Be The Example

Full Disclosure: I have been an unwitting participant in the objectification of women. 

I say “unwitting” because I’m 57. I was born and grew up in a time when even most women just accepted the fact that this was the way the world worked. I was 10 when the Women’s Movement began. For the next 10-15 years my time was spent primarily like many teenage boys-to-men, in the pursuit of pleasure: having girlfriends, buying Penthouse magazine, and experimenting with drugs, but certainly not thinking about how demeaning my perspective was towards women. That was the world in which I’d grown up.

In ‘91 Yoga and my Guru woke me up, but I was still young and focused more on saving my marriage and providing for a family yet to come. When it did come, as twins, it was all about family and job, but there were a number of times when I was still more concerned with my own selfish needs than even the 3 most precious women in my life.

As I grew into my 50’s I believed myself to be evolving into a Conscious Man, ie a work in progress: still flawed but on a Path, with a Vision for what the 2nd half of my life would be like. It was a conversation with one of my daughters last spring, after 45 took office and it became clear what was beginning to happen in this country, that I saw how much work I still had to do on myself. My daughter was recounting an incident she had just walking down the street in Brooklyn. As a father I worry about her. She likes to wear skirts. She told me how she’d been accosted while walking along the sidewalk by some guy and I, the Conscious Man, said “Well if you didn’t always wear those skirts....” She called me out so fast l felt like I was 10 years old. I was ashamed, but it woke me the f up.

Men, it’s time to stop. It’s one thing to fantasize, it’s another to think it’s ok to give it voice, even among friends. It’s an attitude that says “I can look at another human being and actually believe that my desires are more important than her right to the pursuit of her own happiness”.

I have begun to really pay attention to my thoughts and I catch myself in my old patterns, but instead of berating myself I just focus on a fellow human, going innocently through their day with their own thoughts and concerns.

Every human being has the right to pursue their lives without being shouted at, whistled at, belittled as if their lives are less important or less valuable. It has to start with men. It’s not ok. Think of your own daughters, sisters, mothers, granddaughters. Teach your sons that other people have a right to live their own lives without being bullied or made fun of for no reason other than the fact that they’re not you. Teach them The Golden Rule, remember that one? Treat others the way you would want to be treated. If you want to be respected you must give respect. Be the example. That’s the only way it works. This is my Resolution, for 2018 and the rest of my days: Be the example. And if you see me straying from that, feel free to call me out.

Brother, Can You Spare A Why?

This morning, at the ripe young age of 56, I found my Why. I’ve been looking for it for years. 

 

Why’s are the most important thing you can have if you want to be truly happy.  For a man it’s vital. If a man doesn’t know his Why, True Happiness will forever elude him.  This is not to say a man can’t be happy without knowing his Why, but it will be fleeting. There’ll be something missing. He may swing between moments of joy and misery.

 

Why’s are extremely personal. You can’t have mine. It will do nothing for you. As much as I want to help you, as much as I want to lift you up and watch you soar, you’re going to have to find your own. I can help you find it, but it needs to be yours.

 

Your Why is the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning.  Unfortunately, for most men their Why is “because I have to have to.”  Time to make the donuts. Time to go to work to pay the bills and to feed my family. A true Why is what makes a man jump out of bed and say “FUCK YEAH! IT’S TUESDAY!”

 

In order to find your Why you first need to know your True Purpose.

 

It’s the universal question: Why am I here? For what reason am I on this Earth in this body? What is my True Purpose?

 

If you don’t know your True Purpose what can you do? The answer is simple, but not easy. If you don’t know your True Purpose, then your True Purpose is to find your True Purpose!  I can help you with that too.

 

I’ve been practicing Yoga since 1991. I’ve known about the importance of a strong Why since 2003, and it’s taken the last 6 years of deep self-work to finally find it. True, I had to retire from Corporate America for my head to clear long enough, but finding my True Purpose came first.

 

For many years I’ve known that I’ve been put on this Earth to serve others. While that sounds noble and great, it never seemed to warrant a FUCK YEAH! After all, I worked in Customer Service for 23 years and while I tried to approach each call with a yogic mindset it just never rang my Bell (That’s a pun. I just retired from Verizon). 

 

My True Purpose is to be the Best Possible Me I Can Be. 

 

That sounds innocuous enough, but as I said, it’s very personal.  For me, those simple words go very deep. They carry with them the weight of many things that have held me back over the years: developing a steady physical practice; gaining mastery over my finances; overcoming a tendency towards inertia and complacency; being focused and not getting distracted and derailed from building my own business of helping other men to be happy. That’s a lot of shit to deal with. But I must do it. I’ve crossed the Rubicon. There is no turning back, or settling for less, because of my Why.

