Thursday, June 04, 2009

SeattleIntegral Meetup: The Feminine Speaks

While visiting Seattle, last night I had the honor of attending the June SeattleIntegral/Ken Wiber Monthly Meetup. Because of my work with my men's workshop, The Integral Warrior, and my work with Anyaa's and my workshop, Discovering Your Sacred Purpose as a Couple, it felt perfect that the meetup featured a "fishbowl" process that featured the women talking about the feminine while the men listened in silence.

For those of you who aren't familiar with a "fishbowl," it's generally a teaching technique around a scholarly discussion of an essential question in which student opinions are shared, proven, refuted, and refined through dialogue with other students. Last night's fishbowl seemed to be designed to give insights as to how women communicate and process and to provoke deep listening by the audience of men. The subject was "the feminine."

It began with an attempt to define terms around the feminine and gender, and soon moved elsewhere when agreement around the definitions failed. What I thought was interesting , and surprising, was that the discussion, with a couple of exceptions, centered mostly around an upper-left quadrant view and approach. By that I mean, most of the women did not talk about the interiority of feelings (Chris, Auriana and Heather were notable exceptions) generally associated with relational feminine qualities. Rather, the discussion seemed to be primarily focused on exteriority, what the feminine looked like from the outside, how it shows up, it's actions, what you can see.

According to some in attendance, and in stark contrast to last night's fishbowl, when the men were in the center a couple of months ago, the conversation focused around relationship.

What's going on here?

I suspect that it's a prime example of David Deida's Second Stage where men have mostly integrated their feminine and the women have mostly integrated their masculine, and so they talk about what they are seeing at that level of development, and what's important to them at second stage.

I'm not suggesting that all of the women last night were at second stage feminine, but that a majority may have been, and the Dominate Mode of Discourse, second stage issues, was all that was possible in that situation (See my original blog on the subject for a more detailed explanation). The concept of Dominate Mode of Discourse states that the conversation will go to the level of consciousness of the majority of participants unless there's a skilled facilitator to keep moving it forward to the next evolutionary level.

Now, let me make it very clear that I am not putting second stage down!
As Clare Graves said, "everyone has the right to be who they are," and I couldn't agree more. Second stage is an evolutionary shift in thinking of major proportion and I honor every one's perspective. I'm not even saying I have the last word on this. From my perspective, Chris, Auriana and Heather did that.

What a great group, and what a great group of people having really important evolutionary conversation, and it does seem to point out the necessity of men and women (the masculine and the feminine) to reintegrate their respective masculine and feminine higher selves, stepping to the 3rd stage concepts of pure love (the feminine) and pure freedom (the masculine) in Sacred Marriage: the union of our feminine and masculine selves.

(side note: isn't interesting that the photo of the Space Needle seems to be a dotted lower-case "i"...a symbol of integral?)

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