Dear Women: You ARE Your Body, And That Isn’t A Bad Thing; It’s Your Power

The mind/body duality is as fundamental to universal nature as masculine/feminine duality. If you don’t believe in masculine/feminine energy polarities or that there are “masculine” traits and characteristics as well as “feminine” ones, then maybe just stop reading because this article probably isn’t for you. If you do have a deep or even general understanding of this, then continue on…

When it comes to qualities and strengths of the mind and body, it seems fair enough to conclude that the mind is used for more masculine energies (reason, logic, intellect, etc) and the body holds more feminine energy (intuition, flow, sensing, where emotions are stored and felt).

In my opinion, one simple way to break down and describe what so many people call “the patriarchy” is to say it’s a society that fundamentally operates in a way that values the mind (intellect/doing) over the body (intuition/feeling). 

We see this played out everywhere, one of the most obvious and pervasive is the ideology of science and the use of charts, graphs, and measurements to “prove” if something is true or untrue. Science is typically seen as “fixed” and “settled.” There is no room for personal accounts, stories, things that are felt but not seen, etc.

This isn’t to say science is wrong or bad at all. I am simply suggesting that it might not be the ONLY means to discovery. Our dismissal of things like magic, energetics, intuition, and all things meta is a sign of masculine dominance, as these things were quite common and well understood in past times. Some radical feminists point out that the process and politics of modern science is a projection and influence of the western man’s values. Here is an excerpt I like from an article by Dr. Kelly Brogan:

Ever heard the phrase, “…the science is settled?” If so, it didn’t come from the mouth of a true scientist. Scientific dogmas create taboos – things you’re not allowed to ask about or talk about, let alone study and research. But science is not a destination…it is a process of discovery. Moreover, it is a means of studying and honoring the wonder around us and within us. When science is bound and arrested by dogmatic beliefs, it becomes an eviscerated religion that can be co-opted for political gain and control.

Rupert Sheldrake is a brilliant renegade scientist and theorist with this to say on the matter:

“We are, many of us, waking up from a several century long slumber induced by Scientism – the dogmatic belief in the dominant narrative of science as religion. As we wake up to nuance, to new science that defies the old, and to a complexity that often leads us to an awareness of all that we don’t know, those Scientism believers will become more and more uncomfortable. These people may be your family, your doctors, or even your formerly trusted media reporters. They may foam at the mouth and threaten violence at the suggestion that Scientism’s sacred cows (pharmaceuticals, bioengineered foods, industrial chemicals) are not what we have been lead to believe. Stay strong and reconnect to the elegance of a world of natural design, harmony, and regeneration.”

Another way we witness the unconscious cultural belief of mind > body is through this idea that women’s bodies are  “objects” and we should stop appreciating and wanting their beautiful, sexy bodies and instead pursue them for their mind/intellect/creativity. Again, not that the latter qualities are not important, but why isn’t the body seen as equally significant, desirable and powerful?

Ironically, it’s typically other women who I see most demanding to be noticed and recognized for the qualities they possess in their mind, while mocking and ridiculing anything body-centric, essential to female biology (which is a damn powerhouse), is focused on appreciating the female form, or uses intuition as a compass for living.

One might call this the real “internalized misogyny.” The deeply unchecked belief that the mind is more valuable than the body.

In a world where we are so divorced from our bodies and mostly live in the mind, the mind is seen as superior, and all of our ideas and advocating for reform are still rooted in these masculine values of systems, intellect, tests, logic, data, etc…

To me, the new feminism would be a return to embodiment. Yet, as it stands today, it seems we still generally believe the mind is the more sophisticated and trusted between the two, while we depreciate the body as the weaker one. Something susceptible that is to be feared and not trusted. Just a powerless “object” that acts as a distraction to men, couldn’t possibly know when and how to give birth, and offers no healing in and of itself.

I believe if women owned the power of their body, heart, and sex, and made embodiment their practice, that is to say, focused on radically changing “in here” rather than trying to change how everyone responded to us “out there,” then we would see shifts in our world beyond what we could ever imagine.

Continue Reading

Let Others Make Their Mistakes

One of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do is let people make their own mistakes.

Whether you’re seeing your child about to make a mistake, or seeing other people making pointless and unnecessary mistakes, it’s hard to watch without stepping in.

It’s even harder when you know those mistakes will hurt you or other innocent people who had no part in making the mistake. In such cases, warning people they are making a mistake is self-defense.

Most people will ignore your warning. It’s frustrating when simple solutions are rejected and the mistakes are treated as the reasonable course.

“This is how we’ve always done it” is a common excuse for doing the wrong thing.

When that happens, brace for impact. It’s going to hurt — unless you find a way to protect yourself. No one is obligated to let other people’s mistakes hurt us.

Except, apparently, when you are talking about government. The way government is structured means you are legally required to suffer the mistakes of others.

How can anyone believe this is right?

It is said people always get the government they deserve. The trouble is, the government the worst people “deserve” gets imposed on the rest of us. This is like saying some people commit murder, so it’s OK to sentence everyone to life in prison. Or to death.

