In researching the impact of stress on our struggle for Satisfaction I came across a very clear explanation of the different kinds of stress. And it is good news for us.
Eustress is what is being called positive stress; distress is understandably the negative shadow of stress in our lives. Life is stressful; it’s nothing personal. If we are spiralling downward we stress about stress. When we are trending upward we use stress to get things done.
So take a quick read. There are useful daily life applications in the article below. Comment if you wish. Stay safe. Stay you.
“Once upon a time the colors of the world started to quarrel: all claimed that they were the best, the most important, the most useful, the favorite.
Green said: “Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope. I was chosen for grass, leaves, trees–without me, all animals would die. Look out over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority.”
Blue interrupted: “You only think about the Earth, but consider the sky and sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing.”
Yellow chuckled. “You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth to the world. The sun is yellow, the moon…
When I was ten years old I took my first communion. Because I went to public elementary school I had to take catechism classes once a week at night at the Catholic school. The Catholic school kids had their own mass for their first communion and then our public school group had ours a few Sundays later. It was a spring day with a beautiful blue sky full of potential activity. My parents made me wear a mustard yellow ascot to go with my burnt orange velvet blazer -the one with my dried snot on the right sleeve where I had wiped my nose which made my mom so mad. She was right. It really was a cool blazer. It definitely wasn’t a blue suit.
I can picture the photo of us outside on the church steps afterwards as we posed for the portrait of the moment. My mom was shining her beautiful smile as always. My dad was in full 1970’s style with the big tie and bigger sideburns. Grandma, my dad’s mom, was there in a nice baby blue dress. She was of the era, born before 1900, when you didn’t smile for photos. She definitely didn’t break rank that day.
I got paired with a girl from our catechism class to take the Communion offering and collection up to the altar. She got the money. I took the Bread of Transcendence.
I was really nervous as we walked up the aisle. It was my first time. There was nothing I was repeating. No Habit to tyrannize me; no Routine to coach me. The girl and I and everyone at mass were participating in a Ritual. Called Communion. This Communion ritual is the act of elevating the Daily version of ourselves to experience the Devotional one. A communion of Daily and Devotional.
Priests, parents, teachers and Elders are understood to instruct the young on the arts and skills of releasing the Devotional into the Daily. That means the religious service connects the participants with higher energy – Devotional; and young people need help to walk the talk of this life wisdom. Actually we all need guidance to process the impression of formal religion on our mind and soul so we can create habits that amount to a personal religion. It might feel easier to release an elephant from the local zoo into your city centre than to step into your personal religion.
Ritual abounds in religion, in sports, in art, in making tea, in meditation, in martial arts, in connecting with nature, in nature. Ritual is high intention combined with mental focus and followed through with an action that attracts confirmation from the higher purpose of those doing the ritual. The Ritual is a vehicle for the person to accumulate in their blood and bones the residue of higher forces. The sound, movements, words, songs, dances are in support of this human – energy connection. If we lose sight of this then what was supposed to be ritual becomes tradition.
This topic is important because all men are constantly receiving real energy to grow as a male, man and gentleman. The confusion is while some guys seem to be able to manage their energy without getting into too much trouble, why do some men use the energy they receive to disrespect women through violence and other forms of aggression?
The energy that powers a man is powerful. If we suffer from an inability to give this power expression then we might: feel agitated, lack confidence, get crushed by depression. And some of us get violent. The violence can be swinging fists, hurling insults, sexual perversion to name a few of the many forms. Instead what can be really useful for young men is to learn their unique energy management. The violence against a woman can happen in a brief, horrible moment. But the frustration of a lack of self understanding in a man builds up in him over years. Bomb like. They can explode in a fit of violence, be detonated by a psychologist or be dismantled by the man himself.
That is why it is crucial to develop Habits, create Routine and be ready for Ritual.
We are all allowed to get frustrated and talk about it. Get angry about the frustration. Anger doesn’t imply aggressive words or threatening stances or personal insults. There is no blame. A man is responsible for his energy management. That is something he needs help with. Something he needs to learn and refine all life long. So when we have an argument with our wife there is no violence because we don’t have pent up energy. Instead we have some sense of momentary Satisfaction. Generated by Habits of cleaning up after yourself in the kitchen, checking your sports scores; Routines of taking the dog for her walk, of seeing your buddies in the weekend; Rituals of eating dinner together, of pursuing your personal religion. That way we have avenues of expression for our energy. Because the frustration or disrespect or stress you bang up against in daily life is handled by a foundation of Habit, Routine and Ritual.
