Embodied Transformation & Evolution

Masculine Power meets the Feminine Heart ~ Calling Our Men Back Home

Posted by on Feb 27, 2018 in Featured Writing, Lifeletters & Articles | 4 comments

Masculine Power meets the Feminine Heart ~ Calling Our Men Back Home

The truth is, I’m not really a solid particle, floating around by myself in this universe. I’m embedded in a vast interconnected web of life, pulsating, alive, always changing, never separate. Spiritual teachings and quantum physics speak of this entanglement in some very beautiful ways, but the living coherence of this reality has not yet penetrated our hearts, our bodies or the way that we inhabit our everyday lives.

In many respects, this is a more feminine vision of reality. The feminine essence is the radiance of the non-separate dimension of life, the embodiment of love, connection, empathy, embrace, tenderness, holding. Many people believe that the balance in our world has been tipped for a long time away from this dimension and toward the masculine; and that we are  long overdue for the re-emergence of the feminine. (Time’s Up!) I do believe there is a lot of truth to this perspective, and like all perspectives, it has its limits. One of them has to do with how we as women relate to men and to the masculine principle.

If I, as a woman, am able to embody the essential truth of the feminine, I may be quite surprised by the implications. Interconnection is a very powerful, very demanding reality. When I drop into the depth of what it means to be connected to everything, I wake up to a shocking level of responsibility. I can no longer distance myself from what goes on in our world, using my mind. I realize that I am a part of everything: I can’t let myself off the hook and say, “This has nothing to do with me.” My feminine intelligence will not let me do that.

I’ve been investigating this for a while now, in relation to the kind of violence that is happening on the planet. The research that is now emerging about the boys and men who have been the shooters in the mass killings in the US is very compelling. Almost every single one grew up in a broken home, without the ongoing presence and support of a father. You can listen now or later on to Warren Farrell, a beautiful man who has devoted his life and intelligence to this topic:



In the first video Warren draws a very interesting link between the role of the father and a boy’s capacity to develop empathy. The father is the one who enforces boundaries. He does this in different ways, according to circumstances. Quite often with the father, it happens  naturally, when he is playing with his child. Fathers play with their children much more than mothers do—I see this all the time in our neighbourhood. Fathers are the ones who call their children out of their comfort zones, who encourage them to take risks, to stand up for themselves, to find their core strength and their sense of direction. A boy who does not develop these capacities cannot really embody his masculine essence. Such a boy can suffer terribly as soon as he leaves the home and enters school. David Fisher describes what happened to him at his school:


I’m not talking here about the superficial appearance of what it means to be a man, glorified by the patriarchy, what David Fischer calls ‘toxic masculinity.’ I am pointing to something that is the opposite: how a good father encourages the natural masculine essence in his son to flower from the inside, in an organic way.  The true masculine has many different shapes and forms, but it is not weak. It is the antidote for the toxic masculine. This essential masculine nature is strong enough to embody a natural respect for other living beings, a capacity to empathize with others and protect them. As one of my women friends puts it, “Men love to help. Nothing makes them happier.” This empathy and respect emerge as the boy moves out into the world and gets engaged with other people, takes action, and finds ways to demonstrate his courage, his integrity and his caring.

A mother is not really supposed to fill this role. Hers is an entirely different function. She holds the boy, cares for him, loves him unconditionally, and lets him know that he belongs, no matter what. The child needs this kind of love-it’s the place of infinite tenderness that is the essence of the feminine, that nourishes all living things. But if he only receives this kind of love, without boundaries, without challenges, without consequences, how can he develop empathy, integrity and respect?

Masculine Power Feminine Heart


An extraordinary woman can provide both these dimensions of caring for her son, if she is evolved enough. I don’t believe that many women do a good job at this. I speak from direct experience here – I was one of those young women. I deliberately chose to raise my daughter by myself, even though I was with a good man who wanted to be her father. I told people at that time that I didn’t want a man interfering with how I wanted to raise my daughter. I am appalled, 44 years later, at my arrogance and lack of awareness. And what the consequences of that lack of awareness have been, for both myself and my daughter.

There were lots of women like myself in the sixties and seventies raising children by themselves. This has now become a systemic and cultural issue-I meet young women all the time who believe they can raise a child alone. Who do not trust or respect men enough to let them participate in the process. This brings us right back to the question I raised a few minutes ago: what have the mass shootings got to do with me, with us, with women? A lot. They are intimately connected with how we relate to men.

I was essentially a fatherless child-my father was an alcoholic. He provided very well for me, and cared for me a great deal, but he did not embody the masculine qualities a child needs from the father. My partner was also a fatherless child, in a different way. He grew up with a father who was in the background, pleasant but absent, in some very important and crucial ways. Fatherless children are everywhere. And so are single mothers, raising children without husbands or partners. This is the simple truth of our culture. A woman on her own will often try to compensate for the lack of a father in ways that do not help the child develop. I certainly made this mistake. My daughter says now that I should have sent her to Marine Boot Camp, and she really has a point.  Structure, discipline, boundaries, challenges—this is a different kind of love than the mother’s, and it is just as essential.

