Director's Message -- May, 2017

May 1, 2017

Greetings Sacred Path Community,

ETT Training instructor Lolita Domingue, LMFT

I was in Upland on Saturday for what’s called a Consult, which is the 6-hour follow-up to the Level I ETT Training that Jeffrey Young, Anthony DiMaggio and I participated in last month.  I wrote about the therapeutic power of Emotional Transformation Therapy in the April newsletter.  Read about the healing power of color and light via ETT in this month’s newsletter.

As a reminder, our Trainer, Lolita Domingue, LMFT, is offering another Level I Training in early June.  I recommend it for psychotherapists who wish to advance their skills to help people who, not only can benefit from the process in general, but also those who have not found other forms of therapy to be effective in moving them through their issues.

If you participate in the upcoming Training you’ll be able to join the three of us for our Level II Training in July for Certification and in line for Dr. Steven Vasquez’s Addiction Training in Southern California during the month of August or September.  I hope that some of my fellow therapists in our community will join us as we move forward in our practice of this revolutionary neuroscientifically-based healing modality.  Perhaps, Dr. Vasquez will join us as a participant presenter at our Fall Sacred Path Men’s Retreat.

Rod Louden & Dr. Stephen Johnson

Speaking of that, I have been meeting with Associate Directors Rob Bruce, and Michael Lewis, M.D., as well as Bill Flaxman, Ph.D., and Anthony DiMaggio who have joined me in commencing the preparations for the October retreat.  We are working on the early development of a Continuing Education program that would allow therapists and counselors interested in men’s work to be able to attend the retreat and gain CEU’s toward maintaining their license in good standing.

Mark your calendars for October 19-22 and get ready to send in your deposit when we open early enrollments within the next couple of months.  We’ll continue to update you on the program and presenters with each monthly newsletter.

One of my colleagues at my Woodland Hills location, Rod Louden, M.A., has authored an important article for this issue ("A Safe Parenting Approach On and Off the Field"). Sports often play a significant, if not life-saving, role in the development of a young person’s life.  And, the presence or absence of a parent as well as how the parent comports himself or herself also contributes to the relationship that the youth develops with his or her chosen sport(s) as he/she matriculates through life's challenges.  Sports are important teaching tools providing vital lessons in success, failure and self-esteem building.

I recall learning that the founder of Little League baseball opined, and I paraphrase, “that the worst thing to happen to Little League was when the parents got involved.”  That was a poignant statement that resonated with me because I had participated as a coach or in the stands of several games with my boys and daughter when they were young.  I vividly recall some of the overzealous parents or hot-headed dads who coached their kids with a heavy hand.  Frequently, I found myself feeling that the kids would have been better off if the parents were placed in the stands within a cone of silence.

I’ve found that the pressure on youngsters to succeed these days often takes the fun out of the sport or educational setting to the point of inflicting trauma.  A good mentor is worth his weight in gold but a coach, parent, teacher or anyone in authority who goes over the top and crushes a youth’s spirits can create a wound that becomes a scar that interferes with one’s life for years to come. 

Success is relative and so is failure.  I’ve heard it said that true success is built on all of the supposed failures along the way.  In other words, failures are just varying degrees of success leading you to the result that moves you closer to the attainment of your goals and the actualization of your destiny.  Participants who attend our October retreat will find ample opportunities to explore their self-esteem issues that are at the core of past experiences around success and failure. 

I’ll close with the words of famed basketball star, Michael Jordan:
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.  I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game -winning shot and missed.  I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed.”

And, Thomas Edison:
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Keep the Faith. Stay the Course!

In Love and Light,

Namaste,

Stephen

 

 

 

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Spring 2017
MCLA Colorado River
Sacred Path Kayak Camping
Wilderness Retreat

 

Dr. Stephen Johnson is founder and executive director
of the Men's Center Los Angeles and leader/wayshower
of the Sacred Path men's retreats for the past 30 years.
He is author of "THE SACRED PATH: THE WAY OF THE SPIRITUAL WARRIOR," an amazing how-to book for
men who want to become better men . . . AND
for the women who care about them.
 

 

 

The MCLA Wisdom Council honored Dr. Johnson's amazing 30 years of mindful men leadership and mentorship with a special commemorative film that debuted on
the mountain at the recent 30th
Annual Sacred Path Men's Retreat.
Click here to view "The Sacred Path." 

 

 

 

EMOTIONAL TRANSFORMATION THERAPY (ETT)

EMOTIONAL TRANSFORMATION THERAPY (ETT)

by Dr. Stephen Johnson
MCLA Executive Director

Emotional Transformation Therapy (ETT) is a therapeutic method incorporating the use of light, color wavelengths, and eye movements to rapidly transform emotional distress and related physical pain into a positive emotional state. Professionals trained in ETT work to help those in therapy address trauma and other pain and achieve lasting, healing change.

Developed by contemporary psychologist Dr. Steven Vazquez in 1991, ETT Is a relatively new form of therapy. Dr. Vazquez’s studies in the fields of epigenetics, optometry, neurobiology, and quantum physics influenced various aspects of his development of ETT as he attempted to establish a therapeutic technique beneficial for the reduction of emotional and physical distress. His noninvasive, non-pharmaceutical approach combines traditional psychotherapy with the use of visual brain stimulation and colored light therapy for fast results.

In Dr. Vazquez' book, Emotional Transformation Therapy, An Interactive Ecological Psychotherapy,” he explains, “The implications for counseling and psychotherapy are enormous.  This process has the potential to revolutionize the way therapists work.  Symptoms are changed so rapidly and so permanently that the use of psychotropic medications might become largely obsolete.  However, its use for physical symptoms may offer an even greater breakthrough, particularly in treating physical pain syndromes.”

Several members of our MCLA community (Dr. Stephen Johnson, Jeffrey Young & Anthony DiMaggio shown above) are currently training in this powerful modality of healing under Master Level Trainer, Lolita Domingue, LMFT.  We were initially introduced to this neuroscientifically-based therapeutic power of color and light by one of our MCLA leaders, Mitchell Roth, while attending the Sacred Path Men's Retreat last October. 

Mitchell Roth, JD, MS, LMHC

Mitchell, who had just completed his Level I (out of 5 levels) training, was quite excited by what he had learned, and graciously offered to work on a few retreat participants. If you reside in Florida, or are traveling there, Mitch has just completed his Level III Training.  Click here to visit his website and experience a remarkable session under his guidance. He resides in the Boynton Beach area.

There is a wide array of ETT diagnostic categories ranging from neurosis to more severe mood disorders and addictive tendencies that respond favorably to this amazing modality. It has proven to show positive results with crime victims, survivors of automobile accidents, rape survivors, survivors of natural disaster, war trauma and other disorders including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

ETT Master Training instructor Lolita Domingue, LMFT

If you are a licensed therapist, or budding counselor in training, and would like to equip yourself with a revolutionary new treatment modality, there is an upcoming training scheduled June 2-4. If you do, you’ll be able to join the three of us for our Level II training that will follow by summer.  Check out Lolita's website at www.lolitamdomingue.com.

