On Women:

Men think. A lot. Sometimes, thinking too much doesn’t allow much room for feeling.

When we’re sick or something is broken, we try to figure out the problem. We look at the issue systematically. What’s broken? What can we use as a replacement? How do we fix it? Finally, after identifying the cause of the issue, we decide on a solution.

Eventually, depending on the problem, we buy new brake pads, take some antibiotics, or smash twelve shots of whiskey and put an irresponsible bet on the number six horse. Just like that, the problem is solved. The brakes aren’t screeching anymore, our head cold is gone, or we blew off the steam we needed to blow off – even if we lost our rent money for the week in the process.

When we relate to women, our problems start when we try to approach issues in the same way. When we try to force our way of doing things onto the women we love.


Picture this;

We have plans with her in the evening. When we arrive at her house, we’re instantly aware that she’s in a shitty mood. She’s wearing a permanent frown and won’t speak to us. We watch as the storm brews inside of her. The room goes dark with her anger. We’re a bit put off by the entire situation. There’s something repulsive about her wrath. An ancient piece of ourselves is a little afraid at the dreadful power of our wild woman.


What’s HER problem? We think as we immediately go into problem fixing mode. Like virtually every other problem in our lives, we assume there is a single problem we can find and fix to make this situation better.

We think and think and think, but can’t come up with anything. We don’t know what we said, or did, or didn’t say, or didn’t do that caused this issue. What’s worse is, no matter how much we ask her what’s the matter, she constantly tells us it’s nothing.

Why does she have to be so COMPLICATED, we ask ourselves.

Eventually we become sick of asking what’s wrong, so we simply sit next to her without speaking. Maybe she breaks the silence by lashing out at us for not knowing what’s really going on. Maybe we make the very dumb mistake of saying “calm down.” The storm finally breaks, and we feel as though we’re forced to duck for cover.

We walk out, telling her to call us when she’s willing to talk about things calmly. At this point we’ve not only failed our woman, but we’ve failed ourselves as men.

We’ve wrongly assumed our woman’s situation is the same as a bike with a broken chain. We’ve wrongly assumed it’s as simple as finding the piece we need to fix. We’ve wrongly assumed – like all other problems in our lives – that it’s our time as men to TAKE CONTROL of the situation. Like a ship’s captain that finds his vessel has strayed off course, we attempt to change her direction.

We’ve tried to steer her, but our woman is not our ship. She’s the ocean that we’re sailing in. Vast and mighty, if we try to wrestle her immense waves we will lose every time. We will drown. She might not even know she’s doing it, but she will swallow us.

Our job is not to be the captain, or a ship. Our job is to be the rock, standing strong off the coast of the ocean that we love. Our job is to be there, and to be there for no reason other than our love for her waters.

Like any body of water, there will be days when she crashes against us. Wave after wave, it might feel like the ocean will never again be calm. When her tide is high we may feel like we’re close to drowning. Sometimes she hits us so hard we think we might crack. But if we remain full and abundant in our love for her, and constantly present in our masculinity, it will pass.

Her waters will quiet. She will once again lovingly caress us, her waves gently lapping at our ankles. She will completely open her heart in response to our stubborn love. She will trust in our strength, and feel safe in showing us the depths of her dark and healing waters. She’ll let us dive into her completely and we will taste her salty kiss. She’ll show us just how much we have to learn from the mysterious gifts she has to give us.

IMG_2044
Will you only swim in her when the waters are calm and the scenery is peaceful?

Until, of course, another storm shows itself on the horizon. But our job as the rock never ends.

So, if you cannot love her sunrise as much as you love her stormy weather, she isn’t the woman for you.

If you cannot find humour in the situation and need to lash out or walk away, you’re not the man for her.

If you cannot give unconditional love to her when her waters get rough, you’re treading in waters too deep and powerful for your abilities. It is better for you both if you find a smaller pool to dip your timid feet in, and for her to find a man willing to embrace her inherently wild and endlessly passionate nature.

Be good to each other,

~MG

Featured Photo Courtesy of http://www.wildwomanjourney.com.

Advertisements

On Friendship:

Who are our true friends?

Daylight was breaking on the horizon.

The lake was so still that the sun’s reflection was a perfect mirror image; it looked like the morning had two suns rising at the same time.

Our chairs were still firmly entrenched around the fire. Our toes were still stuck in the sand.

Our once roaring fire had been reduced to barely-smoking ashes, but not one of us had noticed. It had been a warm evening and we had been distracted.

For the past hour or so, two of our friends had been engaged in a heated exchange of words. I say “heated” in the traditional sense, as this is a pretty common and socially accepted practice amongst my group of friends.

The five of us that were not involved pulled up a chair and listened to the insults being traded. As always, we served as the referees, judges of style, and the crowd – all at the same time.

It wasn’t Canada Day, but there was certainly some fireworks that night/early morning.