Growing up without father love leaves us wounded. Women who grew up without fathers are often very angry at men, and they express that anger in hidden and not so hidden ways. A lot of the time they grew up with a mother who was also angry at the man who wasn’t there. In my work over the last few decades I have seen ample evidence for the fact that there is deep rage towards men and the masculine living in the collective field of the feminine. This rage is often unconscious, and it plays a very big part in the reason why so many women end up being single parents. Are there many good reasons for this rage? Yes, there are-centuries of  abuse and neglect lie behind it. And if it continues to run us, to influence our relationships with men, we are all in deep trouble.

What is our part, as women, in this disastrous dance? How can we heal the wounds that we carry, deep in our hearts and bodies in relation to the men who were not there? And how do take responsibility for our part in the cultural architecture that creates fatherlessness? How can we call our men back into full participation in life and in the family? Thinking that we can live without them is a belief that comes from the wound. The consequence of this way of thinking and behaving are proving to be unsustainable—the lives of our children are at stake here.

I believe that men need to develop, evolve, and grow beyond all of the toxic imprints of the masculine-that this is their sacred task. It’s not our job to mother them, fix them, nag them, or compromise with their lack of presence. But we can’t keep pointing the finger at them. We also have a developmental task, an evolutionary path waiting for us. Here’s how this feels to me: we need to heal the anger we carry in our hearts, awaken to a deeper kind of love for our men, and find out how to call them back home, how to participate in their empowerment,  how to embody our deepest love for the masculine.

This is our task, if we are ready for it, and it’s not just on our own behalf. Our future calls us to this task. Our ancestors call us, our mother the earth calls us, and our children and grandchildren call us.  Time’s up for thinking we’ll do it later. This is our moment, dear sisters. I pray, from the depth of my feminine heart, that we can respond to this greater love, with our whole being.

with love,


Postscript: I need to acknowledge two more things:

  • that I am writing this from a heterosexual, ‘straight’ perspective, with deep bows to my friends in the LGBT world, the complexity of which is currently and perhaps forever, beyond me.
  • my brilliant virtual assistant Laura, pointed out that some women have a more masculine essence and some men a much more feminine one. This is true. And a woman who is naturally masculine in her energetic cannot always provide her children with the sweet golden space of the feminine tenderness. That’s my point: our children need both, and one person can rarely hold and embody both energies.



Photo by Dylan Siebel on Unsplash


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Mitchell

    Ok. Lots to process in what you’ve written. And it’s obvious it’s coming from your heart in a real way. I stuck with it through the whole piece but it was difficult. This because I felt I was sitting g in a room full of women talking about guys and how they need to fix them.

    It makes me wonder if guys are part of your audience? Or is it mostly a woman’s circle? And, the obvious question, why?

    I like the insights you shared about masculine support. I’ve never thought much about the activities of playing, et al, and it makes a little sense.

    I’m loathe to box it though. Isnt that so much of he trouble – ‘healed’ men should be doing this and
    ‘healed’ women …. david deida speak. I’m a bit allergic to these ideas of what’s good for one. Then where is the space to figure it out? The fun in that?

    So here I am full circle. Hard to finish the text as I saw myself in a gtoup being talked about and categorized. And finding immense value in the discussion just the same. So thanks for risking it.

    One other thing. How come women get to claim the territory of universally love? And why the neeed to claim any territory? You’re beings as great and the same as men. No greater no lesser. To claim territory seems another attempt at proving worth. Why? There is no need to prove yourselves. You are already equal.

    That’s all u e got.


    • Shayla Wright

      HI Mitchell…thanks. I am not at all surprised that it strikes you this way…for any number of reasons..I need to find another way of speaking about all of this, obviously…because what the whole piece was about was really the opposite of needing to fix men…but more about the need for deep healing in relation to women.I can also see what it feels as if I boxed it all in…and that’s the interesting thing–sometimes I think the boxes have value.It was my desire to break out of all the boxes that made me so naive when I was a young mother…more later–I expect I’ll have to deal with a lot of feedback in response to this one.

  2. Margrit

    So much truth in your essay Sheyla, and as always there are the many who would say ( like me) that growing up with a very present father was no piece of cake. My father was deeply involved in raising us with sharp words and lots of beatings. My mother mostly looked to him for that chore, by saying “you just wait till dad gets home, you are going to get it” and get it I did. Might things have been easier had mom raised us alone is hard to say, but I would venture to say so. Ideally of course one would say a village should raise a child. AND one good parent would suffice, if the other is a bad parent. Again ideally of course two good people raising a child would always be better than one alone, be that two women, two men or a man and a woman. I would have given anything to have had ONE good adult, ONE person I could trust and feel safe and look up to. But there was none and still I survived, deeply wounded of course and disassociated, later coping with spiritual bypassing and only now, allowing those wounds to be felt and held and integrated.

    Thank you for your wise words Sheyla, I always so enjoy your news letters, your wisdom and your fearlessness at being vulnerable.


  3. Roland Guenther

    Dear Shayla,
    I am deeply touched by your honesty and by your respect toward the dilemma we are in. The toxic masculine, the patriarchy has wounded us all. Women are much more conscious of their pain. As men we are just beginning to feel our wounds. To allow these painful feelings to arise, this needs safety. For years we have heard and received the painful outcry of women. We bow to the pain that women carry. Now it is time for us to feel our own woundedness and then, I hope that we can feel each other. Once I can feel your pain, once I discovered mine and dare to share it with you, then it will be our pain. This will open up a future beyond fixing something of the past. I have no idea how that might look like but I am eager to live into it. Maybe the masculine and the feminine will look different than anything we can imagine today.

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