What you choose to do in the absence of others


What do you do when you know no-one is watching?

Are you less inhibited, less kind, less tame? Do you do the “right thing” less?

Perhaps not, perhaps the awareness of others has no bearing on you’re actions. And if that is so.. I commend you.

However it hasn’t been my experience.

Sure, there’s a part of me that feels fulfilled when I’ve done good for the sake of doing it. Yet theres also that other guy.. the guy who is concerned with how he’s appearing.. the guy that also really enjoys being “bad”.

While I believe both “guys” (the shadow and the light) have their place in every healthy human being.

I’ve always looked up to the men in my life who do “good” when there’s no-one to tally up their right doings.

Imperfect men, who do incredible things.

I’ve been fortunate to have been raised by two fathers, one birth father (Samuel), and one who came into my life when my mother and father divorced at age ten. (Mark)

While both men, aren’t without flaw and shadow, they are what I consider to be at their core..

Good.

They love with courageous, open, and loving hearts. They do what is right when it’s hard, when it’s fruitless, and when it means endlessly sacrificing for the ones they love.

I’m reminded of times when I was younger seeing Mark, shovel out our elderly neighbors driveway in the blistering cold. Generously tipping every waiter and waitress who served us, waking up at 5am to go labor in the field so that our house was warm, and we were provided for.

Samuel, who in the midst of losing everything, his marriage, his business and his home didn’t waiver. Who in times of financial struggle, sleeping in a one room apartment, with just enough money to meet his basic needs, still managed to provide for his kids. Still managed to show up for his son and daughter with support love and guidance.

I’m not illusioned in thinking I’ll be a perfect man, I know that there will always be times when I’ll slip, hurt, and sin.

Yet I will strive to be good.

To pick up the broken pieces, to love courageously, and without expectation of a future payback.

In my eyes, committing to doing so, is committing to greatness.

-Dan














The Beauty of Destruction

Is all that is destroyed truly lost? Or is it merely transformed? We all have ideas of what we want to receive out of our lives. We have ideas around the perfect romantic relationship, the perfect home, some even plan every detail of their lives. Despite these aspirations, many of us have experienced that life doesn't always go as planned. We are often left in the rubble of our wishes and set plans, only to pick ourselves up and move forward. The issue is not life.. It is not that we have been robbed, or cruelly disregarded. It is rather our belief that life runs in accordance with our personal conceptions, that is fundamentally off. Nature is beauty and chaos. It enables both the crashing tides of an ocean, and calm flow of a gentle stream. How can we expect it to abide by different rules within our own lives? This is not to say that we should give up on our dreams and desires, they are incredibly sacred. Rather we should choose a less rigid approach, and accept that although we may point our sails in a given direction.. we may not always reach our intended destination. When we accept this fact, we surrender our constant struggle with nature and open our lives up to endless possibility. Perhaps not getting the job we wanted, enables us to find our hearts passion. The abrupt end of a romantic relationship, can force us to get clearer on our own sense of purpose. A perceived loss, though often painful can also be a massive step in a new direction.  

When we allow ourselves to be flexible, we lend way for the true magic to happen.
Happy Seeking.

-Dan

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Would you describe yourself as a Nice Guy?

To clarify, I don't mean behaving in a loving way to others, but rather perpetually "Nice" 

If you would describe yourself in this light, I have some potentially alarming news for you.

It's likely that you are suppressing some facet of your being. A part of yourself that you may have deemed as unacceptable or unworthy of love. 

There has been a movement occurring recently in society, pressuring men to feel shame for their masculine essence. Many men are made to feel that there masculine fire, is solely destructive and harmful, and that it should be suppressed at all costs. Although this approach is misguided, as with most things, a grain of truth can always be found. When the masculine fire within us is used (Unconsciously) it can cause great harm. War, Oppression, and Manipulation are all byproducts of the masculine fire used unconsciously.

However When our divine masculine fire is combined with awareness, It is limitless in its expanse and capacity for beauty.

