A couple of weeks ago I attended a retreat on Evolutionary Enlightenment with Andrew Cohen. A woman raised the topic of women’s liberation. She described, how many of us women are still concerned, first and foremost, with finding a – or the right kind of – man.

Andrew was impressed with her honesty and asked her, why that would be the case. “Do men make you that happy?” he asked. Every woman in the room burst into laughter, proof for how deeply we know that this is not the case.

Why do we live in such a contradiction?

The longing for and the desire for a man emerges from parts of ourselves buried deep within our biology and the history of our gender.

For one, and this is nothing new, the survival of our species depended on us being drawn to men, and them to us. In fact, this is, dare I say it, the prime reason we are drawn to each other, whether we intend to produce babies or not.

And related to that is the fact that for thousands of years, men acted as guarantors for the physical survival and security for women –even if they enslaved, abused or traded them, their power meant they were the source of any protection and safety.

It is sobering –to put it mildly – but also clarifying to look at these roots of our longing and ask the question anew: why are we still spending so much time and energy attracting Mr. Right, while knowing perfectly well, that our needs have changed and that we will not find lasting, profound happiness in any sexual relationship or romance?  (That does not mean that they cannot be beautiful or significant, but the fundamental approach to them would be different.) The current conclusion is that men should adapt to our changing needs – but does that make sense? Is that fair? And even possible?

I think it is a lot more exciting to look at exactly what it is at this point in our history and development that truly gives us fulfillment. In my experience this has to do with a higher creativity, self-realization in the biggest sense and deeper spiritual development – none of which men have the power to bestow upon us in the context of a sexual relationship. What is possible though is that our independence in these matters enables us to meet and come together in new, more satisfying and deeper ways.

Then our lives do no longer run contrary to our intelligence.

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Caution, Feelings!

April 13, 2010

Women are often described as the ‚feeling’ sex. We seem to live closer to the source of tears, guilt, insecurity as well as care, compassion and sensitivity. Today, these latter qualities are increasingly recognized as badly lacking in our culture and as important for its development. Even in boardrooms and management circles so called ‘feminine’, more intuitive, less competitive and more sensitive intelligence is being called for more and more. It s a big step forward from Freud and his assessment of the female psyche.

 I think it is worth pulling this idea apart a little, simply because feelings are such tricky business, and often unreliable to say the least!

 For one, they are often triggered by things that have nothing to do with the reality at hand – see psychotherapy. We blow a fuse or pull back in distrust simply because some unsuspecting other is, often preconsciously – reminding us of our parents, our teacher or, if we want to go that far, an event or person in another lifetime altogether.

 Hormones are another source of – often very strong and convincing – feelings. I know it might be an extreme example, but for years I left my boyfriend almost on a monthly basis, simply because my perspective, and what I felt about him, seemed to turn on its head every time, my period rolled around. Even tough I started to become aware of that pattern and vowed to myself, not to blindly believe my feelings during those potent seven days prior to menstruating, J , when push came to shove I fell for it once again.

And then there is falling in love – one of the strongest feelings of all, perhaps, that always turns out to have questionable relevance to reality.

 Some spiritual circles I lived in for a long time elevated feelings over reason – as deeper, wiser, more important – being ‘heady’ wasn’t a compliment!

 So after thirty years of giving undisputed reign to feelings I am increasingly interested in looking more closely at the connection of feelings to reality, to discover, how compulsive and automatic our relationship to them usually is. A romantic relationship, but really all relationships, are fertile ground for that! Is something true just because I feel it? We often live as though it is, unquestioned, and even though we might think we know better. Can feelings be objectified and can we find accesss to a deeper plain of reality in that? There are signs for that.

 To be continued in the next blog, where I’ll explore this more in relationship to depression, something a lot of women seem to be struggling with these days.