There are lots of variations of energy in men including: sexual energy, Devotional energy where one is caused to look for meaning and a higher purpose, the energy that goes with their Life Stage, marriage energy and male energy to list a few. It is good to recognize there is a lot going on all at the same time. We all need help. Conversation. It is our role as a man to grasp the natural influences in our life and do something about them. Your energy and how you react or respond to it actually has nothing to do with your wife or girlfriend.
A quick word about sexual energy. The human sexual energy is very strong. It is not bad nor is it well understood. It is not just sex. Physical sex. It is a range of creative powers that can result in a new business, a new relationship, a new recipe or even a new baby. You see teenagers and some young adults, even some famous adults, who can’t think about anything else. It makes their decisions for them. It runs their life. Their inability to resist it or manage it ruins their life. For a pubescent teenager this makes sense it almost consumes their life because the connection with this energy is itself always new, so intense in the moment and powerful in its impact.
Poor sexual energy management can have harming repercussions that cut deep and last years. In marriage, family, society and men in general we generally make it difficult to talk about and direct this power. The youth need guidance from elders like mom and dad. And they need to do stuff that uses up the energy. This is a huge challenge. How do you use up the undeniable sexual energy running through the bodies of young people without it being physical sex? Think sports, guitar lessons, dancing, hanging out, parties, fixing up your bike, fixing up your car, cleaning your room!, hiking, swimming, help them get a part time job, volunteering, anything and everything, … Keep thinking and doing and talking and guiding.
When a man is beyond the reach of his elders because he won’t listen to them, they aren’t worth listening to or he has simply outgrown them in his case – how does he know when and how to use the natural sexual energy? Hopefully throughout this book there are ideas and inspirations that generate avenues of investigation and belief that help in this aspect.
Please remember that sexual energy and your Devotional energy are not the same thing and should never be confused. Both can have an aspect of attraction/calling, companionship, loving and being loved, connection and an impulse for meaning that drives you to do things you wouldn’t do yourself. But they are not the same. Those in positions of power that they wield to confuse others about these two natural energies are misusing their power. The priests of the Catholic church has a lot of damaging experience in this territory.
This book is written to create some distance between all men and this confusion of sexual/devotional energy mentioned above. We urgently need passion and ideas and people to clarify a man’s path forward and specifically highlight the unique man they may see before themselves.
It is vital to grasp that this is a daily challenge for a man. The challenge of finding his path forward using his unique abilities to synthesize the task at hand into daily life in a satisfaction producing way. This urge upon him for self-realization is non stop. At times subtle. At times shouting. At times a beautiful congress in the moment of life trajectory and courage. At times a complete mess of what he wants in contrast to what he is doing and what he thinks he should do. Some guys can wake up and even before they open their eyes they are already depressed! And others wake up without an alarm at 4:30 am everyday to: work out, meditate, write, make breakfast and then get to work by 6:30?
Habits can categorize a man’s energy. Routines can process it. Rituals can reveal it.
You can’t talk about Habits without mentioning Routine. With a mention of routine then the next logical step is to see the where and when of Ritual. If it this isn’t your experience then you need to create the circumstance and meet the people and ask yourself the questions to generate your own purpose. In the moment that can make us vulnerable to not know the way forward and ask for directions. And it can also can take us to new places and introduce us to the New You.
Stanford University psychology professor BJ Fogg has a good grasp on the aspect of habit as a way to improve daily life. He has been looking into the topic for many years and has many anecdotes to share in his book Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything. He is practical in finding how to side step self sabotage on the journey of growth. It is annoying for those of us who think we are maximizing our time and producing based on our work habits. Take a look.
It’s all in your head. And it is also in your blood and bones. A few connections to ponder:
Ritual – Projection – Energy – Beliefs
Routine – Imagination – Power – Prayer
Habit – Location – Strength – Declaration
Tradition can be reduced to a routine, converted into a ritual minimized, squeezed into a habit. Or you can build your own traditions that have the power of Habit, the reliability of routine and the Attractive energy of Ritual.
For guys to hear mention of the word ritual they can go down four different mental paths.
