The thing is women don’t want to have to tell you when they are flowing from Maternal into Professional and then quickly into Romantic but then back into Professional in a period of 10 seconds. They want you to have the same connection with your inner lives as they do with theirs. And they don’t understand when you don’t. They take it personally. Your wife might think you don’t care.
My purpose in writing this book is to create a resource for men to get satisfaction in their lives. Based on my personal, ongoing passage through the desert of uncertainty I share how a man can clarify the picture, the words and song of his life story.
Uncertainty here is a catchphrase for: fear, comparison, judgement, immaturity, depression, anger, grasping for professional success, seeking to love and be loved, reaching for a devotional identity in order to connect to the power of a life purpose. Enroute I have encountered questions, tools and insights that generate light that helps do the work to reveal a bigger purpose.
I want the emotional reality of a man’s multi-pronged life trajectory to include confidence in his abilities to accomplish his objectives and the power to resist pettiness. As a result of many years of wilderness leadership I have forged a connection with nature that produces perceptions that are sewn throughout the book. Possible side effects of integrating these concepts from this writing into your daily life can include polishing the rough cut gem of your purpose, transforming communication and ______________…
Imagine your three big terracotta flower pots on the sunny side of the house where the tomato plants soak up the sun. Even though they have that bitter tomato plant fragrance they smell fabulous in the summer afternoon heat. The pots where the chile plants were sown and watered got grouped by the gate in the shadow of the big tomato plant pots.
Due to the conditions the tomatoes ripen and each plant gives lots of fruit. Whereas the chiles are small and few. The chiles have the same desire to grow. Tomatoes grow into tomatoes. Chiles into chiles. Their success depends a lot on the local conditions.
The local conditions in a woman includes her management of the Female Frixion (see below).
The local conditions in a man are impacted by his dealing with life through the Male Stack.
This is not fanning the flames of the battle of the sexes. It’s not saying there is a competition to achieve self-realization as a man or woman. It’s not a race to embody your gender before your spouse embodies theirs. It’s not a comparison because we are talking apples and oranges here.
Women are oscillating while men are projecting.
Women get lonely – and seek out companionship. Men get lost – and need direction.
Men will proclaim when a woman in the same situation will reflect.
The Female Frixion generates an emotional conflict in women about the prevalence of one of the three lives in the moment or stage of life. Those lives are: Professional, Romantic and Maternal. In men they are: Professional, Romantic and Paternal. Men don’t live the same friction of feeding these three lives in the same way. Women internalize the friction and men externalize the stress. Women make themselves responsible for their emotions about the 3-way balance of these inner lives. Men can often not understand how or why they would be responsible for their own emotions.
Each woman struggles for years with this aspect of their life. Often it can make them not feel good about themselves. A woman might start to think she is not ’a good mother’. The truth may be she is a good mother but the friction that follows her around, like a 4 year old girl follows around her older sister, won’t let her in peace.
This friction heightens her awareness to her inner lives and cultivates the connection with her instinct. Her instinct is about life. Her female instinct responds to the moment that her mind is focused on. It is not simply her instinct about how she feels about her emotions. That is included. But it needs to be understood that her instinct, the instinct, is fast and true and collects no emotional baggage. We collect the baggage with our low emotion ego trolling. The more emotional luggage we insist on hauling around life the less we can listen to and recognize the instinct.
Lateral consideration of the three lives all at once that is the mental/emotional process of women is in contrast to the vertical surging that is the one-at-a-time male style process. This is the Male Stack. Instead of a need to bring all three lives forward with the same grace and focus like a woman, the man engages one life at a time. The male life management style may appear to require less subtlety and finesse from the man himself because according to him ‘it is what it is,’ ‘what you see is what you get.’ That is the challenge staring each man in the face: To make his living of the three lives in his own unique way a vertically integrated generator of male instinctual response.
Because the female consideration is not as reactive as the surging male she can appear to be powered by an unsure woman. That is not always true. Perhaps rarely true.
The decision making circuitry to decide about the same thing as a man is different in a woman. That needs to be understood. And appreciated. So it can impact our lives. Reflected upon so it can impact our marriages. Impact our language, sayings, expectations, our workplace (like making workplace based daycare more possible).
An excellent illumination on the reality of women’s decision making is How Women Decide by Therese Huston. The book focuses on the extra and unfair work a woman has to do quickly, mentally in the moment to make her decision appear as valid as possible in the eyes of men. Huston also delves into the innate decision making differences between men and women. She highlights if a woman can grasp how to utilize her natural mental/emotional circuitry in a business setting then she can deactivate the resistance to her style of thinking. For our personal relationships the useful insights that are supported with how-to ideas are relevant to generating good conversation with your spouse to elevate understanding.
When we choose we, men and women, can update our beliefs about women. We can learn a lot if we take the time and observe how this friction is a reality. Communicate the fact of it and tell stories about it. Resist the laziness that permits this difference to damage and not enlighten. Resist blaming a woman for being a woman.
Women are not better than men. Men are not better than women. However because of the Female Frixion women are generally more true to their nature than men are to theirs.
This lack of connection with one’s essence as a man can cause stress in a man. Without a strong emotional core, a man under stress can blame others for wanting to help him, he can delve into some form of drugs (including the internet). A man, even if he is really a good man, if he feels stressed, unappreciated or lost can get angry and become violent.
