Tag Archives: spiritual growth

Communicating with Men.

DSCF4131Why would you read these posts? Why would you do these things? Isn’t this anti-feminism?

When I get these questions from clients, my first response is always: Are you happy with your life/relationship(s) as is? If so, you have nothing to worry about. If not, what have you got to lose in learning how to respect and communicate with the men in your life?

In this post, I discussed the timing of inviting your man back into love. In the post before that one, I wrote about some differences in men and women’s brains and why it’s important to offer your gift of love, why it’s important to invite your man back into his heart and belly—back into love.

In my last post, we looked at some specific techniques to get your man out of his head—out of his driven, focused, “work” mode—and into his heart and belly, where he can share in love, where he can get a break from the driven, obsessive energy of masculinity and where he can notice and appreciate your feminine energy.

If you followed some of the instructions in that last posts, now you have his attention.

Now that you’ve got his attention and focus, how do you communicate with him most effectively? We’ll cover some of those ideas in this post.

Remember, his brain works differently than ours—not “less than” and not slower and not more shallowly—just differently. Learn the differences and begin to respect those differences.

Just because his brain works differently than ours, doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with him or his brain or the way he thinks. You can choose to be angry or upset or hurt by this, or you can realize he is a man with a man’s brain and you can work with it, being respectful of how different he is

Please leave your prejudices behind and stop rolling your eyes at him (or behind his back). Be respectful and kind. See him and men and how their brains work as a lovely new land to be explored. Be willing to learn and enjoy—bring your sense of adventure.

“Be mature. Be kind. Be honorable. You will never regret taking the high road no matter what happens.” ~ Steve Horsmon

Get in the Same Zip Code

The reason he doesn’t respond to you sometimes? Because you haven’t gotten his attention, so that he can switch “boxes” in his brain. He is not ignoring you. The way his brain works makes that impossible.

Don’t just yell out the back door, “Dinner’s ready!” or “Your brother’s on the phone!” and expect him to respond. He is focused out there, doing his guy thing.

Go out to where he is and do this first. Then tell him the information. He might be irritated at the interruption, but be respectful enough to know that the way his brains works makes being in physical proximity to him necessary, and he needs that from you.

Being in the same zip code is especially important if you are conveying significant information—meaning you are talking about something that’s important to you and that you want him to remember.

Don’t walk off, or start doing something else while you’re talking to him. If it’s important, convey that by staying right there and keeping eye contact. Put your phone away, close the laptop, wait until you’re not cooking or sorting bills. Tell him, “This is really important to me.”

Make an Appointment Ahead of Time

Men need to be able to switch into the appropriate box in their brains. Be kind and give him a chance to do that. Let him know ahead of time what you want to talk about and set an appointment. Put it on his calendar.

Ask him, “It would make me so happy to talk about this with you. Is this a good time?” If he says no, don’t take it personally, simply ask, “Okay, when would be a better time? How about Wednesday after dinner?” If that works, get it on both of your literal calendars, so that he has a reminder.

Men are goal-oriented and are driven to accomplish those goals. When you get on his calendar, not only does he have a reminder, you and that discussion are now a goal to be accomplished.

Remember, don’t be offended by the way his brain works, learn about it, respect it—use this knowledge to promote peace and ease between the two of you.

He will be so much more open to giving his attention to you if you respect his needs. Tell him what you want to talk to him about—don’t keep him guessing and nervous. There’s nothing respectful about that.

Remind Him Nicely

You will have to tell him things more than once—remind him. That’s just the way his brain works. He is always so focused on right now, that he is unable to think ahead in that moment. He needs to be reminded—kindly.

Alison Armstrong suggests something like this. As you are both waking up and getting out of bed, say something like, “Wow, only four days until my birthday! I am so excited this year!”

And then maybe the day of, “Happy birthday to me, the birthday girl!” as you smile and hug him. He gets to celebrate right then and there with you, and you have reminded him kindly.

Tell him What you Need

Women need and like to talk and rant out loud. We just do. That’s how we process and figure out how we’re feeling about something. That’s how we understand and make sense of our world.

“I believe that when women stop emasculating men, men will give us everything we ever wanted…”   ~ Alison Armstrong

Don’t expect him to be your girlfriend. Don’t expect him to be able—or willing—to talk to you like a woman would/does. He shouldn’t be expected to learn and then execute that.

To insist he do that is actually a subtle form of emasculation. When you refuse to let him talk to you like a man talks, you are demanding he be a woman, and you are saying there is something wrong with him being and talking like a man.

If this idea doesn’t sit right with you, pushes buttons or otherwise pisses you off, think of the opposite.

