Archive for the ‘masculine-feminine’ Category

The Feminine Blind spot

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Since a few weeks I haven been wondering why the need I perceive in men/masculine – as they are holding so much in the world ‘out there’ – and the offer and skill of women/feminine to witness and hold that, is not gelling, is not coming to a fruitful synergy (yet?). It all made me wonder if we – women/feminine – have a collective blind spot that keeps us away from our real power? Power, as I understand it here, in the sense of full contribution to life itself.

As sometimes is the case for me, giving language to the question itself, elicit almost immediately the answer. This came from me from that deeper inner well: “The blind spot is that we have inner knowing, and our mind doesn’t know.”

Immersion Jackie

I understand this inner knowing as a connection – through subtle sensing – into the realms of the invisible, the intangible and the non-human parts of our reality. Inner knowing is not something weird, but a reality that is mostly ignored in our mainstream culture, although unconsciously it guides our choices and all serendipity and synchronicity in life.

It is this subtle sensing that ultimately ties us, humans, back with nature and Earth. It is a relationship that goes much deeper than sustainability. A better concept is thrivability – where ALL that exists can thrive. Ultimately it is regenerative in its nature when we let our actions be grounded by this wisdom.

Immersion Jürgen

In the systemic constellation we did in the Immersion around the topic of what is the need in the world and how it relates with us and our masteries, the Wounded Healer was one of the main characters. He seemed to have a lot of power and was holding a lot, but he was also very stiff, rigid and not flexible or fluent. It was only when he connected with the Grandmothers energy that he could relax in his body and starting to breath a little deeper. After that had happened – and of course much more happened in the constellation – he was able to turn to Earth itself and saying “Sorry”, on her request. That gave the final relief in the constellation.

Having this story in my mind and still wondering about the feminine blind spot I asked myself: what is the Wounded Healer in us, women? This was the answer that came up: “We, as humans, can’t make it happen; we need to co-create with nature.” So, if I tie this all together then we need to become conscious and explicit about our relationship with nature and the invisible in order to co-create with these forces and energies – back into thrivability of humans and the earth. It seems to me, the feminine has to offer these capacities to the masculine, and can also ask the masculine to protect these skills in service of the wholeness of humans and earth; life itself.

What do you think about these matters?

(The people on the pictures were participants in the Immersion, and were representing the Wounded Healer and the Grandmothers.)

Drinking tea with grandma

Friday, June 4th, 2010

This was the title of my Open Space session, here in Axladitsa in the program Immersion. (now some three weeks ago) Of course everybody laughed when I announced it. But I had a sense that I had a lot of my life’s experience to offer to many of these people who are doing such great work in the world. Later I found out that I am the oldest person here; and after all, I am a real grandmother with a granddaughter of 9 months! (see picture!)

Two young women immediately showed up, before my tea was ready. They carried questions about Feminine Power. These bright young ladies ask themselves what is the New Feminine? They have been educated, they have work with great responsibilities and they want to do it differently than mainstream governance, politics, economics etc. But looking back at femininsm of the sixties, seventies or eighties, they don’t find inspiration or support that fits their situation.

We talked about the pitfall that many women fall into as they haven’t learned the difference between being good at relations and emotions – but easily getting overwhelmed by it or disempowered – and the more impersonal stance in these matters. This would mean to take care, but staying grounded and centered, even when great pain or big chaos shows up. It would also mean that women need to develop the language to speak about the topics of relationships and what they are sensing in order to become very explicit so that they can be understood.

Interestingly a man showed up to drink tea with us and he joined the conversation. This turned to a deep inquiry about the different qualities of the feminine and the masculine. I was reminded of a quote of a native grandmother somewhere: Men hold the love and women hold the knowledge; that is how it should be. I remember how it turned my understanding upside down when hearing it for the first time, and now it showed itself again.