Most likely women would think men experience this friction between the inner lives but they don’t. So in difficult moments that require a couple to be on the same page, they often aren’t. This can convert an important or difficult conversation into an argument. Faster than we can stop it. The argument is powered not by the issue being discussed but by the lack of understanding. And exacerbated by how we feel about not being understood or understanding.
If women have the Female Frixion to connect them to their instinct, what do men have? What can be the sand in the seashell that is a positive friction to produce a pearl?
What do you stand for? As a man, husband.
What do you uphold? In the stress of providing for your family on a daily basis and also in the search for a sense of purpose.
How agile are you within the Male Stack (of the three lives)?
Do you want to cultivate your response to the instinct?
What do you adhere to? When the conversation turns sexist.
What do you cause in others? By what you resist.
What are you in service to? For immediate and lifetime results.
It was in the cold dark of April 14, 1912 in early morning on the north Atlantic ocean the Titanic changed course. Drastically. It went from horizontal to vertical. Pretty quickly. The luxury steamship was dubbed unsinkable. It’s a story so famous that over 100 years later anything that is a colossal event is deemed titanic . As a result of the tragic loss of life on that night two years later in 1914 the international treaty Safety of Life At Sea (SOLAS) was adopted by seafaring nations. The following is from the international Maritime Organization website http://www.imo.org/EN/Pages/Default.aspx “The main objective of the SOLAS Convention is to specify minimum standards for the construction, equipment and operation of ships, compatible with their safety.”
Silken Laumann might say she had more than one ‘Titanic’ moment in her life. As a result of cumulative events in her life she wrote her 2014 memoir Unsinkable. The book, in turn, led her to create the storytelling platform Unsinkable. https://weareunsinkable.com is a way for people, not unlike the titanic passengers, to ask for a life line. For people to share about the challenges of keeping it all together.
Why would Ms. Laumann feel the need to do that? Silken Laumann was a remarkable athlete. Rowing for Canada she won Olympic medals in rowing pairs with her sister Daniele in 1984 and singles sculls in 1992 and 1996.
Rowing is gruelling. Every time you get in the boat it asks every muscle to give 100 % focus with unreasonable frequency for an extended time.
For a decade Silken Laumann was the best in the world at being unreasonably extended. She was a graceful champion, a respecting winner and a proud participant whether she was hoisting the World Championship trophy, bringing home two shiny silver medals or the amazing 1992 bronze medal in the Barcelona Olympics.
If it wasn’t daunting enough to be the rower everyone wants to beat going into the ‘92 Olympics, Laumann was severely injured with just 10 weeks to go before the games. In a rowing accident all the tendons in her right leg were severed when another boat crashed into her in warm-ups for a race. In quick succession she had 4 major surgeries to repair the leg. Then there was the rehab to be able to just walk. The thing was, Laumann needed to be able to row again. Quickly. She set her sights on participating in the Olympics. In the healing/training she got to feel some sense of peace in the flow of her glide over the surface of the water. She was going to the Olympics! Medaling? Could she medal? She did. Awesome.
In her book we learn about the inspiring athlete as a mother, daughter, sibling, woman and wife. And it’s not all a pretty picture. She has her family; she loves and gets loved. Through this book about Laumann’s life we can see the three main Life Roles that all women and men enliven.
What follows is a straightforward breakdown of the similarities and difference between female and male roles. They are obviously macro in their application however this in no way diminishes their saliency in your daily life. The three Roles are:
Woman as: Professional, Romantic, Maternal
Man as: Professional, Romantic, Paternal
No doubt these roles will be flavoured by all surrounding persuasions including: the culture you grew up in, the religion you know, social-economic level you live in, your active beliefs and the conformity of the society where you live.
As we develop into these three adult Life Roles they become as obvious in their existence as they are varied in their Satisfactions and Fulfillments.
These Roles are not a cultural invention or a societal typecasting. It is a natural way the human Soul frames your daily experience. It is a framework through which you absorb meaning in life. One is not better than the other. The spouse making more money than their partner is not winning the marriage game.
Your intriguing sibling travelling around the world can have great stories, photos and souvenirs that marvel your children. It is not a competition. Nor are you are not a martyr for putting your family first. Having one Life Role in abundance doesn’t make up for another Role. No matter the the success in one role it just doesn’t translate into fulfillment into another Role.
We proportion our life energy across these three ‘people’ we have become. There are no martyrs. Some women who care for their children despite no help from the father, or even enduring abuse, are definitely putting the lives and emotions of their children before theirs. They need to be recognized for their adherence to the Maternal Role when the Man simply doesn’t have the balls to man up to the Paternal Life. She is living the reality of her Maternal Life. Her Maternal journey is forever intertwined with the Paternal Journey of the father be it a one night stand or high school sweethearts that know no other lover.
Grab a Pen
Describe your Paternal Profile you want your wife to use as a resource as a mother/woman.
Describe the Maternal Journey you want your wife to know.
The Paternal/Maternal roles almost always are focused on raising your own children. However there are other versions of these roles that include adopting, fostering, uncling and aunting. The question is how do you want to get Satisfaction when you nurture others? Regardless if you are a parent. What is your skill of encouraging the nature of others. The nature of a mother that thrives within your wife?
Recipe for Romance =. The Genuine You + in the moment + Loving and being Loved.
