We all get angry at times. When we feel we’re threatened we react with anger. But we know people who get overly angry or their anger causes problems with their relationships at home or at work. I was one of those people.
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I find myself drawn into being in charge or leading. In any group situation I find that I see what we need to do to make a group vision work and that I work to create this. In committees I find myself chairing them to create a common vision. I see that this is about my mind and the skills I have developed over my life. I also see it as an expression of myself as a man. I have the ability to focus and see the way ahead—the vision—as well as what needs doing to get there—the detail. It is a part of what I see as my masculinity that I am proud of.
When I was 16 years old, in 1964, a British TV show featuring pop music started. ‘Top of the Pops’ was an iconic show from the BBC. It came from an old church in Manchester that had been turned into a TV studio. I used to pass it by bus on my way to and from school. I can remember seeing the queues of girls hoping to get in and see their favorite ‘pop stars’. It was like nothing that had been presented before and the first presenter was a man destined to become famous—perhaps infamous would be better—and an icon of my generation.
This faded photograph is from 1958 and is of a memorable family holiday in France. Taking pride of place is my father’s favorite car, the Ford Zephyr Mark II. This was a UK produced car of distinction, it was in production from 1956 to 1962. My mum and dad are in the picture wearing sporty hats with me, in the middle, and one of my brothers.
Anger is a part of all our lives whether it comes from inside or whether we experience it from other people. Anger is a recurring theme in relations between men and women both on a personal and cultural level. The recent shooting in the US has generated countless pages both about the shooter’s anger and the anger of those reacting to him and what he did. Much of that anger has been directed at a perceived battle between men and women, some of it has been about the pressure of men’s entitlement and the effect this has on women.
I write stories about myself that relate to my essence as a man. I draw parallels for other men that might help them to look at the issues they face in a different, more powerful, way. This is a superficial view of the columns I write; on a deeper level I am exploring my world and challenging it.
According to Tony Robbins we all have a Primary Question. It’s a question we ask ourselves everyday of our lives, one that controls our focus and the direction of our lives. For many years my Primary Question was, “What if I’m found out?” I regarded the life I was leading as a lie, a mask, an attempt to bolster my male power. My fear was being found out by someone, by anyone. My fear was that people would see the real me, the weak, indecisive and scared me.
I lay under the duvet cover screaming, screaming out loud. I could feel the break coming. I felt helpless and hopeless and I did not know what to do, I did not know how to deal with my wife, with my life. I was lost; as a husband, as a man, as Graham. I knew something was wrong, something more than the clash of brute force and stubbornness, something more than titan struggle that had been going on downstairs. I was so lost I could not even work out what was wrong, I just wanted the world to go away.
The awakening man is conscious, heartfully defined. Through his eyes, being conscious is not a cerebral construct, nor an intellectual exercise bereft of feeling. It is a felt experience, an ever-expanding awareness that moves from the heart outward. It is feeling God, not thinking God. The new man is always in process, awakening through a deepening interface with the world of feeling. He continues to strive for a more heartfelt and inclusive awareness.