The planet Mercury is in its retrograde phase from December 19th/20th until January 8th/9th 2017. This is an astronomical/astrological phenomenon that occurs roughly every four months for over a three week period.
From our perspective on Earth, it looks as if Mercury is going backwards because of the relationship between both Earth’s and Mercury’s orbit around the Sun. Accordingly, astrologers observe and interpret retrograde planets in a different way compared to when they appear to be forward moving. Retrogrades are recognized as a time when we are reworking how we orientate ourselves with the themes and energies of that specific planet in a specific sign.
Mercury started its pre-retrograde phase on December 1st/2nd; therefore certain things that have been put in place or events that have occurred, between then and the 19th, will influence the following three weeks of the retrograde itself. This is an insightful time, as we need to pay careful attention to what the universe is trying to show us in order to help us proceed forward once the retrograde has ended.
Changes, Errors, Delays, Insights, Revisitation, and Transformation
Mercury rules over all types of communication, whether it is writing, speaking, reading, social media interactions, communication technology, or any other method of transmitting information. It also rules commuting and driving, as well as moving parts, such as those found in cars. During Mercury retrograde periods, there are more noticeable errors, disruptions, breakdowns, and complications with all of these things, in different variations for everyone. This is what Mercury Retrograde has become famous for.
It is a great time for revisiting, redoing, and reconnecting with people, projects, and circumstances from the past. Some people have anxiety close to when it starts. It is generally not a good time for starting anything new, though this is not the case in every instance, as there are other factors and variables that need to be considered.
As mentioned above, there is also a deeper and more meaningful purpose to each Mercury retrograde. It is an opportunity to reflect and gain insight in response to any challenging circumstances we may face. Mercury retrograde is also a time when our intuition can be heightened. The more we tune in, then, the fewer complications should arise that try to shift our attention.
Traditionally, Mercury is the planet of alchemy. During its retrograde periods, circumstances that are occuring help us make necessary changes and, in some cases, transformations serving our personal evolution. For each individual, different Mercury retrograde periods will be more significant than others in this regard.
Mercury Retrograde Mostly in Capricorn, Also in Sagittarius
This is the 4th of a series of Mercury Retrograding in Earth signs that will last until September 2017. The Earth element is associated with practicality, resourcefulness, dependability, foundation, and material/financial resources.
This is also the 2nd edition of it being in Capricorn in this ‘Earth series,’ as it also occurred in this sign between January 5th and 25th, 2016. Capricorn is the realm of responsibilities, plans, ambition, career, social status, physical and social structures, strategy, management, and control. Capricorn is also a very goal-oriented sign. Throughout this Mercury retrograde, we are making the necessary changes and adjustments, as well as receiving insight and gaining awareness, into these areas of our lives.
Mercury will also be returning to Sagittarius during its retrograde on January 4th/5th. As a result, some of the effects of the retrograde, such as challenges with doing anything analytical, will be amplified. We may find it easy to overlook details during this time. On a more positive note, this can be a period in which we revisit our hopes, wishes, and beliefs, and make necessary adjustments to help us in our Capricornian goals and ambitions.
The cusp of Sagittarius and Capricorn is also the cusp of the 3rd and 4th quarter of the zodiac. This is where the Sun is located when the seasons shift, from Fall to Winter in the Northern Hemisphere during the Winter Solstice. This part of the zodiac symbolizes a transition, as it is where the Sun is reborn. Since Mercury retrograde will be occurring over this cusp, we can expect this symbolism of rebirth to play out in some way.
Uranus, Jupiter, and Saturn in the Mix
The planets Saturn, Uranus, and Jupiter will all be interacting with each other during this period. Uranus in Aries is in a tough opposition with Jupiter in Libra, while Saturn in Sagittarius is in a harmonious aspect with them all.
Uranus here wants to seek freedom and independence, while Jupiter, in the opposite sign, is about expanding in partnerships and relationships or being considerate, fair, and diplomatic. Saturn in Sagittarius is helping these two energies work together, which could manifest as the need to look at everything realistically from a ‘higher perspective.’