Participants attending this training will learn to combine empirically based concepts from quantum physics using precise wavelengths of light and attachment neurobiology to access core emotions while providing attuned interpersonal support. This break through technology also provides a new level of client safety while rapidly regulating intense emotion.

 

ETT Level 1 Training

WHEN:  Friday - Sunday, June 2 - 4, 2017
WHERE:  Office of Lolita M. Domingue, Marriage and Family Therapist
Email: ett.training@icloud.com   (909) 982-5171
1126 W. Foothill Blvd. Upland, CA 91786

For additional information about this event and registration info, click this link:
ETT Level 1 Training June 2-4, 2017

 

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DR. STEPHEN JOHNSON is founder and executive director
of the Men's Center Los Angeles and leader/wayshower
of the Sacred Path men's retreats for the past 30 years.
He is author of "THE SACRED PATH: THE WAY OF THE SPIRITUAL WARRIOR," an amazing how-to book for
men who want to become better men . . . AND
for the women who care about them.

No One Said You Have to be Fearless (The True Warrior’s Code)

No One Said You Have to be Fearless
(The True Warrior’s Code)

The warrior knows there is much more to life than the bucket of bullshit we've been sold and gladly moves beyond his fear, mindfully taking the chances and risks in order to manifest the life his soul yearns for into reality.

by Jared Ciofalo
www.GoodMenProject.com

I believe the archetypal “fearless” warrior doesn’t exist. 

In my opinion, the true warrior is not one who is fear-LESS, but someone FILLED WITH FEAR like the rest of us. What separates him from the crowd is that this bad-ass doesn’t allow himself to be overtaken or consumed by fear.

The warrior moves with grace through life, expecting the sensation of fear to arise whenever he embarks upon a soul-expanding experience and embraces fear as a necessity for his evolution.

The warrior is self-aware and senses fear’s presence, but courageously steps to the plate to accept each challenge he’s presented and does what is required to successfully maneuver through them.

So if you find yourself feeling paralyzed by the sensation of fear when you’re attempting something new and different, pause and take a moment to be compassionate towards yourself. Fear happens to the best of us, especially the warrior-types craving lives filled with passion and purpose.

The warrior knows there is much more to life than the bucket of bullshit we’ve been sold and gladly moves beyond his fear, mindfully taking the chances and risks in order to manifest the life his soul yearns for into reality.

Every change made in life ushers us into new, foreign territories to learn and grow from, and sometimes this feels downright terrifying hiking through new terrain in some strange shoes we’ve never worn before.

It’s natural to shrink back from fear and momentarily reassess a situation. Pausing in reflection before moving forward with something big isn’t cowardice, it’s healthy and smart. Just don’t stand out at the edge of the cliff too long. You have to jump.

Like the warrior, the coward is afraid too, except he becomes dominated by it. Fear paralyzes the coward who never attempts anything different or new because he’s afraid to use fear as a directional indicator to move toward his greatest potential. The coward cheats himself from living because his entire life has become contaminated in self-doubt, disbelief and worry.

It’s a choice.

Live life constantly believing fictional scenarios the mind creates rarely if ever coming true only but 99.999% of time.

Or,

Live life believing in yourself and your true potential, because truth be told . . . every time you boldly take a risk, you will feel satisfied regardless of the outcome because you faced your fears in trying.

Life isn’t happening someday down the road. Life is here, happening NOW, and everything you need to accomplish your dreams already resides within you.

Life is not about what you say you will do, LIFE IS ABOUT WHAT YOU ACTUALLY DO.

YOU ARE READY. Believe it. Go and trust. CREATE YOUR REALITY, not later, but NOW. The future prospect of “One day life will be more awesome,” is nothing but a copout and an excuse to escape whatever you could be doing right now in the present.

So keep fear around. No one said you have to be fearless. Fear is nothing but a muscle, and needs to be flexed regularly. Just keep moving toward your greatest potential with fear as your ally by your side.

 

 

“The feeling of fear is never going to go away completely. When you feel fear, keep going forward. You are not a coward if you feel fear. You are only a coward if you give into that feeling. You can learn to do it afraid.”

  -- Joyce Meyer

 

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Read Jared's original article on www.GoodMenProject.com

 

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JARED CIOFALO aka "The SoulTrekker, is the Founder/CEO of "SoulTrekker: Intuitive Guidance Channeling the Heart's Truth," Spiritual Counselor, Session Facilitator, Channel of Truth, Featured Writer for The Good Men Project and The Holistic Journal, Raw, Uncut Video Blogger and YouTube Channel Extraordinaire. Leaders create more leaders, and true leaders have heart. Jared's heart is blown open and he is unafraid of sharing his miraculous gifts with all of you.

Connect with Jared through his Website,  Facebook,  Twitter,  Instagram,  LinkedIn,  Google+

 

 

 

 

YOU'RE SAFE -- A SAFE PARENTING APPROACH ON AND OFF THE FIELD

You're Safe: A Safe Parenting Approach
On & Off the Field

by Rod Louden, MA, MFT, BCPC
www.yspn360.com

You’ve done your job.  You’re on second base.  As you slowly create distance between you and the base, anticipation starts to grow, hoping your teammate will be able to further advance you around the bases.  The pitcher starts his windup. 

As the ball leaves the mound, your focus intensifies.  Your heart starts beating faster. You hear the bat hit the ball and in a millisecond the ball rockets over your head.  You’re now running.  The third base coach is waving you on.  You have to trust your coach’s decision.  You round third, you see the pitcher running toward home plate as well, racing to get behind the catcher in case of an errant throw.  You look at your teammate behind the catcher telling you to slide. 

The catcher, his arm stretched out to the max, squats protecting his turf.  You adjust your course slightly to the right and lunge into a head-first slide.  You hit the ground. The impact causes dirt to fly into the air.  Like the catcher, your left arm can’t be extended any further.  You touch home plate.  You know the catcher tagged you.  But when?  Did you beat the throw?  You look up toward the home plate umpire. 

In what seems like an eternity, you listen and watch for his call. You know it’s going to be close.  And then you see his arms making the safe motion and hear that glorious word, “Safe!”  You hop up and high five teammates as you make your way to the dugout.  Life is good.  You feel great.  And then you hear it.

“Johnny!  Why didn’t you tag him faster?  You just let him score.  I’ve told you a thousand times that you have to protect the plate.  Are you stupid?” 

Johnny slowly lowers his head.  He felt he did everything right.  He did his best.  But, his dad is pissed off. While you are safe, Johnny is not.  He feels shamed.  He feels embarrassed.  He’s defeated.  He fears what his dad may say next.  What should be one of the safest places on Earth is not for Johnny.

