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I sat with a brother in the forest today.

I listened deeply as he shared his situation in life.

I acknowledged his strengths, and invited him to experience a part of himself that I felt was under-represented.

And as he felt more deeply into this side I sensed a shift, it seemed he moved into a place of ease.

The belief that we just need to allow our full self to work as one complete system is so beautiful. We may have learnt to avoid part of our being or blocked some emotions, but when we welcome this part as well, the fullness is enlivening.

And the satisfaction I feel now for supporting this fellow inspires me to host more healing sessions.

Forest Healing

I was supportive of my partner choosing to do Dancing Eros, and I felt uneasy about it. When I was invited to the graduation night I made a commitment to be there. When I learnt what was planned for that night I felt very disturbed.

Dancing Eros is a series of workshops that support women to be more connected with their bodies, more confident in themselves and more expressive of their erotic nature.  It is based on four archetypes that the women explore through dance: Maiden, Wild Woman, Slut and Priestess.

After five weekly workshops each woman invites her partner (or a guest) to be a witness at the final ritual.  The guests/partners would sit in a circle facing outward.  And then the women dancers enter the room and circle around them, so each woman is randomly paired with a man. They start dancing erotically in front of him while he watches intently. After a minute or so they all then rotate one space anti-clockwise, gradually circling around all the witnesses, while expressing themselves sexuality through the four archetypes.

Some people will feel right away how this disrespects relationships – by treating one’s partner as an anonymous nobody, and dancing erotically for a series of strangers.  I believe ritual is a super-powerful language.  And this ritual says: “you are insignificant to me and our devotion is insignificant.” Ouch.

In the week leading up to the ritual I tried very hard to convince the facilitator and the originator of Dancing Eros to evolve the ritual to make it compassionate.  I am the one who has sat with my partner during her difficulties.  And this relationship holds her long after Dancing Eros has ended.

The organisers didn’t like my objections/perspective and after a couple of days they decided to shut me out of the ritual altogether.  I spent the week leading up to the ritual riddled with adrenalin.  I could hardly sleep, and ate very little – both unusual for patterns for me. It was a traumatic time, as I waited for something that was jarring with my soul.

I have experienced situations before where powerful women were unkind to me.  So the treatment I received also resonated with past wounds.  But this time I didn’t just want to submit out of the guilt of being a male.  Men should not abuse women, and women should not abuse men.  Simple.

On the morning of the ritual the facilitator phoned me (I am appreciative of this, thank-you).  She said she wanted it to be a safe space for the women.  She heard the essence of my need to be there and the devotion that was driving me. I agreed to be honouring in the space and I was given a reprieve.  I cried in gratitude.  I had just begged my way back into the picture. A picture that had not changed.  Yet for the sake of our relationship surviving through Dancing Eros I was very glad to be able to witness my partner.

While we waited nervously outside the venue I pressed a finger I’d cut at work onto my notes, swearing in blood to be a ‘Respectful Witness’.  It was a serious undertaking and during the ritual I held firm focus as a witness. I was only distracted twice for a second or two during the 90 minutes.  I saw each woman very deeply.

It happened four months ago, and last Friday night I was crying in the pain of having my beloved being torn away as she gradually moved around the circle. She was also anonymous in the train of erotic dancers.  Entertaining other men. Men who don’t share our depth of devotion.  Dancing erotically in front of each stranger, while I could only silently watch the next woman appearing before me.

As a man in that space I felt castrated.  I was dishonoured. Unable to express devotion for my beloved.  It was painful, it was destructive, and it needn’t be that way.

Things escalated  as it went on.  It had an air of intoxication.  There were beautiful aspects present, especially during Priestess, the final archetype. She was phenonemal.

I was silent during the sharing afterwards – I still felt meek after only just being allowed into the space.  The sharing struck me as superficial.  Once it was over my partner and one of the facilitators heard my truth.  I feel the Feminine is also an internalised energy.  Why did the workshop push the women to be so outward?  What about the embodied guardian of her womb?*

Innocence was trampled that night.  My heart still feels this loss from time to time.  I feel I was abused.  Why is something with so many positives aspects delivered in a way that generates trauma?