It it behind the forging of cities, and infustructure, it enables us to protect our loved ones, to pierce the walls of deception in others and the world around us so that (Truth) may reign. It allows us to persevere in times of difficulty, as well as open our hearts to others when it is difficult to be vulnerable. It allows us to stand up against injustice, and even fight against it when necessary. It allows to have the courage to cleanse ourselves of habits, relationships and vices that are leaching from our life force so that we can be of better service to ourselves and the world around us.

 When we are young we often receive a hefty amount of social conditioning.

Social conditioning is defined as "the sociological process of training individuals in a society to respond in a manner generally approved by the society in general and peer groups within society."

The problem with this is that we are often conditioned not to be outspoken beings with a strong sense of self but rather disempowered, and tame.  As a result, after we recieve enough negative reinforcment of our wildness  many of us embody "Mr. Nice Guy", which comes at a great cost to our sense of self.

I am no stranger to disowning parts of myself, in fact doing so, has been a part of my personal journey.

When I was a child I was wild. Wildly loving, wildly energetic, silly, strong willed, and at times angry. As children we are fully integrated beings. Beautifully, unapologetically our authentic selves. At a certain age though we lose touch with ownership of our full range of emotions. Our life experiences often lead us to deem parts of ourselves as acceptable and other parts as unacceptable.

At age eleven, right in line with my parents divorce. I was experiencing a new surge in emotions. Most notably, anger, aggression, and confusion. Often I'd display these emotions in which many would deem to be destructive behaviors. Lashing out at my parents, breaking things, yelling, and cursing profusely.

In these instance, I would often experience what felt to be a withdrawal of love. I don't judge my loved ones for this, explosive anger can often be a lot for others to handle. Yet over time I began to associate my expression of anger, with withdrawal of love from others. This of course led me to associate anger as (Bad) and being nice as (Good)
My fear was that if I continued to display the angry parts of myself, I would lose all of the people that I held dear to me. Thus I disowned my anger and other emotions I deemed as negative, for the faux mask of "niceness".

I urge you to reconnect with your wildness, to rediscover the parts of yourself you have labeled as "bad" or "wrong" 

The "Nice Guy" persona isn't real. In fact not only does it deprive others of authentic connection with us, it can be our own personal prison. 

Be great, be courageous, be wild.

-Dan

 


 

 


 

 

The edge of fear

What scares you?

Is it telling your loved one that you aren't content with your relationship? Perhaps its letting go of a vice you've been relying on? Or the fear of going after something your heart desires because you fear the aftermath. What ever it may be. On the flip side of (Fear) there will always be (Life)

Think back to the time when you were young, terrified of popping off those true and trusted training wheels off of your bike. You were likely uncertain. Uncertain of your abilities, uncertain of whether or not you'd scrape up your knees in the process (which you likely did) and definitely unsure if your parents correctly assessed your readiness. 

Fast forward to where you are now and the same theme of thoughts may pop through your mind. Am I ready for this? Will I get hurt in the process?

Far too often we stand in our own way when it comes to those moments. We are often afraid to let go of our perceived sense of control, and pursue what our heart desires. However when we do so, letting the chips fall where they may, we often experience a personal liberation. The kind that expands far beyond whether or not our desired outcome is achieved.

This Liberation, is that which comes with choosing to challenge the cage that we often build for ourselves. The cage of what is possible, what we are capable of, and often most harmful what we believe we deserve.

When we make the choice to challenge these notions, to not crumble under the pressure of fear. We allow life to fill in the blanks for us. We tap into the very essence of life. Beautiful, Unpredictable, Flow. Although we may scrape our knees in the process, the ride will always be more satisfying.

Happy Seeking.

-Dan 

 

The Mask You Wear

There is a mask we put on everyday. Consciously or unconsciously we wear it with our loved ones.. our friends.. and those we engage with as we go about our day. Often, we may not even see an issue with wearing this mask. We may even convince ourselves, that it is a means to an end. A necessary tool to get what we want from life, which can take many forms.

