I wonder how many men ran from the title of this column. I’m fortunate to say that most of the men I know wouldn’t.
With the publication of Lean In written by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, there’s an abundance of fevered talk about gender issues and the workplace. In her neo-feminist book she tells women they should not let career take a back seat to family and marriage. She wants women to come together to discuss and understand the stereotypes that are holding them back.
“Lean On” was the pronounced theme of the fourth annual Women in the World Summit held in April in New York. The summit encouraged women to “lean on” corporations, courts, governments, fathers, boyfriends, male acquaintances, etc. To stand up and stop the persecution of women worldwide.
As a woman, it’s uplifting to witness the swells of women’s groups emerging in unity and making conscious decisions to end abuse — both self-induced and other-induced. I’m reminded of a group of women in the Pico-Aliso area of Los Angeles, who walked together through the dark streets filled with eight different gangs. Often to the sound of ceaseless shooting, they “would move to hotspots, and their gentle praying and singing presence would calm the gang members ready for battle,” Gregory Boyle wrote in his book, Tattoos on the Heart.
Ordinary women, with a single-minded purpose, walking into danger to help calm and transform out-of-control male energy. Powerful.
Women are powerful, yet throughout history we have had to fight for equality in a male-dominated world. That is changing. After centuries of being oppressed and victimized, women are saying, “No more.”
Individually and collectively, we are refusing to agree to this archaic and destructive mindset. In fact, the opportunity to heal and recover from ancient wounds is staring us in the face. It is taking place through the inward balancing of feminine and masculine energies within each of us.
Male energy is the part of us that is outwardly focused, goal-oriented and acts as a strong creative force. Female energy in each of us is focused inwardly. It is receptive and desires to bring forth new thoughts and ideas to the outer world. Both energies act together with the male energy, defining, shaping and helping the female energy to manifest form in the outer world.
When the two energies connect and complement each other, they become one powerful evolutionary force. However, when the two energies battle each other, it weakens both, causing duality and conflict. Inner conflict then results in the feminine energy being repressed and victimized and the masculine energy resorting to anger, aggression and violence. This is the main cause of all dark emotions, wars and terrorist attacks.
The world is in the throes of major upheaval. The feminine energy is on the rise and there is no stopping it, but it’s critical that it receives the cooperation of a mature and balanced male energy in order for it to thrive and flourish.
Individually, we need to balance these two energies within ourselves. Collectively, we need each other. Men and women working together in order to bring forth the best in each other. Yet, as fast as the feminine energy is rising, the old male energy is desperately holding on, unwilling to surrender.
The key to dealing with this dark and threatening energy is to remain aware, centered and calm. Do not allow intense reactive emotions to overthrow you — dragging you back into being victimized. Not easy, but effective. When you don’t react to negative energy, it can’t touch you.
When reporters interviewed people in Boston after the marathon bombings, it was amazing how many calmly spoke of the need for more love — that more hate will not solve our problems. Someone shone a bright light on this quote by Martin Luther King Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
This represents the feminine energy that is emerging — in our personal worlds and globally. As it blends and rises with the self-confidence, focus and strength of male energy, transformation takes place.
Individually, we are challenged as never before to make conscious choices that will shape humanity’s path. Before us lies the opportunity, through self-responsibility, to be a part of monumental and positive planetary change.
What a privilege to join together in the dance of a lifetime.
— Susan Ann Darley is a creativity coach and business writer who works with entrepreneurs and artists from all disciplines to build, manage and market their careers. Click here for more information, or contact her at email@example.com or 805.845.3036. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.