Tag - Fear

Sacred Masculine or Scared Masculine?

The truth is, it’s a fine line!

I lived the first fifteen years of my life in fear that my step mother would assault me while I was at home and when I was at school I lived in fear that I would be teased by my peers for wearing uncool clothes or be verbally or physically attacked by the rougher kids from the other more working class estate.  After I left home I spent seven years with no fixed abode in fear of my fellow drug crazed traveller friends, the abuse of power by the police or local vigilantes.  Yes, fear was my constant companion.  It was there lurking in the shadows all the time like Gollum in Lord of the Rings, following, waiting, whispering.

Fear is a natural aspect of being human.  It is designed to keep us safe so that we alerted to danger and choose appropriate action when our safety is threatened.  But what if we are a child and there are no options that will make us safe?  Then we find ourselves in fight and flight all of the time and the flow of cortisol and stress chemicals become our default state, placing great stress on our adrenal glands and our biology so that our bodies have to try to compensate for this as best they can.  Add to this, if you are in a male body, the platitude that ‘big boys don’t cry’ so that these fear based emotions are not allowed to be processed and we have the beginnings of boys supressing and denying their feelings.  Every young boy will experience fear to varying degrees no matter how lovingly he is raised and consciously or unconsciously will absorb the information that you are ‘less than’ if you feel fear and often are actually  taught to feel shame for feeling fear when it does arise and it can’t be concealed. So we learn to give ourselves a hard time for having a hard time, we shame ourselves!

When a baby is upset or fearful it will cry and alert it’s carers that something is wrong and hopefully it will be attended to.  The emotion is expressed through the sound and through the release of tears.  When a duck has finished a skirmish with another, it will raise itself up and flap its wings to release any of the emotion created in the conflict.  Nature has designed it so that emotional energy is released as it is felt and therefore causes no lasting physical, psychological or emotional harm.

But what happens when a boy or a man’s fear is not expressed?  Then we have a whole society of boys in men’s bodies who adopt many different ways to numb or distract or to conceal their fear. This is most commonly done through addictions like overworking, alcohol, pornography, over consuming food or material things, wearing the mask of status or striving for what our dysfunctional society calls ‘success’. And sadly we leave the realms of our bodies, of our hearts, of our feelings and we retreat into our heads. We become talking heads. If our male leaders were truly in touch with their feelings they could not make the decisions that they do which they know will cause so much suffering to children, women and the planet. These are the very things that the sacred man knows he was born to protect, to raise up and honour.  But we live in a world where men are taught not to feel and we see the result of this disconnect between head and heart.

Let’s be clear that most if not all ‘negative’ or uncomfortable emotions arise from fear: shame, jealousy, guilt, anger all have fear at their root.  This is why the road to sacred masculinity is paved with fear.  To make that epic journey from the head back to the heart I have had to feel much of the fear that had been trapped in my body for decades.  Sometimes I feel fear and I don’t know what it is related to and I just have to trust that it is old energy leaving. Sometimes a situation will trigger an old memory and fear will arise that is far in excess of the current situation.

I know that this issue is not necessarily gender specific.  Women carry the same wound to a large extent.  So it is vitally important that when a man is making that courageous journey back to his heart that he is not shamed or dishonoured for whatever arises.  I have been held in the arms of men and sobbed and sobbed uncontrollably at times when I felt safe enough to allow the years of unexpressed fear to be felt and to leave.  The sacred masculine is not a hunky, tattooed, warrior who fears nothing. He is a man who dares to walk a road without a map because there is little record of this happening before on this earth in our recorded, censored and distorted ‘his’story. He is a man who keeps stepping toward what he fears regardless of how much it evokes haunted memories of past injustices or abuse or shaming that he suffered.

I feel it is no coincidence that the words sacred and scared are so similar.  To become sacred you must acknowledge your scaredness.  You must make fear your constant companion until it is time for you to go your separate ways. Perhaps that day will come or perhaps it will not.  I don’t know because for now I know that, although in much smaller ways, I still find, that I am asked to embrace and honour my fears most days. It seems the journey of becoming the best version of ourselves is never ending and letting go of fear is key to this process.

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Walking With Fear

Yes, I feel your presence my old friend, your unsought company prevails despite my requests to walk this path alone. Perhaps you know best?

For a while now you have no longer led, you no longer walk beside me but instead linger in the shadows bringing up the rear. When I glance over my shoulder I can see the echo of your icy presence, where you stood moments before as you weave your illusive dance, slinking behind tree and rock. Come out, come and join me once more.

It seemed at times, that you would always walk this road with me and that I should resign myself to your company but now we both know this is not true.  But how can I abandon you when I know you have served me so well?

When I see how you have only accentuated the light by the contrast of your heavy greyness that obscured my vision at times.  And I knew that those were the times when I would do best to halt my progress, to pause the trudge of my weary footsteps and sit a while with you.

