I Am

I am brilliant

I am kind

I am considerate

I am loyal

I am a giver

I am talented

I am patient

I am compassionate

I am empathetic

I am loyal

I am fierce

I am confident

I am bold

I am a survivor

I am inquisitive

 

I am bashful

I am unsettled

I am fearful

I am angry

I am possessive

 I am lacking in knowledge

I am stubborn

I am sensitive

I am foolish

I am conflicted

I am introspective

I am vengeful

I am in pain

I am blind

I am human

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The Man Bible 8: Enjoy Your Friends’ Criticism

A man’s capacity to receive another man’s direct criticism is a measure of his capacity to receive masculine energy.  If he doesn’t have a good relationship to masculine energy (e.g., his father), then he will act like a woman and be hurt or defensive rather than make use of other men’s criticism.  – David Deida

Ok… I can’t say I can subscribe to the last portion of that sentence.  The ability to take or not take criticism is not necessarily a feminine or masculine quality.  I know women who can both dish it out and take a well thought out critique of something she does or believes.  However, I do respect the premise of the principle – that iron sharpens iron and a man needs other men who can give him an honest and frank take on his life. 

Every man needs an inner circle… a board of directors whom he respects that can give him the straight skinny – no compromise on important ideas and decisions he may make.  This can prevent a great mistake in his life.  This reminds me of a scripture that says:

Where no wise guidance is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.  Proverbs 11:14

Of course one has to make sure the person he is getting counsel from has some sense is not a moron devoid of wisdom!  And this does not necessarily mean that a friend’s advice is always accurate or on point for every major decision a man makes.  A man has to be responsible for making his own decisions and living with the results.  The point is that a wise man will seek counsel to get a perspective that he may not see through his own blind spots.  This is essential to making the best decision possible. 

Now, the best way to deal with criticism, is to first listen to it completely.  Then take some time to identify if it’s true completely or in part.  If it is then it’s best to man up and admit it – the sooner the better.  Denial is not just a river in Africa, it also slows a good man down to live in his own fantasy world while reality is kicking him in the ass.  If the criticism is not valid and your way passes the smell test – then you can feel good about your direction with even more confidence.  Of course if your respected and wise friends agree with you – you can probably rest assured you are on point. 

Either way – Pride comes before a fall.   The humble will ask for help so that a light can be beamed on the whole situation, illuminating the path that leads to life. 

Peace

Temptation

The subject of temptation is a fascinating one to me.  As people we are always tempted with something.  Normally when the word temptation is used it has to do with a form of the forbidden.  For instance if I commit to fasting for a certain amount of time, during that period I will at some point be tempted to eat.  I may be on day 3 of a 10 day fast for instance, and all of a sudden it’s free pizza day at work.  I can smell it, my stomach is grumbling and my body is craving the cheese and sauce.  Now what?

First let’s first define temptation.  I didn’t search the dictionary, but for the sake of this post, we will define temptation as: a desire to do or partake in something that is at least temporarily forbidden.  (I.e. food when fasting)  It is the compromise of the highest form of original intention, infecting personal character and integrity.  The core of these temptations stem from three areas: The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.  No temptation will exist without at least one of these at play.  Examples:

Lust of the flesh – You know you got a lady or a man – yet you feel tempted to flirt or allow yourself to be flirted with by that attractive person you see at the mall. 

Lust of the eyes – While at the same mall you see that outfit that you think is hot.  But you know you don’t need that outfit.  Furthermore, if you spend that money, you will put yourself behind the 8 ball and it will cost you more than the price of the outfit later.

Pride of Life – Driving from the mall a car cuts you off as you turn to approach the exit.  You know the best thing to do is turn the page and be thankful there was no accident.  Walk away.  But something inside says you should give that fool a piece of your mind. 

These are just some general examples.  We are constantly bombarded with temptations through life’s experiences as we just covered.  We are also tempted through media and advertisement.  Even the way your local grocery store shelves its products is a way to tempt you to spend more money on the most expensive products.

I am learning that what we do with temptation is what makes or breaks us in daily life.  Do we face temptation head on or do we slide backwards into its cunning and deceptive ways?  Recognizing temptation is the first key.  So often we are bombarded with images and situations, I’m not sure we realize how much we face on the day to day. 

