I did not know what to expect as I approached the Victorian building finding my way into Neal’s office. I was there for an interview with a Rolfer Bodyworker to see if we were a fit to work together. Wearing a prosthetic on my left leg since I was nine years old, I was told I would have to learn how to live with chronic back pain. Now at 24 I had, had enough of the pain and sought out Rolfing as a possible solution.
Well, I can’t say that Neal had me at hello, but what he said to me ten minutes in had me ready to sign up right then and there. He said, “ Part of what contributes to your pain, is there is an imbalance between your left and right sides. You’ve relied on your right side to hold you up, you’ve relied on your masculine to support you, to balance you.”
“What, I have a masculine and feminine side?” In that moment I was given an understanding about myself I didn’t even know I needed. Twelve weeks and twelve Rolfing Sessions later, Neal had gracefully and lovingly opened me up on the left side of my body, into my feminine. Thus began my journey towards softening and trusting my feminine to support me.
Growing up, I did not have a mother or sister that made me feel safe, that instilled in me a trust of the feminine aspect as a safe place to lean into. Having to learn to do this for myself added tremendously to the Elder Wisdom I share now with younger women as their over reliance on the inner and outer masculine has reached a boiling point with many of them, creating burnout from thinking and believing they need to rely on the masculine in order to be successful.
If you are a women reading this, you may be questioning, how would I even know what is true for me? Is it possible that I have an over reliance on masculine energy?
The following observations and conclusions are based on my over 35 years as a therapist, so allow me help you get clear on what I mean.
First of all, if you have an over reliance on masculine energy, then you are enrolled in something of which you may not even be aware. I call it the The Big Lie. In just one sentence, here is what the Big Lie is:
Men are better than women
And here are some of the components of that Lie:
Men are more powerful, capable and effective than women.
Mens bodies are more valuable than women’s.
Fill in the blank with something from your own experience.
The Big Lie contains systematic weaponry designed to disempower women.
Take a breath, we are going deeper.
Now a part of you may balk at hearing all of this, saying, “No, not me Voge!” So let me break it down for you and after you read some of the ‘tells’ on the list, you decide.
You know you are enrolled in the Big Lie when:
- You say, ‘yes’ when your heart is screaming ‘no.’
- You are afraid of being ‘too much’.
- When you silence your opinions out of fear that you will appear too bossy – to not appear that you are forcing your opinions on others.
- When you are more in touch with a man’s vulnerability than a man is for himself – thinking and believing your job is protecting a man’s vulnerability. You do this so you can stay attached. That is the payoff.
- Believing lies that your mothers, fathers or other women told you, about the proper way for a woman to behave.
- You feel men are better decision makers.
- You prefer men to make the decisions.
- You don’t feel you have an equal say in your own home. (Even when you are the main income provider) You are willing to be overruled.
- You protect men from their fear of equality. ( The ERA introduced in 1972 has yet to be passed. Don’t tell me men are not afraid of equality.)
- You don’t say what you truly feel and think. You either learn to dilute it or keep it to yourself.
- You find yourself stepping up to the ledge of empowerment too many times and backing away, telling yourself, ‘next time.’
- Doubting what is true for you when a man has a conflicting opinion. You defer to his opinion.
- You’re afraid of hurting other’s feelings. It is what the author Carol Gillian refers to as the “tyranny of nice and kind.”
- Trying to be a better man then your father, husband, brother, boss.
- You feel and believe you do not have agency over your own body.
If you are a woman reading this list, and you insist that there is no way you have an over reliance on masculine energy, then consider this, the truth is, you live in a culture that does. You live in a culture that is 100% enrolled in the Big Lie. Its net is very wide and if you are a women in this culture, you are very much at the effect of the lie.
For example, the Big Lie corrupts women’s relationship to their emotions by making her believe that rationality and logic are more important than her feelings or her heart. When our relationship to our emotions is disrupted it leaves us disconnected, disempowered and out of touch with our gift of intuition.
Being enrolled in the ‘Big Lie’ backfires on you being relational – because
part of being relational is to share the truth of what you are feeling and thinking, so when you withhold those relational portals, you actually stop being relational in order to be connected. Paradoxically, you are actually taking yourself out of relationship to be in a kind of relationship, it’s transactional.
Let me give you another example of how women have been conditioned by the Big Lie. Let me remind you as well, this is multi-generational.
Often in a session I will ask a women about something big that happened in their life, and I watch this knee jerk response where I see them bypass what they are actually feeling and resort to an inner strategy such as:
How do you need me to feel? What’s the right answer?
That reveals to me how she learned, that if she felt differently, from what was expected of her, then there would be consequences.
It starts when we are young. Why do you think girls start having trouble when they hit adolescence with things like depression, eating disorders, and cutting? These are symptoms of when they are receiving mixed messages. On one hand, they are told to be authentic while simultaneously, under the surface, they are being enrolled in the Big Lie, that boys are better than girls. This is crazy making.
There is a wonderful book by Manon Garcia called, We Are Not Born Submissive. It is an exploration into female submission. Garcia claims that women in patriarchy, and I’ll say women enrolled in The Big Lie, like my mother was, make a shrewd calculation, that the price of freedom is very high. There is a reward by figuring out what people want you to feel, saying what people want you to think, knowing what people want you to know, and also what they don’t want you to know. You stay connected at all costs.