Saturn trine Uranus can also suggest a time when we can be putting serious effort or discipline toward anything innovative, or it may be a time when we can easily balance or have a good flow between things conventional and unconventional. There can be a connection between this and the expansiveness in our relationship/partnerships, or in our efforts to find equality and common ground.
The Journey of Mercury Retrograde – Significant Dates
For each interpretation below, the earlier dates pertain more to those in the Western part of the world, like the Americas, Western Europe, and Africa, and the later dates to those in Eastern parts of the world, such as Eastern Europe, Asia, and Oceania. In some cases, certain people may notice some of these effects during the days just outside of the written duration.
December 19th/20th – Mercury begins its retrograde process. Many people experience the more typical retrograde complications during this period. Avoid taking on any major mental tasks during this time. It is best to take it easy mentally and possibly even meditate to help you tune in to this shift in energy. It is also a good idea to pay attention to what comes up on this day, as it can indicate what themes will be coming up over the next three weeks.
December 24th-26th – The Uranus-Jupiter-Saturn energy mentioned above lasts a few weeks, but it is strongest during this period. Venus will also be involved in a harmonious aspect. Social gatherings during this time could be expansive. They could involve discussions and actions where there can be an easy flow between things that are traditional and things that are unconventional, innovative, and futuristic. It is important to look at different sides and to embrace the new while staying realistic and considerate.
December 25th-27th – Mercury sextile Neptune, Sun trine North Node, Mars conjunct South Node and semi-square Uranus, Jupiter opposite Uranus. This can be a period when we experience a reoccurrence or revisitation of some our past actions that are not serving us anymore. It could be related to delusional or deceptive behaviour, escapism, fantasizing, self-sacrifice, self-sabotage, or avoiding responsibilities. Some people may experience conflict, rebellion, and negatively impulsive actions in some way. However things play out, it is important to consider what is sustainable and balanced in order to create a better future.
December 28th/29th – Mercury conjunct Sun and sextile Mars, Saturn square Chiron exact. This is one of the more significant times of retrograde, when we can receive the most insights. This day also has the potential to be more chaotic as well. We may have to face limitations related to our wounds, and at the same time, reflect on how we can assert ourselves in the future to move beyond them. There may be a connection between what occurs during this period and what occurred in early-mid December near or on the Full Moon. Pay attention to what the Universe is trying to tell you.
December 29th/30th – Uranus goes stationary direct. After being retrograde since July 29th/30th, Uranus will start to move forward again. Some people may have thoughts of or act on doing something new, exciting, unique or perhaps wanting to separate, liberate, or rebel from an inhibiting situation or others. If it does affect you in this way, it could be a sign of things that will develop over the next 7 months.
December 30th/31st – Mercury trine North Node, Sun sextile Neptune. This is a good day to really think about the future and how you can best apply yourself in a way that aligns with your spirituality and purpose. Collaborating and/or cooperating with others by communicating and sharing ideas may also be helpful in this regard.
December 31st/Jan 1st – Mars conjunct Neptune In Pisces. Although this transit isn’t directly connected to Mercury, for some people any potential negative manifestations can be connected to any life lessons occurring during this time. Neptune and Pisces are associated with alcohol and narcotics and Mars has to with aggression and assertion, so it’s interesting to see this energy combination occurring exactly on New Year’s eve. This can be a period of overly asserting yourself in this way, but it can also be a great time to partake in celebrations that are visually stimulating, magical, or spiritual. Sexual relationships may also be magical for some and undiscerning for others.
January 3rd/4th – Mercury sextile Venus. This is a good day for harmonious interactions with others, especially if it is with someone from our past or we are revisiting something related to the past. In many cases it can be about meeting an old friend or lover you haven’t seen in a while. This can also be a time when these interactions provide insights and allow us to see things in a new light.
January 4th/5th – Mercury re-enters Sagittarius. This can be a period in which we revisit our hopes, wishes, and beliefs, and make necessary adjustments to help us in our Capricornian goals and ambitions. We may also notice some of the negative effects of Mercury retrograde amplified during this time, such as overlooking details and experiencing challenges with analytical tasks.
January 6th/7th – Sun conjunct Pluto in Capricorn. Themes around power and control can come up today. It can be about how you or others apply yourselves in this way. Some people may experience some of the transformative effects of Mercury retrograde mentioned earlier in the article. Alternatively, we may obsess about our ambitions.
