There is no one I know who is happy about the current political climate. Our election campaigns have shocked us on both sides and created a palpable discomfort around issues that we may not want to discuss, think about, or uncover. But hidden in this discomfort are answers to questions that our culture desperately needs to confront. These questions are what we have been avoiding for decades. Seeking and exploring the answers, I believe, has the power to heal our individual and collective consciousness. Understanding how to balance the healthy feminine with the masculine has become an urgent imperitive for our society to learn.
When I began my career in medicine as a young woman in my twenties, I found myself working inside a system that was disrespectful not only to women, but the Feminine Principle itself. The Feminine Principle is associated with characteristics that we as a culture struggle to authentically live from. Patterns of behavior that honor process, intuition, love, health, heart, transition, healing, death, incubation, balance, and collaboration, all define the Feminine Principle. This is the energy behind the concept and behavior of ‘both-and’ thinking. Agreeing to disagree, finding common ground, finding resonance despite differences, are all behaviors that are rarely exercised but necessary for wholeness. None of these characteristics are truly valued in our society. Consequently, they are not normalized and fall to the wayside.
In contrast, the Masculine Principle which emphasizes product, action, doing, progress, fixing, consistency, linear thinking, and competition is what is normalized, valued, and rewarded. It is the energy behind the concept and behavior of ‘either-or’, or ‘us versus them’ thinking. The Feminine when honored in balance with the Masculine creates health and harmony; when either principle is emphasized at the cost of the other, disharmony and ‘dis-ease’ results. The patriarch is a manifestation of the wounded Masculine. The adapted and victimized feminine is a manifestation of the wounded Feminine.
Our culture is living in grave disharmony and has been for many decades. The incidents of diseases of our body/mind are at an all-time high. Merely emphasizing profit margin, economic growth, and gross domestic product as signs of progress are symptoms of the lopsided, wounded Masculine. The stress people are under to achieve these goals has created disease. The adaptation required to survive victimizes people resulting in the wounded Feminine. The Feminine Principle is being sacrificed to uphold the wounded Masculine. (1) I very quickly recognized these areas of ‘dis-ease’ in corporate medicine. Unfortunately, this is not just limited to corporate medicine, but present in ALL of our corporate systems, including but not limited to law, education, and politics which value and normalize this imbalance.
Our society is lacking a wide and deep enough context to make self-awareness an important and necessary part of our growth and learning. Because we adapt to survive, we have adapted to an unhealthy yet normalized, lopsided emphasis – the Masculine at the cost of the Feminine. Because we are not encouraged to seek solutions for health and balance, we are unable to identify what is normalized as unhealthy and individuate from it. Hence, we must experience the shadow of what we have normalized in our physical or external world. Examples of this are physical and mental diseases which are known to have their origins in this kind of disharmony. Diseases which plague our society such as the dysfunctional medical, judicial, education, and political systems also have their origins in this kind of disharmony. The shadow is manifesting at all levels in our society and eroding our health both individually and collectively.
As a physician who honors the Feminine Principle, I believe that the true healing of our imbalanced and currently ill paradigm can only come from shedding light onto the unhealthy relationships we normalize and maintain between the Patriarch and the adapted, victimized and wounded Feminine. When a man operates from the Patriarchal energy and disrespects a woman or the Feminine Principle, it is his shadow at work. When a woman adapts to this disrespect, this too is her shadow at work.
Both behaviors are based in fear. Both have compromised authenticity and intrinsic power and normalized society’s definitions. This comes at a grave price, the price of integrity and self-respect. When demonstrated in positions of leadership for all to see, it is clear that both are symptoms of the wounded Masculine and Feminine. Since we have buried our heads in the sand over generations and ignored these patterns in our own and one another’s behavior, they are being demonstrated for us on a larger scale on the political platform. Carl Jung said, “What is not brought to consciousness comes to us as fate”. When the shadow is this blatantly expressed, we can no longer ignore it. The two political nominees have demonstrated for us the values we have personally and collectively (unconsciously) upheld.