The best way to deal with temptation is to confront it head on.  By that I mean we shouldn’t play ourselves into acting like we aren’t tempted when we really are.  If you are tempted to do something, just admit it.  Its not a sign of weakness but of strength to face the facts of self evaluation.  How many times have we put ourselves in bad situations because we were in denial about what was going on inside our hearts?  Only to find later we are filled with regrets of personal failings.  Once we face the reality of what is tempting us, next decide what to do about it.  If we take immediate action, we are far more likely to overcome that temptation.  If we allow the imagination to fester and permeate our psyche, we are more likely to fall into said temptation.  Excuse me for putting it this way, but temptation is a subtle mother-fucker!  And you can’t be pussying around with it either!  It has to be handled and dealt with head on or it will get you caught up with the quickness. 

For each person it’s important to know what it is you really want out of life.  What is the level of happiness you want to achieve?  What kind of house do you want to live in?  How healthy would you like to be and what kind of body do you want to have?  What kind of relationships do you want with your significant other, family and friends?  What kind of impact would you like to make in this life?  What do you need to do to make that impact?  What tenancies and weaknesses do you have that would prevent you from living your best life.  How far are you willing to go to maximize your potential and live your best life?  Answer these questions and you are on your way to living life in a real way. 

There is no shame in being tempted.  Jesus himself was tempted.  It will be an ongoing happening for the rest of our lives.  The man/woman of the highest level of integrity will recognize self tendencies and take appropriate action in order to ensure that life is lived with the greatest amount of freedom without the constant weight of consequences from bad decisions.  If our eyes are wide open to who we are and what is before us, we can use temptation and our success/failings as a barometer to measure personal growth.  The thing about temptation is this – being tempted never made anyone do anything they didn’t want to do.  No matter what temptations we face in life, we always retain the final rights of choice.  To not recognize temptation sets us up to merely fall over and over again into cycles of failure.  Understanding and self- knowing will help us make the right choices that we are willing to live with. 

Whatever you do with temptation is up to you.  Just keep your eyes open and take responsibility for what happens.

The Man Bible 7 : Do It For Love

The way a man penetrates the world should be the same way he penetrates his woman: not merely for personal gain or pleasure, but to magnify love, openess, and depth. 

– The next time you embrace your woman sexually, feel your ultimate desire.  Your deepest desire in life.  Feel why you are doing anything at all in life, and specifically, why you are uniting with your lover.  There may be many lesser reasons, but what is your deepest, ultimate reason?

– Most men’s ultimate reason for doing anything has to do with discovering their deepest truth, enjoying total freedom and love, and giving their fullest gift.  Yet, many settle for for enjoying a little bit of freedom and love while incompletely giving their gifts. 

– When a man give his true gift of sex to his woman, he penetrates and blooms her beyond all limits into love.  It is the same with the world.  To bloom woman and world for real takes authenticity, persistence, and courage of heart.   A man must know the truth at his core and be willing to give his gifts fully.  No holding back.  He must be willing to dedicate his sex and his life to magnifying love by penetrating woman and world with his true gifts.  The willingness is rare.

– Most men are limpened with doubts and uncertainties.  Or they hold back their true drive because of fear.  So they diddle their woman and the world just enough to extract the pleasure and comfort they need to assuage their nagging sense of falsity and incompleteness.  But if you are willing to discover and embrace your truth, lean through your fears, and give everything you’ve got, you can penetrate the world and your woman from the core of your being and bloom them into love without limit.  You can ravish your woman so deeply that her surrender breaks your heart into light.  You can press yourself into the world with such enduring love that the world opens and receives your deepest gifts.

– There is no essential difference between entering your woman’s feminine heart and entering fully into the world.  Both forms of intercourse, sexual and worldly, require sensitivity, spontaneity and a strong connection to deep truth in order to penetrate chaos and closure in a way that love prevails.

– Neither woman nor world are predictable.  They will often seem to resist your gifts and test your capacity to persist.  And just as surely, they will tenderly respond to the authenticity of your relaxed ministrations, the freedom expressed in your humor, and the invasion of your a adamant love.  They will open in love and receive you fully – only to resist and test you again, moments or days later.  Neither woman nor world can be second-guessed, or fooled.  They know when you are just dicking around.  They want to receive you for real. – David Deida

Uhhh, no commentary necessary on this one.  I think he said it all. 

 

 

The Man Bible 5: Never Change Your Mind To Please Your Woman

You should always listen to your woman, and then make your own decision.  If you choose to go with your woman’s suggestion even when deep in your heart you feel that another decision is more wise, you are in effect saying, “I don’t trust my own wisdom.”  You are weakening yourself by telling yourself this.  You are weakening your woman’s trust in you: why should she trust your wisdom if you don’t.  – David Deida

This is one of first of many subtle lessons I started to learn in this book regarding women.  My logical thinking leads me to believe that women are as straight out and plain as men are.  Certainly they can be just as opinionated and stubborn as men.   When she says something I’m thinking that she means exactly what she says.  (More in the coming post regarding this ignorant state of mind on my part.) 

