Author: Advisor to Men

GRIEVING LOST LOVE


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Regrets? I’ve had a few…
After a breakup, it’s almost certain we will find ourselves a little sad. For some of us, it’s a process akin to grieving. Should you show sadness, concerned friends might inform you of the stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. “Grieve!” they will tell you with the best of intentions. I’m not so sure. Kubler-Ross’s five stages were developed from her observations of people struggling to accept terminal illness. Only later was the paradigm applied to grief and eventually, to any general loss.

Fact is, loss is not a one-size-fits-all process. While important to consider if you get stuck, there is no rule which says you must pass through all or any of these stages to regain your sense of self. On the contrary, many people are liberated after a breakup, reveling in their newfound freedom, even asking why they didn’t do it sooner. Others have their whole model of the world shattered and require time and work to find their footing again.

New interpretations of the 5 stages of grief emerge every so often. One with good keywords shows up in search as the 7 Stages of Grief. These include 1. Shock and denial; 2. Pain and Guilt; 3. Anger and Bargaining; 4. Reflection, Loneliness and Depression; 5. The Upward Turn; 6. Reconstruction; and 7. Acceptance and Hope.  I suppose these seek to expand the stages to include wider loss by adding key ideas about the moment we might turn things around as well as the work involved in rebuilding a life after loss. I like the expectations in these, they seem familiar.

In some respects, this is a variation of the Hero’s Journey, which also follows a predictable pattern. Derived from extensive research by the symbolist Joseph Campbell adding to the work of CG Jung and others, we go through a series of these Hero’s Journey’s as we live our lives, usually in these predictable steps.
1. Hero confronted
2. Rejects challenge
3. Accepts challenge
4. Road of Trials
5. Gathers Allies and gains power
6. Confronts evil and is defeated
7. Dark Night of the Soul
8. Leap of Faith
9. Confronts evil and is victorious
10. Student becomes Teacher

The Hero’s Journey always means transcending ourselves for someone else or for a greater good. A sure way for women to do this is to give birth, whereas outside of war, men must find other means of moving & growing through its challenges. That could mean college or university, joining the marines, training for a charity marathon, moving cities or taking on a new job somewhere. I say breakups are one of those ways.

Let me give you another perspective: we exist in each other. The idea that you and your loved ones are separate entities is an inadequate way to describe human existence. It’s far more likely that our attachment to each other encompasses more than just a physical safe haven we return to. It also involves a much deeper connection at the soul and spirit level, and more obviously using intellect and memory.

Think of a pod of dolphins. Evolving in the ocean for fifty million years, they are said to have a greater paralimbic system—the emotional part of the brain. One dolphin hits the beach and suddenly, the rest of the pod follows suit. The good citizens in the area rush to the seashore to “rescue” the dolphins from the horror of beaching. And what happens? Sometimes a freed whale or dolphin swims merrily back out to sea. Often though, if one dolphin is still on the beach, the others simply beach again, over and over, to everyone’s frustration. It’s as if they must as one pod; it’s as if they exist in each other.

Every close relationship we have with another person means part of that person is “left” with us, just as we leave part of ourselves with them. I find myself saying and doing things like my father and mother did when they were alive.

When my son shits his pants out back a couple of years ago after being at the top of the chokecherry tree and not being able to get down on time to go, I knew exactly how to handle it with kindness, patience and generosity. Why? Because my father had done the same for me more than half a century before when I was about four or so and had an accident out in front of the house in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In fact, it’s my first memory of my dad, one of a half dozen or so I’ve never forgotten. Confronted that day with my boy’s dilemma, it was not me but my father who answered.

This is what happens when we love someone and lose them in whichever manner. My father died a couple of weeks ago, surrounded by sons and daughters, he went with his hand held just the same way as he had held his own father’s hand back in 1990 near the same spot in the veteran’s home. Where I exist in my father was put into doubt. This could sustain my grief longer as the existential question, “where is that part of me now?” remains open and unresolved.

One’s beliefs play a part in how loss is maintained. It’s the idea a part of me “over there” (in the other person) is now unknown… whereas it WAS known until recently. Religious faith can take advantage of metaphors like heaven and earth, purgatory, or reincarnation to lessen our pain. An aspect of this dynamic is present in any loss. In a breakup especially, it is as if the other person is leaving with a part of you. Absent the metaphors of religion, how do you handle it?

In the case of loved one’s death we welcome this idea of existing in each other as comforting, for they are never really gone. Their influence and the memories of our shared existence echoes endlessly down through time in those left behind. When I shut my car doors with the kids strapped in their car seats, I say, “watch your fingers, watch your toes, canteen open, canteen close,” the rhyme dad learned on the ships in the navy and which he said before slamming the car doors of his 1967 Pontiac Parisienne loaded with his nine kids all those years so long ago.

And what of the other half of that equation? If we exist in each other and she has left with part of me, that means she has also left part of her behind. Now you might be thinking, “that’s my problem!” and you’d be partially right. Can we realistically excise a part of another from our soul once it has been placed there by love? It’s unlikely.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

If the soul is the epigenetic influences upon your ancestral DNA passed along through methyl groups and added to your emotional experiences since birth, then contrasted against humanity’s collective unconscious, the spirit is its calling. Lifted at sunrises, at the stars, at nature, and sometimes at each other, the spirit is an action which often awakens awe within us. It is a deep stirring, an indomitable will to live, a creative calling to serve the universe with the gifts of your unique potentials and possibilities.

In that context, what should you do with this part of you left behind by your former lover? Should you poison your own spirit out of fear and loathing? Should you deny the lessons learned and the love once shared? To toss the whole of it is to cut of your nose to spite your face. You were once good together, that changed. Lessons learned.

The problem is often one of self-concept. That’s comprised of how you see yourself contrasted against how you believe others see you. You play a balancing act between those two most of your life as a social animal. To do the work is to rebuild the self-concept so that it is once again imbued with confidence. Both parts are under our locus of control.

Everyone one of my long-term relationships left me something beautiful. It’s up to me to find this wisdom and claim it as my own. From Sylvia and Claire to Marie as teenager and young man, and as a mature (debatable) adult with Debbie and the many women in between, each of whom I trusted and was vulnerable with to the best of my ability, each of whom taught me to be a better man than I was with her, each of whom sent me forward to be more.

Currently, missus gets the best version of me though I’m not done yet, not by far. And, neither should you be.

If we are not expanding into the night and days of our travel through time, we are stagnating or retreating. A man using his power in service of himself and others finds meaning and freedom.  What is love but an internal projection, a part of self projected outward onto other as if they were a tableau upon which you are laid bare. Think of that for a moment.

Like two comets streaking across the sky at night, you and your ex’s orbits were just sufficiently different to ensure your eventual separation. Blame physics if you must.  It doesn’t have to be anyone’s fault unless the pain of your regret serves you in some way, perhaps by letting you know that to feel hurt is to be alive, to suffer is to exist. I am reminded pain is inevitable in life, though suffering is usually a choice.  Be careful of that one.

What if we haven’t lost love at all, but instead, have been given the opportunity to find a deeper love within us? Unshackled from unsustainable confinement, insecure attachments can next become secure. Now you get to check in with the soul and answer the spirit, and to rebuild your self-concept in a version of your choosing.

What if you exist to learn to  love and give? What if living IS giving? What if this your Hero’s Journey, your pain a Dark Night of the Soul awaiting its Leap of Faith? How will you rebuild even better than before?

Find it early, find it late, we must all find love.

Stay powerful, never give up,
cw

©2019 CKWallace, all rights reserved

Christopher K Wallace
Advisor to Men, Mentor at Large

Reach me here for a free call

MOTH TO FLAME: orgasmic love

One of the things I espouse is the idea men are often hampered by expectations around the subject of love. Particularly, I see unconditional love as a myth unintentionally perpetuated mostly by women in the normal course of providing care and attention to their children.

The child fully buys into the idea of mom’s unlimited love as a survival-based strategy. Bonding with mom could mean the difference between life and death. She answers the child’s every cry, nourishing from her breast while expectations for her attention become unconditional in the child.

The connection to the mother is so fundamentally etched into the youngster’s psyche that his growing world revolves around her attention. Understood, accepted and encouraged in children, anything more than remnants of this force is suspicious and pathetic in an adult male.

The sooner a man can disabuse himself from the expectation of unconditional love, the faster and more assured will be his ascent into manhood. This separation is painful and tends to be avoided but must happen. Define manhood, or even adulthood, however you like but it must include a goodly measure of autonomy from reliance on family of origin programming, the mother’s influence especially.

A man who does not do this will search for his mother’s love in his partners. You will still find something of your parents in those you choose in life, that’s the depth of their influence.  The people we love are simply a tableau upon which we project our inner needs and desires. Beware of expecting unconditional love.

What about love in general? It’s defined down through the ages by poets and scientists to great writers and ordinary individuals.  Oliver Wendell Holmes said that love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness. While others say love is an exquisite adaptation, a coping mechanism that ensures species survival.

I say it’s an almost useless concept in your relationship. Men should be aware of its power and give a nod to its existence, but not much more. It’s too vague, too immeasurable, too prone to illusory definitions rooted in personal history to be of much use as a guiding force in your marriage.

Concede love describes attachment and leave it at that. Take it off the shelf and give it a poetic turn now and again, but not for day to day utility. Instead, use lust as your measure. Each of us is possessed with anima/animus, the influences of each sex; love is the anima, the feminine, while lust is the animus, the masculine.

Stephen Porges speaks of a love code, saying it has two parts: “Phase one is social engagement, which uses cues of safety via engagement behaviors to negotiate proximity. Phase two deals with physical contact and intimacy.” (Porges, Stephen W. The Pocket Guide to the Polyvagal Theory: The Transformative Power of Feeling Safe p. 123. W. W. Norton & Company, New York).

So, phase one: presence, phase two: physical intimacy. I don’t know if you can extrapolate from this to the attachment questions suggested by Prof Sue Johnson: “Are you there? Are you with me?” Truth is, these two forces—connect and contact—are the essential elements of love.

In the Kinsey Institute New Report on Sex (Reinisch, St Martin’s Press, 1990. p. 76.) Dr. John Bancroft of the Centre for Reproductive Biology in Edinburgh, Scotland, speculates the non-reproductive functions of sex include strengthening of the pair-bonding, fostering of intimacy between partners, providing pleasure, bolstering self-esteem and reducing tensions and anxiety. No kidding John.

Masters and Johnson write about a person’s readiness for love whereas author Dr. Reinisch thinks this is worth expanding further to the idea of a readiness for sex. Now, we are getting somewhere.

Consider women’s sexual peak is later than men’s, and by a far margin. The report says, “Most men in adolescence and young adulthood report more frequent orgasms than do older men from all sources, including nocturnal emissions, masturbation and intercourse… On the other hand, women experience their highest number of orgasms from their mid-twenties to their mid-forties.” So, why would that be?

