46. Would You Prefer to Live with THIS Man Then?
#Breaking the bias. Part 2.
“Live with THIS man?” What?! Has Barb started a dating site now?
No, it’s the second part of that little series on #breaking the internal bias.
“I can protest, yell and burn my bra as much as I like in the external world to activate for gender equality, but if a bias against the feminine energy is happening inside, then there’s work to be done. How exciting!”
These words concluded the first instalment of this serial last week, based on my guest speaker gig at International Women’s Day. Spoiler alert; this is not another one of my dating stories.
You may remember there was a super-busy job to be handled by a team.
One team member, let’s call him ‘Action Man’, was all over it. Potent and glorious, he relished handling the mountain of never-ending details.
Soon there were not enough hours in the day; things were piling up and getting out of hand.
Not to worry; another team member stepped in and spoke up. Let’s call her ‘Wise Woman’. Intuitive and glorious, she gave valuable feedback on how the system was overwhelmed and not able to maintain optimum function at this rate. She had some great suggestions; initially about incorporating periods of rest and recuperation.
And what happened then?
Well, clearly there was a gender bias in this team, because ‘Wise Woman’s’ input was completely disregarded!
‘Action Man’ suddenly changed into a lower version of himself!Heacted as if she hadn’t even spoken, looked right through her, and redoubled his mountain-conquering efforts, even creating three extra side projects to pile onto the load.
To be frank, he turned into a bit of a bully, dismissing her wisdom, telling her not to be so weak, and that any recuperation must wait until the list was completed.
Who would want to live with THIS man?!
Oh, wait, hang on, maybe you were thinking this was about a scenario in the external world. If so, I’m thinking you may be feeling a little annoyed or even outraged at this point by the clear gender inequality on show.
In fact this was a description of my own inner world during my super-busy teaching job! I was talking about the feminine and masculine parts that are within all gender identities. Jung called them the anima and animus, while the Chinese talk about Yin and Yang energies.
I was struggling, staggering and clearly overwhelmed. My fabulous inner male must have been panicking as well, because he had turned into a forceful tyrant in his attempts to get things done at all costs!
My Yang had relegated my Yin to an unimportant bit-part. See episode 1 for the sketch I made.
Let’s run that again — “From the top, people”
If you read instalment 1, you’ll know I was standing back and viewing this internal dynamic as if it were a stage play.
So let’s re-set the stage, run that scenario again, and see what happens if there’s equal weight given to both the masculine energy (the Doing/ Yang part) and the feminine energy (the Being/ Yin part).
The director says the scene is all fine up until the part where ‘Wise Woman’ speaks up.
WW = ‘Wise Woman’, AM = ‘Action Man’. Remember, this is a stage play about my internal ‘team’.Here’s how version 2 unfolds:
WW — (from the desk in the school staff office. The final bell has just gone.)
Hey AM, I love what we’re getting done. However you may not have noticed, but the system is overloaded, and not able to keep functioning optimally at this rate. Before serious bodily symptoms set in, something needs to change.
AM — (stops what he’s doing immediately. Puts everything down. Pulls up a chair beside WW) — Oh right, I wasn’t aware of that. Thanks so much, WW, for being onto this. I’m hearing you. In fact, now that you mention it, those headaches have been pretty frequent lately. What do you suggest?
WW — (leans in, puts her hand on his arm) Well, for a start, we’ll need to schedule in regular rest periods.
AM — (Covers her hand with his) Sounds good. But what about the long list?
WW — Let’s prioritise. (hands him the list) Can you get it down from ABCDE and F to just the 3 things that absolutely must be done today for classes to run smoothly tomorrow?
AM — Onto it. (Skims the list. Circles three.) I’ve chosen A, D and E. We can do these now before we head home and leave the evening free.
WW — Sounds perfect. That will kill two birds with one stone. We should sleep better when the mind hasn’t stayed wound up with corrections and planning before bedtime.
AM — What else can I do for you, WW? How would you like to spend the evening?
WW — I was feeling a takeaway meal followed by a bath, meditation, a little light reading in bed and an early night should rejuvenate the system.
AM — Perfect. I’ve got your back. I’ll run the bath for you after dinner.
Shall we talk about a better schedule for ongoing balance and efficiency; not now but maybe on the weekend?
WW — Fabulous idea. Oh, and AM, what about those extra three major projects X, Y and Z that you recently half-signed us up for in addition to the full workload? Our combined creativity knows no bounds and I love that you want to action all our ideas at once. But in this present phase, the overloaded nervous system and physicality can’t sustain that. Do you have any ideas around this?
AM — Oh, right. I love how your wisdom connects to the body and its capacity to carry things through. We sure don’t want to burn out like that other time!
How about we put all three projects on the back-burner for now. Let’s get through this intense phase, see how the body and nervous system re-set, and then re-evaluate X, Y and Z in a months time?
WW — Sounds wonderful. Gee, I love you Action Man.
AM — And I love you, wonderful Wise Woman.
Activating and standing up for gender equity in the world is a noble and necessary thing to do. Many advances have been made since the inaugural International Women’s Day in 1928. But unless I look within and do the inner work, any push for equality becomes a projection of an unaddressed bias within myself.
I need to do both.
I’m aiming for an inner marriage where the feminine and masculine wisdom are equally developed, valued and celebrated. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung said it perfectly:
The combined anima and animus is known as the syzygy or the divine couple. The syzygy represents completion, unification, and wholeness. Source
I’m aiming for the true balance of the Yin/Yang sign.
In the final instalment I’ll be exploring a fanciful vision of a future world in which the two energies in both women, men and all gender identities are truly aligned and equally valued.