Structure And Challenge [How Men Thrive By Accessing Their Inner Fire]
As men we thrive on hierarchy, structure and challenge. In tribal societies it used to be through challenge that men established hierarchy and proved that they were men. Now we need to be responsible for saving ourselves.
In those societies there was a powerful need for this behaviour, need based on the survival of the tribe. Is that need still there for men or is there another way? Will starting again each day be the answer.
As men we seem to need to judge other men, as potential rivals, as standards to measure ourselves against, even as drivers to push ourselves on. This can work on a primitive level but mostly it creates a sense of defensiveness in men, a need to justify who or what we are.
We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It's one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path.
Tam Matlack, of The Good Men Project, wrote on 'Why We Don't Need A Men's Movement To Be Good Men' in Huffington Post. In it he said,
... we have to have the guts to talk about the male experience with our own voices, digging beyond the discomfort to the truth of what it means to be a man amidst all the conflicting expectations and confusion about what is really important ...
He said this in relation to the issues of divorce and fatherhood, but its applicability is much more general. As men we need to look at ourselves and talk about who we are and what we do.
Jayson Gaddis, in Deep Community, talks about a more generalised sense of community, the possibility of a real, conscious community, a type of idealised family. He says,
We all long to belong and be a part of a tribe, a real family where acceptance and love are actually practiced and not given lip service due to everyone's neurotic limitations. And because of this longing, we must not expect the community to save us or make us feel better.
That's right, we need to be responsible for saving ourselves, for making ourselves feel better.
Not only are men drifting together in groups to complain about how society and the media are sapping their power and portraying them as a gender that has been found wanting but also individuals are becoming more vociferous in their desire to be supported in what they want or need. As men we still seem to want our mothers to come and make it better for us,.
Why is Hierarchy Structure and Challenge important to me?
This site is based on my life and experience and on my approach to the issues of men, and I have become aware of my personal contribution to this situation. I have realised the extent to which I have been judgemental and critical of other men. The individual effect may be small but the cumulative effect of all the men I influence doing it is potentially huge.
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
In a recent post, 'Masculinity Characteristics—Are They Nurture Or Nature?', I said in relation to other groups of men,
Egocentric is the level of selfishness, we think of ourselves and our needs. This makes sense for 'Macho Man', Alpha Males' and the 'PUA'. These men are only thinking of themselves and their immediate needs. They have, therefore, a need to dominate others, particularly women. Relationship is not important to them and they simply don't care about the needs of others.
This is unnecessarily judgemental and only serves to divide men. I don't agree with their ideas and methods but that doesn't give me the right to judge them according to my rules. I believe that what irritates us about others not only leads to an understanding of ourselves but also projects what irritates us about ourselves. Our perception is purely our creation so our judgments are merely of ourselves.
Judgments prevent us from seeing the good that lies beyond appearances.
Creating Change from Within
This site is about creating change from within, an alternative to hierarchy, structure and challenge. It's about men seeing what is inside themselves and using that to change themselves and thereby creating and encouraging change in the world. If I don't start right here, then I can't expect any useful or effective change.
I am, therefore, making a commitment that I will no longer accept judgement by me in my life or in these pages. I will work to create change in myself, and others, from a position of strength and authenticity, not hierarchy structure or challenge. My intention is to congruence between my message and how I say it and to show others that it can be done with elegance. My hope is that this will inspire and encourage others.
But how can I keep this going day after day? How can I stay true to my intentions? Perhaps by starting again ech day.
Each Day I Start Again To Clean The Slate
It is the middle of winter in Spain and it is cold. Living in a typically Spanish house I live without central heating. There is a single wood burning stove in the centre of the house that heats the whole house. It is my job to keep the fire burning and well maintained. Part of this job is to clean the front glass when needed.
This morning I thoroughly raked out the fire and cleaned the front glass until it was completely clear. I then re-kindled the fire and piled on some logs. It soon started burning and warming the house up.
I noticed after about half an hour that the glass was starting to go black again. It felt like I had wasted my time doing the cleaning. I realised, however, that if I had not cleaned it the layer of black carbon would just get thicker until I would no longer be able to see the fire.
What a metaphor for life this is. A metaphor that explains why we need to keep working on ourselves and keep improving. In the Tony Robbins world this is known as CANI—Constant And Never-Ending Improvement.
Your Life Passion
Imagine that the fire represents your life and that the glass is what is between the passion of your life and your view or understanding of it.
You start with a clean glass. You are fully engaged in your life, your passions, you see yourself as worthy and amazing.
In a stove, the fire itself creates the blackened carbon on the glass. So in your life the fire of your passion and power creates doubts and interferes with the clear view you have of what drives you. You start comparing yourself to others, you starting questioning how well you are doing, and so on.
This is a natural process.
If you do not clean this up it will get thicker, day by day, until you lose sight of your inner fire.
So every day you do the work of cleansing. What you do will differ from person to person, it will be unique to you. You need to do it, however to keep the glass clean.
My Inner Fire
What do I do? How do I keep a clear view of my inner fire?
I meditate, I practice Yoga, I journal and I let go, daily, of my emotional baggage. I do the work necessary to keep loving my life and loving myself.
If I find a pattern getting in the way, I work on it, often using a coach or therapist to help me see what I do not see.
In the past I found that I would get depressed, or angry or just restless, apparently without reason. What was the problem?
I was not cleaning the glass on a daily basis.