The healthy Feminine, honors both the Masculine and Feminine principles, sheds light on what is not working and has the courage to speak the truth even in the face of discomfort. The healthy Feminine names the shadow without the need to attack, defend, or justify it. She does not tear down the wounded Masculine, but names and exposes the Patriarch from a place of truth, not violence. The healthy Feminine has the intent and ability to undergo and model transformation.
The healthy Masculine aligns with the Feminine to initiate truth and honor without fear. The Patriarch, the shadow of the masculine, on the other hand misogynistically attacks the characteristics of the Feminine – dismissing, devaluing, and disrespecting all that it represents. He defends his position at all costs. The Patriarch deflects, dominates, degrades, dishonors, and denies. Dishonesty is the operating principle of the Patriarch. The Patriarch takes power from others to compensate for the scarcity and fear that exists at his core. Both women as well as men can align and behave from these characteristics. We have all experienced women who function from patriarchal principles and men who function from the wounded, adapted, and victimized Feminine.
Let’s face it, we have all participated in these behaviors, at one time or another by adapting or aligning with patriarchal energies that operate in positions of power. Most of our stress in the workplace is a result of this adaptation. It is the only option that many believe they have. Adapting to patriarchal principles is deeply disempowering. It results in feelings of hopelessness and low self-worth. This often leads to depression and anxiety. Defending dysfunction actually makes the adapter a part of the problem. Adaption perpetuates dysfunction. At a collective level, it leads to a deepening of the imbalance that has made our society ill. We must find the courage to function from the healthy Masculine and Feminine. We must heal our relationship with the Feminine Principle in order to reclaim our health and balance as a society. It is our only solution to achieving wholeness.
We are currently at an unprecedented crossroads, where we must look deeply into our personal shadow and see how our fear of individuating into wholeness is keeping us stuck. We fear not belonging to the collective, feeling alone, taking responsibility for our thoughts, actions and deeds, and individuating from behaviors which we have normalized at the cost of our integrity. These fears have had historical traction, but have held us back from realizing our greatest potential, experiencing true progress as well as the evolution of our selfhood. We are paying a huge price for our fear.
In order to heal, we have a golden opportunity to view our political nominees as mirrors of our own personal and collective shadow. Where do we resonate with each of them? Where are we triggered? What kind of power feels safe for us? Intrinsic power, aligned with truth and integrity, or extrinsic power, which takes power from others as a compensation? Are we willing to take a clear look at Patriarchal behavior and transform it into the healthy Masculine? Are we willing to take a clear look at the adapted Feminine and transform it into the healthy Feminine? Asking these kinds of questions is our individual and collective task and it will take courage and authentic community to serve as mirrors to help each of us grow and redefine what we mean by health, balance, and harmony. It will mean honoring the Feminine Principle as well as the Masculine in balance and understanding and living from a place of intrinsic power which springs from behaviors centered in truth and integrity.
Our current political figures are very important ones, maybe even critical at this time in history for us to consider as mirrors of our individual and collective unconscious and unhealed parts. These deeply wounded energies, based in fear are an integral part of the infrastructure of our current organizations and corporate systems which operate from dysfunction and contribute to the growing collective shadow.
What our political figures need is the courage to bring awareness to their shadow. They need to transform their compensated selves into the healthy Masculine and Feminine, to align with their authenticity and contribute to the health of our collective consciousness.
At this time, our personal work requires us to embark on our own journeys into self-awareness, to make our shadow conscious, to shed light on it with courage and compassion, and to pull back our projections from each other and our so called leaders. I see the presidential candidates as reflections of our state of consciousness. It is only when we honestly integrate our shadow and face the truth of our humanness without denial, compensation, or justification that we can manifest leaders who represent truth, authenticity, integrity, and health – characteristics we can honor, value, and trust.
©November 2016 Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director of The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, Pewaukee, WI. Website: www.ommanicenter.com Author of Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife. 2011, 2014 Medial Press
(1) Becoming Real – Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife, by Rose Kumar, MD, ISBN 978-0-9833521-1-2