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Integral Chicks Investigates: On Male/Female, Feminine/Masculine, and Leadership in an Integral Context

[Integral Chicks Note: This is a huge topic, so Cindy has volunteered to expound upon her view of this topic in 5 parts. Stay tuned for parts 2, 3, 4, & 5 in the coming weeks.]

Part One – Understanding Recent History and Biology including “Male” and “Female” (See below.) The nuance and complexity of “male” and “female” is explained. Cindy also shares her personal story as a feminist and a woman and how that relates to the context we are in today in the US. She concludes by explaining her “androgyny” comment from the video clip filmed at ILiA 2012.

Part Two – Power and Leadership
Our understandings of “Power” and “Leadership” are set inside a Spiral Dynamics context. Healthy and unhealthy expressions of each stage are teased apart. And “typical” assignments of “masculine” vs. “feminine” are shown.

Part Three – Understanding the Longer History and Cultural View of “Masculine” and “Feminine”
Stereotypes, archetypes and the useful times and not-so-useful times for using the terms “masculine” and “feminine” – and a suggested more skillful framing for the polarities we are interested in when we are specifically exploring leader-development and what makes for appropriate leadership in a given context.

Part Four – Lines, Types, and Leadership
Their relationship to male and female (biology) and “masculine” and “feminine” archetypes and stereotypes and to the stages of development and our present-moment challenges will be explored. Women have some statistical strengths – as do men. How do we tap these? AND, Will the world be saved by the “Western Woman” as the Dalai Lama is supposed to have said? Or will the world be saved by an integrated kick-ass / kiss-the-boo-boo combo?

Part Five – Integral Androgyny and Pulling it All Together
The new Mythic Story for our time. Playing to your natural strengths – communal or agentic, thinking or feeling, and knowing how to pool strengths for maximal impact. And the need for Integralists to lead, follow or get out of the way.

General Disclaimer for all Parts:
I am assuming a foundation in Integral Theory – or you probably would not be here. But if you are reading this without knowing much about Ken Wilber’s work – I apologize for some of the Integral terms and shorthand, which I don’t have time to define in this article. I hope you’ll get value regardless. For the 4 quadrants of Integral Theory I will use abbreviations UL, UR, LL, LR for upper left, upper right, lower left and lower right. And I will use the colors of the Spiral Dynamics model when I talk about stages because at this level we need the nuance and strength of a theory (vs. Integral Colors which represent meta-theory).


Understanding Recent History and Biology including “Male” and “Female”

Full disclosure: Let me disclose that I have my own set of perceptual filters, which affect how I see this topic. First you should know that I am a woman, an American and a feminist. Although I never actually burned a bra, my self-sense (my story) has been significantly impacted by the women’s movement. I have been ticked off about systemic discrimination against women (found in LL cultural norms and LR systems) since my teens when we were living in Australia and learned that my mother could not cash a check because under Aussie law at the time she needed her husband’s permission to take money out of their joint checking account. (Can you believe it – the bank manager called Dad at work to ask if it was okay to give Mom money?).

I am now approaching 56 years of age. The coffee mug I had on my desk for the first 10+ years of my career at Exxon had a cartoon of woman with a big smile saying something like this: “This mug contains very hot coffee. If you make a sexist remark I will spill it on your lap. Have a nice day.” I worked in Human Resources and women’s issues and the rights of non-Caucasians were a hot topic. New hires in my group got sent to look at my mug as a friendly part of their “affirmative action training.”

Let me also disclose that I am an INTJ on the Myers Briggs (T = Thinking style preference for decision making), a “5” on the Enneagram, and “warm color dominant” on the Spiral (i.e. highly “agentic” in Integral terms). Most women (about 75%) are Myers Briggs Feeling style in their preferences. So I am one of the 25% of women who felt like “maybe something is wrong with me” relative to my female peers. FYI men are about 75% thinking style; 25% feeling style. Feeling style men often feel something is “wrong” with them too. So perhaps I came into the world “better equipped” to cope with corporate America. Or perhaps I became agentic to succeed in an Orange/Strive-Drive world. Who knows? My gut tells me I would have been agentic anyway. I succeeded for twenty years at Exxon, and then left to run my own business in 2000. Most people who knew me at Exxon or in my current role would say I demonstrate “leadership skills”. So what does that mean for Integral and women in leadership?

Integral Chicks is a term that implies the group is for women. So let’s start with “male and female”. We like to think this part is clear. But it’s not always so. Some humans are born with both sets of genitalia – with doctors (at least in the past) often recommending amputation of the penis if there is a vagina and telling the parents to raise the child as a girl and to never reveal what happened. You can imagine the potential psychological issues that can arise from this. Many adults report feeling like they have a “female brain inside a male body” or vice-versa – with some going through full transgendering to make the outer match the inner. Humans are normally born with XX or XY chromosomes. XX = female. XY = male. Yet some are born XXY (externally male) XYY (male) or XXX (female) – i.e. with a third sex chromosome. Even male/female is complicated.

Besides the shape of our reproductive organs, there is the implication of hormones. I can tell you from working on my own hormone balance with my doctor that when I tried a new testosterone cream I got really irritable and prone to anger for a while. My blood chemistry showed I was in need of supplementation. Without enough testosterone I am exhausted – my “agency” evaporates. But with too much or a sudden uptick – I felt a bit like punching someone. This gives me a lot of compassion for what a high testosterone level in young men must feel like. (And I bet you are feeling a bit sorry for my husband about now!)

