Many a car’s mechanical problems can be related to how often you change the engine oil. The more often you change it the cleaner, the saying goes, it runs. Also it means the mechanic is rooting around under your hood to see or hear if something is wrong. Which not coincidentally generates more business for the garage. If in fact he finds something wrong then you are doing preventative maintenance which is almost always cheaper than repairs. Not only with cars but just about everything else.
Take our vacuum for example. We bought it second hand because my wife’s experience is that you spend a $150 or usually more on a new vacuum and more likely than not it is giving you headaches within 6 months. Funny when I was growing up we had an emerald green Electrolux whose design was inspired by one of the characters in the canteen from the movie Star Wars. The thing lasted easily 15 years. Suction wasn’t great those last few years. That was still in the day of the vacuum bag that filled up and you had to toss. I think the whole thing was designed around selling vacuum bags because they weren’t very big and it was pretty awkward to empty them out and try and re-use.
Now our vacuum looks like son of Electrolux: turquoise with a mini body for the dirt receptacle. Nowadays we just empty out the dirt receptacle and keep going. And that is what the people who dropped it off at the donation centre where we bought it must have done because I fired it up and the smell as atrocious. A warm, old shoe bad smell filled our condo. Neither the previous guys nor the donation centre thought to clean the filter. Nor did I when I bought it:) So the filter got cleaned and boom the vacuum is awesome and is running to this day. I think it cost $12. No bags. No fuss.
I have seen the same thing happen with our sink, the fan above the stove, the drain in the shower: you have to clean out the filter to keep things running smoothly (and without a nasty smell.). The same applies to people. I remember in my early working days I didn’t have much money so I didn’t eat well. It didn’t help that I was single, living on my own with limited cooking experience. My home cooked food consisted of lots of toast and canned soup for dinner. Breakfast was a coffee and donut. Lunch would have included the occasional veggie. Whadaya know? I ended up in the clinic with an obstructed bowel. It was painful. Just knocked me out for a few days with no energy. No other symptoms. The doctor said I needed fibre which translates into leafy greens and colourful fruit. In other words I needed to unclog the drain or change the oil. I needed to clean my filter. Physically.
That has happened to me mentally as well. Where I need to learn a new concept about someone or something. As our two daughters get older I need to understand that I am not their only source of info and entertainment or decision making. I must realize they are moving through stages in life rapidly and I have to update myself at the same pace or risk making myself obsolete. It doesn’t mean letting them do everything they want and talking about every single meme they find on their phone. It just means be agile with my role as their dad.
With my wife I need to listen to her ever changing situation with menopause. I need to be confident in our connection and lovingly efficient in grasping where we are today. It’s not boring. I prefer it to a habitual life that is not challenging. I am not going to hold menopause against my wife – that would be stupid. There is no time or space to be acrimonious. I prefer to love and be loved. Loving the menopausal version of my wife means I need to have a good memory, want her to be healthy, be able to ride the roller coaster again and again without getting off. Woohoo!! Just be there for her. I am tall enough to ride that ride:)
I see it comes to updating what I want and what I believe. I want my wife to be happy. I believe our marriage is working. Some days it works like a Tesla model X – fast and curious. Other days it’s like a 1973 Westphalia camper van – lots of baggage and going pretty slow.
I find if I clean up the filter, be it the backlog of things my wife has asked me to do (throw out my good boxes cardboard goes I have piled up) or not to do (fall asleep on the couch) we do pretty well. Being in good physical shape and having some sense of your soul are other self tasks to keep things turning over.
He loves you because loving you keeps him connected to being a man of service, of having an intention every day and a purpose in the big picture. Even though he may lose sight of one or both of those as he engages each stage of life. Being disconnected from you, from a sense of service and purpose impacts the man you love to the marrow. Showing up as being irritable to feeling defeated.
He loves you because you grasp his struggle, how it affects him and how to companion him. You know his struggle is based not in the temporary disorientation he feels but in the knowing that he is authentic and wants to showcase that. Which he does through his confidence, humility and agility. Confidence to show you the man you married, humility before your marriage with an agility to embody the changes it petitions him to make.
In 2003 the U.S. military needed to justify attacking a country that was not attacking them. So they invented facts about potential dangers posed by this other country. Also known as lying. Also known as the Iraq war that was a disaster with ongoing human fallout. To fabricate a reason to share your aggression means you are not at peace. I am guilty of that. I am not alone.
Another way to live with yourself and your neighbours is to ‘love and be loved.
Your soul loves you.
Even when you screw up or get frustrated. You are loved even when you are depressed and broke.