1 .Ritual to mean religious ritual that is something you do in a temple/house of worship and it has always been like that, you unconsciously repeat a few prayers and you are done. Whether there has been a transformative process is another question;
2. New Age flaky ritual based in ancient traditions with everyone bearfoot, wearing white and chaniting themselves into a trance. Perhaps the greatest difference between these first two types of rituals is that the New Age one is probably more effective at delivering on the concept of a transformation.
3. The ritual display that guys know is in sports: The goalie goes onto the ice first. Or the quarterback puts eye black under his eyes (TB12) because that’s what he always does to get him to his peak performance.
4. The ritual well known through the animal world: mating. This ritual can take place at any hour in any place. Popular mating ritual temples are bars on Friday night. However increasingly the ritual has gone online. The ritual nowadays amounts to swiping right. Dating apps and websites made famous by Tinder.
Untangling ourselves from the many demands and distractions of life,
It is the task to remember and to realize …
A Man is a Vibrant Power.
With a Willingness that is Clean.
With an Agility that is True.
He Seeks how to Help and be Helped,
As one of his expressions of Loving and Being Loved.
He insists on finding a way to grow
and bask in the flourishing of others.
This is you. You know it. You love it. And then life happens. Life Stages contort us. Stress manhandles us. Age changes us. Both husband and wife can feel when this declaration above doesn’t describe the man in their midst.
No big deal really. If he can get his boot in the stirrup to get back in the saddle. If he knows how he can find his power. To do and to be.
A woman loves her nurturing nature. She savours the fulfillment when she can embody her nature. When that nature gets usurped by ‘saving her toxic boyfriend from himself’ then the morass of emotion that ensues is bottomless. The problem is when he can’t find the stirrup, or his power or doesn’t know where he is at.
Man = Control x Dexterity + Purpose
Man = Versatile/The Moment x Love.
Go for it. What is your Man Formula?
Man = ________________________ + ____________________ / __________________
Man = ________________________ x ____________________ + __________________
If you are reading this on a device then in your cell phone put your ideas in notes.
There is no right response. There is you, the moment and the man you want to be.
Is your Man Formula an algorithm for reliable growth or a declaration of predictability?
In the moment whatever is needed of the man for his own Satisfaction or in service to others is the Formula for that moment. And that is a big part of how men can fumble and stumble. This feeling of being lost. The idea they are not valued. Not knowing what they want because things move too fast for their This-is-the-man-I-have-become Mind Set.
Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus writtenby John Gray in 1992 is a seminal work on relationships. From there we get a concrete identification of the Man Cave.
To hear the man himself take a look at this TedTalk:
The Man Cave of my childhood was my dad in his furnace room. I was born after he had established that dark, hot cramped room as his retreat. There were no windows in that basement emotional hideout. But it did have all kinds of little nooks where you could hide a mickey of whisky. He kept tools and screws, seasonal clothes and various knick knacks collected from trips. He also kept all kinds of sports jerseys and equipment long after it was of use except to act as his personal jailer that wouldn’t let him join the present moment. You had to be very careful if you wanted to get rid of anything from his cave.
There was actually a lot of love he had for being a father that, if he could have grown some emotional agility, could have been repurposed. Instead he spent his time rearranging running shoes and ski boots completely cut off from any sense of togetherness. Imagine if he had received the guidance from his father or other family members about how to deal with the emotional challenge of being a man in the succession of development stages of life. He could have still been the king of his Man Cave – no one was going to take it away. His cave could have been an engine for Satisfaction in him that reverberated through his family. And ignited his interest in the unique way of Satisfaction of others. This scenario is more common than sad. The details are obviously different in every family but the dynamic of a man cave becoming a prison is likely a pandemic.
The Man Cave Function (fill in the blanks) My Man Cave generates in me: _______________________ + _________________________ so I can offer ___________________________ + ________________________ Into my personal and professional life.
The Man Cave is actually quite varied in its expressions. It can be the convertible he drives 8 times a year and keeps in a storage unit in impeccable condition, the shed out back, the garage that is completely organized, swept and labelled, or the garage that is a wanna be junk shop. Some guys are very efficient at Man Caving – finding Satisfaction in their guy time. Other guys their Man Cave becomes their life. Their Man Caving might be sharing their photos of antique cars or buying and selling baseball cards. It might be drinking beer and looking at his phone.
