Dianna took a sip from her wine glass and looked at me across the dinner table.
“Thing I love about you Nick”, she said", is that you are a man who is in touch with his sensitive intuitive feminine side”.
“Actually no”, I answered", I’m in touch with my intuitive, sensitive masculine side”.
We so often make the assumption that sensitive men are in some way ‘feminine’.
Is this valid assumption? Is this a helpful assumption? Is the feminine all softness, sensitivity, gentleness and nurturing? Is the masculine all hardness, reason, aggression and action?
I think not.
Consider one of the most primal of masculine archetypes, The Hunter. I’m not talking here about the modern hunter with his combat fatigues and high velocity rifle. I’m talking about the hunters of indigenous hunter-gatherer cultures who provided nourishment for their communities. Men have been such hunters for most of human history, far longer than they have been warriors… or scientists, or entrepreneurs.
To be successful, a hunter had to be utterly intuitive and sensitive. He had to be attuned to his environment. He, in fact had to be one with his environment. He had to be able to read the signs of the seasons and the weather and the terrain. He had to be awake and open in all his senses, able to tune into the subtlest signs.
And he had to have deep bond with his prey. A loving bond in fact. There was always reverence for the prey, regret at the taking of life, and rituals to restore balance. The bond was so deep that often it amounted to identification. In trance and visions, the hunter actually became the prey animal.
It is fascinating to watch footage of modern day hunter-gatherers: The days or even weeks of reading auspices for the right time to hunt; the long hours of patient tracking and waiting; the sudden decisive action of the kill; the feasting and celebration of the community that is being fed and thankfulness to life that has sustained life. The songs, dances and poetry....
In the archetype of The Hunter, we have a beautifully expressed blueprint of masculine intuition and sensitivity. We have a picture of the masculine as a nurturing energy.
I am not suggesting that we should grab our spears and go hunting! No, the calling here is simply to meet and honour the primal hunter in our soul. To acknowledge and above all embody and live from both sides of ourselves: the intuitive sensitive side and the side that is swift and deadly at the kill. Heading off into nature (without a spear!) can be a powerful way to do this. I “made my soul” in many long solo walkabouts in the Scottish Highlands in my late teens and early 20s. I have taken small groups of men into the forest for weekend retreats…. No tents, no watches, no phones, no facilities and only an open fire to cook on…. and seen men I thought I had known well for years reveal for the first time their true heart.
As men, when we package our sensitive, attuned, nurturing qualities as the "feminine", we put them outside of ourselves, we make them other than our essence. In doing so we cut ourselves of from a vital part of our power. We do better to embrace our sensitivity as a intrinsic part of our masculine identity.
In Part 2 of this post I'm going to talk about another aspect of men and sensitivity: the hyper sensitive man who is rejecting the dynamic "yang" aspect of his personal power and authority. Such men are often spoken of as getting in touch with their feminine. Is it really the feminine they are expressing, or is it simply an absence of the full, balanced and mature masculine?
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Mentor, transformational coach and author
"Holding a strong centre ground between life coach, natural health consultant and sexuality coach I work with the whole man, guiding you through the truly big challenges in life: Identity, purpose and confidence, work, relationships, sex, health and wellbeing."
"So I've got a string of letters after my name and 25 years in the field.... It helps being qualified and experienced. But the most valuable thing I can share is what I have learned the hard way in my own life journey from shy Mr Nice Guy to empowered King in my own realm."