All over our great land, scenes like this play out too often.  Sports are supposed to be fun.  Inherent in all sports is a danger of being injured.  But, this should be limited to the field, the court, the ice, etc.  Far too many of our youth are being hurt from the stands.

Children need three things to grow in to healthy, happy, and productive adults.  They need to feel loved, have structure, and feel safe.  If one or more of this essential building blocks is missing, the chances that child will struggle emotionally and behaviorally increase dramatically.  Upon reaching the teenage years, a teen may turn to drugs, alcohol, and other assorted rebellious behavior, as he or she searches for ways to escape the pain of feeling not good enough, a failure, and not having met the expectations of his or her parent(s).

 

All children need to feel loved, have structure,
and feel safe

As a psychotherapist practicing the art and science of Narrative Therapy, it is our relationship with our own problem(s) that is the problem.  As no one, no parent, is perfect, childhood is often a place where a lot of problematic relationships are formed.  Relationships with low self esteem, fear, depression, anxiety, and guilt, are often created in the developing mind. 

If these relationships continue to be “fed” by adults, these problems can grow and become monstrous.  Instead of a child blooming, a child will wilt. They will learn that being vulnerable, an essential component of creating deep, loving relationships, is bad and needs to be avoided.  Walls will be erected, defenses will go on full alert, and other problematic relationships, such as relationships with anger, shame, hypervigilance and hypersensitivity, just to name a few, may manifest.

One of the hallmarks of youth sports is that inherent in them are positive values and important life lessons.  There are so many teaching moments that arise on a daily basis. Lessons about winning, losing, sportsmanship, honor, integrity, loyalty, decency, fairness, empathy, sacrifice, respect, responsibility, and courage are just some of the many positive human values that are on the field for the taking.  This is why we, as a society, are so interested in sports at all levels and why many parents encourage their children to participate.

I was curious about the current state of mind in regard to kid’s and parent’s mindset in 2017.  So I sat down with Mike Barger, an accomplished athlete having played baseball in his youth, as well as in the army, where he also played football, and then played professional golf.  Mike has been umpiring baseball games, little league, high school, city leagues, charity events, and once umpired the USC /UCLA professional football player’s alumni baseball game, since the 1960’s.

ROD:  Mike, thanks for taking the time to meet with me.

MIKE: No problem. Happy to do so.

ROD:  You have been umpiring for a long time. I am curious, what has changed over the almost 60 years that you have been calling baseball games from behind home plate?

MIKE: Well, not that much. For the most part, parents, coaches, and players remain respectful. But, there are always those players, coaches, and parents that want to argue over balls and strikes. Recently, I had to call time in a game to call the coaches over to have a conference. I let them know that if anyone started to argue about a ball or strike call they would be gone. People can get very emotional. As a parent, coach, or player you want to make sure the you are modeling good sportsmanship.

ROD:  What do you think is the most important thing parents can do in regard to their children’s participation in sports?

MIKE: That’s easy. Encourage them, don’t belittle them. Children need the support of their parent(s). Children need to be cheered on and supported. Your child needs your support. It is not up to your child to support his or her parent(s). That only puts undue pressure on a child. The worst thing a parent can do is to put down his or her child; to make a child feel that he or she is not good enough, failing, or not living up to his or her potential in the eyes of the parent.

ROD:  Have you ever had to throw someone out of a game or out of the stands for being inappropriate?

MIKE: Yes. There have been times where someone comes unglued and I need to get them out of there. I remember one game where a father kept yelling from the stands. The last straw was when he yelled that I was intentionally helping the other team. My response was “you’re gone!” I can only imagine what must have been going on in his child’s mind.

ROD:  Besides encouraging a child, what else can a parent do to make the field a safe place for his or her child?

MIKE: Not all children are going to enjoy playing a sport. Don’t force your child to play a sport that he or she may not be interested in. Work to find out what your child is interested in. It may not be sports, but in doing so, you put yourself in the position of being able to encourage and support your child. Your child may be interested in music or science and have no interest in sports. Forcing your child to play a sport he or she has no interest in will only cause both you and your child a lot of stress and suffering.

ROD:  Thanks for your time Mike.

MIKE: You’re welcome.

Mike made an interesting point in that encouraging children is very important. Within the word encouragement is the word courage. Courage is a not the absence of fear. Courage is going forward to face a challenge even if one is fearful or anxious. Fear is just one of a number of states of mental energy. And, fear, in the right amount, can be used to power courage. Thus, part of encouraging children is to help them face fear or anxiety in order to be able to move forward and to challenge themselves free of the weight that fear and anxiety manifest. The worst thing a parent can do is feed a child’s fear or anxiety by talking down to a child or making him or her fear failing. Instead, talk to your child about how anxiety or fear may be pushing them around.

Ask your child this simple question, “What is fear telling you?” One of my favorite ideas about fear is that fear is a liar. Therefore, help your child see that he or she does not need to listen to fear; that he or she can turn, face fear with courage with you at his or her side, and evaporate it as he or she travels through it. A key is to make sure that your child feels safe enough to talk about what fear or anxiety is saying to him or her. Then you can become his or her ally against fear. Objectify the problematic relationship with fear and anxiety, not the child.

As I stated earlier, making a child feel safe is one of the three pillars of parenting. Children are naturally in a position of low to no power. Their lives are managed by adults in their lives. Parents, coaches, teachers, and other associated adults, are all in a position of power over children.

If parents engage in actions that builds trust, such as being empathetic, assessing without judging, and being patient, a child will feel safe on that foundation of that trust. Being on a platform of trust allows one to enter into a positive state of vulnerability. It is in that vulnerable space that a child will feel safe enough to let down defenses and be far more open to sharing deep personal fears and anxieties, and to being open to hearing and working to connect to what the parent is trying to teach.

In my next segment, I’ll look at the pros and cons of trying to protect a child’s self-esteem at all costs, a movement that arose out of the field of psychology that gained a lot of momentum in the last few decades, and share thoughts on how a parent can navigate this complex issue. Until then, keep encouraging your child and make sure that your child knows that he or she has your love and support.

 

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Read Rod’s original article courtesy of
Youth Sports Performance Network www.YSPN360.com

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Rod Louden & MCLA Executive Director Dr. Stephen Johnson

ROD LOUDEN, Marriage & Family Therapist, MA, MFT, BCPC
While most therapists limit their interaction with clients solely to the therapeutic hour, Rod applies the Narrative Therapy ideal of post session letter writing. He has written thousands of post session letters to clients. These letters help to keep both the client and therapist focused on the work at hand and create bridges of thought between sessions.