In my view, given these years are smack dab in the middle of her pair-bonding days, and she’s likely long with child if it’s destined to be so, we ought to realize female orgasm is less about reproduction and more about intimate attachment. Same with men.  Each ejaculate has from 40 to 1.2 billion sperm. At just once per day, the math for procreative possibilities in a year are mind-boggling. Fuhgeddaboudit.

Remarkably, a woman’s ovulation period is 12 to 24 hours once per month. Yet, she can blow her stones every day of the week all year long at any hour she chooses. Why would nature give her that ability for just 12 hours ovulation 12 times per year? Or, 12 days out of 365?  At 3%, something doesn’t add up.

I think the reproductive aspects of sex between adults is a minor function embedded in intimacy which primarily uses orgasms as its bonding agent.

It’s about the orgasms. OK, I’ll go further and suggest sperm is the glue which holds us together. And, that’s not even considering sperm as nutrition, with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and which may also play a role in mitigating a woman’s anxiety and depression. Come on.

Also, just think of what that means, to have an orgasm in front of someone. Usually stripped naked, the body and its every crevice is exposed so that your partner has full access. You lack weapons or protection: no armour or shield, nor a dagger hiding under your cloak or fur. Caution is thrown to the wind.

There is no hiding during orgasms, it’s a surrender to each other. The abandon of orgasm sends your face into contortions of pleasure where you must risk your partner’s glances. Only she sees you this way, just as only you see her.

For me, if a woman doesn’t make good faces when she’s coming, there is no hope for us. Her smell and climaxing facial expressions are what determine if we shall meet again unclothed. If she shudders during the moment, even better. I have no idea where this comes from in me, seems shallow but it’s real.

Think of the moment of orgasm and its inherent temporary loss of control. Who “stands on guard for thee” while you engage in your moment of bliss? Of course, your companion does. We do it to and for each other.

What is she first… this woman you profess to love? Is she first a mother? a worker? a businesswoman? a friend to her gal pals? an advocate for your children’s education? a community member? a churchgoer? All these and more I’m sure.

But she is first a sexual human being. This is her essence and no amount of time or bearing of children changes this essential fact. She is sexual, treat her so.

What of it that her best fertility years are two decades between 15 and 35, though her best orgasm years go another decade or more far beyond? What does this say? When you consider living to 50 years was a full lifespan until a couple of hundred years ago, it means she gets hornier as she ages.

Orgasms equal trust. When we have regular orgasms with someone, we trust them. Orgasms between a couple are the ultimate physical manifestation of “are you there? are you with me?” the two essential ingredients to attachment. As I like to say, “without trust, you’ve got nothing.”

My mother had ten pregnancies in twelve years producing nine children. My sister moved into my parent’s basement suite when the old folks were nearing their eighth decade in age so she could keep an eye on them. Every Friday night my dad tiptoed into my mother’s room and they were intimate; she could hear them. They went like this until ma got cancer at 85. Dad died recently but he could still get his dick hard from what the staff at the old folks’ home told us.

The need for sexual touch never leaves us. We are always down to let our partners play with our balls and to fondle her pussy. It’s the grand and not-so-secret privilege and submission we each accord other… and it never goes away.

My woman will “service me” when she’s not up to a full copulation. I often “service her” in the mornings when I’m half asleep and she’s… well, just lying there. The point is that quickie orgasms between a couple are one of the easiest ways to ensure and protect your intimacy bond. “It is I who has access,” it says.

So, how do you swing this with your woman? You need to negotiate it. It’s either that you assume the sale at the beginning and secure her agreement, that this part of you never shall wane, or you need to kick start it now. Men lead; women command.

What if there are children? More reason to set this tone outright or reclaim it.

When the airline attendant does a pre-flight address, they announce something like, “In the event of a loss in cabin pressure, masks will fall from the ceiling in front of your seat. Please ensure you put on your mask first before attending to small children.” This is a good simile for the mindset you need regarding you, missus and the kids. Parents need to put themselves first. It’s the pair-bond that must hold priority, for without it the children are imperiled.

The best thing you can do for the children is stay together. The best thing you can do for yourselves is to live harmoniously putting your marriage and relationship first. Orgasms are like insurance against divorce. Rare is it we leave someone who is giving out regular orgasms. Orgasms also act as an attachment barometer.

I encourage you to have this discussion, to tell your woman some of what is contained within this essay. See if you can get her to agree to make your physical life together a priority. Over the years have found most women who embrace this are quite good with it, feeling as salty and as earthy as nature intended.

I flirt endlessly with my gal careful to never appear needy. The idea is to sell her on our differences. She can express herself verbally and perhaps get her nurturance needs through her girlfriends and the caring of children and in some cases, elderly parents. You admire the scope of her emotional life but share no such tendency of your own.

Instead, like many things about men, you are rather unidirectional. It’s one of your great masculine gifts, the ability to concentrate on one task to the detriment of all other distractions. You also are less hampered by needs for emotional regulation compared to women. We express ourselves physically, and our lust is its primary manifestation. Can she feel lucky she is the object of your desire?

Never let a man leave the house hungry or horny, says the maxim. Plenty of truth to this one for sure. Everyone likes to be someone’s chosen.

And what of the silly notion she’s always vying for a higher status male? She bet on you when you had nothing, putting the lie to this idea. Only if forced she’d choose in her best interests because she could. Should she not? Trust me, be her powerful man and her preference is to stay put. Why? Because people will do almost anything to appear consistent. You are the devil she knows. Give her orgasms, you devil.

Ideally, even when she’s not up for immediate action she may circle back and take care of you both at some point later. Usually that day or the next. You do a version of the same. You neither pout, nor sulk, nor ever, ever beg. It’s like sleep makes diet and exercise healthful… and orgasms make marriages work. She understands this because there is a part of her that needs it too.

So, it’s a question of mindset. Your woman can understand this precious gift between you needs to be maintained with regular orgasms. It’s how men express themselves and we don’t have a woman’s depth to do it otherwise. Don’t you dare let anyone shame you into believing this is somehow selfish or wrong. Nonsense. That’s an argument begging rebuttal, to be met with unapologetic masculine desire.

I’d urge you to pick your time and have this frank discussion and make sure these desires are not left unmet. Insert orgasms somewhere in your vows, either outright or as a secret word to signal your intent with each other. “In the name of God/The Universe, I, (groom/bride’s name), take you, (groom/bride’s name), to be my (husband/wife), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish by providing endless orgasms, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”

What if you have a fight? “Don’t touch me!” might be yours or her reaction. You need an understanding this could happen. Make a deal right now that reconciliation is sealed with an orgasm. Better still, let it be known that each may turn to the other for reassurance at any time and request proof of commitment, sealed not with vague notions of love, but specifically with orgasms. Are you with me?

I have been with missus thirteen years and we have two children, boy six and girl eight. The boy has some medical challenges and she is often up two or three times in the night to attend to him in the next room. She has the same hormonal fluctuations and spotting between periods and horrible cramps as any gal. Outside of more serious sickness, we give each other orgasms.

Because I treat her first as a sexual human being, that honeymoon period people refer to at the beginning of a relationship has scarcely ended. I’m always after her ass. I flirt with her constantly, encouraged by her intermittent reinforcement in the way of attention and access to her body. My father said of his wife that he was like “a moth to flame” around her for their sixty-two years together. He always wanted her, right to the end.

Let me tell you again: everybody loves to feel like they are someone’s chosen. Everybody. You, me, everyone. No exceptions.

Your job is to her powerful man, and she your loyal woman. That’s the dynamic.

Do not apologize for being male (unless it gets you an orgasm) and never deny your masculinity. Just as you appreciate her feminine gifts and all the ways she enhances both of your lives, insist your masculine energy be equally respected so the two of you may celebrate while rejoicing in the safe haven you have found in each other.

As a man ages he gains wisdom and may discover the profound connectivity of everything around him. Your appreciation for art, literature, music, nature and things ethereal may know no bounds. Compassion expands along with it: find it early, find it late, we must all find love.  You may realize the universe does not make mistakes and we are as we should be, including our sexual expression. May your private moments with your partner help you see the awe in each other.

Put lust first and let love take care of itself.

Stay powerful, never give up
cw

©2109 CKWallace all rights reserved

Dedicated to Lt. Cmdr (ret) Howard C Wallace, 1929-2019, R.I.P

Christopher K Wallace
Advisor to Men, Mentor at Large

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SHAME FREE

One of the things which plagued me for many years is a sense of personal shame. I don’t mean ordinary shame, the kind you get from using poor table manners or coughing without covering your mouth. Those slight corrections by adults are necessary and acceptable.

Nope, I mean a different kind of shame, stronger in intent and effect. It’s a shame deeply internalized stemming from the messages from those around you, one that says you are broken, perhaps irretrievably. You haven’t simply made a mistake, it’s your operating system which is instead called into question. It makes you the odd one out, the black sheep, tossed aside as part of the cost of doing business in the family making model. In my later years, I framed this contention in the worst possible terms, often referring to it as my “piece of shit” shame. Pain does that.

You see, I felt broken most of my life starting early. My time as a child was not a happy one. When I protested whatever conditions were at the crux of my toddler discontent, ma would laugh. I would say, “it’s not funny ma,” which to her became cute, as if “it’s not funny, ma” was an endearing slogan representing my youthful self assertion. Melancholic disaffection is evident in the recent photo I posted of myself as a wee boy with dad and a few siblings. Misery abound has followed me since.

As it is with so much family of origin programming, into the world at large I went after first finding, confirming, and compounding my worthlessness at home. That day at 15, when father told me there wasn’t room for two roosters under one roof, where I was tossed into the cold October with a weekly stipend of $10 each Wednesday until my sixteenth birthday a month or so away, was simply an inevitable confirmation of my low worth.

I was born a 9 pound and 10 ounce baby and given the name of the Christ-bearer. It was to become my modus operandi: weighted by sin and accumulating more. I went from fat baby to Little Chrissie, a nickname given to me by my older sister and mother. It was only later I returned to Christopher, with stops as The Wolf, The Shooter, The Doctor, The Professor, Wallypops and more along the way. Little Chrissie still resides somewhere… in here.

All of us are born with a soul and a spirit. We can’t measure them, but we know they are there. We have an inkling, and both forces operate beneath the surfaces of our awareness while we are nagged at by each in turn. To deny them as unscientific nonsense is to turn your back on a fundamental part of the self.

When searching for answers, cutting off access to even these ethereal parts of existence is like going into battle with less ammunition instead of more. Everyday life can be as blissful as it is painful, and confusion is a necessary part of our maturation. Life gets better when we get better at life, and an appreciation for soul and spirit is another aspect of personal mastery.