Romance is not something you cause in the other person. Romance is not gifts, reservations at the hottest restaurant or your go-to perfume. It is a wave of belief in you and living in the moment and loving who you are with. As with anything there are low versions and high versions. Dollar store ‘romance’ is just some guy using a pick up line in a bar to get a girl in bed. When we refine our romance we are rising out of lust of the loins and into the love of ‘loving and being loved’. Sex may or may not be included. It’s not to say the moment of lust is a bad thing – simply it is not love. It is lust powered romance. So we cannot be surprised at what follows.
Romance is seeing and being seen. Romance is you being made special. Romance is loving a woman for who and what she is. Romance is in your smile; Is in your care and caress. It’s in your eyes and your vision. It’s in making something happen. It’s you creating a mood by how you synthesize the moment, the place and the people. Romance works because you want to be with her and that inspires her to shine.
Remeber Ryan Gosling in the 2011 movie Crazy, Stupid Love when his big move is the final dance scene from Dirty Dancing? If he can use cheesy movies to make himself look all suave, what can you come up with?
Professional is your work life. It is your engagement with the business world. You may be an employee or entrepreneur, constructor or performer. You might be an artist or volunteer. All of these and everything that is wrapped up into this territory is part of your Professional Life. This includes the clothes you wear, the lexicon you use, the team you are a part of. You can work from home by yourself or in a manufacturing plant of 2,000 people.
The book is a list of beliefs that are using years of clinical research to minimize misleading assumptions about the Professional Role.
Lie #1 People Care Which Company They Work For
While people might care which company they join, they don’t care which company they work for. The truth is, once there, people care which team they’re on.
Looked at through a lens of understanding relationships, since teams thrive or die on those connections, let’s apply the Buckingham/Goodall declaration to marriage.
While guys might care what other people might think about them as a man according to the type of wife they married the guy’s decision making is actually run by love. Once the wedding and honeymoon are a done deal they are more concerned with the quality of married life as opposed to when or whether they were going to marry. As with any team, a marriage can go awry. And for basically the same reason: The ‘Me’ of one spouse is bigger then the ‘We’ of the married couple.
Teams have managers and HR departments. Husband and wife have to look at each other without a mediator. Lacking a third vector to diffuse a situation it is inevitable that marriage gets adversarial. Marriage is supposed to work as the uniting plasma fueled by shared purpose and understanding to generate a new perception. Our poor grasp of the interaction of the three Life Roles in each of us and the person that produces means we are a long way from sharing more than issues of maintenance and stress.
There is always overlap between the impact of on Life Role on the other two.
However one thing for men to take is: Women already knew this. In Lie #1 there is one word that is repeated three times: care. It’s a four letter word. Care of the ‘We’ and care of the ‘Me’ for her is different to yours. It can be very difficult to understand the difference but you can still respond to your wife with care instead of remarking on the difference in your care. Because you care.
Mind sprout This book called Satisfaction is about you responding with sincerity because you want your wife to shine in her Maternal, Professional and Romantic roles. Sow this seed of belief in the real Romantic Life of Women, make sure the love of your life sees you cultivate it and make sure she feels the cornucopia of its harvest.
A thought for women to ponder: … your husband loves you, he does. In the cells of a man he remembers you said yes. To him. Of all the guys out there you agreed to minimizing your loneliness, answering your urge for companionship and engaging in a relationship with him as your groom. But more importantly it is just you and him in your marriage. And that is what he cares about. He will express his care in backassward ways, or cheap and cheesy ways because that is what he can come up with in the moment. So. obviously, your groom needs help. In many ways. One way he needs help is knowing that you grasp that he loves you and the impact that has on him. He feels it very intensely and immensely. Like a teenager. To the point of explosion. When in the cases of men with low self esteem bad things happen. Because he has no idea how to handle himself when he gets to his limits of understanding. understanding of emotion, of marriage, of women and their fluidity through the three Life Roles.
He has no idea how to access His Best Ego. No idea what he wants. Other than to be loved (the company) … by you (the team).
Ambition – Getting Satisfaction in your Professional Life does not mean settling for something lesser than reaching the summit. If you are an ambitious person then your Satisfaction is not only getting the sale but making the biggest sale of the month or in your branch. Satisfaction in other forms is equally valid. Like the relief and pride of someone who just landed a steady job to feed their family.
Like water can heat up into scalding steam, freeze into rock hard ice or flow as water itself. It is all water. The message of nature here is to be you in all moments even when they require you to adapt. Or especially when they require you to adapt because the broader your range of ability the greater your chance and cumulative energy for Satisfaction.
Enliven these three Life Roles so you can be agile in the pursuit of Satisfaction without abandoning your standards. Ambition without standards brings no Satisfaction that is of value to others.
Your Romantic Life includes adventure. You can adventure out a whole day for a mountain bike ride and finish off with a swim in the lake. You can be by yourself. Nothing wrong with that when you are living your Romantic Role.
Lots of people who have a life partner have little, no, or even toxic Romantic activity in their life. They go to work, come home, eat, clean, and check their Facebook. Repeat the next day. No sense of fun, learning and growing, discovery, intimacy, spontaneity or feeling loved and valued.
The Romantic Role is the amorous you and also the adventurous you. You are curious about things, even if it is about your tomato plants that grow so well. It also can be seen in your getting up at 4 am on Saturday morning because you want to beat the traffic out of the city and get on the hiking trail as the sun comes up. Drink your steaming morning cup of tea up on the cliff look-out. Take in the moment.
