Archive for the Men Category

A Story of Men….a sad intro.

Posted in Big Questions, Men with tags , , , , on March 24, 2011 by matthewstruth

  

The story of “men” has shown its head quite unexpectedly in some recent posts. I have caught myself off guard by some of the ruminations. So with a few recent experiences fresh in mind, the quandaries continue.

Men. I am one. And I can unequivocally say, that even with decades of inner work that the “workings of us” elude me at times.

Just this week I’ve gotten a couple of glimpses of us at our inanest. Being caught on a job in an enormous pickup truck that gets 9mpg with 3 other men, all somewhat physically fit and in their mid 60’s, left me speechless. On this day my “brothers” were incapable of anything close to resembling intelligence moving through their lips. The badmouthing, ridiculing and griping about trivialities, and the utter childishness spewing forth gave me the opportunity to feel such sadness for the state of our society. These men, all successful in that old paradigm way of having made oodles of loot, left much to be desired. As did my impotence in being unable to steer them toward something deeper and potentially more meaningful.

There was then the local event last weekend on the streets of this beautiful resort town. Approaching at 9:30 in the evening I was stunned by gaggles of drunken men everywhere bellowing out utter nonsense at the top of their lungs while the streets smelled of bad beer. Yuk.

Then too, I can’t forget the numbers of men over the years discovered dead from either passing out drunk on the sides of roadways in blizzards or dying in their beds asphyxiated in their own upheavals. True.

And unfortunately I’m not immune to this either. During a period of time living in NYC in my early 20’s I was awakening in my own filth in stairways too many times after parties. Being found once by friends passed out on the sidewalk at Second and Eighth became the last straw, thankfully. I was so lost.

What has gone on? What has led some of us to such despairing calamities? I know books can and have been written about all of this and perhaps I’ll begin my own soon, but now, in these few words? Once again I am struck by the workings of my psyche. Just having written the word “impotence” has got me wondering—could this be a big part of it? Are many of us men essentially impotent? If not literally within the sexual context, though with all of these marketed drugs who knows—then perhaps within the framework of our rapidly changing world? Do we feel like we can’t make a difference? That we don’t know what to do? That all of the old rules have changed and we find ourselves ill-equipped? Is this why we’ve drunk ourselves to death or maybe just not wanted to grow up?

Or maybe we aren’t privy to a higher reason for why we exist as a human being in the first place and so we go about our living our lives from a lower octave of being predominantly? More and more questions emerge constantly. And I get the feeling that many more posts will be forthcoming about “mine” and “our“ story. Hmmmm?

Until then, one of my favorite books about men and the issue’s we and the women in our lives face is “I Don’t Want to Talk About It“ by Terry Real. Enjoy.

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Hearts of Japan

Posted in Big Questions, Feelings, Men with tags , , , , , on March 15, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are our hearts for?

In the recent posts “Shootings Heart Opening” and “A Mans Peace of Mind” I’ve been pondering this very question. As a man with one that was shattered very early I’ve been genuinely and tragically clueless regarding this question. Even after many therapies and attending various workshops over the years, including events boldly titled Opening the Heart, it’s still been a tough go for me, and therefore for those that I’d come in contact with as well.

But something is happening now on our planet. Do you feel and experience it? There are energies available, circumstances happening , old orders and paradigms are crumbling. A phenomenal network of teachers and teachings are coming forward at precisely this time, when they are so needed to assist in the creation of a new Earth.

More and more people are awakening from the dream of materialism. Certainly we need materials of various sorts to live, but do we need to run our lives, constantly striving for success and more stuff? What happens when we trust in the inherent sense that there is enough, that we are enough? Slowing down and removing ourselves, in whatever fashion that we can from faulty dreams, allows us to witness a larger perspective. And allows us space to feel into our hearts.

