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How Are You Treating Yourself This Holiday Season?

In this joyous, fun, celebratory season, have you been thinking about yourself?

Goodness, NO, that would be selfish!

Are the thoughts that you think about yourself even thoughts worth having? Are you treating yourself at least as well as you would a stranger?

How do you talk about yourself? How do you talk to yourself?

Are YOU on your gift list?

The words we speak out loud and in our heads carry a lot of weight. Transforming that weight into something uplifting begins with awareness. With the latest Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi is out — and it is fantastic! Today is an excellent time to explore one of Yoda’s favorite words: Try. Yoda’s famous line is. “Do or do not. There is no try.”

He’s right. Which is why I do my best not to say I’m trying, I try, or I tried. Try is always a lie. You are either doing something or not. If you are doing it and saying that you are trying – you don’t own your actions. You are denying responsibility and playing small.

If you aren’t do anything but say you are trying, you are lying to yourself. Accept that you aren’t doing anything and decide to take action or not, but don’t keep lying about how hard you’re trying.

I’ve replaced “I’m trying” with “I’m doing the best I can.” I invite you to use that too.

Another technique to raise your awareness is to say something new in response to “Thank you.” Instead of responding with a well trained, “You’re welcome” or a grunt, why not say “My pleasure.” Such a response might be enough of a change to make both parties stop and receive the appreciation.

Our thoughts create our experiences. Everything is energy. Everything around you was first energy. It existed only in someone’s mind, but someone believed in their inspiration and took action on those thoughts.

I can be my inspiration. I can also be my judge and jury. One of those feels a LOT better than the other I assure you.

So to wrap this gift up; don’t neglect yourself this holiday season. Make sure that you are on your gift list. In addition to any tangible presents you get, give yourself the gift of increased awareness of your repetitive thoughts. Do your best with noticing how often you say you’re trying. Are you honestly taking action or not?

Put “my pleasure’ into your repertoire and begin to feel all the times you are thanked and appreciated.

Most of all, be good to yourself.

 

Staffing My First NWTA (New Warrior Adventure Training)

This weekend I took part in staffing a New Warrior Training Adventure weekend. This is the very event that I completed as an initiate less than five months ago. It is a powerful, transformative weekend put on by The ManKind Project. If I was in charge of the world, it would be mandatory training for all men.

Staffing was fun, challenging, awe-inspiring, emotional, and so much more. I saw many familiar faces from my original weekend, both men who staffed it and some new brothers who went through it with me. Some men had seen my videos and podcasts, so I got to be the center of attention at times, and also witness and observe many powerful moments. On the final day I had the opportunity to bring a lot of laughter to the weekend, which was a total blast.

I honestly cannot recommend the New Warrior Training Adventure enough. I will be definitely be staffing again. There is even a women’s version of the weekend called Women Within.

Proud and honored to be, Fun-Loving Chipmunk. As a man among men, I love unconditionally.

Fun-Living Chipmunk

Check out the Real Men Feel episode where I shared my experience going thru the NWTA weekend last October. Real Men Feel 32: New Warrior Training Adventure Report.

Happiness Jar

In 2014 I began a Happiness Jar. The idea is to jot down a highlight of your day on a scrap of paper and put it into a jar each day, then read all the notes on New Year’s Eve. My jar was full five months into 2014, and being a stickler for rules, I refused to do anything about it because it wasn’t New Year’s yet. By the time 2014 came to an end, I was in no mood to explore my own happiness. So, please make use of a Happiness Jar but don’t get caught up in any rules around it.

Happiness FireI like bringing fire into any ritual I do, so after I read my notes I burned them all on New Year’s Day. This is optional and should only be done if you can do it safely! Burning down your home is NOT something you’ll want to add into a note for your next jar.

You can add whatever extra steps you would like to your own Happiness Jar, or Happiness Fish Tank! Make a family jar, add to it weekly, read them back monthly, quarterly, whenever you need a lift, or turn it into a time capsule and don’t read them for years as I did.

