Author: Advisor to Men

ALPHA-BETA

ALPHA/BETA
One way to approach this subject is to look up Frans de Waal’s video on Chimpanzees to better understand the term alpha.

Labeling someone an alpha or beta is demeaning to people. For one thing, no such thing exists in humans. Why not? Because human life is too complex for such a simple term.

If we were limited to a highly predictable existence where we ate leaves all day and slept in a nest of grasses at night, interspersed with banging a few females, maybe. But, we don’t.

I like to say that if you are broken down at night in the middle of buttfuck nowhere your money or muscles don’t matter. The only alpha around is the tow truck driver who shows up to rescue your stranded ass.

Men defer to expertise. That’s one reason we build cultures. And, everyone has something to offer. None of us is expert at everything. “None of us knows the all of anything,” is the quote by Robert Louis Stevenson my father had written in marker on his bookcase at home.

Sure, we exist on a continuum of maternal care at one end and predatory aggression at the other, and we tend to form hierarchies. But those tend to always be job or context specific.

When the general gets to a river with his army, he calls in the raft guys to get across—if they are successful, they win the day and are celebrated (like the tow truck operator in the middle of the night). When the general gets to a castle wall, the siege machine operators will carry the day. And why is there a general? It’s because he knows enough shit to lead an army. It’s all context. In fact, context is everything.

If you work at a high-tech company and you’re the smartest engineer out of 200 and can work hard and be social, expect to rise to the top. Everyone under you is beta? Come on.

No man is all things in all situations.

The other issue is labeling in general doesn’t allow as easily the transition from weakness to power. It says you are “this way” or “that way” when in fact, all of us have the capacity to be weak at times, just as we all have the capacity to be more powerful.

I’ve had occasion to think hard about labels because of my own life and expertise around addictions. I’ve known too many hard-core gangsters who became decent men, myself included. And, I have known people written off as hopeless alcoholics or junkies who defeated their compulsion. Too many to call them names.

I much prefer to use weakness and powerful because any weak man can act and be more powerful in an instant if he’s called to do so by his spirit. That’s why we love the come-from-behind story of the underdog vanquishing obstacles to succeed at something. From weakness and insignificance to power and significance is within reach for each and everyone one of us.

Self concept is how you see yourself contrasted against how you believe others see you. One is the character you build and the identity you form, the other is the remnant personality and habits derived from your environmental feedback loop.

The younger you are the more you experience your environment physically (read family, school, etc.). Those experiences are recorded into the very neurons of your body. That’s where feelings and your subconscious exist. You have the same neurons for life.

The male brain doesn’t fully develop until age thirty. That’s why addictions are often picked up before that age. It’s also the age where a significant amount of people give up an addiction on their own. (the rest need extra help and keep men like me busy).

So why would we saddle a male with a term like beta? I’ll tell you why: Competition derived from predatory aggression and our tendencies to hierarchies.

There are two main ways males tend to compete.

In one way, we go head to head, mano a mano, or often against a group of men. Each lays down their best performance and may the best man win. This is how we discover who among us has expertise we can use for the group’s benefit. Afterwards, in that context, we remember who our top man or men are, so that if that situation arises again, we know who to call.

Men tend to have relationships with a wide variety of groups of other men. They can form loose bonds and move in and out of these groups with a fair amount of ease. Women, on the other hand, tend to have just one or two (and usually no more than five) girlfriends she guards jealously. These she uses for emotional regulation. Men generally have no such need.

This is another reason why men build cultures; and why women tend to stress-test them.

But it’s the second way men compete which is often problematic: It’s the put down.

Men test each other from an early age. You can see it in kids as young as grade two or three, where boys push each other to find out if you are a girl or a boy. Researchers who study this figure it’s because it is boys who grow up and defend their tribes and nations.

It is said the calling out and such is an early form of making sure the other males will be able to stand next to you and fight the enemy later in life. The literature suggests an innate trait.

Little boys create imaginary enemies early in life. Little girls do not do this. Give a piece of cloth to five-year-old kids and a boy will make a cape and become a superhero; a little girl spreads it on the ground and has a picnic with her dolls and stuffed toys.

If you hook up fMRI to males and present them with two situations, one where he competes head to head fairly, and one where he competes by putting others down, the same reward centers of the brain light up, and doesn’t discern between the two.

This may be why bullying will never completely go away.

Examining these two approaches used by men, one is prosocial, while the other is not. Anything beyond mild ball busting is, in most cases, very much antisocial, but derived from that insecurity found in children who test each other’s interdependence.

We don’t apologize for being men. That’s my stance. Yet, that doesn’t mean we don’t try to become better men. Or, in fact, grow into becoming the best men we can be.

So, men’s way of challenging each other exists on a competition continuum. It might go from head to head group or individual competing to mild ball busting to calling each other out directly to outright bullying to punching each other in the face.

I’d ask anyone reading this if calling others “beta men” is just a way to affirm their own status, a way to aggrandize themselves at someone else’s expense. What’s behind that?

Given what we know about how people take in information from their environments below age thirty, who does it help to call someone beta?

That part of self-concept which derives from how you believe others see you can both propel you forward but also become a burden. For many, their family of origin programming and childhoods are a cross they bear.

Trust me when I say I have lived too faulted a life to judge anyone else’s with much conviction.

I was once diagnosed an antisocial after I shot someone and spent 30 days in a locked psychiatric ward being assessed by the courts. You can bet that label followed me thereafter.

I’ve also been weak in my lifetime enough times to know people can and do change. I’m living proof a man can claim his power for good if he wants. Yet, it is only by bringing things into awareness that we advance the possibility of change.

Which brings me to my last point: something I call PHD. The paradox of human development says adults make your decisions when you were a child experiencing your environment physically (remember, your brain does not fully develop until near age 30).

You needed protection, shelter, sustenance, and nurturing, and so, created a conforming ego to survive. You did this with the heart and mind of a child, internalizing sensations, images, behaviours, feelings, and meanings, which obscured your true self.

We all have this judgmental side to us as a result. When we judge ourselves, others, or circumstances harshly, we are operating from the basis of what Freud called the superego. Carl Jung called it the conforming ego.

It’s Grandma’s law: “eat your vegetables before dessert.” It’s: “don’t talk back to adults.” It’s all the rules you were told to follow… for your own good. It’s the demand you tow the line.

It’s that part of you which was taught to you by parents and teachers and other adults around you as a child echoing in the back of your mind, often showing up as the “inner critic.”

These thoughts are usually expressed under the tyranny of words like “should, would, could, what if, if only and must,” serving to remind you that you are not good enough, keeping you fearful and uncertain. Not only do we beat ourselves up under this conforming ego, but we project it out to the people around us and our circumstances. We make demands of others.

We have studied this: it’s not your best side. I go further: your quest in life is to dampen this conforming ego and develop your own identity, one which manifests your gifts. The conforming ego is stultifying, existing only to keep you safe. It keeps you playing small.

Watching Frans De Waal’s talk about alpha chimps—who do spend all day eating leaves and sleeping in nest of grasses at night and banging chimp wenches—you will discover the basis of what Jung called the King archetype in humans. Chimp DNA is less than 3% different than that of humans (male and female humans have less than a 2% difference).

De Waal’s alpha chimp not only get to bang the wenches, but also get to look after ALL the members of the troupe, right down to the weakest. Roosters do the same thing.

And, if an alpha chimp doesn’t work to benefit the whole troupe, a few lesser males will get together and take him out. Humans do the same thing. A version of this leaked out from Vietnam vets in the 1970s about “fragging” a bully unit commander. In the heat of battle, it was “sorry, somehow, Sarge took one to the back of the head.” Happens with gangsters all the time as well.

That’s another compelling reason why using the term alpha for humans is misplaced.

Archetypes are instinctual energies found in all of mankind. Everywhere you go, people are afraid of the dark. Everywhere you go, people are afraid of heights. And, the same metaphors are repeated in cultural histories the world over despite being continents and millennia apart.

Carl Jung said these archetypes were proof of the existence of a “collective unconscious.” One such energy is the King archetype. It exists in every man.

According to Jungian analysts Moore and Gillette, the archetype of the King is responsible for order, fertility, and blessings.  What is a realm without order?

Now, we are not referring to wanton order imposed by a tyrant. No. We are speaking of order in the sense the needs of the many outweigh those of the few. We are talking Golden Rule.

Fertility is all about the mental, physical, social, and spiritual health of the ruler whose acts are in service of the greater good. It’s the benevolent King. When the King is healthy and rules with passion for his people, the crops grow, the granaries and pantries of the kingdom are full, and the loyalty of the people is assured. And, the women willingly produce offspring.

Blessings are the Kingly equivalent of encouragement. In a monarchy, the King might “Knight” a subject as a way of recognizing their contribution to society. He may even create an “order” bearing their name. The King can hand out “merits” and other rewards to the citizens of the realm.

Suffice it to say, a man aware of his King energy will see the good in people, often before they see it in themselves, and makes sure to let others know they are appreciated.

Look, I’m not perfect at this but you can bet we all live more powerful lives when we embrace our King energy and live up to our “true self.” Judging others always comes from a place of fear. Better to just notice how others are and then rise to your best self.

The advantage of the higher self is that it sees the silver lining, the gift in anything. This energy can spot the gold in others and serves to bring out people’s best.

Your duty to the universe is to find your true self once more.

It is to examine the beliefs, meanings, sensations, images, feelings, and behaviours inherited from your PHD upbringing, discarding what you have outgrown while adopting a truer identity with which to manifest your gifts.

Not because you can, not because you want to, but because it is what you owe.

Stay powerful, never give up
cw

©CKWallace, June, 2020, all rights reserved
Advisor to Men, Mentor at Large
advisortomen.com

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CHIVALROUS BOYS

CHIVALROUS BOYS
No one becomes a parent with the intention to fuck a kid up. Every parent has good intentions. It’s a paradox of human development that we arrive here out of chaos but also from the infinite wisdom of a universe which does not make mistakes. It would be hubris to believe otherwise.

When it comes to men and women, it has been decades since I abandoned the notion that the two genders are similar enough to assign differences to some minor configuration of upbringing or inborn temperament or personality.

To be sure women can do pretty much anything a man can do but will have durable preferences found around the world. It is said there is less than 2% difference in male and female DNA. Not much, until you consider the DNA differences between humans and chimpanzees is somewhere around 3%.

The important of fathers to young boys is in the news, with many believing it is a crisis prevalent in western culture. Books and blogs abound on the subject, not only about absent fathers but inadequate ones too. We have suffered several generations of decline in the role of men in their children’s lives as the move to cities replaced the family farm of old.

For men actively raising sons, I want to urge caution when confronted by the egalitarian forces of political correctness. While my daughter should have equal opportunity in life as should my son, they are too different to be called equals outside that they are both little humans beloved by their parents.

Recently, a large study was undertaken in New York and Illinois involving 200 kids. The study tested for chivalrous behaviour in young boys. The international study, carried out in partnership with New York University (NYU), found that “both boys and girls have ingrained sexist attitudes towards women.

Girls change these attitudes as they age, however, boys tend to keep their “benevolent, patronizing views”, surmises the study published in the scientific journal Sex Roles.

It is my contention these kinds of studies, often widely reported in the news, are not worth the paper they are written on.

Authors of the study asked a couple of hundred kids questions and used benevolent statements like ‘men need to protect women from danger’ as well as hostile questions, like ‘women get more upset than men about small things’.

Incredibly (or laughably) researchers found “hostile sexism decreased with age for both boys and girls, benevolent sexism decreased with age only for girls.”

