Reclaim Your Power
Hello again lovely readers!
I don’t know how many of you have discovered my list of recommended readings, but I was just reminded of a book that is on there and I wanted to bring a bit more attention to it, as I believe it is a powerful read for both men and women, despite what the title might lead you all to believe. The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida is a seriously important read. The cover touts A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire. I think that sums it up quite beautifully. Intrigued? I know I certainly was when I came across it. And I can appreciate that the word spiritual may be a turn off to some people, as there is a bit of confusion around what that word means and many people associate it with religion. If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time at all though, you will know that I absolutely do not promote organized religion, nor am I involved in any organized religion. I think of spirituality as extremely different from religion.
I recently came across a definition of spirituality that fully resonated with me. This is taken from an article on spirituality and trauma found on the US Department of Veterans Affairs website:
“Spirituality is a personal experience with many definitions. Spirituality might be defined as "an inner belief system providing an individual with meaning and purpose in life, a sense of the sacredness of life, and a vision for the betterment of the world." Other definitions emphasize "a connection to that which transcends the self." The connection might be to God, a higher power, a universal energy, the sacred, or to nature.”
I especially appreciate that it references something that provides meaning and purpose, as that could be anything and has nothing to do with organized religion or some prescribed belief system. I also love that it mentions nature and a Universal energy, as this is what I tend to relate the most to. It feels important to clarify what I am referring to when I utilize the terms “spirit” or “spirituality,” as I don’t want to turn anybody off and I do know it can be a sensitive subject. And I certainly don’t want to turn you off from the book, as it feels that the author is also coming from an energetic viewpoint and framework – the polarity of masculine and feminine energies and how they express in our reality, but especially the beauty and power of what is possible when they come together in a healthy, unconditioned manner.
Getting back to the topic at hand, I am reading on the back cover of the book right now a quote from author Ken Wilber: “This book will offend and infuriate some, inspire and test others, but challenge virtually everybody. Few are the books that discuss strong sexuality within strong spirituality. Love it or loathe it, it is a shout from the heart of one perspective of the eternal masculine.”
Whoa. Sounds intriguing doesn’t it? I remember this book kind of changing my life the first time I read it.
I was amazed to discover how insightful this writer is about many of the things women crave and long for. Here was somebody, a man even, putting so many of my own desires and longings into words – desires and longings that I couldn’t have even articulated myself, that I couldn’t put a finger on even.
You know how it is hard to know what you are missing when you’ve never had it before. I knew I was missing something in my relationships and interactions with men and here was somebody finally laying it all out for me – and with depth, insight, and passion. Yes! I learned so much about myself and many old recurring themes and patterns in my relationships.
To give you an idea of what you’ll encounter in this book, I thought it would be fun to highlight a couple of chapter headlines that stood out to me as I was flipping through…
The opening sentence of Chapter 13: “If a man [or woman!] never discovers his deepest purpose, or if he permanently compromises it and uses his family as an excuse for doing so, then his core becomes weakened and he loses depth and presence. His woman loses trust and sexual polarity with him, even though he may be putting much energy into parenting their children and doing the housework. A man should, of course, be a full participant in caring for children and the household. But if he gives up his deepest purpose to do so, ultimately, everyone suffers.”
This of course is true for both men and women – if we give up our passions and what drives us, ultimately, we all suffer.
This really speaks to me as I feel that we have been taught that “family comes first” and we get so wrapped up in what we “should” be doing and being too task-oriented. We (both women and men) believe that if we are taking care of all of our responsibilities, then we are good. I trust that many of us know that this simply is not the case. If we are not following our passions and putting our energy into what seriously makes our heart sing, then we start dying inside – more and more each day. Then we become resentful and frustrated and lost in our feelings of disconnection and discontent. We start to get destructive and our energy starts coming out sideways in strange ways. We lose sight of what really matters to us and start to see the people we care about as our enemy, when really, we are the ones that lost ourselves along the way – nobody else is to blame. I feel like this book speaks to that situation a great deal and helps us understand our energy, take responsibility for it, and refocus it to empower and support our journey. It helps bring us back to center.