Without enough estrogen I notice that I walk around in a “brain-fog,” which might look like I don’t care about you because I am not listening well or remembering what you said. And low progesterone tends to create sleeplessness and anxiety. I might look confused, worried or tired when my progesterone is too low. Hormones matter and they matter a lot. I have been humbled. I have given up believing that how I feel and behave is exclusively a matter of my own will power. I am a biological being. I need to be ok with this. This is a really big deal for me to say – as my feminist self from my 20’s hates this. She feels like that’s a bunch of male propaganda. So you can imagine some of the voice dialogue I get to have with her! The point is – biology matters. AND biology is complex. Even the terms “male” and “female” are deeply loaded and should be used with sensitivity for context and nuance. And as a female – my blood chemistry is not a constant through my life. It changes monthly when younger, and wanders all over the place in perimenopause.

So when I offer tips in the video interview with Nicole about how women and men can raise their testosterone (based on a PopTech 2011 talk by Dr. Amy Cuddy of Harvard Business School) by changing their body posture, I am not trying to make a woman into a man. The same technique works for men as well. I am pointing to a biological connection between testosterone level and how we manifest as enthusiastic and self-confident in Dr. Cuddy’s research. Based on her research 2 minutes of holding a “power posture” increased testosterone, decreased cortisol (a stress hormone) and increased the chance of successfully getting a job offer in a controlled process…regardless of whether the candidate was male or female. It is great to know that you don’t need a doctor’s prescription to increase your testosterone temporarily and to get the rush of self-confidence it brings with it.

The presence or absence of a uterus and ovaries is also a big deal. Monthly cycles of hormone fluctuations make little difference to some women, and make enormous difference to others. To deny that seems silly now – although denying it was required of most of us feminists in the 70’s and 80’s! And it is hard for young women today to appreciate the joy many of us felt when the birth control pill became readily available and women could choose when to have a baby. The social ramifications and leadership ramifications of this are huge. Unexpected and/or repeated pregnancies could slow you down or cause you to “give up” on climbing the ladder. So now with the pill we could be a mother if and when we wanted to be one. This was and is a big step forward for those of us with female bodies.

Which brings us to biological and historical role differences. Thank God/Evolution that almost all our role differences are much more flexible now than they used to be. Most modern jobs do not require the size and strength of a male. This has allowed women to have equal access and opportunity (once legal and cultural barriers drop) to most parts of the workplace.

Family roles are a bit different. Growing babies inside your body and feeding them from your breasts is a very different role than the father has biologically. Modern baby formula meant I didn’t have to breast feed any longer than I chose to. Yet breast milk is healthier – so I chose to do that for a full two months, which means I stayed home 8 weeks after the birth of my daughter. AND I worked from my house. I had to leave work 6 weeks before my due date for bed rest. I was on maternity leave for 2 months. I was darned sure not going to let go of a job I loved because I couldn’t make the key supervisory decisions during this time. I was a woman in a management role. I wasn’t going to let “all women” down. And I didn’t want to leave my team in a bad way. There was very minimal email capability back then – so a friend brought me the paperwork from the office every few days and took back the paper work I had completed. I proved I could triumph over cultural expectations. I was being the “superwoman” I was expected to be in the 80s. And I decided quickly one child was all I could manage with this set of expectations.

Having a child changes who you are – male or female. In a beautiful way you start to care deeply and with sometimes-scary intensity, about the well being of another. AND having a child immediately brings up archetypal / stereotypical roles in the marriage. Whose “job” is it to do what? In the 1980s men and women were fighting the women’s liberation war in the nursery, the kitchen, and the bedroom as well as in the boardroom. My own marriage was no exception. Women challenged every “role” we were assigned. Why do I have to be the one doing “X” all the time? I now understand with more compassion how hard this was on the men of that era. They felt they were “made wrong” at every turn. One man told me “if I open a door for a woman I get yelled at. And if I don’t open it I get ‘the stare’. How am I supposed to know which woman wants what?” As Forrest Gump would say – “it was a very confusing time.”

Fast forward to 2012. Thirty-some years later, much has changed in the lower quadrants. Our cultural norms are hugely different from what my own mother grew up with. It is a good thing to take that wider view and to appreciate how far we have come on diversity issues. It keeps us in love with evolution and having faith in the larger impulse of Eros. This is a good balance to our natural tendency to focus on what still needs to improve!

My daughter, Jess, as she went through high school (she is now 24), would hear my feminist stories and tell me to “chill.” “Mom, that’s all over now,” she would tell me. Jess is blessed to not have felt much (at least overt) pressure to defer to boys, to get married young and fit into the traditionalist roles my mother and wife. Important note: those roles and stereotypes are not gone – and they don’t need to totally disappear. Those traditionalist roles may always suit some people perfectly. As Clare Graves said, “Let people be where they are, dammit!” Blue on the Spiral (Amber in Integral language) can be as beautiful and noble as any other color. AND it cannot be the top of our evolutionary pathway anymore – as life conditions are now too complex for that stage to cope with (more on that in a future post). It may take several more generations for the modern and post-modern (Orange+) view of women and their freedom to select their roles to really move into a new collective consciousness – the LL Cultural space. And it will take even longer to penetrate our unconscious and our archetypes. And we can always regress as a society. But with the laws passed in the 1960’s and 70’s a lot has changed. And that has been a good thing for women in leadership.