So we are not talking about the idea that women get more upset or are more emotional as a prejudice carried into adulthood, but specifically “benevolent sexism” such as wanting to protect women from danger.

Furthermore, the authors contend this means little boys grow up to be “patronizing” to women. Because, of course, wanting to protect women (and by extension, children) is somehow putting women down.

It is precisely the kind of white night claptrap that has good-intentioned men everywhere confused. Thank the social constructionists for this one.

These two men, Matthew Hammond from University of Victoria and Andrei Cimpian from NYU are idiots. Hammond insists, “these principles (men defending women from danger) could be harmful down the track.”

Let me bring you in on a little secret. Girls are egalitarian, boys are competitive. In study after study, at very young ages—well before nurture can supplant nature—little girls and little boys see and act in the world differently.

Scarcity creates value. That’s why diamonds and gold are expensive. A man produces billions of sperm per month, she usually produces one egg.

Her value as a caregiver to young and old and everyone in between makes her the more precious sex. In the most egalitarian cultures of the world like the Scandinavian countries, women with the greatest options still choose to become teachers and nurses and caregivers.

Give a 2 x 3 foot piece of material to a 4 year old boy and one to a girl and he’s making a cape to become a superhero to fight enemies while she spreads it out on the ground to have a picnic with her dolls and stuffies.

Give kids in grade school word puzzles in a team of eight, boys will compete and give each other answers contributing to the whole while girls find ONE girl they can pair up with and work on their puzzle, effectively turning a team of 8 girls into four teams of two. They get things done but in their own way.

Get grade school kids to race each other. Boys and girls together: best times; boys against boys: best times; girls against girls: times drop. Why? Because to standout among the other girls means risking social exclusion. We compete differently.

A study of almost a half million over twenty years in Europe confirmed men’s advantage in all things spatial whereas women were better at reading emotions and verbal skills. Things or people is a real male to female preference.

So, none of these require men to protect a woman. They are just differences between two complimentary sexes. Nature had a plan.

However, men are heavier, taller and have greater lung capacity. They have bigger hearts and more red blood cells. Their wounds heal faster. The cranium in males is thicker in front.

Men have denser and stronger bones whereas women have more delicate skeletons, including a thinner cranium (I cringe watching female boxing). Men have larger teeth, more muscle and less fat.

We are stronger by 50% in the upper body and by 40% in the lower body. Our hand strength is greater—which is why you open the pickle jars at home.

Men’s brains are about a quarter pounder bigger but neurons fire differently. His connectivity is more back to front and within hemisphere, whereas she has greater connectivity between the two hemispheres.

But where guys like Hammond and Cimpian get off the track is in decrying that little boys are being nurtured to have patronizing views of women just because they carry chivalrous tendencies as children that endure. There is no such danger.

Would you have women not be defended by men? What kind of culture would that produce?

Intra-partner violence occurs at the same rate of less than one in five couples with differences in how men and women fight contributing to varying consequences. There exists a tiny percentage of males who are serial abusers. One of the best remedies for such a woman is to surround herself with other men who can protect her from such a man. It works, well.

I have a young son going to turn seven and a daughter who has just turned nine. You can bet I want my boy defending his sister. Just as I want her looking out for him as he winds his way through school two grades behind her.

Little boys grow up to be the young men who defend nations, standing shoulder to shoulder with other young men and fighting enemies. They prepare their whole lives for this possibility. It’s a hardwired trait which shows up in the crib.

There is good reason we admonish young men with scolds like “that’s no way to treat a lady” and “ladies first” and so forth. Would you have a sinking Titanic with the men leaving the women and children on deck and filling the lifeboats to save themselves because otherwise their chivalry might seem “patronizing?”

Look, these fuckwads who call themselves social scientists are a passing fad.

I want to bring your attention to the Lindy Effect: a book which has been published for one hundred years and still being read is almost assuredly going to be read in one hundred years more. A book published three months ago has almost no chance of being read in a hundred years.

See the difference? I’ll bet on nature. Maybe you should too.

Human sexes are complimentary. We came to fit each other like a lock and key over millions of years of evolution to the efficiencies of modern existence.

We have always banded together and taken advantage of each other’s strengths while shoring up each other’s weakness. In my humble opinion, it is unnatural to NOT defend a woman who needs it, just as it is unnatural to discourage this essential protector spirit in our young boys.

Every young man needs to learn how to treat a lady. Not only is it polite, the differences in how women process information and their differing priorities in life, as well as the contrasts in approaches to competition and to intimate relationships require finesse.

A boy should learn this from his mother for she is his model for love. And as surely as he must leave her to become a man, his respect for women hopefully remains. It is her prerogative to teach her boys what she feels they should know, just as it will be part of their maturation to leave behind that which no longer serves them once they reach and live their adulthood. Besides, that’s part of what dads are for: to offer perspective as well as their experience.

We need more chivalry, not less. The answer to problems of masculinity is more masculinity, not less. The young boys in this study display some of the best of what it is to be male and these dipshits sociologist want to erase it in the name of remotely possible “patronizing” behaviour later. This is male weakness at play, the feminization of the school system all the way past graduate levels.

Besides, the challenges and fun between the sexes are mostly in our differences. These we should celebrate as fantastic challenges for which we were made.

Stay powerful, never give up
cw

CHRISTOPHER K WALLACE
Advisor, mentor

©2019 CKWALLACE all rights reserved

Chivalrous boy behavior Hammond

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/world/2020/04/chivalrous-behaviour-from-boys-may-be-early-warning-sign-of-sexism-study-finds.html

Physiological sex diffences
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_differences_in_human_physiology

Racing grade school kids
The Sexual Paradox, Susan Pinker (2008) chapter 8

Grade school word puzzle teams
Warriors and Worriers, Joyce Benenson, (2014)

Other worthwhile reading:
Men and Women, an Inside Story, Donald Plaff, (2011)
Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities, 4th edition, Diane Halpern, (2012)

SOUL AND SPIRIT


SOUL AND SPIRIT
I think most people have an inkling of their two selves: a rational thought and logic-based self for day-to-day utility using primarily language as its means of communication within consciousness; and a deeper, emotionally intuitive self where their passions, wishes, dreams and aspirations reside communicated through the body’s dreams and somatic experience.

Whereas the thinking part of self is always located in our heads, the intuitive and emotional part is more physiological. People will often point to their heart or mid-chest towards the sternum as the location of this part of self.

We are advised to listen to our gut when appraising circumstances and deciding things, as if this gut and heart experience represents a truer form of our internal identity and might bring a closer understanding of our needs and a better path to our end goals. We could call this the body mind, appreciating how it bypasses the strictly rational self (and comes before it seeking self-preservation) and often seems to speak from a wiser or higher form of self.

We seem to instinctively know the gut is less encumbered by the rules and expectations we’ve picked up conforming to the wishes of  adults who raise us. We can bypass the intrusiveness and often endless complications of our thinking by going directly to the gut. We realize our trust in thought alone is faulty because we know our thoughts are informed just as much by other’s wishes for us (or for themselves in our regard) as they are our own.

I read that we often have tens of thousands of thoughts in a day. How many feelings will I have in that period? Because of the power of focus, I’ll only become aware of a tiny portion of either of these. Feelings paint my experience with much broader strokes than do my thoughts, which are often errant and imprecise themselves.

We realize our very survival depends upon having a well-honed intuition for danger. That “sixth sense” we sometimes detect when confronting a puzzling or uncertain circumstance can make the difference between life or death. There is more than a little truth to the maxim, “if you’re in your head, you’re dead.”

Often enough, thinking gets in the way, and feeling and acting saves the day.

A hundred years ago, Carl Jung’s model of the human psyche described how we have a “true self,” something we are born with. It’s our essential nature, what we arrive with, perhaps in terms of raw material encoded in our DNA. It is also what becomes obscured by ego formation, the process of learning to conform with the adults upon whom we depend for sustenance and protection. Later, the psyche is further divided as the ego adopt various masks to wear in public or in private performing differing societal roles.

You may be one way at home, another at work, and adopt differing personalities as a father or mother, lover, friend, community member, churchgoer, etc. Jung called these personae and we can see how this ego buries true self even more.

The true self idea is interesting because it suggests we arrive in this world with a blueprint, a “truth,” which is later forged into a self concept which takes into account those around us. Our idea of who we are, then, becomes how we see ourselves contrasted against how we believe others see us.

This inner self would contain our “potentials and possibilities,” something the mythologist Joseph Campbell mentions in his books, “the Power of Myth” and “Pathways to Bliss.” We could even call it something like a soul. Jung himself authored a book called “Modern Man in Search of a Soul” in 1933.

They say Immanuel Kant gave us back our concept of “soul” in the late 1700’s, wresting the idea from the rationalists, saying, “I, as a thinking being, am the absolute subject of all my possible judgments and this representation of myself cannot be employed as a determination of any other thing. Therefore, I, as thinking being (soul), am substance.”

Kant seems to say because everything we see, think and feel, can only be through our personal lens. It is this internal system which allows us to project a systematizing force upon our environment. It precedes reality.

Our DNA blueprint is ours, and how it is manifested upon the world around us is filtered by ego and experience but still entirely personal.

And what would this “soul” be made up of? Is there proof of its existence beyond a sense that is there? Can we point to some tangible proof from the sciences and the metaphysical arts? Something which would tell us it is more than a simple heuristic? Let’s take a shot at it:

First, we know influences on ancestral DNA are passed down through the methyl groups. This is field of “behavioural epigenetics” holds a lot of promise. I have often thought it might even explain why alcoholism runs in families. Grandchildren of holocaust survivors are affected by their ancestral experiences.

Furthermore, we’ve identified inborn temperaments such as labile vs non-reactive; dysthymic vs optimistic; anxious vs calm; obsessive vs distracted; passive vs aggressive; irritable vs cheerful; shy vs sociable and mood suggesting methyl group influences. We are not born as a blank slate but come programmed in advance.

Wouldn’t that be part of the soul?

What about Carl Jung’s idea of collective unconscious, humanity’s shared memory? Pointing to the mythological record, we see variations of myths have been repeated throughout history, often continents apart and in different era, in cultures which had no contact. This gives us an idea of our connection to each other.

Similarities occur from Egyptians and ancient Greece, China and India and even North and South American Indian myths and rituals, to the three Abrahamic religions, and we see the same stories in variation. The two books by Campbell mentioned above are a good start if you are interested in learning more.

Jung suggested we all possess this common background. We are all born afraid of the dark and of heights. If you showed a snake to grade school kids in Siberia in the 1950’s where there are no snakes, half of them would recoil in fear. Why? Jung would say that’s the collective unconscious. It is our instincts, the ones we have in common with others.

We know from the baby gaze studies at Yale that we are born with at least a rudimentary sense of justice. We can tell good from evil almost right away. Far from arriving into this world as a blank slate, we each come pre-programmed with some of our direct ancestry’s influence and archetypes—qualities of memory which govern all men (and women).

Couldn’t we say that’s part of your soul?

With what we know about how emotions are made in the last ten years I’d add at least one more thing: we know the brain is “predictive,” not reactive.

In any given situation, beneath your awareness the brain receives messages from the body (called interoception) through the tenth cranial nerve wired to the brain stem. It uses this information to put you in the best-guess state to meet circumstances relying on your databank of prior experience since birth. Then, your brain corrects after the fact according to the social reality before you. All this happens mostly beneath awareness.

Arrive home later for supper and snap at your significant other over something trivial. Later, while eating you realize you had not had any food since late morning and were famished. The body responded and you lashed out without even realizing what was driving your impatience.

