The New Motivation

I go to a whole bunch of recovery related meetings. At each meeting each attendee is usually given a couple of minutes to share. For the past three and half years I have attended at least three meetings a week or something. That means, that on average over the past 3 something years, I have practiced public speaking about 156 days, two minutes at a time, totaling about 312 minutes which is about 13 days of cumulative public speaking.

As you might imagine there’s a great deal of unconscious, boring ass, rambling ass shit in those thirteen days. BUT, there is also, and with increasing regularity, incredibly relevant and inspiring moments of awe flowing from all the possible conscious contact one soul helping another can conjure – tonight’s share was one of those moments.

It’s almost an out of body event. The experience of flowing before an audience is absolutely intoxicating. The power of sharing it, of unifying consciousness across a field of bodies is unmistakable. It’s a living resonance that’s tangible. Everyone was laughing, and when I finished my friend next to me gave me a high five! I kept thinking that I was only the vessel, the high five was on behalf of the Event, not the agent – the Godding, a moment of incarnation – “I,” wherever that was in the experience, felt embarrassed for being so bright.

The topic was “Motivation.” I started by relating a story I heard on an speaker tape which was fine. Blah, Blah, he was asked to pray for his business partners son in the hospital and he questioned his motives. Were his motives for the continued business relationship or for the genuine selfless act of prayer for his partners son? He concluded his story saying that God spoke to him with a question: Did praying for his business partner’s son violated any of his spiritual principles? …which of course it didn’t. Motivation? Who gives a shit.

Then I shifted to talking about how I’m crazy:
My school is an all girls school. They’re putting on this huge event for women’s empowerment. I’m a dude, and I’m all for women’s empowerment. My job doesn’t exactly feel that secure so I thought I would volunteer for the all night workshop a few days ago, and I got an e-mail back saying men weren’t allowed to volunteer for the all night think tanks. Ok. I felt a bit put off. They did hire me as a teacher AT the ALL GIRLS SCHOOL. Anyways, I guess I’m too much of threat in my masculine body to be an all night volunteer. Or their just misanthropists? Whatever. Today at lunch – I was sitting at a table of almost all men – I mentioned how I had volunteered and been turned down for being a man. It was hilarious. They all gave me hard time about it and the consensus was that I was a dumb-ass. Its an all girls event you dumb-ass. All the women organizers say they want men to come, but come on! Men have had their turn – over the past 5,000 years or so the story goes. The point is how my unconscious character defects orchestrate the very condition of my playing the victim again. “Oh! They don’t even want me to volunteer now! Well, Go Fuck Yourself!” What?! BUT, yeah… that’s where my crazy-ass mind will go. Not for long, but it’s there. So again, I come back to the truth of things: I don’t know why I do anything! BUT, the more that I become conscious of that deep, disturbing truth – the truth that I am at heart and at best an actor in this play and NOT God – the more easily, peacefully, and lovingly I perform my duty.

Those wicked scenarios that I will unconsciously manifest to feed my ego – the very stuff of my life where I play the victim or the most gracious – have consistently diminished over past three and half years as I have done the work of growing spiritually conscious. So motivation? Who gives a shit? 🙂

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Masculinity

I’ve been so deeply attentive to feminist thought, as praxis, that I feel a sense of nostalgia about masculinity. It’s more than nostalgia; it’s a feeling of duty I sense. The world is still hyper-masculinized. A 5,000 year old legacy of masculine domination isn’t neatly balanced by a few successive waves of feminism over the last 150 years. Feminism is still in its infancy across the globe, but in highly developed areas feminism – the empowerment of women in general – is outstandingly successful. So much so that I wonder what spaces men should stand – as allies, as human beings with gifts to offer.

Understanding the privileges I carry as a masculine body has been an enormous gift. I have labored to be an ally not only to women, but to non-heteronormative bodies (queer/trans bodies)- those whose subject positions, constituted by their gender, do not afford the same privileges.

Currently, my life is thriving in an all girls school. I work with very few men. I am surrounded by women, and I love it! I have found a space where my attentiveness to dynamics of gender is of benefit to an entire community of girls. This is the space that I am thinking about my masculinity. Everyday I perform masculinity that has internalized the critical lenses developed by feminism. Its a gift to have those lenses, especially as they enact justice. I whole heartedly believe that grasping the perspective that our world is gendered – power is negotiated with/through gender – is a huge step toward understanding broad contexts, and most humans around the planet have yet to posses that gift, for reasons of poverty, privilege, and ignorance (the latter two plague these United Stations).

Now, for me, what does a post-feminist male perform? What are his commitments? I seem to have lived into a space where a post-feminism must thrive for the sake of preserving masculinity. There is a real danger that justice is overshot for the sake of self-definition. I think all critical movements risk falling from grace into retribution. You don’t want a feminist voice to be so loud that you crush the creativity constituted by gender dynamics. By in large, this is a microcosmic problem that flows from special contexts like the one in which I find myself.

Feminism still has a long way to go! Instances of privilege are being statistically mapped to greater and greater degrees – from worker pay to developmental policy the world still privileges white males. I suppose I live my way into the answer… or not.

I’ve always valued integration. It’s absolutely amazing to recognize someone who is mastering an identity hospitable to genders. I find those individuals more interesting, but in any case, it is difficult to judge – the act itself is privileging.