January 8th/9th – Mercury goes stationary direct near the Galactic Center. This is when Mercury changes motions from retrograde to forward moving, but it is a slow process and Mercury will appear to be still for the following few days. During this period and/or over the following week, things start to become clearer and disruptions begin to dissipate. This is the time to starting thinking about how to proceed forward based on what you have learned over the previous weeks. For some of those on the spiritually conscious path, there may be a shift in consciousness with the potential to tap into some divine information that may have even started a few days leading up to this date.
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Supermoon Total Eclipse In Leo: Making Changes To Support Our Self-Expression
We are having a Total Lunar Eclipse, commonly referred to as a ‘Blood Moon’, which will appear in its totality on the night of January 20th leading into morning of the 21st in the western world. It was also be a Supermoon which is when it appears larger due to its closer proximity to the Earth. The entire eclipse process from beginning to end will be visible from the Americas as well as parts of Northern Europe and parts of the European West Coast, including the UK.
It will also appear in totality throughout Western Europe, most of Central Europe, Western Africa, and parts of Russia. It will appear partially in the Middle East, Africa, parts of Russia, and the Northern half of Japan. It will peak at 5:16am Universal Time (12:16 EST), and will begin just over 2 hours prior. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.
This Lunar Eclipse follows a Solar Eclipse in Capricorn that occurred on January 5th/6th and initiated this lunar cycle. The energies of each Eclipse generally plays out over the following 6 months and can begin up to 6 weeks prior. However, they are also part of a 2 year process in which the Lunar Nodes and other Eclipses are in the same signs.
This eclipse season has the energies of the Eclipse/Lunar Node process that began two years ago in the Leo/Aquarius axis and also the new process in the Cancer/Capricorn axis in which we have been transitioning into. This Blood Moon in Leo marks the final Eclipse of the Leo/Aquarius re-orientation, and it’s possible that the themes that play out in your life can be connected to something that has already been playing out.
Total Lunar Eclipse In Leo Opposite Sun in Aquarius & Mercury, Square Uranus
A Lunar Eclipse is a supercharged Full Moon which is when the Earth gets in the way of the Sun’s light and dims it during its climax. This reflects a furthering shift in our lives in relation to the Leo-Aquarius polarity.
Leo is about our individual self-expression, what brings us joy, and inspiration from the heart. It is also associated with creativity, performing, passion, children, romance, hobbies, and leadership. Leo is about what makes us great as individuals. This sign is also associated with the ego and the eclipses that have been occurring here can help to facilitate changes in how we express our ego.
Although Aquarius has individualistic qualities that it shares with Leo, it is also the sign of friends, groups, social networks, the team, and humanity. It views the unique and authentic qualities of an individual as an important and contributing factor to the collective. Aquarius is also intellectual, progressive, and innovative. It can be aloof, overly objective, too scientific, dispassionate, impersonal, and detached.
This eclipse process over the last few years can reflect changes in how we apply both Leo and Aquarius aspects of our lives, and also how they correlate with each other. The focus is more about stepping into Leo energies in new ways and changes on the Aquarian side to help support that. Both beginnings and endings around themes connected to both signs can occur.
Similarly to the Last Lunar Eclipse in the Summer, this one (along with Mercury) is in a square with Uranus on the Aries/Taurus cusp. Uranus here emphasizes change as well as the individualistic qualities of both of these signs, while also sharing other Aquarian themes as well.
Being in a square, it can also manifest in a challenging or strong way. It can be separative, rebellious, or disruptive. Perhaps sudden and unexpected things can play out, or bring instability to an area of our life. It can also be liberating and revolutionary for us. With Mercury here on the South Node, this could also indicate changing or releasing something connected to the way we think or communicate.
Venus Conjunct Jupiter, Square Neptune
Venus in Sagittarius is moving towards a conjunction with Jupiter, while they are both in a square with Neptune in Pisces and a trine with Mars in Aries. This energy can be expansive and fortunate socially, romantically, and for some people financially. Fun and pleasure can be connected to things like travel, education, or even spiritual and creative pursuits.