Does he emerge from his cave and offer a confident man to his spouse in times of marital stress. Or to share the paternal sensitivty to know when his son needs guidance in school, about sex and drugs. Or to clarify the concepts of Male Stack and Female Frixion? If we can’t handle stress or provide sensitivity because we hide in our Man Cave then whatever the cost of our Man Cave – it becomes really expensive.
Question: The Man Cave has its purpose. It’s a matter of ROI. Is the return on the investment he puts into it worth the human life energy that it soaks up?
The song These Eyes by The Guess Who in 1969 is what can happen if we get swallowed up by our Man Cave or are otherwise unable to communicate with our spouse.
It’s not that your Man Cave is a bad place. It is a matter of management.
Man Cave can also be seen as an action if the Man Cave is functioning as an aspect of his emotional management leading to Satisfaction. Things like: working late, volunteering, sibling/parent issues, exercise, coaching, professional development, attending church/temple.
Nothing wrong with your unique man cave or your Man Caving routines – as long as you are in charge. See Chapter 7 on Habits. Man Caving process allows a man to breathe, think, process his emotions, organize his stuff and his thoughts whether consciously or not, create new avenues for expression of his unique synthesis of love and of being autonomous.
Autonomous can mean to the man to be in control. Control may be useful but it can become tyrannical. Tyrannical it may appear to be, at first glance, on one’s family members. But really it is limiting the emotional range, spontaneity and willingness of the man.
Man Caving is the natural experience to regroup and then re-engage with family, with life and personal growth challenges.
Man Caving is the process of a Satisfaction craving creature getting what he needs at his speed.
Man Caving can be cool and rewarding and stress relieving but it is not an end unto itself. The world keeps rolling while we are man caving. The point is to re-integrate with renewed energy to seek and create opportunities to offer love and be of service. Service can be telling a hilarious story from work, taking out the garbage, asking your daughter what she finds interesting about studying chemistry. Being of service to others delivers Satisfaction to you. As a result you can offer a man at peace willing to love and be loved. Checkout this post:
We may use our Man Cave because we just had an argument, need some space and want some autonomy. Or from boredom of being at home and everyone is doing their own screen time on a phone or laptop. We may go Man Caving out of habit: after dinner, load the dishwasher, kids do their homework while pretending not to peek at their cell phone, wife reading beside kids so you go to the garage to clean the car and organize your tools. What is the residue from our cave time?
When a man, or the man and woman can’t extract the necessary value out of the Man Cave experience then he feels incomplete, lost; can be irritable and fragile. Let’s avoid blame and find a way to communicate.
What he likely won’t say with words is that he lacks confidence. Success begets success. However the change process from lack of confidence, that semi-consciously expects failure, to a good attitude with resilience and resourcefulness can be challenging. A fragile man lashes out at others who are trying to germinate little successes in him. Even a man not so fragile thinks he is seen as incompetent because he can’t see that getting help is natural. That needing help is normal. Accepting help is smart and being grateful for help is very becoming of a gentleman.
Mind Sprouts are opportunities to use your Focus and Belief to grow mental pathways.
I am not wrong because change is constant and cannot be controlled.
I am not being made wrong because my family asks more from me based on their beliefs in my ability to grow.
I am not a bad man because I am being tasked to elevate my understanding.
Where are there five minutes in myday to think about elevating my understanding?
We are all responsible for our emotions.
‘no man is an island’
Share without counting the cost.
Forgiveness is a by-product of your energy being refocused on growing.
Let go of yesterday; Grab the Now and Point it up at your Future.
As a way to generate Emotional Self-Responsibility – what are your thoughts today:
I am proud of me as as man because __________________________________.
I get disappointed with myself when I __________________________________.
I get frustrated with myself because I can’t understand my wife.
I can laugh at myself when I _________________________________________.
I feel Satisfied because I did my morning exercises before going to work.
I feel ____________________________________________________________.
I have settled into mid life somehow. I think it has something to do with when I can sit out on the porch early on Saturday mornings. It seems to bring me some kind of peace. It’s like a meditation watching the birds and the squirrels and the trees.
I have a little ritual that brings me ____________________________________________.
This Satisfactioning is life long work. Each man is a work in progress – each day. Which says over time, your Art and Skill of Satisfaction will become part of your Personal Religion. Whatever that means and whatever that looks like.