Paternal/Maternal is the nurturing you. You don’t have to have children or even have nieces and nephews. This Life Role is about providing services to others. For people who have children it is deemed a moral obligation to come through with parenting services for your sons and daughters. If you have no children, won’t have any, or they are grown up, this Life Role still calls you. To a child you are an Elder. Your bones radiate wisdom, your blood carries guidance, the look from your eyes projects understanding.
Give the moment of now your Satisfaction of the Life Role being asked of you in the moment.
With the Life Stage we pass through (male, man, gentleman) have little choice to participate in each subsequent stage. Not so for the Life Role. When we choose to inject our sincerity and love into the Life Role we give it so much power. For example when in the Professional Role, our work life, we give it our focus to get the best result for the company and professional Satisfaction for us. This can translate into us being ready for the role that is on the back burner. Often it is the Maternal/Paternal Life. Below that is the Romantic Life that can often be pushed aside and forgotten. You could say it is in the rumble seat. This seat was an option on some cars in the 1930’s that carried its passengers on the outside of the car. This feeling of just being along for the ride is probably what it feels for a lot of women, and some men, when they are reflecting on their Romance life.
Red says ‘I do red’. Blue says ‘I feel like blue’. Both insist they are right – which they are. However for relationship purposes there is a requirement to agree that no one colour is better than another. Sometimes one colour is more appropriate for the situation than another. Together in a unique moment they make something new – purple. Some days their version of purple will appear as a cooling curtain of mauve because she (being blue) wants to do things based on her feelings. Her feelings are based in the Fulfillment of The Female Frixion. Other times a bold magenta will be the shade of their relationship because he (being red) needs Satisfaction of The Male Stack.
The Female Frixion
This is the woman’s experience with managing the feeling of the three Life Roles of: Professional, Maternal and Romantic.
Let’s Remember: Women and Men are Equally Valid. So are their differences.
Our feelings about these differences may not be a fair expression of Woman or Man. Just because he doesn’t understand the difference between women and men doesn’t mean he is wrong, bad or stupid. It does mean he needs to learn. Perhaps he should have known already – before being married for 5 or 10 or 15 years. Yes, that’s right. Who should have passed on this wisdom to him? His dad and his mom. His coaches, teachers, uncles and aunts, religious mentors?
This is important because the nature of her decision making just doesn’t fit into a decision making based a worldview skewed to the male experience. The Female Frixion is the feeling in a woman that while she is focusing on one of the three Life Roles she is keeping at bay there response to the other two lives. There is a competition of the roles for the woman’s energy. The priorities are nagging at her. Without sincere communication of understanding from him about this fact, she can start to think this internal emotional wiring is a fault. Her fault. That a woman’s worry and wavering, consideration and between the lives is a flaw in her personally. The truth is this is not the case. It is what makes a woman attractive and different, beautiful and frustrating,
It does suggest, however, that a woman probably has more traffic with her instinct because it nudges her, daily, momentarily on the management of the three Life Roles.
We can all improve our parenting skills, our relationship/marriage communication and our professional participation. This needs imptrove impacts the decision making of women on a decision by decision basis. Not so much in a man.
It’s not that men don’t care. They do. They want to be successful. He wants to be a loving husband and a competent father. It just doesn’t cause an internal conflict in him the same way it does in a woman. She is not worse for giving this internal conflict energy. Nor is she better because often her mental process can provide perspective and inclusion that men don’t. But it sure is valuable. And could well be used in leadership, business, personal religion, environmental policy, hospital design, food production, couples therapy, curriculum design, etc.
Again he is not lacking anything because he doesn’t think along the lines of this conflict. The fact that this Female Frixion is not the male reality as well is confusing to all participants. The fact that we don’t even know it exists it puts an unseen, unnecessary stress on our relationship. This can be infuriating. Some infuriated, and unsatisfied men can suddenly become a violent man. Even if he doesn’t want to be violent. Even if he doesn’t want to hit his wife. But some men do. Even insult or threaten her because in the moment he got to the limit of his understanding of women ,of life stages, of life roles of the counsel from his mentors.
Men need to hear from Women about the Female Friction
Imagine this: For him it is a no brainer deciding about which daycare. They can argue or agree about the price or the location or the reputation of the business or the policies around health or holidays. For him that is all part of making up your mind. For her it is an influence on her sense of managing the three Life Roles: it causes internal friction in her but not in him. Men don’t have this friction so they don’t feel it permeating daily life. “What’s wrong?” He asks frustrated because there is something she is not saying. “Is it the price?” “Is it the location?” “What is it?” “Is it me?” “Is it what my mother will say or think, or what you think my mother will think?” Maybe. But her thoughts are getting powered by the invisible Female Frixion. There may be no problem but she still has to manage the Female Frixion because it is real.
The Male Stack
The way to relate the Female Frixion to the male management of the three Life Roles is to picture them as blocks.
Men deal with their roles one at a time, handling the stress that comes with their work or their parenting tasks or relationship. Likewise women have their version of life’s stress in the same three Life roles yet there is an added stress of feeling all three, at the same time, all the time.
Men are thinking vertically and women are feeling horizontally. Men are scouting linearly and women are observing in the same direction in a spiral fashion. Men are useful for being matter of fact about certain decisions while women are to be valued for bringing their varied considerations in their own time.
