Turning left out of the restaurant, MJ and I walk south along John Street. I know I hear some running footsteps but, so what. You never know who is asking for something so I put my arm around MJ’s shoulder and keep walking.
I look over my shoulder between me and MJ and see this guy waving his hand and running towards us. The guy was wearing black pants, a white shirt and a knee length white apron. It’s our waiter from the restaurant. Maximum 25 years old as he ran with ease towards us.
“Crazy” the waiter says, landing a few slow down steps as he reaches us.
“Look.” He only takes two breaths to speak normally after a 2 block sprint.
“I think the bills stuck together. I don’t think you meant to leave a $40 tip on a $29 tab.” The waiter tentatively offers two twenty dollar bills. The bills were probably just printed and put into circulation. I had just got them out of the bank machine earlier in the day.
“I thought they felt funny.” I say putting my hand out tentatively as the waiter goes about half way.
“Thank you very much.” I extend my appreciation and my hand to receive my overpayment.
“Right on.” Waiter says. There is a brief gap in the moment; and then he spins to jog back to the restaurant. MJ and I look at each other.
“Wow. You don’t see that too often. Someone running 2 blocks to give you money you didn’t know was yours. Actually, in the moment I thought to give him 1 of the twenties.”
MJ says “I could tell you hesitated. You could’ve.”
Standing in the same place, slowly folding the 2 twenties, I look at MJ and declare “That’s honesty”. Feeling proud to have been a part of that street vignette, I almost feel I deserve some of the credit.
MJ holds my gaze for a moment, then she says “That’s tidy.”
Tidy is living life with minimal loose ends.
Tidy is not military. It is clarity of scope of any intention.
Scope refers to what you are going to do when and how.
How refers to the quality of your work and ‘the 2-stage hand off’.
The first stage of the ‘hand off’ is you receiving from the previous person what you said you needed in order to get started. The second stage is you delivering what you said you would. That way the next person knows what to expect when you are finished with your part. Essentially ensuring the next stage 1 for the next person includes what said they needed to get started.
So if the person before or after you is not tidy, life now has drama that we aren’t paid for.
Being tidy is a reflection of self respect; It is an expression of understanding others and having the arts and skills to be understood.
Tidy is a great way to run your life.
Like someone runs their business.
You do what you say you are going to do.
You make commitments, make a plan and invest in the project. Then people quit, get fired or screw up. So being tidy can be a great hypothetical ideal but the daily reality can make your work anything but tidy. Because someone on your team quit means now you can’t deliver your products on time. So you have to advise others that your delivery is going to change. That’s business. That’s life.
Sometimes there is a pandemic and materials or staff are scarce or expensive and your price changes and the customer isn’t happy or wants to cancel all together. These are some of those changes that fit into the ‘you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up’ category.
So many obstacles can get thrown your way making your work, and life, untidy. You can’t control others. You can manage yourself. Your work is subject to outside influences. When everything is going sideways, that is when you need to insist on being tidy in your mind. Meaning understanding who is responsible, or to blame, but with an eye to moving forward.
The New You Profile is:
The man a young man strives to be;
The gentleman a man can feel he is becoming.
The scope of that gentleman’s life is: deep, expansive, growing, challenging, intriguing.
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.