Real Men Feel: Ep. 17, Mediumship, men, and forgiveness with guest, Laura Emerald

Real Men Feel Podcast

Mediumship, men, and forgiveness with guest psychic/medium Laura Emerald, Episode 17, June 28, 2016
On this episode of Real Men Feel, hosts Andy Grant and Appio Hunter, explore psychic and medium experiences with men and forgiveness with guest Laura Emerald of LauraEmerald.com. Laura is a psychic/medium and she shared how she first met Andy (it was spirit driven), the way men appear to her as clients and as spirits on the other side, as well as lots of interesting talk about being a psychic vs. a medium. We also explored the theme of forgiveness, in life and in death.

Laura recommended the book, The Afterlife of Billy Fingers.

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A Few Brave Men

Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is open your mouth. The willingness to be open, honest and vulnerable is a very scary thing, especially for the Western male. Here are some authentic shares around anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction and more.

I was recently honored with being interviewed for MassMen.org as part of a collection of real men sharing their personal experiences with mental health. MassMen is a comprehensive resource for Massachusetts men and their loved ones, offering statewide mental health information, resources, and online self-assessments.

Check these out. They are all very powerful.

MassMen.org

MassMen.org

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About The Author
Andy GrantAndy Grant is a best-selling author, award-winning speaker, Transformational Energy Coach, Akashic Records Reader and suicide prevention activist. He holds certificates in Positive Psychology, the Enwaken Coaching System, Akashic Records, Infinite Possibilities and Reiki, as well as other leadership programs and energy work modalities.

Andy teaches workshops ranging from energy tools to ebook publishing, and is the founder of Real Men Feel, a movement encouraging men to come out of the emotional closet. He also facilitates monthly men’s groups. As a survivor of multiple suicide attempts, Andy knows how low we as human beings can feel, and he is committed to helping people realize how magnificent life is meant to be. Learn more about Andy at NavitasCoach.com

Real Men Feel: Ep. 16, Living Heroically with guest Anthony Simeone

Real Men Feel Podcast

Living Heroically and the Hero’s Journey with guest Anthony Simeone, Episode 16, June 21, 2016
On this episode of Real Men Feel, hosts Andy Grant and Appio Hunter, discuss the hero’s journey, myth, and masculinity with guest Anthony Simeone  of LiveTheHero.com.

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Two Things My Dad Taught Me Without Telling Me

I posted this originally on my personal blog. I am grateful everytime I find a man who expresses emotions openly. And what better person to learn such a thing from than my dad?  Here are some other things he taught me without words.


My dad’s wisdom is 1950’s-meets-Emily-Post. Be kind. Be thoughtful. Be proper. Do the right thing. Family first. He never said any of these words. He just showed me what he expected.

 Dad

“Be safe”

Since I was four (likely earlier but who remembers) my dad has been sternly cautioning me to “be safe” and “don’t do anything stupid”. These statements don’t have any qualifiers or explanations. When I was 10 “be safe” meant “don’t ride your bike in the middle of the street”. I assume now at 40 he means “don’t drive your car on the sidewalk” but who knows, he never actually defined safety.

When I was young he showed me how to be safe by:

  • Sitting in the car for extended periods of time until I figured out to buckle up
  • Standing on the side of the road for minutes until I figured out to look both ways
  • Lightly smacking my hand when I tried to touch anything hot or sharp

When I was a teenager his safety lessons were more of an interrogation:

  • Who are you going out with?
  • Will parents be there?
  • What will you do if someone you don’t know offers you a ride home?

Fun fact: when my first date picked me up to go out my dad snuck out of the house and wrote down the guy’s license plate number.

When I moved out of the house his safety lessons evolved into observational questions:

  • When I traveled, particularly to a city he had been to, “do you know which streets to avoid?”
  • When I moved into my own home, “do you check to see if everything looks ‘right’ before you go in?”

My dad’s prompts led me to seek out information on how to be safe in every situation. And insist my kids do the same. As my kids leave the house I call after them, “BE SAFE! I mean, look both ways before you cross the street…if you get lost, ask a mom for help…” My kids are long gone before I finish my list.

Perhaps my dad was on to something. “Be Safe” is vague but succinct.

 

It’s the little things we remember forever

When I was little I chanted, “It’s so nice to have a daddy around the house” (which I’m sure was a line fed to me by my dad but it was true so I happily sang it). And now? I still call on him to:

  • Remove dead birds from my door step
  • Find someone to snowplow my driveway
  • Remove hornets from my house
  • Take the kids to various inconvenient places at inconvenient times
  • Fix things around my house and/or supervise electricians and plumbers
  • Rescue me when I lock myself out of my house

(Important to note that my dad does these things when Josh is traveling. Maybe Josh is the one who should chant “it’s so nice to have a Daddy around the house” for my dad).

