Welcome to another episode of Tuff Love with Rob Kandell. The topic of today’s show is the concept of masculine and feminine dynamics. Rob has been working with a team recently to help the people within that team with some very disparate personalities and views from separation and opposite sides of the playing field to come together, be more connected and find union. The takeaway from that experience for everyone was how amazing it is that people can find union and connection and we can create that in our lives.
Before today’s main topic, however, Rob discusses the recent events in Charlottesville. There was a group of people that protested the tearing down of a statue of Robert E Lee. Robert E Lee was somebody Rob studied a lot when he was younger. From what Rob has read he was basically a reluctant general, when he was called to fight for the South he did it with a heavy heart, and from all the accounts there are he fought with honor. There is talk about tearing down all these statues and tearing down the history. Rob has mixed feelings about this. It’s important to have our history but it’s also an icon to white supremacy, slavery and racism, which is not okay. So a group from the right and a group from the left came together, there was arguing and a woman died from a domestic terrorist act of someone running a car into her. It’s a lot for us to understand.
So how does this apply to today’s show?
Rob has been thinking about the concept of the ego. The ego is something that protects us and that keeps us separated and isolated. Ego says that you and me are different. There’s some protection mechanism that ensures some separation between us. In different races and religions throughout the history of the world, people have viewed others as different. And that difference caused a lot of conflict.
Then we can look at the leadership of the United States. The President is not really taking sides, although actually he’s supporting the alt-right on some level and Congress have even lower approval ratings than the President. There’s a lack of leadership like there was in the 60s and 70s with the icons like Martin Luther King and John Kennedy. We can continue to try to look up to the top of the pyramid to find leadership and support, but really we need to find that place in ourselves that is willing to let go of our ego and willing to put our feelings of separation aside to look at the connection between the two.
Rob can’t sit by and watch all this disconnection because his purpose in life is really to teach around connection, especially the concept of connection where connection doesn’t seem possible. That’s the foundation of what Rob is trying to teach. It’s always possible. He sees it in workplaces, he sees it in Charlottesville and he sees it in the United States as a whole. What it takes from every single person is to do what it takes to look at the conflicts in their life and see the sameness between us and them. We like to protect ourselves and think we’re separate but that’s separation is what is killing our lives. It’s the cancer of our lives and is endemic in the world today. What can you do to find connection where you feel isolated and separated?
Masculine and Feminine
The next concept really does tie in with this and it’s the concept of masculine and feminine. Throughout history there has been a lot of conflict between men and women, and we could spend a lot of time discussing gender dynamics and pay differences, men trying to keep women down, and the rise of feminism, which in some ways is actually creating separation. A lot of it has to do with this concept of masculine and feminine. You could go out and get hundreds of slightly different yet connected definitions of what these are. Here are Rob’s basic views around the masculine and feminine:
- The masculine is the concept of projecting out, the force, the movement, the ability to gather and contain. The masculine loves the checklist. We like to have our boxes tight and orderly. We like knowing tasks are completed. It’s taking the inherent chaos of the universe and shrinking it down into bite-sized pieces.
- The feminine is expansion, growth, exploration and opening things up. It’s embracing that chaos of the universe on some level.
- A great metaphor is traveling from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The masculine wants to get from point A to point B as efficiently as possible in the straightest line possible. The feminine wants to stop at a cute tea shop in Mos Beach 140 miles out of the way, look at the Pacific Ocean and explore the more scenic route.
- For people who are more feminine, the masculine feels very containing and stifling. For people who are very masculine, the feminine feels wild and crazy and unruly. It feels like the possibility of where the feminine will take the masculine could destroy their sanity.
- Everyone has a ratio of masculine and feminine inside of them. The ratio changes over time, it grows and expands as you develop your own personality, ego structure and life. It does also change from moment to moment as needed.
- The healthy soul is someone who goes up and down that latter, changes that ration moment by moment based on the stimuli presented to them. We all have the ability to do it.
- There is a lot of talk about women in our Western society living in their masculine to be in the working world and then having trouble translating from their masculine to their feminine.
- There’s a lot of talk about men, who on some level have had their masculinity persecuted, and they’ve amped down their masculinity to fit in and gain approval from society.