Events happening rapidly on our glorious globe provide us with the opportunity to truly recognize what is important. Most of us at any given time are not directly effected, but how about indirectly? Do you feel when others are suffering?—A sick neighbor? A homeless person? People struggling to put food on the table? People with no table? With the rise in different technologies, we can see and bear witness to the struggles of our fellow humans. Extreme difficulties could be happening for us at any time. None of us are immune—each moment, each breath is a sacred gift. How wisely do we use them?

Recently, at the end of a post I wrote—

“When will we awaken to our inherent birthright as glorious human beings, inhabiting an awe inspiring planet with other sentient beings, all of these animals, plants and minerals that share this place with us. When will we awaken to love?……..On this day I was one man deeply touched and less numbed. I am not going back.”

This “not going back“— is a difficult feat. As my heart has begun to thaw and open, I now feel and understand so much more. And these days—Feeling into Japan and crying. Why Japan? I certainly have a connection to Japan. My studies of architecture, ceramics and gardening have always brought me toward Japan. My body resonates with these ancient arts from their perspective. So is this why I feel into this tragedy more deeply now? Perhaps.

But really, it’s about the functioning of my heart. It is not only being battered open, but gently too with equal parts of—my direct intentionality—and grace. Grace, that force that can just appear before us if we can recognize and accept its presence. And then open to it.

I can see why keeping our heart closed serves some functions, not very noble ones granted, but ones that keep the day to day minutia going. These days I am tired, napping and feeling the extent of what it must be like for our fellow human beings coping with tragic calamity. This napping has nothing to do with “being asleep” and numb, but it’s about recharging and releasing stressors from everywhere.

And at times I’m now wondering how and why I didn’t feel Oklahoma City, Columbine, Indonesia, New Orleans, Haiti, Chile and countless others. Not feeling these didn’t bring me happiness or connection. Being numb to the events that effect our brethren didn’t make my life any more fulfilled, didn’t bring me any closer to those right next to me.

Today—sharing my anguish actually does open doors that can possibly lead to deeper connection, resonance and compassion with others. Isn’t this what we all need and deep down long for?

May we seize this moment, feel our feelings, and send whatever psychic energy we are capable of to all those in need. This collective planetary awakening is transforming our hearts and our species. We are one, whether the waves of tsunami, revolution, or other calamities are on our doorstop or not.

 

Healing Archetypal Gender Wounds

Posted in Feelings, Men, Motion Picture Lessons, Relations with tags , , , , , , , , on March 9, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

 

It is time.

These three simple little words have been calling out to me for well over a decade. Who would’ve thought that watching a child’s movie on the vcr with my tiny stepdaughter back then would lead me toward deep contemplation—or that this “cartoon” would continue to do so today?

It is time.

These words emerged again a few weeks ago at the end of my post “A Man’s Peace of Mind”. Since then this mantra has been running through my mind pretty much non-stop, which led me to get the cd soundtrack from this movie out and now, it too, has been cranking incessantly throughout this home.

Sometimes, I just know—that second when insight occurs, don‘t you? Great personal power derives from these illuminating moments. Even if it’s from the most unlikely of sources—such as within an animated movie.

The archetypal, mystical, magical realm of The Lion King is one of these sources. It contains potent teaching’s that are of complete relevance today—recognizing the oneness of all life–healing familial wounding, abuse, jealousy, ostracizing attitudes and betrayals–recognizing the ramifications of environmental destruction and greed–remembering and awakening to ones true self, and taking one’s rightful place within society——and healing, with love the rift between the genders. The characters in this movie, our archetypes, show the absolute power of what can transpire from within these domains.

It is the medicine person Rafiki’s incredulous babbling of “it is time” that has captivated, and set the stage for me……to remember. So many of these motifs have played pivotal roles in my maturing journey of being human. And boy oh boy, can I relate to Simba, the happy, inquisitive, cocky, son-of-a-king. This potential future king watches his father die and is then sold a bunch of bunk by his murdering, jealous uncle, who embodies the shadow side of the un-evolved castrating masculine. Because of this, the very young Simba banishes himself, not only from his society, but from his deeper nature as well.