The whole brain works predictively this way, subconsciously running things beneath the surface. You only get the results. Thoughts reflect what is happening in the body. Then, we use those thoughts to make sense of our world, applying an ample internal bias to the process.

So, we possess an inborn temperament and we share a collective unconscious… so wouldn’t a databank of prior experience become part of your soul?

This would suggest the idea of a soul made up of your personal ancestry, a species-wide shared memory, and a personal lived history, forces informing the present with what is brought forward from the past.

We could add another influence to account for gender.

In his book, The Psychology of Transference, Jung wrote: “The “soul” which accrues to ego-consciousness during the opus has a feminine character in the man and a masculine character in a woman. His anima wants to reconcile and unite; her animus tries to discern and discriminate.”

Since males have XY chromosomes and females XX chromosomes, it would mean Jung’s masculine and feminine “energies,” as such, would be less derived from DNA per se, simply because women with two X chromosomes would not experience influences from the “male” Y chromosome.

Rather, it is the varying levels of the male and female sex hormones testosterone and estrogen, which occur because of the XX and XY differences. Both sexes have some, though men far higher levels of testosterone and women far higher levels of estrogen.

As men age, their level of testosterone wanes. Is this why aging men often find they can access the anima (feminine sourced energy), becoming more compassionate and finding the inter-connectedness between all things? That’s fine with me and as good a guess as any. But let’s leave that aside for now.

Combined, this gets us to the present, but how does the soul manifest itself?

What about spirit? We see it in admiration of types in the animal kingdom, appreciating a spirited horse, for example. We may find ourselves stirred with the animal spirit when we consider the great migrations of African Wildebeest or Canadian Caribou. Or the majesty of a Bald Eagle, an Asian Tiger or African Elephant. It’s clear we have a sense of spirit if only in the way we might admire those whom we find “spirited.” My adopted “animal totem” is the rooster, standing for loyalty, flamboyance and protection, among other qualities. It was the first animal heard in the morn after a battle and the Celts said it was communicating with the dead. Mysterious.

And who can see a sunrise or sunset and not feel a connection to spirit? Go into a desert or Canada’s arboreal forest at night far away from the lights of the city and gaze up and the sky and the Milky Way. If you have never seen the Northern Lights, I say go see them and tell me about your spirit.

Great art, cathedrals, music, nature and people all lift spirit. And why is it we cannot help but be attracted to the underdog in any story? Why is it the quintessential human experience is to root for the downtrodden? From Rocky Balboa to Luke Skywalker to Florence Nightingale and Joan of Arc, we appreciate heroes for their spirited commitment to a cause.

Because it always involves the spirit acting to overcome a challenge. It is always about being lost but somehow, our hero finds themselves again. It’s the great Hail Mary Pass of life, the long shot, the one in a million chance. It’s irresistible.

And that’s because so are you. It’s the Hero’s Journey, something the mythologist Joseph Campbell wrote about in his book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces.” In this collection he shows how the Hero’s Journey is the story of human beings. It is the stuff of our legends as told around fires for thousands of years.

We live these stages repeatedly in our lifetime, roughly following these steps:
The hero is confronted
The hero rejects the challenge
The hero accepts the challenge
The hero undergoes a road of trials
The hero gathers allies, gaining power
The hero confronts evil—and is defeated
The hero undergoes a dark night of the soul
The hero takes a leap of faith
The hero confronts evil—and is victorious
The hero becomes a teacher

This is our shared destiny and your soul and spirit are compelled to contribute. You see, the universe doesn’t make mistakes.

Though you began as a glint in your parent’s eyes, something like 40 million to 1.2 billion possibilities competed to bring you to life. You could have been born a girl, a boy, with missing limbs or whatever. But, no, you were born you.

You were the underdog and you vanquished all others and won the race. This is a staggering feat: the universe in its infinite wisdom, the same force which put a billion stars in the Andromeda Galaxy, chose you. Your prize was a life.

I suggest your soul represents your true self, the gifts you bring to this existence. The spirit is its voice. One is the present and past combining into your potentials while the other is the present and future suggesting your possibilities.

Consider that your self concept is made up of how you see yourself contrasted against how you believe others see you, maturation involves strengthening your inside game, relying less on what can become the tyranny of external influence. Soul and spirit are your keys to a more powerful you. It’s how you gain awareness of what was previously only in your subconscious. This is what brings about the possibility of change. It is where your free will begins: personal power equals agency.

Kant said, “two things fill my mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe: the starry heavens above me and the moral laws within me.” It is your duty to share your contribution with the world. “Be afraid to die,” said Horace Mann, “until you have won a victory for mankind.” Give us something, anything, it says, if only the goodness you spread among your fellow man.

The soul and spirit are the forces behind your Hero’s Journey. Not because it’s what you can do. Not because it is necessarily because it’s what you want. No. It’s because it’s what you owe. The miracle of your life demands it.

Take time to honour your soul and listen to your spirit.

Stay powerful, never give up
cw

©2020 Christopher K Wallace
all rights reserved

BOOK A FREE CALL HERE

Further reading:

Methyl groups and epigenetics
https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/grandmas-experiences-leave-a-mark-on-your-genes

Joseph Campbell:
The Power of Myth, 1988, Anchor Books
Pathways to Bliss, 2004, Joseph Campbell Foundation
The Hero with a Thousand Faces, 1949, Meridian Books

Carl Jung:
Modern Man in Search of a Soul, 1933, Harvest Books,
The Psychology of Transference, 1983 Routledge Books

Lisa Feldman-Barrett:
How Emotions are Made: the secret life of the brain, 2017, Pan Macmillan

Hero’s Journey interpretation
Steven Barnes, Lifewriting

Katharina T. Kraus, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, 2017
Kant’s Critique of Metaphysics, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2004
The Soul as the Guiding Idea of psychology: Kant on scientific psychology, systematicity, and the idea of the soul

SOCIAL DISTANCING: lessons from prison



SOCIAL DISTANCING: lessons from prison

As unprecedented as this pandemic situation is, whether you conceive it as highly intrusive or a mere inconvenience, a re-alignment to daily living which permits you to maintain your sanity is needed.

The goal is to isolate people so that the virus can run its course while we chase it down and remove its ability to replicate itself. At some point, we hope to see the last patient or person affected and see it off forevermore.

We don’t have a choice.

If we do nothing it would mean an overwhelming of our current medical resources with no guarantee the virus wouldn’t just keep mutating. Then, the whole round starts over again. The idea of catching the affliction and becoming immune could be a fleeting strategy.

The ideal solution is to let it die by not hosting it anywhere.

Of course, governments are falling over themselves to enact powers allowing them to get this done. Freedoms will be curtailed, if not voluntarily, soon legislatively.

It is your freedom I’m going to refer to here.

Specifically, you have no doubt by now been told social isolation is required. The Spanish Flu of 1918 (50,000,000 deaths ) and SARS (10% death rate) in the early part of the 2000s are our comparisons.

This time, no one is messing around. You are staying home.

_________________

HOW TO DO TIME

A guy appears before a judge for a minor offense. Judge finds him guilty and sentences him to 30 days in prison. The convict pipes up, “30 days judge? Ha! I can do that standing on my head!” So, the judge calmly replies, “Is that right Mr Defendant? Well here’s 30 days more you can do standing on your feet…”

Case closed. Next!

Every kid going to prison for the first time hears about the dummy who doubled his sentence. It never gets old.

So how do you handle staying indoors or at home for up to the next 8 months or longer?

I’m reminded of the times I was in prison. I know, I know, already I’m referring to having to stay home as prison instead of the modern conditions most of us live in. For sure, the penitentiary or reformatory or county jail is not the same thing.

Regardless, there are many similarities depending on your frame of mind.

I tell you this because several times in my earlier years I was tossed inside. Most often, my life began to unravel immediately. Why wouldn’t it? Fact is my life was hardly “together” in the first place. Usually, I was apprehended and kept in prison on remand until I pled guilty.

The problem with doing time is all the stuff you had going on out there on the street either falls to shit or must be done through intermediaries. That is risky because the more people between you and your “stuff,” the higher likelihood of things going wrong.

Look, plenty of guys have done more time than me. I was lucky. Hell, I am lucky to be alive. But I bet each of them will agree with the things I’m about to tell you.

You might be like the newbie con whose life has imploded and he (or maybe she in your case) is still attached to the life they once lived (as good or as bad as it might have been).

In prison parlance, we call that, “shaking it rough.”

So, in case you are shaking it rough, here are my rules for doing time.

1. Forget about the outside
Nothing torments a new guy in prison more than to find his body is behind bars while his mind is still on the street. The first few months after going in he’s arranging visits and mail and phone calls trying to control the uncontrollable. It’s enough to drive him nuts.

The day I decided to NOT think about any of that was when I lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I remember that decision like it was yesterday. I was walking through C3 range, it dawned on me and said fuck it… and I let it go.

It wasn’t like now I could enjoy myself. No. Not at all. But the difference was palpable. I probably stood two inches taller. And I laughed a little more.

The infamous ball-busting you see in movies like Goodfellas really happens. I never laughed so hard as I did in prison. At times, I felt a little guilty having so much fun. It’s all in how you look at it. You can laugh like that.

Plus, we have the internet. From home use any number of platforms like Zoom and Skype and WhatsApp and do calls all over the world. All videos and all, mostly free services so  you can ball-bust online as good as the old days. Fughetaboutit.

2. Make your cage a home
In prison, we didn’t have much so I learned to appreciate the smallest thing. Taking the environment where you will spend most of your time and making it work well for you is a critical step. Sure. happiness is a decision, but your environment is a BIG factor.

There’s not much you can do in a regional detention center but once you are sentenced to a prison, you can put some of your stuff in your cell. And you can barter with other guys to enhance your limited ambience. If you must be somewhere, (like a prison cell) and you have access to materials and have a say, why not make things as homey as you can?

Nothing gets wasted. A paperclip or a pin has a value. Take an old cassette player motor, a Bic pen tube, a hemming pin (or sharpened paper clip?), a splinter of wood like an eighth of a Popsicle stick thick and some ink from an art supply kit and a little scotch tape or thread and presto, you’re in the tattoo business. OK, maybe don’t try that one at home.

What could you do to set things up for a long-term stance at home? I bet there are many things. With the right mindset, you can make anything work. The trick is to focus on what you have and not on what’s missing

3. Embrace the suck
Sure, maybe you run a company or a department or some other “important” job which requires your expertise. How will the world ever operate without your wonderfulness? Truth is, it doesn’t matter. If it runs or does not run is no longer the question, at least temporarily.

This is the situation we are in and come hell or high water the powers that be are going to insist everything is shut down. And, there are NO bombs dropping outside. How nice is that?

Just as I couldn’t walk out of the county jail while awaiting sentencing or later, the penitentiary, you will be encouraged to NOT leave home.

By the time I got to the farm camp where I could walk away if I wanted, albeit for an illusory short term freedom while on the run and more time added to my existing sentence once apprehended, I got good at doing my time. See the parallel?

Embrace the suck. Do your time. Otherwise, you will shake it rough. You don’t want that.

4. Routines equal predictability
When you first get to the Big House, you do ten days or so in a newbie range. The only way you can communicate with the guys “in population” (who are there doing time already) is through a window overlooking the yard.

I was a common room man. Guys I knew reserved the job for me right while I was waiting to be transferred in out of the holding range. Once I adjusted (read: said fuck the outside), I took pride and care to set up my rudimentary environment with as much certainty as possible. This despite living with a bunch of killers and other assorted deviants.