Think of just how pissed off you’d be if a man refused to talk to you until you “cool off and become more rational”—in other words, until you can communicate more like him, more like a man.

Men can get overwhelmed by all those words if he thinks you need him to fix it. And most men are fixers—it’s a guy thing. If you need to just rant and talk out loud and just need him to listen, say so.

Try something like, “Baby, I really need to just vent/rant right now about this. Could you just give me the gift of letting me talk it out? I don’t need you to fix anything. I simply need your ear.” And when he does this for you, let him know how happy that makes you!

Learn to Listen

But learn to listen not like a woman needs to be listened to, but like a man does. You know how we talk together, ladies. We finish each other’s sentences, exclaim out loud to empathize and talk over each other in our excitement and intensity, sometimes gesturing wildly and emphatically.

Ask a question of a man and then put an invisible piece of duct tape over your mouth and just sit and wait and listen. You will get the most wonderful, deep, incredible answers. It is beautiful.

While he talks, let him know he still has your attention, but without interrupting—just nod or make small sounds. Remember, men focus on one thing at a time (I am so envious of this!), so don’t derail him by being too verbal in your responses while he’s talking.

Then after he stops talking, use Alison’s 10-second rule: after he stops talking, wait. Wait another 10 seconds before saying anything or asking the next question. Give him time to add on to his original answer if he chooses to.

In stressful/critical situations, men often like to take the information/question you’ve given them and then want to process and come back to you with their answer or their condensed version of what is needed.

They often will want to give you just the end result of their analysis rather than talk it all out and come to an out-loud, verbal decision right in that moment.

I know it can be difficult to wait for him to do this—especially in the middle of an argument or uncomfortable confrontation, but he really does need to do this.

Be patient and kind and respect that they want to bring you their best answer, their best selves, and that is why they are requesting your patience. Trust him (and maybe call a girlfriend in the interim and get her to talk you down off the ledge while you wait).

Just the Facts, Ma’am—Keep it Short and To-the-Point

When you need something other than just to rant, choose your words wisely. Focus on efficiency. Men can get overwhelmed by all the words and emotions coming out of us, and when men get overwhelmed, they tend to want to retreat to their “nothing box.”

That’s not how they communicate effectively. Their brains work quickly and comprehensively, taking in information in big, often visual, chunks. They don’t need or want all the fluff. Help them help you by sorting through all that ahead of time.

A good rule of proverbial thumb: talk sticky stuff out with your girlfriend(s) first, then take the boiled-down reduction to your man to discuss.

Tell Him the ROI (Return on Investment)

Get his attention and tell him what the ROI is for him if he listens to you.

Try something like, “When I feel listened-to and heard, I am able to relax and concentrate on you and on having a good time with you. I will be the normal, happy woman you know and love. I will have more confidence. I will be easier to live with. I won’t feel crazy and isolated. You will be my hero for listening to me rant/talk/emote and being my support. I feel like I can go out and conquer the world when I know you hear and respect me by really listening to me. I love that feeling of knowing you have my back and that we are a team this way. I’ll want to connect with you more deeply. I’ll want to have sex more often.”

Why Men Don’t Tell you the Truth

“Men are not devious like women—unless backed into a corner, men will always tell the truth and say what they mean.” ~ Alison Armstrong

If you find out your man has lied to you, the question you might think about asking yourself is not “Why is my man a liar?” but rather, “Why does he feel backed into a corner? Is it because my reaction to this in the past has been not very pleasant, so he is avoiding that again, perhaps? Do I emasculate him on a regular basis in this type of situation, so that he needs to avoid that?”

And remember, many men pretend to be vulnerable, and don’t tell us the entire truth, so that we women don’t kick the emotional shit out of them, according to research by Brene Brown.

I’m not saying a woman is responsible when a man lies to her, I’m just saying that in an otherwise, seemingly normal, relationship where lying is unusual, these might be questions to think about. And it might be time to learn how, as a woman, to respectfully sit with and honor his true, deep (scary!) vulnerability.

And gentlemen, why are you lying to her? Is it because you don’t want her emotions, her femininity? Is that too scary?

“One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman’s emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax.”     ~ David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man

Do You have a Great Ask?

Alison Armstrong, who has studied men for over 25 years, encourages women to use the Great Ask with men. Figure out what you need instead of just complaining first. Then ask him for that. Example: “I really love birthday parties. Could you plan a birthday party for me this year?”

Then ask him, “Now what do you need from me to make this happen?” Then put the invisible duct tape over your mouth and wait and let him tell you what he needs from you.