Related to this, I was having a conversation with a retired man on the driveway to his home. He told me that he used to be a chemist so he was very exact in how he looked at life. While talking I commented I could still smell the fragrant lilac bush beside his house. It was mid June so it was past its flowering prime but still offered a strong and beautiful perfume. Yes, he said the garden was good but lots of work. His wife, he told me, would tell him to move a flower pot to the other side of the yard. And then look at it and ask him to move it right back. He was frustrated by this non logical approach to gardening. And his back hurt from gardening and also caring for his grandson.
The chemist’s wife’s Fulfillment is valid regardless if it is not linear or logical. From the way I heard him talking he needs to learn that. And add to that a knowing that following her requests is actually feeding the romantic life between them. Just shut up and move the flower pot. Stop whining and before bed take a bath with epsom salts.
What is your SOLAS? Recall at the beginning of this chapter a positive outcome of the Titanic sinking was the development and global adoption of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) treaty. The treaty declared there were “minimum requirements for construction, equipment and operation of ships …” So what are yours? At work: what are your professional ethics when selling: When managing a team or leading a company? In your family: how do you teach children, create boundaries and guide them into their future? In your Romantic Life is there attraction or repulsion, warmth or cordiality, growing love or a plateaued marriage?
Is there some personal character trait you can apply and adjust to all three Life Roles?
Perhaps The minimum requirement would be respect for the other person taking into account about them whatever you want others to take into account about you. This would include Life Roles, Life Stages, Devotional Life urges, momentary and accumulated Satisfaction/Fulfillment. That’s a lot to take into account. But that is what is happening and more all the time. All the more reason to be in touch with one’s instinct and in the flow of your life trajectory.
To construct you need a foundation or foundational materials. Personal foundations based on upbringing and life experience. Woman or man foundations to uphold what is true and illuminating about your version of woman or your version of a man. Human foundations of the qualities you want to make relevant now and cause to be immortal at least to you.
Equipment in the human case includes: High and Low emotions, brains and mind, soul and spirit all packaged nicely into a self healing human body.
Operations get tricky. We are talking about Psychology, Ego, ambition, communication, worldly meaning and Higher Purpose all having seen and unseen impacts on our mood, decision making and ability to listen, see and understand things for the way they actually are.
The construction of a Life Role requires a lot of input from other people like your mom, colleague, uncle, sister, wife, neighbour, husband. Is there a mix of humility to accept other people’s ideas and the confidence to know you are a good mother or father?
What will your life partner say you are steadfast about in your Romantic Life?
What can your colleagues rely on you for because your Professional Life has proven you repeatedly uphold (specific human qualities) _________________
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.
An excerpt from an article by Sam Samson of the CBC:
Winnipeg woman said she will continue to advocate for body positivity after being the subject of misogynistic comments in a private group chat involving NHL players.
“Everything I post, I post online because I feel beautiful. I feel great. I feel worthy,” said Nicole Zajac. “I just don’t think it’s worth it to let a few comments from people who clearly don’t respect women get to you.”
Ms. Zajac is a hero. Those guys are a product of their environment. But at some point a man is called to decide for himself how he thinks about women, what he wants to become and as a result what he will say. What each of these guys needed was help from their coaches and parents to use their upbringing and hockey training as a springboard into his unique robust, version of a man. Did they get it?
From her comments you can see that Ms. Zajac is emotionally agile. She has made decisions for herself about what she thinks of herself. She is strong enough to endure the low end of social media with the goal of helping others feel good about themselves. She is brave. Those guys…? They didn’t heed the call of being a man. They have FOMU: Fear Of Manning Up.
In order to support Ms. Zajac and to help guide young men, please take a look at my previous post:
Your marriage is yours. Still there is a beautiful solidarity that we men can provide each other when each one of us can connect with ‘My Best Ego’. Based in ‘My Best Ego’ you exhibit self responsibility. Your challenge, a fabulous spur to boost you into the New You is to: find something that gives Satisfaction to the part of a man that loves to support a woman. When you find that something – put it into your habits, routines and rituals. Find its friends.
Talking about love and support … It was a hot, sunny December day in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico. A good day to get married if ever there was one. So I did. To my wife of all people.
We are still married. Still nupping. Sometimes to my disbelief. To my eternal benefit.
Before you go nupping with the love of your life it is a good idea to go in prepared with your eyes wide open. They might be wide open but glazed over with smittiness. Or you can get married with awareness that this is your life. Your Romantic Life/Role in your life is so important. Listen to it, respond to it and do not be a slave to it. Those who are slaves to their Romantic Roles in life often become bimbos, if they are lucky, abused if they aren’t.
So as you enter into a new stage in life and take on new roles as a woman/wife or man/husband you can agree on going to a lawyer to sign a draft prenuptial agreement to keep things clear from the beginning and separate from the emotions. Love today – lose tomorrow.
Feel free to consult a family lawyer to imprint your prenuptial contract with the concerns as future spouses avoiding the nastiness of an immature divorce .
Feel free and empowered to consult your soul to remind you what you Seek and Offer in your relationship. That relationship that you assume is based on loving your spouse and being loved in return. Each person loves the other for their insistence on it being true to themselves – that’s how we participate.
How do you Participate? Legally? Or Soulfully. A little bit of both … Insisting? true? Free? Seeking a Relationship? Offering Soul (whatever that is).