Why? Because your soul loves providing service to you. The planetary soul focuses on managing your energy so you are healthy and safe and able to make decisions. The soul’s service depends on the information you deliver to it.
That info can be numbers, words, phrases, emotions, experiences, thoughts, ideas, feelings… In return this info is processed through the soul centres in your life to keep you alive, thriving and finding ways to participate.
So it makes sense to give your soul good information. Offer it things that are true. Ideas that generate learning and smiles and fulfillment. Information for the soul of others that generates happiness, belief and relief into their life.
So find those words and ideas and emotions. Or discover a reliable source of encouragement. Or be that creative conduit of understanding emotions and intriguing ideas.
Priscilla Gyamfi on Unsplash
Be a small spring of peace high in the mountains that appears clean and fresh.
A former manager once dropped into my office and quickly put a gift bag between the wall and my computer terminal. He timed it well so I was busy with someone so he just smiled, nodded and left. It was mid December and so he was receiving lots of Christmas gifts from every direction. I didn’t expect anything from him and I am pretty sure he had no intention of getting me anything. For me the company wasn’t a place I belonged and for him I didn’t solve his problems with his bosses. And then appeared a bottle of scotch in my office in a gift bag lacking the colourful tissue paper. I can’t remember the last time I drank scotch. Which means that I either binge drink it or never drink it. I had never talked about scotch at work. So obviously he was regifting the bottle.
Regifting is a useful practice. Re-gifting means more people get gifts which means more happy people and less consumerism and waste of wrapping paper. It’s logical and heartwarming. It works. I drank the scotch.
Regifting and repurposing could both be seen as changing the direction of the same thing. You can repurpose tires into jewelry, plastic into a fleece pullover, a boyfriend into a husband, an old silver fork into a bracelet, a pop bottle into a flower pot, a stump into a stool and on and on.
Life stages thrust this reality of ‘the new you’ unto us. Our curious child repurposes into a rebellious youth into the sceptical young adult into that focused adult who grows into an elderly sage. In the beautifully painful transition known as death, the sage repurposes into spirit.
There is some art to repurposing. Simply said – don’t change too much. Change as much as you have to while staying loyal to what you know is real. What is true about you is the eternal you. This is what anchors the local you through the bumpy transition from one stage to the next. Your eternal you, your higher self, loves to elevate on the journey your soul is opening up for you.
My parents never gave me the sex talk. I don’t know if it would have made much of a difference. There is so much happening in puberty it can be tough to have an impact on the teenage reality. Nowadays in middle age I can probably listen better and could use some conversation.
We can all use companionship going from the intensity of puberty and youth, through the adventure of young manhood to the intensity of an adult. The intensity of being an adult is to discover how to live with purpose. Purpose can be elusive in middle and old age.
Not being able to connect with some sense of purpose creates in a man anxiety and is an invitation to look into the abyss. That is why it is important for generations of men to speak to one another about: individual purpose, spiritual currency, functions of the soul, stages in life, emotional responsibility.
Individual Purpose – The combination of soul – spirit – mind- genes in each of us is unique. We all have a different purpose according to the planet and our destiny. Comparisons are futile. The point is to offer clean emotional residue to others and the planet as a result of dealing with the opportunities to grow as a human. This residue will have an impact on all aspects of your daily and soul life.
Spiritual Currency – Energy powers our brains, hearts, thoughts, hopes and beliefs. There are different types and levels of this energy. There is energy for: the physical body, mental processes, emotional sustenance and participating in high soul activity. Higher emotional powers are the ones that, when we don’t understand them, can contribute to a sense of being lost and lack of connection to our stage in life. Whereas when we do develop a higher emotional life of service we live with a sense of peace.
Stages in Life – life changes us. You have a scar on your chin you didn’t have when you were 10 years old. You have habits you formed in your youth and goals you established as a young man. With time we enter into another stage of life with new highlights and emerging capabilities. Often times from lack of understanding we experience these changes (puberty, mid-life, children, marriage, the urge to find meaning…) as burdens or defects. Not true. Lots of guys have a whole range of experiences and feelings that might not be normal from a macho point of view. Don’t limit yourself.
Functions of the Soul– The soul is employee of the month – every month of every year. The soulis reliable and always in the moment. Never yearning for the good old days or dreading its future. The soul takes the energy we connect it to and gets the most out of it.
Emotional Responsibility- With changes in each life stage we often don’t know what we are doing. This can cause us to perhaps blame others. Saying for example we never wanted to change, or we resist new people or situations because indeed they might open the door to a new you. This new you might leave behind old friends or introduce different vocabulary to your decision making.
The new you takes responsibility for how he feels. That can help to find a higher purpose that is a natural response to that intensity of middle age.