Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rockers, porch swings, DVDs anf the wounded feminine

Today, rockers, porch swings,  DVDs and the wounded feminine!

In my rounds at a retirement community, I  entered the room of a 90 year old woman who was attempting to play  a DVD of Tony Bennett. She held three remotes in her arthritic hands as she laughed at what she termed  her" lack of a male technical  brain ". Then she laughed again noting,"I really wouldn't want a  male brain---except for things such as this!"

 Somehow her DVD dilemma precipitated her reminiscing about easier summer memories filled with porch swings and rockers. She loved the porch swing of her old house where she raised her children.  There were  quiet moments and playful times when the  children used blankets to cover  the swings and imagine whatever adventure beckoned.

I remember rockers too.My grandmother would rock my  baby cousins and croon  a deep and rhythmic "Aaaah,Aaaah,Aaaah,Ah". Surely this was a  primal Polish rendition  of  the heartbeat.  I witnessed  this and was delighted, even as a little 5 year old , of what I saw and felt.

But then my uncle, who by that time, owned the family home of my grandparents, decided to modernize.In addition to destroying the Victorian pocket doors, he   replaced the  wooden porch  with cement and  removed the rockers.When the cement dried, hard wicker bucket chairs with spindly metal legs  with scrape-y feet appeared. ...even Harlow's monkeys would have been distressed. No more was my grandmother able to rock babies gently, quietly,  soothingly.

To me , this modernization happening in Madmen times was a sign of the negative masculine ushering in "progress" while denigrating feminine feeling so necessary to nurturing life.Yes, my uncle was a good man of his time, nevertheless, on  this, he cowed to his  masculine energy at the cost of the mothering feminine.

Now neuroscience- the logic of it all- would  favor the rockers, and my grandmother's  soothing sounds and  cuddling would be considered as what is best for brain development.What my grandmother intuited is being corroborated by science. Here it would seem, the Logos(masculine) of science confirms the  importance of the Feminine principle. Grandmom, you rock!
6/27/12 (written 6/23/12)Sometimes the media, at least the press, does not get deflected by sensational , irrelevant news.Sometimes the media can focus on what is important: the headlines of  the Philadelphia Inquirer(6/23/2012)  boldly told the stories of how Jerry Sandusky ,a  Penn State  coach, was found guilty of sexual abuse of boys in his care and how Msgr Lynn of the Catholic archdiocese was found guilty of the coverup of sexual abuse among the clergy.

I was relieved and gratified that our judicial system and its juries can work. The jurors in both cases deliberated for hours, combing through testimonies: I held my breath. Would these men be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt ? To my sensibilities, the jury system contains the feminine principle at its core.The decision is collaborative and all must agree on the verdict. This is the consensus of peers rather than having the power rest with one individual. Wise as Solomon may have been,he still was a patriarchal King. And for every Solomon there  are a hundred Herods.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

6/26/12 Ask yourself this: when you listen to the news or watch a  program or movie.... Where is the feminine principle seen? Is the wounded feminine rising or is it being buried alive?

Perhaps the time has come: this is the rise of the wounded feminine. And patriarchal power fears it.  Our collective unconscious  is enthralled with strong women such as Lisbeth Salander of the Larsson trilogy, and Katniss of The Hunger Games,  and we relish the  gentle men   that are their counterparts, Meanwhile Catholic bishops cover up sex abuse scandals of their clergy as they  simultaneously rail against the nuns for caring more about the poor than they do about contraception.

What do I mean by wounded feminine? I define this as the way of being in the world that has been buried alive  by the powers that be  that embed every aspect of our lives  .The feminine principle has been articulately addressed by Riane Eisler, Richard Rohr, Thomas Berry, David Richo  and multitudes of others.The feminine principle is the model of partnership, collaboration and compassion in lieu of domination, hierarchy and control.The feminine principle is to be lived by both men and women.

However, I believe to claim the feminine principle we must name it as it is now--the wounded feminine rising.

"Wounded", because girls, women, and the feminine principle itself have been hijacked, embattled, suffering and  even entombed--sometimes literally as well as figuratively left for dead.

"Rising" because even the feminine energy that has been left for dead by the murderous patriarch, is coming back to life.

Just as Lisbeth Salander, buried alive by her killer half brother and ruthless father, digs herself out of her own grave, so too the wounded feminine principle is rising. Unfortunately the metaphor goes beyond book and movie to the reality of such persons as Gabby Giffords, shot by a young man whose mental illness found a rallying cry in right wing venomous rhetoric.While Gabby physically survived the gunfire, and made a valiant personal comeback, her career has been derailed. Where characters in novels may have miraculous recoveries, reality is less forgiving of what guns can do.