The Soul Agreement might, at first glance, seem like it is with your spouse, when in fact it is internal. With oneself. It is an agreement to Seek and Offer. Not just to Seek what you look for in a person. Not only to Offer what you have always offered.
You won’t just Seek a girlfriend, any girlfriend just because they listen to your mumbo jumbo will you?
In the Soul Agreement you Seek a confirmation that you are loved. You Seek an opportunity to love someone else.
Seek is the operative word. You really, really want this. You need this. As a woman, as a man. You aren’t browsing, like in a bookstore, in case you come across something that tickles your fancy. You know what you want and you are intrigued to find out who has it and what is their unique expression of it. Their expression of a good sense of humour, creativity, support, appreciation, determination.
In your own internal prenup what in the world are you going to Offer?
Let’s Remember There is no ‘counting-the-cost’ here. You Offer because you want to. It is not conditional. Except of course the universal condition on all relationships: the insistence on human dignity and personal standards. Meaning there is no violence or abuse. Physical, emotional or otherwise. No if – then threats hanging over your head that impede your instinct. Something like – “If you don’t do what I say then there are going to be some serious repercussions!!” No.
In a phrase, we offer to love and be loved. This can be seen to be encapsulated in his marriage vows. In this case it is an if – then promise: ‘If you marry me then I promise to respond to you, an evolving, enriching woman, by being ready and willing to update my husband response as petitioned by you or my instinct.’
Sew that seed of promise at the start of your marriage so that seven years later, when you are having another one of those difficult post nup days (that we seem to attract in certain phases) you have pre-programmed your Belief in: you, your spouse, marriage itself, your marriage. Harvest the intention of those marriage vows.
To resolve whatever was the issue of the moment in a relationship you have an ally always in waiting: My Best Ego. We all need an ego to some degree to keep ourselves intact in daily life. This helps us strive to grow, regroup after a mistake, be proud of our accomplishments, share life experience, ask for and offer help. What happens is that our Ego can get out of control. And it gets addicted to blocking the light of day from the rest of our inner lives plus the Ego and emotions of those around you.
My Best Ego elevates your Ego – for positive results that can be shared. Shared not only on Instagram but in conversation for the benefit of you and someone else; spouse or colleague or sibling or neighbour. Use My Best Ego to Seek in your spouse her My BestEgo. To Seek with anything less delivers dollar store quality results: in the moment it suffices but you may find yourself repeating the same arguments all over again quite soon. As a result you have learned little about the person you are married to and become the punching bag for their lack of emotional development.
Your Ego is based on how you feel about how you feel.
My Best Ego generates opportunities forFulfillment and Satisfaction that can be shared.
My Best Ego is you improving your fluency in human qualities of: persistence, Belief, patience, resilience, resourcefulness, forgiveness, optimism and maintaining standards.
You as a woman want to be loved in a way that says you are uniquely special. You know your dedication to your marriage/family is powered by your desire to love fully, naturally, confidently and your instinct will be supported by your spouse.
This is an excerpt of a short book in progress about Satisfaction. It has been in the works for some time but it can be considered a Son of quarantine:).
Satisfaction in the short and long term has many sources and benefits. What is being highlighted here is that we are all capable of and responsible for our own Satisfaction in the ongoing stages of life, evolving relationships and variety of experiences.
I had some interesting and challenging jobs during the school year at university. I went to a small college so the students could work as Campus Police part time. Nowadays you see those bigger schools where they have ex-military patrolling the grounds looking for someone to beat on. I would stay up all night and do my rounds checking doors telling my friends to be quiet and then ask them to please take me seriously as a Campus Police. I would climb stairs and then write in the log book that I told rabble rousers to pipe down and that I had climbed stairs. I am a great sleeper so I would catch a few winks sitting in the Campus Police office around 4 or 5 am and finish my shift at 7 am. Good gig for a little spending money.
When I lived off campus I took a job where I functioned as the part-time eyes for an old, blind man. I saw his ad at the student employment centre in February and got started on a weekly basis. If he didn’t need me the following Sunday he would then just call every so often I would bike over to a house that he owned but no one lived in that I could tell. I doubt he lived upstairs because the smell each time I came in was of the cold, undisturbed air of night. Not air that carried the baggage of habits of watching television in the front room or routines of cooking. The old house was in a great neighbourhood with lots of trees and sizable yards. His place was full of building materials like 2 x 4s, flooring and doors.
The place was to be fixed up. Maybe if his sight came back. Maybe by a son who didn’t have the time or desire. He knew where everything was and how many there were. In the musty basement he would direct
“Do you see those 2 x 4’s piled in the corner? Grab them and move them to the main room upstairs and pile them along the wall. When we get there I will tell you where I want them.” I did exactly what he asked and did not question his requests or logistical specifications. The old man would hesitate when I would say – ‘Ok that’s done. What’s next?’ He knew what he wanted but had to rely on me to make it happen. Kind of like I was his experimental robot in early Artificial Intelligence.
I always arrived on time but he always seemed to be waiting. It’s not that I was late. Perhaps it was that he was dependent upon me and my young vision that made him impatient. Because he really didn’t want to need me. He was old but pretty mobile. It was usually early afternoon when we finished up. As I put on my jacket he would say thanks, ask again to confirm some detail of the work I had done, and count out my pay in blue, five dollar bills. I don’t think he liked paying me to compensate for his blindness but considering the situation I think he liked being the one in control of this interaction. He knew all his bills were five dollars each. He knew how many he had, in which pocket. He would check his tactile watch to calculate the time and then separate out each of the bills one at a time. The bills were in front of him but he would turn his head to the side and up a bit as he counted. He would put the remaining blue bills back in the same pocket. Count out my pay, ask me to confirm it was correct and send me on my way.
