Episode 16: Celebrating the Masculine and Feminine with Rajyo Markman and Britta Johnson
We stand at a confusing crossroads of history. Women are discovering their masculine side just as men are discovering their feminine side -- the gender equivalent of tornado conditions! Sadly, there is much bitterness rather than curiosity, recrimination rather than exploration. My guests this week, Rajyo Markman and Britta Johnson, drawing on several traditions including that of Osho, discuss their life-changing workshops, where men and women work with, and support each other through… healing and new openings to love.
Adam Gilad: Hey, welcome again to The Fearless Lover here on Personal Life Media. The Fearless Lover; The Spiritual Foundation of Present, Boundless and Enduring Love. Where every week, we explore this question of how can we love more fully? How can we love more undefended and how can we live the life of love that most of us probably really want, but don't always have the tools to get there?
Woman's Voice 1: A lot of time it's their relationship with their mother. A lot of men have been smothered or have been abandoned or neglected or whatever happens when your mother is not present when the mother is unconscious or has a lot of [inaudible] nobody. So the men come with that kind of wounds.
Woman's Voice 2: We bring the women in there and we usually have an equal number of women to men so throughout the weekend they get a lot of strong mirroring. So they get to really see in a dynamic way how the process has happened of them shutting down.
Woman's Voice 1: It was actually something that Barry Long originally said that "until a woman can really express her rage, the full depth of her love won't be able to be expressed or experienced." When it's suppressed, she turns into a bitch. She turns into a castrating woman. She turns it inward so that her life is used in her passive and her love is distorted, becomes harmful for herself or others.
Adam Gilad: This week I feel really privileged. We're interviewing two women who work together, Rajyo Markman and Britta Johnson of the celebrationofbeing.com. First let me just welcome you, Rajya and Britta.
Rajya Markman: Thank you.
Britta Johnson: Thank you.
Adam Gilad: Now you've come all the way from across the sea from Europe. And you have some really interesting backgrounds. Before we get into the work you do, you do work with both men and women and together, You run something fascinating called The Noble Man workshop and something for women called the Power of Love Before we get to your workshops, I'm particularly interested in how you move people out of fear and into new stages of their life through rights of passage. Could you give a little background...well first of all introduce yourselves and give a little background of how you got here and how you came to understand what needed to be done. So Rajyo, can I ask you first?
Rajyo Markman: Sure. Are you asking for my background? I spent many years in India and with the mystic, the Indian master also. And I really saw there's a whole other way of living possible. And a lot of it really has to do with really turning toward that which we fear - That which is a [audible] and embracing it rather than transcending it. So, it's in a way, an alchemy which I've very much experienced and we bring into our work which is part of the rights of passage that we do and really turning that basin metal into gold.
Adam Gilad: Excellent. And, Britta?
Britta Johnson: I started my journey actually working as a social worker for women, abused women in women's shelters, and starting there with wanting to empower women. When I started that was more from a political, kind of feministic kind of background. Then also I spent about ten years in India in the east, in the Ashram. I just came to a whole other understanding of why there's abuse between men and women and why the fear; why the genders fear each other. So then this really became a passion to heal from the inside and like Rajyo was saying to embrace the fear, to expose the fear, to shine the light on it and use it actually as a doorway to love, to go through the fear to the love.
Adam Gilad: Let me ask you a sensitive question about this because this topic has come up. As you know, I work with David Deida often and he pints out that the first thing someone has to do when there sort of driven by fears, when they're owned by fears, is they have to get some basic therapy and become kind of stable before they can really dive into their fears. Where do you stand on that? I'm a big believer that you have to, as an adult, you really turn towards your fear as you say, rather than constantly try and run away from it. But at what point, you must come across people who are not ready to do that. So what would your caution be for people?
Rajyo Markman: You know, I would have a little bit of a difference of opinion on that because we work with all sorts of people - people who are just starting and people who have years and years and years of therapy. And unless you're really seriously, you could say, I don't want to use the word damaged or something, but they're people [who] really need therapy, but I would say that's maybe 5% of people, in my opinion. The others, the people that have been very abused or traumatized, you just have to go slow with these people - you know that's what I feel. We are not into heavy confrontation. We don't do that. We go very gently. We just go as far as the person can stay present with the process. If a person goes into that trauma, then you have to back off. It's kind of like a slow, gentle leaning into it. And you can do that with almost everybody, I feel. You just need to be very sensitive. And the person needs to know what they're doing.
