Image by Albrecht Fietz from Pixabay

May 1, 2023

Section I - An Uncivilized Journey Part II

(Being Vulnerable part II)

I continued my wandering journey of self discovery this year. Finding myself back in rural Austin, Texas, there would be no

preconceived idea for me what this stop on the path would uncover and offer me in witness and self emotional understanding. Not to disappoint, this journey was easily 5X more mind and heart opening than last April. The past year has been tumultuous for me as you all may remember. I am still coming off the reality of losing my rock in the world, my father. It is a strange feeling. The knowing that he is gone and that I must live without his counsel, love and support. But, live we all must with loss, grief and existence.

Thus, I walked onto the Down-Home Ranch, a place where adults with special needs live, work and inspire. For me, to inspire is to fill another with the desire to do or feel something that they were not until that moment. These men and women who called DHR home offered me a view into their lives that showed a strong sense of happiness and humility despite that which is imperfect. And we are all imperfect in so many ways. That is the beauty and difficulty of being human. Complexity covered in emotional history and a sense of longing and desire to be in the present with a persistent eye on the future. Alas, we all have freewill and that is enough to make us special and worthy of a long and beautiful life no matter the traumas of the past present or future that aim to blight our light.

From Rush's song Freewill:

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice

If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice

You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill

I will choose a path that's clear, I will choose Freewill

Geddy Lee/Neil Peart/Alex Lifeson's words are a testament to choice. We all have it. Exercising it remains the key. Do you live with a freedom of choice? Or are you beholden to the past or some other limiting reality? Do you abandon your-self, your-choice and feel ok? To be a pleaser is to often abandon self for the betterment of another. At times, this personality trait is beneficial to all involved. At times, it is not so.

The path that I stepped upon was one of exploring this reality. Do I need to please everyone for me, them or all? I have spent the vast majority of my youth and adult life offering a pleasing sense of my humanity to keep the peace and keep the social structure of the environment. However, my recent explorations are bringing to light the cost to self of keeping this peace. This cost can be like a pound of flesh at times that is slowly taken so that you barely notice it until a pound is missing. The awareness is often a first and major step in the process of decommissioning a part of the self that no longer serves.

For example, I am now 52 years old. I no longer have the desire to play nice with corporations or entities that affect our patients in a way that improves their bottom line at the cost of a service, medicine or other that we deem necessary to the best outcome of that child. This is now a hard stop for me. Probably should have always been. Yet, my old self always looked for the best in others and tried to make it work.

Why am I traveling down this rabbit hole? The simple answer is that the change from old to new is necessary as we progress on the journey of life. Age brings more accumulated experience, wisdom (hopefully) and choice. It is the latter that these Man Uncivilized events provide. Being with 30 men in a strong and safe environment provides a medium and catalyst for movement that you may not see, feel or exercise otherwise. However, when you watch others explore bravely and allow the limitations of the past to release, you cannot help but move places within that were previously immobile. The be in communion with men is to move together to a better and more moral place, in my humble experience.

Along the path we began to work with the energy and feeling of three horses. A horse is a prey animal with eyes on the side of its head with a visual zone of 200 degrees per eye to see the approaching predator. We, humans with eyes in the front, are predators. Just a fact. Thus, a horse can feel our energy. If it is aggressive, fearful or negative, they know. This innate feeling is part and parcel to a horses survival leaving it highly attuned and specialized. I began a process of learning how to shift my energy so that the horse felt not only comfortable but truly safe. This is next to impossible to explain in text form. Suffice it to say that there is a way, that most of us are unaware of, to be energetically balanced so as to be completely non threatening.

For a person that lives in their mind 99% of the waking day, it took me some time to truly understand this concept cognitively and more importantly emotionally. However, when I was able to be in presence with Buttons, "my" horse, it was a profound experience. One that again is lost on words. Emotionally blissful and in the zone are the two phrases that come to me. When I ski, I feel complete energetic peace no matter the world's troubles. This felt similar.

One experience early in the teaching led by Duey Freeman was as follows: lead a horse around human obstacles blindfolded and guided by the voices of the men. A struggle to say the least. Buttons was not too keen on my leadership and clearly my energy. True energetic frustration and frankly failure. Thus, I was given a human guide to hold my hand and to trust on the route to success. Again, I struggled initially before giving up control, being lead in order to lead Buttons. Fascinating. Then a curveball. The men were asked to heckle me. Bam! Back in my head. Trust disrupted. Energy rocked. Buttons stops and digs in. Yikes! What is wrong with me? I lead all the time in life and at work. What am I learning here? My human guide, peacefully tries to transition me back to my heart and feeling and out of my head. It is a study in the game red light/green light. As Buttons, my guide and I had disjointed movement and stops. My head felt like my albatross wrapped. Then the game changed. The men were now praising my ability and my energy. What do you think happened next? You guessed it. I was able able to drop back into balance and complete the entire course as if I was a pro.

What a mind expanding experience. Cognitive awareness and leadership is no where enough in a feeling state. Here comes the rub. This is how men should lead in their lives in all aspects. In general, men are stronger than their children and usually their spouse. Thus, a man can present an energy that is not easy to follow if it appears unsafe and misaligned with the child's emotions. I have spent my life studying children, parenting and disease. This was a major awakening for me. To understand in book form is far from being in connection with one's energy and how we display it.

Now, I sit in contemplation of the past with an eye to the future. The present is where I find myself typing.

How do I meld all that I have learned. I have to fight for the kids against those that would disenfranchise them. However, I also need to lead with an energy that is welcoming and safe for anyone that I interact with. Does this translate into the business world where some insurance companies are singularly focused on money? Yep.

I must remain solid yet soft, resolute yet balanced, leading and following simultaneously.

The kids deserve our best. They deserve our energy in a soft, balanced and caring manner. Our spouses deserve the same. Our friends. On and on. You deserve my best.

So in this moment I am sending each reader a piece of positive energy.

Thank you for reading and growing with me.

Dr. M

Man Uncivilized