He may need to be reminded nicely, or he may need you to tell him more about what kind of party you want. He may need you to witness him putting it in/on his calendar, so he has a reminder.

Then do that for him, so as to help him get you what you need/want. That is the Great Ask.

“When we share our emotions with our man, it inspires him to protect and help us. Share the specific emotions and then ask for what you want/need, ‘When we don’t get enough time together, I feel sad and I miss you. I would love to have more quality time with you. And what do you need from me to help make this happen?’” ~ Alison Armstrong

Is this manipulation?

Some folks will see this information as manipulation. And indeed, if that is your motive, then it is manipulation. And some will recognize it as the informed route to the relationship that they have always wanted to have but either didn’t know how, or didn’t have the courage, to do.

Tony Robbins talks about how you don’t just want your partner to be a fan, because satisfied fans/clients leave. He says we should create raving fans of our partners, because raving fans just keep coming back for more. It’s the difference between worshiping and loving someone.

We’ll talk more about whether this is manipulation or not in the next post.

A version also published at elephant journal.

Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo.

Why Women are Attracted to Bad Boys and How to Fix That.

kissing coupleAs women, we cannot fault men who are too “passive” if we are living from our own masculine energy.

“Bad boy” is defined by the Urban Dictionary as:

“A young man who has many characteristics of a naughty boy: he’s independent and willful; he does what he wants when he wants; he doesn’t follow trends, they follow him; he often looks scruffy, but hip; he’s not looking for trouble, but there’s a sense of danger about him. For these reasons and more, he’s irresistible to women. He’s a heartbreaker with five o’clock shadow. Humphrey Bogart was the original badboy.”

James Michael Sama gets into society’s categories and writes:

“Bad boys are ‘supposed to be’ kind of jerks who never really treat you right, and nice guys are ‘supposed to be’ guys who are silly putty in the hands of the woman in their life, obeying her every beck and call.”

Traditionally, “bad boys” seem to be those men who don’t treat women well, and despite that, and some people think, because of that, they tend to attract more women than gentlemen (or “nice guys”) do.

I say there’s more going on here than meets the proverbial eye.

David Deida talks about it when he explains (paraphrasing an audio of his) how firstly, women desire masculine men—men who are predominately on the masculine end of that masculine-to-feminine spectrum.

He gives the example of a woman who is married and where the masculine-feminine polarity has gone wonky in her marriage so that she is most often carrying the masculine energy, and who gets excited and is attracted when she sees the rough, black leather-clad biker gang (the classic, probably over-used, “bad boy” stereotype) ride into town.

He continues about how she may be surprised at this attraction and instantly tries to dismiss that she is attracted to “bad boys” while being “happily” married, but then also can’t quite make herself forget about those bad boys either.

She’s attracted because she craves polarity.

It is only through this polarity that attraction—the spark—happens between people. If she is carrying masculine (or more neutral) energy most of the time, it would take a very strongly masculine man to make her feel feminine again, to create the polarity she craves. It might take a “bad boy.”

Any of my female clients who complain about only attracting passive/feminine men, has to sit through my own story, as I tell her how important it is to look at her own energy first.

As women, we cannot fault men who are too “passive” if we are living from our own masculine energy. Because of course we are only going to attract passive men in that case—or attract men who more easily go to the feminine end of that spectrum when in the presence of masculine energy.

The polarity is always going to instantly happen whether we are conscious of it or not.

There are reasons the Masculine and Feminine are constantly balancing, gifting and polarizing each other. Each needs the other. Like the poles on a magnet, like repels like and opposite poles attract.

So no matter who holds what energy, the polarity is going to happen. When a woman lives from the masculine end of the spectrum, she is going to attract people (male and female) that are on the feminine end of the spectrum.

And there is no right or wrong place to be on that spectrum, but when a woman is talking about only attracting feminine/passive (read:  who don’t initiate things, who don’t take charge) men when she also proclaims to only want masculine men, I always tell her to look at her own energy first.

Because I believe the reason women are attracted to so-called “bad boys” is because they are attracted to the very masculine (albeit, perhaps also, destructive) energy that bad boys exude.

There is also a belief that “nice guys finish last,” meaning, that women will always be attracted to the bad boys first and foremost. But I think the problem is not about manners; it’s about the polarity.

So to put to rest the idea that women like to be mistreated by so-called “bad boys,” I want to point out that women just want to be with a masculine, take-charge sort of man.

And I also want to point out that that is not going to happen if the woman is already on that masculine, take-charge end of the spectrum.

So the fact that women are attracted to bad boys doesn’t mean they want to be treated badly or are interested in being abused. It means they are in search of masculinity.

