I spent my days writing articles that told men how to look sharp, and live smart-things I was pretending to have mastered. Sure, I had a cool apartment with nice chairs, and a closet full of designer clothes, I had a weekend home in the Hudson Valley, and planned impromptu trips to Paris with my buddies. But underneath it all was a deep sense of inadequacy that my glamorous lifestyle could only temporarily distract me from.
What I would come to realize was that this sense of inadequacy was intergenerational. As a kid, I'd watched my dad chasing the same shiny things I'd been chasing. He thought he needed the right car, the right relationship, and the right number in his checking account to define him. When he lost all of these external signifiers of manhood after his second divorce, he took his own life.
My dad's death was a wakeup call for me. If the most important man in my life, a man who used to live by the mantra "Life is good" had become so depressed and so hopeless that he felt there was only one way out, there HAD to be a better way to exist as a man in this world. By using his mistakes as my guide, I became determined to figure out what that way was.
My search for what a healthy adult man could be led me all over the world - from church basements and twelve step meetings to therapist's couches, men's groups, and shaman's haciendas. Along the way I realized a few things:
1. Boys in our culture don't have any guidance or teachers in what makes a courageous, embodied, loving man. Most of our fathers weren't around to show us (and never learned from their fathers, anyway). Instead, we learned what a man is through the eyes of a culture perennially stuck in adolescence and boyhood (drugs, sex and rock n' roll baby!), and through the eyes of women. This hurts us in innumerable ways.
2. Men can only heal their collective cultural and father wounds by being willing to be vulnerable with other men.
In hindsight, I see that I embarked on my own quest to become a healthy, whole man on the day in 2009 when I left for a monthlong rehab to address the myriad of addictions I'd developed as coping mechanisms for a life filled with pain, fear, and silence. Over the next 13 years, I dove deep into men's work and into the healing practices that have awakened me from my numbness, from my violence and toxicity, and from the protection of my heart.
I, like my father before me, was what you'd call a "Nice Guy". A "Yes" man. Always overly concerned with what other people thought of me, always trying to impress, I hid behind seemingly a zillion addictions and defenses. I marooned myself on an island of my own self righteousness in an attempt to make sure no one ever got to know me. I hurt many people with this defense, especially women who tried to love me. I had so much anger from trying to please everyone, that anyone who got close got the horns over and over again until I'd pushed everyone away. Then I'd start a new life: a new home, a new job, a new circle of friends or relationship.
Coming out of my Nice Guy programming was brutal. There were a lot of repressed emotions to feel. A lot of pillows to punch, a lot of steering wheels to pound in frustration and about eight thousand gallons of tears to cry. (To this day, they're still comin'.) There was also a lot of joy, loads of laughter, and the lifelong bonds I've been able to form with the other men who have done this work alongside me.
It was while doing "men's work" that I realized that my purpose here on earth was to support other men on the journey I'd been on: A journey to awakening, a journey to aliveness, a journey into the power, courage and freedom that are our birthrights as men and as human beings.
The journey into your inherent wholeness as a man takes work and perseverance. But if you are ready to embark on it, I am your guide. Here's what you can expect from working with me:
Looking Inward: A lot of coaches focus solely on achieving goals related to the material world. And while achievements, money, promotions, and relationships are all great perks of being a man and a human being, nothing shifts if our inner reality stays the same. Together, we'll dive into your deepest held beliefs and memories in an effort to uproot everything that isn't serving you right now in living your best life.
Brotherhood: Part of working with me may include becoming a contributing member of a men's group. My groups are made up of men of all ages and from all over the world, and are daily and weekly ways of receiving support, encouragement and accountability. As men, most of us spend our entire lives without ever truly sharing ourselves with another man. We lone wolf it, and watch our vitality and creativity wither under the pressures of trying to always do it by ourselves. Brotherhood is the anecdote, and it's a powerful one.
Fierce Support: My coaching is not for the faint of heart. You will work. You will grow. You will transform. You will also receive my direct feedback when something isn't working. I expect the same from you. Together, we'll create fucking magic in every hour we spend together. That is my commitment to you.
Reconnection to Your Feelings: As men, most of us go through the world numb from the neck down, stuck in our heads, perpetually distracted and disconnected from our life force and vitality. We play it cool. We stuff it down. We are fine. But we were not born to be "fine," we were born to be alive! Working with me is a reintroduction to your feelings, to your body, to your strength, to your grief, anger, and power. Some of the most impactful things I've ever witnessed in men's work have happened when a man feels something he's been waiting a lifetime to feel. Just writing it gives me chills.
Some other things that coaching with me will do for you:
You'll discover a sense of passion and purpose in your life.
You'll see an improvement in all of your relationships.
You'll discover new (or buried) interests, hobbies and pastimes.
You'll feel more alive, and more connected to the natural world.
You'll create a life you actually want to wake up and live each day.