Because the look in my Only Love’s eyes when she is truly proud of me tells me I am doing my job as a man, as a husband, as a father. When I see her face, lit from the inside of her adoring heart, I will know she feels safe with me. I will know I’ve dispelled all her doubts, and the Lord knows I have given her many reasons to doubt in the past 33 years. When I see that look I’ll know that she can feel free. That’s my job. That’s my Why.

 

You may think that lame, or it may inspire you. Either way is fine, but you must find your own True Purpose and your own Why if you are to be truly happy. It is possible to be that.

 

Once you’ve found your True Purpose, and your Why, you’re on your way. You’re Light Years ahead of most men, but that’s when the real work begins.  No need to fear though. This is a road best travelled with like-minded men. 

 

I can help you there. You can’t have my Why, but there’s plenty of room on the Path for another brother, brother.

 

The Art of Partnering

The Art of Partnering: Leading with love one heart at a time. 

 

After 4 years of marriage we hit our first major hurdle, each of us looking for fault outside of ourselves.  Therapy helped, but Yoga truly brought us together. We discovered through the guidance and spiritual wisdom of our teachers that in order to really love each other, we needed to love ourselves first.  For the teachings to truly take hold however, took 20 years and 2 more major upheavals, all while raising twins. The culmination of all that sadhana (spiritual work) was the deep understanding that in order to maintain a strong partnership, individually we need to be our own best partner first.  We call this “Partnering with your own heart.”

 

Before entering into a relationship, no matter how attracted you may be to the other person intellectually or physically, wouldn’t you want to know that this person is whole on the inside.? Wouldn’t you want to know that this person has a deep long standing partnership with their own heart?

 

As teachers our vision for our community is to guide others into partnership with their own hearts. That’s where true love lives.  We don’t’ find true love in another. We find it inside of ourselves.

 

How do we develop that partnership with our own heart? We can start by looking inside and being completely honest, in a non-judgmental way, about our own inner stuff.  We all have it. It’s ok to acknowledge it.  Illuminate it with the light of love and acceptance.  The tools of yoga and meditation help us to dissolve those layers of accumulated stuff in a supportive and authentic way.

 

In partnering with our own heart we become our own best partner, and in turn we become a better partner with another.  That done, we become better partners with our community and the ripple begins.   

Getting good at building ladders

I love me. I do. Not in a megalomaniacal way, like I’m the greatest person alive and the rest of you could pound sand. I am in love with the person I am, and super excited about the person I’m becoming.

Do I always love everything I do and say? Hell no. I can act pretty stupidly sometimes. I can be selfish, sarcastic and mean. I can be lazy and over my lifetime I’ve been known to get really excited about some new thing, throw a whole bunch of money at it to get started, then just give up. I have been an asshole.  That’s not me now.

I am completely comfortable in my skin. I am perfect in my imperfection. We are all perfect. We’re perfectly human, and there’s a tremendous amount of seemingly random imperfection in that. We are all Nature’s creations. What in Nature is perfect? I guess that depends on your definition of “Perfect.”  For me, perfection comes with the understanding that the Universe doesn’t create ugliness. Our perceptions do, our judgmental natures and our own self-doubts. We are creations of this Universe, but the moment we become cognizant our minds are filled with, for most of us, the crap our parents learned from their parents, who learned it from theirs and back and back and back.

Do you suppose a mountain thinks to itself, “I wish I weren’t so ugly/tall/short/fat/skinny. My God, look at that disgusting boulder on my north face! I wish I were a rolling hill.” Do you suppose an Oak tree thinks, “I wish I were a Sugar Maple. They’re so beautiful in the fall. All I do is drop fucking acorns!”  

Who I am is a Conscious Man on a path . The Lakota call it the Red Road. The Red Road is a road most people wouldn’t dare to walk. It’s not paved, nor flat. It’s full of potholes. Deep ones that make you look down and think, “shit I don’t want to fall in there” and then you jump in, root around hunting for all the dark shit inside you, look it in the face for what it is, then climb back out and keep walking. There’re also loose rocks, bloody knees and hands, twisted ankles. Is there another road? Sure, the Black Road. It’s nice and smooth and straight. I could walk it in my sleep, in fact most people do. I’m done following that herd.  

The best part of walking this path is that I’m not alone.  I have a brave partner who has her own bloody knees. I also have a group of courageous men I walk beside. I know that if there came a time my pothole was too deep, any one of them would build a ladder. I’d do the same for them.  On the Red Road you are never alone.

So is this it? I love me and who I am becoming so I’m done? Is that it?  No. A conscious man is a work in progress. I’m still human. I’m going to screw up. I’m going to be a jerk. I’ll disappoint people I love, but I’ll keep jumping into those potholes, climbing out and keep walking. There is no turning back.

I love me.  You should try it. I mean you should try loving you.

Wanna walk the Red Road with me? It can hurt like hell, but you’ll have friends. We’re getting really good at building ladders.

with love to all, Seth.