My background has been one that has allowed for a certain amount of “accommodation” to the women in my life.  Meaning that sometimes when we both disagree strongly about a particular direction we should take regarding whatever subject, if she protest enough it’s not unusual for me to give in for the sake of pleasing her.  The reasons vary from wanting to keep the peace to appeasement.  One would think (logically) that the woman would appreciate the humility of a man who would acquiesce.  I think she still would if the situation fits the criteria where my mind is genuinely changed because I see her point of view is better than mine.  However, if I do it for any other reason it surely will lead to a loss of respect and eventually a loss of trust in my abilities to lead.

Let me be clear: I totally respect a woman’s mind and her ability to see things that I can’t.  I believe that’s one of the reasons that two can indeed be better than one.  No matter how brilliant the man or woman, we all have our blind-spots.  We are all shaped by a set of values that have been developed over time, circumstance and environment.  Some of the best advice I ever had were from women who showed me the error in my judgment.  At the same time, I believe inherently that in most cases and in most relationships, the woman is looking for a man to lead the direction of the couple/family.  Its not that she can’t do it herself, but if she wanted to why would she need him?  A man’s role is to lead – To handle business and responsibility.  To take the pressure of having to be the dominate decision making figure in the relationship.  Some who may hold to the feminist way of thinking may protest.  But again I believe most women desire this of the man she is with.  She wants him to have the intelligence to think, the fortitude to choose and the courage to carry out and take responsibility for what happens.  I think most women desire this as she genuinely believes the man loves her and is capable of being a good leader. 

Again this does not negate the value of the woman’s intelligence, skill or perspective.  This is not a compare and contrast.  Let’s face it, in many relationships the woman’s mind is far superior to her man’s.  I gather that to most women the thing that attracts her most is not necessarily his mind, though she does want someone whom she can relate to.  Its his ability to get things done in her life.   He can be the most sophisticated, open-minded, and articulate cat in town.  But if he can’t lead, make decisions and stand by them, she won’t care to keep him.

Perhaps this explains why some of the most sophisticated sisters go for rough-neck men.   He may be dumb as a box of rocks, but he can get things done and make her feel protected. 

Finally, the most important part of this lesson is understanding the damage it can cause a relationship when a man does not lead from his core and trust his own judgment.  A man makes himself weak by second guessing his own core.  Then he hurts his chance for clarity for future decision making opportunities.  Like they say in spades, “Think long think wrong!”  On the other hand, if the woman feels like she MUST take charge, she will feel like a mommy taking care of a little boy.  If she has kids already she will count you among them.  This turns her off spiritually and sexually as well.  It is better for a man to listen fully to his woman, look at what is before him and make the best decision based on his internal compass.  Even if he is wrong he will learn and be better for it.  So will she.

The Man Bible 3 – Live With An Open Heart, Even If It Hurts

Live With An Open Heart Even If It Hurts

 

Closing down in the midst of pain is a denial of a man’s true nature.  A superior man is free in feeling and action, even amidst great pain and hurt.  If necessary, a man should live with a hurting heart rather than a closed one.  He should learn to stay in the wound of pain and act with spontaneous skill and love even from that place. – David Deida

 

Oh boy!  This is a head banger for me!  WHAT?  Are you kidding?  Closing down in the midst of pain is my specialty.  And why shouldn’t it be?  Who wants to continue to punish themselves by subjecting themselves to further pain whether it is by way of cruelty or rejection from friends, a lover or whomever? 

 

I read this one and had to pause.  When I am confronted with these words, pain and bad taped memories rush to my mind and consciousness.  It would seem the logical thing to do, the smart and intelligent thing to do, the way that leads to survival is to step away from the pain as quickly and as completely as possible.  If you burn your hand on the stove do we leave it there for more?  I have gotten by some 40 years by doing this – though I have been known to stand and face some hard confrontations.

 

I can think of times when one of my daughters seemed to act as if she wanted nothing to do with me in spite of my coming to her time and time again.  I would explain possible misunderstandings to her and clear the air though I knew she was often stubborn or the recipient of bad information. After a while I would say to myself, “How many times must I come to you?  You are old enough to take a step yourself.  I am tired of putting myself out there to be rejected!”  Sometimes those close to me would say that I should keep extending the open arms regardless.  They say she will come back around and see that you were down with her all the time.  Hmmm.

