Both/And | Yes/And

by Julie on September 18, 2009

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IMG_6728I’ve noticed a curious thing as I inquire more deeply into the awakening Feminine. There seem to be two (at least) threads of conversation around the Feminine: awakening feminine consciousness in both women and men, and finding balance within our own beings between our masculine and feminine aspects; and, women awakening to their own unconditioned, organic way of being, and the natural power that comes from this energy becoming conscious. Unabashedly Female is a place to converse about the latter, to discover together what is coming into consciousness solely through women.

Most of the time, I read about the former, feminine qualities that both women and men are finding again, such as receptivity, collaboration, relationship and a host of others. When this is the conversation, women and men are included together because these aspects are part of coming to wholeness in every being.

Many times when I speak (or write) of the latter, as in this blog, I ‘hear’ people being in the either/or mindset, a mindset that comes from the culture we are swimming win, one based on a patriarchal perspective. Ubiquitous in this perspective is the notion that things are either/or: that one is either for or against; that either something is true or it is not true; that if I speak of one thing, then I am negating its opposite. This either/or perspective shows up often when I write about women and re-discovering our own nature, that of the sacred feminine. It’s as if our conditioning as women tells us we can’t or shouldn’t look at ourselves with curiosity and wonder as different than men. Or, perhaps it is old conditioning about needing to support everyone else rather than seizing the opportunity to REALLY give ourselves time for reflection and meditation on our own nature. Or, maybe it is based on fear and is a way to avoid the looking within that is necessary.

When I write of women being loving and compassionate and wise, I am not negating that men can also these things. When I write of the ‘Mother’ being absent from our culture, I am not saying that the ‘Father’ has been truly available to men.

What I know to be true is that a compassionate, relational humanity is based on a both/and model. In the humanity model we are opening to, one that is becoming more balanced between the masculine and feminine, we will see from a perspective of both/and, where we agree that we are different beings because we are different genders. Through this perspective we celebrate all of life and the differences that flow through our experience because the spirit we are flows through different gendered bodies.

Celebrating differences is celebrating the diversity of nature. It doesn’t mean continuing the sense of separation or the better than/less than  that has been a hallmark of our patriarchal culture. Instead, celebrating the organic truth of our nature allows us all to bring our full selves to the world, to honor the elegant unique simplicity of our design.

The idea of both/and is becoming more prevalent in many places, but I first encountered the power of it in an improvisation class I took a few years ago. We did an exercise called, “Yes, and” where you willingly accept the last improvisor’s choice of action and build upon it with your own. IN other words, you don’t block what they just brought to the experience, but rather build upon it. This experience was an amazing learning opportunity for me in two ways: 1) I got to see how conditioned I was to block, to take in another’s experience and want to change the direction, say ‘No’ to it, find some problem with it, or to see it as an opportunity to disagree with it and come up with something better. While most of this was pretty unconscious for me, the exercise brought it out. 2) By having to accept where the improvisation was going, which meant accept the other’s choice and position, and then finding a way to build upon it and move from it forced me to acknowledge the other person’s AND their experience and find a way to create and collaborate with inclusiveness. It was an experience of connection rather than separation, opening rather than closing off.

I see Both/And | Yes/And as two very similar world views we can hold in these times of deep chaos and churning. There is no limit to what we can create together as a world of human beings yearning for peace when we come together, when we honor where the other person is, when we act with reciprocity and empathy.

What if our design as woman and design as man is exactly perfect?

What if under our conditioning lies the intelligence of our being, an creative and cooperative design that fits together like a 7 billion piece jigsaw puzzle?

What if our solution can only come out of a clear seeing of all that exists right now and a new possibility that can come from everything that is here?

Our evolution as humans depends on the power of Both/And. It depends on the full flowering of the female gender and the male gender, blossoming out from the constricted conditioned attitudes we’ve been holding.

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