Archive for Lion King

Healing Archetypal Gender Wounds

Posted in Feelings, Men, Motion Picture Lessons, Relations with tags , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

 

It is time.

These three simple little words have been calling out to me for well over a decade. Who would’ve thought that watching a child’s movie on the vcr with my tiny stepdaughter back then would lead me toward deep contemplation—or that this “cartoon” would continue to do so today?

It is time.

These words emerged again a few weeks ago at the end of my post “A Man’s Peace of Mind”. Since then this mantra has been running through my mind pretty much non-stop, which led me to get the cd soundtrack from this movie out and now, it too, has been cranking incessantly throughout this home.

Sometimes, I just know—that second when insight occurs, don‘t you? Great personal power derives from these illuminating moments. Even if it’s from the most unlikely of sources—such as within an animated movie.

The archetypal, mystical, magical realm of The Lion King is one of these sources. It contains potent teaching’s that are of complete relevance today—recognizing the oneness of all life–healing familial wounding, abuse, jealousy, ostracizing attitudes and betrayals–recognizing the ramifications of environmental destruction and greed–remembering and awakening to ones true self, and taking one’s rightful place within society——and healing, with love the rift between the genders. The characters in this movie, our archetypes, show the absolute power of what can transpire from within these domains.

It is the medicine person Rafiki’s incredulous babbling of “it is time” that has captivated, and set the stage for me……to remember. So many of these motifs have played pivotal roles in my maturing journey of being human. And boy oh boy, can I relate to Simba, the happy, inquisitive, cocky, son-of-a-king. This potential future king watches his father die and is then sold a bunch of bunk by his murdering, jealous uncle, who embodies the shadow side of the un-evolved castrating masculine. Because of this, the very young Simba banishes himself, not only from his society, but from his deeper nature as well.

While our hero is physically growing up, he’s essentially hiding out with his shame, marginalizing and down-sizing his life to entail a happy-go-lucky smallness. During this time his family and society are being overrun by ineptitude and greed, and their land-base is being destroyed. When we don’t, or can’t show up in our power, bad stuff happens.

How many of us can resonate with this tale of familial and cultural abuse? What were the stories that we told ourselves? Some of mine were to strive to succeed without knowing who I really was or what I wanted. Becoming “the good boy” was my way of dealing with familial mental illness and the destructive elements of this. But it seemed as though I was on autopilot. Certainly many of my inherent aptitudes blessed me with a fledgling sense of self, but these didn’t appease my inner angst-filled, yet otherwise emotionless life and definitely did not lead to a love that I could feel.

As the emerging “masculine” is downsized and relegated to mediocrity, the “feminine” is left alone to deal with the tragedies of the other pole—an abusive, un-evolved masculine. Seems an awful lot like our culture, doesn’t it? We are witnessing and experiencing a masculinity that is a pale shadow of what it could be. In lieu of a healthy functional masculinity we have corporate sponsored environmental destruction, criminal behavior and greed, Wall St. swindles, hoarding, consumerism, power-over domination, war, absentee fathers, domestic violence and addiction. Not a pretty picture.

Certainly men are paying a price for this within their psyches—but it is women who are being decimated and brutalized. Unheard, starving, and deeply distraught, Nala, our heroine, goes off alone to find sustenance for her tribe—courageously tackling more than she should have to. She has taken all that she can from the abuser and now ventures forth as a final resort. How many women have issued the demand, “it is time TO GROW UP”? Or have had to go it alone, or remained children themselves, or have bravely banded together to create a new society? And how many men have just walked away?

While hunting and about to attack two funny creatures Nala is jumped and comes face to face with a large male lion. She has more than enough prowess to pin him to the ground. Isn’t this the way it is even in our time, women can very easily decimate a man at times of vulnerability. And here is something crucially profound—Simba recognizes his friend and calls out her name, where upon she dismounts, staring in complete disbelief. All it takes sometimes is for men to softly recognize the magnificence of the feminine, which allows her to reopen.

Nala has now discovered the masculine in his hideout, eating grubs—this is ludicrous, the king, eating grubs. The arrival of his best friend, now a fully evolved adult female, along with the joy and confrontation that ensued, provided a rich environment for self-rediscovery. Simba it seems had abdicated his true self due to unexplored faulty thoughts. An unexamined life. Me too at times.

How much of myself do I see in this story? Quite a bit! The larger-than-life issues of ostracizing familial betrayal, followed by a life geared toward minimization. Living on the fringe or at the edge and not knowing one’s true worth or purpose, floundering about alone. I’ve done this. I’ve lived like this. I recognize the Simba in me. Tears appear and also new strength, well, if not new, then at least an evolving strength. Even with rigorous inquiry at times, it has seemed as though my personal healing has had a timeframe of its own. It’s not that transformation hasn’t been occurring, its just that there have been so many layers to this psyche needing attention. As layer after layer have been illumined, more and more have come to the surface.

As Simba and Nala rediscover each other, after the exuberant joy comes the bellowing, “What in the tarnation have you been doing with yourself?? We needed you.” Ouch. She expresses her righteous feelings, and he plummets into his buried fear, misery and inner pain, which leads him again angrily into his abandonment story.

Lamenting, “ So many things to tell her, but how to make her see, the truth about my past, impossible, she’ll turn away from me.”

She cries out, “ He’s holding back, he’s hiding, but what I can’t decide. Why won’t he be the king I know he is, the king I see inside.”

Could this be the major thematic element of our times? Many men are lost and afraid, though it might not appear that way. Women have been evolving through the 70’s until now, while men have been dragged kicking and screaming to accept what is. Their predominant cultural roles are no longer the only game in town, the paradigm has changed. Their closed down emotional lives and hearts are being asked to open. The healthy feminine needs a healthy masculine to right this ship. I have been blessed and cursed to have a wonderful woman in my life whose been breaking my door down. The curse has been in fighting this incursion. She has seen the king in me when I haven’t. To have a true friend seeing us, who could really be more blessed?

In our story, the healthy masculine, his father, the murdered king, had promised to always be there, and this young adult’s sense of self has suffered in thinking himself the cause of the murder. As he’s angrily sulking and screaming to the heavens, his inner guide, in the form of Rafiki magically appears to bash him upside the head with some sense —“You don’t even know who you are?” How right is this?! He doesn’t. How many of us truly do? The head bashing continues and our awakening, newly alive guy runs off and is soon confronted with his own reflection, where upon Rafiki, this time ever so softly, challenges Simba to look deeply within himself. And here he sees that his dad, the king is in fact within him. And that he has been in there all along.

“He lives in you, he lives in me. He watches over, everything we see. Into the water, into the truth, in your reflection, he lives in you.”

Who is this “he“? Could be our higher selves, our spirit guides, God, angels, the ancestors, or the collective, all knowing source? Who really knows, but we are most certainly not alone in here.

In getting this….understanding this, he can now return to his homeland, take his rightful place as king and go about repairing the damage. And loving his gal, right along side him as well.

A roadmap for us? With these recognitions, comes new energy to move forward in life. Seeing the archetypal nature of this particular story provides a rich fertile place from which to heal very old wounds. Realizing where one has gone astray and some of the root originating factors leading to this annihilating self-betrayal is just what is needed for our culture to grow up and evolve.

 

It is time to awaken—to awaken from whatever slumber holds us captive.

It is time to love.

It is time to grow up from our cultural adolescence.

It is time emerge from hiding.

It is time to treat all beings with respect, love and dignity, including ourselves.

It is time to recognize the animals as our teachers.

It is time to honor the earth, and all upon and within it

It is time to fully recognize the oneness of this universe.

On and on……….

I T    I S    T I M E!

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