Jess has, in her life so far, had equal access to sports, equal access to college, and equal access to jobs. And she like many of us has recently been watching with concern the regression in our legal system in the US. Traditionalist perspective legislators have been very busy trying to (and in too many cases succeeding) in limiting women’s access to birth control. I know the Europeans reading this will think we are totally insane over here. From a Spiral standpoint we are seeing a “pull back” to earlier stages on the Spiral. The most conservative voices in our society are working hard to take the role of decision-maker away from the woman and her doctor and to regulate and restrict her options on many fronts including birth control and pregnancy terminations. But enough on that – I could rant for hours on that one.

The leadership point is that we have come a long way in the US – AND WE ARE NOT DONE. In Europe with high levels of immigration from countries where the center of gravity is Blue or below there is risk that some of the gains taken for granted there may be challenged as well. In the LL Culture quadrant we still do have collective stereotypes to deal with. And in the LR Systems quadrant we do have practices and laws that were changed in the direction I would call positive (modern to post-modern) which can and may be reversed. We cannot lose our vigilance. Jess and I have talked a good bit about this. I have also talked with other young women.

As my generation (the boomers) ages it is time for the Gen X-ers and Millenials to be prepared to take up the cause. Apathy these days is as good as voting with the traditionalist view. And this is not just a woman’s issue. These issues are for everyone. When women cannot control their reproduction all of society is affected. My father’s Roman Catholic mother had 8 children. She managed to teach math at the local Catholic school in spite of that load. But she could not have had my career at Exxon and juggled what she had to do at home. Her choices were limited. There were not enough hours in a day.

So regardless of your gender, please vote and be a leader in women’s rights and family planning if you want to ensure a future where women (biological females) can have a chance to acquire and use power and effectively lead in organizations outside the home. In other words, don’t forget the historical context and don’t take previous advances as forgone conclusions. And remember that freedom from role constraints is freeing for men as well as women. Men need to be free to be stay-at-home Dads if they so choose…just as women should be able to stay at home, or not.

And on the biology frontier we need to be brutally honest. We cannot effectively ignore (as I tried to) our hormonal levels. What we see clearly, we can deal with. If you have wild hormone swings I would suggest you find a way to moderate the impact on others. That is what leaders do. And yes – the world needs to understand women are different. And no – I don’t think it’s ok to have a crying jag in a meeting or to rip someone up because you are experiencing PMS. In the leadership training world – where we teach EQ (emotional intelligence) as key for leadership and professional success – we don’t say temper tantrums from male leaders are ok because they have a lot of testosterone. It’s not ok from women either. Self-regulation is crucial for all of us.

Finally – concluding Part One – when I say we need an “inner androgyny” in the video I do not mean we need to wash out the poles and all move to some boring “middle place” of neither-male-nor-female. Rather we need – by the time we move to Yellow on the Spiral – to start finding true flexibility beyond old terminologies and cultural expectations of role. When I need to stand in whatever we might call the “masculine” – say express my testosterone tendencies – I will do it. Whenever I need to stand in my Spiral Red expression of power and strength I will do it. When my “no” needs to mean “hell no!” I can say it and you will feel the force of it. I will embody Orange Strive-Drive without embarrassment or apology when it suits the context. And I can embody softness, radiance, accommodation to the other, and focus on the “we space” whenever that is context-appropriate. This is what Spiral Yellow Flex-Flow means to me. It means being at either pole (of any given polarity) or anywhere in the middle between the poles, depending on what is the compassionate and wise thing to do in that moment for that context. A dynamic flow of breathing in and breathing out is what is called for. In this moment I am at Pole A (say “agency”), and at the next moment at Pole B (say “communion”). I may still prefer one Pole over the other – but I am comfortable and capable expressing its opposite.

As for fun in romance and in the bedroom…if you are game, play out your polarities there in all their glory. Being androgynous in my use of that term means full Integral flexibility. Want to play a Spiral Red submissive/dominant game? Go for it. Want to be the seducer today instead of being “the one seduced.” Fine. Want to dress up like a Puritan woman or man of a repressed Blue stage (traditionalist) who meets and falls for a wild man or woman of the woods (embodying Spiral Purple) and make love under the stars? Sounds fun! Want to be tender, wild, whatever? My feeling is that as long as it’s all consensual and non-harming – enjoy it. And I would suggest you try on both sides of each polarity and notice where you feel discomfort. In our discomfort is information. It might mean we need to say “hey, no more! Stop this game!” or “Cool! Here is an opportunity for self-awareness and growth!”

What do you think? Let’s discuss. And remember please – 4 more segments are coming!

Cindy Wigglesworth is President of Deep Change. She has a BA and MA from Duke University and has 20 years of experience in human resources management with ExxonMobil. She founded her business, now called Deep Change, in 2000. Cindy is certified in Emotional Intelligence and has created, validated and researched the first skills-based Spiritual Intelligence Assessment instrument for business and personal use.

