Nobody ever remembers who came in second. Except at the 2018 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. Serena Williams has been an intimidating serving/volleying/groundstroking force for 20 years. September 1 2017 her daughter Olympia was born. Mother Serena willed herself back into shape, tennis shape, professional tennis shape, champion shape. That discipline and focus put her in the finals of the U.S. Open 2018. She was beaten by Naomi Osaka. Not without drama.
Below is a clip of what has been labeled Serena’s meltdown.
In the above video you see she is: frustrated, angry, not winning, fighting, searching. At about the three minute mark of the video she is yelling at the umpire, pointing at the umpire when she declares –
“I have a daughter and stand for what is right …”.
It was hot September 8, 2018 but Serena did not meltdown. She stood up. She stood up for what emanates from her blood, radiates from her eyes and vibrates from her bones: As a black woman, a professional, an inspiration, a success, a leader, a wife and a joyful mother.
As she smashes her racquet and puts the umpire in his place for the double standard treatment of men and women she is doing the work of all women and on behalf of all women. She is displaying for all those in attendance and watching on TV that all women have to deal with the three lives of a woman. Deal all the time. No matter how much or little money they have. Regardless of fame or success or power. The three lives are: Maternal, Professional, Romantic. These lives are always vying for the limelight of the energy of a woman. This urge generated from within each woman to shine her light on one life without ignoring the others causes an unseen friction in a woman.
Add to that ‘juggle and joust’ some intense pressure. For example the pressure of a grand slam final slipping out of your grip. Under that pressure things pop out. Words. Direct words. Directed at the umpire. Serena wasn’t talking tennis. She was screamingwoman. Instinctual woman. Loving and fearful mother. Reflective yet decisive professional. Vain and timid romantic.
There are no time outs in this competition to be the life that sits in the first seat of her emotional rollercoaster of the moment. This is a stress that is not shared. Men and women are not not the same page.
It’s foreign, to the male experience of the three lives, this concept of the friction that female lives impose. Many a man is mystified by a woman’s ‘sudden’ change of priorities or emotional outbursts. Very often whether they are aware of it or not, like Carlos Ramos the tennis umpire that day, men manoeuvre the situation to take control. Men are: professional, paternal and are (naturally) romantic. The male’s lives don’t cause as much internal turmoil in a man as a woman’s do in their’s. That neither makes him insensitive or her a martyr. It highlights a beautiful difference. A mental/emotional/instinctual watershed.
It takes courage to stand for something. We can all stand in community of understanding the reality of the Female Frixion and listen to the instinct that it cultivates.
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: