The words ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ are so heavily equated with the sexes that our biggest issue in discussing the terms is in trying to see past our own biases about what we think people mean when they say things about either.
For the purposes of this writing, the let us say that the ‘feminine,’ represents the strengths exemplified by our compassion, tolerance and kindness. Rather than striking it it heals. Rather than forcing it flows. Rather than chasing it invites. Rather than pouring it is filled.
Also for the purposes of this writing, let us say that the ‘masculine’ represents the strength of our convictions, righteousness and courage. Rather than concede it consumes. Rather than accepting it achieves. Rather than accommodate it requests. Rather than giving it takes.
For many people the divisions between these two states are quite commonly seen as someone being loving, compassionate and forgiving, versus those that are more passionate about creation, protection or justice. Those of us raised by two parents will often immediately know which parent is which in this scenario.
Both of these qualities exist within every single human being, and by adulthood most people also know from experience that both approaches to life can lead to enormous advantages, or enormous problems, if the wrong one is applied at the wrong time or in the wrong context.
Balancing these two ‘aspects of being’ is why we often perceive the world’s most respected people to have a unique but quiet strength.
Those sorts of people hold these two sides of themselves in a good –though never perfect– balance. Whether it’s a man or a woman, it’s hard to imagine knocking these sorts of people off their own course, and yet all of them also seem like people that would be comforting to others. They could represent us in court, or be our caregiver in hospital.
No matter where our own ‘balance point’ is on the larger spectrum, given our respect for those with that near-centered balance –no matter what their sex or gender is– it makes sense that people generally come to me when they are in a period where they feel like they are losing their balance.
If people feel they are too timid and emotional, they want more strength and fortitude. If they feel they’re too angry and aggressive, they want to know how to be more tender and open. Isn’t it wonderful how wise we all are about what we need?
Keep in mind, none of these people arrive ‘wrong’ as they are. The world needs super strong people sometimes. And it also needs those that have the strength of vulnerability. But if we remove extreme circumstances, everyone tends toward balance, even though our personal balance points may not actually be all that ‘centered’ by nature.
We should not see where are on that scale as being either right or wrong. We simple are where we naturally are, despite our compulsion to constantly move toward balance. No one ever really gets there, but our wobbling journey along the way is the yin and yang of living a life.
This also explains my role as a guide. Just like some people have healthy lifestyles and visit gyms and eat healthy and do regular medical check-ups, there are some who prefer to see me regularly to ‘maintain’ a healthy balance and grow in their own balancing abilities.
Others tend to move through life less conscious of their health, so if they subconsciously feel balanced then they will feel no impulse to talk with me. For those people –as with medical emergencies– it will only be when life offers a major change that I will hear from them.
At those times the latter people will often feel they are struggling or failing. In reality they are being a bit hard on themselves because in most cases life will simply and understandably have thrown them off balance and they are reaching out as we all rightly should. My job is to help them to calm their minds and help them to regain their balance.
Even if someone only sees me in ’emergencies,’ each time we go through the training process, the student/client will grow more resilient themselves. The more time we spend together, the stronger they get. But this does not happen because they are getting something from me.
In either the maintenance or emergency situations, a new strength doesn’t move from me to them. I can simply see them in a very particular way, without the cloud of their own debilitating thoughts. And with that practiced vision I am able to effectively communicate to them how strong they already are.
If you feel weak or afraid or confused or lost, remember that we all feel that way at times in our lives. When we do, it genuinely is difficult to marshal ourselves in a way that allows us to find our strength again, which is where I come in. Fortunately, that weaker sense of ourselves is merely a temporary, thought-based identity that is masking the strengths that are always within us.
If you are currently troubled you have my full compassion, but fear not, for we all will rise again as we have before. For these are simply the hills and valleys of our journey through life. Our job is only to keep going, and to ask for help when required.
Following a serious childhood brain injury Scott McPherson unwittingly spent his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and the self. This made him as strange to others as they were to him. Seeing the self-harm people created with their own overthinking, Scott dedicated part of his life to helping others live with greater awareness. He is currently a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB, where he finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.