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The Three-Legged Race

 

By Susan McNeal Velasquez

By Susan McNeal Velasquez

Large community picnics were a staple of summer when I was growing up. One of the activities was the three-legged race.

The way it works is that you pair up with a partner. Your leg is tied to your teammates leg. The goal is to move as fast as you can in tandem to the finish line without killing yourself in the process.

I understand why this game was reserved exclusively for the kids. The adults didn’t play, I now suspect, because many of them were already in a continuous three-legged race in their day to day lives..

It is important to consider a few things before you pick a partner. If you make the mistake of picking someone with a much longer, shorter, faster or slower stride than you, it is a formula for disaster. The more dominant and driven person simply drags the other one, kicking and screaming, to the finish line. Not a pretty sight.

Rhythm and timing play a crucial part in the successful navigation of being tied to another person. Awareness of each other, cooperation, a lighthearted attitude and a one-pointed focus on the bigger goal sets the stage for a decent opportunity to stay the course.

The first time you sign up for a race, it is usually without much thought. It looks like everyone is doing it and so you figure, why not? You stand still long enough to be tied together and then you are let loose to experience the elation and devastation of hobbling along, resisting, surrendering, wishing for an escape route, forward movement, good partnering, camaraderie and frustration. Most often, you experience missing the mark on your hopeful and unrealistic goal of all fun and gain and no loss or pain.

The three-legged race is an apt metaphor for the relationship woes of many adults. What I often see happening with accomplished, success-oriented women seeking a long-term committed relationship is that the traditional marriage picture that they grew up with is too small for who they have become. For this example, the left leg will represent responsive, receptive, relationship oriented qualities and the right leg assertive, make-it-happen, task-oriented traits.

Woman meets man. Women offers her left leg, the receptive, responsive, feminine energy side to partner with the man’s right leg, the assertive, active, task-oriented masculine energy. So far so good.

Most women who have made their way in our aggressive society have developed a strong masculine side, right leg, on their own. That strength often hasn’t been correctly acknowledged because strength in women still gets mixed reviews. The man in this equation has a free-floating feminine leg that is usually not taken seriously for the same reason. Emotional expressiveness is suspect in the too small definition of manly. So, the left leg of the woman visibly enters into the partnership. The right leg of the man does the same. They tie themselves together and then the trouble begins.

The woman’s strong and free right leg, masculine, starts doing what it has been trained to do. Move towards the finish line. The man’s right leg is tied to her left one. His feminine side, his left leg, that is unacknowledged for it’s cooperative strength, gets overpowered by her right leg that is invisible in the traditional partnership definition but is still strongly making its presence known.

He can’t stabilize because her masculine is competing for dominance with his masculine. His masculine is all tied up in roles and expectations of his duties, rights and responsibilities as the traditional male leader.

His left leg is free to function but it is easy to ignore and overlook his feeling nature since it is still largely treated as unacceptable and unfamiliar. They are embroiled in a confusing and messy power struggle.

Old paradigms of the supportive female and the dominant male deny the reality that each of us have both make it happen energy and receptive energy. When we put in the work to claim and take ownership of both our emotions and intellect, receptive and active, yes and no, dependent and independent, left and right legs,

we are freed to use all of our strengths to create interdependent relationships.

Susan is the author of “Beyond Intellect: Journey Into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind” and teaches on-going workshops on how to unleash the power of your intuition. Reach her at: susanvelasquez.com.

 

 

 

 

Large community picnics were a staple of summer when I was growing up. One of the activities was the three-legged race.

The way it works is that you pair up with a partner. Your leg is tied to your teammates leg. The goal is to move as fast as you can in tandem to the finish line without killing yourself in the process.

I understand why this game was reserved exclusively for the kids. The adults didn’t play, I now suspect, because many of them were already in a continuous three-legged race in their day to day lives..

It is important to consider a few things before you pick a partner. If you make the mistake of picking someone with a much longer, shorter, faster or slower stride than you, it is a formula for disaster. The more dominant and driven person simply drags the other one, kicking and screaming, to the finish line. Not a pretty sight.

Rhythm and timing play a crucial part in the successful navigation of being tied to another person. Awareness of each other, cooperation, a lighthearted attitude and a one-pointed focus on the bigger goal sets the stage for a decent opportunity to stay the course.

The first time you sign up for a race, it is usually without much thought. It looks like everyone is doing it and so you figure, why not? You stand still long enough to be tied together and then you are let loose to experience the elation and devastation of hobbling along, resisting, surrendering, wishing for an escape route, forward movement, good partnering, camaraderie and frustration. Most often, you experience missing the mark on your hopeful and unrealistic goal of all fun and gain and no loss or pain.

The three-legged race is an apt metaphor for the relationship woes of many adults. What I often see happening with accomplished, success-oriented women seeking a long-term committed relationship is that the traditional marriage picture that they grew up with is too small for who they have become. For this example, the left leg will represent responsive, receptive, relationship oriented qualities and the right leg assertive, make-it-happen, task-oriented traits.

Woman meets man. Women offers her left leg, the receptive, responsive, feminine energy side to partner with the man’s right leg, the assertive, active, task-oriented masculine energy. So far so good.

Most women who have made their way in our aggressive society have developed a strong masculine side, right leg, on their own. That strength often hasn’t been correctly acknowledged because strength in women still gets mixed reviews. The man in this equation has a free-floating feminine leg that is usually not taken seriously for the same reason. Emotional expressiveness is suspect in the too small definition of manly. So, the left leg of the woman visibly enters into the partnership. The right leg of the man does the same. They tie themselves together and then the trouble begins.

The woman’s strong and free right leg, masculine, starts doing what it has been trained to do. Move towards the finish line. The man’s right leg is tied to her left one. His feminine side, his left leg, that is unacknowledged for it’s cooperative strength, gets overpowered by her right leg that is invisible in the traditional partnership definition but is still strongly making its presence known.

He can’t stabilize because her masculine is competing for dominance with his masculine. His masculine is all tied up in roles and expectations of his duties, rights and responsibilities as the traditional male leader.

His left leg is free to function but it is easy to ignore and overlook his feeling nature since it is still largely treated as unacceptable and unfamiliar. They are embroiled in a confusing and messy power struggle.

Old paradigms of the supportive female and the dominant male deny the reality that each of us have both make it happen energy and receptive energy. When we put in the work to claim and take ownership of both our emotions and intellect, receptive and active, yes and no, dependent and independent, left and right legs,

we are freed to use all of our strengths to create interdependent relationships.

Susan is the author of “Beyond Intellect: Journey Into the Wisdom of Your Intuitive Mind” and teaches on-going workshops on how to unleash the power of your intuition. Reach her at: susanvelasquez.com.

 

 

 

 

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