However, their can also be some confusion around these area as well. Being excessive around indulgences, pleasures, spending money, escapism, intoxication, or anything fantasy based can also be a theme. This energy is strongest from January 21st-22nd.
Mars Square Saturn & Trine Jupiter, Saturn Sextile Neptune
Mars is in a square with Saturn while moving towards a trine with Jupiter. Saturn is also in a sextile with Neptune. This can be a great energy for taking disciplined or structured action towards goals, aspirations, ideals, or anything that broadens our horizons.
Saturn pushes us to be realistic and cautious in how we take action while Jupiter reflects acting in an expansive way. Saturn can also bring some restrictions or obstacles which can help us change our course towards something more ideal. Much of these energies mentioned in this section are strong from January 20th-26th.
Mercury Approaching Superior Conjunction With Sun
Mercury joins the Sun on January 29th/30th in its ‘Superior Conjunction’ with the Sun. From our perspective on Earth, this is when Mercury is aligned with the Sun however it is on the other side of it. From this period onward, it is initiating its next phase in which it travels ahead of the Sun. We can have greater clarity regarding what has been building up or seeded since late November.
Our minds can be more aligned with our true needs and self-expression. Over the coming months, we can better implement our ideas and whatever we have been thinking about with greater confidence/direction in comparison to the previous two months.
To Consider During This Period
How can you better tap into your authentic self-expression? What inspires you and brings you joy? How can you bring more love into your life? What do need to change to make that happen? What do you want to create? Do you need to separate or liberate from something that is holding you back? How can you expand socially in way that is supportive of your authentic self? How can you make your ideals and dreams a reality?
These are just some examples of what could be coming up, but not limited to them either. If you decide to use this energy to intentionally release something from your life, it is best to start that after the Moon begins to wane after the peak of the Full Moon, or even over the following two weeks.
The exact moment of the peak will be at 5:16am Universal Time on January 21st. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone. If the eclipse is visible in your location, remember that it begins approximately two hours before the peak and two hours following, and also depends on what time the Moon rises and sets in your location.
Looking for astrological insight into what is going on in your life? Or perhaps looking to better understand your life and its potentials? Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for more information or to order.
Some Tips To Help You Unwind Your Busy Monkey Mind
- The Facts:
Many of us are unable to relax entirely, as we rush through our days with constant mental chatter and to-do lists on our minds. However, there are relaxing techniques that are easy to implement throughout the day to help us calm our “monkey minds."
- Reflect On:
Taking more time to be still, step away from the busyness of life, and learning to unwind helps us feel more grounded and less scattered — thus positively impacting all areas of our lives.
Most people believe relaxing activities are only done in the evenings, and should be grouped in categories, scheduled, or put in an evening “routine,” as if it’s simply another item to check off your “to-do” list.
The good news? You don’t have to wait until the evening to unwind and relax. In fact, you shouldn’t. You deserve to feel grounded in your center and a sense of peace all day, not for just a few hours at the end of your day. You shouldn’t have to, and you absolutely do not have to and mustn’t do so. It is time to do away with the philosophy that it is only safe to entertain the idea of relaxation at the very end of your day, after spending the large majority of your waking hours walking through the day scattered, stressed, anxious, drained, ungrounded and thrown about. You deserve more, and there’s a way to get there. There is a way to unwind that busy, chaotic monkey mind which owns most of your waking hours and is not aligned with your true nature, or the place deep within where stillness and serenity reside.
Understandably, this may seem quite impossible once you’ve trained your body and mind to operate in a “go, go, go” mode without any sense of stillness.
The thing is though, you don’t have to take time off or become a monk … you can rest in stillness while doing the same things you’re currently doing — and an added bonus to the already amazing benefit of not living a frantic life is that everything you do will be of higher quality. I think you’ll find that all other aspects of life outside of work (relationships, health, etc.) will dramatically improve as a result.
So, here are some tips for unwinding that busy “monkey mind” not only in the evenings, but throughout the day too:
- Start your day with a “mental dump.” Write out all the things you need to do in a notebook. This relieves a lot of stress, and by getting it all down on paper, you typically realize most of it is just mind made and you really only need to make one or two things your priorities. There is zero reason to even stress about the rest.
