As we sat in a circle of 11 men, one of the guys said, “I’ve got something to share that I’ve never told a living soul.”
He stuttered a little as he continued, and he was visibly tense and afraid of what everyone would think of him.
The rest of the group went completely silent, on edge themselves. The kind of quiet where you could hear your own heart beat.
The pressure built as we anticipated and wondered what he’d say.
As he got ready to cough up his deepest darkest secret…
The entire circle erupted in laughter.
After what may have been 2 hours of uncontrollable laughter, the man continued.
As he shared and started to see the reflection in people’s eyes, I could see his shoulders start to relax. As people started to share back with him that by sharing this they actually respected and trusted him even more, I could see a weight of years just dissolving off of his back.
I took away 3 things from this moment:
- Dehydrated backpacking meals make you very gassy
- I believe that transformative experiences are most impactful when they include pushing your emotional, physical and spiritual edges while also being maximally fun.
We had created a culture in a matter of days that was safe enough to share our deepest “shit” while also having an outrageous amount of fun. It reminded me that many of the most important experiences of my life included both challenge and fun.
- This reaffirmed my belief that our level of self-judgement is directly related to our level of self-disclosure. In other words the more we hold in, the more we judge ourselves. Shame ourselves even.
This guy had been ashamed of himself for years, and he hadn’t shared it with anyone besides a therapist. As soon as he coughed it up there was a visible weight lifted.
By sharing our shit with trustable people, we get to see that we are not alone. We get to feel their acceptance of our true selves rather than a mask we put on.
This is a really high value of mine so Adee got me this shirt.
And speaking of Adee…
Praise your woman!!!
We just played this game on date night where you ask each other questions. One of them was “what do I do that makes you feel safe in our relationship?”
One of her answers was that when I praise her frequently she feels safe and secure. When I praise her she knows how much I love, respect and appreciate her.
I also know from years of experience with her that when I praise her consistently we feel more connected, she’s more attracted to me, and she seems to just have a better day.
One of the commitments I made during the last Soul Searching Adventure was to praise her every single morning right when she wakes up.
When I do this a lot of times it feels contrived. At first I judged that this meant my praise wasn’t as genuine.
I’ve learned that that’s bullshit.
Just like sex doesn’t always have to be spontaneous, neither do praise or affirmations.
David Deida, author of The Way of the Superior Man, says
“Praise is literal food for feminine qualities. If you want your woman to grow in her radiance, health, happiness, love, beauty, power, and depth, praise these qualities. Praise them daily, a number of times.”
Best fiction book of all time?
Lastly, I’m reading a new fiction book called Dune, which I was told by several friends is one the best fiction books ever written. In it there’s this awesome line that got me thinking:
“Polish comes from the cities; wisdom from the desert.”
Something I’ve been telling myself a lot lately as well as other people I’m working with is that all of us have a deep wisdom inside of us.
We have all of the tools necessary to deal with our most troubling challenges.
One of the greatest ways to tap into that source of wisdom is getting out into nature.
I just spent 5 days in the desert, disconnected from my phone, and I achieved a level of clarity I hadn’t had in months.
When things are chaotic or stressful, or even when there are so many awesome opportunities you feel overwhelmed, I encourage you to seek the answers from within.
Go out into nature in solitude. Take some serious space away from all your normal inputs and see what comes up.
Another thing this brings up for me is one of the core principles of Stoicism which is self-denial or voluntary hardship.
The stoics would intentionally deprive themselves of some of the creature comforts that they were used to sometimes. Some might sleep on the floor, they might become homeless for a week, they might eat very basic, bland food or go out into nature and “rough it” for some period of time.
Doing these things reminds me how little I really NEED to survive and be happy.
Practicing some form of voluntary hardship regularly helps prepare me for the involuntary hardship that is just a part of life.
Have a great weekend!