Nicole Fegley, MA is the Co-Founder of Integral Chicks. She is a Certified Integral Coach through Integral Coaching Canada, and has coached with Integral Life and the Integral Incubator. Nicole is the Co-founder, with her partner Clint Fuhs, of Core Integral Inc. A former restaurant owner, she worked for Integral Institute and Integral Life from 2005-2012, and has produced over 40 personal, professional, and spiritual events for the Integral community. Nicole is a senior student of Ken Wilber, studies Indo-Tibetan Buddhism with Daniel Brown and Hatha Yoga and Feminine Embodiment with Sofia Diaz.

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20 Responses to “Integral Chicks Investigates: On Male/Female, Feminine/Masculine, and Leadership in an Integral Context”

  1. Kelly Sosan Bearer
    June 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    Check out Amy Cuddy and the power poses Cindy refers to in her video interview here:

  2. Gregor Bingham
    June 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Rich like a good chocolate cake, can’t wait for more!

  3. Lynne Feldman
    June 13, 2012 at 8:31 pm #

    This was a superb offering.  I too am a Baby Boomer and had many similar experiences.  The one that I find so fascinating is that as an experienced litigator in a heavy Amber/Orange arena, I found the most acceptance for my agentic, hyper-competitive spirit.  I never experienced sexism, and was valued for my strong personaw in court.  BUT–amidst Green company, I usually am told to “tone it down”, be quieter, less “spirited”, less intense, more feminine.  The ironic thing is that I am nicely balanced in masculine/feminine, and can respond in true flex/flow fashion.  My litmus test for a Turquoise enviornment is one that will embrace me as I use my several-octave range of both masculine and feminine.  I refer to this as another way of discussing bandwidth.  Mine is pretty wide.  Perhaps we need to fit this variable into our discussions of typologies as well.

  4. Gayle
    June 14, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Cindy, wow, thank you for igniting a powerful dialogue here. Several points pop for me to highlight: posture of leadership – or the body as a gateway to shifting present state for what is called for in the moment, don’t take evolution for granted – stay in the present game of reality when it comes to women’s rights, honoring biology – after all, we are human right? You rock!

  5. Cindy W
    June 14, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    Dear Gayle and Gregor, thanks so much for your feedback.

    Dear Lynne, 
    Thanks so much for triggering me to want to share something…I hope that is ok.

    I agree that ideally as we move into second tier we develop a wider “bandwidth” for the expressions of others.  AND we develop a wider bandwidth for calibrating our own expression to suit the situation and the goal.  And I think this whole issue that you raise is not just about being masculine or agentic or having highly Orange-competitive (traits I tend to share). Nor is it a problem I want to just blame on people being “too Green” – which is such an unfortunately tendency in our community to slam people for anything that looks Green.

    Here are my thoughts.  My guiding question is “what would Love do?” or “what is the compassionate and wise thing to do in this situation” (since I define Love as Compassion + Wisdom for my Spiritual Intelligence work).  If the loving thing for me to do is to be silent I will be silent.  If the loving thing to do is to be calmly expressive I will do that.  If the loving thing is to be calmly forceful (a notch up in intensity) I will do that.  Rarely have I found occasions that require me to be in full-on high voltage expressive mode.  

    So the issue is 2 directional – the receiver and the sender – and asking what is the higher purpose of the exchange.  Is the goal to be in loving relationship?  If so – there is a really beautiful polarity to manage here.  Since Beena and I just spent part of the last 2 days teaching polarities her lesson on this particular one is fresh in my mind.  She said there is a polarity between “Speaking My Truth” and “Caring and Respecting Others”.  We did an exercise similar to what Allison Conte, Dana and Bert did at ILIA 2012.  We had the group divide into 4 and write out the advantages of each pole and the result is we “overuse one pole to the neglect of the other”…and everyone got to move around and add their ideas to all 4 flip charts.  

    What became beautifully clear is that if the goal is to be in loving relationship we have to move between the poles and be sure we are Speaking our Truth but with Care and Respect. What happens if we OVER CARE and don’t speak our truth is that we get resentful, and the relationship is degraded because of it, and we end up undermining the very pole we care about by ending up resenting/disliking/not wanting to be around the other person.  If we OVER SPEAK the relationship is degraded and the other gives us and quits listening to us…so we undermine the very pole we care about again…speaking and being heard.  

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing through the lens of polarities.  I see my self and my shadow in so many ways through them.  So ideally others will inhabit the Care and Respect pole with me, with you, when you need to speak your truth.  And you and I will care and respect their need for not triggering them.  Extremely expressive styles are VERY LITERALLY overwhelming to the nervous system of Introverts.  And can remind people of abusive relationships as well.  Deep triggers can come up.  I think it is a way broader issue than honoring the warm colors and our masculine energies.

    And finally, Green is a VERY beautiful color on the Spiral.  I have to force myself sometimes to remember this and really move into a heartfelt love for Green.  I remember its  nobility and healing it has brought to the Spiral.  Thank God for it.  Where would the women’s liberation movement have been without it?

    Hugs to all of you!

  6. Rebecca Bailin
    June 14, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    This is a topic close to my heart: I published a paper on it
    in Journal of Integral Theory and Practice that is available online: google
    rebecca bailin feminine masculine integral and you’ll find it if you’re


    I resonate with a lot of what you said, Cindy.  I too am highly analytical, have had a
    successful career in corporate America
    and have exhibited skills that are traditionally associated with males.  And I’m a 70s era feminist. 