I conceptualize the soul as ancestral epigenetic influences passed down through the methyl groups of my DNA mixed with mankind’s collective unconscious. We know both exist, quantified by recent advances in psychology in the first case and the seminal works of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell and others in the latter. Grandmother’s hardships are felt for generations despite completely different conditions. Holocaust survivors pass along their pain soulfully to their children and beyond. Alcoholism runs in families.

The same symbols arise over and over in mythology and religions around the world, often despite no known contact between cultures continents apart. Even my father while writing his own obituary, felt a pull to include a paragraph about his founding immigrant to Canada and the generations since, as if he knew to pay homage to his soulful self alongside his lived life.

It might be better to understand these things by asking just how much awareness we have in the first place. We know the unconscious exists. Action potential in brain firing neurons has already shown we live emotionally and interpret events later. Sperry’s split-brain research a half century ago, continued by his student Gazzaniga and followed by advances in cognitive understanding by Nobel winner Kahneman and added to by Ariely and others cumulatively shows we are mostly deterministic.

Consciousness is slow which confirms an unconscious. When something comes into awareness it has already happened, then we scramble to explain it. Jung would tell us the psyche is buried by the self trying to learn to conform and then buried further because of the personae (masks) we wear in our various roles co-existing among each other during everyday life. It is anyone’s guess as to how large the unconscious is. It might be awareness is 20%, another 20-30% is your personal subconscious, and fully 50% might be collective unconscious. No one knows for sure.

Whatever it be, it’s more than we think. We are all born with a sense of justice. That’s collective unconscious. We are all afraid of the dark. That’s collective unconscious. We come into this world afraid of heights. That’s collective unconscious. Children who have never seen a snake will naturally fear them. That’s collective unconscious.

Suffice it to say there is a part of us which, while immeasurable and mysterious, is no less real. Should we have occasion to be far out in the desert, away from city lights, or perhaps up North in Canada’s arboreal forest, looking up at the night sky will reveal the Milky Way in all its glory. Whose spirit is not lifted in awe at this wondrous sight? What of a sunrise with its first blinding brilliance as it cracks the horizon to the East? Who cannot but feel their spirit stir at such a sight? Great art, music and natural wonders are just some of the ways the spirit appears in us.

Whereas the soul represents some essential part of our now and includes our past, the spirit begs us to add to our soul in the present, but also future expressions of all the potential and possibilities unmistakably bestowed upon us by a universe of infinite wisdom at the very moment of our conception. We see time and time again how the spirit rises in people, how they come back from adversity and confusion only to find their way forward, often beautifully.

I rarely shed tears, and funerals and the death of loved ones only stirs me to attend to the necessary at hand, perhaps as a way of mitigating my pain. But give me an overcoming, show me the undaunted human spirit and I am more surely moved. The underdog story, the impossible triumph occurring when people reach somewhere inside for the spirit’s calling and answer, fills me with an awe attributable only to a collective soul, the part of me that is also a part of you.

Potentials and possibilities, this is what the spirit whispers… Perhaps it’s just a feeling of something more, something unheard, a nagging sense your destiny includes not only a duty to others, but also a duty to yourself. We must listen to hear; it’s how it works. And for that we need to feel safe, secure enough to bend down and put our ear to the ground, listening for the distant rumblings of soul and spirit galloping forward with their message of hope and faith, of aspirations and dreams not yet fulfilled.

What did they call you as a child? Who were you before conformity demanded you squelch the noise in you, turning you down for the sake of convenience? Well-intentioned I’m sure, it’s this imposition of civility upon the savage child which often sacrifices the spirit. We can find innocence and the purity of our imagination lost to rules and uneven punishments for being nothing more than children. If that was you, take my example.

Move to protect that part of you which still exists and needs you now more than ever. In my case, I speak to Little Chrissie and tell him he is not alone. He has Wally, older, wiser, more capable, resourceful, and especially, more powerful to look after him now. The fully mature Christopher can reassure this part of me and re-parent him the way I’d want to protect and reassure my own six-year-old son.

I might say, “I’ve got you Chrissie, I’m here now. No one can hurt you; I won’t allow it. I sense your unease and let me tell you: I’m bigger and stronger and more powerful, and I know all about what you are feeling. You have me on your side. You are safe with me Chrissie, you can come out now, the danger has long passed. It’s time to live your dreams once more. It’s time to fly, to shine, to rise up and do whatever it is you were intended to do. We are a team, you and me, an unstoppable team. Join with me now.” Chrissie listens, he was always a good listener.

Criticism is painful for the shamed. Yet, criticism has a gift as a signal for what needs to be done. Before I let Chrissie know I had his back, criticism stung and devastated, confirming once more my uselessness and waste. Now, I can see criticism as a barometer of my shame, allowing me to measure its dissipation from the inner world of my being. Aroused from its slumber, shame is instead acknowledged. I say, “Oh look, there’s my shame again. That’s what has got Chrissie’s attention but he’s safe here: it can’t hurt us anymore. I’m just going to let that go now…”

Soon criticism is as fine as a compliment, just feedback. Criticism does not speak to my soul nor my spirit for these are part of my inner self, exclusive to me, in my realm alone. It’s just an environmental report representing the reporter as much as any true reality. It’s like when I had a bad hair day in high school and suffered the embarrassment of my imperfections. At some point I realized that no one really cares about my hair, it was their hair they cared about. In the same way it is their criticism, and I only make it mine by choice, the same way I accept kindness. Both are only real when I make them so.

I wonder if you might have a talk with your younger self and see about reassuring them now. Maybe you won’t do that now but soon you will. When you do it’s likely you will find this relationship allows a dialogue to continue and become stronger. As the conversation ensues over the days and weeks and months, suddenly you will find its your spirit with whom you speak.

By making room to acknowledge your soul and nourish your spirit, a deeper strength begins to manifest itself in your life. This is the power of the ages. It’s the gift of your being, the indomitable spirit rising and living its destiny. Answers come more easily; the path forward more assured. A man who uses his power in service of himself and other finds meaning and freedom.

Not because you can, nor because it is something you want for yourself, while, of course, you do. No, not just that at all, for it is more, it is something you owe. By honouring your spirit’s pact with the universe you are set free.

Free at last: thank God almighty, free at last.

Stay powerful, never give up
cw

Christopher K Wallace
Advisor to Men, Mentor at Large
©2019 CKWallace, all rights reserved

Let’s talk about spirit or anything else in a free call here

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THE BODY

Feelings live in the body. Huh? Did I get your attention? It’s kind of an important idea.

Need proof? Well, for one thing we know trauma locks the “freeze” part of fight, flight, freeze and feint into the body. Take that as your “proof.” We can carry trauma in the body for the whole of our lives, can’t we?

I still get a sore back sometimes when I feel powerless in a situation. Hurts like hell, so bad I can sometimes have a hard time standing up. But… no pain, no bliss. Makes me want to ensure powerlessness is not a big part of my life.

Ever tell someone, “you give me a headache” or a version thereof? How about when mom said, “wait until your father gets home” as a little boy or girl? What happens when we anticipate punishment? Do our guts flip? Do our bowels move? Do our hands go cold and clammy?

Let me ask you: what are you doing to take care of that body of yours?

Are you lifting? What? Weights are only for guys? Think again. Humans—both men and women—have lifted heavy objects throughout our history just as a matter of course. Don’t let the last hundred years fool you. We are still the people our collective evolution made. If you are not presently lifting, start there, and never stop. Never.

What about yoga? That’s just for girls? Give your head a shake. Men have been involved in yoga from the beginning, haven’t they?  Look at those swami guys in loincloths bending and twisting. I bet they sleep like babies at night. Fallen out of practice? Restart or continue, and never stop.

Late comedian George Burns did the 11-minute 5BX system every day and lived to 100.

Perhaps you have convinced yourself the body is somehow separate from your mind. That it’s just there to transport you around. Maybe you think it’s sort of the engine room and sewage infrastructure of your being and can somewhat be taken for granted.

After all, the body is beneath you, right? Not a great idea (did I just write that?)

Disconnecting from the body is why we get out of shape, put lousy foods into our mouths, neglect our sleep. We can develop contempt for the body. Where is that from? Maybe from good intentions as we push ourselves physically as children, demanding more and more from our frame and then losing touch with our anatomy as ego takes over and social standing prevails. We go from a narrower internal focus and widen to a more external one as we develop.

Get this: if feelings live in the body, it’s also where your unhappiness resides. Think about that.

Whoa. Unhappiness is something we try to avoid. Is that why we avoid our body? Does this mean if I neglect my body, I am refusing to face my unhappiness? Maybe. You decide.

Let’s talk about those feelings for a moment. How’s that all work anyway?

Feelings are predictive (not reactive) responses based on what is going on in the body (interoception). The vagus nerve complex connects the body and organs to the brain and reports on its condition faster than awareness. Sure, the brain signals the body but when it comes to the vagus—also known as the tenth cranial nerve—more than 80% of its neurons are afferent, meaning they signal towards the brain. That’s a lopsided signalling system for good reason

At any given moment, this basic reporting from below is what the brain uses to predictively meet circumstance and put you in a best-guess emotional state—beneath your awareness—all based on your databank of prior emotional states since birth (what else would it have to go on?). It then corrects after-the-fact according to the social reality before you

Ex. You come home and are snappy at a roommate. Later you eat and realize you were responding to hunger because you had not eaten all day. The body determined your state.

Think about this: A baby has very few feelings, restricted to things like crying when hungry, discomfort when it needs changing, or the need for its caretaker’s gaze and physical attention.  But as its experience grows so does its feelings repertoire. What this means for you and me is this: the only way to create new feelings is to live new experiences.

If you want to shift your state change how you think or what you do. Language and focus are both mental and physical so act as passkeys to unlock the doors of state from either side.

The body is faster. And, more lasting. If someone has an anxiety attack with their gullet flipping and breathing labored and progressively shallower, a painful knot can develop in the sternum area, that center part of the chest where the rib cages meet. Jogging brings relief in minutes.

Feeling a bit tense? Do ten burpees. Can’t do burpees? Why not? Don’t lie to me.

OK. Do ten deep knee bends, or some jumping jacks, or dance for fuck’s sake. Get moving. Even if it’s just to smile at yourself in a mirror. If desperate, bridle a pen across your mouth to force it and feel what happens.

Thoughts reflect what is happening in the body. What heresy is this, you say? How is this possible? The hungry example above explains it. It’s because consciousness is slow. If something comes into your awareness, it has already happened.

What? How can my precious mind not be in charge? Well, it is… and it isn’t.

It takes over once consciousness allows something into your awareness. Not before. That’s where free will starts. The rest of the time you are responding to your body’s needs, and those constitutional signals continue as you think. It’s why the Greek said an unexamined life is not worth living. He was probably a little pissed at realizing how things really worked.