Whether I ask or not, my dad:

  • Checks the tires of all cars in my driveway. Even guests. If your car is parked in my driveways, he is making sure it’s safe
  • Monitors all doors to make sure they are locked (see “be safe” above)
  • Brings me half-moons from my favorite bakery
  • Opens every door for me (chivalrous, charming, and completely annoying but I love it)
  • Insists we drive as many places together as possible even when it completely inconveniences him
  • Reminds me about upcoming birthdays, anniversaries, and milestones

My dad never sat me down to say, “make sure you do a lot of little things for people you love. They might not thank you until they are 40. They might not notice in the moment. But over time all of these little things add up to a lot of love.”

 

A bonus lesson: gratitude

Brene Brown (must.watch.ted.talk.) recently said the emotion people have the most difficulty feeling is joy. And people who are able to experience joy the most deeply — and without remorse — have one thing in common.

Gratitude.

The most important lesson my dad showed me was that:

gratitude

I am grateful for the countless things my dad is teaching me. And even more grateful that he is still teaching me.

 

It’s Time to Be Your Brother’s Keeper

cainandabelkillYou know the story of Cain and Abel, right? Even if the Bible isn’t your thing (because you follow another religion, you’re an atheist, whatever), most of us in the Western world know the legend of the first murder.

In short: Abel and Cain, first children of Adam and Eve. Abel served up animal sacrifices to God, while Cain offered plants. God seemed to prefer what Abel was dishing out. Cain gets jealous, decides to kill Abel (one theory suggests Cain thought God would like a human sacrifice, something even more precious than a lamb).

Cain kills Abel with, um, the jawbone of an ass (my theory: this is a metaphor for Cain acting like an ass, whining/”jawing” at his brother until Abel died of boredom). God comes looking for Abel, and asks Cain about Abel’s whereabouts (another theory: God knew where Abel was because, well, he’s God, and was testing Cain to see if he had any redeeming qualities by admitting his guilt).

What was Cain’s reply to God? “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (I imagine him being very sarcastic about that)

I imagine God would have told Cain YES, you ARE supposed to be your brother’s keeper. But, sadly, nothing seemed to change after that first murder. Men have long been competing with, fighting, and killing each other. Much to our detriment and sorrow, right up to today.

MEN, WE NEED TO FLIP THE SCRIPT FROM COMPETITION TO COOPERATION.

As I always say when I go on one of my social change activist rants, this isn’t some wishy-washy, touchy-feely kumbaya suggestion. This is a matter of urgent and practical necessity.

The first rule of Fight Club? Don't join Fight Club.

The first rule of Fight Club? Don’t join Fight Club.

It may be no secret that men lead the charge when it comes to death from suicide, heart disease, violent crime, drug use, and on and on. But many of us ignore a big underlying cause of the destructive behaviors that result in male mortality: rampant extreme competition.

Western culture, especially in the United States, tends to train men to see each other as competitors. And while a healthy level of competitiveness is good for us and drives us to be better, there is a toxic version of competition many of us have been taught.

My own father always stressed that it was a “dog-eat-dog world” in which I was never to trust anyone. Other men were just out there to mess with you, take your stuff, and generally screw you over.

But we’re more than animals (no matter how often people try to tell us different). I like to say human beings are both apes and angels: the ape represents our evolutionary primate survival mechanisms, and the angel is our ability to rationalize and create works of art. Both sides of our nature are vital to our survival. The tension between the two keeps us striving, moving forward, and help us avoid stagnation.

But when we rely too much on either the ape or the angel, we throw things out of balance and we no longer grow.

This means, as men, we aren’t destined to just be at each other’s throats, eternally clawing for supremacy to become the cliched “alpha male.” Our culture’s fixation on males vying to Friendsdominate and destroy each other CAN be changed. It’s just another bad societal habit that we can work out.

When you hear the pundits lament the fact that our nation is no longer innovating, you can bet a leading cause of that apathy is over-competitive men suppressing each other (not to mention suppressing the advancement of women’s equality, but that’s a topic for another post).

Men need to work together to cultivate a healthy balance of competition and cooperation. We need to see each other as brothers, whether we share common genetics or not.

The time is NOW. Be your brother’s keeper, and let’s keep each other alive and thriving!