From Chapter 41: “When a man sees a beautiful woman [or vice versa!] it is natural for him to feel energy in his body, which he usually interprets as sexual desire. Rather than dispersing this energy in mental fantasy, a man should learn to circulate his heightened energy. He should breathe fully, circulating the energy fully throughout his body. He should treat his heightened energy as a gift which could heal and rejuvenate his body, and, through his service, heal the world. Through these means, his desire is converted into fullness of heart. His lust is converted into service. His desire is not converted by denying sexual attraction, but by enjoying it fully, circulating it through his body (without allowing it to stagnate as mental fantasy), and returning it to the world through his heart.”
I love how this recognizes and validates our sexual energy and supports us to appreciate it more fully rather than feel shame or sinful for our very natural reactions and attractions. Sexual energy and attraction is not bad or wrong, as we are often led to believe. Instead, it is empowering and full of life and can be harnessed to support our life force and our connection to the world.
When we can recognize it and relate to it in such a way, we get our power back. We no longer need to get lost in fantasy or feel lack. We can simply appreciate and savor the energy, rather than feel so controlled by it – and out of control because of it. Our sexual energy is a huge source of power and creative force, if we can learn to relate to it, harness it, and utilize it as such. This book dives deeply into that!
From Chapter 22: “Don’t force the feminine to make decisions. A man abandons responsibility by expecting that his woman will always make her own decisions and then be accountable for the results. This expectation is a withholding of his masculine gift. It puts a woman in the position of magnifying her own masculine. It is good for some women to learn to animate their masculine capacity to make a decision and stick with it. But if a man abnegates his responsibility to provide his woman with the gift of masculine clarity and decisiveness, then she will become chronically sharp, angular, and distrustful of his love. She will cease surrendering in love with him, cease trusting his masculine capacity, and, instead, become her own man.”
Oh wow. This rings so true for me and my experience in past (unsuccessful) relationships.
When the partner I am with gives over all of their power to me and stops participating in the decision making process, I start questioning why we are even together. I could be doing just fine on my own. The idea of being in relationship is to be in a team, to collaborate, and to share energies. If it is all up to me, what fun is that?
We cease to be a team and I lose interest very quickly. I am a very strong woman and I need a very strong partner who can meet me there, not somebody who gives up their power and themselves to try to appease me or let me have it all my way. Boring! And this goes both ways I imagine – we all want to be with strong, healthy, empowered partners that are bringing themselves fully to the relationship. So long as we are healthy ourselves that is. Like attracts like. So if we are not experiencing a healthy, nourishing, supportive, enlivening relationship, we need to look to ourselves first and figure out how we have contributed to and/or created that situation for ourselves. The other person is simply a reflection of what we are bringing to the table.
Where are we giving our power away and how are we not showing up for ourselves? And for the other person? When we start getting real honest with ourselves and start digging deep, we can start to unearth the real issues and the real fears that are creating our reality.
This book helps open that up for us!
After getting so inspired by flipping through this book, I took it to bed with me last night to give it a more thorough viewing. And though I found a few things that rubbed me the wrong way (perhaps some over-generalizations about women and men and some language that hit a nerve, which might be some of the offensive things that Ken Wilbur was referring to), overall I feel this is a very important book and the good far outweighs any bad. I highly recommend it and say take what resonates and apply it to your life – and leave the rest! There are many gems to be found here. I could easily write an intriguing and thoughtful blog post on each chapter here and am contemplating doing just that. Could be a fun little project! I have much to say on each of the topics he covers. There is soooo much inspiration here.
I believe I will leave you with that. As always, it is such a pleasure writing for you and I get so much satisfaction and fulfillment out of doing so. Such rich interactions tend to stem from these posts. Thank you for your part in that!
Sending you all love and light and well-wishes! Feel free to comment or share any thoughts or ideas you have. And please – if what I’ve shared here speaks to you, get the book and let me know what you think about it! I truly do think you will love it as much as I do!