We live emotionally and use our brains to “rationalize” things after. And whose side do you think the brain takes in most of those explanations? You betcha: yours. It’s your inherent bias.

And what is the brain relying on to come up with those handy explanations or rationalizations or excuses? Indeed, messages from the body. Messages whose main function is to keep you safe and which are all based on your prior experience. It’s motherfucking humbling…

I have more bad news. no one else has ever experienced life as you have, and so cannot feel what you feel. I know, I know, some people are em-paths, and maybe you’re not. I call bullshit.

Fact is empathy is always a projection of one person’s feelings onto another person. What we have as human beings is enough shared experiences between us to make it seem as if we really feel what someone else feels. But we don’t really. Some just try a little harder.

And all those times you just can’t seem to relate to someone else? Stop beating yourself up. It’s probably not that you’re an unfeeling psychopath (who are actually very good at what we regard as empathy and use their ability to read emotional states, especially body language and facial expressions, to manipulate people and circumstances for their own benefit).

It’s more like you just don’t have those kinds of experiences being shared and so can’t even fathom what they might be feeling. That is perfectly normal and so, cut yourself some slack.

Here`s something else that is pretty important about the body. Your microbiome. These include the bacteria, archaea, fungi, protists and viruses that come along for the ride. You’ve been colonized since coming down the birth canal and out your mother`s vagina, and then you’ve been adding to them throughout your lifetime.

Ten times as many non-human cells and human cells inhabit “you,” and these suckers need to eat as they perform necessary functions in one of the greatest symbiotic relationship known. They benefit humans and we can’t survive without them. We are only beginning to get them.

Knock out a bunch of them with antibiotics and your behaviour can change. A researcher from UBC had an assistant whose son was sick many times as a child. Antibiotics brought on autism-like symptoms. After a few years of frustration, she gave him a fecal-transplant, and repopulated his gut with her organisms. Symptoms went away. Now the kid has grown and works in the same lab as where his mom once did, under the same professor.

If you have a skinny sister and a fat sister, and the fat sister can’t seem to keep the weight off despite years of dieting, what would happen if the skinny sister gave the fat sister a fecal transplant? By repopulating her gut with missing microbiota, would she lose weight more easily?

What about mood. Think you crave certain foods in response to some mental process? Well, no, we’ve established that’s not how things work. The body will tell you when it needs glucose, we’ve established that too. But what if what if what you eat really does affect how you feel? What if how you feel is greatly influenced by the quality of your diet? What if how you take on the challenges of your life are largely determined by the foods you eat? We think it might.

Oh my, what if you really are what you eat? What will you do with this information?

You think you live someplace. You might even have an address on a street. Maybe you also have an apartment number, and maybe its got letters in it too. But that’s a construct. It’s artificial. It’s a place you go to when you need to park your stuff and pick up your mail or rest your head.

For where you really live is above a mere house or apartment or hut on the savannah or cabin in the woods. It’s much, much more for it is a place where the forces of all time have gathered.

It is where your ancestors used the methyl groups of your DNA to send you their gathered messages against a backdrop of mankind’s collective unconscious, thus giving you a soul. The soul exists because we sense it is there while the spirit is its calling. One is more past, one is more future; one is more static, the other moves.

The spirit is lifted at a sunrise, while gazing at the stars, at art and nature, often at each other. It’s also what calls to us, often as a stirring. The soul and the spirit form the inner self we subjugate as children developing ego while learning to conform. The masks we wear bury them further.

Yet, if we listen the spirit calls us from somewhere deep inside. Usually we point to our heart or guts or halfway between, somewhere inside the middle of our torso as its source.  It is the blessing of the cosmos in its infinite wisdom, the force behind the sun and the stars, the same one which gave us life and demands we manifest a powerful existence.

It is that part of you which contains all of your potentials and possibilities, all safely residing in the body: the universal address of your existence.

How will you get to know it, take care of it, listen to it and move it?

How about today?

Stay powerful, never give up
cw

Chris Wallace
©October, 2019, all rights reserved

Advisor to Men, Mentor at Large
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ckwallace.com

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IT WAS JUST PHYSICS (poem)

IT WAS JUST PHYSICS
I don’t know if I could have made my old relationship
work, even with what I know now. If I think I could,
it might be just simple hubris. And, another reason
to beat myself up, giving into shame, 
paralysing me with fear and loathing.

The other thing is accumulated pain,
over many years of troubled marriage
can put trust out of each other’s reach
for good. And, without trust,
you got nothing. Nothing.

I was so powerless, I could see it disappearing
before me, like sand through an hourglass.
Despite this, and my frequent protestations,
I was unable to reverse things, to turn the glass
sideways and stop the flow. It takes two.

While it is not for me to demand someone grows
at a pace I approve, on trust there’s no compromise.
That’s the litmus test. My two cents. More likely,
we were like two asteroids hurtling through space
on similar but slightly different trajectories.

It meant for a time we traveled side by side,
our energies cutting a double swath of light
through the dark of space and time, like
starship headlights perfectly aligned,
streaking across a darkened sky.

But, eventually, those differences in mass,
velocity and trajectory began to increase
the distance between us, try as we might
to maintain our intended cosmic track.
And, just as two orbiting bodies in space

each have their own path and destiny,
separation was inevitable, becoming
greater as time went by. Until
an irrefutable truth was revealed:
we are drifting further and further apart.

Following a universal plan we don’t need
to understand. In the end, we accept
the universe doesn’t make mistakes.
We always make the best decisions
for ourselves at any given time.

It wasn’t me or her at all.
It was just physics.

©CKWallace, 2019
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JUST ONE THING

JUST ONE THING: re-establishing devotion
Sometimes, it gets to the point between a man and a woman where she feels she can no longer rely upon him, and this is a problem. The pact she makes with the universe to choose the right guy is put into doubt.

This is especially true when a woman has children. This is her Hero’s Journey. For a woman to go through childbirth and create life is a situation that can only be called heroic. How many men can even fathom this?

A century ago, her risks of dying during childbirth were great. My great-grandmother died at age 40 giving birth to twins. For three days the women of Truro, Nova Scotia took turns sopping up blood with towels in shifts until she died. It affected generations of Wallace men. Women still die giving birth today.

We should never take for granted their struggle. And, once the kids are born, there are countless sleepless nights and diapers and suckling and it just goes on for years! My boy was born with some challenges and I can say he would not be alive today at almost six years old without my woman. She says he’s her little bear, and for now, he’s all hers and she is his. There will be time to make him King later.

Outside of war, it can be argued her challenge is as great as any man’s, maybe far more. How many men cry when the baby comes out after witnessing the birth of a son or daughter like the modern practice calls for? I didn’t, but I would not look down on any man who did. Fact is, mothers are heroes.

And her journey, like all Hero’s Journey’s involves subjugating her own existence for the sake of another’s. It’s a sacrifice in service of a greater good. Sound familiar? All the heroes do this down through time. A man who uses his power in service of himself and others finds meaning and freedom. You and I need to seek ways to do this. She only must have a baby.

Women are way ahead of us gentleman, in the nurturance and giving departments, by far. While it’s true they are also sexual human beings, if there is a man-child in the house, expect the resentment to build over time. She needs a powerful man, not a boy as a partner. Nice guys are boys. |

I was one, admittedly, and I wish I knew then what I know now. It may not have changed anything, but it might also have made ALL the difference in the world. I regret I’ll never find out because we let trust go too far, irretrievably far.

I can tell you this go around I am all man and she is happy… and shows it. I have earned her loyalty.

How to recover? Assuming there has been no cheating, where trust is fundamentally broken on both sides, is there a way back? Maybe. All she wants is a powerful man. She takes a HUGE risk on whichever man she chooses because she has twenty good years of fertility, and she spends most of those years caring for little ones so can’t prepare for old age like a man can.

Think there is nothing to the feminist rant about these things? Think again.

I’ve had guys see success using this simple strategy I’m about to share with you to regain their wife’s trust. It doesn’t always work but it’s a wonderful exercise, nonetheless. Get this, I use this at home every so often to mid things up and everything is going great. And don’t tell me you don’t want my life because I assure you that you do (your version of it).

Here’s what I think is worth a shot:

Guys start and first ask their wives, “what’s one thing I can do for you today?” and then do it. Doesn’t matter how small a thing, just get it done. Fix a drawer that gets stuck, repair a light, tile that needs cementing, a bike tire that is flat, drop off a parcel or pick up dry cleaning, whatever it is just do it. Doesn’t matter if it takes until five minutes to midnight, get it done. Then say nothing. NOTHING. ZERO. FUCK ALL. NOT A WORD.

Next day, one more thing. ONE THING and NO expectations, NO looking for points, NO pat on the head, NO sniffing for pussy or angling for compliments. NOTHING. If she says thanks, it’s “your welcome” and NO smile, NO lingering eye contact, just GO about your business.

You ask: “what’s one thing I can do for you?” and add it into your schedule. Don’t bat an eye.

Next day, one more thing. Just one. And it’s not, “is there anything I can do for you today?” because that’s a trap. It’s always, “what’s one thing I can do for you today?” Said just like that. Matter of fact, no emotion. Like you are asking her to pass the salt. Write it in your book, phone or schedule and be on your way.

SO now, you do it. You take care of your job, your gym time, your children, and your whatever else responsibilities, AND this one thing for her. Just one thing. That’s it, that’s all—no more, no less.

DO this for as long as it takes. JUST DO IT. Stop trying to predict the future. Stop trying to weight the pros and cons. Stop trying to balance fairness and make it transactional. STOP ALL THAT.

Just do the one mother fucking thing every day and forget about it. FUHGETABOUTIT…

Do it for a month. Do it for two months. Do it for three months. If she hasn’t kicked your sorry ass out of the house and you are still there in month four, do it all that month too.

I’m not saying this will work for you. I’m saying I’ve seen it work for dozens of men in my time. Not all, but some of them probably bullshitted as to if they did it perfectly or consistently… or at all.

A man who uses his power in service of himself and others finds meaning and freedom.

What part of that don’t you understand? It’s about service. Living is giving.

And the guys who do this find that their women respond. Not right away, she’s too smart for that. She’s been gamed before by the universe, most notably when she chose you. She needs a track record of service like she has a track record of service to her children. You are not one of her children, and that was the problem.

No woman can love a man unconditionally, and it’s best to disabuse yourself of this expectation for good. Oh, maybe she can muster it for a short time, but don’t get sucked in by this, not one bit. Your mother didn’t (bless her heart) love you unconditionally and neither can your woman.

We band together as man and woman for mutual need, to shore up each others’ weaknesses while benefiting from each other’s strengths. It’s about surviving against a harsh world. No one has time for white flags.

