Being a child of the 70s, I’ve always loved Free to Be You and Me!*
This feminist manifesto, in the form of children’s entertainment, was created by actress and writer, Marlo Thomas, for her niece, in order to refute the gender stereotypes expressed in children's media of the period.
It teaches us things like it’s all right to cry, boys can have dolls and girls can choose if, when and who they marry (even if their father is a king) etc.
I love every quirky bell-bottomed and afro-ed bit of it except one poem called The Sun and The Moon.
It goes like this:
The sun is filled with shining light
It blazes far and wide
The moon reflects the sunshine back
But has no light inside.
I think I'd rather be the Sun
That shines so bold and bright
Than be the Moon, that only glows
With someone else's light.
My understanding of the poem’s message to girls is this: don’t just take on the role of supporting the men in your life - whether that be at home or at work - you have a light of your own - let is shine! Great message, right? Well, kind of.
While I’m in full support of women’s equal rights and equal pay (and can't believe we're still fighting for it today!) I think that the glorification of sun culture over moon culture comes with real costs.
Let me explain. In Jewish thought the Sun is associated with masculine energy and the moon with feminine (I believe that is true for many other spiritual teachings as well).
The sun is a constant shining force, while the moon moves through cycles.
We live in a culture that does not value the more feminine cycle. We are bombarded with messages every day that tell us we have to be “on” all the time. There’s one ad campaign by Ray Ban glasses that epitomizes this glorification of sun culture. The ad always features a person doing something incredibly bold, wearing sunglasses of course, with a caption that says NEVER HIDE. Being an introvert that sounds like a nightmare to me.
The truth is, whether you identify as an introvert or extrovert, a man or woman or somewhere else on the continuum, all human beings go through cycles. As we get to know and honor those cycles, we also grow in our capacity to have compassion for and connection to ourselves, others and to the Divine.
In my coaching sessions I use the Hakomi Sensitivity Cycle to help my clients understand their cycles and find out where they get stuck along the way.
The cycle, when working smoothly, goes like this:
Person becomes aware (gets clarity) concerning his/her/their own essential situation and needs.
Is able to take appropriate action based on this clarity.
Experiences satisfaction as a result of successful action.
Able to rest and regenerate in order to become aware and clear about what is needed next (return to step 1) (half moon waning)
However, often because of core limiting beliefs, we can get tripped up along the way. Some people struggle with clarity (Insight Barrier), for others it may be easy to become clear but hard to take action (Response Barrier), or they might find taking actions easy but they never feel satisfied (Nourishment Barrier), and for most of us (in our go, go, go culture) have a very hard time resting (Completion Barrier).
In my coaching sessions I use the sensitivity cycle as a diagnostic tool to help clients discover where they may be experiencing a barrier (getting stuck) along the way and work compassionately together to help create new possibilities for change and growth.
Ready to try applying the sensitivity cycle to your own life?
Here’s an exercise that you can try this week: Pick one simple problem in your life (like, I’m hungry!) then get clear (I want to eat a burrito, with black beans and green salsa), take action (make it or go to your favorite burrito hub), take the time to feel satisfied (yum!) and then take a moment - could even be one minute to rest before you get clear about what you want to do next.
As always, I’d love to hear from you! Is this a helpful way to explore your own cycles? Did you try the exercise? Where are you most likely to run into a barrier?
*If you are not familiar with Free to Be You and Me check out this gem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUpLiJfV4_A