- Every so often, ideally once an hour if you can, set aside as little as 3-5 minute blocks of times for stillness and silence throughout your day. Meditate or go outside and sit in nature or take a walk (which, of course, are also forms of meditation). This will help you return to your core and stay more rooted throughout the day.
- Engage in creative activity or “play”: Do something purely for the pleasure of doing it, do it just for fun, with no end goal in mind. An aside: unstructured time for “play” (an activity done purely for fun rather than to gain something from it), is said to be crucial to your creative process. So, if you’re an artist of any type and you’re feeling “blocked,” just keep this in mind. You might just need some unstructured time to enjoy whatever you feel like enjoying at any given moment without having to justify it.
- Almost all articles on anxiety and insomnia suggest putting away all electronic devices or turning them off completely for the night. Though many of us may find this difficult given our heavy reliance on technology, it is crucial to shut your devices off before bed as they can reduce melatonin production.
If you have difficulty shutting your phone off entirely, you could try a few other remedies including using blue light filters on your devices, avoiding news outlets or anything that will get a rise out of you, and avoiding violent movies and shows before bed.
And if you read at night, there is one thing that has helped me immensely —only read fiction, or less stimulating material. Avoid books and magazines that make you want to be more productive, stimulate new ideas prompting your mind to do anything but unwind, and instead just enjoy some good old fiction. Although it’s important to read and educate ourselves, I’ve found that stimulating my brain with this content before bed can reduce my sleep quality.
Meditation is, of course, the number one most suggested method for taming the monkey mind. However, sitting still for someone with a scattered brain can be difficult. One method to troubleshoot this and not feel like you have to discipline yourself to ‘meditate for 20 minutes straight in the lotus position’ is to just sit down, close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. After all, you can do anything for 10 breaths, right?
Whatever you do during your free time, savor the pleasure of the process rather than thinking of the end goal. In fact, who cares if you even reach the end goal? Who cares if you even have one? Let’s just go ahead and throw the whole idea of a goal in regards to this topic away … lest we wish to possibly defeat our purpose.
What are your tips and life hacks for unwinding your monkey mind when it gets the best of you?
Gillette’s New Ad On “Toxic Masculinity” Is Great – And Necessary, But…
- The Facts:
A new commercial from Gillette tackles the issue of 'toxic masculinity.' The commercial asks us questions about male culture and challenges us to step up and change what we're doing. But did they tackle this well?
- Reflect On:
What else can we take from the commentary of this commercial? Where else can we find these same behaviours in our society? Further, what is the purpose of the extreme, identity-based politics we see today? Is it causing more harm than good?
In an age of extremes, the nuance of this article is going to be what helps us understand what we are truly seeing in terms of the challenges we face and how we can solve them without generating a strong opinion on these issues. I encourage you all to carefully read this article as if we want to help move away from things like “toxic masculinity,” “toxic femininity,” racism and so forth, but we must do so wisely by truly understanding the depth of what is being said.
Before I continue on, I want to say that in many cases, when talking about issues regarding men, women, or any particular race as politics and media often do today, we must remember that what is talked about does not represent the whole of any group. In fact, in many cases, it only represents a very small percentage of the group being discussed.
As a result of aspects of our consciousness, which we will discuss further in this article, there is no shortage of extremism in society right now when it comes to the discussion of gender. The #MeToo movement helped the greater population recognize that sexism is a huge problem within prominent industries, like music and film, where women are being harassed or abused sexually by men. This then extended to a greater discussion about sexual abuse in society in general, which I feel anyone can agree is an important topic to bring awareness to. In fact, I don’t know if I have ever come across anyone who actually opposes putting a stop to something like this, yet due to extreme positions, many are being wrongfully accused of such opposition. This is where we need to have a deeper discussion.
By now we know it happens, we don’t need another article exposing it, we need one talking about solutions, so that is what I’m going to focus on.
We exist in very polarized states of consciousness, and because we are a society who has not put a large focus on emotional intelligence, many issues that come to the forefront go through a long period of extremism before/if we become grounded again in order to truly understand what’s going on.
