RUMI - THE CORE OF MASCULINITY
The core of masculinity does not derive
from being male,
nor friendliness from those who console.
Your old grandmother says, “Maybe you shouldn’t
go to school. You look a little pale.”
Run when you hear that.
A father’s stern slaps are better.
Your bodily soul wants comforting.
The severe father wants spiritual clarity.
He scolds but eventually
leads you into the open.
Pray for a tough instructor
to hear and act and stay within you.
(1-2) Being masculine does not derive from simply having a penis, it’s an energy both males and females can have that challenges the status quo.
(3-6) Keep people who want to coddle you in a balance with those who want to challenge you. Those who advise you to “take it easy” or “slow down” may not intentionally seek to harm you but if you heed only their advice, if you cherry pick the advice you are given you will eventually find someone who says "you are right - run away from challenge - you are the victim." That advice will not guide you for the long term. Chances are you will hear these words from a rescuer or someone who resents the masculinity (war, challenge, disruption) of life. Rumi chose a grandmother as an example, maybe appropriate in his time, but now, there is an unlimited supply of peace loving, kindness advocating, goodness celebrating, don't challenge my thinking individuals lined up to replace her.
(7-9) An ass beating will build more character than a consolation hug. (not advocating violence nor smacking here). Your body will naturally prefer the latter. I know mine did when my football coach would yell or my Dad would thump me whenever I did something wrong. Bodily comfort and spiritual clarity are posed as opposites in these lines. Could they simultaneously exist? Actually they must: Support and Challenge are always in balance. If we favour the "consolation" of friends, we will attract the "masculine" in whatever form nature (universe/God etc) deems most effective.
(10-13) There’s no replacement for the tough-love masculine figure who will be unyielding when you beg for an easy route. His/her methods might frustrate you at times, hell it may even cause you to throw a tantrum or two but they will help you achieve your goals. This is the instructor/coach/mentor/ex partner/partner you should seek out.
(13- ) For most people this male figure used to be a father. Nowadays more and more men are being raised without knowing their fathers, let alone learning life lessons from them, so it might just be their mother who takes the mantle of masculine, or a school coach or a bully. Despite what the media says about things, a child will experience both the masculine and feminine of parenting. If both parents are "like the grandmother" then life, work, bully or health or spiritual depression may become the masculine. For me, I think it's wiser to have this inside the home than allow it to find it's own space elsewhere. Either way, there is a tough instructor, masculine in everyone's life. This is why I recommend executives find a mentor (coach, professor, etc.) who is willing to embrace the masculine side of advice.