While our hero is physically growing up, he’s essentially hiding out with his shame, marginalizing and down-sizing his life to entail a happy-go-lucky smallness. During this time his family and society are being overrun by ineptitude and greed, and their land-base is being destroyed. When we don’t, or can’t show up in our power, bad stuff happens.

How many of us can resonate with this tale of familial and cultural abuse? What were the stories that we told ourselves? Some of mine were to strive to succeed without knowing who I really was or what I wanted. Becoming “the good boy” was my way of dealing with familial mental illness and the destructive elements of this. But it seemed as though I was on autopilot. Certainly many of my inherent aptitudes blessed me with a fledgling sense of self, but these didn’t appease my inner angst-filled, yet otherwise emotionless life and definitely did not lead to a love that I could feel.

As the emerging “masculine” is downsized and relegated to mediocrity, the “feminine” is left alone to deal with the tragedies of the other pole—an abusive, un-evolved masculine. Seems an awful lot like our culture, doesn’t it? We are witnessing and experiencing a masculinity that is a pale shadow of what it could be. In lieu of a healthy functional masculinity we have corporate sponsored environmental destruction, criminal behavior and greed, Wall St. swindles, hoarding, consumerism, power-over domination, war, absentee fathers, domestic violence and addiction. Not a pretty picture.

Certainly men are paying a price for this within their psyches—but it is women who are being decimated and brutalized. Unheard, starving, and deeply distraught, Nala, our heroine, goes off alone to find sustenance for her tribe—courageously tackling more than she should have to. She has taken all that she can from the abuser and now ventures forth as a final resort. How many women have issued the demand, “it is time TO GROW UP”? Or have had to go it alone, or remained children themselves, or have bravely banded together to create a new society? And how many men have just walked away?

While hunting and about to attack two funny creatures Nala is jumped and comes face to face with a large male lion. She has more than enough prowess to pin him to the ground. Isn’t this the way it is even in our time, women can very easily decimate a man at times of vulnerability. And here is something crucially profound—Simba recognizes his friend and calls out her name, where upon she dismounts, staring in complete disbelief. All it takes sometimes is for men to softly recognize the magnificence of the feminine, which allows her to reopen.

Nala has now discovered the masculine in his hideout, eating grubs—this is ludicrous, the king, eating grubs. The arrival of his best friend, now a fully evolved adult female, along with the joy and confrontation that ensued, provided a rich environment for self-rediscovery. Simba it seems had abdicated his true self due to unexplored faulty thoughts. An unexamined life. Me too at times.

How much of myself do I see in this story? Quite a bit! The larger-than-life issues of ostracizing familial betrayal, followed by a life geared toward minimization. Living on the fringe or at the edge and not knowing one’s true worth or purpose, floundering about alone. I’ve done this. I’ve lived like this. I recognize the Simba in me. Tears appear and also new strength, well, if not new, then at least an evolving strength. Even with rigorous inquiry at times, it has seemed as though my personal healing has had a timeframe of its own. It’s not that transformation hasn’t been occurring, its just that there have been so many layers to this psyche needing attention. As layer after layer have been illumined, more and more have come to the surface.

As Simba and Nala rediscover each other, after the exuberant joy comes the bellowing, “What in the tarnation have you been doing with yourself?? We needed you.” Ouch. She expresses her righteous feelings, and he plummets into his buried fear, misery and inner pain, which leads him again angrily into his abandonment story.

Lamenting, “ So many things to tell her, but how to make her see, the truth about my past, impossible, she’ll turn away from me.”

She cries out, “ He’s holding back, he’s hiding, but what I can’t decide. Why won’t he be the king I know he is, the king I see inside.”

Could this be the major thematic element of our times? Many men are lost and afraid, though it might not appear that way. Women have been evolving through the 70’s until now, while men have been dragged kicking and screaming to accept what is. Their predominant cultural roles are no longer the only game in town, the paradigm has changed. Their closed down emotional lives and hearts are being asked to open. The healthy feminine needs a healthy masculine to right this ship. I have been blessed and cursed to have a wonderful woman in my life whose been breaking my door down. The curse has been in fighting this incursion. She has seen the king in me when I haven’t. To have a true friend seeing us, who could really be more blessed?