Of course, what I am talking about doesn’t relate only to what occurred after the #MeToo movement began, but with anything, including people’s views on government conspiracies, race, politics and other societal issues. In short, we attempt to apply blanket statements to issues instead of viewing things on a case by case basis or through the properly grounded facts that we do have about an issue.
As Stefan Molyneux puts it,
“The general leftist approach is that all disparities in group outcomes are the result of prejudice, of racism, of sexism, of colonialism, of exploitation of generally bad white male behaviour.”
Ultimately he goes on to say that if you choose not to look at the larger reasons as to why certain things are happening in our world, you will always be stuck blaming racism, sexism, the patriarchy, men, women, or any particular race. We must preface our discussion with this gnosis before discussing what’s next because it is only in the grounded understandings of our world that we actually can tell where we are at.
Gillette Aims To Help Raise Awareness About “Toxic Masculinity”
I’ve put the terms toxic masculinity and toxic femininity in quotations both times thus far because many people have very different ideas of what those things look like and mean. In fact, some people don’t even think “toxic femininity” exists, similar to the way they feel only white people are capable of being racist.
For the purposes of this article, I refer to the term toxic masculinity as partaking in a destructive form of male culture that does not operate on the basis of respect, equality and self-responsibility, and that will often exude overly strong behaviours of sexualizing women and competing with others to maintain egoic power. In short, much of what we have seen as male culture through pop culture, movies, music, and so forth can tinker on promoting this form of masculinity. It’s seen in situations where a female is marginalized down to simply being a sex object or situations where male dominance is valued and strived for.
Let’s have a look at this Gillette ad before we continue the conversation.
As Gillette accurately illustrates in its new ad, justifying certain behaviours that are not self-responsible and that do not create a harmonious world with statements like “boys will be boys,” is not something we can continue to do if we want to create a better world. Furthermore, leading by example and being able to speak up about behaviours you observe in others is important. It’s important not to do so in a condescending and judgemental tone, but rather by using a compassionate tone instead that truly questions the behaviour and allows you to empathize with how the other may feel in a situation. Further to that, we must recognize what this ad fails to point out, these behaviours don’t and haven’t come from all males, likely not even the majority.
As Gillette brand director Pankaj Bhalla told the Wall Street Journal,
“This is an important conversation happening, and as a company that encourages men to be their best, we feel compelled to both address it and take action of our own, … “We are taking a realistic look at what’s happening today, and aiming to inspire change by acknowledging that the old saying ‘boys will be boys’ is not an excuse. We want to hold ourselves to a higher standard, and hope all the men we serve will come along on that journey to find our ‘best’ together.”
I have been in a number of situations where I’m in an all-male setting and one or two males are talking disrespectfully about females and I will observe other males join in simply so they feel included in the conversation or so that the other men don’t judge them. I personally know the men who joined in on the conversation don’t actually agree with the others, but do so because they feel they have to. Or better put, they do not know themselves or are comfortable enough with themselves to take the potential backlash that can sometimes come from not joining in.
This is why I say the way through these challenges is not by creating an enemy, judging their behaviour, and casting them out like many are doing, but instead by helping people question what they are doing and encouraging a culture of self-responsibility, empathy, and a deeper relationship with self. These sorts of conversations can be openly had, but it’s challenging because of our societal norms. Instead, our culture is often either that of the ‘toxic masculinity’ in question or that of extreme judgement towards unfavorable behaviours. Both are extremes, and neither help change the individual in a deep manner.
To be clear, any gender, any race and any person from a socio-economic class can take part in the disconnected behaviours mentioned above. It is not just men.
This is also where the nuance comes in. It’s important to recognize that not all men represent characteristics of “toxic masculinity.” Male pop culture might, and male pop culture does affect a certain subset of people, but it is not representative of the whole. This leads to my one small issue with the Gillette commercial. It, like many people today seem to be doing, is throwing the baby out with the bath water, i.e. not paying attention to nuance. In the case of #MeToo and this commercial, this behaviour does not apply to all men, perhaps not even to most men. We must remember that societal issues don’t apply to everyone within any particular subset of people, yet that is what people often focus on. This is also why so many enemies are being created. It’s like how some will view all Muslims as terrorists, for example.
