Growing up in a generation of people who believed that, 'only the strong survive' and that this kind of tough talking strength was imperative to our future success we -- boys and girls alike -- put a great deal of emphasis on this highly favoured quality. So much so that in 1968 Jerry Butler, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff wrote a number one hit single with that very title and the lyrics said it all:
Only the strong survive
Only the strong survive
Hey you gotta be strong
Gotta hold on
You gotta be a man, take a stand
Only the strong survive.
To be strong
always meant to have backbone and bravado, clout and courage, force and fortitude. Those who embraced this very masculine, very yang vision of strength, found themselves praised, promoted and publicly applauded. They moved powerfully through adolescence and in full-fledged adulthood took their rightful places among the cut-throat classes of boardrooms and businesses.
There are others, who took their strength to the streets, using brute force as bullies in back allies, growing up as king-pins in gangs, becoming career criminals who muscled those who's might didn't quite measure up.
No matter which side of the fence you were on, the result was one in the same. Each of these macho feats of strength added to our planetary imbalance of power.
You only have to turn on your TV, or check out the news online to see that it's true. Corrupt businesses, endless civil and international wars, terrorist bombings and hate crimes, gang violence, and the savage rape of innocence, as well as the natural resources of Mother Earth continues. Every misguided behaviour, the expression strength gone awry.
Added to this are the stiff upper lip strongs.
Those who continually and selflessly give and do for everyone else. Handling it ALL
in their most capable and reliable way. Bottling it up, pushing forward and doing what needs to be done. Appearing so competent, dependable and so damn strong that no one has the inclination or often the nerve to offer a hand.
Sounds harmless enough -- even admirable -- however the problem with this kind of strength is that because these people give 'til it hurts, someone is still getting injured!
Over a number of years now, I've discovered that I'm not really interested in survival. I have so very gratefully recovered from my personal need for the use of intense and overpowering yang strength as to merely survive requires brawn and burden, might and muscle and extremely tiresome feats of fortitude.
To thrive on the other hand requires only a delicate balancing factor for every act of strength -- yin -- an essential combination for comfort, ease and harmony in every
situation, without which, one's character becomes vicious and overpowering or turns passive, weak and ineffectual.
We've survived a world sadly lacking this balance of opposites for the better part of 2,000 years, so it's about time for the feminine~yin aspects of strength to immerge and take their rightful place in our homes, schools, communities, businesses, politics, countries and our world at large.
By allowing honour, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, lenience, mercy, kindness, compassion, gentleness, tenderness, fairness, justness, principle...
to gracefully and harmoniously flow thorough our lives, we embody an undeniable strength of character and wisdom. By untangling the distorted perception we've held through centuries we reveal the balanced superhuman strength we're made of. Love.