This is a saviour… the habits that is.

I followed a daily routine with only slight variations on weekends for a Sunday visit and the odd Saturday movie night in the gym. Otherwise I did almost the same thing every darned day. I was up first and went to get food for the range. I used contraband and influence with the kitchen guys to make sure our range had lots of eggs and milk and other stuff.

While everyone else was at work (making license plates, etc.), I had the freedom (said loosely) to read, write, nap or hit the weights. After lunch every day I ate four pieces of toast with honey with a glass of milk, took a 20-minute nap and headed to lift. Like clockwork. I didn’t even have to think, just do.

Soon, one day blended into the next and I lost track of time. I didn’t check the calendar and just lived moment to moment, putting one foot in front of the other and appreciating only what had to be done next.

Eventually I felt like I was suspended in time, not aging, just… recharging. You are recharging your life.

5. Growing means not dying
You want to learn new stuff whenever you get some down time. Sure, you could take up welding or become a good chef inside. You can do that at home too. Speaking of kitchen crockery, I learned advanced crookery.

This including having an Ace lock gaffe made for me by the guys in shop. It was beneath me to ever use it when I got out… but I had one. Opened any pop machine or laundry room locks at the time.

I made a variety of contacts I could exploit later, dealers, importers, thugs. I learned the dissection of famous crimes from the actual participants and added to my knowledge about everything gangster.

It was decades ago. I’m not that man anymore, not by a long shot.

You will use your time more productively. I have faith in you. What’s something you can do? Learn a language? Write a book? Do your ancestry? That last one will pay dividends for generations. Bada boom!

6. Imagination is your best friend
The thing with not being able to go anywhere is it’s all in your mind. I read. You can read, right? I read James Michener among others, Hawaii, Chesapeake Bay, South Africa and was transported around the world. It was pure escapism. And I read other stuff too. I even read the bible. Where there are books, you can learn.

And I wrote, a lot. I couldn’t write worth a shit, but I had a letter per day going out and a letter per day coming in from my gangster’s moll on the outside — all in pink envelopes doused in perfume. Nothing gets the conversation going like the scent of a woman.

Remember the heroic lessons of psychiatrist Victor Frankl surviving the death camps. It’s almost embarrassing to compare that to this but the point is to honour what he taught us: you decide what meaning to give things. No one gets to take that from you. You are a meaning-maker.

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” You can’t write anything these days without a Friedrich Nietzsche quote so there you are, one of his best.

7. Accepting others as they are
In many ways the “law of the jungle” prevails inside but there is ample opportunity to grow as a person too. Well, maybe “ample” is the wrong word.

What it does is force you to accept others as they are. You know why? Because at that point we are all in this together and no one is going anywhere. Familiar?

The hitman and the bank robber, the crime of passion murderer, the mob guys and the entrepreneurial cocaine cowboys, the dealers and the pimps, the bikers and thieves and the drug addicted, all of them are in the same place, with all their faults… and possibilities.

In such a predicament, it’s a good idea to suspend judgment and look for ways to survive and even support each other regardless of what brought you to where you are. You’ll avoid shaking it rough and do easier time.

8. Authorities are just doing their job
We called them screws. The prison guards unlocking and locking our cell doors or the access doors to various parts of the prison are just human beings like everyone else.

They work for different masters perhaps, the warden, society, a higher morality, their wives and children. But at their core, they are to a man (or woman in some places) just doing a life bit on the installment plan.

That means if you are doing less time (sentence), you have an advantage right? You go home one day.

See what I did there?

Often, we see freedom where there is none, and see a prison where none exists.

9. You can’t sleep away your time
The idea was you were “robbing the man” of his sentence over you the more you slept. This appealed to the immature nihilist in me. “Fuck them.” I thought, “I’ll sleep more than anyone.”

This meant I developed a BIG Valium habit for a few weeks trying to game my sentence. It was bullshit.

I was like a dog chasing its tail. It left me open to attack and caused me more trouble than it was worth. At the crux of all addiction is a quest to narrow focus. Truth is, I can choose my focus without any help.

Lucky. I figured it out fast. Time is time, just do yours.

Also, what if every addiction craving is just the universe demanding you be more powerful? What if not answering that call is a denial of your spirit? What if it’s just a way to stifle the voice for good in you?

Ever hear of a guy who is sentenced to a long term and has an epiphany at some point? Mutha starts to study and gets an education and eventually gets out and TURNS IT ALL AROUND. (I sort of fall under that category).

You know why we like underdogs so much? Because that is human spirit in action. It’s an irresistible force within each of us demanding we overcome. It’s the will to live and live more; it’s the best of us, the best of you.

How else might we answer such a call? Horace Mann said, “Be afraid to die until you have won a victory for mankind.” Do your part… however small.

Look after your sleep and your body.

It’s the Bodymind, not the Mindbody.

Locked in a cell, we’d use whatever is at hand to create our own gym. Heavy books strapped with a towel becomes a dumbbell. A stool and a bunk become a perfect place to do endless dips.

There are countless ways you can innovate to take your environment and turn it into something which will ensure you are tired enough to sleep like a baby soon after lights out. All health is predicated on sleep.

Which reminds me, lights out is always ten o’clock.

Inside or out. Good habits. No excuses.

10. Everybody gets out
In my country, almost every inmate eventually dies or gets out.

Sure, there are hoops to jump through. You might have to appear in front of a parole board to show you have taken an interest in your improvement as a human being. Courses, training, new attitudes. they all count. Outreach to the community is another way.

You could first get escorted passes, then unescorted passes, then maybe live at a halfway house while you find a job. Finally, full parole and a form of freedom.

It’s likely this current set of circumstance evolves in the same way. Expect there will be a staging back into normal life at some point.

That’s not now. Not yet. We’ll let you know. Did I mention there are no bombs dropping outside? Remember that. But you will be ready when the time comes. Stronger, calmer, more confident and assured. And, rested.

In fact, I was talking about this in one of my men’s groups last weekend. One of the fellas is a refuge from the Syrian war and talked about what it was like to be in your home where you normally think you are safe but only, some people are bombed and die there anyway.

We don’t have to worry about that kind of bomb. We must live in our houses and apartments for a few months. When you get out of prison, depending on the length of time you spend inside, things are different, a lot different, or almost incomprehensibly different.

A buddy of mine did 18 years for a crime he didn’t commit. He finally got the conviction overturned and gets out to no business and no wife and his only son had been murdered. He survived, found a strong woman to love and goes to work everyday. He’s the only guy I know in his 60s who is in better shape than me. He went in with no internet and came out to websites and email, and no family.

Trust me, you can do 8 months. You can do it standing on your head.

Things will be different. Nothing stays the same.

But you will be out.

Stay powerful, never give up
cw

Christopher K Wallace (Wally)
Advisor to men, mentor at large
websites
advisortomen.com
ckwallace.com

©CKWALLACE
2019 all rights reserved

reach me here and we can talk/

MEN: STEP IT UP


MEN: STEP IT UP!
During this pandemic, you will find women are especially worried. Don’t give me some bullshit about equality, women are the primary caregivers for young and old the world over.

Not men. WOMEN.

If a child lives through its first few years of life it is almost always due to its mother. And, who predominantly looks after the elderly and the sick?

Humans have such a long maturation process. A child needs to be attended to EVERY SECOND OF THE DAY for years and years.

Men solve problems and back off until the next one comes along.

Women ‘s work is NEVER DONE.

To take a kid to age 16 involves a half billion seconds she spends thinking of how to keep that child safe.

Men? Not so much. In fact, not even close.

When she’s worried about this pandemic, a couple of things to keep in mind about your approach.

1. Don’t take on her worry as yours. The last thing she needs is for you to mirror her anxiety with anxiety of your own. She’s turning to you for your strength and power. Don’t let her down.

2. Act if you can. That’s what men do, act to shore up the safety of our families. If there is something you can do to make her life a little less worrisome, do it. Protect her.

3. Talk to her. Make a plan that both of you buy into. By having a structure in place, even if it’s doing the best you can under the circumstances, it will go a long way to alleviating her fear. Leave no stone unturned.

4. Prioritize. Be mindful she’s in a “all-hands-on-deck” mode and so it’s not time to goof off doing unnecessary stuff that does not directly relate to ensuring everyone’s safety. Stay focused.

5. Watch for negativity. Recognize that doubting voice at the back of your head and allow it to just pass you by. Instead, ask yourself, “What’s my highest-self response to this?” and take that route. Be powerful.

6. Bring her back to the present with your presence. It’s easy to live in the anxiety trap of the future when so much is unknown. What’s before you, today? Do that. One thing and one day at a time.

7. Encourage her. Let her know you are proud of her and can rely on her. Take the extra time spent together to rekindle your respect and awe for her and her journey.

8. Practice self-care. Sleep allows diet and exercise to be healthful. Practice ten or 20-second three of four deep breath meditations all day long like reps. See if you can get everyone to do them.

9. Be a hero. The Hero’s Journey is always about transcending one’s self for the sake of someone else or a greater good. To be someone’s hero, for your family, for her, your children, and others close to you, is a privilege.

10. Look for a silver lining. What other opportunities can you make of this challenge? How can you turn this situation into something positive for you and your loved ones?

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

Use your King energy to help your Queen bring order to her world. Encourage and bless her.

Stay powerful, never give up
Chris Wallace
advisortomen.com

*Graphic is from King, Warrior, Magician, Lover, Moore and Gillette, Harper One, 1990

THE SELF DEVELOPMENT TRAP


Here’s a trap you may not have thought much about:

EXTERNALIZING RESPONSIBILITY

How? the self development rabbit hole.

That’s when you are so consumed by the overwhelming amount of information available online through posts by “influencers” and especially by YouTube “gurus,” as well as an overabundance of books and blogs and essays written to inform you of what you didn’t know. Never ending rabbit holes

Why don’t I allow links to the above in my groups? Now you know. Why over-complicate things?

Not only do I refuse to act as a funnel for every two bit online entrepreneur (though there are some good ones as you know) who has watched a few Tony Robbins videos and attended Date with Destiny (Happy Birthday to Tony by the way), I cannot in good conscience sanction post and links I have not personally vetted for quality. And for simplicity’s sake, I wouldn’t anyway.

I take my responsibilities seriously and do my best to provide a forum from which men can relate to each other as men, while adding content to both teach and encourage discussion, in addition to what group members post.

When guys have a question I think it will serve the group, I post something. Many subjects I have at least a good understanding about and some  things I know in-depth.

These are not off-the-cuff ramblings made by a glib marketer who has speed-read a book here and there, or videos done in one take in front of a laptop camera. Instead, posts are evidence-based, by research and training, and added to by personal experience and a long history of helping others. That said, back to my point:

You can spot the guys in the throes of externalizing responsibility for their personal growth by the latest and greatest recommendations they often espouse, without any evidence they are doing much work on themselves.

I’m not saying that is you. I am saying to be on the watch for this incidental cost to self-development:

A tendency to become lost in a never-ending story of ever-increasing fractions of improvement.

It’s no wonder some guys do nothing much, slowing their progress. Our eyes see out and we look to the environment for simple solutions to our problems. Given the overwhelming amount of information out there, it’s not surprising to see this paralysis of thinking in the well-intended, a guy who just wanted to make life better for himself and the people around him. Admirable goals for sure.

So, this post is to encourage you to keep it simple.

“What is to give light must endure burning.” Victor Frankl

I advise this progression:

The body: The body is the universal address of your existence.