One of your strengths is supposed to be your power.  Her archetype for love is the powerful father. It’s a gal’s first love and she will never lose this need for the masculine’s powerful love. You were gamed by your mother’s love and it left you searching for her in your partner. My missus has some of my mother’s qualities, but can she love me like my mother could? Ha! Not my missus. Can’t happen. In fact, she loves me just as my mother did, conditionally disguised as unconditional but clearly conditional.

Don’t be fool.  The boy must leave his mother to become a man.

In time, the men who have consistently applied this strategy have reported good results. Some guys save their marriages. It’s because as they get lost in the daily habit of doing just that one thing for their partner, the joy of service to each other returns to the pair bond. That’s where the sacrifice lies. Would I die to save my woman from harm? Of course, I would, I’d easily defend her to the death!

Then, why wouldn’t I do one thing for her? Each day.

Sometimes a few days or weeks or months go by before she starts to respond. “Here, I sewed that shirt you ripped last year,” she says as she hands you a bundle of material and turns and walks away. That’s a test, a shit test if you like. Or maybe it’s something else, but her nature, her very nature is to nurture, for God’s sake. You think if you give her an opportunity to do what she is best at it won’t surface? Chances are it will.

Don’t count on it. If her one thing is “sign these divorce papers giving me the house,” see a lawyer. Don’t be stupid. Don’t jump off a bridge because someone told you to. You may have heard your mother tell you that.

But if you can re-establish service, you often can re-establish why you got together in the first place.

Almost 70% of things in a marriage are not resolvable. My wife hides shit. Changes where she puts stuff. Opens something and leaves everything right where she opened it. Used to drive me nuts. She couldn’t take a picture of me and the kids worth saving. And, the house was not up to my standards. It’s not that I’m Felix from the Odd Couple, but I like stuff to go where it’s supposed to go, so I can find it again.

So, I bought her an expensive camera for Christmas one year. She’s frugal. What does she do? She opens a photography business and learns to take pictures. We live on two hundred acres and soon she has people over posing in front of our artisan well, the apple blossoms in spring, the old rail fences, etc. Her goal was to pay for the camera. She’s been at it for three years now and has added to her income every season. Camera has paid for itself twenty times over, and it was a gift! She takes great pictures of me and the kids now. She’s a whiz at photoshop.

Once the kids were in school, she searched for something she could do, yet still be able to cancel at any time. She tried having daycare kids over last summer but didn’t like it. One kid was a handful and despite my help at times when he acted up, she lost her taste for it.

She starts cleaning houses for $25-30 bucks an hour. I shut up, remembering what happened with the camera. Holy shit, wouldn’t you know it, not only was her calendar full of happy customers, it shows at home where she elevated her game and lowered her tolerance by several degrees. I just stay out of her way and never complain about her approach.

She still hides my shit though. “You can’t always get what you want,” goes the Rolling Stone’s song, “but if you try sometimes, you will find, you get what you need.” Indeed.

We train each other. And the magic is in having a little more awe for our partners. Awe, that sense of being small in front of the stars, or the majesty of a mountain, the distance of the sea. A man with a loyal woman by his side has the wind at his back… but must stay out in front of her to feel it. Holding space in your heart for awe when it comes to your partner is part of what makes it all worthwhile.

Just do one thing, selflessly. Women command, men lead. Do it because you can. Not because you have to, not for any reason other than you are a man and you can do this one thing every day for this woman.

It’s what men do.

Stay powerful, never give up
cw

CHRIS WALLACE
Advisor to Men

©CKWallace July, 2019 all rights reserved
Book time with the Advisor to Men here

ASSHOLE: accepting criticism


  1. So, I once knew a guy, we’ll call him Bill, and as he’s growing up, all kinds of shit goes on leaving him living with shame. Dad hits him often, told him how “disappointed”  he was with him almost every day. Seems like the only time he got attention from his mom was when things went wrong.  Only, he doesn’t know this lousy feeling inside of him is shame because he has internalized things so deeply, he thinks it must be the same for everyone.

It’s funny how that works, but how could it not? “I’m a human, you’re a human, we must be the same,” is a fair conclusion to make. “If I feel this then you must feel this and so this is how we all feel,”  is how a kid might think under the circumstances.

He doesn’t pay much attention to life and how it seems kind of shitty. There always seems to be someone telling him no, or some good reason he can’t get what he wants, usually because he comes up short somehow. It’s him, he knows it, and he gets the message loud and clear, over and over. You are not enough, it says.

This pisses him off. He sees others who do seem to get the things he wants and wonders if there is something  to gaming the system. He starts to compare more and more, and he concludes there is no justice between men. It`s all who you know in life, what your connections are, luck of your family.

In fact, his sense of injustice is so great, as time goes by and he develops into a teenager, he begins to fight back. Only now, his body and mind are greater allies. He has muscles and his brain can spot the bullshit faster than ever. When the inevitable criticisms come his way, he doesn’t take it anymore.


The first time was when someone called him an asshole. It was high school by the smoking pit with no teachers around. Boom ba-ding bing bang! He punched the shit out of that person and felt great about it.

Soon, he got a reputation. No one talked to him that way and got away with it. He had no real friends and the interactions he had with others were mostly utilitarian. He could sense people were a bit afraid of him, but he thought that respect was better than being mistreated. His isolation was worth it.

Soon enough, Bill was out in the workforce and he had to negotiate a new set of circumstances. He often found himself drinking with others on Friday after payday and felt great laughing and joking with people while having a few. He managed to find a girlfriend this way. That relationship was difficult and his anger a problem between them. But they loved to drink and lose it at the bar.

Until, inevitably, someone there would call him an asshole. Boom ba-ding bing bang! Off he’d go and punch someone out. Soon, the cops would come, he’d be charged with assault, taken away in cuffs.

At work, he’d be criticized for his performance and argue with his foreman about every little thing he was supposedly doing wrong. He thought they demanded way too much and just didn’t like him. The foreman was the asshole, he thought. Until, one day they gave him his pay and told him not to come back.

At the bar that night, a repeat of what happened months before at a different bar. A fight broke out, it was the asshole thing again. Boom ba-ding bing bam! The cops come, he’s charged again, and this time, his girlfriend breaks up with him. He thinks it’s unbelievable at how she is taking the other person’s side!

He lives like this through most of his twenties and now he’s thirty. He moves cities and jobs often. He’s single, drives an old car, has had a succession of lousy jobs, and a series of girlfriends but none who will stick around. He hangs around low-quality people who are not great company but who don’t give him a hard time.

One day, his father dies. He was never in good with the old man, who he thought was a prick. His grandfather was an angry man and so his father ruled the house with an iron fist the same way. His ma was his one refuge the odd time but even she wouldn’t stand up for him when the old man was in a rage. It was just how it was done.

He was ambivalent about his father’s death. A part of him didn’t give a shit, and why should he? He did notice his dad never amounted to much. Worked at the same garage his whole life, had few friends, and drank every weekend. In fact, it was his liver which took him in the end.

Maybe there was more to life, he thought for the first time ever. He saw that he wasn’t going anywhere with his own life either. He didn’t own a house, had no family, had loved and lost some decent women, and would only work at a job so long before the nitpicking by management became too much.

My father was an asshole and I’ve grown up to be just like him, he thought to himself, never admitting it to anyone else. It was his worse fear confirmed. He sat with that reality and felt the weight of its burden.

At the bar after the funeral, he stayed long into the night. He had a lot on his mind and was tired. He didn’t drink that much but hung around talking to Marty, the bartender. They had a good relationship. Marty seem to get him and as he sat barely sipping his beers, Marty listened in between serving others.

Sure enough, a couple of guys down at the other end of the bar got a little rowdy. One of them knocked over glass and it shattered on the floor. Startled, Bill could feel his blood begin to boil but checked himself. Marty will handle it, he thought.

A while later, he noticed one of them eyeing him a bit. He’d seen this look before and knew that it was the beginnings of a challenge. He was being tested, and there might be trouble. He saw the routine play out in his mind: the fight, the cops, the screaming people, the weekend in prison, the appearance before a judge, to maybe losing his job for not showing up on Monday. His car would be impounded, and shit, he might even get barred from his favourite watering hole. Marty sensed it too.

But no, the two rowdies weren’t going to take his problems into account and emboldened by it being two of them and one of him, they played their dangerous game. One of the two of them tries to start a conversation, a half-ass effort he wanted no part of.

Our man tells him he’s not interested in talking and they should go about their fun. “Too good for us,” one of them says. Marty intervenes, and out of the side of his mouth, he quietly explains the funeral, cautioning them to leave things alone. Marty is good like that.

“Oh, sorry about your father dude,” says one of them loudly, insincerely. “No reason to be an asshole.”

And, Bill feels his blood pressure rise. He can sense that this is beyond the pale. What an outrage it is someone would say something like that on the day a guy buries his father! This is just too much.

He takes a deep breath. And, from out of nowhere, the pressure releases and he answered, “Sure buddy, there are times where I probably am an asshole.”

What? How the heck did that come out? Did I just say that? he thought to himself. He was tired and drained and really didn’t want to have to take on the two of them and piss Marty off, so he let it stand.

He hadn’t agreed that he was an asshole in that moment, only with the possibility. There’s a big difference. Surely, everyone’s an asshole at some point whether they realize it or not. He’d lived long enough to know that for sure. Like these two fucks over there sitting at the end of the bar, for example.

There was no doubt in his mind, looking back over his history, that he had indeed been an asshole at other times. These flashed before him in an instant—old bosses and girlfriends, times at school—so that when he said it, he meant it. It was convincing because it was true. He rarely intended to be an asshole but had to admit, it happens.

It was as if at that very moment he finally allowed himself to be human. His walls came down suddenly, and he was no longer a guy who had to keep up an image as a hard ass. He was just a faulted human being like everyone else. He could, indeed, be an asshole, just as the other fella could too.

And in his confusion, Bill could feel relief. As soon as he said it, he lost some of his anger.

The tension which had been building seemed to dissipate into thin air. He no longer had the usual imagined scenario playing his mind, the one where a brawl ensues and mayhem rules. The foregone conclusion carried by the power of the asshole word, was gone. Asshole as an insult held no power over him. The trigger was neutralized. These two assholes would have to find some other asshole to be assholes with.

Sure enough, that seemed to satisfy Rowdy Boy at the end of the bar too. In fact, he answered, “that’s true, we can all be assholes at times, sorry again for your loss,” as he went back to his friend and his laughter, moving to a table over by the dart boards.

Marty looked at our man incredulously and smiled. “What the heck man, way to go. I didn’t think you had it in you, but you handled that like a pro. Next beer is on me, Bill.” But, he didn’t want to drink anymore, so declined the beer and left soon after.