- The main block is that we have shame about different aspects of our being. There are men who have a lot of shame about their desire, their masculine thoughts, or about their feminine thoughts. So we shove that part down and put shame on top of it.There are women who are denying their feminine aspect because it has a bad rap, or feeling shame about their masculine sides.
- We are the ones that persecute ourselves at all times. To Rob, when you shame or persecute that part of yourself, you are taking one of your best, most powerful tools out of commission based on your judgments.
- These judgments and this shame stops you from seeing the vastness and the infinite nature of who you are.
- We have these different parts of ourselves and it’s learning how to pay attention.
- When we are able to be in agreement with our vastness, the different sides of ourselves, then we give permission to the people around us to be in agreement with the vastness and different sides of themselves.
- Our approval can create so much space for the people around us to be bigger, better and fuller. Those are the kind of relationships Rob wants.
- The feminine has been persecuted by the masculine. The masculine has also been persecuted by the feminine. It’s both sides. None of us are really in agreement with ourselves, and therefore we’re not in agreement with others.
- If people can start to be in agreement with the vastness in themselves, they’ll have more space for the vastness in others. And that is where true intimacy and connection arises.
- It’s up to us to not only fix the shame and disconnection in ourselves but also encourage people in their vastness through your approval.
Rob’s homework assignment to you:
Look at yourself and see where you have shame about who you are. Look at yourself and see where you shame others for parts where you aren’t in agreement with yourself. Look at how that’s affecting your relationships and causing disconnection.
Rob speaks with Mark and then Anne, and they discuss these concepts of connection and disconnection within the context of recent events in Charlottesville further:
- The real path to undermine Nazism and white supremacy is like what Arty Hoffman did which was clown noses and costumes and showing up with hilarity as the weapon, as opposed to meeting in opposition. It feels there’s a psychic aikido movement that robs the Nazis of the conflict that they’re trying to generate.
- When people show up, listen actively, speak actively and embrace the differences, that’s where the expansion is. Once people feel heard, then there can be more connection.
- The masculine side that showed up for Mark was this idea that we can’t afford to appease and allow these people. Why not just shoot anyone with a swastika? That masculine side, the choice or idea of anger and violence as a way to stop the stimuli of the Nazi tattoos or flags, is communicating and protecting something. It’s a sense of wanting to exert ultimate power and say ‘this is not allowed’.
- That is a true masculine response: to condense, control and overpower in order to not feel the feelings.
- Rob says that it will work but it also won’t work because we’ve tried to do that since the 1940s and Nazism and white supremacy has not gone away.
- In Germany, there is a practice of literally laughing at Nazis when they march, and there isn’t the underlying anger that exists in America.
- Mark feels a great sense of guilt and shame about his white privilege and he’s just scratching the surface of that and having some hard conversations. He doesn’t feel empowered to change what’s going down, he feels fearful, and that’s the spot he wants to shift and collectively combine so that we can feel like we’re neutralizing this cancer.
- When the masculine tries to shut that side down, that’s where the conflict and separation occurs.
- Rob is a Jew and does not want to have a conversation about Nazism, but he acknowledges that if it could solve the separation—each seeing the human in the other—then maybe it would be useful.
- There’s something in them (the marchers) that feels wounded and disempowered, and it doesn’t feel like ‘hug a Nazi’ is the right move but Mark believes there is a feminine sided response to this.
- Anne joins the conversation and responds to Mark’s desire for moving from fear to fearlessness. Anne asks, ‘What’s the source of my safety? Is it convincing someone else or is it sourcing my own breath?’
- She observes that when we feel scared and we think there’s only room for one of us to exist, we try to dominate the other because otherwise we are out. It’s the either-or paradigm that is trying to be busted now.
- If there is room for two that are different, you really need to have love in your core and know that we are connected at a deeper level. It’s about honoring the feminine, honoring the body and honoring consciousness.
- The masculine wants to beat ourselves up for our humanity, and the feminine celebrates our humanity. It’s the balance between the two.
- Anne notices that when her partner Chris isn’t available, when she realizes the external masculine isn’t available, she initially freaks out. Then she reconnects to her own masculine and feminine, her own consciousness.
- Breath is everything. It all comes back to that. That is the practice. The space between stimuli and response.
- You can always develop the new and expansive sides of you. Don’t fret, don’t give up on yourself. You do have the opportunity to expand yourself.