 

In addition to Narrative Therapy, Rod utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help bring about quick, lasting change. He has extensive experience in Marriage Counseling, Couples Counseling, Addiction, Survivors of Childhood Abuse, Problem Solving, Self-Growth, Anxiety, Depression, working with Teens and Relationship Building. In addition, he works with Musicians, Actors, and Artists to break through creative blocks allowing a deeper expression of their artistry. He also works with Athletes at all levels regarding performance on and off the field. Rod is a performance coach for YSPN360.com. He is also the author of “Monster Relationships: Taming the Beasts that are Killing Your Relationships.” Email him at rodlouden@aol.com or visit www.rodlouden.com.

 

 

 

 

Four Habits of Wildly Successful People

Four Habits of Wildly Successful People

by Lindsay Weisenthal
www.MindBodyGreen.com

When you hear the word "discipline," does it feel light or heavy? Even though it's a core behavior for reaching our goals, discipline tends to get a bad wrap. The most notable associations are being subject to a rigorous routine, having to deprive ourselves of pleasure, and grinding out effort in an overly aggressive way.

"If vision is the head and mission is the heart, then values are the soul."

In Patañjali's Yoga Sutras one of the five niyamas, or self-discipline practices, is known as Tapas. The practice of Tapas encompasses disciplines such as fasting or taking a vow of silence, which seems to comply with our restrictive definition of discipline. But take a closer look and you'll see that these practices are meant to purify, renew, and restore our vitality.

Discipline is where you find the sweet spot between effort and ease, and walking that edge is the secret that really successful people have mastered. It's their secret sauce, if you will.

But it's not something you're just born with. Discipline can be learned. Here's how to start incorporating discipline into your life in an expansive, nurturing way.

1. Respond rather than reacting.

Acting from a place of balance keeps hasty decisions, depleted willpower, and self-sabotage at bay. Reactions tend to originate from a place of fear and uncertainty while responses grow from honorable values. John C. Maxwell writes, "If vision is the head and mission is the heart, then values are the soul." When you respond in accordance with your values, you avoid the trap of shrinking back, playing small, and living from fear.

2. Commit to doing the hard thing first.

We are wired to move away from discomfort, even if it's meant to better us. This simple inner working misleads us to do easy tasks first and put off things that, in the moment, seem much harder to accomplish. So, we tackle the low-hanging fruit first and allow the stress, anxiety, and weight of the bigger actions to fester. When you commit to doing the hard thing first, your day, week, month, and year become easier. On the flip-side, when you do the easy things first, your experience becomes one of difficulty and struggle.

3. Adopt a morning meditation practice to increase awareness.

Meditating first thing in the morning puts you immediately into your higher mind. From this elevated vantage point, you're free from the trappings of patterned behavior. Increasing your awareness gives you the freedom to make new choices based in the here and now. As you become more present you gain the superpower of creating new habits with ease.

4. Surround yourself with reminders of why you're doing what you're doing.

Getting clear on why you've committed to a certain path can be more important than the path itself. Danielle LaPorte, author of The Desire Map, writes, "Everything we do is driven by the desire to feel a certain way. You're not chasing the goal itself; you're chasing a feeling." We're far more likely to know what actions to take and which ones to toss if we focus on how we want to feel rather than what we will get. This puts us in a place of service to the highest vision for ourselves, rather than a state of constant striving. Remind yourself of your core desired feelings daily by placing inspiring images and words in plain sight.

As you embrace discipline, you'll tap into more power and rely less on forcing things to come together. If you're ever struggling to reach your goals, remember these guiding principles for creating success:

  • Surrender emotional reactions and adopt principled responses.
  • Fiercely commit to do the seemingly hard things first.
  • Ritualize your morning to increase your awareness.
  • When in doubt, reconnect with how you want to feel
     

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    Read Lindsay's original article on www.MindBodySpirit.com

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LINDSAY WEISENTHAL is a success and productivity expert specializing in helping women uncover and unleash their soul purpose. Her clients seek to ritualize their success, avoid burnout and create habits to support their most fulfilling lives. Lindsay’s diverse background—including seven years in product development and multiple coaching certifications—enables her to express her talent for extracting the mission and purpose that lives within each of us. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or SoulRising.com
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Director's Message - April, 2017

MCLA Colorado River Retreat co-leader Scott Ewing with Adam Zawadzki and his son Sky

April 2017

Greetings Sacred Path Community,

This newsletter will offer you an opportunity to read about and view photos from the Colorado River Kayak trip that was attended by 21 adventurous souls.  The adventure was comprised of several vigorous Men’s Center Wisdom Council members accompanied by a number of stalwart participants who also registered for the retreat and seized the day.  Carpe Diem, gents!

A deep bow to the leaders, MCLA Associate Directors Rob Bruce and Dr. Michael Lewis and MCLA veteran guides Dan Stanton and Scott Ewing.  A special thank you to Scott for originally introducing us to his Sacred get-away spot on the Colorado River.  Great share, Scott!  There’s already talk about the next river trip one year from now.  So, if you wanted to attend and missed this one, put a note in your date book for next March.

As a reminder, our next big Sacred Path Men’s Conference Retreat will take place at our Hilltop Camp North of Malibu commencing Thursday, October 19 through Sunday, October 22.  Save the dates.  You won’t want to miss this one, it’s going to be amazing.

Emotional Transformation Therapy Training instructor Lolita Domingue, LMFT

On another note, I just returned from a 3-day Level I Emotional Transformation Therapy Training (ETT) in Upland taught by Master Level Trainer, Lolita Domingue, LMFT.  I was initially introduced to the neuroscientifically-based therapeutic power of color and light by one of our men, Mitchell Roth, while at our last October retreat.  He had just completed his Level I (out of 5 levels) training and was quite jazzed by what he had learned.  He offered to work on a few retreat participants.  You may have been one of the lucky ones who was gifted a brief session with him. If you reside in Florida, or are travelling to there, Mitch has just completed his Level III Training.  Look him up to experience a remarkable session under his guidance. He resides in the Boynton Beach area.

A group of us gathered around the table to listen to Mitch rave about the wonders of this newfound technology.  As a result, I got excited and invited four other therapists to have an introductory experience at my office.  Lolita was kind enough to travel in from Upland to offer a demonstration.  As a further result, three of us (Anthony DiMaggio, Jeffrey Young and myself) registered for the Level I Training.  It was a rock-my-world kind of experience.

Dr. Pierre Grimes, age 94, considered "A true Jnani Yogi" for his brilliant work using Plato and Philosophy as a means for healing

At this point in my life, after having practiced as a licensed psychotherapist for over 45 years, I had to ask myself why I would be taking on a lot more work to learn and incorporate a whole new therapeutic paradigm into my busy life.  After all, many of my peers are retired, in pre-tirement or at least slowing down their pace, certainly not adding more.  Maybe it’s the influence of 94-year-old Dr. Pierre Grimes whose presence at the last retreat shattered any delimited thinking around aging.  And undoubtedly, one of my mentors, Dr. Len Olinger, who was still practicing (seeing 15 patients a week) until his passing at age 92. And famed Psychoanalyst, Dr. Hedda Bolgar, who kept at it until her passing at 102.  Being of service keeps you young, especially at heart.