 

My spirit man understands fully the need to remain open and to love unconditionally through my pain.  It recognizes that this is essential to true and authentic love being displayed.  It resonates with the fact that often it takes this kind of love to break the walls of pain in the heart of others in order to heal, cleanse, and initiate the process of reconciliation.  It understands fully well that this is totally necessary.  And yet in my present state I have not attained.  Sure there have been times where I have stepped to the plate to take some more swings during the process of spiritual and emotional battles.  These are occasions when I seek that small glimmer of hope that the reaction to my attempts will be welcomed and accepted. But for the most part, I run like hell from pain.  The funny part is that rarely does it ever work.  If anything I can temporarily suppress it with self mediated methods.  But that only last for so long. 

 

I know that I need to grow in this area.  And I believe I will.  I have to learn to turn pain in to my friend and see it as a challenge that calls for my best to overcome.  My mind gets it.  My heart understands it.  For this to become who I am however will only come by experience.  And in the midst of the heat it’s hard to see the other side. Brothers and sisters I readily admit – I am not there yet.  But I want to be. I will strive to be.  Lord help me.

The Man Bible 2:Stop Hoping for a Completion of Anything in Life

Stop Hoping for a Completion of Anything in Life

 

Most men make the error of thinking that one day it will be done.  They think, “If I can work enough, then one day I could rest.” Or, “One day my woman will understand something and then she will stop complaining.” Or, “I’m only doing this now so that one day I can do what I really want with my life.”  The masculine error is to think that eventually things will be different in some fundamental way.  They won’t.  It never ends.  As long as life continues, the creative challenge is to tussle, play, and make love with the present moment while giving your unique gift.  – David Deida

 

A scripture came to mind to me when I read this for the first time. 

 

Genesis 8:22 For as long as Earth lasts,  planting and harvest, cold and heat,  Summer and winter, day and night will never stop.”

 

This to me refers to the cycles of life.  Though each day has its own special gifts and opportunities to present, there are some basic fundamentals that will never change.  Planting and harvest talks about labor or putting in work, as well as receiving rewards for that work.  Cold and heat are about the ups and downs we experience during this journey.  Regardless of how well we lead our lives, none of us are exempt from difficulties, challenges, hurtful experiences and losses.  If we hang in there we will also have our experiences of unspeakable joy as well.

 

As a man, I find that I enjoy doing and completing task.  Completing task solves problems.  And yet I find that I can complete a task and think I have graduated that particular lesson – sometimes only to battle the same things over again.  Something or someone is always in some sort of need – as am I.  I have often though that once I get a particular lesson everything will be ok.  Once I understand and walk in a principle things will change.  But as the writer says, they do not.  The only thing that can change is me.  I can get better, develop more understanding and attain strategies to operate more smoothly through adversity. 

 

The issue is not solving all the problems in my life. (Though I am a problem solver by nature)   The issue is to learn from the lessons and grow into a person who transcends my challenges, embracing the flow of yin and yang – understanding that some basic lessons are taught over again in varying degrees.  I suppose this is what it means in understanding that life is not about the destinations but the journey.  If I journey well, I will reach certain destinations.  But like one of those video games the levels just keep coming and with the new levels come new degrees of difficulties.  The further I go, the more “points” I can gain as my skill level increases.  I become qualified for more challenges, but the game will never end.

 

In terms of dealing with the woman who complains or doesn’t seem to ever understand me, Deida says it best:

 

The feminine always seems chaotic and complicated from the perspective of the masculine.  The next time you notice yourself trying to fix your woman so that she will no longer __________ (fill in the blank), relax and give her love by touching her and telling her that you love her when she is this way.  (whatever you filled in the blank with) Embrace her or wrestle with her, or scream and yell for the heck of it, but make no effort to bring an end to that which pisses you off.  Practice love instead of trying to bring an end to the quality that bothers you.  You can’t escape the tussle with the feminine. Learn to find the humor in the unending emotional drama the feminine seems to enjoy so much.  The love that you magnify may realign her behavior, but your effort to fix her and your frustration never will.

 

Can the church say Amen?

 

By the way, I decided to roll with this topic every weekday till it’s done.  If I decide to write about something else as well – I will.  But for me this is what is hot.  So I will ride it out. 

 

Tomorrow, “Live With An Open Heart, Even If It Hurts.”