We are familiar with rants of the opposite gender around trying to understand the inner workings of each other’s minds, hearts and spirits. How a woman versus a man responds can be radically different. The dynamic play of opposites, named as “feminine” and “masculine,” are seen externally in all relationships, whether straight or gay.
What can create a lot of “juice” in a relationship is when partners have differences, ideally not so much to pull each other out of orbit, but enough to make things interesting. Many fights are actually poor communication around these inherent differences. When we look closely at these energies in pure form, we can see the opposing forces at play. The feminine is classically the responder to the masculine, actor. The feminine will take action, but often after being presented with a stimulus, probe or invitation. The masculine provides that initiation. I wonder then about when the feminine takes action? Surely the feminine wants to act on its own at times!
We can turn to the inner workings of the energy for our answer. That same polarity exists inside of us. Each of us has impulses, desires, streams of thoughts and emotions. For example, the energy is at play where the impulse to act begins. For a man, he may be responding (feminine) to an internal curiosity or impulse (masculine). A woman may feel the desire to act (masculine), but wait for more information first (feminine). Here we are. Both men and women act from a place of response, whether internally or externally.
These dynamic energies are a beautiful way to discuss our differences externally and to understand ourselves internally. Maintaining an internal reflection and observance of these opposing forces within us can support the complementary intertwining of energies. Out of balance, these energies can influence major aspects of our lives; we can feel depleted, depressed, overwhelmed. We can become aggressive or withdrawing, acting out by sabotaging our health, our relationships, or our careers.
We can say or do things from an ungrounded, unfiltered platform, mistakenly being “pulled” or “pushed” to do something, rather than feeling an unfurling of responsiveness and correct action.
Masculine energy is the holding container, the strength and solid ground, the pointed focus, the laser dialing in. The Shiva principle.
Feminine energy is the unfettered creative flow, the fluttering of potentiality, the expansive, inclusive, detailed, long view. The Shakti principle.
Both are inherent inside of us. You may have seen the image of rising snakes, crossing over to meet at the top, two heads, two bodies. These snakes are commonly seen over a wise person’s or healer’s staff, called the Caduceus. You can also see these snakes depicted explaining the Chakra system, the energy epi-centers in the body. The two snake bodies cross at a major chakra site.
The balance of these polarities is relative to our individual natures, spirits and bodies. What percentage of each energy each person has and maintains a balance in, regardless of gender, is unique to each: 50/50, 40/60, 70/30, etc. And at any given moment, that number can be shifting around, because when we are acting from one or the other energy, we may be 100% in it!
This is also relevant to the couples dynamic. Many couples complain about, but don’t necessarily discuss their issues from the perspective of unbalanced masculine and feminine energy—within themselves and between their partnership.
I see a lot of couples where the passion has become dormant due to an imbalance of these energies from both the individuals and their relationship. For example, when I hear about a man working 10 hours a day and needing to unwind at home alone, we can see where he is overly “masculine” at work and then needs to rebalance into his “feminine” side at home. Often the wives of these dedicated, hard-working men feel conflicted and confused about their feelings of resentment. They know the men are doing their part to provide and protect the family, but there is little time for connection as a couple. Many of these same women throw themselves into family life, providing exquisite care of the children, house and community. They become stuck in their “feminine” roles and will often complain about feelings of boredom or question their self-worth, which could be seen as a deficiency in their “masculine” energy.
From a perspective of energy, each one of us is a dynamic person, constantly going through states of equilibrium and disequilibrium. Ideally, we have the freedom, power and unconditional love of ourselves and those that we intimately share our lives with to explore the expression of those states.
This looks like each of us checking internally to sense what it is that we may need on any given moment: stillness, silence, conversation, a drink of water, a new pen, a hug, space, closeness. And we make space for our loved ones to do the same personal inquiry.
For these impulses stem from a deeply embedded self-regulatory system that heeds from an ancient mind-body-spirit wisdom of aligning energy with our environments, both in our personal bodies as containers for our life force and beyond.
Thinking in terms of masculine and feminine energies can allow us to play with what/where/when/why we “want” or “need” something or someone.
When a woman wants to be sexually ravished by her lover, she may be calling in a strong, forceful masculine energy from her partner to assist her own feminine energy in re-balancing. When a man craves being stroked with soft feathery caresses, he may be calling into balance his own tender feminine energy.
Listen, respond to yourselves, to your lovers. See how this energy is at play in our world and connects us to the Ultimate Source through not taking every desire and impulse as a “problem” or a personal defect.
Our bodies and our connections to each other are Cosmic Play, the energies made visible through our actions, thoughts and emotions.
To explore these concepts more fully, I refer you to the illuminating books of Barry Long (Making Love) and David Deida (Intimate Communion: Awakening Your Sexual Essence).