I have been seeing the term "Toxic Masculinity" being strewn all over social media lately. It is what is being blamed for everything wrong in the world and I can hear the hiss in the tone in which it is written, I can taste the metallic blood drawn in the energetics of the poster's words. I can feel her rage, her grief and her desire to be met inside of the space in between each letter she typed. I can see the frustration and the anger arise from the women who are questioning why they are not being met by the men in their life; they are wondering why are men not willing to come into discussion about the toxicity of their masculinity? They ask how are we going to heal this if MEN don't own their part?
Before I go on, let me lay the foundation for you by diving into a little yogic wisdom...There are two major forces at play at all times both within ourselves and without; the Masculine and the Feminine. Shiva/Shakti, Sun/Moon, Solar/Lunar, Yang/Yin. Both of these forces play an equally important role in the balance of life and they relate in no way to gender. You can think of the Masculine as being the atmosphere and the Feminine as being every single weather pattern contained within. Without one the other wouldn't exist and if one were out of balance, distortion would happen. This same atmosphere and varying weather patterns exists within each and every one of us. Whether we are born a biological male or female we all contain masculine and feminine energies and their existence within us is equally important; if one were out of balance distortion would happen.
To help further your understanding we can look at certain traits we carry within as masculine or feminine:
Our masculine energy is our strength, our direction, our purpose, our presence. Our feminine energy is our softness, our adaptability, our emotional intelligence. I could categorize further, but I think you get the hint. We are made up of a lot of different characteristics and they all fall into one of these two categories. If our direction and purpose aren't balanced by our softness and our adaptability then distortion happens. We may express outwardly as arrogant, competitive or self serving. On the flip side, if our emotional intelligence isn't balanced by our presence we may be perceived as reactive, jealous, or self deprecating.
If our masculine energy was distorted we may want to succeed at all costs, take what we want without considering the other, be the most popular or destroy anyone who gets in our way...is this ringing a bell for anyone? The majority of our culture, both men AND women, is living in their distorted masculine. We live in a society that banks on us feeling that there is something lacking so that we continually strive for more. As a society we have all diminished the qualities of vulnerability, nurturance and emotion in favor of success, drive and ambition. We all play a role in what is occurring in our world right now and the genitalia with which we were born or how we gender identify has very little to do with it. The goal here is to find balance between both forces within ourselves and we can't do that if we continue to blame each other and further the already present division. "Toxic Masculinity" implies something that can not be healed or brought into balance and I believe that it perpetuates our distrust in the masculine when in all reality it will serve us best to embrace our masculinity and bring it into union with our femininity. When we do this we have an opportunity to cultivate a deep presence with a purpose rooted in Love.
Many of us, both men and women, are legitimately hurting right now; we have bottled up rage, grief, shame, and desire. We have hushed our voices, we have been manipulated and abused as a direct result of this distortion that our society has been built upon. Demanding that our men take full ownership and responsibility for what the patriarchy has done is not fair. Would you listen if "Toxic Femininity" were being blamed for the horrors of our world? Would you be quick to respond in a constructive way if you felt personally attacked or if shame arose for you?
How can we work together to create the world we want to live in? How can we shift the conversation from blame to collaboration? Please share with me; I want to hear what you hold in your heart.
Photo Credit: http://www.hierosgamosfestival.nl/mannen/?page_id=1263