On Saturday, I marched with my wife and the women of San Miguel, with pink pussy hats galore. Women’s Right = Human Rights the banner said … like we have to even say what is so horrifically obvious. It felt like the 60’s again, and I was energized being on the lines.
The women sang the old anthem “We Shall Overcome”, the last word being ‘someday’. Well how about ‘today’, or will we keep imagining that someday women will have human rights, or blacks or browns or reds will have human rights? Do we keep imagining that ‘he’ or ‘they’ will give us what innately belongs to each and every human?
Vietnam was a catalyst for men, for our physical lives were on the line. Abortion rights, domestic violence, rape & abuse issues, equal pay … today women’s lives are on the line, physically, emotionally, economically. So I asked myself: How can I be an real ally to women? How can men stand in support of women in their struggle to be seen and honored for who they truly are?
I am amazed that any woman in the US could have voted for Trump. I acknowledge that I have objectified a woman’s body, I have used sexually crass language, in and out of the locker rooms. But when I watched my wife give birth to our two beautiful sons, my relationship with her, and the feminine, changed forever. That space between a woman’s legs is such a mysterious and sacred place. It is the entry to, and the delivery from, the most extraordinary process in this world … the birth of human life. It is the deliverer of the most exquisite and sublime pleasure, and the ultimate surrender into death and oneness. How can we not be in awe of its immense power? Is this why we fear women, that they have this capacity to wield this power such that it brings grown men to our knees, figuratively and literally?
There were several men like me who marched with the women. Most men stood on the sidelines taking pictures. The procession culminated at the center of Parque Juarez, and 2 women took the microphone. One spoke in English, the other in Spanish, everyone applauded the obvious declarations of human rights and freedom. I asked the moderator, a man, if I could speak to the men in the crowd. No, he told me, then everyone will want the microphone. This is what I would have said.
The greatest gift that a man can give a woman is his emotional presence. To be in his feeling body, connected, alive, sensitive to what she may be feeling, even when we haven’t a clue what that is. We have been trained to stay numb and detached, we have been programmed to not be vulnerable. To many men, staying numb and invulnerable feels like power. But the real truth is, it is weakness. And from that weakness arises our fear, our need to control, and the instinct to inflict harm.
When a man opens to his deeper emotions, he connects to his own feminine nature … tender, caring, compassionate, nurturing. As he learns to give voice to these feeling textures, he reaches out across that great chasm of non-expression that separates us from each other. In the words of Hafiz:
“I have come into this world to see this: the sword drop from men’s hands, even at the height of their arc of anger, because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound, our Beloved’s.”