Sunday, November 20, 2011

Don't Ask Alice!

"I knew who I was this morning, but I have changed so many times since then..."

Perception as you know is one of my favorite topics. A never ending source of eyebrow raising, head shaking wonderment when I try to wrap my head around how people can see the same thing, feel the same energy, or hear the same words and interpret them so differently it’s like they are speaking two different languages.

Last week getting to know an internet interest by phone I was told “You sound so forceful.” Of course in my world I was simply being passionate about a topic near and dear to my heart and I tend to speak with lots of enthusiasm. Then on Wednesday I was appreciated by a man who I was interviewing for a radio show, he said ‘What a lovely interview, thanks for being so gentle.” I know I spoke to him with the same kind of enthusiasm that I tend to lean toward, yet one person experienced me as forceful and the other as gentle. Give me another nibble of that bread Alice.

Needless to say one sentiment warmed my heart, the other raised my hackles.  I think it’s obvious which is which but because I can no longer assume anyone sees the world as I do I will spell it out.
 In being told I am forceful I hear judgment and a dark shadow looms over the comment as if I am emoting some undesirable aspect of the feminine.  Sad but true. If we woman were Amazonian warriors defending home and hearth I suppose being told you were forceful would be a compliment but in our culture it is synonymous with the masculine. He is rather forceful. Not necessarily a bad thing depending on the situation, but she is forceful …yeah…you get the picture. Hearing that makes me bristle and feel hard inside.

Then to contrast, when I hear a male tell me that I am gentle, the first words out of my mouth were ahhhh, how sweet, I say. Thank you for saying that. I feel all girlish and soft, warm and friendly, appreciative and open hearted. So is this me, my makeup, my past conditioning or is it inherent in the comment itself that is being directed toward me?  Is one comment actually inviting defense and the other connection?  Sure feels that way to me.

I do notice that one is an expression solely about me and the focus is ON me, ‘you are forceful’ doesn’t leave room for much more than either yes its true or no its not, agree or disagree, in a felt sense it’s a closed door. The other comment includes the speaker who is experiencing me and it’s clearly positive. It is a comment that says, you make me feel this way, not you ARE this way and I respond to that difference even if it’s only a linguistic one. It feels like a bud unfurling.

So why is this important?  I think I am at a stage where I am learning to discern in a new way which individuals are right to have in my life and which are not. Being a person who knows that upset and conflict is also a call to action and introspection in order to facilitate growth doesn’t help matters. If anything it has kept me involved with people longer than is helpful simply because my criteria for walking away is not as simple as whether an interaction feels good or not. It is far more complex since I won’t walk away from personal evolution. I know the message is coming for my own good and whether I get it with this person or the next, it will not stop until I DO get it. So I hang in thinking, well might as well do the work now.

 But you know what….I am currently wondering if perhaps it doesn’t have to be so complex. If the universe is giving me messages maybe some of them, MOST of them could be good ones, ones that feel lovely and warm and inclusive. Maybe it doesn’t have to be so hard!  I will still use upset to grow and I stay committed to looking at myself when activated but I am no longer sure it has to be as much work as I have made it in the past, or so much struggle. With the fellow who saw me as forceful, it feels hard. Granted the jury is still out since we haven’t met. He did make references to me being like a puffer fish (you know puffed up to look threatening and yet really soft inside) which doesn’t really bode well, but I did find that kind of funny and certainly at times true.

All in all though, I would rather a man simply looked past my defense and knew he could melt me. That kind of confidence is attractive. Not talking about my defense to me but standing firm and clear in action even if I circle around in feeling.  It is the masculine on purpose, unwilling to wither or shrink in the face of the feminine no matter what face it is wearing in its ever changing arsenal of feeling. 

Ahhhh, the longing to be met, to be seen and understood and in equal measure to understand another.

And yes, human, social, evolutionary skill sets are required for the successful and enjoyable execution of this dance. And the dance is not called, ‘you are this’ or ‘you are that’. A man who tells me who I am without me asking is setting themselves up for a whack!  It lights me up and not in a good way.
The dance is also not called ‘give me direction so I can decide if I should take a risk with you.’  A man who is looking for direction from a woman is also setting themselves up for a whack.

Rather,the steps of patient receiving and perceiving, listening and reflecting, curious questions that lead  in a solid and clear direction when I DO offer myself, even if its tentative at first like a soft shy colt…THAT is where you separate the men from the boys. Hint to guys....this does require action from you, a specific invitation to a woman's essence.

Can you imagine if men knew they were being called to confidently lead a woman into this response, to melt any resistance rather than believe it.

And reciprocally, that the feminine is to inspire this kind of desire to lead in a man. I think I am just learning the nuances of that task. How can I inspire a man to lead with certainty and clarity, yes I am playing with that.
But only the man himself can know where he is going, that is something that he hqs had to have wrestled with individually before I enter the scene. He would have to know his path and also how it includes and supports his beloved other, his woman’s healing as well as all those they encounter.

Yup, nobody said I was going for small potatoes! I want the whole enchilada. Ok, too many food groups, must be time for supper. No more Alice confusion, she is after all 10 feet tall!

Happy Happy Sunday ya all, the day of brunches and gratitude and the New York Times.

Authentically Yours,


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