Adam Gilad: They need to be the facilitator.
Britta Johnson: What?
Adam Gilad: The facilitator needs to know what he or she is doing.
Britta Johnson: No, yeah, the facilitator, but also the actual the person who's doing the work.
They need to be really with it and really want to do this. I would never force a person to go there.
Adam Gilad: Right.
Britta Johnson: Or push a person to go there. It's more like they need to want to do that.
Rajyo Markman: And I think what Britta said about being present: As long as we're present in this moment there's often not a problem. The fear is often coming from all the accumulated past that we're carrying and then that is projected onto the future. When we're present right here, that's the doorway into the truth, into the love, into this moment. And that's a lot of what we work with is really having people be very present in their experience moment to moment.
Adam Gilad: Part of the workshop would be getting people to become present to what's happening rather to what they're thinking.
Rajyo Markman: Yeah, Yeah. Not just present in their body; present in their heart, present in their experience.
Adam Gilad: Yeah, it's funny. I'm just actually right in the middle of Eckhart Tolley's "The New Earth", and beautiful expression of that necessity. It talks very deeply about that. Let's talk about that. I'm curious about the kind of man who would come to your Nobleman Workshop. I don't know who they are. What are kind of the fears or what do you find holds them back from really being able to give themselves over to love fully, generally?
Britta Johnson: A lot of time it's their relationship with their mother. That's kind of where it starts. It's like a lot of men have been smothered or have been abandoned or neglected or whatever happens when your mother is not present when the mother is unconscious or has a lot of [inaudible] nobody. So the men come with that kind of wound. We have all sorts of men. We have men that have done lots and lots of spiritual work and men I would say...probably half the men have really done a lot of men's work (especially the work that we do in L.A.). The men have done a lot of their own work already - just with men amongst men, which works really well. And we also have men that are stumbling into it that a friend told them about this and they're arriving and going "Oh God, what am I getting myself into?" It's more like the beginning for them. I would say it works better. You can go deeper in our work if the men have already done work before they came to us.
Adam Gilad: Sure.
Rajyo Markman: Known sense of their manhood, the masculine.
Britta Johnson: Oh, of course.
Adam Gilad: So a smothering mother might be an example of some other fears. What else? What other kind of things then do you come across those need to be healed?
Rajyo Markman: Very often it's just a real inability to relate to the family - which often comes from the relationship with the mother. We find that men often have deeper wounding than women. They do a better job of covering it up, of course, because they learn to toughen up and get on with it in the world. But women have a way of talking, of sharing, of crying, of releasing, of letting their heart break and letting it open up again. And very often, men, when their heart is broken, whether it was by their other crushing their balls. Excuse the language. Or whether it was in a relationship fifteen years ago, very often men's hearts get broken deeper and it takes a lot more tending to in order for it to heal and open up again to that undefended place.
Adam Gilad: I see that all the time. What are some of the processes you use in your workshop for men like this?
Rajyo Markman: All of our work is very experiential. So we really, we go in deep. We really use a lot of relating processes. We bring the women in there. The women are holding space for the men. We usually have an equal number of women to men so throughout the weekend they get a lot of strong mirroring; whether that be from their mother or through certain women in their lives that have really wounded them, shut them down. So they get to really see in a dynamic way how the process has happened of them shutting down. As we transition through the weekend, a lot of those layers get peeled away and then the males start to open up, start to soften those places again. Then by Friday evening of the workshop you know the men are very often then in a place to really open; to receive the true feminine which has the essence of love and devotion. Then that enables him to really tap into his true masculine which we call the noble man or the knight without armor. Then, after that, they can go into their right of passage where they really can let that be seen and let that be honored by the men and the women. It's really beautiful.