Let’s recall the quote from Stefan Molyneux above, “The general leftist approach is that all disparities in group outcomes are the result of prejudice, of racism, of sexism, of colonialism, of exploitation of generally bad white male behaviour.” He is absolutely right in pointing out that the reasons for these things are not as simple as people want them to be, and thus we run in circles of extremes. I bring this point up not to turn the focus away from men, but because I actually care about seeing our culture change. I’ve spent enough time coming to understand that people have become outright extreme and misinformed about issues because we are too focused on an enemy and choosing sides. Thus, we have no clue where we actually stand. This is about changing how we live and operate as humans, not just of any particular race or gender.
If there are feelings of wanting to say or utilize some of the classic deflections of today including “easy for you to say from a white male privileged standpoint,” please save it. Let’s have the courage to have mature, grounded conversations, ones that can help us solve the challenges we face together.
If Not Careful, Our Unchecked Behaviour Divides Us
Like with any movement that begins, it often starts on a positive and helpful note. In this case, bringing awareness to sexual abuse of women is important to address. But the movement has come under fire to some extent as it appears to be going too far. The reasons for this include sweeping judgments, assumptions, and a lack of understanding of things that are said or what’s happening.
This has caused great divides amongst people whereby gender happens to be the card played when any issue is brought forth, even when gender truly has nothing to do with it. We are similarly seeing this with race.
This has given rise to grounded voices like Candace Owens, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, and Cassie Jaye, to name a few, who are discussing gender inequality in a way that is helping us to diagnose the problem more clearly and ultimately understand how to move forward. This is, of course, in contrast to the extremism out there where you begin to see women hating men or men hating women simply because we are always attempting to blame people for problems.
Cassie Jaye talks a lot about humanizing your ‘enemy.’ In her case, her enemy was males. As she discusses in her TEDx talk, when she released her movie The Red Pill, she received a great deal of backlash from feminists as her film explored The Men’s Right’s movement from her perspective as a feminist. As you might imagine, in her film, Cassie decided to go and speak to people directly. She learned about the people she was fighting against, and in some cases hated, only to realize that in most cases the issues and people involved were not quite who she thought they were.
She goes onto discuss that the greatest issue and challenge she faced was “having to peel back the layers of my own bias.” She goes deeper saying “it turned out I did meet my enemy while filming. It was my ego saying that I was right, and they were subhuman.”
Near the close of her talk she states “It’s no secret now that I no longer call myself a feminist, but I must clarify, I am not anti-feminist, and I am not a men’s rights activist. I still support women’s rights, and I now care about men’s rights as well. However, I believe if we want to honestly discuss gender equality, we need to invite all voices to the table. Yet this is not what is happening. Men’s groups are continually vilified, falsely referred to as hate groups and their voices are systematically silenced.”
The point here is not to pit men’s groups against women’s groups and see who is right, the point is that we have to stop creating sides and enemies. We instead must create a culture where we truly see one another beyond the physical realm. We also must see that in our own ways, we experience challenges from a system that truly does not support our growth.
When her film was released, the media entered into the popular groupthink of our modern times when it comes to gender politics, causing her to become one of the most hated filmmakers at the time. All she did in her film was explore the truth, beyond the fight of side vs side. She instead chose to see things for that they truly are, and this led to what I like to call an upheaval of emotions in viewers that struggle with neutral viewpoints, and instead are addicted to the fight and having an enemy.
This is where I believe many of us exist today. We live in a world where we’re encouraged to choose a side, accept limiting beliefs about what is going on, and ultimately become addicted to the drama of having an enemy to fight… even when they are not doing what you think they are doing.
What benefit truly comes from identifying as a certain form of activist? I’m not talking about simply saying “I’m an environmentalist” so people understand you care about the environment, I’m talking about when we identify so deeply as an environmentalist that we now filter everything we hear and learn through that lens, thus blocking us from not only hearing the truth but understanding where we stand as a collective. What benefit does that serve other than to show us what disconnection looks like?
I feel it’s time we pay attention to the nuance, the facts and the feelings within our hearts and stop working so hard to find or even create an enemy.
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