    I would quibble with the notion (often expressed by Ken
    Wilber) that 70s feminists ignored the influence of biology – this was not my
    experience.  I felt that the approach to
    the biological differences between men and women was way more nuanced.  We are all a combination of nature and
    nurture: we arise in all four quadrants. 
    Feminism, for me was about change so it focused on that which could be
    changed.  To further women’s liberation,
    let’s address culture, systems and self-view: LL, LR and UR and see what remains.  For me, not much. 


    And we challenged assumptions around the meaning and
    implications of biology.  I think when we
    reference hormones and biology, we cannot lose sight of development and
    meaning-making around these forces.  Sean
    Esbjorn-Hargens and an inmate at Pelican
    Bay may both experience
    intense testosterone but their contexts and development may have a huge impact
    on how they make meaning of that hormonal rush and how they behave.  When hormones are discussed, they are often
    discussed as though their implications were static and immutable.     


    In addition, as humans evolve and technology evolves, the
    biological differences between males and females seem to have lessening impact:
    women can fly fighter jets and men can use breast milk pumped by their partners
    that morning to feed and bond with the baby. 


    I so appreciate your references to developing an integral
    fluidity; enjoy polarities or even the lack of polarity.  There is power in opposition, there is also
    tremendous power in resonance and same/same. 
    Eros does not, in my opinion, require opposition (as Margaret Cho said, “I’m
    the one that I want!”)  Lots of people
    enjoy polarity.  Lots of people enjoy
    sameness and consonance.  Lots of people
    enjoy both. 


    For me, there are a couple of key moves:


    that in early stages of development biology was much more influential than
    it is now (while recognizing that there is still a role but that it is
    impossible to say how great a role)realizing
    that men and women have different histories and, as a result and have
    developed different skills.  If we
    think of the differences between us as “skills” then I think we avoid the
    critical error of essentializing these differences and making them
    immutable, ahistorical and acultural. 
    meanings and systems we make around our biologies are crucial


    I think we have opportunities for cross training and
    fluidity and choice in gender and even in sex that are unprecedented in human
    history.  Let’s not forget either the
    include or the transcend cause either squanders this unique moment.  

  7. Lynne Palazzolo
    June 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    So…I usually have more questions than answers: (btw…I love you, Cindy! )

    Q1: What is the rate of increased testosterone in women and their sexual orientation?
    Q2: How do women who identify as lesbian hold themselves in the physical space?  (LOL my girly sister told me, Lynne, you walk like a truck driver.”)

    I will think of more….thank you for YOU!

  8. Cindy W
    June 14, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    Rebecca – great points.  Will check out the article.
    Lynne P – I have no idea!  Perhaps others in the community can speculate or give links to answers to your 2 questions.  

  9. Rebecca Bailin
    June 15, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    Thanks, Cindy…

    Another reason to be really careful about what we say about biology/hormones is that there is tremendous variation across populations.  My experience with sex hormones seems quite different than yours and I noticed an instant teeny little voice as I was reading your piece that worried whether I’m worthy as a female given that I don’t experience what you describe. 

    In sexist culture it’s easy for just about anything to become normative and very difficult for those who are outliers.

  10. Cindy W
    June 15, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    Rebecca, that’s why I only said “I” in the experience part.  I would guess we do vary a good bit.  And there are some commonalities reported to my doctor, who has a lot of perimenopausal women in her practice.  I have found that as I share my experience with other women my age many say “Thank you!  I thought I was going nuts!”  And I learn from them.  Some women are really having trouble with Thyoid hormones not sex hormones.  Others, as Nicole mentioned, might have neurotransmitter imbalances.  (And men get all these problems too – just perhaps less predictably arising in their 50’s!)  

    A lot of women I talk to in their 40s and 50s seem to feel it’s not ok to admit the issues they are dealing with – whether it be depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, irritability, lack of libido, whatever.  And of course many of these symptoms can be caused by many things other than hormone imbalances.  FYI the first doctor I went to – a female internist – tested only my thyroid and blood counts and pronounced me “fine.”  I figured I was going to have to retire – I del so awful.  It was a 2+ year effort for my new doctor and I to figure it all out for me so I felt okay.  I have long since lost count of the number of blood tests and other diagnostics.  So yes – it is complex and variable.  And because of all of that it really helps for all of us to share what we experience so we have lots of perspectives, feel less embarrassed or worry, and can go get the help we need.BTW check out the DVD “Hot Flash Havoc”…it has an interesting history of menopause in it (considered a “recent problem” since women usually died before menopause!!), and info on hormone replacement therapy fears and facts.  I laughed and felt informed and comforted!  http://www.amazon.com/Hot-Flash-Havoc-The-Movie/dp/B004PF8QE8/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1339807957&sr=1-1&keywords=hot+flash+havoc  

  11. Lynne Palazzolo
    June 15, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    I hope you don’t mind that I am posting a public response.  If you do mind, I am sorry I did not have a better read on you…

    I am so enjoying unraveling the gem of this piece…In your closing remarks on Part One I am in agreement with your statements,…

    Cindy: “when I say we need an “inner androgyny” in the video I do not mean we need to wash out the poles and all move to some boring “middle place” of neither-male-nor-female.