If you are not sleeping well, everything else is going to be half-measures. Learn self-hypnosis and defeat insomnia. Anyone can do it. I have a cheap course on it I often give my clients access to, not because it’s particularly comprehensive but because it contains the 12 ways which I personally used to take myself from a raging 20 year insomniac to quality sleeper in three months.

I still use the techniques.

Now, I can nap by the side of a highway now… with trucks roaring by. Come on…

When my son was born in a high-risk delivery room full of beeping machines and nurses talking and coming in and out, I figured it’d be a long while and so, sat in a chair, just feet away from her bed.

And, I was out like a light in a minute or two. What I did was pretend to be in a submarine and used the surrounding noises as “deepeners” while I went down, down, down in a rapid descent in my imagination into the cold blackness of the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the ocean.

WALLY , YOU’RE GOING TO MISS IT” was what woke me a few minutes later. I’d forgotten the second pregnancy delivery often comes faster because her parts are now, “broken in” …

It’s why I demand my clients hit the body somehow. Martial arts, burpees, walking, gym time and body weight exercises. It all starts with the body. The brain needs oxygen and exercise makes the brain work better and longer. Intensive cardio in short intervals will extend your whole operating system.

It can make the difference between dying in your sleep at the end of your time, or suffering a long decline plagued by debilitating physical illness and heartbreaking cognitive decline. You don’t want that. I repeat, you don’t want that.

It is sleep that allows diet and exercise to be healthful. Get that right first.

And so. diet is also a key part of your self-development lest you race ahead and forget another fundamental. That would be like building a house without a proper foundation. Do you put diesel in your gasoline powered car? Diet gentleman.

Quote:
“If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred.” Walt Whitman

The spirit: The soul is where you carry your potential and possibilities; the spirit is its voice.

This is where you found the wherewithal to even consider changing the approach to life you have now. It’s your yearning to overcome, to survive and thrive. It’s the quiet voice inside you insisting you have more to give than you presently allow. The spirit speaks for the soul.

Oh yes, you have a soul, some say reclaimed by Kant from the rationalists in the 18th century.

What I can tell you is we know epigenetic influences on ancestral DNA is passed down through your DNA methyl groups. Subsequent generations are affected by the ones which preceded them at a cellular level.

That the existence of similar mythologies in ancient times around the world in cultures which had no contact with each other is irrefutable evidence of mankind’s collective unconscious. We are also all afraid of the dark, of heights, etc.

And we now know that the brain operates predictively based on messages from your body (interoception). But more importantly, based  your databank of prior experience (what else was it supposed to go on) all way back to your birth. This is all done subconsciously to inform the brain of the best-guess state to put you in to meet the circumstances before you, and then corrects afterwards according to the social reality present before you.

But it’s that databank of mostly subconscious experience states I find interesting.

I’d suggest these together might constitute what we suspect is our soul.

After all, our operating system is set up in such a way that focus is a super power of being. We can only allow tiny bits of stimulus to enter our minds and disregard most of our experience. We clearly carry some of our past with us and I’d argue that past might be centuries long and perhaps goes back to all of mankind’s existence as a species.

Contrast your environment with that whatever pre-existing programming you arrive in this world with (such as inborn temperament), which would contain the blueprints to your potentials and possibilities, and an argument for something like a soul becomes stronger.

A good part of which was imparted to you at the very moment of your inception by a universe of infinite wisdom.

I’d go further and suggest each of us has a voice within which calls to us. It is unquestionably loudest in childhood but is quieted or silenced while we learn to conform to the demands of the adult groups around us and adapt to environmental circumstances.

But it never really goes away does it? Often we can have at least an inkling of its presence if not hear it whispering, urging us on… to become more, to rise and faces challenges. This is true in times of pain. Often, it’s what allows light to shine through clouds of darkness.

It is the over-comer, the fight-backer, the rise to challenges challenger.

Your spirit is an indomitable part of you, the voice of your soul.

A quick example is addictions, which is both physical and mental, and which I characterize as a denial of spirit. An addiction is a mistaken refusal to honour your God-given (Universe-endowed) obligation to contribute your uniqueness to your environment. It’s an abdication of your King energy, a descent into shadow. There can be many reasons for it, all stress induced, and overcome with guidance.

Quote:
“Be curious, and however difficult life may seem there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t give up. Unleash your imagination. Shape the future.” Stephen Hawking.

The people: Compassion for others helps you have compassion for your self, and vice-versa.

Neither understanding nor taking responsibility for our relationships leaves us confused and often angry. All our disappointments are driven by our expectations.  Buying into the myth of  mother’s unconditional love and projecting that need onto the adult members of our tribe leaves us weak and ineffective. Worse, it brings us their contempt.

Refusing to honour the fundamental order which drives the masculine and feminine energies is at best frustrating, at worst, a disaster. Women’s model for love is the powerful father, yours the maternal energy imperfectly showered upon you by mom.

Staying away from the comparative harshness of men leaves you soft and immature, a boy in a man’s body. Agreeableness is either an adaptation for maternal care at one end of distribution or an adaptation for predatory aggression at the other. Male disagreeableness has been brought under social control in a goal directed collective and drives your competitive spirit. Stop being so agreeable.

Embracing masculine maturation in full soon brings with it a powerful sense of self. A man who uses his power in service of himself and others finds meaning and freedom. A man’s relationships should come from his power as a man and never be his power. If not her, someone else. If not them, others.

Quote:
“Les femmes aiment les coqs. Elles essayent d’en faires des poules, mais elles preferent les coqs.” – Old French maxim

“Act that you use humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end, never merely as a means.” Imannuel Kant

The work: a man must have his own mission and let his purpose find him.

Men build and defend things. We can quickly move from a small group to working within an ever-increasing larger group of other men working on a common goal. It doesn’t matter if that is defending the walls of our city or the borders of our nation. It doesn’t matter if it is building a business, a local shelter for the homeless or a barn for a neighbour. We cooperate.

Men build cultures and women stress-test them. Men work best as a competitive team, women work best in pairs.

Men operate at a more superficial level emotionally, can repress feelings with ease, experience less fear and worry, and have no problem deferring power to the expert among us who has expertise and knowledge in a subject. It’s why there are no true alphas with human males.

If you are stuck on a lonely country road in the middle of the night in butt-fuck nowhere, your muscles and your money count for squat. The only alpha in the circumstances is the fella driving the tow-truck who comes to your rescue.

SO, my call to you is to be careful of using self-development as camouflage for progress. Lip service, they call it.

If you find yourself starting and stopping projects, reading books halfway, doing exercises half-ass or not finishing them, here’s your wake up. Haven’t finished the book? Read it first. Haven’t done the exercises? Do those first.

Haven’t even started to read the book that is sitting on your shelf? Come on, what are you thinking? Don’t buy one until you have finished the previous one.  Have you joined one of my Saturday groups? What are you waiting for?

Quote:
“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Frederick Nietzsche

The woods: Give me an ax and point me to the forest and I will go and build a life.

You are a man. Expendable and wonderful. We are here for you. Your role in society is glorious and underpins the whole of it. Never apologize for being a man nor allow public trends to change your essential masculine nature. The answer to problems with masculinity is more masculinity, not less.

But mark my words: being a man, no one is coming to rescue you. It’s a bit as if you are lost in the woods and you must find your way home. People may not even notice you are missing. That’s part of a man’s sometimes lonely journey.

Yet, from when you were a little boy you were hardwired to stand side by side with other men and fight enemies. Other men can help so much with this as we provide each other guidance…  but the walk is yours alone.

During peacetime, usually the enemy is within.

Fight on solders, fight on brothers.

A last quote: “Nobody ever knows the whole of anything.” Robertson Davies

Stay powerful, never give up
cw
©2019 Christopher K Wallace
All rights reservedNew
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HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY 2020

Every Valentine’s Day is a little special to me now, whereas for a long time it held little appeal. Possibly because it was often a painful reminder of my inadequacy as a kind and thoughtful partner. Or, maybe it was that I didn’t care, or could not care. It’s easy to throw stones at capitalism’s manipulative commercialization of human sentiment. Heck, much of that criticism is justified.

But, here we have it, and there are only so many days of the year where a man is called upon to demonstrably honour his significant other: anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

Mother’s Day is for her children and less her husband, but some think it should be included. A rule could be if your mother is alive, it is she who takes precedence. With an option to honour the mother of your children once dear old ma has passed. Missus taught me that after I went to visit my mother three hours away while she stayed home with our six-week-old daughter, on her first Mother’s Day.

Of course, men love rules and this one could be debated. Debate away, I say.

Then, there’s the “I celebrate her every day!” angle. This is a fair assumption. Many men do.

I know I’m angling for any reason to show my daily appreciation for Melissa. It’s a small pastime of mine, perhaps truly a way for me to practice being prosocial. I’ve learned it’s easy to take each other for granted so I’ve made it a habit to appreciate more this time around. I’m fourteen years in.

Of course, with my background, I needed to work at being nice. Maybe, most of us do.

I was a nice kid. Nice like the fluffy white lamb-shaped cake decorated with white icing signifying purity, and ample white coconut to mimic lambswool, which my Godmother Marie Chenier had made for my First Communion. For me? Yes, for me! Over the years that followed, from altar boy and class president and cub and boy scout and neighbourhood chore entrepreneur, there was a silencing of the lamb. A fractious relationship with my father anchoring and compounding my confusion in a small house filled with frightened children, I emerged a decade later decidedly a Black Sheep.

Funny how that works. It should be no surprise I’m an extravert, scoring in the 95th percentile on the Big Five Aspects scale. Assertiveness? More than 97. You know how those glib psychopaths are, friendly, talkative, their glad-handing masking darkness.

I have some of that. It’s handy.


Where being an extravert (spelled like Jung did) has its advantages, it’s that damn French saying again: I think it’s spelled, “Ont as tous les defauts de nos qualities.” What it means is we all have the faults of our qualities. All of my qualities are tempered with faults. I know , context is everything.

Extraverts live very much in the present. Yup. Confession: I’ve never been able to read Eckart Tolle’s famous book, The Power of Now. It’s right here on my bookshelf as I type this, still unfinished after two decades. To me, it’s the most repetitiously hypnotic text and for this reason, I recommend it to my insomnia clients. Of course, there is danger in reading to go to sleep. It could mean any reading eventually makes you slumber. Cross that bridge when you come to it, I say. If you are kept awake by a ruminating brain, for now, read Tolle.

Introverts live a little more in the future. That’s not me. Thank God missus is introverted, or I’d never have an educational saving plan for my children. I never would have figured out the Riddle of Addiction because it was her nudging which prompted me to take a good hard look at the whole phenomena, its trends and implications. After practicing and tweaking my approach, I’ve been able to reach folks with this. Doesn’t seem to matter what obsession, I can help you cure any addiction in 90 days.

Which brings me back to Valentine’s Day, the one at my place. I’ve written before how when missus and I were first dating I gave her fair warning. I admitted that I would likely forget all the aforementioned days she was due my acknowledgement. She was amused at my confession. And, she was ahead of me.

She didn’t suggest but TOLD me what to do. “Here’s what you are going to do,” she said, before instructing me to head to the nearest drugstore or card shop. “You will buy up a supply of cards for my birthday and whatever else days you want, and you will keep them in that filing cabinet of yours. So, if you wake up some morning and realize you have forgotten, you can wait until my back is turned and get one of those cards, fill it out, and leave it on the kitchen table so I will know you care and thought of me.” I was dumbfounded, of course.