If I see you jumping off a cliff and can’t reason you out of your foolish death-plunge, who believes I’m obligated to jump with you? In any realm, other than politics, no one would expect you to willingly leap to your death just because someone else does so.

People are attached to their political mistakes. They keep making the same ones over and over, for decades; often making the same mistakes their entire lives. Those of us who prefer another path are made to suffer along with those who don’t want to believe they are making mistakes.

It can be frustrating, but like the weather, it’s beyond your control. The best you may be able to do is ride out the storm in as much comfort as possible.

Notice the mistakes others are making, don’t copy them, and find ways to protect yourself — or profit if possible. If you can find ways to profit from their mistakes, after you’ve warned them they are making a mistake and they refuse to change, why shouldn’t you?

You’re not profiting from the suffering of others, you’re honoring their choice.

Continue Reading

Justifies Your Cutting My Throat

I’m an American, as the saying goes. Spanish speakers have a more precise word for such gringos, estadounidenses. So what? Am I supposed to have a celebration? Am I supposed to pledge my life, treasure, and sacred honor to a pack of ruling thieves because of this accident of my birth?

Maybe you were born in Mexico City, or Copenhagen, or Beijing, or some backwoods village in Siberia. Okay, I was born in a little down-at-the-heels town in Oklahoma. Who gives a rat’s ass? Why are people making such a huge deal over accidents of birth? Why are military cemeteries all over the world filled with the remains of men who allowed themselves to be tricked into putting their lives at risk for the profit and pleasure of the pirates in charge of their respective tax farms?

I don’t care where you were born, or where you grew up, or where you are living now. You may have interesting stories to tell me, and I’ll be glad to listen. But if you think that being born and reared in some other oligarchy justifies your cutting my throat, I will have no choice but to consider you raving mad.

Continue Reading

Why I am Grateful to George Herbert Walker Bush

Unless you live under a rock (and probably even if you do), you’ve noticed the death of George Herbert Walker Bush, 41st President of the United States, on November 30, at age 94.

You’ve probably also suffered through multiple personal remembrances of the man and his presidency — some positive, some negative, some mixed. Mine, which you may read below if you’re not already worn out on the topic, is of the latter variety.

I am grateful for Bush and for his presidency for two major and positive changes in my life for which he deserves at least partial credit (or, if you prefer, bears at least partial responsibility).

First, Bush made it inevitable that I would leave the armed forces rather than serving 20 years and retiring. He did so by kicking off a post-Cold-War round of cuts in military spending that continued into the Clinton era.

Those cuts, in addition to being a darn fine idea that I wish the current administration would emulate, led to a situation in which, instead of signing a new enlistment contract with the Marine Corps reserve, I received several six-month “extensions.” When I got tired of piles of new paperwork every six months, I took my honorable discharge (in 1995) and moved on to new and different pursuits. I did and do love the Marine Corps.  I suspect I love it more than I would have loved it if I’d remained in it into his son’s presidency. So thank you, President Bush.

Secondly, Bush’s presidency caused me to reconsider my (fairly short as such things go — I was young and still malleable) commitment to “conservatism” and to the Republican Party. It’s entirely possible that, had he not reneged on his “read my lips — no new taxes” pledge, I would have voted for him in 1992 and have remained a Republican voter to this day.

I told myself that if Bush kept his word on taxes, I’d support him for re-election; if he didn’t, I wouldn’t. He didn’t, and I didn’t … but I wasn’t going to vote for Bill Clinton, either. I carried ballot access petitions for, and voted for, Ross Perot in 1992. Then I conducted an agonizing reappraisal of my convictions and went looking for a movement and a party to match them. I became an ideological libertarian circa 1993 and a Libertarian Party member in 1996. So thank you again, President Bush.

American politics has changed since Bush’s presidency, and mostly not for the better. It seems reasonable to lay at least partial responsibility for some very bad things — in particular, the extension of his feud with Saddam Hussein into a series of foreign policy fiascoes that plague us to this day — at his feet. There were plenty of ugly things about the man and about his presidency, and I have no problem with those who ignore the old admonition to speak not ill of the dead.

But I’m still grateful to the president of my early adulthood for shaping my life in ways he almost certainly didn’t intend.

Continue Reading

An Intentional System for Working with Goals

Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.

~Rumi

Goals, like any tool, can be used to bludgeon ourselves over the head with shame and guilt, or can be used with intention, as a way to consciously deep our practice in life.

I’ve been known to rail against having goals from time to time, to espouse goal-less living … but the truth is, goals can be used to guide us if they’re used intentionally.

Goals are not the answer to everything, but neither are they evil. They’re simply tools.

Imagine that you wanted to sail to a certain port (your career goal) … there are two ways that could go, depending on how you work with that goal.