And they may be in search of and attracted to strong masculinity because they have, for many reasons, become masculine in order to deal with life. My own masculine energy was something I wore as protection—as the result of an abusive childhood. It was totally an unconscious situation—as it usually is for most folks.

The remedy?

I think the remedy is to find your own comfortable place on that masculine-feminine spectrum—and to also realize you will attract the polar opposite of that. If you are comfortable with both of those ideas, you’ve got nothing to think about.

If, on the other proverbial hand, you are not satisfied with one or both of those ideas, it is time to take a look, not at the other person, but at yourself.

Because you are responsible for and can only change yourself.

So ladies, if you want to attract strong, masculine men and you’re disappointed that is not what’s happening, you might want to have a look at your own energy. Where are you on that spectrum?

Rachel Jayne Groover, the author of Powerful and Feminine (a book I highly recommend—as well as her workshops), provides a quiz to see where you fall on that spectrum. She has found that most women with this issue in their life tend to be more neutral rather than actually masculine.

Polarity might not be the only factor in play, but it’s a good place to start, in my (experienced – yikes!) opinion.

Please understand, too, that this energy affects every part of your life and all of your relationships—not just the romantic ones.

Does this mean you may have to take a look at why you are mostly masculine most of the time? Yes.

Might it be difficult? It might.

And you can do it. You are worth the digging, the time and the work it might take.

You will, most probably, not like some of the things you find out about yourself. The good news, though? Once you’re aware of it, you can change it. Don’t let shame get its claws in you and hold you back.

One of the scariest, most embarrassing and shameful things I found out about my own former, protective, masculine self was how I used to need to emasculate men to keep from feeling so vulnerable and unsafe with them.

Once you become more aware and learn how to find and hold your own spot on that spectrum, you will begin to notice everyone’s energy and begin to recognize where they fall on the spectrum and how it has the potential to affect you.

It becomes possible, then, to make conscious decisions about where you want to be, energy wise, so that you are not instantly pulled out of your comfort zone by someone else’s energy.

You will be able to place yourself anywhere you choose on the spectrum— consciously, responsibly and respectfully—for everyone involved.

This will also keep you from gravitating toward those (very few) men out there who really are bad and who might actually not treat you like the queen/goddess you truly are.

And gentlemen, are you so totally confused and fed up right now with this whole issue? Can’t say I blame you.

Take heart, though, as James Michael Sama writes:

“Women don’t want someone who sways too far in either direction. Women want a man who is adventurous but also stable. They want a man who is going to challenge her but also support her. Who is going to empower her but also protect her. Who is going to seduce her but also respect her. A man who is going to provide for her but also not take away her independence to do so herself. A man who is going to make her feel sexy, but also make her feel safe.

“A lot of men are probably reading this thinking about how complicated it sounds – but I don’t really think it is. I think it’s relatively straightforward: Don’t be a pushover, and don’t be a jerk. Find a middle ground. Keep your pride as a man and also do what it takes to make the woman in your life happy. You are not her servant, and you are not her boss. You are her equal, her teammate, her partner in a relationship; and she needs to be able to see you that way.

“You don’t have to be a bad boy or a nice guy, you can be both. Challenge her, seduce her, empower her. But also love, honor, and value her. That is what she wants.”

A version also published at elephant journal.

unkempt

I don’t want to be kind
and nice
today
my usual
thoughtful
so careful
not to offend
self

fearful even

I want to BE
like my hair
LOOKS
todaygrace hair

unruly
untamed
lopsided
asymmetrical
weird
careless
unkempt
Real

allowing longing.

I awoke this morning with a heavy, achy heart – sad and a bit tenderoonie.

So instead of going instantly into my usual fix-it, let’s-get-happy-again-as-soon-as-possible mode, I made heavy_heartthe conscious decision to just sit with it. To wait on my heart to tell me its story the same way I would sit and wait with a sad friend – just to be present, just to be there for them. So I have been still all day, listening, showing my respect and admiration for such a brave, strong, sensitive heart.