In the weeks and months to come, he tried his strategy over and over with everyone he could. When the boss at work gave him feedback, he took it and agreed that sometimes he came up short. “Well, I suppose that’s possible,” he’d say, realizing the criticism was over THE WORK  and NOT him personally. Boy, that was a revelation, one that allowed him to sidestep the painful parts of learning while getting better at his job.

The new girl he’d begun dating sometimes complained to him about something or rather and his new tact was to agree with the possibility she was right, without agreeing completely. “You know darlin’,” he’d say, “you might have a point, that’s possible.” Slowly but surely, she felt heard and they managed to argue less and less.

Best of all, he’d been in at least three other situations where someone had directly insulted him, once using the actual asshole word, and he practiced agreeing with the possibility. It was the greatest thing ever, because it gave him time. He used that time to get out of the situation and consider it more carefully later.

And, the truth was he got a bit of a chuckle out of how it affected others, at how it deflated their attack. He felt like it was a perfect defense, like the boxer who leans on the ropes, gloves by his ears and elbows pointed out, jaw completely protected from any attempt at a knockout. When you sort of agree with someone, they’ve got nothing.

If someone told him he drove like an asshole, he could say, “Yes, it’s true, sometimes I’ve been known to drive a little fast,” and come back to the scene in his mind later.  Maybe I was driving too fast, maybe my passenger was scared, he’d think.  It was about the driving more than it was about me, he’d say to himself, differentiating between genuine criticism and beating himself up as a lifelong habit. That was important.

He no longer accepted someone’s disapproval as if it confirmed his low worth, instead searching for the truth in their words. Suddenly, just agreeing with the possibility allowed Bill to review and contemplate and become aware. And this, introduced the possibility of change. Bill began to see most his problems were his own, just repetitions of the messages of his youth.

Over time, he realized he’d been fighting his father all this time. It was his father’s criticism which hurt him the most and which made him feel so ashamed, so ashamed to disappoint him. When people criticized him, he was that little boy again, and he felt their disapproval each time like he was losing his father’s love once more.

And, he knew his father was unfair and he was just a kid and now, he was an adult and his father was gone. He saw his father in a whole new light and realized his grandfather had acted harshly with his father and so his father had acted that way with him. “It was all he knew,” Bill told his girlfriend; he could see it so clearly.

One day, a few years later, once he’d married his gal and she gave him a beautiful baby boy who played and laughed and called him “papa” and followed him everywhere when he was home, he got mad at the kid.

In that moment, he saw his grandfather and his father and him and his son as a continuous line of faulted men who were handing down their pain to the next generation. It dawned on him with all weight of the ages bearing down upon his soul, and he screamed inside against this injustice squashing his spirit.

He sat sheepishly on his front step. The sun was shining, kids were playing down the street, a slight breeze rustled in the trees as the end of summer neared. It was the house he’d grown up in. Bill and his wife had moved in with ma to look after her in her final years. Here he was, on the same steps he played on as a kid, looking over the same driveway where his father often yelled at him.

Behind him lay the rooms of the house where he’d hidden when his dad was mad. These streets, these trees and fences, and beyond, these fields, were a road map of his existence. He could see the generations now, the longer history of his family line down through the men who had preceded him.

As he sat there, an epiphany came to him all in a rush and he stood up and declared, “The pain stops here,” vowing to do everything he could to end this line of harsh denunciation. He vowed to encourage his son, and to learn to handle his own pain without transferring it forward to an innocent. No matter how bad he felt, he couldn’t get past that it’s not the kid, it’s him. And, if that were true, it was probably true for most other situations too. If I’m pissed off, Bill said to himself, it’s MY problem.

Thereafter, he would sense these feelings and give them their due. He’d allow himself the space to acknowledge the shame he carried. Now that he had it identified and labeled, he was set on getting good at recognizing this shame, and letting it go. He understood his reactions were a way to compensate for feeling lousy inside. It was all held in him, in his belly, and it was up to him to let it out.

When he felt triggered by these old shameful feelings, he began to take a deep breath into his stomach, so it swelled up like a balloon and then, let that shame he carried there empty completely as he slowly exhaled fully. This gave him just a moment to compose himself and seemed to reset him, allowing his best side to surface.

And, the more he did this, the easier it got. It was as if he was parenting himself, while parenting his son. Instead of denying his pain, he sometimes had to say he was sorry when he let it get the best of him. They’d all learn together he figured, and he could see why it was so necessary to lead his family away from his father’s legacy and into one of his own choosing. If all he did was break the chain of pain by not transferring it to this little boy, that would already be enough.

He wanted love for himself, his wife and ma, and especially his son. By having more compassion for himself, he had more tolerance and understanding for others.  That’s where it all started, with him. With possibilities.

That little boy in the house deserved better. The little boy inside of him did too

Stay powerful, never give up
cw

Chris Wallace
Advisor to Men
©July, 2019 all rights reserved.

CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN

My totem animal is the rooster. The Celtic and Norse apparently considered the animal a creature of the underworld, serving as a messenger of the hereafter, screeching out warnings of danger and calling out to the fallen souls on the battlefield the following morning after a fight. Its attributes are many and among them are pride, honesty, courage, vigilance, arrogance, strength, watchfulness and flamboyance.

It’s that last one that piques my interest in this story. I chose the rooster as my totem when it came time to set the differences accorded me by the Chief Herald of Canada when my father was awarded his coat of arms. The shield center of his arms is gold, and each of his nine kids have a symbol in its place, as differences.

It was not until my fifties that I made this choice, but it came to me immediately. My father had kicked me out of the home when I was fifteen as he descended into madness, saying, “there is room for only one rooster under a roof and since this is my house, you’ll have to go.”

But I’d also learned over the years to be a pretty snappy dresser. My dad was too, and in later years called me “the dude,” when I visited wearing something cool. His closet was like my own, shirts lined up from end to end. I’ve counted a hundred shirts alone hanging up in mine, his was the same. I got rid of some lately, to make room for missus who cannot share a closet with me. I tell her it’s because I’ve been around longer. I hoard, she sheds.

Dad and I often talked about the simple pleasure of looking good. I gave him a fleece vest with a Wallace badge on it and it can be found folded over his chair in his room of the locked ward at the old age home he was forced into because of dementia. Even with his mind wandering, clothes are still important to him.

In the 1970s, I was doing time for one thing or another. Oh yeah, I’d shot a guy, in a strip joint of all places. Then, there was a prison strike and the army had to come in to man the correctional posts. Anyone with an application to get out on day parole saw it granted to help clear the place out.

A Sally Ann house on Slater Street in Ottawa took me in as long as I had work. My girlfriend had finagled her boss at a men’s clothing store on Rideau Street to give me a job. Mr Moustache was the name of the place and there, thanks to her, I learned how to dress. And, soon after, sold heroin out of the upstairs back room every day in between serving customers. Eventually, I gave up the heroin but never lost the touch when it came to dressing well.

Many years later, when I was about 40, I learned to service my own cars. Bought a mechanic’s tool set which I still have, the top one from Sears Craftsman. It was 2500 pieces or something, plus the cabinet. Or maybe it’s 670 pieces and cost 2500 hundred, I can’t remember.

Me and two other guys rented a shop in Surrey BC and fixed our cars and vans and boats, and I learned to weld. We were all growing pot at the time, and as a builder, I soon had five houses and a warehouse on the go. It meant I was a glorified maintenance man, carrying tools wherever I went from one job to another.

I noticed when I stopped for gas and engaged in my usual banter with the gal at the cash, I didn’t get much attention in return. When I went into the Home Depot or a restaurant, same thing. People stopped smiling as much, didn’t laugh at my jokes, and generally engaged with me as little as possible. The usual friendliness and easy-going nature of my interactions with people disappeared. It was all business, no contact.

My old shame feelings rose to the surface. I had this idea I was a piece of shit since my early days out  on the street and had carried it forward into my middle age. The shame I’d internalized as a little boy under my parents’ roof, with its abandonment threats and isolation and violence, was still there lurking, influencing my life beneath awareness.

Over the years, I couldn’t work for anyone else lest the criticism necessary to learn crush me. I remember that defensiveness clearly in my early years. And, the pain I felt inside stayed hot just beneath the surface of my emotions and could boil over if I was not careful. As a younger man, it did, and I earned a rep as a hothead. Later that reputation was focused further as a bad ass gangster type. Unbeknownst to me, I was using fear as a shield.

Later I went to college and university and worked on my issues, seeking to understand the psychology behind my past. I’d done a pile of work on myself since I’d decided to stand up and be a father to my little boy, but the rejection I felt when I dressed down and went about my day on the west coast in the 1990s signaled I had more to do.

I experimented and would see how people treated me when I dressed well versus when I dressed in work clothes. It was all too predictable. My sensitivity, driven by my internal shame, meant I could feel the ostracism and it hurt.

At one point, I read about how researchers had conducted a study by having a confederate stand on a busy street during the morning rush hour and stare across the street at the opposite building, as if spotting something of interest. The insider would croon his neck and shield his eyes from the morning light all the while staring at some unknown thing a few floors up and opposite his sidewalk.

Others would soon gather around and look to see what the confederate was seeing, curiously following and mimicking his lead. Some proclaimed they could see what the researcher could see, pointing out a spot at a window, a certain number of floors up and at just a point.

The game was to see if what the confederate wore attracted more lookers. Sure enough, the better dressed the more lookers stopped and stared along. The best dress of them all was a man in a three-piece suit and tie.

You can imagine what authority is bestowed on someone by their dress. Think of a judge’s robes, or the white lab coat worn by your doctor. Clothing make the man because it’s part of the package of social proofs we use to meet our expectations. Imagine how off it would be to go do Friday confession to a priest without his white collar. A man in a suit and tie is presumed to be of some authority, especially in context where authority can influence.

Whenever you meet someone, you are being judged. We live emotionally and rationalize things afterwards. Our feelings about something happen a split second, faster than we can think, and for good reason. That first emotional impression sets and seeds what follows. Once someone sees you, their impression is instantaneously formed, and you are then either overcoming a prejudice or confirming a bias. Which would you rather be doing? What’s to your advantage?

The clothes we wear, and our personal sense of style is something a man ought to spend a little time thinking about. It’s worthwhile knowing what the essentials of a gentleman’s wardrobe ought to be, given his station in life and activities, and the enjoyment he derives from how he presents in public.

In Canada, where we have four seasons, closets can become unruly. I once had counted 150 t-shirts I’d accumulated when I kept places in two or three cities.

Three suits will do the trick for most people. One black or dark charcoal, one navy blue, and one gray. One thinly patterned light summer sport jacket and one navy sport jacket you can wear with jeans is a good mix. You can’t beat a white shirt with a tie. Be careful of too much patterning in your shirts, those are better worn casually with jeans. Remember what is in style now might be long gone in a few years so unless you plan on replacing your clothing regularly (most guys don’t), opt for classics.  A pair each of brown and black brogues. Match your belts to your shoes.

