ReWilding the Masculine by Christiane Pelmas
"Where are the men?! Where are we?! We are pioneering and prospecting and conquesting and groveling like the fucking rule book told us to. Keeping our noses to the grindstone and taking it on the chin like it’s all in a day’s work, like we know what the hell is going on, like we aren’t terrified, as if we don’t just want to go home..."
All this from a 58 year old man whose dismembered ‘day world’, rule-book-following facade was lying eviscerated in a heap on the floor as he ranted himself raw. During his truth-telling I had to consciously remember to breathe for the beauty and rage he allowed into the room. His body heaved with such force I thought he might physically turn himself inside out in front of me, perhaps as part of the desire to be seen—‘look at my raw guts! Now there’s nothing to hide. Now you can see the carnage that lives in me’. When he had exhausted the words but clearly wasn’t finished he simply sobbed and raged with his clenched fists. For the first time in five decades, he found himself standing in front of a mirror and talking to the five year old boy alive and well inside him, who still believes in magic, in things beyond rationality or empiricism, who deeply values things only the human psyche and heart can decipher.
This man is an awarded physicist, professor emeritus, one of the top men in his field. He says he’s so ashamed of being a man he doesn’t know what to do with himself. He and his wife have called me to their home because his wife wants nothing more than to make love to him and he can’t find the thread of presence and power that would allow for such a physical act to take place. He says there is nothing there to make love to.
He is like so many men who come to see me. They will admit they’ve been taught how to have sex, how to ‘get the deed done’. And sometimes they even feel as if they’re experiencing true vulnerable intimacy. But many of them also speak of an underlying loneliness; an awareness that they haven’t actually offered their most intimate aspects to this act of love making. They will say they’re aware of always holding something back. Yet, as they find themselves stepping into a life of more integrity, demanding of themselves that their actions support the man they always felt themselves to be (but never claimed), aspects of their former life fall by the wayside.
I describe this as the “great reclamation” during which men often feel as if they are spelunking down into the depths of soul to rediscover the authentic man, and bringing him back to the light of day. The physicist still had a few more months to go before he was reacquainted with the man of himself. Once this happened he found himself standing before his wife without equivocation. Once this happened he knew very well how much he had to offer her in the bedroom, and beyond.
You know who you are. You know if any part of this also describes you. You know what lurks inside your man’s heart and soul. It contradicts (most) everything you’ve ever been told or shown about what it means to be a man in this culture. The authentic, heart-and-soul centered version of man has been chased underground, only occasionally visible now in the most courageous of truth-telling moments. This authentic, mature, fierce, gentle and raw masculine is one of the most breathtaking forces. And, it is of profound importance that we find him, love him, make love to him and set him loose in the world to work the magic that is distinctly his.
In my practice I have the honor to sit as witness for men as they share the extraordinary depth of their longing to have the truth of themselves be seen and loved. It’s radical. More accurately, like all truth-telling, it’s revolutionary. And, I wonder what on earth it will take for men to speak their truth on the scale that they (YOU!) must, in order for our species to shift its course fast enough.
I can speak from intimate experience when I say that we (women) are awaiting just such a revolution. And we are working on our own truth-telling army (of love) to come meet yours in the middle of the former-battlegrounds, where we will all put our armor down and simply acknowledge the brilliance of the other and then get to work setting things right.
A psychotherapist, facilitator, teacher and guide since 1990, Christiane Pelmas is dedicated to the re-wilding of the human soul working with individuals, couples and groups. Of particular interest to her is the important - and often misunderstood - dance between the masculine and feminine and the arenas of sexuality and intimacy. She is also founder and director of The Global Culture of Women, a non-profit organization which resurrects and celebrates women’s wisdom worldwide. She is a poet and writer, activist, dancer and mother, living in Boulder CO with her two sons. You can learn more about her work at www.therewilding.com.