speak truth.  Longing can certainly distract us from our peace and plunge us headfirst down the road of anticipatory thoughts.  As such, at times, we may find the remedy to our longing by returning to our mindfulness practice.  At the same time, I have also come to recognize longing as the creative voice of the Divine trying to find its expression through us.  Longing causes us to seek, to explore, to discover and to grow.  Longing provides fuel for our creative endeavors.  The Vikings would never have discovered America if they hadn’t had a longing to know more of the world.  Alexander Graham Bell would not have invented the telephone without longing for the sound of a human voice.  And with respect to love, how would God’s love ever be known in the world if it were not for the longing that compels us to seek this love?  So perhaps the answer to this quandary resides within the tension of these seemingly opposite poles.  Perhaps there are times when we might retreat to our inner room in search of the quiet that will still our longing, and perhaps there are times when we need to be with our longing and let it speak to us, telling us where we need to look and how we are called to give it expression in our lives.

Ultimately, I believe that this insatiable longing that we feel (even after we’ve found our “happily ever after lover”) is God trying to find expression in our world – through our own uniquely creative giftedness and in the many ways we are called to be love for one another.

Posted in Being Human, Midlife Journey, Relationships

In Defense of Men – but not letting them off the hook

In yesterday’s blog, I celebrated the gifts of men and the unique way in which they are possessing of these gifts for their own enjoyment, but more importantly, for the benefit of all.  Today I continue to focus on the midlife discussion on men and the unique way in which they experience this life transition and the ways in which their partners can be supportive of this process, while at the same time, holding men accountable for doing something to support themselves through this transition (other than having an affair or buying a sports car).

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The Complaints of Women

In the past twenty years of mentoring women (mostly) and men through their journey of birthing their Soul, I have heard an enormous amount of complaining from women about their frustrations with their (mostly male) partners.  While this discussion is not limited to men (lesbian partners are equally guilty of this), it will be the complaints against men that I will share here.  Here’s is what their female partners are saying:  “He doesn’t hear me.  He won’t spend time with me.  He’s too busy with work to care about what is going on at home.  He doesn’t understand me.  I want him to open up to me.  He doesn’t understand that when I say no to sex, it isn’t about him, I’m just so damn tired.”  Sound familiar?  For all the guys out there….before you throw your hands up in frustration and stomp off, refusing to read the rest of this blog….hang on….I’m about to cut you a break.

In Defense of Men

Ladies, here is something you need to know about your partners:

The extent to which they are unable to hear, understand, be present, open up to, spend time, be compassionate to YOU, is the extent to which they are unable to do these things for themselves. 

Most men are not jerks, and most men DO want to be able to be and do these things.  The problem is that we live in a culture that does not give men permission or teach them how to do these things for themselves let alone how to do them for another.  Of course many men are really good at all these things, but based on the complaints I hear from women, it sounds like many are not.  The good news is that this is in the process of changing, but we still have a long way to go.

The Male Dilemma

I believe that there is a deep longing in every man’s heart to be able to be vulnerable enough to open up to another person and to enjoy the same depth of intimacy that women often enjoy with each other and want from their men.  Unfortunately, the patriarchal, hierarchical cultural paradigm puts men between a rock and a hard place.  Instead of empowering men to hear the quiet whispering voice of their truth (which includes the voice of their REAL needs, their hidden hurts, their past wounds, and their unacknowledged shame), they are taught to listen to the patriarchal voices which say:

  • It’s your job to work.
  • It’s your job to protect and provide for your family.
  • It’s your job to make money.
  • It’s your job to compete.
  • It doesn’t matter if you like what you are doing, because what matters in the money and the work.
  • It’s your job to be in charge, the boss, to have power over those around you.
  • It’s your job to know it all.
  • It’s your job to know how to do everything.
  • Don’t ask for help.  Don’t show vulnerability. Don’t feel.  If bad things happen, get over it and move on.
  • It’s your job to be the best and in anything less than this, you have failed.
  • It’s your job to be a “manly” man.
  • It’s not ok to be afraid and even if you are, DO NOT admit it.
  • It’s your job to be strong in the midst of EVERYTHING.

Nowhere in this patriarchal formula is there room for the man’s TRUTH, how he really feels, what he really wants out of life, how he really wants to spend his time.  There is no room for the deep longing to know oneself and to be known.  There is no room for loss, disappointment, grief, failure, fear or pain.  And if a man dare to question his truth or say what he really needs, there is the every-imposing risk of losing his man-card.  And ladies, we are not helping!  Every time we step in and question the way our partner is doing something that is in his area of expertise, we just kicked him where it counts.  When we scold him in front of others for a mistake or failure, we have castrated him.  When we fail to appreciate him for the work he is doing to provide for and protect our families, we have insulted him.  When we mock his need for competition, achievement and to just plain be silly, we are emasculating him. We need to let our men be men, and get the heck out of their way.  That doesn’t mean, however, that as women we can’t model compassion, empathy, vulnerability, naming and claiming our needs, setting healthy boundaries and encourage our partners to do the same.  But, all our whining, complaining, scolding and chastising is not going to wake him up to the person he really wants to and is capable of being.  No, men typically have to find this on their own.

Men, you are not off the hook!

Before holding men accountable to their truth, I want to offer an enthusiastic CONGRATULATIONS to those who have learned to silence the voice of the imprisoning, patriarchal culture and have learned how to listen and heed their own voice.  Way to go for listening to your deeper needs and learning how to ask for them to be met.  High-five for coming to know your deepest vulnerabilities and another high five if you have found someone with whom you can freely share your vulnerability and for the support you have discovered in doing so.  The difficult truth, however, is that many of you had to have the rug pulled out from under your feet, or the ceiling fall in before you were willing and able to do this.  Maybe you lost the job of your dreams.  Perhaps you were diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness.  Maybe your wife left you.  Perhaps you had a devastating injury which changed the course of your life.  Maybe you lost everything and had to start anew.  Now, what would happen if instead of waiting for the bottom to fall out, you learned another way of being – one that transcends the patriarchal, hierarchical paradigm without undermining your inherent gifts as men?  Ultimately, I believe it is this call that is the cause of what we often refer to as the male midlife crisis, and the topic of which will be covered in my next blog.  Stay tuned for more…..