Sandals for summer, and a lighter shoe optionally. A couple or three good sweaters, the kind you can wear under a suit instead of a vest, and one at least of heavier materials for colder weather. Some shorts and summer golf shirts are an important part of your wardrobe, as is a spring and fall jacket, one dressier and one more casual. You probably don’t need 30 pair of running shoes. Most people dispense with cuff links and tie clips these days.

If you dress well regularly, allow room for personal style. I used to have forty pairs of leather shoes but now use about five. One is a pair of caramel coloured Giorgio Armani shoes I got on sale in Vegas for about $450. I save those babies for special dates with missus or when I want to look my best. Also, nothing looks worse on a man than to try to dress like he’s M&M or Fiddy or some other mutha like Tupac in a god damned rap video. Smarten up (said with affection),lest you look like a boy.

Certain designers have become reliable standards for me, like the Armani shoes, but Hugo Boss is also one I like too. Robert Graham shirts were a favourite at one point. I used to reward myself with a shirt if I hit a certain goal. At a couple of hundred each, I have a few so I switched to something else. I shop from Harry Rosen’s Men’s stores to Mark’s Work Warehouse, looking for classic designs and superior workmanship. I got a couple of pair of winter socks for Christmas from missus last year that came from a mill in the US, and they are the best winter socks I’ve ever worn. Same with underwear, the good stuff lasts.

Quality counts a lot more than anything to me. For example, I still have my Italian leather roper cowboy boots bought in 1995 when I headed west. Any Texan will appreciate that, just as they do a good hat. Style is regional.

Lastly, I still dress down on occasion, heck I live on acreage in the country so rubber boots are at my back door waiting for me at any moment. But, I’m not put off by people’s reactions anymore. The internalized shame of my youth, and even those years not so long ago, hasn’t left me but I’ve reconciled with its forces on my life. I know my worth, more so now, and confidently for the first time in my life.

Can you imagine? I’m 61 years old and it took me until I was in my fifties to really get this (don’t do that).

Now, I dress in my style because I’m used to it, honouring the flamboyance of the rooster without hiding shame under it all. My clothing is functional but also an expression of my overall well-being, not a cover up for internal strife and feelings of inadequacy. Through that painful journey, I learned how to dress, probably better than most.

Rather than a shield against judgment, dressing well is now part of my power.

Think about that as you assemble a wardrobe which meets your sense of style.

Stay powerful, never give up
cw

Chris Wallace
Advisor to Men

©CKWallace 2019, all rights reserved

reach me at advisortomen@gmail.com

At my offices in an
RW & Co button dress shirt
Robert Graham jeans with braided belt
Hugo Boss leather shoes

INFIDELITY RECOVERY


The problem with humans is this damn memory of ours. There is no new-age or old-aged techniques that`ll make us forget what we have already experienced. We`re kind of at the mercy of our memories, for good or for bad.

What makes things worst is our feelings are based on experiences too. No matter what we do, our past follows us. And, our feelings about stuff remains prominent, at least until we can put a little time between us and a past event. This interlude allows new experiences to supersede old emotional states when we create new feelings. It gives us, the brain that is, a wider experience to draw upon.

The brain operates predictively in any situation using the body and that databank of prior emotional states to determine how you will feel in the present moment, correcting afterwards given the social reality before you. Helluva sentence to follow, I know. Well, the brain has been at this gig a while.

With classical conditioning working its power beneath the surface, we can be triggered as the brain seeks to safeguard us from danger by best-guessing emotional states in response to the environment and messages from the body. It’s good to know this so we are not totally blindsided to past fears. Knowing how it all works can take the sting out of things when circumstances catch you unawares.

As for infidelity, the subject of this essay, I’m not sure we forgive it at all. Cheating is so personal. Within the pair bond, at first glance it’s such a clear rejection of you and a preference for another. It seems to confirm every person’s worst fear: I’m not good enough and because of this, I am unlovable.

It screams at me: UNLOVABLE.

There is more… for this is our Achilles heel. It is the human condition, conjoined with a need for others and knowledge that we will one day leave this world. We have only each other as present-day salve against the inevitable wounds of time. That’s a lot to ask in the name of love.

Like most things, it is both our weakness and our strength. Find it early, find it late, but we must all find love. Giving to others is the greatest expression of your humanity. I don`t know if that`s how we start, but I`m convinced it`s where we should end up.

But what if you saw that person who cheated as just as fallible as you, suffering from the same questioning of their worth as we tend to do our own? Could it be they secretly believe they are inadequate and unlovable? Did something inside them scream UNLOVABLE as well? What if we could separate the act so it is less about me, and more about them?

What if they didn’t even think of you or me? What if you didn’t even come to mind? What if the other person was able to compartmentalize their existence and put me on a shelf, fully intending to take me down and resume life with me afterwards? It happens all the time. In part, that’s how its done. I know it`s the same for men cheating on their women as women cheating on men. Cheating is betrayal pretty much universally, no matter the gender.

What if you were not as big a factor as you believe? Attachments weaken and strengthen over time, and we hope the good times see us through the bad.

What if it’s not so much a repudiation of you but a signal the other person cannot find love even if it is staring them in the face? What if it was their blind spot, and not yours or mine, which made it so?

Everyone makes the best decisions for themselves at the time, they say. If they knew better, in that very moment of whatever they decide, if they had the wherewithal to do something differently, emotionally, physically, spiritually, they would have. For them, it was their best decision. The act is proof. This is hardly a satisfying answer. We don’t have to like it. We don’t even have to respect it. But it is what it is. Often sadly.

Gabor Mate likes to say two people in a relationship find each other at the same level of trauma resolution, quipping smartly, “only 100% of the time.”  It’s what attracts us to another, under it all, a sharing of pain rarely understood and usually unmentioned. We all carry pain; it’s just the way nature builds resilience. It is by overcoming pain that we assert much of our wisdom. My pain won’t be the same as your pain. How could it be? We each travel this internal journey alone.

Empathy? Mostly projection. We guess at what each other feel and can only use our own experiences to gauge the other’s emotional state. Don`t get too excited about mirror neurons. The saying goes, “monkey see, monkey do,” not “feel,” and that finding was based on macaques, not people.

In any case, the disconnect between us is our challenge but can be our reward as we move through pain in the normal course of living. We re-find love and compassion for each other over and over

However, it takes two to do this. Or does it? Most of us marry what we can tolerate at that moment we get together. Gottman, famed relationship scientist I’ve read since the 1980s, says 70% of issues between a couple are not resolvable. That annoying habit of hers or his? Nope, not going anywhere. We put up with them and learn to appreciate them or we don’t. Missus hides stuff, has an uneven system for putting stuff away. Used to annoy me, now I think it’s cute. Choice is ours, the agency to decide how to live.

Getting naked in front of someone requires a fair bit of trust. It encompasses safety and danger all at once. We usually reserve this for those with whom we trust the most. It’s also why infidelity is so hard to reconcile as the aggrieved and non-involved party. Because without trust, you’ve got nothing.

I don’t think forgiveness is the right word for getting over infidelity.

But can you let it go?

Perhaps by realizing you were not the right man for her. Or she the right woman for you. That your maturity and needs and experiences didn’t match up. Your trauma resolutions played out on different tracks. You would know for sure if you were playing out your own drama and living a second life, a secret one. Women know these things, more so than men I think.

We know an atom looks a lot like a solar system with its revolving planets, the billions of stars out there like the billions of neurons in here. When we look at the way a tree grows into the sky and then look at map of a river approaching the sea, or the way our veins spread out on our hand, we may notice the same mathematical fractals occur. There is a great inter-connectedness in the universe, much of it we don’t understand.

The philosopher Douglas Hofstadter says we must leave more than a little room for mystery as we move through our years, implying we might resist the need to come up with an answer for everything. I think that’s a good idea. Shit happens by surprise too often to think we’ll sail through our time unaffected by calamity. And my father had a quote by Robert Louis Stevenson handwritten in black marker upon his bookshelf, the one directly behind his reading chair where he spent most of his days: “None of us can ever know the all of anything,” it said, reminding the reader to remain humble in the face of knowing so much.

Can we view this unraveling of relationships metaphorically as two similar but different stars revolving around a sun who are in the same orbit for a while, but subtle shifts in the composition of their mass and magnetism means over time they are doomed to slowly begin to separate and edge away, eventually flying off into a different part of space?

Then, it’s not me, nor is it you, it’s just physics. It’s a form of inevitable physics beyond our control. When I imagine floating above my existence, perhaps as I move out into the space above me, high up, maybe to the clouds and beyond, I see things differently. If you could sit on the moon for a while and look at the general spot on earth where you live out your life, what would you see?

Would you notice the others all around, some dealing with the same problems? The numbers of people teeming all over the planet going to and fro, living, dying, being born, eating, running, playing, working and loving, might give us both perspective.

And, can we use this pain we feel over infidelity to grow ourselves? Was I perhaps just as unfaithful, perhaps in actual deed but if not, then of heart and mind? From this resentment, can I accept I was not meeting my partner’s needs, my weakness so entrenched only the catastrophic bomb of adultery could wake me from my stupor? The falseness blasting away my complacent attitudes about my masculinity, her femininity, our relationship expectations, and of power, loyalty, lust and love?

And, could I work hard to shore up those parts of which left me bare, exposing me to this kind of turmoil? Could I use this pain, not to be crushed by it forevermore, but rather, to be rebuilt better than before? Is this one of my hero’s journeys? Is this your challenge?

And, would I one day realize that time and new experiences, especially the work I did making myself into a more powerful man, allowed different and better feelings to prevail when I consider my ex? Can I reserve my sympathies for what could have been, knowing I disappointed her just as she disappointed me? Could I be honest enough, powerful enough, wise enough to see this?

And, might I even thank her, though through the tragic lenses of both our lives, through the anger and confusion, and instead, salvage something of great worth from our mutual suffering? When I think of how beautiful and talented and in so many ways how amazing my ex-wife was, I can only feel sadness. She failed me, I failed her; and ultimately, we failed each other.

It was Robert Brault who said, “Life becomes easier if you learn to accept an apology you never get.” Absent that small act of reconciliation, you have only you to both apologize for your shortcomings but also to accept an apology from time for the failings of others. Accept the apology you will never get. Accept it.

So, I didn’t bother with the cumbersome idea of forgiveness. It carries too great a burden, too many unanswered questions philosophical and emotional, of principals and values and beliefs. I’d constructed a world where I could live, such are the entanglements of love, and all of that was too great a chore to dismantle.

