Thursday is excerpt day!
Have you ever watched a 1 or 2 year old carefully? What do they do? It’s pretty simple, they experience. Unencumbered by the rigid adult belief system, the cascade of shoulds and shouldn’ts, or the numerous adult defenses they move from one thing to the next and simply experience whatever they are doing. Sometimes they lick things, sometimes they touch and feel, other times they just ambulate from one spot to another but no matter what they are doing they are involved in the moment.
Most of us can’t imagine what it would be like to have such a focus on our present moment. We are often too busy with our persistent thoughts going one way and then another or preoccupied with our fears or regrets. What can we do?
Find a 1-2 year old and follow them around. It could be a relatives’s child or maybe your own. Do whatever they do no matter what. Do it for five minutes and see what happens. I can just about guarantee that you will be laughing and of course as a later post will say, laughter is a great way to be in the moment. Be sure that you are not the responsible party for the child’s safety. Yes, you both get a babysitter!
Excerpt: page 27 The Way Men Heal
Sometimes the action that helps the man to tell his story and to help connect him with his loss is a very practical matter. One of the most common is when the man uses his work as a means to tell his story. That’s what Michael Jordan did.
In August of 1993 Michael Jordan’s father was tragically murdered in rural North Carolina. Two months later Jordan announced to the world that he was leaving basketball. In another two months he announced he was going to make a huge switch and play professional baseball. People were shocked and saddened that Jordan would leave basketball and the thought of him playing pro baseball was even harder to fathom. Why would he do such a thing? What we now know is that Jordan’s father James, had always wanted him to be a professional baseball player. Before his death he had urged Jordan to drop basketball and move to baseball. Now just four months after his father’s death Jordan was announcing that he would be playing pro baseball. It seems clear that Jordan was following the masculine path of honoring through action. He may not have gone to a support group to “tell his story” but instead told his story through the actions he took. Jordan was close to his father as a child and as an adult. It seems clear that a part of his grief for his father was connected to his honoring of his father and his father’s wishes for him to play professional baseball. Michael Jordan offers us a beautiful example of how the mature masculine deals with the difficulties of a powerful grief: We honor.
Welcome to the first edition of tips for feeling good. The path for many into the red pill world is a tough one and one that can often use an extra dose of feeling good. With that in mind, each Tuesday we are going to offer a quick tip on feeling good. Some will be common sense, some will be drawing on research driven ideas while others will be tested tips from the growing field of positive psychology. We want you to feel good, every day. Let’s get started.
One of the most basic ideas of healing and feeling good is to keep one’s mind in the present moment. When we are able to do this we usually feel good. When the mind gets pulled into the future we often become anxious. When the mind gets stuck in the past we tend to get more depressed. Dwelling on the past and the future will tend to limit our joy.
What’s your favorite ride at the amusement park? Think about it. All the rides are geared to put you into the present moment. Ever notice that people getting off rides are smiling and laughing? That’s why people are wiling to pay for them! They are a quick path to feeling good. Think of a roller coaster ride. You are rolling down the hill…..Are you worrying about the future or upset over the past? Are you thinking about your taxes? No! You are locked into the present moment no future, no past just excited and in the moment. This is why people love it!
Now the important question is how to lock into the present on your own and do it consistently. I know many men who ride their motorcycles and this gets them locked in the present. As they are riding, they are floating in the moment. Others find that music or even singing does it for them. And then there is anything that brings laughter. It’s hard to laugh and not be in the present. All of these help us lock into the moment and that’s where most people feel good. Start thinking about what you do to put yourself into the now. You might want to Talk about it with someone close. Ask them where you seem to feel the most joyful. This will give you some clues about your unique ways, and where your roller coaster might be. You may also get some clues by thinking back to when you were young and the things you did for fun. Have a good time with this.
See you next Tuesday for another tip for feeling good.
Men are good, as are you.
A Happy New Year to all. Ah yes, new years, that time of year that everyone starts thinking about resolutions. You know, those resolutions that rarely pan out. I’m going to lose 20 lbs. I’m going to stop eating Fritos.” And on and on. I don’t want to discourage anyone from working on making changes that are needed. Go for it! What I do want to suggest is that it might be helpful for you to put a slightly different spin on New Years Change.
Why not try something in addition to making resolutions? How about working to be accepting of yourself as you are? I know a man who is 5’11” who always wanted to be 6 feet tall. It bugged him. It niggled at him. He had this small part of himself that he could hear saying, “you are not 6 feet, you are short.” There was nothing this man could do to increase his height. He could wear extended heels but that wouldn’t really help this inner chatter. Then one day he said to himself, “I am what I am. Hell, I am an inch taller than the average male height. I am fine the way I am.” No one really noticed his shift in thinking except the man who became a tidbit more satisfied with his life and less distracted by his inner warden.
Can you think of something about yourself that you were born with that has bugged you like our man and his height? Can you let it go? Can you just smile at it and say, “Yup, that is me and I am fine with that?” Give it a shot and have a Happy New Year!
Yes, Christmas Island was discovered in 1722…on Christmas Eve. We tend to remember things that happen on or around Christmas. Not only Christians do this. I remember my Jewish friends in school looking forward to Christmas vacation for different reasons than their Christian friends. But it was anticipated all the same.
Christmas is likely the one day of the year when the majority of folks, at least in the U.S., raise their awareness a bit. We look forward to Christmas and then when it comes we savor the moments of the day. This locks in both good and bad memories. When our awareness is heightened we are more likely to remember things whether they are good or bad.
This leaves many people with an abundance of great memories. But it also can leave some with an abundance of very difficult Christmas memories. Those who faced abuse as children, the death of a family member, or serious illnesses may have some pretty tough memories of Christmas Day, memories that are locked in. This can create a scenario where the day becomes dreaded rather than adored. This is compounded by the depressing sense of seeing everyone around you celebrating and making merry while you struggle with the old memories. Ugh.
If you are one of those folks who have some tough memories around Christmas here are a couple of ideas for you. 1. Let others know at least a little of your struggles. Sometimes a compassionate ear can quiet things down a bit. 2. Set aside a certain amount of time to remember those old crappy memories in their fullest, let them in and all of the associated memories. Then, 3. Cut them off, tell them that their time is up and you get to spend some time enjoying Christmas. 4. Do something different. Whatever you usually don’t do on Christmas, do it this time. Maybe go out to eat, maybe Chinese! Maybe a movie. Either of those will help you focus on the day and your enjoyment and may give you a bit of a break from the old memories. 5. Exercise! There are very few things that can blot out old crappy thoughts like a good workout. Plus, it makes you physically feel better and shoots off your endorphins.
Feel good! Merry Christmas!