How Are You? Really.

How many times in a regular week does someone ask, ‘How are you?’ Depending on the size of your family, your circle of friends as well where, and if, you work, the answer could be a couple of times to hundreds.

‘How are you,’ is a pretty standard greeting in the United States. More accurately, it is a traditional unconscious non-greeting. Meaning it is most often asked and answered on mental autopilot.

How many times in your life have you honestly answered that question?

Not with some automatic BS response of “OK,” “Good,” or the ever popular and empty, “Fine, how are you?”

Worse than those empty exchange of syllables is an answer that perhaps shares all the troubles of your day, or your life, to the point that the person who asked you wishes they hadn’t.

‘How are you?’ is about right now! It is asking the current status of the lifeform known as ‘your name here.’ The question was not, “Tell me all the reasons you are miserable?”, “What’s gone wrong today so far?” or “Give me all the excuses for your victimhood?”

Ideally, when someone asks ‘How are you’ they genuinely want to know how you are feeling right now, at this moment.

It is your opportunity to raise your awareness and check-in. I encourage you to start answering honestly and perhaps shock the person who is probably automatically asking you the question, to begin with, by giving a meaningful response. Be authentic and open. Partake in a brief conversation that impacts your day.

I had a positive psychology professor who shared the story of one of his professors who always asked, “How are you? Really.” This made people pause and let them know he was truly inquiring about their current emotional, mental, or spiritual status.

I’ve been making use of this statement for the people in my life I care about too. Sometimes they notice and give an honest answer. Sometimes, I can tell they weren’t listening well as I get the same programmed automatic empty response.

‘How are you?’ It isn’t how were you, share your latest drama, or how is everybody in your life except for you. Next time someone asks; pause, take a slow, deep breath, and ask yourself – how am I? Share that answer.

How are you? Really. I’d love to know.


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A Star Is Born

This is a movie for men

A Star Is Born has been made into a film four times, including the most recent version starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. I have not seen any of the prior versions, but as a fan of both Cooper and Gaga, I figured I’d see this at some point.

That point was today.

A Star Is BornMen, don’t fall into the trap that this is some sort of a chick flick. This movie touches so many pain points for masculinity, it should be mandatory viewing for all men. If you like movies, or music (country, rock or pop), if you like Bradley Cooper, or if you enjoy Lady Gaga (I came out of the Gaga closet years ago when I saw her live; she rocks!) you will enjoy this movie.

If you ever had a father, a brother, a lover, a girlfriend, a wife, or a dog; this movie will resonate with you. If you ever dreamed of being in a band, or life on the road; this movie will lift you up. If you’ve ever had any experience with alcoholism; this movie will hit you with a gut punch.

I have no problem admitting to being brought to tears multiple times during A Star Is Born. I sat stuck in my seat until the final credit had rolled by because I was so emotionally moved. Every performance was perfection. The entire cast will have you saying, “Oh my God, it’s him!” The music blew me away, and I’ve already ordered the soundtrack. The story is full of highs, fun, and laughs and also threw me to the ground and steamrolled me.

I host a weekly podcast called Real Men Feel, and this is the first film I’m giving the just invented Real Men Feel Seal of Approval and High Blessing to.

This is one of my favorite films of all time. I’m not sure I ever want to see it again, because having no idea what was going to happen, gave me such a potent ride.

Men, see it.


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Answering a Bark in the Night

Meet Scout

I’ve written numerous posts about my three-legged dog, Sadie and how we recently lost her. An episode of Real Men Feel was dedicated to the bond between men and dogs. Some people replace pets quickly, not wanting to be in feelings of grief and loss a moment longer than necessary. I like to give plenty of time to feel everything that is there. To me, giving the loss some time and space to breath is my final way to honor the dog I lost.

After dealing with Sadie’s unexplained seizures for nine months and then having to say goodbye, I thought it might be a year or more before I had any interest in having another dog.

My wife’s been ready to get a dog for a few weeks, maybe longer. I wasn’t. After our ten-month Universal Kabbalah program ended this past weekend, one of the many clearings I experienced was around a next dog.

I visited the Sterling Shelter site on Monday. That is where Sadie and our black and tan coon hound, Homer, before her as well as our current cat, Marge all came from. On the site I scrolled thru 34 dogs. I got to this photo of Scout and cried. I thought that meant I wasn’t ready. I visited again the next day, cried at this picture again, but thought maybe the emotion meant yes.

We made plans to visit the shelter and meet, Scout.

The morning we were to see her, I woke up at 6:15 am because I heard a dog bark. One single bark. I don’t know if it was a dream or what. There was no dog in the house or yard. Cue the Twilight Zone music.

We visited the shelter and learned that Scout is 5 months old and up here from Texas. An elderly couple had her for a month and returned her – I swear that is the emotion I felt looking at her. The pain and sorrow of abandonment.

The couple thought she was too high-energy for them. Luckily, years of three-legged soccer with Sadie have us properly trained for high-energy critters. We even have a bonus 4th leg this time around.

Welcome home, Scout. For reals!


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Ten Months of Kabbalah

I still can’t explain it very well

This weekend I’m at a retreat that is culminating a 10-month journey with Universal Kabbalah from the Modern Mystery School. It has been astounding, heartbreaking, fun, infuriating, and every other emotion in between them.