Satisfaction is a life companion. Sometimes we can feel no distance between our need for Satisfaction and daily life. At other times, stages in life, we can be grasping at it like it was a feather blowing in the wind.
If you don’t know what you want, you will probably get what you don’t want. Which means you get what someone else wants. That someone else can be a colleague, neighbour, sibling, parent, boss, client, religious mentor, YouTube star, salesperson, waiter, child or spouse. That someone may have altruistic reasons for including your efforts in getting what they want out of life. Or they may be using you much like they use a hairdryer or lawnmower. Unappreciative of how you work and angry when you don’t (because they didn’t take care of you).
Whether your experiences of supporting someone else’s goals are fun or repulsive you can apply the learning points inward and find a few ways of injecting your daily life with direction. Directing your thinking towards growing your success of getting what you want.
Growing my success gives me a sense of satisfaction. Satisfaction is universal in its need and uniquely individual in its expressions. Our bodies function on satisfaction. The Ego needs satisfaction. We want satisfaction. The soul generates Satisfaction.
We are responsible for our Personal Satisfaction. Our spouse is not. When life throws us a curveball we can’t take it out on our relationships (marriage, children, parents). When life shows us we didn’t prepare enough for life challenges of making money, dealing with people or staying healthy it is wrong to make our spouse pay for it because we have reached our limit for stress. We are responsible for our emotions.
Yes your wife is asking (nagging) about what you had for lunch because she is worried about your weight so you don’t have a heart attack like your dad and then can’t work to support your family. She doesn’t make you angry. It is managing emotions that gets us into trouble.
Maybe what you already do gives you satisfaction. Sometimes it is to find simple satisfactions. There is value in simple that can easily be overlooked when we feel we have a lot of stress and responsibility and not much wiggle room to come through with results. As cheesy as it sounds it is useful to realize we are showing resilience by putting up with a bad manager at work; we are providing constancy by still driving that 11 year old smelly car; we are following through on commitments by keeping a roof over everyone’s head.
We all want more money. Driving a sporty new car with that new car smell can relieve deliver some Satisfaction in the competition of making money. If it makes life easier then do the work to make the money to buy the car. In the meantime find the satisfaction in the moment to share with your family while inside you know you want more. You want better. That’s your challenge. Welcome to it. Share the challenge. Share the stress of the challenge. Just don’t hit, insult, threaten or withhold from your loved ones when you share. You love your family and are loved by your family. In daily life it isn’t too easy to feel the love with all the arguments and emotions and misunderstandings.
And when you get to your limit what do you do? Does your spouse know what you are going to do? What do you want to do when you get to your limit today or tomorrow of your patience or understanding, or feeling of being appreciated, or get to your limit of knowing how to express your love in trying economic times.
Those are your limits. Maybe not your spouse’s limits. Maybe not your children’s limits. Maybe those limits were put there a long time ago. By a small boy who needed guidance to grow into a young man. Or a young man who had trouble finding his confidence. Now those limits are being faithfully adhered to by a middle aged man who is being nudged by some weird feeling in this stage in life but is limited by his own history. Limited in his ability to ask (dumb) questions and deal with the response. Limited in being vulnerable in front of his wife or children because he might cry or need help.
Vulnerability is part of life. Violence is not. Being responsible to know our limits and find ways to manage them or possibly extend them is part of life. Using guilt instead of honesty is not a part of living. That is an act of diminishing what a man and woman are capable of being together. Emotional agility is part of a man’s life in every stage. When he is young he can laugh, cry, be sad and feel proud of himself. When a man is middle aged and then an elder he has the same liberty. Age is not a limit on emotional agility. The rich cry. The poor laugh. The middle class feel sad. It’s not about the money. It’s about you and your response to life in the moment. You are powered by the residue of previous successes in finding a path forward with dignity for all. Your response petitions your spouse to bring her versatility to the situation. You companion each other in success, challenge, failure and learning.
Why? Because that is what you want.
If this was interesting then there are other posts on this blog that you may like:
We live in a different world than we did 2 months ago. And our world will be again made different by the regulations and fears that accompany the re-ignition of daily life in the weeks and months when quarantines are lifted.
We live on a different planet than the characters in Gabriel Garcia Marquez 1985 novel, Love In TheTime of Cholera. Taking place from 1880 – 1930 likely in Colombia. The protagonists profess their long distance love by telegraph and hand written letters that can take days and weeks to finally get read and be replied to. Nowadays we tweet, text and FaceTime in the moment – all the time. The content of the messages is the same. In the south and the north we are all searching for the same thing.
Fast forward 100 years or so and we can exchange Cholera for Coronavirus. Both are infectious diseases that can cause death. For that matter one might say there are some similarities with love.
What have we learned? About love and infection.
Here is a story from the here and now.
She brought her daughter and a dog. He had his 2 children and a dog. They married and added a child of their own. They came from contrasting cultures. Something happened to harmony. Not overnight.
For this man and woman now their many relationships as spouses, parents, step mom/dad and with in-laws are to some degree: disastrous, toxic and dangerous to all participants. Who is to blame?
