Leo Searle Hawkins shows men how to be emotionally available to women without losing their masculinity.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Why is it that in nearly every personal development group I’ve attended where some kind of emotional vulnerability is involved, and there have been many, women outnumber men by between three or five to one?
The only exceptions I’ve noticed are for the more mental disciplines such as NLP, and sexuality workshops (aka Western tantra). It seems many men can easily go for intellect and sex but somehow miss out on the emotional connection that brings real fulfilment.
It would seem that the majority of men, even those adventurous enough to explore the world of personal development, continue to hang out in an emotional safety zone.
But, to hitch a ride on Rumi’s thinking, how would it be if we were to step out of our comfort zone into that place we fear to tread? How would it be if we allowed our “reputation” in the world and amongst our buddies to fall ignominiously to the floor, as we disrobe from our mental clothes? How would it be if we became notorious for breaking the social rules that have held us emotional hostages for far too long? Just how would that be …?
Before I outline a simple process for helping to achieve this, there’s something I want you to know about me. I’ve done some of the toughest physical work on the planet. I’ve bent my back labouring on building sites in mid-winter gales and the burning sun of summer. I’ve dug six-foot deep graves in the pouring rain with only a pick and shovel. And in ice and snow I’ve hauled fair-sized trees out of the forest with my bare hands. I’ve done the macho thing.
But all that pales into insignificance compared to the strength I’ve had to find within myself to make the emotional hero’s journey that befalls us men today.
Most people, in my observation, are terrified of looking inside themselves. This is true of both men and women but it’s the men who struggle most. Men generally would rather push away challenging emotions than look them in the eye, and walk into them in the way our ancestors faced down sabre-tooths.
I believe that that by far the most challenging adventure for us men today is to learn to fully feel our emotions. The challenge is to come out of our heads and begin to feel more deeply into our bodies. To learn to express our most intimate thoughts and emotions – to other men and to our womenfolk – is our hero’s journey.
I believe we are living through the emotional equivalent of the Wild West. It’s a frontier where no one quite knows the rules, if indeed there are any rules to be found.
This frontier requires men with a warrior spirit. I don’t mean going into forests and beating our chests and whatever. Although if that kind of thing does it for you, go for it. No, I’m talking about the warrior spirit of the man who is willing to look deep inside himself, to inspect the darkest places in his mind where few dare to tread.
This is today’s wild frontier. It is not in the external world, not in space nor in the depths of the oceans, but is inside everyone one of us.
It is a challenge greater than that of climbing mountains or driving racecars or whatever your adventure of choice may be. It is a quiet, largely unseen stage that this hero’s journey is enacted upon.
Few of us will gain any applause or public acclaim for making this journey. The drama of derring-do is not this way. Most of our great battles will be fought and won without the world knowing. There will likely be no shouting headlines for these heroes.
But some will know of our inner successes and triumphs. Some of our more aware male friends will see the calm courage in our eyes and hear the newfound spirit in our voices. They will respect us, often without fully knowing why. It will be a feeling they have that in us a new breed of man is being born. They will feel our warrior spirit of emotional strength only rarely seen in the world until now, in those great figures of history who lived to the beat of their own drum of truth.
Women will know us. For millennia, our women have been aching for the birth of real men. Their hearts have been yearning for the arrival of men of emotional integrity and strength who can meet them. Who can see them. Yes, my fellow heroes, women will see us and respond to our courage and our ability to fully and deeply love them.
The pain men feel in relationship with women can be devastating, even overwhelming. Because of the intensity of our feelings, and our need to keep on top of our responsibilities that we have in the world as men, we often suppress our emotions. This leads many women to think that men don’t feel at all. The truth is we do feel, and we do get emotionally hurt, at least as much as do women.
In the following steps I outline the essence of what it takes to be an emotional warrior, beyond all mental techniques, beyond all goal orientation, and beyond all structures and plans.
5 Simple Steps to Emotional Freedom
1. As best you can, allow the emotional pain to surface. Just allow it to come and welcome it into your awareness.
2. Notice whereabouts in your body you feel it most. Then, in your awareness be with the feeling as best you can. Simply keep it company without doing anything to it, or trying to get rid of it, change it, or fix it.
3. Allow any thoughts, including memories, judgments, and beliefs, to surface as well. Simply allow them to come, to stay, or go as they will. Know that you don’t have to do a single thing with them.
4. Then simply feel into the heart, the very center of the pain. Dive into it with full awareness as if you were diving into a swimming pool or the sea. As you sink into the depths of the ocean of suffering, feel through the pain to the gentle peace that is alive and waiting for you just the other side of the veil. And yes, it does take courage to face that which less noble men run away from.
5. When you have some feeling of peace, simply rest and savour it. Again, just do this as best you can. Even if you feel only a tiny bit of peace, savour and give thanks for this tiny bit. It will grow through the law that what you give attention to naturally increases.
Continue this practice whenever pain arises. It’s what I call “diving into the deep story of your emotionally intelligent body”. And it’s at the heart of my book, Break Out of Your Mind.
Each time you dive into the pain in this way the emotional energy charge will lessen. Sometimes only one session is required. Sometimes several will be needed, especially if the pain has been around for a considerable time and has become entrenched. But one day you will notice that what once seemed a huge emotional challenge is now such a small thing, or doesn’t exist at all.
You will awaken one day, free from your emotional pain and from your fear of pain. You will be the most fortunate of men, for you will be free to – to quote Steppenwolfs’ “Born to be Wild” – take the world in a love embrace …
You will have made a truly heroic journey.
Please note: If you are experiencing any form of psychiatric illness, or are in therapy for any emotional disorder, or feel in any way unsure of the wisdom of using this process, please consult with a fully qualified medical professional first. Under no circumstances discontinue medical or therapeutic treatment unless under supervision of your doctor.
Photo: Flickr/Psycho Al