And my heart has been telling me lovely, sad stories of longing and belonging all day. It tells me a story of longing to belong, another story of desiring independence and strength – to be alone, stories so sweet and tender that I have been in tears all day at the sweetness and vulnerability of them. It tells me the story of longing, desiring my permission, to go ahead and search for God like a man with his hair on fire searches for water (or maybe like a ‘woman’ with her hair on fire searches for water, b/c the search would not be the same) – the longing for the Beloved – the ache to once again meet and merge with the Divine One and surrender to her/him. heavyheart2

And my heart is not broken, not breaking open. Instead it is swelling, overflowing – full of life, full of tears, full of pain, full of love and knowing. And instead of quieting my heart, instead of trying to muffle the sound, I am sending out the longing like the call for the Mate, the Beloved it seeks.

where I offer my gratitude to men and the Masculine

I am opening such powerful, beautiful, sacred doors in myself. I am working hard. Looking at things in myself that used to define me. I am changing a lot of things about me and my life.

sad-man-silhouette-on-benchAnd I really want to thank men, the Masculine, for your patience and strength – patience with your women, with me, the Feminine process, etc. and the strength to endure it. B/c that patience and strength means everything to me, as a woman. My women friends and I often talk about how frustrating it must be for you to watch us processing, growing into ourselves, knowing you can’t really help us in any way except to just be there for us. We talk of wanting to make it easier somehow – for you and for us, but how we just can not grow in any other way – it is part of who we are as women. Your patience while we figure it out for ourselves is so very precious to us.

As women on our path to embrace the Divine Feminine, when we have been masculine all our lives as protection, when that masculinity insured our survival, sometimes literally – both mentally and physically, it can be so very difficult to surrender and let the masculine way of doing things go. It may be just a habit now instead of a survival technique, but it is, nonetheless, hard-wired into us. When we come to realize that instant rejection of any masculine gift offered to us is an automatic, defensive response – and we begin to look at changing it – it can send us into the proverbial tailspin.bigstock-helping-hand-18402752

When we do let go and give that up and give that role back to men and begin to look for other ways to be, it is so very scary. And sometimes that fear is so great that we feel stuck – like we are in limbo, waiting. B/c who am I now if I give something up I’ve done all my life? What defines me now? Where do I fit in? What is my role now, what does that look like, and how do I figure that out and BE that? What is the definition of a “strong woman”? Can I figure out what that means for me and then live that?

There is also, many times, that period of morning/grief that can happen when we let go of what has been, what we were comfortable with, and venture into the unknown. We mourn the loss of comfort, the familiar, even though it may have been stifling us and holding us back.

heart openingSo the patience and strength part, the part where you, in your firm Masculine energy, just step up and hold us – you are just here for us as we figure all this out for ourselves – without pressure – that is such an amazing, life-giving, loving gift.

Thank you.

power

I don’t have the time or energy
to help you feel more comfortable
with my lack of comfort
with my pain

I cannot make it my problem
I do not have the resources right now

I am unable
at this moment
to babysit you
soothe you back into
seeing me as complete
to help get you somewhere
closer to your own comfort zone
to find a way for you to put me back inside
your definition of me
see me as what
you think I am

I am busy in here
and in pain
have work to do
I cannot help you right now

but do not mistake my lack of comfort
my pain
my inability
to be something familiar for you
my process
this river of emotions
I must watch and sometimes even choke on
as it flows downstream
for weakness

for this stream is cutting
a canyon through me
growing ever wider and deeper
whose impact
product
will only be able to be
measured
after the flood has
ended
after the river has ebbed

shed some light on it

Using Every Day Poems‘ prompt again today. The prompt is “shed some light on it” and with some help from Jane Siberry’s song, “Calling All Angels”.

it flies out in every direction
as she moves through time and space
even down into the Mother with each step
they seem to be a few inches deeper than the surface
those footfalls
sinking into the soft sweet Belly of the Divine One

careful
considered
measured
but still
bona fide
still just her
in-brief
condensed
rich
boiled down
to the
marrow
the thickness

feeling her halting way through space
through time and back
testing them with her heart’s wet index finger raised
gauging their direction
still not sure

“How much weight?
how much?
Then it’s how long?
and how far?
And how many times …

before it’s too late?

Calling all angels. Calling all angels.”

she calls them daily
waiting politely
for them to respond
needing their hand
at her elbow
to move through

this dance
it seems to be more about collision
than moving with
she wants to be able
to slide through and between all those
molecules
atoms
but so far anyway
seems to be
more about crashing into them
to watch them fall around her
aching with the impact

she treads carefully
carrying that old record
like vinyl
inside her
playing and playing
nonstop
until she suddenly hears it
feels it
and calls for a sudden
shocked
Halt!
that’s not mine
she shouts only to herself
wretched in the discovery

how can that old record
still be playing
when it’s author has departed
who is playing that!?
she shouts again
Stop!
That’s not mine!

can’t I just be as clean
and clear
as I AM
as I came in
why must I run
this gauntlet

feeling like she must
prove herself
in some holy bloody way
to deserve her new skin
those muscles and nerves
doubts even the
Light
sometimes
because it gets too mingled
and contaminated by
the suit
to be able to separate