    Lynne: Amen!  My genetic and spiritual pre-dispostion to homosexuality is the biggest gift of my life.

    It caused me to fearlessly search for THE TRUTH about my sexuality.  I believe part of my gift to the world is to show it the face of the Goddess/Warrior that resides within each of us. 

    How it taught me to embody the experience of power AND surrender….all in the same pause of my breath.  The pause is the FIRE inside of the ice.

    Thank you for your words.  They helped me become clearer about myself! Perhaps you are a bit of a provacatuer.

    Cindy: Rather we need – by the time we move to Yellow on the Spiral – to start finding true flexibility beyond old terminologies and cultural expectations of role.

    Lynne:  Again, AMEN AMEN!

    Cindy: When I need to stand in whatever we might call the “masculine” – say express my testosterone tendencies – I will do it.

    Lynne:  Meaning you are capable? From here on, you kind of lost me….

    Cindy:  Whenever I need to stand in my Spiral Red expression of power and strength I will do it. When my “no” needs to mean “hell no!” I can say it and you will feel the force of it. I will embody Orange Strive-Drive without embarrassment or apology when it suits the context.

    Lynne:  And what woman would not say, “Hell YES” to that. And that was what bother me as a young woman who was born in 1963.  Most of what I could feel when I was growing up was how angry woman were.  They were either angry or submissive.

    Cindy :”I can say it so you can feel the force of it.”   

    Lynne: I have never experienced saying or doing something so someone can feel the force of it when I am at peace with myself.  I only can do that in anger.  Now, sometimes I am not at peace with myself, and I know I have the capacity to hurt people when my survival instinct is triggered…and it is actin out the emotion of anger.

    I don’t know if this is my sensitive empathic Enneagram Type 2, my ENFP, my ADHD, my lack of testosterone, my increased cortisol level from working as a nurse in the US Healthcare field, my Mean Green meme, the archetypal fool, that caused the question that emerged in me.


    Under what circumstance does anyone have the right to “make another human being, “feel the force of it?”

    I am not being provacative.  I really do not know the answer to that question….Thoughts?

    Lynne:  P.S.  I don’t know you well enough to respond to the wonderfull erotic pictures you provoked from me in the last segment….yes, there IS one thing I am still a bit protective of…that my friends, is sizing up to be my biggest spiritual lesson…

  12. Lynne Palazzolo
    June 16, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    Hmmm.  I am not a baby boomer…I am not a gen-Xer, either. I was born in 1963.  I was not a teenager in the 1960’s.  Nor was my mother. My Mother was from the Silent Generation. Her two sisters..one 9 years the 11 years younger then she…WERE baby boomers.

    I am a member of generation Jones.

    Generation Jones is a term coined by Jonathan Pontell to describe the generation of people born between 1954 and 1965. The term is used primarily in English-speaking countries.[1][2]
    Pontell defined Generation Jones as a distinct concept, referring to the second half of the post-World War II baby boom (1954-1965) [3]

    The name “Generation Jones” has several connotations, including a large anonymous generation, a “keeping up with the Joneses” competitiveness and the slang word “jones” or “jonesing”, meaning a yearning or craving.[4][5][6][7] It is said that Jonesers were given huge expectations as children in the 1960s, and then confronted with a different reality as they came of age in the 1970s and 1980s, leaving them with a certain unrequited, jonesing quality.

    One reason sociologists make this distinction is because the tail end of the Boomer generation constituted people who came of age in the 1970s after the Vietnam War began winding down and were too young to be confronted with the draft. In addition because they were under the age of 18 during the height of the counterculture movement, limiting their participation in it compared to Boomers born in 1946-52. Some sociologists have also argued that anyone who had not attained puberty yet during the counterculture era cannot be considered a Boomer.

    How many leadership programs do we know of that include this cultural perspective?  How many integral chicks are in this age bracket?

    Again….more questions!  ARRGGG

  13. Rebecca Bailin
    June 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    Oh Cindy, with you in spades on the gazillion dollars spent on testing and diagnosing hormonal issues.  AND absolutely on the frustration of having the mainstream doc say you’re “fine” on thyroid and within ranges.  I’ve spent LOTS of time/energy/money on this issue and am currently learning a ton from measuring my blood sugar.  Fairly sure insulin and cortisol are the keys for me but oh yeah I can relate to the fatigue part.  Several times during my years of high stress high pressure corporate consulting I had to pull the car over on the freeway and close my eyes for a few minutes on my morning commute.  And clearly remember putting the car in park on the evening one so I could close my eyes at a red light. 

    Ah yes.  Fun with stress.

  14. Cindy W
    June 17, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    Thanks for sharing!  I think it is so helpful for us to be willing to share our variety of experiences of this next phase of woman-hood.

