A white man in his fifties . . .
For many people, I am automatically and understandably representative of ‘the problem’. It’s easy for me to see that point of view. Humans like me have been and are particularly instrumental in perpetuating the horrifying story of separation and dominance that is ravaging the planet.
For me, the dominance-battle most close to home is around the struggle between masculine and feminine forces. This has shown up especially with women close to me emotionally. That’s where I’ve had to make medicine to salve my wounds and clean up my act, so this is a big part of how my men’s work has evolved.
I don’t think men are more part of the problem than anyone else, nor do I think women are the only ones who suffer from violence, explicit or subtle. I reckon we’re all in this together. We’ve all had our natural loving humanity distorted by the culture we swim in.
But for everyone I know personally, and probably everyone reading this, the experience of non-consensual domination is more likely to be subtle than physical attacks. Most of us have quiet habits of interfering with others’ paths that might seem innocuous, but if you look deeply, we’re violating the other’s sovereignty, whilst cloaking our behaviour in ‘civilised’ cleverness.
I believe that every one of us has an opportunity to change direction, just a little bit, and that can change everything.
In my case, I often feel the violence I’ve been imprinted with like an unwelcome visitor. An impulse to separate and dominate that began who knows where, taking firm root in Rome two thousand years ago, sucking the life out of indigenous cultures throughout Europe, eventually exporting itself all around the world. A violence that has, in my own bloodline, become so well educated that at first casual glance it can even appear as ‘nice’.
As a young human, this rage was pushed into my innocence by epigenetics, unconsciously triggered adults and cultural programming. I learnt to hide it in the basement, in fear of the monster being seen. Must keep up the polish of polite.
But as an adult man, it’s mine to wrestle with, and I cannot do so as long as I keep it deep down hidden. In fact, I cannot do so as long as I treat it like an unwelcome visitor. I have to get to know it intimately, as a part of me.
The urge to dominate, appropriate and violate has to be allowed to come up, fully felt and visible, when I’m in a compassionate enough context to make something useful of it — whether that’s within myself, with a mentor, or in a men’s group.
What works for me when I’m triggered is to give myself the space to embody, express, release and integrate in movement. To own up when fairly called out. Bit by bit, I am learning how to be more response-able.
We cannot deal with it if we retreat into fear, side-step into guilt, or collapse into shame. We have to get to know it intimately, and all those moves are dissociations.
Do you resonate with this?
Join me in creating a new relationship with anger?
If we can reclaim anger as the force for good it was designed to be, the world will change.
Do you know how to dance through your rage until it softens into grief?
Do you know how to embody your irritation until it unfurls into a righteous anger that finds its true mark in creative communication, benefitting everyone in the room?
Do you have the courage to allow your fiery truth to be spoken out loud?
Do you have the discipline-based-on-love that will get you onto a floor somewhere, out of your head and into your full-hearted whole and holy magnificence that can change the world, one breath at a time?
It may be that the growing numbers of humans identifying across the borders have a vital piece of the puzzle here, I don’t know. But I do know that when there are deep conflicts between men and women, part of the inner work necessary to resolve it is best done in groups without the other side there. Then it’s a whole lot easier to speak from the heart when we come back together.
Adam has been leading men’s groups for almost 30 years — he believes this is the single most effective environment there is for men to radically deepen, strengthen and open to their true nature which is LOVE. Click here for more information.