***

anthony simeoneAbout the Author
Anthony Simeone is a writer, speaker, personal development activist, and social change warrior with over two decades of experience studying the practical application of literature, philosophy, psychology, and other disciplines. The culmination of his work is the Live the Hero concept, which he offers as a life path for use in overcoming life’s daily obstacles. Live the Hero combines the wisdom found in the arts and humanities with the latest discoveries related to modern neuroscience. You can contact Anthony and learn more about his work at livethehero.com.

Real Men Feel: Ep. 15, Putting Spirituality in Your Business with guest David Morelli

Real Men Feel Podcast

Putting Spirituality in Your Business with guest David Morelli, Episode 15, June 14, 2016
On this episode of Real Men Feel, hosts Andy Grant and Appio Hunter, discuss using intuition and spirituality in business with guest, David Morelli, of Enwaken.com and Enwaken Radio. David is a longtime teacher, mentor and friend of Andy’s and this call explores energy work and using intuition more in business. Also, the importance of not acting solely out of fear.

Learn more about David at Enwaken.com

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Just Be You

This post was originally published on my personal blog, and then after rereading it I thought it would be perfect for here. As men, it is our responsibility to be our genuine, authentic selves by shedding all of the baggage and expectations placed on us by society, culture, family, etc. Enjoy the read!


I’ve been subconsciously aware of a certain pattern with my writing for a long time now, but I’ve only recently started paying deliberate attention to it. The pattern is that I only write when I/m in an “over-the-top” good mood. Truth be told, “Good Mood” is where I usually am, but when I’m in a really good mood I/m a lot more creative, which means that I/m also more likely to write.

When I started examining my writing pattern I noticed a pattern within the pattern. The times I didn’t write were the times when I subtly entertained a belief that I had nothing to say. I thought that the only time I could write a Reflection was when I had something profound to share. Then, when I looked back at some of my more popular posts, I saw that they were the ones where I was the most vulnerable. I didn’t see my thoughts or insights as being all that profound, but they somehow resonated with many, many people.

Appio Being Happy 01That’s when I started to see that when I’m Appio, not Appio The Emotion Emancipator, not Appio the coach, not Appio the public speaker, just plain ol’ Appio, I share more authentically and I write more prolifically. I’m happiest when I’m baring my soul, being human, and inviting people into my experiences. Those wish to join me will, and those who aren’t ready won’t. All I know is that everyone who crosses my path does so at the right time, and in a way that positively impacts both of us.

Ever since I stopped hiding and worrying about what others thought of me or the path I felt inspired to take, my life has blossomed in ways I never imagined. My relationships with immediate and extended family are stronger than before, and amazing people have supported me in ways that have left me humbled and awestruck. I’m more blessed than I’ve ever been. Best of all, I continue to step further into my personal joy.

My thought this week is consequently very simple: Just be you. When you allow the genuine, authentic you to step forward and simply BE, you find the very acceptance, understanding and joy you’ve been looking for. You’ll discover that they’ve been with you all along. The only thing keeping you from experiencing the full expression of your personal joy is your acceptance of yourself. Once you let go of the illusions that feed your fears and the judgment that others have thrown upon you, you can claim what has always been yours. Love. Acceptance. Understanding. And above all, Joy.

Will there be people who reject the authentic you? Perhaps. But if they do, know that their rejection is more about them than it is about you. Their rejection is their way of saying that in their minds, they can only be happy as long as you behave the way they want you to behave. They’re telling you that they see you as being responsible for their happiness. Their message is that they feel powerless and helpless and that it is somehow your responsibility to make things right.

Let me be clear. You are not responsible for anyone’s happiness except your own. As you take responsibility for yourself you may end up sharing your joy with a few or with millions, but if all you do is experience your personal expression of joy, then that is enough. Your personal expression of joy is enough because if each of us expresses our joy in our own unique way, without worrying about what others think, we will collectively create the very world we want to live in.

If, as you choose to be you, the people you love the most walk out of your life, it is important to know two things: First, as difficult as the experience may appear to be, they are clearing your path and giving you the freedom to express and experience your personal joy. Second, the shock of separation is only temporary. Your life will quickly be filled with those who genuinely support you and your vision for yourself.

It is okay to experience the fear of rejection, and as you feel that fear, do your best to release it. Turn your attention instead to what you want to experience. When that happens, the universe itself will become your willing, enthusiastic collaborator and help you create everything you want. I absolutely guarantee it.

That’s all I have to say for now. Be well, my friends, and be you. You are, always will be, supported.


About the Author

Appio Hunter, a.k.a. The Emotion Emancipator, is a personal development coach, energy worker, author, and inspirational speaker. He holds certifications as a Happiness Champion and Infinite Possibilities Trainer.