Mahmoud and Riva

We recognised that indeed the masculine has a great heart, and always wants to find solutions for the problems at hand. We were wondering if asking for help and protection was one of the new skills the new feminine has to integrate back – independent women as we all are?!? What if we would do this in service of the earth and life itself?

Probably the more feminine skills of sensing and relationship need to be used (more) in sensing things like right timing and alignment with the whole of the context we find ourselves in; including the Earth and the invisible and intangible.

Drinking tea at the little table in front of the house spilled over to the next days and generated more deep conversations… and for myself, being a grandmother who shares bits of her journey whenever needed, seemed to fit my mastery! I was surprised with that, but it feels very right and very comfortable. In our ‘debrief’ of the gathering yesterday it was recognised that ‘grandmothers holding the rim’ seemed very important for gatherings who want to be life affirming. More to be explored later I guess.

The Return of the Feminine and the World Soul

Monday, October 5th, 2009

I arrived here in Axladitsa on Tuesday evening and went straight to bed. So let’s say that my writing retreat started on Wednesday and now it is Monday morning as I write this. It is the first morning I feel really well. I opened my eyes before the day actually began and the sky was still more orange than blue. The two dogs I am ‘babysitting’ are still quiet and only two from the five cats showed up yet.
These last five days were more of: sneezing, feeling very weak in my legs, dripping nose, sour muscles, no energy ‘to do’ anything… so what I did was reading two books.

The first one was on Action Research (AR) (Systemic Action Research. A Strategy for Whole System Change, by Danny Burns), because I have a sense that the way we look at ourselves, at our collective learnings, and the constant attention for next questions and patterns are exactly that: action research. Of course, as in every discipline there are different schools with different focus points, but what I noticed so far, besides what I/we can learn from it, is that AR could learn something form the practices and models that we use in both Art of Hosting and Women Moving the Edge. So, I am looking forward to find a synergy that is a win situation for all of us and for the planet too!

More inspiring was a book by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, (The Return of the Feminine and the World Soul) which I only knew from a few quotes, which made me think it was the name of a woman. But no, it is a man, well versed and totally committed to a particular Sufi tradition. He has amasing insights to tell us! In the introduction, the shaman Sandra Ingerman writes: “In this book Llewellyn puts together his teachings on the feminine, which he stresses again and again is central in working with global healing and transformation and life’s regeneration. In these writings he reminds us of the primal secrets of creation that belong to the feminine. He emphasizes how this deep knowledge is by nature an inseparable part of the woman’s body and her inner knowing, and how it is especially needed in this time of great crisis to revitalize life as it is meant to be lived. He also reminds us of our ancient understanding of the anima mundi, the soul of the world, and how vital her presence is at this time. It is time for us to bring back the soul of the world by once again honoring this life-giving force.”

It is especially this notion of World Soul that was new to me, at least on a conscious level, and that inspired me a lot. Regular readers know that I developed the Spirit-Source model and I hardly ever came across anyone who – like I do – made this kind of distinction between the transcendent and the inner sacredness of matter/world; let alone in such a clear way. Llewellyn now offered me some more language and a framework that fits and enhances my own model.

One of the chapters’ title is: Anima Mundi: Awakening the Soul of the World. It speaks about the world, not only as a living being, but also as a spiritual being. And that as we all have a soul that is pointing us to our own unique life and spiritual home coming, the same is true for the world. It has a soul, a sacred substance, an inner realm and not only the outer manifestation that we all know too well. The author states that women have a special role to play in this work that contributes to the healing that is needed and the emerging of the new.

How I will be able to integrate all this in my own writing I’m not sure yet, but as the introduction of this book states: “I know everyone reading this book will be inspired. So please read on.”

The Evolving Feminine

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Life can take quick turns. August ’08 I moved, and last weekend again, I packed all my stuff into boxes and stored them with the furniture on an attic and in an old stable. Life seems to push me forward, much quicker than I had thought or sensed myself.