I’m reminded of the African Proverb:  “When death comes to take you home, let it find you living your life to the fullest!”

13th-century Sufi poet Rumi

Over the years, I’ve added several skill sets to my arsenal.  I have been mentored by some of the best-of-the-best, having trained at the knee of many luminaries.  One after the other has given me another facet of the diamond that allows for the light to reflect more brightly.  For example, I knew that I had found the keys to the Kingdom when I got trained and certified as a Rebirthing Breathworker.  As you know, Sacred Breathing is one of the cornerstones of our retreat format and has tremendous value as one of the most useful tools for the journey through life.

The 13th-century Sufi poet Rumi wrote that our wounds are where the light comes in…  His words offer the heartening solace of meaning when so many people are suffering and struggling with what appears to be pointless violence, loss and tragedy. However, as the inner light dawns, it delivers the outer life from bondage.

I’ve always aspired to be of service to others.  My passion resides in my being able to go into the darkness and assist people in finding their way into the light.  Ergo, my attraction to the therapy of color and light.  Along the way, I’ve managed to be rather successful in helping people transform their lives.  There are those however, suffering from complex trauma, who have a difficult time completely resolving the underlying causality of their symptoms. It’s frustrating for providers who wish to make a more complete difference in one’s life when we can’t achieve that final level of perfection, total healing.

One of the things on my wish list has been the desire to help people at a deeper level of recovery from complex traumas. When one of our men, Captain Mike Henry of the LA County Fire Department, asked me if I would head up the therapy program for his Fire Fighter’s Down Organization I decided it was time to step up my skills to be able to reach that more inveterate wounding sustained by victims of trauma and PTSD. That invitation presented the perfect conjunction of possibilities coinciding when Mitch introduced me to ETT.  Mike asked me to respond to some questions for the FFD April newsletter regarding Firefighters and PTSD.  I’ve included my responses and you don’t have to be a wounded warrior or a Firefighter to suffer from PTSD. 

ETT is the brilliant work of Steven Vasquez, Ph.D., a licensed psychotherapist in Texas who has taught his approach in nine different countries and throughout the U.S.  Essentially, he has employed the universal constant of color and light to human experience through the healing power inherent in natural light.  In his book, Emotional Transformation Therapy, An Interactive Ecological Psychotherapy,” he states, “The implications for counseling and psychotherapy are enormous.  This process has the potential to revolutionize the way therapists work.  Symptoms are changed so rapidly and so permanently that the use of psychotropic medications might become largely obsolete.  However, its use for physical symptoms may offer an even greater breakthrough, particularly in treating physical pain syndromes.”

In addition to the array of diagnostic categories from neurosis to more severe mood disorders and addictive tendencies, the list of traumas that ETT can attend to include, but are not limited to crime victims, survivors of automobile accidents, rape survivors, survivors of natural disaster, war trauma and other acute stress disorders and PTSD.

Anthony DiMaggio delivering Sacred Path Tibetan prayer flags on the Colorado River (with a broken foot)

If you would like to know more about this revolutionary therapeutic breakthrough technology please let me know.  I, and my Intern, Anthony, and Jeffrey (in San Diego) are commencing our integration of this process into our therapeutic practices.  That’s why it’s called a “practice” because we need to practice it.  As they say, practice makes for perfection.  We will meet again at the end of April with our cohort to have a day of consultation with Lolita to go over what we have learned between now and then. 

Jeffrey Young & Eric Ramirez on the Colorado River with 19 other MCLA adventurous men on a mission.

If you are a licensed therapist, or budding counselor in training, and would like to equip yourself with a revolutionary new treatment modality, I highly recommend that you consider doing the Level I training that Lolita will offer again within the next couple of months.  If you do, you’ll be able to join the three of us for our Level II training that will follow by summer.  Check out her website at www.lolitamdomingue.com.

It’s helpful to remember when times seem dark, that The Light is always shining, and that Light and Love go hand in hand.  And, it is said that the Light of God is Love.   Love is abundant in the Light and is always supporting, guiding and caring for each of us, at all times.  While we do not deny or suppress the pain we feel, we can endeavor to know that painful experiences do not destroy nor diminish our inherent wholeness, nor do they disprove Love’s sustaining presence.  Rather, we can be opened up by these experiences. This is the mission of Light Workers.

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind”  -- Romans 12:2

 

Namaste,

Stephen

Stephen J. Johnson Ph.D., LMFT
Executive Director

 

 

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CLICK HERE for more memories of the 2017 Sacred Path Colorado River Retreat

 

 

 

Dr. Stephen Johnson is founder and executive director
of the Men's Center Los Angeles and leader/wayshower
of the Sacred Path men's retreats for the past 30 years.
He is author of "THE SACRED PATH: THE WAY OF THE SPIRITUAL WARRIOR," an amazing how-to book for
men who want to become better men . . . AND
for the women who care about them.
 

 

 

The MCLA Wisdom Council honored Dr. Johnson's amazing 30 years of mindful men leadership and mentorship with a special commemorative film that debuted on
the mountain at the recent 30th
Annual Sacred Path Men's Retreat.
Click here to view "The Sacred Path." 

 

 

 

 

Sacred Path Colorado River Retreat 2017

The Sacred Path Colorado River Retreat

by Rob Bruce & Daniel Stanton

 

On March 9th, 2017, twenty-one men from the Men’s Center Los Angeles began a four-day, three-night journey in the Black Canyon on the Colorado River, between Arizona and Nevada, downstream from Hoover Dam.

The best way to describe the Black Canyon is that it is one of the most beautiful, majestic, and incredible places within the United States, if not the entire world.  The Black Canyon is a 12-mile stretch of river that is home to big horn sheep, bald eagles, stripped bass, and a variety of birds, reptiles and plants.

On most visits to the Black Canyon, one will find sun-baked mountains and canyons with very little vegetation and an abundance of emerald green, crystal clear water that averages about 58 degrees year round.  With all of the rain the west coast has received this year, we witnessed an abundance of “green scape” that covered the mountains and canyons, with blossoming cactus and wild flowers everywhere. 

The weather conditions on the river were exceptional with temperatures in the mid-70s to low-80s during the day and mid to upper 50s during the evening.  The water level on the river was high, but there was little to no current on the river, which made the maneuvering of the kayaks and canoes easy to handle. All in all the conditions on the river during the four days was exceptional.

The Sacred Path Colorado River Retreat was the third time the Retreat was hosted in the Black Canyon.  Several of the men had attended all three retreats including Clayton Norcross, Tommy Holmes and Daniel Stanton.  The 2017 retreat was co-led by Rob Bruce, Dr. Michael Lewis, Scott Ewing and Daniel Stanton. 