CANADA DAY 20080701 TOPIX
Canada Day celebrations. Note: This is NOT what happened on the night/morning in question. [Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Sean Kilpatrick].

The battle had ended with the sunrise, and both combatants had felt they had gotten the better of their opponent.

One of the word warriors got up and headed back to the cottage, presumably to grab himself an ice cold James Ready for breakfast.

The other gladiator sat in silence, with a very strange grin on his face.

We took the bait. We asked him why he was smiling.

He told us he had an ace up his sleeve the entire time in case his victory was ever in question. He said it was lucky for his opponent that he hadn’t felt the need to use it.

We huddled around. We wanted to know what his secret weapon had been.

He leaned in a whispered and few words to us. He howled with laughter into the morning air.

A few of us released nervous laughs. Others just exchanged looks of shock. Maybe it was the hangover setting in, but some of us looked sick. I couldn’t help but ask:

Was this too far, even for us? Did we even have a “too far”?


12752092_10100593220768848_1802005210_o
Does a group like this even have a “too far” ?

Growing up with these guys, I used to wonder if we were even actually friends.

How could people who claimed to love one another – even to like one another – constantly go at it the way we did.

At first I presumed it was some sort of struggle of machoism; putting each other down to get to the top.

I later took comfort in the belief that it was a natural occurrence within a team, a sort of humbling system to ensure no single ego rose above the interests of the group.

But here we are, some of us twenty years later, and we’re still very much the same.


Like most of us, my biggest problem in understanding friendship was my definition of a friend.

I had confused acquaintances, schoolmates, and co-workers  as my friends. I had confused people that I co-existed with, with people I flourished with.

It wasn’t until I realised the key element of a friendship that I truly understood why my group of friends had stuck together as long as it had.


 

This is because a true friendship is for the sake of friendship itself.

You are required to give no more to the relationship than your friendship, and expect nothing more in return.

As soon as the friendship is based upon other intentions or motives, it ceases to be a friendship at all.


 

Take your high school experience, for example. Some of the people you considered your friends you considered them so only because they were a part of your social group.

The intention of the relationship was founded on the motive of maintaining cohesion and harmony in your group of friends – not on the friendship itself.

Odds are you no longer maintain a relationship with those people.


 

We had a team of practically the same 17-18 guys every season for a decade, and yet only 8 or 9 of us are still close. Some were friends for the sake of the team, the ones who stayed close were friends for the sake of friendship.

It’s not to say we don’t love them. I’m personally fond of all of the guys I played with. Our relationship simply wasn’t built on something that lasts. It served a lesser purpose.


 

North American Silver Stick Champions
Whitby Minor Bantam AAA – 2001-02: Several of us are still thick as thieves, others have drifted out of our lives.

When there is no expectation in a friendship other than the friendship itself, we attain a certain freedom.

We don’t have to fall into line, wear certain clothes, or perform desired functions. We’re accepted exactly how we are.

We don’t have to be someone we’re not.

We don’t have to hide.

Friends see us exactly as we are, and they love us for it.


 

This is why my group of friends could constantly joke about each other’s idiosyncrasies, faults, habits, and mistakes, without anyone getting too bent out of shape about it.

We all inherently knew that the group wasn’t trying to change us as people. The group was confirming our own humanity.

We were telling each other that who we were was good enough. We were laughing at each other’s faults because they were normal; our mistakes were human.

We forced each other to look in the mirror, and be perfectly okay with what we saw.


Does anything truly exist if no one is witness to its existence?

Friendship is both the confirmation of our existenc

– exactly how we are – and the complete acceptance of it.


12721833_10100593220738908_644989005_n
Friendship is deep conversation at a dingy pub table – liquid courage is accepted but not required.

True friendships are an integral part of a happy life.

Not only because we – as humans – are social creatures, but friendships help us to understand ourselves and the world around us.

Instead of living in those big beautiful brains of ours, we can talk with someone deeply without fear of judgement.

We can express our fears of things like death, inadequacy, flying, or clowns. Through these connections we learn our fears are perfectly normal and, more often than not, we work through these fears together.

We can hear each other’s ideas on the afterlife, on happiness, on love. We can help each other to grow.


This is why the greatest lovers are those who founded their relationship upon strong friendships.

It is why you so often hear couples in their 90’s call one another their best friend.


 

34706poster
We should have known these two would end up together. [Source: The Lion King].

Beginning a relationship around lust is the same as beginning a friendship with the person from your social group in high school.

It’s the same as a friendship based on a professional connection.

It is the same as a friendship based on money, popularity, protection, or benefits of any kind.

They all serve ends that can be obtained.

You can attain harmony of the social group; you can attain the pleasures of the flesh; you can attain that promotion, you can attain the acceptance of a gang.

If the friendship – or relationship – is based on desires that can be attained, they are doomed.

The relationship ceases to meaningfully exist once it serves its purpose. 

A friendship, on the other hand, will always have the friendship to aspire to.