“Will that work?” I remember asking. “Yes, it will,” she assured me. It was at that moment that I knew she was something special. Decades of guilt and shame about forgetting birthdays and anniversaries came tumbling down at once. So, off I went to the drugstore and did exactly as she instructed.

And, it worked. In fact, it worked earlier this month as she sat on my office couch and asked me point blank, “Did you forget my birthday?” before heading out. I could have lied. I’m glib after all. If anyone could look her straight in the eye and offer her some version of bullshit, it’s me. Yet, I also know that when people are looking for bullshit, it’s much easier to find. I learned decades ago that gig is up. Honesty is my policy.  It’s not worth the time and effort nor the consequences for either to dabble in deception.

“Yup, completely,” I admitted, adding, “I thought I had this one because I’ve been thinking about it since the new year but sure enough, come the day, it’s out of my mind.” She smiled, in a sort of womanly self-satisfying way, perhaps knowing she chose long ago to not make this hill hers to die on. God, I lust after that woman. I’m just as sure her smile was deeper.

You see, when she instructed me all those years ago by offering her brilliant practicality, effectively to “let me off the hook” I’d put myself on, I’m pretty sure she knew exactly what she was doing.

Unbeknownst to me , slipped into her instructions was the element of time. So grateful was I to escape the shame of my decades of disappointing other women, that pain serving as motivation, I followed her orders blindly, I never considered the bigger picture.

She had just made me commit to years with her. Years son. Damn, she’s good. Women are closers.

So, it was this morning whilst the two of us were awakening to the sounds of children and a dog scratching in her crate, missus wished me a Happy Valentine’s Day. I promptly grabbed her ass. “Oh, that’s right,” I answered, “Happy Valentine’s Day to you too.” Forgot completely, again.

It’s not like it wasn’t mentioned in the house. Early this week, the kids were busy filling out cards for their schoolmates. Howie brought a single fake rose to each of his teaching assistants. Last year he gave one of them chocolates and said he loved her. Since her husband forgot Valentine’s Day completely that evening, Howie stole her heart. I’m not sure her husband registered the competition as she told him.

Missus went off to work for a few hours this morning. I work from home and today is the second in a row opportunistic no-school day thanks to striking teachers in the province. With Monday Canada’s Family Day (an excuse to have a long weekend in February), the teachers gave themselves a five-day holiday. Me and the kids checked the card stash. They know about the card stash because of mom’s birthday less than two weeks ago. I think that was a strike-day too.

The cool thing is my father died in November. Not that it was cool that he died, nor that November was a cold month. Although he suffered his last year as dementia ravaged his mind, it was bittersweet to see him go. The cool part is when it was decided by my sisters that dad would no longer be able to return home, it was me who took his records and old photos for safekeeping. That included his filing cabinet, old correspondence and folders chock full of carefully labeled newspaper clippings for reference.

But stashed in the back of his cabinet was a big stash of cards. Blank cards for all occasions.

They say it’s inevitable we find in our partners something of our parents. I supposed it’s easy to stretch what you like about somebody into something you appreciate in your parent or parents. It’s natural enough and this can work out well or poorly, depending.

The very first occasion where missus met my family was at Ma’s 80th birthday party. It was held at a private club downtown and I sent ma and her pals to the party in a big white limousine. Sure enough, ma and missus hit it off. Both were introverts, wall flower types, and spent the time sitting together. Missus never felt more appreciated than that day, remarking how alike her and ma were. I beamed at her happiness, oblivious to the wider implications.

Looks like dear old ma had contrived the same card hack for my father decades before missus did for me. Why haven’t I ever heard of it before then if it’s so common? Probably because dad felt the same shame I did, and ma was as introverted as is my missus. I suppose if you have too public a system for making the effort to acknowledge someone else it might also detract from the gesture somehow too.

I know this because of another thing about Valentine’s Day. It’s often not so much the private gesture but if a girl has her druthers, being singled out at work in front of peers as a box of roses arrives just for her from a romantic interest is heady stuff. It says she is loved; that despite the competition all around her she has backup. I had to own a flower shop at one point to learn that one. Women told me.

But missus went deeper and helped me understand things more clearly. After some of my antics while out with others early in our time, she summed it up this way. “I want others to look at us together and want to be me, not look at us and feel sorry for me that I’m with you.” Boom!

I was probably fifty when she told me that. This young woman from humble beginnings is in so many ways much wiser than me. Women are the primary caregivers the planet over and most of them possess a depth of understanding men often lack. That’s been my experience. She knows how to line up allies and cut loose competition. The good ones don’t have time for assholes of either sex.

Good women also make good men better. A man with a loyal woman by his side has the wind at his back; though, he better stay-out in front of her if he expects to feel it.

A lot of what holds people back in life has to do with shame. Can’t take compliments or criticism? That’s usually shame. Chronic procrastinator? Perfectionism rooted in shame. Not living the life you know you were meant to live? Look at how much shame you carry. It’s a consequence of our interdependence on each other. By itself, it is neither good nor bad except the meaning we give it. A mild corrective within a family can, with repetition and escalation, evolve into a crushing sense of unworthiness.

When we feel like there is something wrong with us, that we are “broken” on some level, shame has taken hold and acts as a burdensome filter through which life is seen. It can become like wearing heavy winter clothes at the beach on a warm summer’s day. Sometimes, it can be like trying to swim with heavy work boots on.

That’s the thing about fatherhood. It’s not a right as the Incels would suggest. Not at all. It’s a not even just an obligation though plenty of men in or from difficult marriages will unfortunately sometimes see it that way. It’s more that fatherhood is a privilege, something that can define a man. If motherhood is part of a woman’s Hero’s Journey, fatherhood is similar. More so, it’s a chance to be someone’s hero.

My father held on to his shame for most of his ninety years. His own father disowned him, despite their looking like different-aged siblings. As my grandfather’s only son, the youngest child with three older sisters, my dad needed his father. It was not to be. Grandpa spent most of my father’s early years institutionalized and didn’t reconnect with his family for decades. Grandfather was still a jerk.

My father did his best but inevitably passed along his pain to his children. He never apologized but he demonstrated his regret. For example, as an editor, he taught me to write when I was in my late forties. It started when he sent back a letter I had written home corrected with red editor’s pencil. At first put off, I quickly realized his corrections made sense.

I decided to take the high road and wrote him back in thanks. He answered. Told me if I was going to write him to make it double spaced so he could do his job. So, I did, and after several years he handed back an essay I had given him and said there was nothing to correct. I’ll never forget that day.

It was as if the more I knew myself the more I knew him. It was our unspoken understanding, and our private conversations in his last few years were honest and warm and unreservedly candid.

I realized later I had subconsciously become a gangster to protect myself from his wrath experienced in my early life.  It took years and deep dives into my subconscious to unburden the pain I held within me in exile. The tough guy was my protector.

Little Chrissie, that’s what they called me as very young boy in short pants. Well, I got you now Little Chrissie. No one will hurt you again. We are a team you and I, and I’m strong enough and tough enough for us both. Stick with me kid, I have this figured out for us both. It’s going to be OK.

Dad held his father’s hand when grandpa passed away, secretly hoping for a reconciliation that never came. With several of my siblings, in November I held my father when he died. No reconciliation required.

I’m so glad I forgot today was Valentine’s Day. I’m so happy to find this card tucked away in my father’s collection of cards. Thanks Pops. Also, grateful my children were here with me this morning so that they could participate in writing in a little something for their ma to which I added my expected flirtations for the woman I love, my Melissa.

She came home and found the card in its red envelope on the kitchen table with her name on it. I could hear her voice exclaim, “A card? For me?” She was thrilled. Oh Jiggles…

It was from all us: from where we have been and where we are going.

We exist in each other.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Christopher K Wallace
©14 February, 2020
all rights reserved

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TRIPPING

Should you do ‘shrooms for depression and anxiety?

Is micro-dosing the way to go?

There’s been greater curiousity around this subject in the last few years, particularly as the war on drugs is acknowledged as failed policy. Ayahuasca improves mindfulness and cognitive flexibility a day after its use and has been shown to produce brainwaves like a waking “dream state.”  Magic mushrooms (psilocybin) can reset the depressed brain. There are studies coming in regularly on the beneficial use of psychedelics for anxiety and depression and to bolster cancer survivors.

From the original use of the current party drug ecstasy as a marriage therapy communication tool and the widespread use of LSD under the influence in part of misunderstood Harvard professor Timothy Leary in the 1960s and 70s; to the ayahuasca clinics popping up all over Costa Rica for everything from addiction to existential angst; to John Hopkins in the USA recently opening a psychedelic clinic for anxiety and depression, psychedelics are making a comeback. Not yet mainstream but more and more acceptable.

And millennials brought up on the widespread use of ADD medications are now using micro-doses of LSD and other psychedelics to maintain focus and “live life to the fullest.”

Psilocybin was my thing many times in the 1970s, and LSD was THE THING for a while. The Brotherhood of Brotherly Love out of California supplied the whole North American market. Out on my own and searching to replace my big brothers, I hooked up with those in the inner circle.

It was a different time. In the early 1970s, just walking down Montreal Road in the Ottawa satellite Vanier on a Friday you’d be accosted every half block by someone selling Green Moroccan, Brown, Red or Blonde Lebanese, Afghani, Nepalese, and other hashish. Kashmiri hash seemed to be a water pressed variety and was slightly streaked with feint white mould often reported to be opium or heroin, which, of course, was bullshit. Psychedelic mushroom or microdot or blotter acid (LSD) was just as ample and the working stiff looking to escape stress on a Friday night paycheque in hand had choices galore. .

I took many psychedelic trips during those early years, part escape and part cultural pressure. Only, often I’d have to babysit someone as their operating system was updated or torn down on a trip.

Regularly, reality and the effects of the drug became blurred as the person believed their mind entirely, refusing to accept it “just the drug.” I never had that problem because I never doubted the effects I felt in my body and my brain were fully drug induced and would eventually go away. I knew I would come down. Others I have done these trips with?  Not so much. One day I will write of my last acid trip.

Applying what I know now against those experiences, I would say it can help temporarily dismantle ego from what I remember. If rigid ego-constructs are an impasse to someone’s progress in dealing with their malaise, under the right conditions I can see how it would be helpful.

I have seen it and applied it to myself at a time of great personal turmoil. What I think it does is bypass ego which tends to obstruct the true self, allowing the person to experience a greater connectivity to all living things while retaining a sense of supernatural or mysteriousness. It’s as if one can peer behind the doors of consciousness and see something of the soul and spirit at your core.

But, be forewarned: it’s a crap shoot.

I’ve seen people benefit from a single trip and it resulted in them adopting a new life regime.

The day after tripping with them, things were different. They changed internally and more changes were to follow in the coming weeks and months. It’s almost as if they had seen the future during their experience as they were, rejecting that needy or mistaken part of themselves, and had a new path in front of them finally. One thing all of us felt was a sense of awe. That can scare you or uplift you.

I’ve been there when trippers beside me spoke of love not forthcoming from their parents, instead finding a more powerful version of it in a greater entity, as if their experience on the drug gave them a glimpse into the wisdom of the universe and their vaunted place in it. At some point talking it out, they acted as if seized by a otherworldly spirit giving voice to the soul.

Off they’d go get busy making sure they lived their vision, somehow unburdened and free while retaining humility and awe, perhaps even a slight fear or maybe just a great wonder. They had seen things from beyond while their brain was on overdrive, fired up by not only adrenaline and cortisol but also by dopamine and oxytocin.

“It’s all love man, we are all loved, I love you, we are all children of God,” they might say. Peace.