The Sacred Path Colorado River Retreat began by launching our kayaks and canoes from the base of Hoover Dam, then taking most of the first day to experience the Sauna Cave, Gold Strike Canyon, which has a great walking trail, water falls, and hot springs, followed by a visit to “God’s Wall” which is too incredible to put into words.

The Black Canyon is known for its natural Hot Springs, clear emerald green water, big horn sheep, bald eagles, calm water, and connecting with Nature and yourself in a way that you may not have ever experienced before. We enjoyed a nice leisurely pace where there were no schedules, no cell phones, no computers, just connection with Nature and yourself.  We explored incredible caves that can only be accessed from the River, including the Emerald Cave which is a popular location to stop relax and enjoy the beauty.

We arrived at our Base Camp, located at a place called the Arizona Hot Springs. approximately four miles downstream from our launching point at the Hoover Dam, mid-afternoon where we unloaded our kayaks and canoes and set up our camp for the next three days.

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Some of the best Natural Hot Springs were located at base camp.  There is also an incredible view of the River from a “look-out” point.  At base camp we set up our Sweat Lodge, build a couple of fire pits, enjoyed our meals, shared stories, kicked back and relaxed, and woke up to the smells of fresh brewed coffee. We even saw some big horn sheep across the river from our camp. Each morning after our coffee, some light breakfast, and a morning dip in the natural hot springs, we enjoyed incredible hikes, jumped off rocks into a beautiful lagoon, and paddled upstream to explore more wonderful trails.  The day was ours to seize.

On Friday afternoon Dan Stanton and Bill Arena coordinated the building of the Sweat Lodge.  With willow, twine, tools, tarps, and stones that were brought down river in the canoe barge we successfully built an incredible Lodge.  Dan and Bill led the Sweat Lodge ceremony on Friday and Saturday evening under the curiosity of a nearby father/daughter group of campers.

On Saturday, Rob Bruce led a Tibetan prayer flag blessing ceremony where each man wrote the names of family members or those who have passed on their prayer flags. 

A heartfelt anthem about the Individual prayers that each man inscribed indelibly onto genuine Tibetan prayer flags which we then endeavored to stretch and fly across the 300-foot width between the sacred canyon walls.

The prayer flags were then strung together to create this amazingly long prayer flag that was then connected to the back of a kayak, with a long pole mounted from a paddle.

We will never forget the emotion of listening to Tommy Holmes’ soulful voice and stirring lyrics bound and echo off the river’s ancient walls while we witnessed Anthony Dimaggio heroically paddle his kayak in a warrior–like pilgrimage with our detailed, intimate prayers to the other side while Rob and Patrick Mannion helped feed the prayer flags as Anthony paddled across the river. Adam Zawadzki videoed the event on his Go Pro.

“Prayers across the River, Prayers across the World” are just a few of the passionate words our retreat brother & poet troubadour, Tommy Holmes, spontaneously crafted and played on his acoustic guitar for our band of brothers on the second day of our Colorado River adventure. 

Our intention, purpose and aim, quite literally, not just metaphorically, was for our collective prayers to bridge the divide and as Tibetan tradition suggests, be "blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion”  into the flow of the river and all pervading space throughout the world.

So, as the flags soared and fluttered across the river and our moonscape like campsite during sunset and while a bonfire blazed under a full moon rise, Tommy shared his song one more time at the end of our traditional community talking stick time.

There had been challenges during our 4-day hero’s journey in the wilderness. Brother Anthony didn’t know it until he returned home from the trip that had he had actually fractured his foot and still he soldiered on.

Brother Michael received some heart wrenching news and was required to hike back four miles to civilization. A platoon of brothers and spiritual warriors walked by his side to assure a safe return over the difficult terrain to the main road so that he could head home after receiving devastating medical news about his sister. The men made sure Dr. Mike did not make that journey out of the canyon alone.

The entire Sacred Path Colorado River Retreat was a huge success and we could hear the words, “This was the Best retreat ever…” as we repacked our boats and headed home.  There were many special moments during the weekend that the men will need to share for themselves. 

The men all wanted to make the Sacred Path Colorado River Retreat an annual Spring event and that will be discussed at a later date.  In the meantime, check out the “Prayers across the River” retreat photos on our MCLA Facebook page.  You’ll have to come to the Sacred Path Fall Retreat in October to hear the individual stories.

We thank everyone who accepted the challenge to get out of their comfort zone, to spend time with other good men out in the wilderness, to partake of the hero’s journey. It was an amazing retreat.

BRINGING GOOD MEN TOGETHER . . . AND BRINGING OUT THE BEST IN THEM

We especially thank our founder and wayshower, Dr. Stephen Johnson, for creating the Men’s Center of Los Angeles over 30 years ago and leading us in such a powerful and soulful way. Dr. J’s mindful work has touched the hearts of all of us and empowered us to become better men.

Ho, Mitakuye Oyasin (To All of Your Relations.

 

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More photo memories of the 2017 Sacred Path Colorado River Retreat
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“Bring good men together . . . and bring out the best in them”

THANK YOU DR. J

The 21 men of the 2017 Sacred Path Colorado River Men's Retreat extend our deepest thanks and sincere appreciation to Dr. Stephen Johnson, founder of the Men’s Center Los Angeles. Thank you Dr. J. for listening to your internal guidance and taking action on your dreams. Click here to see our video tribute to this man's incredible 30-year commitment to leadership:

MCLA Wisdom Council video tribute: "THE SACRED PATH: 30 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE"

PTSD & FIREFIGHTERS DOWN

How does seeing and experiencing extreme situations on a regular basis such as rapes, murders, etc., impact a FireFighter's civilian daily life?

by Dr. Stephen Johnson, Ph.D., LMFT
Clinical Program Director,
FireFighters Down

Firefighters who are constantly in the line of duty often feel like they are on the front lines without a foxhole, so to speak. They can face acute traumatic events on a day-to-day basis.

They may feel like they’re used to it. However, when the trauma that they are dealing with causes trauma in their own lives and when it doesn't go away, it’s called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the four main types of PTSD symptoms are the following:

1. Reliving the event. Memories of the traumatic event can come back at any time. The Firefighter may feel the same fear and horror that he did when the event took place. For example, he may have nightmares. Or he may feel like he is going through the event again; this is called a flashback. He may see, hear, or smell something that causes him to relive the event, called a trigger. News reports, seeing an accident, or hearing a car backfire are examples of triggers. He may think the world is completely dangerous, and no one can be trusted.

2. Avoiding situations that remind him of the event. He may try to avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event. He may even avoid talking or thinking about the event. He may come home and plop himself down in front of the TV to just turn off the events of the day. He may turn to alcohol, pain medications and other drugs to numb himself.

3. Negative changes in beliefs and feelings. The way he thinks about himself and others changes because of the trauma. This symptom has many aspects, including the fact that he may not have positive or loving feelings toward other people and may stay away from relationships.