I witnessed this in my own home. It’s 1970, I’m 17 or 18. MS Magazine would not be published for another two years, yet I am on fire with the Women’s Movement. I haven’t worn a bra in over a year. I’m sitting around our large colonial style Dining Table, the kind with the one Captains Chair that had full arm rests and the three other Mate Chairs, without the arm rests. As in most homes across America, we all have our assigned seats at the table.
I become incensed with the subtle yet profound message being transmitted in my very own Dining Room.
I look up from my dinner and I say; “ Hey Mom and Dad! I have a great idea. Dad, I don’t think it is fair that just because you are a man, you get to sit in the most comfortable chair. How about each night we take turns, so that each one of us gets a turn sitting in the Captain’s Chair?”
It seemed fair to me, but not to them! The shit hit the fan. You would think I asked them to change their religion, that’s how serious and intense it got real fast. As they told me to shut up I kept pushing, “But it’s only fair isn’t it? Don’t you want our home to have equality?”
And then it hit me – my mother wanted no part of equality. She was enrolled in the Big Lie. From that day forward when my Father wasn’t home I would sit in the Captain’s Chair, whether to do my homework or have my lunch. I sat in that chair every chance I got and vowed never in my future home. Today all my Dining Room chairs are the same.
When you consider that every experience we have is a learning, so much of how we learned about the Big Lie was never directly communicated through words but through subtle codes and body language we absorbed in lived experience.
So where do we go from here?
I have lived through many historical moments, and we are living though one right now, so let me offer some historical perspective.
I’m going to go way back in time to when there was a Matriarchy. There are different schools of thought about when and where the Matriarchy existed. Some say Greece, others Egypt, I’ve even heard Atlantis, but the story goes that women became fed up with not being held in high regard by men, not being equal, so they left and created their own society. Men were only used for labor basically, a form of slavery and husbandry. But as the Matriarchy expanded it also grew in toxicity, showing women they were not doing a better job of being in power if the only way they could survive, was to rely on the abusive skill set they had left behind. As women became disenchanted with the Matriarchy, it was dismantled.
Although some women left in anger, still wanting to be in power, many more women left with a feeling of shame for their participation. They left, but they left holding inside a deep vow: “If that is what being in one’s power looks like, then I want no part of it.”
Many of us are still living with that vow. So you begin to understand some of the subconscious influences that continue to have an effect.
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to do a special workshop for Women of Color where I talked about how their Adaptive Child had to adapt to racism in ways my Adaptive Child did not have to adapt to survive. Very, very different adaptations. But every single one of us has an Adaptive Child that has to develop some kind of strategy to live in a culture aligned with the Big Lie. The Big Lie shaped us. It is time for a major reshaping.
Are you in?
So, where do we go from here?
Obviously the adaptations we learned as a child are no longer serving us now as adults and creating women-only communities like back in Greece are not the answer.
It can only come from being empowered however difficult of a task it is and what that means is for you to find your authentic voice and create inner oneness from a balanced and harmonious male and female energy. Furthermore it is the responsibility of every generation of women to evolve beyond the previous generation. So we have a big job ahead of us.
Are you in?
Start feeling into the ways that you adapted?
How were you shaped by The Big Lie?
What do you need to Release to meet the moment that is calling us? As you go through your day, pay attention to how The Big Lie is actively present in your life.
I offer some Releasing to get you started:
If you are new to The Releasing Process simply repeat out loud the sentences below. Stay connected to whatever feelings or body sensations that come up as you Release.
I Release the effects of how I was enrolled in the Big Lie that men are better than women, more important than women. Even if not one word was said to me directly, I picked it up subliminally I went along with it in order to survive,
I ask my Soul to step in and transmute all those aspects of me into the light. I ask my Soul to transmute all those aspects of me into the light who are holding that programing and conditioning.
I Release all the ways my 3rd chakra was corrupted by the lie, that has prevented me from fully and completely owning my power in a female body.
I call my Spirit back and my power back from my need to cooperate that way in order to survive. I am ready, willing, able and deserving to wake up to the truth that I am equal. That I too get to sit in the Captain’s Chair.
I Release my fear of poking King Kong with a poker for fear of his reaction.
I Release all toxic pacts and agreements I made with my partner that he is better than me. That ends today! I am done exulting him and diminishing myself.
I Release the effects of all the sexual abuse, and inappropriate behavior I had to endure in my life and career, having to smile and be a good sport about it, knowing HR and management would not do a thing about it.
I Release the multi-generational legacy of the buy-in to the lie from my mother, and her mother, and her mother. It ends with me.
I Release any past life influence and residue that I am holding in my energy body from any participation in the Matriarchy.
I Release all un-forgiveness I hold toward myself for the ways I abused my power in the past.
I Release all vows I made as a result of that lifetime to not fully embody my power, for fear I could make the same mistake and abuse my power now.
I ask forgiveness and I forgive myself and step into my 3rd chakra and own my power totally and completely.
And so it is!