The cards told me that this move, this transition is about my mastery. And my mastery seems to be to write a book. I seem to be pushed and pulled toward it. I have been looking around, searching for the book that would give language to what I see and experience, but it doesn’t seem to exist. The practice of Art of Hosting comes near; Theory U is brilliant in naming Source in business and academic environment and also Spiral Dynamics gives part of picture, but there is more that is going on these days!

Yesterday, sitting on the bus driving from Athens to Volos, to bring me for another two weeks to this peaceful and natural place called Axladitsa, I understood something new. In Women Moving the Edge, we have been talking about ‘the evolving feminine’; how the archetypal feminine is part of evolution too, and is looking for its contemporary expression through us; the women who are living now.
What I realized yesterday – driving through the moonlit evening – was that we need to integrate the masculine or yang capacities in service of the yin/feminine knowing.

The process we have experienced – and continue to experience – in the series of Women Moving the Edge gatherings, is not only a deeper dive in the feminine archetype – which is more than valuable in itself and very much needed! – but it asks us now to make distinctions, to find language, to describe this nebulous, intangible way of knowing and sensing. It asks us to use the yang energies to speak and teach what came to us in insights and inner knowing, from this feminine place of Source.

That’s what my book will be about: make clear distinctions, find accurate language, see the different steps in this Great Turning, this Transition time. And how we are heading towards a next step in the synergy of yin and yang, on our way to a life-affirming co-creation.

If you feel called to engage in this evolving feminine archetype, these are the guiding questions we will work with in the coming months:

How can we more fully embody
the wholeness of the evolving feminine
in service of the regeneration of society?

(London, Oct.19-22; Kairos Center)

How do we embody the collective feminine in order to transform the wounds of the past in service of the future potential?
And in what ways will we apply the collective feminine in service to ourselves, our communities, and the Earth?

(Cape Ann, MA, Nov. 13-16, Inn Magnolia)

Sourcing and the illusion of safety

Friday, May 15th, 2009

This is the last bit of my harvest of Women Moving the Edge 6!
We didn’t talk much about sourcing this time, but it was happening a lot. One of the participants named I as: What comes up when I sit in my void (and I am not going to read books or scholars)? What comes up when we go there, with the collective?


Over time of these six Women Moving the Edge gatherings we see that we hold both large concepts as well as how to make things happen. They are a modern translation of the Red Tent, gatherings of women, coming together in a sacred and safe container, each bringing their own gift, and then – consistently – taking it into the world.

To sit in the void together, that’s what we name collective Sourcing. And it is a practice for a community to evolve itself.

Already during the gathering had come up the wisdom that somewhere, deep in history, the feminine had agreed ‘to stay inside’ and let the masculine do the job ‘out there’. Now the gathering was over, everything packed again and we were back in Judy’s house with our little hosting team of three.

If we were to come out more into the world I needed to know what this old deal had been about. What did the feminine get in return for ‘staying inside’? Soon enough we understood we got safety in return. And now we are caught up in this big illusion of safety provided by money, by organizations, by the system! As if we still have to deal with wild animals and have to fight over food to survive. This doesn’t mean that I forget that there are a lot of people in the world with hardly or no food, but we don’t live anymore in the Stone Age and the food problem could be easily solved like … has shown.

So breaking the deal is giving up this safety and the illusions and coming back on Earth, instead of living in ‘the world’ full of concepts and ideas that so many times don’t have any link anymore with Life itself. We need to do this to get our human essence back…

A shift is happening

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

I want to blog about the start of our gathering Women Moving the Edge today; although I am not sure what is the red thread… here just some notes…

In the tradition of the previous gatherings we started with some music and the invitatin to all to use the time and the music in a way that served them best to arrive in the space and in the group. Some were dancing, others sitting in silence, some writing…


The welcome, sharing, check-in circle immediately had great depth with stories coming from the heart and the deep soul. In the conversation that followed and over dinner what fascinated me were two stories of ‘letting the old die’. One of a non-profit organization – build up in two years time – to then understand that this kind of organization was not going to give the results in community building that they wanted to. So they gave it up and dismantled it. The other one a for profit organization where the one who started it realized he was not the best person to lead it and stepping back. Giving free space to re-organise in a real new, innovative way.