No. I reminded myself, if happiness is a decision, then so is love. And if happiness and love can be decided, so can forgiveness. What I did was I let it go. You might do the same. See it off in your mind’s eye, perhaps like a child might watch a helium balloon drift away to the clouds after an inadvertent release of the hand, knowing it was pretty while it lasted, but also that it was never ever coming back.

The experience will help you to be stronger, and a far better person than before.

But then, all of life is like that isn’t it?

Stay powerful, never give up.

CHRIS WALLACE
Advisor to Men

©CKWallace, July, 2019, all rights reserved

reach me at advisortomen@gmail.com

RED PILL: Not Quite Manly

No doubt you’ve heard or read about the Red Pill movement. It’s a phenomenon on YouTube, Facebook, Reddit and elsewhere.  Red Pill gurus are rushing to get their message out in books, its de facto leader Rollo Tomassi, on his fourth.

Red Pill itself comes from a scene in the science fiction movie The Matrix, where rebel leader Morpheus played by Laurence Fishburne, offers Neo, played by Keanu Reeves, the choice of swallowing a blue pill which allows one to believe what they want to believe, or the red pill which offers truth. Neo takes red.

This truth is what the red pill leaders say is what is required to navigate the relationships between men and women. Tomassi uses the term “hypergamy” to describe a woman’s prerogative to choose a partner of higher status.

I like Tomassi and I like Donovan and the rest of the guys who appear on YouTube’s 21 Studio each week to discuss Red Pill practicalities. These guys have sliced and diced the subject to deep levels… with no end in sight.

And, that’s also why I listen or read Red Pill sparingly. This is just my personal view, but I think our Red Pill brothers leave the masculine and visit the feminine too frequently for my tastes. Solipsism, the view that the self is all that can be known to exist, and which I agree is very much a feminine energy trait, is often a overriding feature in Red Pill discussions.

It says, “I think it therefore it is.” It’s the incredible ability of the overthinking woman to believe her own bullshit. Men need watch for that in themselves occasionally, especially if they are gathered around having coffee discussing the opposite sex—which is typically something women do, not something men do at this level.

That’s not to say there isn’t some truth to Red Pill. And, to many guys it’s a Godsend of information. In the context, Blue Pill is real, and every man needs that wake-up call. It’s easy for a man to go into relationships with blinders on, with family of origin programming and unmet needs dictating his expectations.

When I left a marriage just shy of 25 years in the early 2000s, honestly, I was devastated. Nothing I’d tried worked and I was facing complete failure. My parents were married sixty-two years before my mother died some time ago. Like many men, marriage was forever for me, and I couldn’t broker it any other way.

In the end, I knew if I stayed it would kill me, and leaving made me feel like dying.

Some days I’d have flashes of crashing my van at top speed in a train overpass or just letting it fly off a bridge as my thoughts turned to self-harm in frustration and despair. Oft I’d have to take a knee and just recover for a moment from the pain I was carrying.

That’s when one of our managers mentioned he listened to Tom Leykis’ radio show every day. I began to do the same. It exposed a whole other side of women my blinders prevented me from seeing. I don’t need to thank Tom for his show, I’m sure he was paid well. Blow Me Up Tom made a difference in my life.

Once, a female caller announced on his show she had gotten drunk when out with the girls and fucked some black guy in a car in the parking lot of a club. She was Hispanic, and so was her husband. She was about to give birth and she suspected the baby was conceived that night. Tom implored her to tell him, and to spare the man the indignity of having his relatives see his shame in the hospital as a little black baby arrived instead of his own.

She refused, and Tom immediately asked his listeners to help. “She said he works at a casino in the Pacific North-West, if you know a guy in the gambling business expecting a baby, LET HIM KNOW IT MAY NOT BE HIS.”

As shocking as this was, I knew it was reality. I know women cheat, just as I know men cheat in the right circumstances. People do horrible and underhanded things to each other sometimes. I am not naïve. I lived as a gangster. I know what power imbalances, intimidation, cruelty and retribution are all about.

That period of my life launched me into a search for greater truths about men and women. My mind was opened by Tom and his alternate views. I got interested in sex differences, taking an about turn intellectually at the height of social constructionism influence, and eventually turned my back on feminism.

The “women are wonderful effect” was coined in 1994 by sociological researchers Alice Eagly and Antonio Mladinic, who found that both men and women tend to assign more positive traits to women, with women showing a far greater propensity to do it than do men. The sisterhood is real, we should be aware of this.

I don’t listen to Tom anymore, and never did again since those days. And, while I drop in on Rollo and his cohorts on YouTube every once in a while, I don’t listen or read them as a matter of course either. The truth is I have found my own balance of truths between the genders and it works for me. It also works for the men I am privileged to share my message with.

I have a new family with two wonderful kids and a gal I’ve been with for 13 years. She won’t marry me: says if we never get married, we’ll never get divorced. I can’t argue with her, and it’s a moot point because I know what makes her tick. I know what my role is and I take to it eyes open and full enthusiasm.

If I had to criticize the Red Pill movement or Tom Leykis’s approach, I’d say it is far too negative of women in general. Some of it is deserved and all based on inklings of truth (that’s the way things like this go, there’s always some truth to it), it’s just that listening to too much of it fails to impart balance, for women have some pretty darn good aspects to them too (as do men). I heard Rollo say he can’t advise for marriage now because of the disadvantages it represents. Fair enough, but a little sad too.

The disconnect for me is complaining about The American Psychological Association’s recent guidelines, or the subject of rape culture, or discussions around “toxic masculinity,” or the Gillette commercial, but yet, allowing for a full dive into Red Pill philosophy. Doesn’t anyone else see the problem with that?

Men sometimes do terrible things to women, and women sometimes do terrible things to men. Men tend to compete overtly, while women tend to maneuver covertly. Men smash you in the face, women get everyone around you turned against you so that eventually someone smashes you in the face.

Simplistic? Sure. Of course, it is. It’s always an oversimplification. The problem with generalities is they all fail on the backs of exceptions. Talk anyways, tease out the possibilities and potentials just the same.

The reasons I’m no longer a feminist, aligned with those well-intentioned but misguided idealists, is that I’ve lived out the course of its resurgence these past fifty years. I did that as a man who has depended on good women as allies, coming as I do from a family where I had a mother and four good sisters (as well as four brothers, and a troubled father). Feminism is a weak agenda, offering as it does a one-sided dissection of problems but little in the way of realistic solutions or an accounting of the existing healthy symbiosis of masculine and feminine energies.

It’s my view equality of opportunity is fine to an extent, but that equality in general between the sexes is a wrong-headed metric because we are generally too different to be equal. I also think a full accounting of strengths and weaknesses from each side of gender would go a long way to reconciling each with the other.

If men and women have always banded together to meet the challenges of time, the environment and each other’s natures as they go about creating a life, don’t you think it’s worth knowing the plus and minus factors of each?

To use a sports analogy, wouldn’t you want to know who can run with the ball? Who can catch the ball with two defenders on them? Who can kick a field goal? Who is better left on the line to block and tackle? Who possesses the skill to orchestrate play under duress? Or who can pinch-hit or run in what situations? Who is a starter and who can come off the bench and bat clean up? I ask that we have those discussions because that’s what men and women do when they are left to their own devices and find ways to live and work and raise kids and love each other.

It’s not enough to throw dirt at an entire gender and then complain your dates don’t go as planned. Or, that your life isn’t unfolding as you desire with your partner.  I think that’s weak-ass bullshit and I’ll tell you why. We need compassion for each other and the greater compassion we have for others the greater compassion we have for ourselves.

All of us have an inner self, that Divine Child within us we’ve perhaps stuffed over the years as we sought to conform with the adults around us, to their rules and expectations. How can we ever hear our own essential voice if we don’t listen for the voices of others? Our eyes see out, and the easiest way to train yourself to hear the good in you is to attune yourself to the good in others. Not blindly, not as a nice guy sacrificing your needs for others while holding secret anger, but compassionately, with a sense of being part of humanity’s meaningful whole.

Find it early, find it late, we must all find love.

Where’s the love in finding the extreme faults in an entire gender? Where is the love in calling women bitches and sluts and cunts as a matter of course? Where is the love in finding fault with half the world’s population, and enacting rules to safeguard yourself from their worst aspects without an appreciation for the incredible good in their capacity to love and share a life?

From what I can tell, Red Pill is a lot like feminism in that it focuses almost exclusively on delineating the excesses of women’s pragmatic side and encourages a defensive and almost paranoid stance in men who are still interested in women.

If you need a good term to reference the young gals, call them wenches. It means young lady in old English my father told me. It raising eyebrows but no one gets mad at you.

Fact is, most men will marry and most of them will have children. Isn’t it better to help men and women negotiate that dynamic with an appreciation for each other’s needs and desires without falling into weakness?

Should a man face that his woman is not his mother? Yes! And, that to expect unconditional love from his partner is a leftover trait from his family of origin? Yes, he should.

Should he realize his wish for unconditional love is projected upon his partner and is a burden she likely can never, ever meet? You’re damn straight he should do all these things… or remain a boy forever.

A man should also realize his gal’s archetype for love is her father, or the masculine energy around her, and that this means she requires a powerful man in her life.

It also means she knows the difference between a man and a boy.

Women are pragmatic souls, bent on survival. The female is far more precious in nature, you have only to look a window at bird feeder. Most of the colourful birds are males, while the females are camouflaged and discreet. If a Sparrow Hawk arrives on the scene, it’s the male Grosbeak or Cardinal who dies first.

It’s not so different in humans, where she carries the eggs which permit life. Her best fertility lasts two decades whereas yours is triple that or more.

She is attracted to a man for his power. Hypergamy is a negative term and saddles a man in self-pity and an idealized over-estimation of his worth.

You are attracted to looks, that certain hip to waist ratio, and you stay for loyalty. A man with a loyal woman by his side has the wind at his back, but you better God-damned well stay out in front of her to feel it.

That’s not blue pill for fuck’s sake, it’s how nature put us together to survive. Men lead, women command. Men build cultures, women stress-test them.

Rather than focusing on the divisions inherent in feminism on one side, and Red Pill, MGTOW and Incels on the men’s side, my advice is to focus on the essential truths: Power and Loyalty.

Women can’t stand weak men. Men can’t stand disloyal women. It’s that simple. Hence, women do well with a powerful man; men do well with a loyal woman.

How can you make yourself powerful to earn her loyalty? How can she show you more loyalty, so you’ll want to be her powerful man? This where all the fun is.

Red Pill has been around for a dozen years. Feminism for a hundred. Humans are smart at coming up with answers even when we don’t fully understand something. It’s our rational brain, living emotionally and then explaining things after the fact.

What we need to do is see the much bigger picture. Men and women were made to live and work together to create life. Don’t let all the talk detract from this essential truth about our existence together.

Stay powerful, never give up

Christopher K Wallace
©June, 2019, all rights reserved

Advisor to Men
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