Adam Gilad: It must be such a sense of relief. I also do a lot of work with men and I've come to understand over three years of doing this that a lot of men don't really feel worthy of being that knight without armor. They don't feel they'll be accepted as that knight without armor because they don't feel they've accomplished enough yet or they don't feel they're deep enough yet. They can see it. They can see it on the horizon and so they settle for a much lesser form of masculinity. Do you find this often?
Britta Johnson: Yes, yes. I mean that's something I wanted to say when you asked about the wounding. Men have had their masculinity wounded enough. Because of the almost war of the sexes that somewhere goes on the unconscious [inaudible] of one another. It's like men often don't feel very honored by the feminine. It's kind of a big double edged sword. We don't honor each other. So men often feel emasculated - especially the kind of new age men - or the men who are becoming more vulnerable and stuff. Because of the wounding of the feminine, women often go in there and crush their balls. Really, I have to say that. Or [they] try to change the men and try to just kind of. There's often a lot of that kind of bitterness, or excuse my language, bitchiness that comes from women. The men feel by the time they get to us, they fell beaten down or something. That's also something that's one of our intentions - is how to learn to honor the masculine and for the feminine to be the wind beneath the masculine wings - instead of this power struggle going on especially because women feel more independent and very strong. In a way, women have become more masculine now.
Adam Gilad: Sure.
Britta Johnson: So that's what I was trying to say. They come to us feeling emasculated and not worthy, like you were saying, they don't feel that essence anymore. There isn't much role modeling. What it means now, in the year 2008, what it means to be a man. There is hardly any. That's why I'm happy there's always men's work springing up. Women are really finding what it means to be a man now.
Adam Gilad: I think that's probably why you chose the idea of celebrating the noble man...the name of your workshop. We're celebrating men.
Rajyo Markman: A lot of it, I think, is that it's wonderful that so much men's work is happening and the true test of that is when men come face to face with women. That's where all of our foundations get rocked. It's all great and we can do all the work in the world. Then we come to meet the opposite sex and it's like, OK, let's put this to the test. It's the same with the women. What we've found is there's this alchemy that's happens. It's very beautiful when the women [inaudible] can really honor the men. That is such a healing for the men to really be seen, and honored, and held, and heard in the places where they're broken; in the places where they've been hurt. To not be judged, not be condemned, to not be put down, but to be really seen and felt in that place. And for the women it's very healing to actually do that holding because that's the role of women naturally, to be the nurturer - to be the caretaker. In a way, what happens in our work is a beautiful return to our natural essence as men, as women. When we can remember our natural roles - for women it's the love and devotion and in the men it's really the holding and honoring - that sense of presence and purpose. It naturally happens in the dance between men and women. It's often been stripped away by all the roles we have to play in the world and we're all just very confused about who the hell we're supposed to be.
Adam Gilad: There's really not a lot of opportunity as you said for men as to heal their inner conflicts. I remember, back when, that when I used to hear "Oh, this is healing" I would take offense to that. I would say "well, I don't need to be healed. I'm not sick. I can handle myself." I was typical surface masculine - really not willing to accept the idea of healing. It's just not how a lot of men approach what they want to achieve in life. But what you do, it sounds like, is you create a format for men to number one, be healed by the feminine in the workshop, which is nice.
I want to talk about the other direction as well. What's the response for men? What's the opportunity for men in the healing of women and the opening of women to love?
Britta Johnson: Yeah, so there, that's really, that's [inaudible] in our kind of sequel. It's like the men do that search - that noble man search. Then they come and hold space for the women which we call the power of love. And once they've really tapped into their masculine essence, and into the protector, and to really hold space for the women, then the women get to let go and really.
Part of it is really holding space for women's rage. There's that rage. Because of the suppression of the feminine even on the global, unconscious level, collective level, those women do carry that kind of rage/anger to what's masculine. So there's that space where men hold the space for the women to express that. That's very healing for the feminine to have to that kind of [inaudible], you could say, to be able to express to say that "[inaudible] you or that upsets you for years; and the men have learned to hold space without taking it personally, without being a wall - healing it and getting it. There's that saying that you don't know the depths of a woman's rage until you've heard her rage. Until you have let her do that without taking it on, without defending it, without going back at it.
