BLOG – Don’t men shun this subject?
Masses of information, directions, statements, instructions, hints, in fact it seems like the most persistent message given to men from not only women, but from men who have journeyed and explored their own personal process. Men with courage and conviction to go beyond the limitations of our collective male conditioning and venture into that sometimes painful yet empowering mission to find out more about what makes us human…….I was about to say what makes us tick but it’s a bit like my cliché opening.
Don’t mention this subject, a ploy on words so that we won’t get to the subject itself of men’s feelings, that’s right, feelings, we do have them and for most of us we know how to hide them without expression. Part of human development and the emphasis placed on men is to be able to express our feelings if we want to have successful relationships, especially with women and more importantly with ourselves. To be able to verbalise what we are feeling at any given moment in time is a noble and valuable quest. As a generalisation, and reasonably close to the truth, many women long for their men to be able to express their feelings, particularly the “softer” versions such as love, affection and concern and to do this from sincerity rather than the ease at which we men can access and maintain anger.
Caring, considerate, devoted, easy-going, kind-hearted, peaceful, nice, receptive, tender, courteous, empathetic, obliging and many, many other descriptions that fit into the softer and pleasant styles of how we can be if we are prepared to apply ourselves to a different mode of feeling.
What about potency as a way of expressing who we are? Able, competent, firm, healthy, forceful, dynamic, confident, gallant (now there’s an old fashioned word for men), self-reliant, influential, hardy, robust and again countless other descriptions we could apply.
Do you drop into these distressing feeling states at all? Disgusted, offended, confused, hindered, helpless, sceptical, suspicious, touchy, impatient, pained and the many other states of distress that are available to us. Staying constantly in these positions will eventually lead us down the embittered journey as Richard Rohr reminds us in his many books.
Here’s some more feeling states to consider, easily accessed, readily available and probably the main concerns for most of the population. Apprehensive, anxious, hesitant, intimidated, fearful, strained, uncomfortable, tense, panicky, scared, worried, frightened and numerous other situations that can overtake us if we are not aware of how destructive some of our responses can be. The remedy of course when we spend too long in this realm is to numb ourselves with…..!! (Nah just joking)
The origin of our sometimes tenuous access to pleasant affective feeling states lies probably in our early formative years, if our parents did not express these forms of sensitivity in their daily interaction, we would pick up on what was conveyed in those exchanges between Mum and Dad.
Like most forms of personal development, we are encouraged to be aware of these lifetime messages and if motivated, take some effort to apply ourselves to the change that we know is important to make. Even better if you can do this in the company of supportive men, men who know the value of being able to express feelings in a healthy way.
BLOG – The challenges and opportunities for growing old.
Passages of many articles that I have read and marked as relevant, this is from Kathleen Forder
What does it mean to age positively and what does it mean to age consciously or to age successfully?
If we define the third phase of life as 60s and beyond, that’s quite a long age span. It could be 30 or 40 years of your life, and I think that there’s no “one size fits all” for everybody all through those 40 years. I think in the beginning, as people are beginning to transit from their middle years into their third phase of life, they’re looking more at the philosophies of things. “What’s my vision for this stage of life? How do I make meaning out of this stage of life? How am I going to spend my newfound free time? What can I learn from others who have gone before me?” Those are the kinds of questions that may happen in the early phases.
“It’s in our shadows that we find our growth” — there is a lot of fear out there about aging.”
I think that it is important that we understand that moving from our middle years into the third phase of life that we define as 60s and beyond is really a distinct transition, and the things that we care about, the time that we have, the soul challenges, We may feel an increased attachment and curiosity about past generations. We have a decreased interest in superficial or unnecessary social interactions and a decreased interest in material things and a greater need for positive solitude and meditation.
Our fear of death hopefully begins to disappear and a new understanding of life and death emerges. We have an increased feeling of cosmic community, communion with the spirit of the universe, and a redefinition of time and space for some of the types of things that we are moving into in the third phase of life.
I think that the third phase of life has many different voices depending on the stage that you’re dealing with and the age that you find yourself. There are some people at any age in the third phase of life who very much want the kind of peace and contemplation you’re speaking of, but there are others who are just — and I know some of them, who are just so strongly called to be there taking stands to be conscious activists, there’s no “one size fits all” way of aging. It has so much to do with coming to know what our own unique needs and our own unique inner call is.
Clearly, there are many who are drawn to giving their time and energy toward what they want to see manifest in the world, what their legacy is going to be in terms of their time right now and what they want saved from their life is a very important component of it.
Then there’s also the role that consciousness plays in how we relate to the world around us, the beliefs, the emotions, the filters we use that make up our own particular unique worldview. And here’s the thing: no one has yet really fully defined consciousness or knows its origins or even why it exists. It remains one of the greatest and most studied mysteries of human existence. We know it’s there and we can at least describe it in general terms
So it’s really a very loaded word and concept area, but to demystify it and make it simple, in my mind, it’s anything that happens in our interior world. And it’s not only, though, our thinking mind. It’s things that happen in our body, all of our senses. We have a variety of intelligences. Our gut has intelligence. Our heart has intelligence, our skin. People talk about getting goose bumps. That’s your body telling you something, right? And so consciousness is all of that.
Another way to talk about consciousness is to say “full awareness.” Everything that comes to you from all of your internal world and the external world. Another way to think of it though also is to think of yourself as having an observing self that can watch the thinking mind, that can watch the body and watch all of the inputs that are coming in. That observing self, that full awareness is what we call “consciousness.”
And as we move into thinking about conscious aging, it’s using all of our interior world — our emotional, our psychological and our spiritual lens — to look at our life and really look at the challenges and the opportunities of aging so that we really maintain an open and accessible heart no matter what the circumstances, so no matter what life throws our way in our aging process that we really strive for an open and accessible heart. Conscious aging is growing to live with an open and accessible heart in whatever circumstances life presents us with as we age.
We look at life review, we look at forgiveness, how to build self-compassion, how to reduce our fears around death, how to surrender, let go, and how to create a new vision of aging. Those are some of the topics that we deal with but we deal with them in a process, a choreographed process of a dialogue, and I think that people are very hungry to have these conversations. They’re very meaningful for them.
One of the things that we do is to look at our life in review and to see where have we met challenges in our life before. When things got tough, when we had struggles, how did we use our love? How did we use our strength? How did we use our gifts? What did we learn? What were the qualities of our consciousness that we stand behind, those that are really important to us in terms of defining who we are? And how can we take all of that and apply that to the challenges that we are working with and deal with?
So there you are, wisdom words that may resonate for you on your journey through life.