BY: Dr Nancy Gahles, DC, CCH, RSHom(NA), OIM
…my heart broke wide open as I felt the pain and the woundedness in men that I hadn’t given much thought to…
“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.” This is the custom that I was brought up to practice when one had transgressed upon another. It is an act of contrition in the Catholic religion. One confesses that they are ‘heartily sorry’ for the offense. Breast beating the words of contrition “ through my fault, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault”. Only the priest has the authority to forgive you and to mete out a punishment to you. You must perform an act of penance after your confession.
The patriarchal authority always bothered me. It brought up feelings of inadequacy in me, a sense of weakness, and dependency. It bred a sense of learned helplessness in me that went deeply against my grain.
I was a good girl. A smart girl. A kind girl. A fun-loving girl. Yet I was being trained to doubt that and to be watchful for any misstep lest, when I die, I will be judged by the All Powerful Man, who could, at his Will, send me to the Eternal flames of hell to suffer mercilessly forever.
Fortunately, my father, (earth father not the one who Art in heaven) was a progressive man, a Women’s Libber, as we called them back in the day. I was one of 5 girls and he taught us that we could be anything we wanted to be and encouraged higher education as a foundation for intelligence, right thinking and decision making based on your own inner authority.
My father, son of a blue collar worker, went to college and law school on the GI bill. He studied with the Jesuits. The key Jesuit values permeated the way in which he lived his life. The Jesuits are an apostolic religious community called the Society of Jesus. They are grounded in love for Christ and animated by the spiritual vision of their founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola; to help others in all things. Cura Personalis is a Latin phrase meaning having concern and care for the personal development of the whole person. Another key value is Men and Women for and With Others. This value embodies a spirit of giving and providing service to those in need and standing with the poor and marginalized. One is encouraged to pursue justice on behalf of all persons.
I grew up in a small neighborhood where the Church was the center of our schooling and our social lives. I attended an all girls Catholic High School where academic excellence prevailed. I recall these facets of my upbringing because they were exactly that . Facets of my upbringing that shone crystal clear after I attended a webinar on Gender Reconciliation where Clay Boykin, author of Circles of Men, a leader in the field of male spiritual development, spoke. My heart broke wide open as I felt the pain and the woundedness in men that I hadn’t given much thought to. There were some men, I knew, who had expressed their vulnerability and the ability to be emotional. There were many others who were emotionally unavailable, emotionally abusive and downright domineering .
Truth be told, my life as a woman from puberty on was at the behest of men. They had the power to ask you on a date, to take you where they wanted to go, to hire and fire you, to promote or demote you. The society I grew up in was controlled by men. A woman in my day learned quickly how to be wily, to subjugate her needs in order to be a good girl, desired and wanted by a man.
Women in my day objected to this status and were encouraged to rise above this culture. We were the rebellious bra burners . We didn’t need men. We were self sufficient. We went to college, became professionals and beat the pants off those men. In the pursuit of equality, we emasculated any who got in our way. It was war. I was a warrior. Kill or be killed. Either you eat the bear or the bear eats you.
When I heard Clay speak, my heart broke open with sorrow for those whom I left in the wake of my destruction. Bless me Father, for I have sinned . Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.
I awakened from a deep metaphorical sleep. The scales fell from my eyes. They are just like us! They were not given the chance in our culture to be liberated either. Men, too, suffer. We share a common humanity. Suffering from the suppression of emotions is a painful process. Fruitlessly searching for opportunities for expression of feelings, for a “soft place to fall” is daunting.
I now look at men as the “men” part of wo-men. I perceive a whole entity of an energy that radiates both feminine and masculine essences. I see how mercurial the elements are. Changing like quicksilver, the yin and yang constantly in flow, seeking its level, like water, in any given moment, responding to the environment, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, spiritually.
Burying the past grievous offenses on both sides of the aisle, I actualize the Jesuit values that I was taught, Cura Personalis, Men and Women for and With Others. It makes good sense now and it feels good. I soften my gaze, open my heart, and become a soft place to fall and a safe place to laugh and play. I have Men-ded.
Editor’s Note: My search for the new compassionate male has brought me into contact with interesting people from all over the world. As my search began in the fall of 2018 I was invited to develop an initiative for Men & Boys for the Charter for Compassion; an effort that continues today. Early on I was introduced to the Women & Girls Sector of the Charter and invited to be on their leadership team. The thinking was that I could learn how they are engaging women worldwide which might present new ideas while on my search. Said another way, the women were helping give birth to the men and boys initiative. One of the women I have come to know is Dr. Nancy Gahles. Nancy has written this article about her experiences growing up and how the patriarchal system shaped her views on men, and how those views have changed and become more compassionate in recent months. – Clay Boykin
About: Dr. Nancy Gahles, DC, CCH, RSHom(NA), OIM
Dr. Nancy Gahles is CEO and Founder of Health & Harmony Wellness Education and Center for Integrative and Holistic Healthcare, TeleHealth & Harmony and Spirit of Love~The Rockaway Sangha, a member of the Charter for Compassion. She is a Chiropractor (Ret.), Certified Classical Homeopath, Certified Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) practitioner, Cert. facilitator in Compassionate Integrity and Secular Ethics and Ordained Interfaith Minister in family practice since 1980 specializing in the stress that underlies disease and pain management.
Dr. Gahles’ unique method, the Triumvirate Technique, integrates the best of the mind/body/spirit disciplines including homeopathy, diet and lifestyle, meditation, yoga/QiGong, breath/bodywork, cognitive behavioral techniques, spirituality in health and medicine, palliative care and end of life issues and positive potential practice.
Dr. Gahles is a member of the Board of Directors of the Integrative Health Policy Consortium (IHPC) and a Partner for Health for the Council for Homeopathic Certification (CHC) ; a member of the Advisory Board, Integrative Healthcare Symposium . Dr. Gahles is Pres. Emerita of the National Center for Homeopathy.
She is a free-lance healthcare journalist, newspaper columnist, member of the Association of Healthcare Journalists & author of The Power of $elf Care:A Common Sense Guide to YOUR Wellness Solution (http://amzn.to/16G1hAB). Dr. Gahles is a public speaker and TEDXTalk presenter (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6bZBwl636s)