It's very similar in a way, just the other way around, for the woman to really be heard in their wounding and to be gotten. In what they need - for a woman to really be able to express what a woman needs and what she wants to receive.
For men to hear them and hold pace for them and be there, present for all of that. Kind of like, I suppose, the men are learning to kind of hold a space for a woman's emotional rollercoaster ride and not going on it with her, but also not going away. Like a lot of men, when a woman gets emotional, they kind of just space out or go away which is very painful for a woman. So they've learned to stay with them but not go on the ride with them. It's very healing to have a man being really present for a woman
Adam Gilad: It is. I'm really struck by the statement you made, "you don't know the depth of a woman's love until you've feel her rage." I'm wondering is this somewhat tradition or is it something you've developed in your workshop?
Rajyo Markman: It was actually something that Barry Long originally said which we've used a lot in our workshops. Barry Long was an Australian master who taught about making love, true making love and what that means. But we've also really experienced it in our work which is that
until a woman can really express her rage, the full depth of her love won't be able to be expressed or experienced because collectively on a cellular level she is carrying so much. I think when it's suppressed, she turns into a bitch. She turns into a castrating woman. She turns it inward so that her life's used in her passive and her love is distorted, becomes harmful for herself or others. When she can express it clearly and freely, there's such a freedom and such an opening of her heart to that.
Adam Gilad: Well, I can hear how much opening of your heart is in both of your voices.
It really comes through. Sounds like you run some magnificent workshops.
To review, you have Celebration of the Noble Man, which is for men, but you have women there from previous women's workshops, it sounds like.
Britta Johnson: Yes.
Rajyo Markman: Yes.
Adam Gilad: Then you have for women you have something called The Power of Love.
Rajyo Markman: Yes.
Adam Gilad: And there you have men who have also gone through your workshops to hold space and support the women?
Britta Johnson: Right.
Adam Gilad: That's fantastic. Are there any other workshops people should know about?
Are those your beginner?
Rajyo Markman: The foundation of our work is around the feminine so [inaudible] are women.
We start with the feminine because we feel the feminine is what's really in need of healing and recognition and honoring personally and or the planet. So we have Celebration of Woman which is actually our foundational workshop when women have gone through that and they can hold space for the men, steeped in their own feminine essence. So that's the foundational workshop that we run and then that runs into the noble man and the power of love and then we have a whole stream of workshops that continue on from that. We have workshops for younger women; we have workshops for older women. We have mixed gender workshops and they are on our website.
Adam Gilad: Beautiful. Your website. Yes.
Britta Johnson: Also, we do training, you know for people that we feel like they actually want to work with people or they are looking for a purpose for their mission for now that I've done my own work, what is my gift? How can I contribute? How can I help? So we find that there are lots of people that have that question. How can I unwrap my presence? How can I offer my gift? So we also do training for people that have gone through our other programs with us.
Adam Gilad: And if people wanted to get in touch with you, the easiest way would be?
Britta Johnson: Through our website. Did we mention already? Yeah. celebrationofbeing.com
Adam Gilad: So it's celebrationofbeing.com?
Britta Johnson: Right.
Rajyo Markman: Yes.
Adam Gilad: I want to say how much I enjoyed this. You've communicated a lot of heart and a lot of depth and a lot of brains in just a few minutes. And it sounds like you're doing some great work. Are your workshops mostly on the West coast of the United States?
Rajyo: We work on the west coast and we work also in Europe, mainly in England.
Adam Gilad: Excellent. Is there anything else you'd like to add before we signoff this week?
Britta Johnson: We'd like to say thank you to you. For being so open. You're asking great questions.
Adam Gilad: Oh, thank you. Well I love the work you're doing. I know how important it is. I'm involved in similar work and I really want to thank you. I want to recommend everyone checkout
the celebrationofbeing.com where Rajyo and Britta can be found. Sounds like you're doing great work and I look forward to working with you sometime soon.
Thank you so much, Adam. Thank you for the great work you're doing also.
Adam Gilad: You've been listening to The Fearless Lover here on Personal Life media. We've been talking to Rajyo and Britta who do fantastic work on the noble man and the foundations of love for women and we look forward to seeing you next week. Thank you.