In our story, the healthy masculine, his father, the murdered king, had promised to always be there, and this young adult’s sense of self has suffered in thinking himself the cause of the murder. As he’s angrily sulking and screaming to the heavens, his inner guide, in the form of Rafiki magically appears to bash him upside the head with some sense —“You don’t even know who you are?” How right is this?! He doesn’t. How many of us truly do? The head bashing continues and our awakening, newly alive guy runs off and is soon confronted with his own reflection, where upon Rafiki, this time ever so softly, challenges Simba to look deeply within himself. And here he sees that his dad, the king is in fact within him. And that he has been in there all along.

“He lives in you, he lives in me. He watches over, everything we see. Into the water, into the truth, in your reflection, he lives in you.”

Who is this “he“? Could be our higher selves, our spirit guides, God, angels, the ancestors, or the collective, all knowing source? Who really knows, but we are most certainly not alone in here.

In getting this….understanding this, he can now return to his homeland, take his rightful place as king and go about repairing the damage. And loving his gal, right along side him as well.

A roadmap for us? With these recognitions, comes new energy to move forward in life. Seeing the archetypal nature of this particular story provides a rich fertile place from which to heal very old wounds. Realizing where one has gone astray and some of the root originating factors leading to this annihilating self-betrayal is just what is needed for our culture to grow up and evolve.

 

It is time to awaken—to awaken from whatever slumber holds us captive.

It is time to love.

It is time to grow up from our cultural adolescence.

It is time emerge from hiding.

It is time to treat all beings with respect, love and dignity, including ourselves.

It is time to recognize the animals as our teachers.

It is time to honor the earth, and all upon and within it

It is time to fully recognize the oneness of this universe.

On and on……….

I T    I S    T I M E!

A Man’s Peace of Mind

Posted in Feelings, Men with tags , , , on February 8, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

“You see me on the street, well you guess I’m doing fine

Oh but its fantasy baby, almost all the time

I’ve got to get away, by myself

Oh the way it’s going, soon be needing help

‘cause I’m just a man, doing the best I can

don’t you understand, I just want some peace of mind.”

 

 

These words from a track on Van Morrison’s 1991 epic wonder, “Hymns to the Silence” say so much to me about the state of men—and the state of this man during many times in my life. This melody has floated through my awareness for almost twenty years now.

Hmmm, “doing the best I can”, how often have I uttered this phrase when called forth or challenged to grow into new behavior that I couldn’t?, wouldn’t?, make manifest at the time? Oodles of times. Certainly there is, as a friend would often say, a time for all seasons—a time when things are ripe for transformation, that can’t be rushed.

There is also a time for digging in ones heels and remaining stuck. But why would we choose this option? Probably not for any reason that’s very noble—fear, angst, rigidity, power and control, unwillingness to grow up, among others. Guilty, I’ve used them all. I thought “some peace of mind” would come from these stances, and I did want some. After bellowing the “doing the best I can” line though, did I feel better? Usually not. Usually I’d go sit alone somewhere, sulk somewhat, and wonder what the heck will it take to find some of this peace of mind.

Thankfully as those “seasons” come and go and maturity continues, combining this with inner inquiry, and evolutionary leaps and desires, that “doing the best I can” posture actually becomes drastically more functional.

What does any of this have to do with men in particular? Well as one, I can surely state that we all desire peace of mind, its just that many times we were taught outmoded ways of achieving this. How limiting it has been to be a mans man, and while in the process many of us were roaring absolute nonsense. Looking good, thinking I’m fine, and knowing somewhere deep inside that much of this look is fantasy. Baby—ouch. Yup fantasy. How many will admit this?

Certainly most of the worlds problems are caused by men. Operating from dysfunctional patterns and playbooks, using a “power over” model, greedily amassing heartless wealth, squelching dissent and acting like a child, but, in a suit—these were recipes for success. How many sensitive males have been squashed under this system? How many males hearts were broken and crushed before they could even walk? How many of us are willing to rectify this calamity and strive to create a saner, more just equitable playing field for everybody?