    Lynne P,
    Thanks for your replies.
    On embodying my testosterone/masculine – my goal is that I can access it, tap it, use posture to elevate it, and use the gifts of it (confidence, enthusiasm, a sense of personal power) skillfully.  I don’t hide behind a cultural of norm of “I can’t do that”, or behind any of my own shadow issues (hopefully) around wanting to be “liked”.  My therapists says there are moments in time when we all have to choose between being liked and being respected.  Because I am high agency, or passionately driven in my vocation, or whatever, I tend to default to being respected.  In my teens I might have wanted to be liked.  But something changed.  Perhaps it was feminism – and perhaps I went to far the other way (I probably did) for a while.  I hope I have found a middle way where most of the time I can be both liked and respected.  But if push comes to shove, I need to decide in the moment 
    1. how important is this issue? (not important – let it go!) 
    2. how much influence can I have in this moment? (none – not a bit – let it go) 
    3. what is the cost of speaking up and am I willing to pay it?  

    What maturity has helped me see is that context and intention are 2 critical pieces of skillful response to any situation.  So there is no uniform response…there is context-dependent; goal-dependent response-ability.  But yes, I need to have Testosterone-like responses in my toolkit; along with anything we might deem related to Estrogen, Oxytocin, Etc.

    On the issue of “feel the force of it” let me try to tease this out.

    Have you ever had someone violate your boundaries?  Let’s assume that it is a violation (and not just a story I have made up about what is going on – there is an actual inappropriate behavior being made).  Let’s say I first say a polite “no” and there is no change in behavior.  Let’s say I try to then remove myself from the person/situation.  Perhaps they follow.  Perhaps I work with them and I can’t get away from them in a day-to-day way.  

    This is where Spiral Dynamics is so helpful.  Spiral Red power expressions are not just physical (as in physical attack).  They can be emotional (e.g. emotional abusers).  They can political power games (manipulation, attack, end runs, confrontations in meetings).  Red – if it is the primary center of gravity of the person – has no respect for responses from any other level than from Red.

    If I have attained healthy Spiral Yellow then I am no longer “allergic” to Red.  Nor am I overly enamored of it.  I use it when it’s needed.  In a Red-to-Red energy match I can match someone who might be using a Tier 1 form of Red with an equally powerful Yellow-Red.  In my experience people at Tier 1 Red are watching for an energetic match and a sense they receive in their subtle energy sensors of “don’t F___ with this person”.   I can remember a time when I tried to handle a Tier 1 Red move from someone (who on a good day was Center of Gravity-COG- Orange – but who was occasionally still deeply triggered around women and pulled Red a lot when something felt like he was losing status) with a Green “let’s talk about it” move.  Things escalated and became very ugly because my move was perceived as weakness.

    I have learned that IN THE RIGHT CONTEXT a powerful, energetic, “don’t F with me” energy of Yellow-Red can cause the Red activation in the other person to realize it has met it’s match. Then, after the neocortex comes back on line (Red is highly Limbic system based) the person may calm down and seeks another method.

    Some people who are developmentally stuck at COG Red (e.g. some forms of narcissistic personality disorder) may never be able to move past the “don’t F with me” power hierarchy.

    My friend Richard Barrett and I discussed this once.  (Google him or look him up at valuescentre.com) He has a wonderful tool based on Maslow’s hierarchy.  He said that there are times when “leadership” means being willing to slam someone against a wall and dominate the heck out of them.  (This can be a figurative thing as well).  So stay tuned for the Part coming up on STAGES.  

    States, stages, lines, types and all 4 quadrants are happening all the time simultaneously.  

    Anyway, bottom line, in defense of a child, of someone I love, or in defense of myself when boundaries are violated and gentler forms seem not appropriate or are not working, I will blast you with my subtle & gross energy communicated via our limbic resonance (Google it), my physical stance, my voice and my actions.  And you will feel the force of my “no” – which will mean “Hell no and you better back off!”.    Or put another way – the day I brought my daughter home from the hospital I realized that my Momma Bear instinct could be activated and that I wasn’t all “peace, love and granola” on the inside – and that maybe that was a good tool to have in the toolkit.

    Hope that helps!

  15. Lynne Feldman
    June 17, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    Hi Cindy,
    Just wanted to clarify…gee, one way conversations are soo frustrating at times.  I have never meant to “bash” Green.  Indeed, it has been consistent within my teaching that Ken neveer meant to “transcend and make fun of”, which I hear so much in many Integral circles. 

     My current program is housed in a beautiful Green organization, yet I am told that “no one will take your program because they know One Spirit is a Green institution.  When I taught the Spiral over 16 years to high school students, I explained the beauty of every level of the Spiral, how they came about, and what they contribute to the overall healthy and robustness of humanity.  What I commented upon was a differential among different developmental levels and how they react to exrtraverted females.

    To add complexity here, my extraversion/introversion results are 55/45, so I am no naturally loud person.  I am also a Southerner who does not do well in an East coast abrasive culture.  I much prefer the Southern culture, although not its politics, which is why I fled North!

    My comment on bandwidth is an observation that some folks hawve short ones, and others have wide ones.  I was questioning whether emotional reactions might have the same characteristics, that some of us are capable of a wide range of emotional reactions, from very quiet to quite extraverted, whereas others of us operate within smaller “octaves”, with one style predominating and very rarely experiencing a wider range of emotions.

    Any input on this query?


  16. Cindy W
    June 18, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    Hi Lynne F,
    sorry – when I said “we in integral” I truly mean all of us in Integral – as a generalization – are allergic to Green and it’s tendency to over-do the “nice” aspects of being human and not allow for conflict.  Didn’t mean to assume that you were in fact bashing Green.  So sorry.  This is an awkward communication vehicle indeed.  