I’ve seen others do it, and like it so much they do it again. And, again. Because the pain of staying who they were before the trip is greater than the fear or uncertainty of stepping into who they might become while under their hallucinations. It’s as if their imagination and creativity had become trapped and cries out to be let go, to be set free.

During their trip they become reacquainted with a truer self, often a younger version of self long buried and they desperately want to NOT lose contact with that part of themselves ever again. There is a power in communing with your environment on a universal plane, knowing your part in it all was assured.

Until after a few months THIS reality you and I know doesn’t compare. The ego that calibrates every day living cannot be summoned to perform the ordinary duties of self-concept. Self concept is destiny.

My little buddy Mikey (one of my old reps) came out to Vancouver to visit in the late 90s and told me about a summer of doing shrooms back in Hamilton. He was a Palestinian refugee from Lebanon, sent here by his father with his stepmother and her children, his half-siblings. He was an outcast, skinny, bad skin, a huge nose. We taught him how to go door to door and he developed a huge booming voice and confidence that got him noticed. In grade eleven, he was selling joints to his school mates and suddenly became popular for the first time in his life.

Handing back the joint on that first night during his visit, he said, “Sometimes at home in our apartment, I know my brother is watching me. I can just feel it.” Oh no. BINGO! I looked at him and asked him a few innocent questions to confirm my suspicions.  “Mikey,” I said calmly, “that’s paranoia and the beginning of drug induced psychosis. You will need support as you regain your ego capability. So, here’s what I want you to do: go back home and get your stuff and move out here right now. Can you do that?”

He agreed. I tended to look after my reps and often I was the big brother or father figure they didn’t have, the only male influence in their lives who gave a shit about them.  If I asked him to move near me he would do it without question. I spoke with him a few days later after he landed back in Hamilton as he arranged to move out here more or less permanently. Only, he never made it.

The next night he threw himself off the 7th floor balcony of his apartment and died. I will never know the full story but managed to confirm with my old Hammertown reps his story and his drug use history.

As near as I can tell this is what happens. The ego is what you take on from your environment, parents, teachers, grandparents and others who teach you how to conform and become part of the tribe. It’s how we form a self concept. Self concept is how you see yourself contrasted against how you believe others see you. It’s a balancing act of various parts of your personality which allows you to benefit from the interdependence of your tribe. It means survival.

Yet, the true self, that inner self part of your psyche is always there. It lays hidden, dormant, but nevertheless yearns silently all the while, relaying the stirrings of your soul. All your ancestral influences coupled with the collective unconscious of mankind and added to by your databank of prior experiences since birth contribute to soul. Soul very much exists in the present and past for it is a great memory of you and your place in universal history. The soul’s voice is the spirit.

Psychedelics can open a portal to the inner self of the psyche. It can bypass ego and self concept and allow you a visit with the interconnected being you were born as. That little boy or girl playing outside in the backyard at 3 or 5 or 6 years old has much of that inner spirit in play. Remember those years if you can and appreciate the naturalness and wonder of your existence.

You don’t need psychedelics to reach this part of your self, but you can’t know that. You haven’t seen it like I have. It would be unfair of me to pass judgment on you because I have seen what is beyond the curtain and come back intact while presumably you have not. I have seen good trips and bad trips, too many to count. You don’t need to go but if you do, I wish you a good one.

But be very careful my friend. Some disconnect from the ego and regain it again.

Some do not.

Stay powerful, never give up
cw

©CKWallace, 2020, all rights reserved

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Read this about depression for background

DEPRESSED?

GETTING OVER A FATHER

GETTING OVER A FATHER (in 6 steps)

You can do this exercise even if you don’t know your father. If you do or did, that is know him and felt loved and can say you had a great relationship, I thank him on everyone’s behalf (as do you). We need good men. Though, even if he wasn’t part of your life you can still take from this essay a kernel or two of wisdom. I’ll give you my example, you can take it from there.

Not all but many men have problem relationships with their fathers. The post-second world war period as the west re-industrialized under new technologies meant many men worked away from contact with their children for most of the day and week. Lots of men continue to make not much more than an evening appearance at home and spend scant time with family and children on weekends. Feminism probably didn’t help men’s contact with their children, especially as divorce laws were liberalized to favour mothers.

These six steps I used to deal with my father issues were important for me to gain perspective, to put things in black and white. I knew in the end where my anger came from, my nice guy compensation, and several other compromises I unknowingly accepted in developing my personality. I also learned to understand and accept several of my father-derived traits for which I had no prior appreciation, including a multi-generational understanding of influences. This helped me take better charge of my life.

First step: Acknowledge your father’s weaknesses and strengths while identifying which you have adopted as your own.

Undoubtedly, he left his mark in some way so take an inventory. First, put aside resentment if you have any and try to see things as objectively as you can. Even if you don’t know your father, your ma can give you hints: If you have a trait that is clearly from her, but others that are not, assume those other part of you came from dad. Simple elimination.

Write a list of characteristics and assign them accordingly.

Step two: Assert your reasons for change and gain leverage

Why do you want to do things differently than your father? Recognize, we exist in each other. Epigenetic influences on ancestral DNA are handed down for several generations through the methyl groups and are part of your soul. But you can still make decisions for yourself so it’s best to decide out of anger or out of love how you will proceed with your life. The better you understand the forces operating on how you got to where you are, the easier it is to steer yourself to a better existence. I was damned if I was going to parent as my dad did.

You are bound to have some of your father’s tendencies so it’s worth spending a bit of time deciding which to keep and which to update.

We exist in each other. I tell my kids when they are getting strapped into their car seats, “Watch your fingers, watch your toes, canteen open, canteen close,” the same ditty my father learned in the navy and he used to say to us when piling nine kids into a ’67 Pontiac Parisienne. When I repeat those words, my father in me is speaking.

There are stories of twins separated at birth who find each other decades later and they are dressing the same and have similar interests. While not as drastic as that perhaps between father and son, ancestry might be a third of soul. We can’t get away from that stuff so make peace with it.

My father, Howard Carew Wallace and grandson, Howard Thomas William Wallace (my boy)

Step three: Surmise where dad’s influences may have come from. He had parents and grandparents and lived in a different era.

This is where your natural curiousity comes into play. Even if you don’t know your father you can conclude quite a bit from the area of the country and the generation in which he grew up. These things are easily researched. What would a man who has these traits (name the ones you have that are not from mom) growing up in this area at this time be like? That’s what you’re dealing with.

How little or how much you know about your father’s background shouldn’t prevent you from doing this exercise. What’s important is you develop a narrative about his life that allows you to reconcile his existence in so far as it concerns yours.

In my case, I learned my dad was never accepted by his father. My father’s first memory was of his dad smacking his mom around in the kitchen when my dad was just four. He could hear them and remained frozen at the top of the stairs wanting to intervene but afraid, he told me a few years ago clenching his fist. He was just four years old at the time he witnessed it all, mid-eighties when he told me.


My dad and his big sisters

Regrettably, the argument was over my father’s paternity, dad found out later. Dad’s three big sisters were fine and accepted but somehow my grandfather got it into his head grandma had borne him an illegitimate son. It ended up defining my father’s life and he was still mad about it when he told me about it eight decades later so you can imagine.

My grandfather was institutionalized for many years and didn’t appear in our lives until the 1960s when he showed up with grandma, introduced to us nine kids as “Uncle Gimpy.” It was only later we found out he was our lost grandfather and were given permission to call him Grandpa Gimpy. During some visits, I witnessed my father and grandfather arguing in the living room, shouting at each other, presumably over the paternity issue.

My dad spent some time in an institution himself in the 1970s, suffering from what they called manic-depressive back then, bi-polar now. It forced his early retirement from the navy as he tolerance to stress became less and less. He swung back and forth emotionally in what I call a crazy 8 pattern, from anger and rage to loneliness and brooding self-pity and back to anger again. Once the “horses are galloping” as he put it to me once, it could take him days and days to settle down.

Dad was holding his father’s hand when he died at age 98 in the Rideau Veteran’s Home here in town around 1990. Right to the end, my father hoped for a sign, something which would acknowledge him, or perhaps even a death-bed reconciliation. He got nothing.

I saw his pain retrospectively, with him discussing what his influences were while looking at his life. Though, he eventually got dementia and spent his last two years in a locked ward for his own safety, for two years before he went in, I purposely moved nearby from another city and visited him at the family home each week during the day. We spoke less as father and son and more as men.

He told me many stories of his early years and lifetime. He lived in his living room with floor to ceiling bookcases and read thousands of books. As a kid, we were afraid to ask him something because you might get a half hour lecture about a culture or place in the world. When you are a learner, you must teach.

When he died in November, a month shy of five years since he lost ma, his partner of sixty-two years, a few of his nine children were present, including me. It was at the Perley Rideau Veterans’s home built on the grounds of the old Rideau Vets home where his father died. We held his hands in turn, no reconciliation necessary.

Given the uneven attachments and unpredictable violence of my early years, I gained a good understanding of why my father was weakened so in his lifetime despite it all: his pain was large and lifelong.

Ma was not much better off. Born into a family of nine in Newfoundland, she was given to her grandmother as a child because her mother “couldn’t bear another.” Though cared for, she never got over this separation from her family. At some point in her early teens, she was allowed to stay overnight at her mothers and announced defiantly in the morning she wasn’t leaving. You can imagine the deal she had to make with herself just to stay and be near where she believed she would be loved.

And my grandfather Gimpy, my father’s father. As a boy he heard his two older sisters, the ones tasked mostly with looking after him, crying to each other in the night sick with scarlet fever. In the morning he found them both dead. It was the late 1890s, the milkman had infected the whole neighbourhood.


Then, his mother bleeds to death over three days while delivering twins at age forty, despite the neighbourhood women taking shifts to staunch the blood from her ruptured uterus. Then a wicked stepmother enters the picture.

In 1914, he goes off to war and is shot by a sniper and thought dead. He miraculously recovers leaving an ugly pink scar more than a foot long on his leg and giving him his nickname, Gimpy. He takes up flying, done with the infantry, comes back from a bombing run at war’s end and crash lands in the fog, staying hospitalized with brain damage in Britain until 1921.


While there, he loses his father back in Halifax. My great grandfather is killed racing his horse and buggy through a short cut by a train at a hidden crossing racing home after seeing another of his sons, long before they had those lights and barriers common today.


Thomas Patrick Wallace with his three sons, Howard Vincent, soon to be named Gimpy is on the right.

Looking up my ancestral records, sleuthing through the genealogical tree, I find my great-great grandfather, John Wallace dies of “exhaustion due to excessive drink” on a Saturday night in Oshawa Village. He worked at the carriage maker which later become part of General Motors and leaves a conscientious woman, Mary Hart, in charge of his five kids of whom Thomas Patrick was one.


John Wallace, b. 1824 Ireland (we don’t know for sure) d. 24 May, 1875.
His schedule C gave the reason for death as “exhaustion from excessive drinking.”

John Wallace was the only son of Thomas Wallace, my founding immigrant, who fought in the Gibraltar campaign of the Napoleonic War before sailing to Canada to fight for Her Majesty in the War of 1812. Arriving in 1814 at war’s end, he settles in Oshawa Village.

Thomas Wallace gravestone, Oshawa, Ontario

I can trace five generations of Wallaces before me through these men and see the pain they have transferred to each generation.

Step four: accept, forgive, surrender

Call it compassion, sympathy, cognitive empathy while realizing we are people makers. It is only by understanding that each person lives the best they can under the circumstances and makes the best decisions for themselves at the time. Of course, they do, self-interest is always paramount. If they knew better or could act differently, they would.