It is something that will last forever.

Any true friendship will.

Be good to each other,

– MG.

 

 

 

On Social Media:

Don’t we think it’s a little strange that, in a world of nearly seven and a half billion (7 383 900 000) people, so many of us feel like we’re all alone?

I’ve always found the term “social media” to be a curious one. 

Admittedly, if you break the word down into its respective body parts – “social” and “media” – it’s a word that makes perfect sense. Yet it’s not its pieces that make it a puzzle. 

The term feels like a misnomer. It doesn’t feel right. I look at social media and I fail to see anything social about it.

Media is not an inherently social entity. From newspapers to Fox News, there is no social interaction actually involved. 

We may feel as though we’re socially interacting. Like we’re connecting with that horoscope columnist who just really seems to “get” us, or the newscaster covering our sports team who seems to always agree with our opinion of the new head coach.


Ron Burgundy: One of the Only News Anchors to Truly Understand Us, San Francisco. [Image Credit: Anchorman]
Ron Burgundy: One of the Only News Anchors to Truly Understand Us, San Francisco.
[Image Credit: Anchorman]

But we’re not.

We’re still sitting alone at the kitchen table, keeping our eyes on the newspaper while we hurriedly force down the coffee we burnt before work.

We’re still messily finishing that crossword on the train with the stranger in a brown suit next to us as our only companion. And no, it doesn’t count as social interaction because we asked him for a four-lettered word for a famous son of Chronos.

The media doesn’t want to interact with us. It wants us to read, to listen, and to watch their version of what’s happening all around you. It wants to tell us what perception of reality to accept. 

Social media, in turn, has taken us one slippery step further down this path of human isolation.

Social media has stolen from us our innate love of society; we have never been more antisocial than we are this very moment.

There was a time, before bullet trains and water spraying jet packs (which are pretty awesome for the record), when our nearest neighbours were fifteen kilometres away and the fastest method of travelling was on horseback. Yet we called on each other weekly, if not daily, to fulfil that natural desire to truly interact with other human beings.


Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.”  – Aristotle, The Politics.


Fast forward to today, and I haven’t called on my neighbour since before the first Jurassic Park movie came out.

Social media has negatively affected every (formerly) social activity.

I see us capturing moments – beautiful sunrises and breathtaking full moons – through Instagram filters instead of capturing them with our eyes and keeping them in our souls.

We write those moments as Snapchat stories instead of writing them across our hearts, as part of our own stories that are constantly unfolding.

We use the check in button on Facebook to let our friends know where we are and what we’re doing, instead of checking in with a call or catching up with a visit.

We’ve mastered messaging with “abreeves” but forgotten how to carry a face-to-face conversation.

We live tweet sports events from our couch instead of taking a road trip to catch a live sporting event with some friends.

We text acquaintances while we sit around a table with our actual friends.

We don’t notice the love of our life next to us in the cafe because our eyes are down on our phone as we try to find love on Tinder. They walk in and out of our lives while we’re swiping right and left.

We’ve exchanged real friends for followers and lovers for “matches.”


And yet, don’t we think it’s a little strange that, in a world of nearly seven and a half billion (7 383 900 000) people, so many of us feel like we’re alone?

It’s because we are alone. Every social media platform offers an additional layer to a wall we’re building between ourselves and those around us. Another filter. More paint on our masks.

We’re given the means to limit and skew the images of ourselves that we put out there, and everyone else is doing the same. It becomes a terrifying idea to show people who we really are, so we don’t. Everyone tries to be like everyone else.

We’re creating a world where no one will truly know anyone.


I think that’s a tragic thing, because the greatest protectors of the beautiful uniqueness and natural individuality we possess as humans should be all of us, together.

Governments and, further back, religions have always feared and denounced the individual; the threat to the status quo. 

And yet, individuals such as Copernicus, da Vinci, Tesla, Picasso, and Einstein did amazing things by questioning that same status quo, by letting their unique thoughts and feelings be their compass. 

They didn’t follow tradition, and we celebrated them for it.

Self-Portrait (1512) by Leonardo da Vinci.
Self-Portrait (1512) by Leonardo da Vinci.

I’m afraid we’re starting to lose that. We’re falling into line.

Not because of fear or oppression – those things could never break our powerful spirit – but because of distraction.


The irony of it all is that I’m communicating this via an outlet that was only born in the age of social media, and sharing it on multiple social media platforms.

I think our advances in technology and our ability to connect with one another is astounding

I’m thankful for Skype, Instagram, and other means of keeping in touch with all of those that I love and miss at home.

I just think it’s important that in our quest to be more connected, we don’t severe our connection to each other; that we don’t become the snake that eats its own tail.

Recognize each other. Appreciate someone when they do something differently, wear something strange, or embrace their authentic self in any way at all. 

You’ll find people start encouraging you to do the same.

And, my God, that will be a beautiful thing.

Be good to each other,

– MG