    I can tell there is pain around this topic for you.  And I really don’t have any further insights to add at this point.  People have wider or narrower “band width” as you put it for lots of reasons I think.  Some to do with personal history (abusive childhoods for example) that will be either changeable or not -depending partially on how deep the wounds are.  People have different favored degrees of expressiveness based on type (e.g. introvert/extrovert), culture (e.g. Southern vs. North Eastern in US), on stage of development (Green as an overgeneralization liking ‘nice and calm’ and Red liking ‘loud and bossy’ or totally submissive to the power leader) and probably a bunch of other stuff that a therapist might help us identify.  But this is beyond my expertise area.

    I GENERALLY tend to try as best I can to fit my style to what people can hear and not demand they hear it as I choose to express it.  That’s my preference in most situations.  And in my immediate family obviously we try to let each other be more relaxed and themselves to the degree it makes sense and doesn’t damage relationships.  So I come back to what is the goal?  for me it’s to be HEARD which means if they speak “French” I have to speak “French” rather than demand they learn English.  

    AND I hear how painful it can be when it feels like others don’t have enough flex to let you relax and let it come out however you want your expressiveness to come out.

    Hang in there…

  17. Elizabeth Debold
    June 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Great work, Cindy! I thought that you might like some support from the blog that I wrote after we spoke at the last (before this recent one) ILiA conference: 

  18. Layne Cutright
    October 13, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    Dear Lynn
    & Cindy,


    In response
    to the question, “Under what circumstance does anyone have the right to
    “make another human being, “feel the force of it?” I would say it is appropriate when someone
    is intentionally damaging others.


    individuals or groups will not control the aspect of themselves that gives them
    permission to inflict harm, they need to be controlled. Their harmful activity
    requires that I take action to render them “helpless to harm” or harmless. How
    I do that is very situation specific.


    So, I think
    it requires spiritual attunement to discern when and how to intervene. The
    issue of stepping over someone’s “free will” comes into question. Am I stepping
    over the line of someone’s free will if I decide to take action to render them
    harmless to do damage to others? Sometimes, it depends on what level you are
    looking from.


    For me,
    from a spiritual perspective “free won’t” is as important as free will.

    I won’t
    allow others to be harmed or damaged if it is in my power to stop it. Asking
    the question, “How can I render them harmless without damaging them?” is an important
    inquiry for me to bring to my Higher Guidance.


    I pray for
    the Love and Wisdom to wield my power for the highest good of all and I have
    learned to trust my power.


    interested in your thoughts about what I have said.

  19. Lynne Palazzolo
    October 14, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    Dearest Layne….THANK you so much for inviting me into a
    deeper inquiry into this very complex, sticky, conversation about spiritual
    practice and the masculine/feminine=Integrated  ways of knowing and leading.

    I will do my best to articulate what I find to be a
    mysterious paradox to my question:  “Under what circumstance does anyone have the
    right to “make another human being, “feel the force of it?”

    LAYNE’S RESONSE: I would say it is appropriate when someone is
    intentionally damaging others.

    I guess my first question to that would be, “How do you know
    what their true intention is?”   I
    believe in the inherent good of all people. 
    I think there are conscious behaviors, and unconscious ones.  So I would rather not judge another’s
    behavior as “appropriate or inappropriate.” 
    Rather it is holding the space for the question, “Does this person/culture
    /group see the impact their behavior is having on others?”

    It is then my personal response to enter that inquiry with
    them from a place of curiosity, and non-judgment.  I get curious to find out about the kind of
    pain, or struggle they must be going through to create more pain in the world?

    In moments when I truly understand  POWER….I realize it comes from a place of vulnerability
    and from truly knowing any power I have comes from source…and source is
    love.  I surrender into source and
    trust.  There is nothing to “DO”
    there.  There is just presence and BEING
    WITH in that space. 

    me, from a spiritual perspective “free won’t” is as important as free will. I
    won’t allow others to be harmed or damaged if it is in my power to stop it.

    I totally agree with the free won’t!  What my spiritual path has required of me in
    the “free won’t” is more like the Freedom Rider’s during the 1960’s…and Martin
    Luther King.  It requires radical vulnerability
    and self-sacrifice….and the ultimate surrender.   It is not saying it is okay…it is standing
    powerfully in your vulnerability, taking a stand….without being able to know or
    control the outcome.  AGENCY is taking
    the stand.  In saying, I, as an individual,
    WILL NOT TOLERATE…FEMININE leadership is being able to look into the heart of
    the oppressor with enough loving presence and be willing to accept the outcome
    as, “The only thing that could have happened.”

    Again…this is just the way I see and experience my spiritual
    response to situations I really don’t have control over….LOL, or maybe I just
    have been through too many Catholic Masses, and spent too much time in the
    rooms of 12 Step Programs J

    I would be interested to deepen this dialogue…I am quite
    sure I don’t have the answer here…and many more questions!


  1. Women, Power and Leadership | Integral Chicks - September 26, 2012

    […] is the second in a series from Cindy on female leadership. The first in the series can be found here. Her new book, SQ 21: The Twenty-One Skills of Spiritual Intelligence launches October 9th, and […]

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