The morning after, as I emerged from sleep I was struck by the sharp sense of having a shrunken heart.  My heart, that generally shines like the sun toward my partner, now cowered in my chest,  frightened like an abused animal.  Dancing Eros sunk a wedge between us.

For future events my wish is that Dancing Eros honours relationships.  Honours devotion and love, modesty and innocence.  Even honour the value of shame.  Shame is a voice from the conscience that waits for us to acknowledge what is precious.

In men’s work I have always honoured my partner. I have respected her and held boundaries for her.  Mens work is a lot about being present, loving and loyal as a partner, a father, a comrade and a friend.

Dancing Eros carries a deep value for women.

Please honour wholeness.

Honour the Partners.

5410524399_cfd3721163*At the workshops each archetype is danced as a demonstration for the participants before they have a chance to explore it individually.


Activism Whac-A-Mole….?

Who’s up for a game of Whac-A-Mole?

You get to hold a hammer, and each time you see a bad thing you whack at it… frantically, until the next thing comes along, and then the next thing after that!

There’s a couple of problems with this approach to activism. Always fighting against negatives leaves a void, where there could be a vision. Focusing on what we oppose doesn’t tell people what motivates us. And many people have a tendency to ignore it when someone is just speaking negatively.

There is a different approach….
Focusing on what we VALUE.

This can of course include the reality of what is terrible, being real for sure. But it poses a better way, and centers on these important things that need to sprout.

When we witness a terrible thing, we feel in our hearts that something is missing.
Something has offended our sense of caring, it has offended our values.
Our hearts call us to do something about the situation, because what we care about is lacking.

If  we heed our hearts – we can be champions for growing important values in the world….

For example there may be a situation where there’s a lack of compassion. Then compassion is the value to champion!
“How can there be more compassion?”
“What can I do in my life to show more compassion?”
“How can we collectively build compassion?”

Values are potent, they hit people in the heart.
Values have a powerful impact within culture, they are contagious.
Values are enduring, there are central to good stories.
Values create momentum toward a positive outcome.

Championning our values is making a proactive choice for this world.

Communicating values fortifies change.

Go well warriors!!

People often talk about ‘releasing’ difficult emotions…

Using the word ‘release’ as if it were just like dropping something in a bin.

This reminds me of what Julia Butterfly Hill said – we cannot throw something away – because ‘away’ does not exist. Julia Butterfly Hill famously spent two years living up in a giant Californian Redwood. Her presence lead to the long-term protection of these ancient trees. She had plenty of time to contemplate the big picture. Earth is one whole. So there is no such thing as ‘away’!

Our emotional landscape is also one big whole. Our soul is the experience of feeling. But if we choose to reject parts of who we are, we can block our feelings. Experiencing or resisiting.

‘Release’ can be like cracking a dam wall. Releasing the emotion to flow like water. Letting it have it’s natural course. Allowing….

Releasing feelings to swim within…

This sort of release is life-affirming. It may feel unpleasant at first, but inevitably lets us be more alive.

Maroondah_Dam_wall-Reservoir_side_sm
(thanks FortheVline, great photo!)

How to ‘win’ at Head vs Heart …

My favourite I Ching wisdom is:

To find harmony between Yin and Yang we give Yin as much space as it desires, it will always take the right amount, and when Yang meets Yin at this point perfect harmony is acheived …

This is super-relevant for the whole Head versus Heart thing; when we allow Heart the space to be however it desires, and then Head meets it, we are in harmony.

In practical terms this means pissing off our rational thoughts for a while, granting time and space to allow connection within our watery emotional depths, breathing gently, allowing any feelings, however strong or subtle, to come and go, and only then, to re-engaging mind.

The State of Play …

Chief Oren Lyons gives a very astute report on humanity’s current predicament.

So people ~ are we a parasite on the brink of killing our host ?
or ….
We are heartfelt & humble revolutionaries breathing our powers into planetary survival !!

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