Seeing a previous generation through the lens of today’s values and morality is called presentism. It drives historians nuts. Let this knowledge signal greater tolerance and compassion for those who came before you.

Not only were the cultural values different way back in your father’s time and his father’s time, so was the environment. Times of war or of social justice upheaval or economic hardship far removed from our experience precludes our ever being able to completely reconcile their journey. “You had to be there” you have heard people say. Well, we could not, so judge less on that basis.

We didn’t live through the advent of electricity, women’s emancipation or even the vote being extended to all citizens for that matter. We know nothing of two world wars. Most can’t remember the sixties. Two hundred years ago life expectancy was less than fifty and most were living hand to mouth on the family farm or in tiny communities. Religion was stronger and laws often looser.

Step five: seize control and take the stand all men must make.

Ask: am I going to allow my history to determine my future? Or, shall I create a life of my own?

What will be my legacy to others? How will I improve upon my ancestral line so that my legacy flows into the distance intact and strengthened?

Make the declaration. THE PAIN STOPS HERE!

Use this powerful stance to decide your future, ensuring you are an improvement on the previous generation. I remember visiting my mom and dad from out of town once when I had then missus and my first son in tow. Dad noticed how I interacted with my boy and remarked to all around, “Christopher is determined to not act like me.”

He was right. I’d be damned. I haven’t been perfect, but I haven’t been him either, not by a long shot. Though I recognize him in me when shit hits the fan. That’s been an important part of my personal legacy.

No one becomes a parent with anything but the best intentions. No one has kids and intends to fuck them up on purpose. Good intentions are tossed aside when stress hits and we revert to our family of origin programming. Be aware of this and make plans for how you will counter this if necessary when it happens, because it will.

Step six: Reclaim your power and gain your freedom.

Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. wrote at one point: “One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never shrinks back to its original dimensions.” Think of that for a moment.

Whatever circumstances came before you, you can live differently but only under certain conditions. This is because we live emotionally and interpret things later. Most of what we do happens subconsciously. It’s only by bringing something into awareness that we can bring about the possibility of change or control. It is only with insight where free will begins, not before.

If the soul is comprised of the epigenetic influences on ancestral DNA, contrasted with the collective unconscious of all mankind’s history and then added to by your databank of emotional experiences since birth, the spirit is its voice. You are a unique combination of these influences and to deny any is to deny them all. It is to deny your spirit.

The more aware you are of your history, and the more you accept and surrender expectations and the futility of should have, could have, would have and what if,  the more you can take charge your present and future. Life is lived forwardly, not regressively, though the past has lessons to teach.

Now that I know all this, I get to decide. Some of my father lives on in me as a shadow aspect of my personality. Knowing my shadow allows me to live in the light.  It is a light of my choosing. Power equals agency.

I consciously blame him for this violence in me I had to learn to tame on my own. I blame him for my disregard for money and for my nice guy tendencies earlier in my life. I also blame him for my love of books, for my memory, for my athleticism, for my sense of justice and for the simple love of teaching. He taught me to write when I was fifty. I blame him for that too.

Using our power in service of ourselves and others is how we find meaning and freedom.

Ask yourself: How will I live?  Powerfully or in weakness? How will I be an improvement on the generations which preceded me. As Horace Mann once suggested, “Be afraid to die until you have won a victory for mankind.”

Stay powerful, never give up: You will sleep better at night

cw

©January, 2020, all rights reserved
Christopher K Wallace
Advisor to men, mentor at large

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NATURE’S EDGE: valued women

NATURE’S EDGE: valued women

You will often read me saying women are more valued by nature and that men are the expendable sex. Sometimes a guy thinks this means I am putting women on a pedestal. Of course, this is nonsense. It’s as if they are saying unless you have contempt for women, you are glorifying their existence. Bullshit.

Perhaps we should glorify each other, which is more in line with what what I teach, and that is a long way from pedestalizing women. Don’t be a fool about that but we should look for opportunities to appreciate each other. A lot. I just realize women’s value is a biological reality and I will tell you why: I see examples of gynocentric favouritism all over the planet in both the animal and human kingdom.

For example, there will probably always be rape. It is why women will never be able to walk the streets in the night anywhere half dressed expecting no one will molest them. It’s not fair but then again, life is often not fair. There will likely always be some lesser value male who cannot compete for females effectively who resorts to stealing something of value from a woman, with tragic results.

It is also why women have been “spoils of war” since forever. There is not a culture on the planet where women have not suffered in war because of their value, and either been raped and killed or become captive slaves or concubines for a conquering army. Note, this goes on around the world to this day, for example in Nigeria and the Syrian caliphate war of late.

Look up any Indigenous tribal culture and raiding for women was rampant. In one wonderful book in my library, A Stolo-Coast Salish Historical Atlas, it details how rival tribes used the tides to raiding advantage heading up the Fraser River in the south of British Columbia.

In what used to be freshet flooded plain between the cities of Abbotsford and Chilliwack, BC, the natives who lived there became known as “people of the reeds,” because they would run really fast over the swamp, knowing just where to step, and escape into the hills, They bought extra time by seemingly walking on water while their pursuers would stop and sink into the bog where they could be killed by warriors lying in ambush.

In the old growth forests overlooking the plain, the tribe had constructed hiding places, camouflaged earthen caves dug into the mountain where women and children would wait while the men fought the intruders.

Women have value, and that value is sought after by men. Put all the men over here in one group and all the women over there in another group and soon you will see the men drift towards the women. It’s an irresistible pull, a natural force of nature itself programmed deeply in mankind’s psyche.

It’s why when the Titanic went down, we put women and children in the lifeboats first. It’s the first thing honourable men protect in a society: women and children.

That doesn’t put them on a pedestal but just recognizes this truth. The w.o.w. effect (women are wonderful) is a measurable reality. Right or wrong.

So is a woman’s other side, her tendency to compete covertly using mean remarks, social exclusion and by trying to win over your friends and allies. Her power can be abusive when it’s turned against you.

Neither is recognizing abuse of empathy as her birthright pedestalizing her.

I’m older, experienced and more educated than my missus—all things which count for fuck-all when we argue.  It’s recognizing her power and according it respect. Value judgments are secondary to appreciating how she is made and operates.

Get bitten by anything in the animal kingdom and the chances are it will have been by the female of whatever species. From mosquitoes to lionesses, females are survivors of the fittest kind first and foremost.

There are key differences between men and women. Don’t listen to the social constructionist “move to androgyny” narrative prevalent in western society. Equality of opportunity is one thing, but generally men and women are too different to be considered equals. This post is about her value to nature, so I won’t go over our many differences. It is enough to say the case is strong nature makes her more valuable than men and that men, therefore, are more expendable.

There are good and bad in both sexes, and context is everything. Using scarcity—a widely accepted measure of value—women are more valuable based of their shorter fertility window alone. She has roughly 20 good years, between ages 15 to about 35, before risk to her and baby go way up.

Men have triple or more her fertility period. I’ve already told you about the 90-year-old farmer in Rajasthan who fathered a baby girl with his fourth wife in 2007. I myself am 62 with an eight-year daughter and six-year old son. Women can’t do that and if they do, it makes international news.

Heck just look out at the bird feeder and see the male Cardinal in his bright red plumage (or most other songbirds). Meanwhile, the female is more buff coloured. If a Sparrow Hawk (American Kestrel) happens to catch the couple unawares, he’s getting it first. That is expendability.

This same male expendability is reflected in society where men are 90+% of workplace deaths, up to 95% of deaths from war, etc. These are all things you know. To think men are not the expendable sex is to deny reality. Seems to me we can accept this with grace and make the best of it, or we can whine about it.

We are also far more likely to die in childbirth and die earlier in life. Our life expectancy is less than a female life expectancy.  There are  more developmentally challenged men as well as more bright ones at the two ends of a Bell curve. Women cluster more safely in the middle of distribution.

I agree there were constraints on women in days of yore that do not exist today. This is largely irrelevant to this discussion and so I’ll skip the presentism to theorize about the merits of old cultural norms.  But it’s also true that: “Ont as tous les qualites de nos defauts.” Translated:  “We all have the faults of our qualities.” Both sexes are good and bad. On that we are equal.

I’d like to see more discussion in society about women’s and men’s preferences and differences but without the blaming (and anger). I also think a man can get stuck considering these things and embrace a disdain for women, and I see evidence of this every day. If your view of women rings with contempt, I suggest that is an unsettled part of your personal maturation as a man. Same goes for women.

Just as men have great gifts of aggression, sometimes this gets the better of us. In one context aggression is critical, in another it’s a detriment. An aggressive man who wants to fight you is one thing, one that will back you up in a fight is entirely another isn’t it?

A woman who can maneuver covertly and win over people to her cause is a bitch when it goes against you. But when she uses her power in your favour. it’s more than tolerable, it’s encouraged. I’ve seen this too many times to discount it. Context.

I have spent the last few decades learning sex differences as a result of being disappointed with my father when I mentioned I was having a hard time understanding women. He answered, “You’re not supposed to,” which I thought was weak as fuck. Resolving to do just that I found my father was wrong: we can understand each other, and it’s not that hard.

I have been following along from a behavioural science viewpoint while observing how women work through my relationship with Gallup and as a Strengths Coach.  As VP for the largest paid sales newspaper company in the world where ran teams of teens and young adults in close quarters for a couple of decades—giving me access to a live lab of sorts.

I was never a red pill type, but I listened to Tom Leykis in the early 2000s for a few months and saw the reality many men were facing (with the traditions of womanhood, shall we say, long on the wane). I also lived through feminism’s heyday, something I find contemptible now. Well intentioned but mistaken idealists I call them.

I just think the answer is to know our strengths and weaknesses on each side of the gender energy divide. I’m aware of women’s faults, but also appreciate her gifts. I’m aware of men’s faults but appreciate his gifts. We are a team, and a people, and knowing our tendencies and proclivities is critical to having any chance at winning any kind of game, the game of life included.

I’m not intimidated by either gender’s powers gone awry; nor am I deterred from finding the awe on each side. That’s the thing about male maturation. If you are to become an elder of your tribe, as a man you will need to discover the inter-connectedness of all things, including this energetic female force you may presently find so befuddling.

Men and women have been banding together since the dawn of time to benefit from each other’s strengths and shore up each other’s weaknesses. If we were the same, if she were more like me, there would be no need for each other. Think about that for a moment: what kind of egocentricity demands others be more like us?

Fact is, her depth and wider perception balance out your narrowness and single-mindedness. Her power with people and your power with things are what makes you an unbeatable team. Striking a balance which respects differences while recognizing each other’s value and place in the natural order of things is what makes the pair bond interesting and rewarding. What’s bad about her? Instead, try: what’s good about her? Men lead; women command.

It is only when a man is fully secure in his power that he can appreciate the intricacies of his relationships and see magic in those around him. You must push yourself to find this wellspring of strength, even if it is pain which motivates your quest for consciousness is slow. So little of your existence makes its way into awareness that each small realization is a gift of body and mind and heart.

This is what a man’s power really is: it is agency over his being. It’s him taking the hidden parts of soul and the quiet voice of spirit and finding and living his potential and possibilities. You have a bigger mission in life than just understanding women. Make that part easy.

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

Stay powerful, never give up
cw

©2019, Christopher K Wallace
Advisor to men, mentor at large

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The rose breasted grosbeak at my feeder. The darker male has white and black colours with a rose breast while the female sitting on top of the feeder just blends into the background and is barely visible…