REAL MEN SERIES: FEAR

English: Words associated with Fear

REAL MEN have FEAR.

REAL PEOPLE have FEAR.

Unfortunately, many of us have grown up in a society that PRETENDS that fear doesn’t exist.  You afraid of something?  You aren’t a real man.  You have emotions?  Sorry again.  This is absolutely insane.  It sets us up for a host of problems in life.  This may include nervous breakdowns, abusive relationships, mismanaged emotions, job loss, suicides, and lack of purpose in life.  When part of us is afraid, but part of us doesn’t acknowledge the fear; we have two warring sections in our own body. We literally fight ourselves.  So how do we remedy all of this?  

REALIZE:  Fear is normal.  Emotions are normal.  It is normal to have fear if your parents die.  It is normal to have fear if you nearly die in an automobile accident.  It is normal to have fear discussing your deepest feelings with people.  These things have always been with us.  They are a part of life.  We need to realize that these are things EVERYONE has no matter how much they pretend.

ACCEPT:  Accept YOUR fears.  What scares me may not scare you.  We may be in different places with our spiritual lives.  We may have different financial situations.  Don’t let that “scare” you.  OWN your own fears.  Only by owning them can you begin to truly look at why they are there.  Also accept that YOU are the one who can change them.

ANALYZE:  Once you own your fears you can begin to actually think about what they mean to you, and if there is anything you can do to change them.  Some fears are completely rational and can be left alone.  These may include the fear of a venomous snake, getting shot in a hostage situation, or being careful driving your car on an icy road.  But what about the things you can change?  Do you need to be afraid to show your emotions to people?  Do you need to be perfect in front of yourself and others?  Do you need to constantly worry about little things in life?

WORK:  It takes work to change our fears guys.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  We have to want it.  It all begins with acceptance.  If that means going back to face something that happened to you as a child; so be it.  If it means admitting to yourself you are afraid of getting in a new relationship because of something that happened in an old one; so be it.  So many people let their fears control their lives.  We let ourselves become estranged into tiny boxes that we are afraid to come out of.  The problem is that our society doesn’t really teach people how to heal and face their fears.  It teaches us to play it safe and contract from anything that we perceive dangerous.  WELL EVERYTHING IS DANGEROUS IF WE DON’T TREAT IT!

Real men face their fears guys.  This is completely different from doing something dumb like driving off a cliff to PROVE you are “manly.”  Accept the vulnerabilities.  Start where you are.  One step at a time.  Facing your TRUE fears is one of the most rewarding things you can ever do.

“LIFE BEGINS AT THE END OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.” – Neale Donald Walsch

-JOE

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REAL MEN SERIES: TREE-HUGGERS?

Nature

REAL MEN are TREE-HUGGERS.

Now before you conjure up weird images of hippies and circles of love, let me explain.  What I am referring to are “naturalists.”  “Outdoorsman.”  People who appreciate nature and wildlife.  In the modern world, many of us have lost touch with our roots.  We don’t interact much with nature anymore.  We can’t tell you the difference between one tree and another.  We don’t look at the stars anymore.  We don’t hunt or gather our food anymore.  We stopped observing wild animals.  With all of our modern conveniences, we have become out of touch with our place in the natural world.  So what do I mean tree-hugger?  Let’s look at some skills the modern tree-hugger may have.

HUNTING and FISHING:  These have been skills men have performed for thousands of years.  Hell, as long as we have been around we have done this.  It used to be a means to survive.  Now we go to Kroger and pick up the prepackaged crappy steak.  I am not talking about “sport-fishing” or “trophy hunting.”  That is an issue to take up with the ego.  I am talking about hunting and fishing as a means of providing food.  I am talking about a means of getting out in nature and FEELING the natural order of things.  Watching the animals and fish with all of their vitality.

GROWING, GARDENING, and FORAGING:  Again, skills that we have used for thousands of years.  Our lives depended on it.  What did we grow?  What didn’t we grow?  Fruits, vegetables, nut trees, herbs, seeds, you name it.  This was not just a means to provide food.  It also provided an opportunity to learn about the cycles of life.  The cycles of the seasons.  Where OUR place is in the bigger whole.  Most of our produce is flown in from other parts of the world now.  Getting in touch with farmers markets and learning about what is in season in your area is a great start.  Learning about “wild edibles” is another great way to start learning these skills.