The Happiness Jar
I heard of this from author Elizabeth Gilbert.
Every night write down the happiest moment of your day on a scrap of paper and save it in a jar.

It could be:
-surprise gifts
-compliments
-accomplished goals
-laugh out loud moments
-the beauty of nature
-favorite moments
-moments to appreciate
-thoughts of gratitude…
-any memory you want to save.

It takes just a few seconds each day to do this.
Then on New Year’s Eve (or whenever you feel like it!) open your jar and read each item. Be prepared to be blown away.

Enjoy!

A lot of people are complaining, but I’m not buying

I’m seeing a lot of people complaining about what a bad year 2016 and how they can’t wait for it to be over and good riddance to it. I’m not buying it.

My 2016 was a year of fun and joy. That’s doesn’t mean every moment of the past year went exactly as I wanted it to. But I’ve learned from past experience not to put down or label an entire year as horrible due to a few bad moments.

In numerology, 2016 was the Year of Completion, and many celebrities and family members did have their lives come to an end in 2016, but while the timing may certainly have been a surprise the fact that human beings pass on is not. The fact that you and I have gotten through some loss and grief is a testimony to our resilience. I love when the whole world celebrates the lives of greats such as Muhammad Ali, David Bowie, Prince, George Michael and the many other artists, leaders and friends lost in 2016.

Early in 2016 I realized it had been more than two years since my wife, Lori, and I had taken a true vacation. So in April we ran down to Universal Studios in Orlando for all the fun of Islands of Adventure and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We had such a blast on the rides and realized we hadn’t been to amusement parks recently so, the East Coast Coaster Tour was born and in July we visited 5 amusement parks and rode 42 different roller coasters. Then in October I had one of the best weeks of my life as I explored the national parks of Utah with a bunch of friends from my hometown of Leominster to celebrate most of us turning 50. Considering that the last two Decembers had me quite down and riddled with suicidal thoughts, the notion of turning 50 – let alone celebrating it – still blows me away.

UtahThis year featured two initiations for me. In March I became an Initiate in the Modern Mystery School and I’ve loved all the experiences and people I’ve met as well as the rituals that have become a part of my daily life. While in October I was initiated into the brotherhood of new warriors that is the ManKind Project. Their New Warrior Training Adventure was the 47th multi-day personal growth event I’ve attended in the last eight years and it was nothing short of miraculous for me. In 2017 I’ll continue my journey in both groups and continue to bang the drum and encourage more people to explore them as well.

One of the biggest ways I’ve stepped out in the past year was by creating Real Men Feel which consists of groups, a website, blog and weekly podcast. I can’t thank my co-host Appio Hunter enough for stepping out into the unknown with me when I first asked him to join me on the show in February. 40 episodes later it has become a highlight of each week for the both of us. I’ve continued to have amazing experiences with the Akashic Records and set a new personal best with 25 readings in one day in November. I was also blessed with some very brave coaching clients whose transformations I got to assist and witness. All of my books continued to find new readers and receive great reviews. I achieved my goal of entering the audiobook arena this year with three of my titles as well. 

I saw Paul McCartney for the first time and I saw Kiss for the 25th time (maybe more). I presented workshops in three new places, I premiered my “To Be A Man” presentation, and facilitated a monthly in-person men’s group. I was interviewed on numerous radio shows, webinars, and podcasts.

Why do I share a list of favorite moments from the past year? Is it to feed my ego and show off? No. Well, not completely. I do this for me because it feels great. I write this to remind myself that despite deaths in the family, despite needing to get live-in care for my dad, despite feeling down and low for the first week of the year – 2016 was 98% free of depression and suicidal thoughts and I was welcomed with open arms into two great communities.

I share this to remind and encourage you to do the same thing. Take a few minutes to mentally review each of the past 12 months for wins, laughter, and little (or big) moments you may have forgotten about. Allow yourself to move forward with a bit of joy and a lot of gratitude – even for the things that didn’t exactly seem to go your way. Recall the Chinese blessing, “May you live in interesting times.” Well, we certainly do.

All and all, another year of highs and lows. I wouldn’t want it any other way.