In my case, it meant chasing validation from women, chasing a toxic sense of respect from other men, and above all a deep yearning of looking myself in the mirror and feeling enough. I was building a house of cards, and I didn't fully realize it. What I would tell myself, may sound familiar to you. "When I get that girl I'll be enough." "When I put on just a few pounds more of muscle, I'll feel enough.. etc. etc.

The problem was I was chasing phantoms. Everything I tried, led me to a feeling of emptiness, frustration, or lacking in some sense. There is a deep rooted intelligence in every one of us that knows when we are lying to it, and it doesn't like being lied to.

The price of it, is frustration, energy drain, and a perpetual lack of belonging.

The mask that I wore with women.. only made me feel alone, and even less lovable because I felt that I would never be truly "worthy of love" without it. The mask that I wore with other men.. made me long for genuine friendship, without the foundation of bravado supporting it.

Time after time, I ran, and ran, from truly seeing myself. I ran from standing alone with myself in the silence, perceived flaws and choosing to see them.

I was running, but getting nowhere.

The chase of something external, to validate those feelings of enough-ness can go on forever. Looking at yourself, OWNING who you are, can often be a scary, painful process. Yet it is scarier to wake up one day, realizing that you have spent most of your life denying yourself authentic expression, and connection with others. 

Each and every one of us have accumulated reasons why we are not enough, reasons why we must meet the world with our "masks on".  Yet at our core.. each and every one of us, wants to be loved, seen, and accepted for who we are beneath our mask.  

Make the choice to hear your truth, in the hard moments. In the moments that you're afraid you will lose the love of those around you for it, in the moments that you're afraid you'll be "looked at differently". Through listening, you will only strengthen that which is yearning to be heard and accepted by you. You will build and strengthen a relationship with a part of you that is always true. Go forth, and drop your mask.
-Dan

 

 

 

How Intermittent Fasting Freed Me

 

For my entire life I accepted the notion that there was a standard way for us to eat. I'd heard it a thousand times. Upon waking consume a meal, somewhere around midday have a meal and lastly at the end of your day, eat again. Sound familiar? Ironically, this style of eating always felt more like a routine than a natural urge. You see, somewhere around High school I noticed a interesting pattern. I would (begrudgingly) wake up at 6:30am, get dressed, and have what I considered a relatively healthy breakfast. Which usually consisted of a bowl of oatmeal, and some fresh fruit. The only issue was, I was never truly hungry in the morning.  Worse, somewhere around the end of 1'st period I was absolutely exhausted and hungry. Instead of feeling energized alert and satiated, I felt sluggish at best. I went on this way for years, until a turning point around my freshman year of college. I, like most young college guys became increasingly interested in the pursuit of a strong physique, and as anyone will tell you diet is a crucial part of achieving one. After scrolling through the internet, I came across an article titled "10 evidence based benefits of Intermittent Fasting". Curious and slightly skeptical I dove in.

What I learned was nothing short of ground breaking.. While the body is in a fasted state it is actually in a state of homeostasis. When we are asleep we are in this fasted state, and then our body shoots us with just enough Cortisol (primary stress hormone) to wake us up. This morning cortisol peak is fittingly titled the Cortisol Wakening Response or CWR, and is responsible for jump starting us to meet the demands of our day. When we eat at this time, our insulin shoots up due to the fact that cortisol and insulin are closely related to one another. Subsequently this rapid increase in insulin leads to a giant decrease in blood sugar, ironically leaving us feeling more hungry and often tired.

Armed with the new knowledge I acquired I began to implement a basic intermittent fasting routine of a 16 hour fast, followed by an 8 hour eating window. This worked relatively easily for me, because if I finished eating dinner at 7:00pm , I could eat my first meal at 11am the next day. As an added benefit I was able to cut an hour off of my morning routine leaving myself just a bit of room for some extra shut eye. ;) 

Since Starting my journey roughly four years ago with Intermittent fasting, I have never turned back. I feel on top of my game physically and mentally, and although no-one things works for everyone, I would encourage you all to experiment with this ever so powerful tool.

To get the full list of benefits and more information check this article out. 

Happy Seeking.

-Dan

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting#section8