The Usual Way of Working With Goals

The first way to work with sailing to a certain port is the traditional goal-setting way:

  • You fix your sights on that port (the goal) and map a route to get there.
  • But things don’t go as planned (maybe you didn’t work hard enough, got distracted, or other things came up) and now you feel discouraged.
  • You can either give it up entirely, because the goal is making you feel pretty bad about yourself … or you can hold firm to the goal and resolve to do better.
  • A storm hits you, then your boat starts falling apart, and you get sick during the journey. You start using your lack of progress towards you goal to beat yourself up more, feel shame, think of yourself as a failure, get frustrated with the world.
  • Maybe you give up, or maybe you firmly stick with the destination and get some new resolve.
  • But maybe you learn more about this destination as you travel toward it, and learn that it’s not really what you want. Maybe you find other ports that would actually be better to sail toward, that you didn’t know about before.
  • Nope! You have to stick to the port you originally chose! No flexibility, the goal is the most important thing.
  • Maybe (if you’re tenacious and also lucky) you get to your port. You feel a momentary happiness at your accomplishment, but this destination isn’t what you envisioned it to be. It’s not the solution to all your problems, not the joy you hoped it would be, and you feel let down.
  • You immediately start thinking about your next destination, and barely notice the one you made it to.

As you can see, there are a lot of elements here that aren’t helpful:

  1. Using the goal to beat yourself up and create shame, guilt, disappointment.
  2. Sticking firmly to the goal even when you learn about better opportunities along the way, with no flexibility.
  3. Thinking that there’s something magical about reaching the goal that will change your life in some way (rarely true).
  4. The forward looking mindset (instead of looking at the present) will not end when you reach the goal, but will cause you to look toward the next goal immediately (maybe even while you’re heading toward the first goal).

So what’s a more helpful way? An intentional, conscious way of working with goals.

An Intentional Way of Working with Goals

Imagine instead that you aimed for sailing for that port … but worked with that aim in a more intentional, conscious way:

  1. You think of this goal as an intention that you’re setting as you start out, a way to guide your direction in the current moment, not a fixed path.
  2. You don’t think of the port (the goal) as a fixed outcome that you need to hold onto tightly, but rather just a way to guide yourself right now.
  3. When you do notice yourself attached to the fantasy of your goal, you practice loosening your grip on it, and focus instead on the present moment. What action can you take right now that’s aligned with your intention?
  4. Regularly check in with yourself, “What’s the most loving act I can take right now? What action right now would be aligned with my intention? What can I appreciate about this moment?”
  5. Allow yourself to be flexible — if you’re not tightly attached to the goal, you can shift as you learn more, as you sail on your journey and understand the journey more, as you find new opportunities that might be more aligned with your deeper purpose.
  6. If/when you do arrive at your destination, stop and be present with it, appreciating your journey, appreciating where you are, without immediately turning to the next thing.

This is a more flexible way of working with goals, and a more present-focused way of working, more intentional. The goal doesn’t become the most important thing — though it is helpful — the present moment and your actions and appreciation in the moment become the most important things.

I encourage you to try this flexible, intentional method out as you think about what your goals might be for the next month, for next year, for your career and future. How do you translate that intention into right now?

Continue Reading

The Gift of Gab: Pennsylvania AG Abuses Authority to Chill Internet Speech

On November 8, Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro’s office issued a subpoena to web host and domain registrar Epik, “pursuant to “an ongoing civil investigation.” The subpoena demands “any and all documents which are related in any way to Gab.”

Gab, as you’ve no doubt heard, was accused Pittsburgh synagogue killer Robert Bowers’s social media platform of choice. In the wake of the Tree of Life massacre, the site was cut off by its web host (Joyent), domain registrar (GoDaddy),  and payment processors (PayPal and Stripe). After more than a week offline, it found a new home courtesy of  Epik.

While Shapiro and company remain mum as to the subpoena’s purpose (and in fact asked Gab not to publicly disclose it, a request the site’s owners declined to honor), there’s nothing unclear about that purpose. Shapiro is abusing his position of legal authority to intimidate those who do — or might do — business with Gab, in hopes of driving it back offline.

In recent years, larger social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter (followed by payment processors, web hosts and domain registrars) have acted with ever-increasing vigor to silence selected voices in the public square.

Their excuses range from “Congress says they’re terrorists” to “that’s fake news” to “meddling in elections” to “hate speech,” but visibly looming over every such action is the  shadow of potential government force.

The chilling message to social media companies from assorted agencies and congressional committees boils down to a thinly veiled “if you don’t censor for us ‘voluntarily,’ we’ll force you to.”

Shapiro isn’t talking to domestic news about the subpoena, but last month he was fairly forthcoming about his motives with foreign media.  “My office is reviewing this platform [Gab], which was used by the killer to spread his hateful messages,” he told Israeli newspaper Haaretz, adding that “[w]e cannot tolerate” “speech that includes incitements to violence” or sites that “explain how violence is going to occur.”

Subpoenas to Gab itself might have served an understandable legal purpose — for example, determining whether Bowers acted alone or used the platform to conspire with others prior to the attack.

The only plausible purpose of this subpoena is to intimidate those who might provide microphones to speakers Josh Shapiro doesn’t want the rest of us to hear.

Josh Shapiro is proving himself far more dangerous than Gab. It is he who should be investigated — and hopefully shut down.

Continue Reading