Have men been told that a woman’s no means yes
And if so when did this start to happen?
The recent wave of disclosures is showing us all something many of us already knew
That the culture of misogyny and abuse runs deep it is a a real infestation in most of our establishments and industries
More than that its something that people have turned a blind eye to for decades.
Meanwhile its the vulnerable that have suffered
Right now we are in a wave of anger and grief and rightly so, this is part of the grieving process, the rage is important
If we stay in rage for too long however it can be destructive. I used to very much be a part of the freedom fighting and anti war movements in my younger days and eventually I had to step to one side because I was getting burned out.
I found that sending my frustrations and rage out into the world though it felt good and it did create some change, did not seem to be the best use of my power and capabilities.
We have been told by many wiser than me that if we wish to create change it starts within.
And that we cannot waste our time fighting what is, we must create something new. Whether that be works of art or ways of bartering in the world or ourselves and how we interact in the world
If we seek to see abuse and mis-use of power in the world that is all we shall see, but like the small voice of hope in Pandora’a box there is also good out there. There are also good men out there who treat women with kindness and respect.
And there are good men out there who simply do not understand how to treat a woman well because they were never taught. Maybe they had absent fathers, abusive fathers, maybe their mothers were absent in some way, maybe they experienced abuse of some kind.
For men it is often much harder to admit rape or abuse or childhood abuse they feel a huge stigma. Men can also be abused in relationships in adult years and often stay quiet.
I am not defending the actions of men who rape and abuse, there is no way I could ever do that.
My invitation is how do we start to find ways forward that do not exclude.
Already many feel the METOO movement has become hijacked by a more palatable face, the whitewashed media, the sanitised world of Hollywood. After all the movement had been going for decades and we never really tweeted about it until recently a personality used those words.
Now we seem to have all jumped on the bandwagon.
Yes maybe it took a personality to wake up all up but now that we are waking up shall we start to find constructive ways forward to create unity.
In many native traditions the one who has committed a crime is dealt with by the community. They are brought before the community and their crime discussed. Why did they do this, how do they feel about what they have done and how can there be a way forward now.
Moving forward is what creates new life.
So as this wave of discososres hits us, there are many waves for us to navigate.
The Tsunami of the disclosers. Does this include you and if so where do you stand on making your voice heard and saying no. Have you done this in the past and if not can you gather the energy of this time and start to find the power to say no.
I have found myself more emboldened to say no to random strangers who feel its okay to touch me, sadly always men. The other day on my way to the tube station a man pushed past me really aggressively there was plenty of space for him not to touch me, I could see him aiming to make contact with me. I could also see he was angry at not being given right of way in a crowd of people. I was tired, maybe he sensed my “weakness” and in he came for the kill.
Usually I would push back or I could have given him right of way, I could have simple not engaged in the rage. I didnt do that, again maybe through tiredness I had somewhere to get to too.
As he shoved me I shouted back to him dont push me, I am just getting past.
Im getting past too he shouted back at me
Yes I thought yes you are but why do you have to approach the act, me, a woman with such rage, could we not have found a way to allow each other to have both our needs met without it being a battle?
The battle of the sexes ! I grew up with that phrase. Does it need to be a battle?
I dont want to battle my brother or sister. I want peace and harmony.
How do we then create the new environment where this way of being thrives.
Number one is with ourselves. Is to be kind and loving to ourselves. In our thoughts and deeds, in the way we handle our pain and our needs. For when are kind to ourselves we set an invisible blue print for how we wish to be treated in the world and the level of treatment we shall expect and tolerate.
Number 2– create a circe of love around you of those who are kind to you. They dont all need to be on the same wavelength as you, they dont all have to be people who you share the same interests with. But if there is kindness then you can find a middle ground of connection easily.If there is respect then you can help each other grow.
Number 3– seek to experience kindness in your every day life. By not engaging with those who seek to push you over or trigger you. Take it slowly step by step and appreciate each moment of the day. This is where mindfulness is such a great tool. Experience the moment and in that moment seek out connection and kindness.
It wont be there with everyone you meet but if your number one goal of being kind to yourself is firmly in place you will be mote likely to choose interactions and responses that mean you are kind to yourself. That could mean walking away from aggression, it could mean seeking support, it could mean speaking out.
Number 4– spend more and more time away from social media and connected to the land and people instead. If we spoke more and found that connection of eye contact more there could well be fewer escalations of mis-communication.
When I was growing up mobile phones were a novelty for the YUPPIE generation and they looked ridiculous shackled to these huge battery briefcases with the huge comedy phones.
We still look ridiculous! Wandering aimlessly down streets glued to phones plays games, playing games that mean we end up falling off cliffs, sitting with our dates glued to phones, its one of the saddest expressions of how disconnected we have become.
I remember a time ( cue nostalgic music) when you spoke on a landline, sometimes there was only one in the house so you grabbed it and used the very long lead to hide under the table to sneak under the stairs for some privacy.
If you said you were going to meet someone at a certain time you did because what would happen if you didnt show, they wouldn’t know they would be left waiting for you and that would be a terrible thing to do. We didnt cancel at the last minute.
We had phone boxes on street corners where you could make quick calls to find directions or say you’re running late.
We didnt send emails and be done with it. We wrote letters and took time over the letter writing then the posting. In that was a calling down period that there isn’t in emails.
The number of emails I wish I hadnt sent, if it had been a letter I would never have sent it, I would have cooled down by the time I had taken the letter to the post office and anyway who wants to send a letter with angry words, most of us dont want to do that, not really.
We had time to think, time to pause and time to reflect. Now because we are plugged in all the time we are riding some wave which is not even one we have consciously created.
We also could not check up all that easily on exes or get envious of friends by going on their social media profiles. So we had no choice but to surrender to the unknown.
So from time to time disconnect from this wave and find that inner stillness.
This shall allow you to process what is your emotion and what could be the emotions of the collective consciousness right now.
Number 5– None of us have lived blameless lives. We have all in one way of another hurt someone. Pause and reflect on that.
Number 6– this isn’t a competition. Someone said to me a while back that the more serious issue was childhood abuse because children cant walk away but a woman could walk away or report it.
It took me a while to let the weight of that sink in. Not true! Women often freeze and sometimes dont report for many reasons. And this is not a competition.
Number 7– start to make part of your daily practice a vision of how you would like your life and the world to be. What will it look like feel like to be part of something love filled. Such a world can exist and we can create it if only in our own homes as a start. A huge start
Number 8- come back to love. Even when speaking out even when making change come back to love. For love sets us free and gives us strength. All else leads us in circles of repeating patterns.
I aim to start with kindness to myself and see where that leads me.
And how about you?