On those long nights you insisted that I should not light a fire to warm my bones but that together we should huddle under your blanket of not knowing and shiver and tremble a little. I see the value now of your hard wisdom but now we travel through new lands. You made a poor master but you are a servant of worth. You keep me nimble, on my toes and when the night closes in you remind me to keep feeding the fire that is so welcome after so many moons without.

Yes, those endless haunted nights are now long past and the flickering, dancing flames of peace and wisdom now soothe and nurture this body. All darkness is incomplete, now that the fire of truth burns strong at my centre and I see the way ahead lit by the soft orange glow from my eyes.

And this seeing reveals the silhouette of the mountain in the distance. Yes, there is another winding ascent to walk and I invite you to join me. I know of your concern for me and your desire to keep your watchful eye on me.

You are welcome for you and I are old friends and perhaps we have this one last adventure to share.

We will climb this mountain together, come close now, there is no need to slink in the shadows any longer. Come take my hand in yours and let the glow of my loving touch warm you.  Let us walk together this stretch of the road for we both know that as we reach this summit, our time together will be at an end.

As the dawn breaks and the fullness of light returns I know that you will be scared and uneasy but know that you are safe with me and that our parting will be a blessing for you know too that our friendship has run its course, our time together is at an end and there are new beginnings that await us and you have other souls to serve.

So come now, for the Mountain of Union is inviting and daunting and I have no choice but to yield to the pull. We can share stories together as we travel to pass the time for we both know that this road has been paved with stories, rich stories of dragons and warriors and lost and found and light and dark. We will share these tales one more time for we both know that the time of duality is fast reaching its end.

Your company is welcome old friend and my destiny beckons loudly now, the call of the circling buzzard above the mountain’s crown, echoes down the valley. Let us walk in to this one last story together. Be my chaperone and see me safely to the waking of this dream.

And when we reach the summit we will go our separate ways. I will watch you as you make your solitary way back down the road until you are a speck in the distance and I will turn and look ahead to see the new peaks and adventures that will surely lay ahead.

 

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Young People are the Future

youth

Today I spoke to the secondary pupils at Maple Hayes Hall Dyslexia School. The title of my talk was: ‘It’s not what happens but how we choose to respond that counts.’ I wanted them to know that despite (and perhaps because) of their challenges with reading and writing etc they can still lead happy, loved and successful lives. Thank you Jackie Tweedie for your repeated requests to the head teacher to get me in to talk.

It’s hard to say how it went but I know I gave it my all and I hope that some of the things that I shared will stick with them. I know my heart felt very open as I looked around into the eyes of so many young people.

With dyslexia they will have their additional challenges as if life isn’t tough enough for young people already. I keep hearing about the massive increase in mental health issues amongst our youth and on Radio 4 while driving to the school there was an interview with a 9 year old boy who was depressed and said he saw no point in living. What is going on??! He said that he asks himself the big questions like ‘why are there wars?’ and ‘why aren’t people kinder to each other?’ My suspicion is that these larger issues, that young people can see no solution to are having a massive detrimental effect on their well- being. It makes me a little sad.

Young people are the future. The extent to which we invest in them now will determine the future of humanity.

One Love x

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‘There is no such thing as a stranger. Just people whose stories we haven’t yet heard.’

As I headed out for my morning walk today I walked past a mother with two toddlers. One was in his push chair and as I walked past he kept shouting ‘Hiya’ to me. I turned round and waved to him and his little voice kept chirping out ‘Hi’ as I walked into the distance.
I was aware that his mother didn’t reprimand him and that it was mutually considered to be cute and acceptable. This led me to wondering at what age children are taught not to talk to strangers. Although I understand the reason behind this advice to young people (health and safety!) it also saddens me that we live in a society where this is the norm.
It seems that the instruction ‘to not talk to strangers’ comes from a place of fear. When we tell our children this we are communicating to them that the world is not a safe place to be. It seems to reinforce the belief that we are not all connected and that other humans are not to be trusted and that they might cause you harm. What would society look like if this fear based belief did not underpin the way young people enter into society independently?
I am fully aware that there are people in the world who are ignorant, unwell and are not to be trusted but to believe that there are so many untrustworthy people out there, that just to be on the safe side it is better not to talk to anyone, seems a bit bizarre. Just imagine how many beautiful encounters may be missed by integrating this fear based belief and carrying it into adult hood and then passing it on to our children.
I find myself talking to strangers more and more these days because I know that we are all connected and if I can offer a little kindness, a little of my time and presence to someone then I feel nourished and in alignment with who I really am.
I believe that the toddler I met this morning was also in alignment with the truth that we are all connected and there is nothing really to fear. Some may call it ignorance but I call it innocence. And I believe that the new world that is arising as the old falls apart will be one where the word ‘stranger’ becomes obsolete.
I just hope that my toddler friend can hold onto his innocence and innate knowing before it becomes too heavily blanketed by fear.

 

 

 

 

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