Mindful Masculinity came out of a specific time period in my life, where I was questioning what it meant to be me.
Was I a shy person?
Was I an outgoing person?
Did I consider myself strong?
If not, why not?
Could I change that?
I began to discover that part of the problems I encountered in life, came not just from life, but from the places I felt fixed in my identity.
My identity as a counselor, as a male, as white, and so on. And I began to explore these parts, I felt of these things felt it came from wanting to change things. Change how my partner acted towards me. How people responded to me. How I acted in my life, relationships and career.
I called this process: Prescriptive Masculinity vs. Descriptive Masculinity. (Principle 1)
Prescriptive Masculinity vs. Descriptive Masculinity.
Because I came to see that I was tired, tired of being looked at in a certain way, of building walls, of needing to keep things going down a certain path. And I didn’t know a way out, a way to adjust, a way to change, because you can’t just “switch” a path. But the path felt impossible, like it wasn’t something I could change, do.
And between the election, the daily onslaught of news and how I felt in the world, I felt stuck. I felt like I was helpless and small, and I hated these feelings, but I knew I didn’t want to head towards other aspects of “manhood” that I saw, that felt controlling, manipulative, and not in line with how I wanted to grow.
But I didn’t know a middle ground, because it seemed like everyone that sought a middle ground ended up in their own dogma. What if I could come to terms with the things that I had done that had hurt people, that had hurt myself, that had hurt my career and my relationships without jumping into guilt, shame, judgment or blame?
From this came the second principle: Every Day Is Different
Every Day is Different
Which says that if I could begin to own my core experiences, and I could do it from a way that I could feel my shadow, my broken parts, the things I didn’t know what to do and just accept? What if I could look at all the ways I wanted to grow, and start to put them into action right away. What if rather then become a certain image of a man, or having certain qualities, I could embody my personal experience from a place that doesn’t drift from aggression to compliantly.
As I did this, owning my shadow, I uncovered principle three: Not Enemy, Insight.
Not Enemy, Insight
This said that I didn’t have an answer for everything, but instead sought a way of being that didn’t walk away from hard things, that sought to own my shit.
That didn’t have core values, or a mantra, or a chant or levels, but instead was about an embodiment of experience.
That dropped the labels, and ways of action and instead sought to move into something that was always there but that we had forgotten about. That didn’t seek to assign blame, but sought to understand origins so that what hooked me could become undone.
What if it looked at everything not as a change project, but instead became a venue, that looked at every venue in life, as a chance to practice. And from this came principle four:
If Your Not Failing, Your Not Trying
If Your Not Failing, Your Not Trying
Because in putting myself out there, I knew I would fail. But in doing so What if in doing I became more connected, more alive, more attune with passions and the people around me, less afraid, less closed down and more attune to all the variety that life and people had to offer.
Wouldn’t that be the personalized embodiment of who I wanted to be? Not a final image, or a way of demanding, but a way of responding to the world rather then reacting.