I heard in every story bits and pieces of a shift that is happening. But also the many questions that it raises. Do we have the capacity to let the shift spread? How do we balance the old and the new? How to let the old die in a respectful way?

Another thread in the conversation was on the typical emotional patterns of women; the power of playing the victim, the arrogance of feeling better… Can we come to a real and deep love for the men and the masculine? We will need to, if we want to find a re-balance, a re-patterning in our selves and for the world.

How big can the power be?
As big as the love can be!

Ongoing spiral between Holding Space and Staying in Inquiry

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Just before lunch, on Saturday, the second day in our gathering Women Moving the Edge, my impulse was to speak about emptiness, speak about naming the feminine as ‘just being’. To me these are not the right words for what we are actually doing. It can be named more precise and explicit. And this has been my journey since a long time.
The so-called ‘emptiness’ is the holding space of the potential; indeed like a womb. It is an open space with no-thing in it, but it is a space that is ready to be of service to let new life unfold.
The ‘just being’ is like being pregnant. There isn’t much you can ‘do’ while being pregnant, but still a lot is happening! But the act of giving attention and care has value and importance.
Holding space – beyond being pregnant – is to be understood as holding space for your children to grow up. You want to support them so that they become their true self; you are holding space for that potential, although you don’t know what kind of person they are going to become.

This all let me to explaining more of my model and what holding space has to do with finding the right question and embracing a bigger complexity. Here is what I wrote on it earlier:
“At some point in our inquiry, it occurred to me to wonder why we (women) were always speaking about Source, and not about Spirit. It seemed obvious to us women that holding space had to do with Source, not with Spirit. But why? It got me thinking.


Following some impactful physical/energetic experiences, I realised that – for me – holding space is something that happens in my body. I don’t ‘do’ it, rather, it happens through me. It is as if my body is a vessel, through which I am able to hold space for potential to unfold. We are familiar with this idea of ‘potential unfolding’ when we think about raising our children. But now we were applying it to groups and organisations. Is it always future oriented? Again: why Source and not Spirit?

The more I contemplated it, the clearer it got. To my sensing, Spirit comes – somehow – from above, from somewhere away from here, while Source seems to be accessible from somewhere deep within. Source is like a seed, it holds potential, which can unfold into manifestation. But the full picture needed to include Spirit. So what was that about? What did it have to do with manifestation?


In my daily life, I understand Spirit as asking for distance, reflection, talking about, concepts… very different from potential! Spirit has focus and clarity. It seemed to me that the translation of Spirit into ‘the future that wants to emerge through us’ was to stay in the inquiry, to keep the questions open. It is the intention that some innovation will become possible.

Wasn’t that a beautiful couple: Holding Space for Potential to Manifest and Staying in Inquiry to discover new patterns? Isn’t the synergy of these two what we desperately need in our complex world with it’s huge challenges?”

Since I wrote this piece there is more to this model. In a conversation with Maria Scordialou, Sarah Whiteley and Judy Wallace, as preparation for our upcoming program The Edge of Collective Sourcing, we saw a new aspect in this model. This is what we saw:
Ongoing spiral between Holding Space and Staying in Inquiry creates New Wisdom
We realized the ongoing dynamic  – like a spiral going back and forth – between the level or depth of Sourcing and the level or depth/height of Awareness or Spirit.
The depth of the potential can only become accessible for manifestation and action when we are equally able to become aware of the intention or the clear purpose. This explains us the importance of finding the good guiding question(s). If our question comes from a higher level of awareness it will invite in a deeper possibility of sourcing. In this widened field of wisdom, through many cycles, new wisdom can be generated.