It can lead to a change in the bedroom --either there’s no interest in sexual intimacy, or the demand is constant and unrelenting. Spouses are cautioned that if your lover has morphed into a non-verbal teenager, it’s time to make an appointment with the marriage counselor before you can’t remember why you ever fell in love.

Watch out for the “Usta” syndrome. Examples of the Usta Syndrome: I usta hunt; I usta fish; I usta work out; I usta read to my kids… This can lead to “I usta be married,” or worse, “I usta have a life and now it’s time to end what’s left of my life.”

4. Feeling keyed up (called “hyperarousal”). He may be jittery or always alert and on the lookout for danger. He might suddenly become angry or irritable. For example, He may have a hard time sleeping or concentrating. He may be startled by a loud noise or surprise. Being overwhelmed can appear as tantrums, loss of temper, storming out, tears, etc.

What are the common symptoms that injured Firefighters suffer from mentally?

Sleep deprivation, black/white thinking, doomsday predictions, a sense of injustice and betrayal, the need to exact vengeance, reliving an event, bad dreams, loss of short-term memory and sexual dysfunction are but a few of the symptoms and all are treatable.

Do Injured Firefighters differ in anyway?

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is most often associated with soldiers coming home from war zones. For many of these men and women, living with PTSD means revisiting the pain and negative emotions they felt in a moment of crisis, very much as they experienced them the first time around, despite attempts to move on. It can quite literally feel like being trapped in the past.

Firefighters often face similarly traumatic events in their line of work. As first responders, they continually put their own lives on the line to aid others. The physical risk is present and unambiguous, and the resulting wounds are more easily treated. Unfortunately, the signs and extent of emotional damage are obscure and frequently missed or ignored.

How are members of the Injured Firefighters Crew affected?

Members of the crew can experience PTSD through being impacted by the trauma sustained by another Firefighter. This is similar to a “contact high” but, in this case, is considered a “contact low.” Witnessing another crew member’s injury or death while on the lines of duty causes a peripheral PTSD taking the form of collateral damage. Having awareness of the circumstances that can take a crew member down, out of his marriage or even out of his life via suicide, can cause wounds to the crew that resist healing. Survivor guilt, either because one is doing better or the belief that one didn't do enough to prevent the other’s injury, can persist for years.

 

Which Firefighters are at greater risk for PTSD?

According to research by Dr. Matthew Tull in “Rates of PTSD in Firefighters,” you are at greater risk for PTSD if you:

1. Begin your fire service career at a young age.

2. Have underlying mental health issues.

3. Were in close proximity to death.

4. Hold a supervisory position.

5. Experience multiple traumatic events in close proximity.

6. Are unmarried.

7. Were previously in treatment for another disorder.

8. You do not need to fulfill any or all of these factors to suffer from PTSD.

 

How can a Firefighter assess whether he’s experiencing PTSD or not?

For those who are experiencing persistent stress after about a month, the Trauma Screening Questionnaire may be administered as a screening component. A “Yes” answer to six of the 10 following questions necessitates a referral to a mental health care professional. It does not, however, constitute a diagnosis.

1. Do upsetting thoughts or memories about the event come into your mind against your will?

2. Having upsetting dreams about the event?

3. Acting or feeling as though the event was happening again?

4. Feeling upset by reminders of the event?

5. Do you have bodily reactions (such as fast heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, stomach

pains) when reminded of the event?

6. Difficulty sleeping?

7. Irritability or outbursts of anger?

8. Difficulty concentrating?

9. Heightened awareness of potential dangers to yourself and others

 

How can the spouse of an injured Firefighter support his getting into treatment for his PTSD?

When you suspect that your husband may be suffering from PTSD follow your intuition and take the lead on getting him evaluated. Chances are he won’t take the point on initiating counseling himself. That’s called the “Sturdy Oak Syndrome” or “John Wayne Syndrome.” Firefighters, by their very nature, customarily fall into this category. He doesn't want to appear weak. You may need to be the one to set up the appointment and drag him in, even if he’s kicking and screaming.

The most important rule of all when seeking treatment for your spouse is to include yourself in the healing process. The majority of those being treated for PTSD admit to lying to their mental health team; you are the one that knows what is really going on, even if you don’t know why, so insist on being part of the team.

Don’t underestimate the impact of PTSD on you and your family. It is a treatable injury, not a life sentence. There is no need to live a life of quiet desperation or find yourself divorced from the love of your life.

 

 

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Click here to learn more about www.FireFightersDown.org

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Dr. Stephen Johnson is founder and executive director
of Men's Center Los Angeles and leader/wayshower
of the Sacred Path men's retreats for the past 30 years.
He is also clinical program director of FireFighters Down, a non-profit organization of therapeutic service providers united to help injured Firefighters and their families.

 

 

The Men's Center Los Angeles is proud to support and endorse our very own Captain Mike Henry and this excellent wounded warriors program designed to assist Firefighters and the people who love and care about them. Your support of this important work is greatly appreciated.

Click here to visit and support
www.FireFightersDown.org

How An LA Meditation Teacher Keeps His Calm All Day Long

How An LA Meditation Teacher Keeps His Calm All Day Long

by Light Watkins
www.MindBodyGreen.com

What is your day but a series of moments? It's the little decisions you make along your way that add up to a balanced life. Evolution Fresh® launched their #MySmallSip initiative to spark small, healthy daily choices we each make to better our lives. With the second annual National Green Juice Day just having happened on January 26, 2017, what better way to celebrate than to share the healthy habits of some of our community members? Read on for wellness inspiration you can incorporate into your own life.

We all lead busy lives these days, and it's easy to let the routines that help keep us in balance slip away when we start feeling too overwhelmed. This is a big part of why being a Vedic meditation teacher is so important to me. Whether I am writing, teaching, organizing, or traveling, I am always able to come back to a place where I feel grounded, and I believe that everyone deserves to have that invaluable tool available to him or her.

Meditation alone doesn't complete the picture, though. As we all know, diet and exercise play an integral role in health as well. But a healthy lifestyle usually doesn't just happen overnight. It is often built slowly and intentionally by implementing one or two good habits at a time. For me, the combination of these #MySmallSip moments is what provides me the balance and stamina necessary to accomplish my goals on any given day. Here's a peek at a few of the things that I do to help keep myself energized and inspired:

Morning:

  • Meditate. I wake up every day at 6 a.m. and meditate for 20 minutes. I am definitely a morning person and believe that getting an early jump can make all the difference. Being a meditation teacher, this is of course a crucial start to my day.
  • CrossFit. I'm going through a CrossFit phase, so I go down the street for an hour-long sweat session. I refuel with an Evolution Fresh Essential Greens juice, which is bottled using high-pressure processing to maintain as many nutrients as possible!
     

