Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Yang, again

This is a lot like the last journey, so I'll keep it brief:

An hour or two in, as my attention shifts from the ayahuasca gurgling in my belly to a certain tightness in my heart, I remember that the last time this happened the next thing that happened was turning into my partner for a spell; I prepare myself for the estrogen influx. My heart does open. There is a wash of love. But check it out: this time nothing curvy. In fact it's totally masculine, with about a zillion exclamation points afterwards. My body is suffused with an energy of loving support and strength. I feel like I could build a city on my heart, that I could wrap my arms around everything dear to me and keep it safe and protected. My heart opens, fearlessly with warmth and strength flowing out of it, to light up the world. Suddenly the term 'lionhearted' makes a great deal of sense. It's not as sweet and pleasure-filled as the super feminine energy, but it does have the huge advantage of actually feeling like me—but better, like a higher version of myself, the man who I am when I am clear, who I most aspire to be.

It's cool for all the reasons you might imagine, but it's also a huge relief. A lot of my ayahuasca experiences thus far had really been about becoming more comfortable with my feminine energy, a theme that was echoed in my romantic relationship as well. On the one hand it opened up a lot of worlds and gave me a lot of insight into myself. On the other hand, the extreme extension of this path seemed a little freaky - was I about to grow a vulva and start to like Lifetime movies? So it was very reassuring that after digging around in the pink side of the sandbox, I found myself back on the blue side, to see that all the toys were still there and still fun, and that they had been given that cosmic profundity that had first visited me in the feminine guise. Medicine makes things a lot more intense and having spent so much time in the intense feminine made regular masculine seem a little lackluster, so it was very balancing to come back to a similarly intense masculine. A little trickier too. Amplifying the feminine usually works out ok; it can get a little weird - too catty, too chatty, too indecisive, but generally it's really not that bad; too motherly, too sexy, too nourishing, too loving, too communicative? We'll live. Granted there are certainly other unhealthy elements of the feminine that become messy if amplified but there is a pretty broad path on the healthy end of things.

Amplifying the masculine is a much dicier proposition. The basic masculine virtues, strength, clarity, decisiveness, are every bit as necessary as the feminine virtues. But, as the boys in IT would say, they don't necessarily scale well. The very solidity of masculinity, which is its core and its beauty, also makes it difficult to expand it gracefully. (We'll just skip the obvious joke here.) Feminine energy, being soft and yielding, can more easily increase without bumping into things around it. Masculine energy is harder and more decisive, so it can easily become unyielding, insistent, closed. And of course there's that will to action which is so necessary to the whole equation, which becomes a healthy amount of aggression with a little amplification and easily becomes a monster when it really gets turned up. It's not that things can't be extremely masculine and extremely good, but at least in the culture we live, the path for doing so seems much more precarious and far more rarely traveled.

Which is why this journey seemed so great: because it was about feeling all this great roaring masculine stuff in my center and then having it radiate out of my heart, under the gentle and compassionate guidance of love. Because I felt strong like a lion, I could be gentle like a kitten, without being afraid of being attacked. And because I could be gentle like a kitten, I could be strong like a lion, without being afraid I was attacking.

I like it.

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