As humans, we live in duality ie. good/bad; right/wrong; left/right; light/dark; masculine/feminine. These dualities are constant and extremes to each other. While sometimes we are at one end (extreme) or the other of a duality spectrum, often we are somewhere moving along the continuum. It is the dance between the masculine and feminine duality which interests me, especially in regards to clients presenting with one-sided issues.
We, as humans, are both feminine & masculine energies. The balance between the two varies, often depending on what we are doing and what our perceived roles are. Our world, right now, is very much based in the masculine. For the most part, we live in a male-dominated patriarchal society. This means that traits such as success, wealth, empire building, climbing corporate ladders, excelling in tangibles (sports, business, finances) are to be admired and emulated. Our worth is tied up in the tangible aspects easily measured and compared. These tangible traits are especially coveted in men. Women are often encouraged to strive towards the same goals as men, and to hold the same ideals. This is detrimental to society because it minimises the importance of the masculine and feminine roles in our relationships, and our communities, by implying one aspect is more important, or better, than the other.
The balance of energy in the world is shifting. We are moving into the feminine being the dominant energy, while the masculine energy moves along side to hold the space, and support, what the feminine energy offers. Feminine aspects are intangibles such as intuition, empathy, creating community and connection, flow, opening space, being, vulnerability.
The shift from the masculine (or mental) to the feminine (or emotional), means that traits such as kindness and empathy and compassion and opening space so others can live in their truth, authenticity and integrity will be the traits of ‘success’. It doesn’t mean the masculine aspect is diminished. Quite the contrary. It is movement towards an equal partnership where the energies of each are celebrated and appreciated instead of vilified and disparaged. The dance between the masculine and the feminine goes something like this: The masculine is the building or house; and the feminine is the interior of that house. A man works for, and provides a house (tangible) and a woman fills it with love and warmth and belonging (intangible). The two energies are equal but different and work together to provide and create a home. Our male/female relationships should be a dance of weaving the two energies together and allowing, and encouraging, each to stand in its power.
Our society tends to disparage the feminine - in women but also in men - and this is to everyone’s detriment. It means we are living out of balance. Society holds many judgements about what it means to be a man or a woman. We are continually bombarded with things which tell us we are not enough. We are not pretty enough, young enough, thin enough, rich enough, successful enough, good enough. Enough of the enoughs! When we are continually being exposed to these judgements of our external selves, imagine what goes on inside our body.
For an ailment to manifest in the physical, it means it has been in our energy field for some time. Change your thoughts, change your life. On some levels, it is that simple. Our bodies hold everything. Our cellular memory starts at conception (some say even before). If we can allow our bodies to release what no longer serves us, we can facilitate healing on a cellular level. Bowen is very good at facilitating healing at this level. On another level, though, it’s not so simple. When we look at how and why issues start presenting themselves, we also need to look at how we are living - and perceived - in society.
Many clients I see present with one-sided issues. In the majority of these, the issues are on the left-hand side. Metaphysically, the left side represents the feminine and the emotional, while the right side represents the masculine and the mental construct. When someone starts talking and telling me their story, I make notes of metaphysical things which come to mind. I often discuss with a client what I’m doing and why, because I want them to participate in their own healing. The key to our healing is taking responsibility for it. So part of it is looking at which side issues are on, but also where in the body they are presenting.
Each client is different and everyone brings their own issues and stories to the table. It’s listening to them and getting a sense of how their story has contributed to what is presenting. My interpretation is always client based and isn’t necessarily prescriptive. Clients are often surprised by what I ask them. They think I’m doing something ‘woo woo’ but all I’m really doing is listening to their body. They are giving me all the information - I am just putting it together in a different way to try and tap into something which may help them heal further. We get stuck sometimes. And energy gets stuck in our bodies. Body work, such as Bowen, is a great way to shift it, especially because we don’t have to re-live the trauma. We are giving the body permission to let go of something it no longer needs to hold onto.
Generally speaking, if a client comes in and is experiencing all symptoms on the right-hand side of the body, I am thinking there is something not in balance with the masculine energy around this person. They might be having issues with the males in their life or they are working in a male-dominated workplace or job which is not in balance with who they are. They might be finding it hard dealing with the tangible aspects in their life. They may be having issues with money. Their mental and emotional bodies may be out of alignment.
If symptoms are left sided, there is something out of balance in their feminine energy. They might be having issues with flow in their life. Their feminine aspects may be hindered or not acknowledged. They might be out of alignment with females they are close to or work with. They may be having issues with the intangible things in their life - trust, intuition. They may be having a crisis of faith, so to speak. They may not be allowed to be in their emotions.
Next I am considering where in the body the issues are presenting. Each part of the body represents something. I won’t go into specifics here, because the combinations are too many to name, but know that we are all connected. And where pain and imbalance are presenting in the body gives a very clear picture for what is going on in a person’s life. There are no coincidences! Every part of our body is connected via the fascia. This is part of what makes Bowen so effective - the moves send messages, via the fascia, to the brain which then triggers the memory of perfect health. The body then has the signal of what it needs to do to re-balance. Our bodies are ingenious and this technique helps us to remember that.
This table gives a brief (and incomplete) example of the different traits or polarities which can present as masculine or feminine.
Masculine ‘traits’ Feminine ‘traits’
right hand side of body left hand side of body
All of what I’m talking about has come from other people and places. I just put it together in a way that works for me. I am informed by what I have read and experienced and seen. But how I work is not one thing or another - it is a combination. I can’t break it down to who gave me what, but I will say Louise L. Hay and her book Heal Your Life has been instrumental in how I metaphysically see the body. Inna Segal offers similar information in her book The Secret Language of Your Body. A lot of how I put together the information comes from my own life experience and interests, along with my experience with Bowen and my teachers Anne Schubert and Marg Spicer, who run Mind Body & Bowen. The Touch for Health Reference Chart is also instrumental in how meridians run through the body and what parts of the body may be affected.
A note to everyone - both male and female:
For our whole lives, we have lived in the masculine paradigm. This is shifting. The more subtle energies of the feminine are awakening and with it, our awareness and acknowledgment of our vulnerability. Vulnerability is our power - to live from a place of vulnerability means you are connected and you have a belief in something outside of yourself. It’s the belief something greater than your self exists, even though you can’t see it. The feminine allows the grace of vulnerability while the masculine paradigm sees it as a weakness. The dance between the masculine and feminine will be much enhanced when we let go our fears about what vulnerability opens and embrace it whole-heartedly.