We can blame him for sure. Because his patience ran out. We can also blame her because she doesn’t have anymore patience. We can definitely blame their parents who didn’t use all those years guide them into the necessary Self-Love. Add to your Coronaworld those infuriating times in a marriage and you have a recipe for disaster. We all need a good dose of Self-Love to get through the disruption and uncertainty that is Your Life During Coronavirus.
The more Self-Love we can muster these days then the less like a personal attack this whole situation can feel. While we are all doing some version of ‘sheltering in place’ or self-isolation or social distancing or quarantine we need to adjust to our new circumstance or get adjusted by it. There is no commuting to work, drive-through coffee, popping out for lunch, office flirting, useless meetings to complain about, personal space or no stories of what happened today at work or school.
We all need to give each other and ourselves a break because nobody saw this pandemic coming. Except Bill Gates. Many years and millions of dollars of donations ago.
Love in the Time of Coronavirus is love of the imperfect you. Love of the grace of planet Earth. Loving the feeling of breathing in fresh spring air in a time when it might be dangerous to breathe. Love of forgiving and being forgiven – quickly when possible. Slowly when not.
Offering your smile to someone else is Self-Love. Complimenting their cooking is Self-Love; so is waking the dishes. People laughing at you instead of your dumb joke takes a fair amount of Self-Love. Belief in a life journey takes Self-love because it means you know that you are part of something bigger than daily life. Refining your habits, routines and rituals in order to offer your spouse a Satisfied husband is a good example of Self-Love. Because you want your Self-Love to be a part of your spouse’s happiness.
When their Fulfillment becomes your Satisfaction. That is one of the Magical Arts of Love.
Remember the Art of War where the local administration is in charge of the decisions which the army carries out for the benefits of the community to live in peace. ‘In Peace’ feels great for us personally. But it is the impact at the human level that this environment of peace permits the soul to do it’s work. The soul is childlike in its enthusiasm, it’s readiness to enhance the human experience; your life.
As a natural act of appreciation a Hamilton, Ontario radio station is asking listeners to call in with the first name of a front line worker (nurse, doctor, police) they want to say thank you to. ‘Sue, who is a paramedic from St. Catherines – thank you!’ Great initiative: simple and inclusive to recognize professionalism and dedication.
In these times of global worry what can we do to participate in societal protection and our communal recovery?
Like me if you are not working in a hospital or related services it can feel helpless to be confined at home. Although staying home is of great service to your family and all of the communities you are a part of so we don’t get sick or get others sick, it can feel passive.
What else can I do to help?
Seek the best in others. Offer the best of yourself.
Living without many of our daily habits, having our routines compressed or put on hold can put us on edge. Maybe you are taking care of and educating children. We can be impatient. Frustrated. Out of our element. Being limited by new health based protocols and regulations, that are for our own well being, can reveal we have to find new ways to live. Can we find topics of conversation so we are not accumulating fear by only focusing on the virus?
Yes! Go back to school. Enrol in Unique University. Unique U. is where we learn more about ourselves, others, marriage, parent roles, stages in life. We can learn jokes, new recipes, some Yoga, paint a picture, plant a few veggies in starter pots. We could get better at singing or realize what we already knew – that we will never be a good singer:)
In the tutorials of Unique U. we are the student one moment and the teacher the next. Our emotions (daily / devotional) and human qualities are the curriculum. Seek the one-of-a-kind of each of us that can easily get lost in the rush and demands of daily life.
Offer to read out loud to someone an interesting few lines from a book and seek their perception about it. Seek to understand the ‘why’ of yesterday to offer better vision of the ‘how’ for tomorrow. Seek satisfaction for yourself to offer fulfillment to others.
This can help us update our beliefs about ourselves. Highlight that you are versatile, creative and resourceful. It can also remind us our family members are funny, quirky, spontaneous and caring.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who said ‘ok’ to the playground bully when he said, ‘Hey jump on’ to the other seat of the painted green wooden playground seesaw.
This playground in front of the winter outdoor hockey rink (and summer tennis courts) also had the big swings that were awesome; you could pump your legs to swing so high. And then jump off at the peak of your follow through which was a good 15 feet above the ground. Way outta control!
There was the long metal slide that heated up to burning hot in the July afternoon sun. You couldn’t slide down without a serious leg burn.
So on this day the local buffoon convinced me to participate and now I am up in the air as he lifts his seat and bashes it back to the ground. This sends me flailing a foot above my seat. I hold onto the metal handle with all my ten year old might.
He laughs the asshole. He loves it. Again he bashes his seat down punctuated by his villainous cackle. Again my legs fly into the air. I’m bucking this green wooden bronco and wondering how to jump off as it looks like he is not going to let me off.
Likewise the seesaw in relationships can generate a variety of emotions from elated to enraged. I am sure you know what I mean.
Let’s look at the fulcrum which is the part in the middle that is the balance point between the two extremes. According to the little drawing above one side is ‘Self’ and the other being ‘Love’ in our relationship seesaw.
Too much self at the expense of love means a person is in a relationship for personal gain. To feel loved with out offering love in return. Another imbalance is when we don’t love ourselves enough and submit our fulfillment to the satisfaction of our partner.
Somewhere in between the two is an ongoing sensitivity of give and take that looks to somehow feed both at the same time. So make yourself loveable and therefore, in your own way, attract love. Without negating this love you attract, your art is to seek out how to love another for the person they want to be.
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.