HIKING and CAMPING:  This is a huge topic which entails a wide variety of skills.  This can be anything from a stroll through the woods, to full-blown camping trips.  The more involved the better.  Just walking through nature is great.  Adding in skills such as chopping firewood, creating shelters, finding water and food, protection, etc are all great as well.

NAVIGATION:  Real men are navigators.  We always have been.  We invented the compass.  We invented maps.  Modern man created GPS.  GPS is great and all.  I have one.  They come in handy.  But what about old-school navigation?  The stuff that put you in touch with your environment.  Reading the sun and the moon cycles.  North, south, east, and west.  Polarity.  Star charts.  Reading the wind and weather patterns intuitively.  These are all great ways to build your inner tree-hugger.

OUTDOOR EXERCISE:  Why do many of us feel that we need to sit inside a stuffy gym working on static machines to achieve our fitness goals?  There didn’t used to be any “gyms.”  There weren’t machines dedicated to this stuff.  What happened to kayaking, gathering wood for a fire, doing hard yard work, gardening, swimming, jogging outdoors, etc.  Getting outside is almost always a better choice.

COURAGE to APPRECIATE:  Real men have the ability to stand up and admit that they appreciate nature.  That we appreciate it’s beauty.  It’s elegance.  It’s power.  When did loving nature become something of a bad thing?  Was it our technology driven economy?  The explanations are endless.  Men have been marveling at nature since we have been on this planet.  Let’s not change that now.  

Bottom line?

Many of us want to get back INSIDE as opposed to getting back OUTSIDE.  Inside is great.  Let’s not forget about the other side of life though either =)

-JOE

HAPPINESS Health Series: Silliness

The End of Silliness? VHS Cover

 

Your silly.  Really.

When did life become a big rat race?  All of our technology has somehow turned us into “serious freaks.”  We can’t seem to relax.  We sure can’t laugh at ourselves.  If we did that we wouldn’t be serious and we wouldn’t get anything done.  What is the cure for this trap?

SILLINESS.  Mainly for ourselves.  Take off the “serious cap” and let yourself be silly for a little while.  Take up a new hobby that you KNOW you will be terrible at and make a fool of yourself.  Do it anyway!  You will find that it feels very good to not take yourself so seriously for a while.  Make a funny face at yourself in the mirror.  Pretend that your stapler is a mini Pac-Man.  Dance outside even if the neighbors are watching.  Purposely wear clothes that are completely off when you go out in public.  Better yet, wear your clothes inside out.  The list goes on and on.  One of my personal favorites is pushing my grocery cart and riding on the back of it in the parking lot.

Whatever happened to child-like pretending or imagination?  We knew as children that our lives were as we dreamed them.  As adults we feel that life is what is dictated to us from the outside.  I think the kids got it right.  The big idea here is that we all live in these little boxes based on FEAR.  Oh no! If i wear my shirt backwards people will look at me funny and we can’t have that.  If I relax and smile at myself maybe I won’t see myself as a tough, strong person.  Most of this is just societies programming playing into us.  Almost anything can be silly if we let it.  Let’s start letting it =)

-Joe

Benefits of Getting Away

Botanical Garden / Ogród Botaniczny

Sometimes we just want a little variety in life right?  A change of scenery, a different viewpoint, a break from the everyday.  This may mean a change of pace, schedules, places, etc and letting go of some of your “comforts” for a time being.  But what are the benefits here?

I’m not talking about going on some mega-vacation that is going to stress you physically, financially, and emotionally.  I’m talking about a little “getaway.”  A weekend trip, a retreat for a few days.  Packing light, not having a huge schedule, and “planning” for relaxation is what I’m getting at here.  We have become so obsessed with getting things done that we sometimes forget to just BE.  Unplug from the computers, the cell phones, the distractions and just BE.

Where is your favorite “getaway” or retreat that you go to for peace, recharging, relaxation, and fun?

-Joe