The new men’s work is to engage our hearts, learn what’s in there and what the darn thing is truly for. We—who were never taught what really matters, we—who were shattered with old outdated paradigms, we—who were allowed, due to our physical prowess to run amok, we—who are more capable than can be imagined—it is time. It is time to pull up our pants, it is time to spend time alone and with others learning who we really are, and it is time to learn to cherish—everything, knowing then, that we can cherish our peace of mind.

 

 

Shootings Heart Opening

Posted in Big Questions, Feelings, Men with tags , , , , on January 30, 2011 by matthewstruth

On a typical day in this winter paradise, thoughts and feelings of mine are usually focused towards the majestic knee buckling beauty of ethereal lighting upon rugged peaks, and basking with delight at my husky’s exuberance at being in her primal element. But on this day, while checking email before heading out into the splendor, there it was, highlighted, at the top of the page, “Arizona Congresswoman Shot”.

My body went into a shock that I haven’t felt in quite this way before. I cried, and I ached while clicking to the appropriate page. My instantaneous inner reactions to these few words told me that this was a moment of grave importance and that no matter what the motive was behind this, forces at work in our culture had laid the groundwork for this tragedy long ago.

My shaking and tears continued as the news of the massacre became more apparent. So many humans gunned down. A man shooting a woman. A man shooting a member of Congress. A man shooting, randomly, dozens of human beings, terrorizing what in this country has become our misguided civic symbol, a shopping center. As initial reports of the congress woman’s death emerged I broke down even further with deep anguish for the fate of our culture and world.

What was it about this particular violent act that penetrated my usual armor of numbness? Why am I crying now, when there have been oh so many violent crimes committed by governments and individuals that left me unfazed? How come I didn’t weep and break down over the tragedy’s of natural disasters that have effected hundreds of thousands of people? Why haven’t I become enraged at the heinous activities of corporations and some businesses that are raping our world? And why have I done virtually nothing to stop any of this?

So why was this day different? There could be so many reasons. I know that on this day the two words “congress” and “woman” had an enormous impact on me, as did the third “Arizona“. While I am generally not a huge fan of government activities, witnessing a member of our government being potentially assassinated got through my defenses of non-feeling. I was just a toddler and then a child straight jacketed in a catholic school uniform when black and white leaders of our country were slaughtered. Playing with my Tonka trucks didn’t become interrupted by these crimes, though my manic depressive mother’s howling at being in love with JFK, and not us, certainly contributed to my innocent childs heart closing down.

Could it be that this was my first experience of attempted assassination in my country. But Reagan was shot and I felt nothing. Others world leaders have been shot and killed and I felt nothing. People are being killed by our government every day and I generally feel nothing. People are murdered every day and still I feel nothing. How many of us allow these events to penetrate our tightly constructed lives?

Why was this day different? Maybe it’s that this was a member of our government who was a woman, being brutally attacked by a man. How long have these supremely barbaric attacks been going on? For thousands of years men have been bludgeoning women and our planet to death. What would happen if I, we, all men, would stop and feel this? We have been killing and tormenting those that bring life into existence. When will we stop? When will we kneel on the ground, bow down and stop? When will we cry and cry for our perpetrated atrocities upon those who are magnificent beings of wonder?

This day was different because I felt. My heart opened and hurt. My body and soul cried tears of rage, fear, deep sadness, and love. Love for a woman, love for a gathering of human beings brutally attacked, and love for a man much like my deceased, mentally ill brother, enveloped in the deepest anguish. Why aren’t we loving those among us who are troubled and disturbed? Why aren’t WE troubled and disturbed? When will we awaken to our inherent birthright as glorious human beings, inhabiting an awe inspiring planet with other sentient beings, all of these animals, plants and minerals that share this place with us. When will we awaken to love?

On this day I was one man deeply touched and less numbed. I am not going back.