Embracing more Complexity

Related with this – and drawing it in the model – we realize that this dance between both poles in the spiral also relates to widening our reach in the manifest. The depth of sourcing and the height of the intention make sure that we can embrace more of the whole, which is so needed in dealing with the challenges of our time. “

Many of the participants were very happy to get this framework and to see their own role in holding the new paradigm. One participant said: “There is wholeness in the model. It is like an egg.”

This is an idea worth spreading

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

Someone send me the link to this incredible video! It is one of the famous TED-talks, where you can find a lot of inspiration, and good presentations!
“Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened — as she felt her brain functions slip away one by one, speech, movement, understanding — she studied and remembered every moment. This is a powerful story about how our brains define us and connect us to the world and to one another.”

Stay with it

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

It is now two weeks ago, that third day of Women Moving the Edge. Of course I don’t remember everything, the memory isn’t that fresh anymore, but still I want to complete my harvest of this fascinating time together. With the help of my own and Maria’s notes and Helen’s and Judy’s blog I come a long way.

I remember that on the evening of the second day I was very surprised to hear so many stories from these women, which revealed lots of un-freedom, lots of pain held in the area of embodiment, the area of sexuality. I had forgotten that my own journey through years of emotional bodywork, 5 Rhythms dance, family constellations and trauma-work had freed me from a huge pile of inhibitions. And it isn’t a path that is taken by all the women! It made me think of integrating more of this experience maybe in the next gathering of Women Moving the Edge.

Now it was Sunday morning. Anne-Marie shared her story that she entrusted her little baby into the arms of her husband. Feeling the power she had as a woman to keep it with her, to hold on to it, to keep him out. Still she did it, she handed over the baby so that he could make his own relation with the little child, could learn how to handle it. This conscious act of ‘handing over the baby’ and ‘stay with it’, as she named it, seems so essential for us women, in the world of today. We must not assume that men know what we know; we must not blame them if they don’t know how to hold the baby; we must not turn our backs when they do it ‘wrong’. Can we ‘stay with it’??? Can we show by example? Can we walk our talk? Can we give attention to them, instead of the other way round?

Maria and Sarah arrived, having been on a grandma’s funeral. Effortlessly, they took their space in the circle and fitted in. We had invited them to join the circle, even if they couldn’t be on time. Death is part of life, and our gathering should be able to hold it all. It did. No problem at all.


Friday, February 1st, 2008

Here we are in the room in which the third Women Moving the Edge gathering will start, this afternoon at 3pm.

The three of us, Judy, Helen and myself are making the place into ours: beautifying it by putting flowers, arranging the chairs in a circle, adding colors and drawings to the flipcharts which hold our deep questions. We prepare it for whatever wants to happen: putting books out, and make pencils, pastels and paper available for everyone, installing the music system etc.

Being here and settle in ourselves is an important part of preparation, of building up the space, ‘the energetic container’ in which the whole gathering can unfold. Helen is still coloring some charts, Judy is looking through her journal, I am importing some music and writing this blog entry. It is so good when there is time to prepare in this way.

Yesterday we sat in circle almost whole day, going deeper and deeper in the conversation and the questions we are holding; trying to dig deep into the unknown. The innovation, the newness here, is that we also include the wisdom and information we get from our bodies. When it doesn’t feel right, then we are not there yet! We all have a sensing of cycles – like if we are done or not – we all have a sensing of what is natural, but we recognized how much we are dis-sociated from our bodies. We have lost this natural connection, and most of the time we live (only) in the world of concepts and ideas, shoulds and woulds, norms and so on.

Will we be able to come to this place of presence, where we can speak and act ‘in the moment’ where body and mind be/act/live together in the same instance? This is my big quest for this gathering: not only be able it to do it on my own, but do it all together. Can we inhabit the inter-subjective space in presence?

Another wonderful journey is to unfold!