I have great difficulting in clearly explaining spiritual and experiential happenings at times, but I do my best.

As one example of the life-changing potential in Kabbalah: Last June I was in such a precarious financial condition that my wife and I were paying our bills thanks to yard sales, while less than 18 months later, I’m driving a new Tesla.

Please enjoy my rambling, foul-mouthed, attempt to describe the last 10 months of Kabbalah.


Wonder what I said back at the start of this? Me too. Let’s find out.


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Getting My Dream Car Can Awaken Lots of Nightmares

On September 29, 2015, I watched the online unveiling of the Tesla Model X, Elon Musk’s all-electric SUV. It was love at first sight. The following day, September 30, I posted on Facebook that this would be my next vehicle. With a price of $160,000 I knew it might be a while, but I was going to drive my 2004 GMC Envoy into the ground if I had to while waiting.

The last few years featured an extremely volatile financial situation for me and last September I had to finally get rid of my 13-year-old Envoy. I downsized tremendously to a Honda HR-V. An excellent vehicle, but no Tesla. The other day Honda even sent me an anniversary card for my first year with the HR-V. They are so cute.

It took me three months before I stopped banging my head getting in the Honda and actually like the car, but I still dreamed of that Tesla X on my vision board (Yes, I have a vision board. I’ve made them for a good eight years, and the vast majority of things I put on them come to pass).

It was only in the last year that I’ve even seen a Tesla X in person. On my birthday this year, I saw two. I thought, “It’s getting closer!”


One Saturday in early August, I visited the Tesla dealer in Natick, Massachusetts so I could get a picture of myself in one. That was honestly my only goal. One of the reps asked if I was in the market to buy. I told him, “I’ve wanted it to be my next car for a few years, but 160K is beyond me.” He said you can get in one for half of that. My jaw dropped, and I thought, I could actually afford this.

Across the showroom floor, my wife, Lori, was chatting with another rep while she was looking at the Model S and Model 3 sedans. She pointed to me saying my husband is over there at the X, but he’s just looking. The rep told her the price, and she responded, “Oh! Then he’s getting one.”

We agreed a test drive was the next step and would happen six days later. I went home totally psyched, but over the next few days, I was riddled with doubts and fears. What if I buy this and lose my job? What if I never work again? Even though I can afford it, should I spend more than twice as much as I ever have on a new car? Do I need a Tesla X? Does anyone need a Tesla X? Is wanting something a good enough reason to buy it? Will I be a hipster doofus?

Every limiting belief about my worth and value was right in my face. Each day I went from being excited, and sure I would buy it, to thinking I was a stupid, selfish bastard for merely considering it. I finally calmed myself by realizing I still haven’t even driven one. Maybe I won’t even like a Tesla after all this hype?

The Test Drive

On Friday, August 10, 2018, I drove a Tesla for the first time. I found it to be so different, so unique that saying I test drove a car is an incredible understatement. We spent a good twenty minutes marveling at all the ways I could open the doors. I played with the “summon” feature where the X drives itself a few feet, forward or backward, to meet you. The Tesla is silent when running, has no exhaust, has nothing hanging from the undercarriage. It felt like a toy, video game, and virtual reality experience all wrapped up into a Metallica cranking ball of fun.

The first touch of the gas pedal was unlike any other time, oh yeah, because it isn’t a gas pedal. You are immediately accelerating when you give the magic foot pedal any pressure. It’s like a golf cart that can go 150 miles per hour. And there is no transmission, no gears to cycle through, so you accelerate like a rocket. When you take your foot off the gas—my brain needs to learn new terms—accelerator, the vehicle immediately slows down.

The autopilot features felt so bizarre and took me a lot of effort to trust. Going down a crowded Route 9 on a Friday afternoon, I engaged autopilot with a tap of a finger, and I had a shudder up my spine as I felt something else take control of the steering wheel. I was told to let go of the wheel and rest my feet on the floor. What!??! I slowly lifted my hands up and turned to my wife in the back seat. “What the fuck? I feel like I’m home playing with X box not driving one.”

The car, magic chariot, spaceship… I don’t know what to call it slightly weaved left and right striving to be in the center line. It accelerated and slowed with traffic. It got a little too close to a guy on a bicycle, but I didn’t touch the wheel. I figured the Tesla guy would yell if something weren’t working, but I had to fight every instinct to not grab the wheel and take control. When the road cleared, he told me to floor it. I did. It was fun. A lot of fun. And fast.

At that moment, Metallica’s Wherever I May Roam started playing. Lyrics from that song are tattooed on my left calf. That is when I no longer had any doubt I was about to buy a Tesla X.

Lori got her turn to drive and had no interest in trying the autopilot. She finally yielded but couldn’t trust it and only lasted a couple of minutes, but she loved the X too. She drove back to the garage and let the X park itself.

I infamously once drove into Boston for an appointment, could only find parallel parking on the street available, which I suck at and couldn’t do. So I drove home in shame. Thanks to Elon Musk, those days are over!


So now my dream car is scheduled for delivery right around September 30, the three-year mark from when I stated I would own one, and I get to take another item down off my vision board (did I mention they work?). Not only am I getting my dream vehicle, but it also enabled me to blast through so many doubts and limitations I still had about myself.

The Tesla X is frickin’ AWESOME! And I’m not doing too bad either.

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