Afternoon:

 

  • Lunch. I meet a friend or colleague for a healthy lunch, which is typically paleo. I've been really into that lately due to the numerous health benefits such as a heightened immune system, lowered risk of heart disease, and feeling fuller and more satisfied overall.




     
  • Meditate. Vedic meditation is a twice-a-day practice, so my second meditation happens around 4 p.m. and lasts 20 minutes. I often find that even if I don't necessarily feel like I need to sit down a second time I always come out on the other side feeling totally rejuvenated.
     

Evening:

  • Write. I write my Daily Dose of Inspiration at night, which will be sent to my students the next day. Even if you just write for yourself, I think that having a gratitude practice that reinforces positive beliefs about the world is extremely beneficial and has been scientifically shown to help create new healthy pathways in the brain.

     
  • Light stretching. Light stretching helps wind down my mind, reduces any soreness I may have, and puts my body in a relaxed place to fall asleep quickly.

Of course, your #MySmallSip moments will look different from mine because, hey, they should! We are all wonderfully unique individuals with separate needs and interests. I encourage you to implement one of your own #MySmallSip moments into your life this week and then see if you notice any other small changes as a result. And remember to make it personal. There's no better time to start building your own personal healthy lifestyle than right now

 

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Read Light's original article on www.MindBodyGreen.com

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LIGHT WATKINS has been operating in meditation since 1998, first as a practitioner, then as apprentice to his Vedic Meditation teacher, and finally as a teacher himself. He's based in Santa Monica but travels the world leading private, corporate and public meditation trainings and retreats. He's the author of The Inner Gym (L&G) and upcoming book, Bliss More (Penguin). He contributes to wellness blogs, writes a popular daily email Light's Daily Dose of Inspiration and his TEDx talk has garnered hundreds of thousands of views. Visit his website at www.LightWatkins.com

 

3 Habits All Men Should Practice That Exemplify True Masculinity

3 Habits All Men Should Practice
That Exemplify True Masculinity

by Raphael Henriquez
www.TheSocialMan.com

Being a man is funny business. While some of us may dream to be as noble as Candide or fearless as Sundiata.

We men are often viewed as the source of machismo, which gives some of us a bad rap for being self-centered beasts with no system for maintaining mental, physical, or spiritual hygiene.

While this may sound a bit exaggerated and over the top, how many of us men have been prematurely judged for what some of our more naïve and arrogant male cohorts have done in the past?

For example, many of you men reading this can probably relate to a situation where people have prejudged you as being: ignorant, brutish, and misogynistic: because of an incident where some other dude’s expression of masculinity was completely awry and appalling.

Well men, even though we can’t directly change how people act all the time or how people perceive us, we can still practice a few habits that will not only help us develop better relationships with others, but will also positively change how we perceive ourselves as men.

 

Treat Women as Your Equals

It’s a shame that this has to be a habit for men to practice, as if it’s something that we must (re)learn how to do. Unfortunately, it’s an agonizing truth and reflection of the culture that we created over the millennia.

Our treatment of people, but more particularly women, seems to be lacking respect and reverence.

I say this not out of some newfound liberalism, but out of the experiences of those around me.

In order for you to get a better idea as to why I say this and why men should practice better treatment towards women, read these words from WHITE BISON, INC, a Native American non-profit charitable organization that offers healing resources to Native America:

“So, from now on, I will treat women in a sacred manner. The Creator gave women the responsibility for bringing new life into the world. Life is sacred, so I will look upon women in a sacred manner.”

Yes, this excerpt has some spiritual undertones by invoking the idea of an omnipotent creator and I don’t hold it against you if you’re not one for spirituality or religiosity.

However, if you consider yourself to be a naturalist or rather a more logical individual, it only seems logical to assume from this passage that: since women have the responsibility of birthing new life into the world, which is sacred, shouldn’t women be looked upon as sacred beings that deserve egalitarian, if not elevated, treatment?

Even though this question is rhetorical in nature, the importance of it is critical. You will never experience the beauties of the world until you understand the sacredness of life dwells within women.

 

Invest in Yourself

This habit won’t be as cautionary as the last, but it sure will be pretty damn straightforward; INVEST IN YOURSELF.

It’s unreasonably easy for men to invest in the most frivolous of things or behaviors. Need an example?

How many of us men have been or are still at a point in our lives where we facilitate some unexplainable need to impress women or our male peers? The answer is probably most of us, if not all. Because we relegate our time and efforts to “dumb shit”, we often shortchange ourselves of hidden talents that we may have.

For example, I always disliked drawing because I didn’t have much of a natural knack for it. Despite it being a talent that I admired so much, I never invested in my ability to draw. As a result, I became a bit less interesting than I hoped I could be because I never knew how to draw.

Fast forward a decade and some years, I finally decided that it was time to invest more in myself. So, I went out and bought: a sketch pad, two pencils, a watercolor palette, two brushes, and I started creating my own artwork!

After drawing and painting my first few works, I felt more invigorated and proud of myself than ever. Why? Because, investing $22 into my own creative interests has allowed me to add more pizazz to my life and be just a bit more of an interesting person than I was before.

So… what’s the takeaway? Invest a bit more in your own interests each day and before you know it, you might be surprised at how far that investment may take you.

 

Respect the Home

This is more of a “how” principle than a “where” principle.

No matter with whom you share a roof, always respect the sanctity of your own home. Feel free to interpret this however you want but, I know that for me, respecting my home means keeping the place (relatively) clean and making sure that I do everything to make myself and others feel comfortable in it.

The former of these two is straightforward; it doesn’t take much of a genius to know how to keep your home clean. The latter, making sure that you do make yourself and others feel comfortable in your own home, is a bit more abstract; so bear with me.

When I say “respect the home” and do things to make yourself and others feel welcomed in your home, I want you to think of coming home from a long trip across the country or overseas. On your way back to your abode, you have this irresistible longing for your bed, your couch, your TV, etc.

You can vividly picture what it’s like to be at home again. Heck, you might even be able to remember what your home smells like. A few minutes later, you pull into the driveway, scurry out of the car with your luggage, and enter your home for the first time in months.

It’s just as immaculate and reassuring as you hoped for it to be. You feel at home, not because you opened the doors to your own physical space, but because you have entered your own safe haven, which you respect as much as yourself and all the other things you love in life.

 

The takeaway? Respect your home. Don’t do it because that’s what most adults probably told you to do as child. Instead, respect the sanctity of the home because how a man treats his home and the people in it reflects his character.

As Confucius once said,

“The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.”

 

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Read Raphael's original article on www.TheSocialMan.com

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RAPHAEL HENRIQUEZ
Inspired by the Greek myths, Raphael wanders throughout life in search of finding home. His Odysseus-like journeys have made his life a memorable adventure filled with unparalleled challenges, distinguishably odd travels, and feats that would make Hercules look like Jiminy Cricket. Connect with Raphael on www.TheSocialMan.com