Appio is a self-described crusader for joy. His work blends multiple disciplines to show everyone how they can embrace their personal power and experience clarity, emotional freedom, balance, inner peace, and joy every day. He is also co-host of the weekly podcast Real Men Feel along with his good friend and fellow coach Andy Grant. You can learn more about Appio at AppioHunter.com.

Real Men Feel: Ep. 14, Men Having Fun; From Golf to Porn

Real Men Feel Podcast

Men Having Fun; From Golf to Porn, Episode 14, June 7, 2016
On this episode of Real Men Feel, hosts Andy Grant and Appio Hunter, explore ideas around men and fun. Do men allow themselves to have fun? Do they have too much fun? What sort of things are men expected to enjoy? They cover everything from golf to strip clubs.

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In 999 Words: Rejection in a time of trauma

There’s something about trauma that brings you out of your shell. You’re so eager to escape the terror you are experiencing that you discover a newfound bluntness. It’s a technique that delivers distraction, a temporary reprieve from inner anguish.

Her name was Gabby. She was, until the fall of 2011, my best friend. We showed each other love through thick and thin, and because of what seemed like terrible misfortune on her part, there was plenty of thin.

When Gabby’s mental disorder finally revealed itself, I was left holding the bag on brutal lies she had told and which I had repeated. It’s one thing to read about personality disorders; it’s another to actually experience one in the flesh. When it befalls someone you love, it’s terrifying. You realize that you will never, can never, believe anything he or she tells you. The person you thought you knew doesn’t exist; their replacement seems evil and sadistic.

After this became true of Gabby, the first thing I did was distance myself. The second was to get tested for STDs, as we had been intimate on numerous occasions. Since I no longer knew who Gabby was, I could not rule out the possibility that she had inadvertently, or even purposely, given me an STD. My mind went right to the scariest one of all, HIV.

It took nine days for the blood test to come back. Nine days of pondering death, of asking God for a second chance, of feeling horror I had never known. HIV is not a life sentence, but when you think there’s a chance you could have it, it sure feels like.

The test confirmed I did not have HIV, yet I was still numb and panicky. I now knew that I was vulnerable, that death wasn’t just a theoretical possibility. I wasn’t sure if I could ever revert back to my old, comfortable naïveté. I began fearing things I had never feared before, such as driving a car or swatting a bloody mosquito (What if that blood carried HIV?). And somewhere underneath it all I was mourning the loss of a dear friend.

It was in this state that I turned to my parents. I was 30 then, and they remained the primary caregivers in my life. I was never one to drink or smoke pot, though during this time I was at a buddy’s house party where everyone except me was high on weed. I was in such a heightened, unyielding state of alarm that I actually considered crossing my own uncrossable line and toking up.

I didn’t smoke the pot, but I did make the mistake of telling my parents that I had contemplated it. That’s the coming out of my shell I mentioned earlier. I was trying to convey to them how fucked up I was. Considering my clean-cut nature, my words must have shocked them.

A few days later, I was at that same buddy’s house when my Mom texted me: “You better not be doing drugs. We don’t want to disown you.” I should have known. That’s the judgmental, love-taketh-awayeth Mom I knew. As absurd as it sounds for a mother to threaten to “disown” a 30-year-old man for inhaling plant smoke in the year 2011, it was actually very hurtful. And part of a long pattern.

Growing up, it never really felt like I could do right by Mom. I’d shyly interact with relatives in what seemed like an acceptable way to me, only to be told that I wasn’t doing it right. And she was so often angry. I remember being 8 or 9 and bringing a friend over to the house, sensing that when we walked through the door my Mom would needlessly flip out. She did. Some of her favorite lines (always yelled) were, “I don’t like you right now!” or just calling me a “cunt.”

Meanwhile, my father was a “cool dad,” playing catch and taking me out for ice cream. But like Mom he was terrible at handling situations in which my behavior differed from his expectations. When I got a bit older and started misbehaving in school, he’d tell me that I was “incompetent” and “ugly.” He mocked me for having few friends. Not every day, or even every week, and probably with out malicious intent. But still.

While Dad did his best to help me reintegrate into life after Gabby and my HIV scare, he also found time to judge me for apparently being promiscuous. And he could not handle any concerns I raised that went against his own narrow moral compass. I regret talking to him about the whole traumatic episode, because his judgement only made me hurt more.

Lately I have been thinking about how I would treat my child if I became a father. Often the answer is “the opposite of how I was treated.” I’d let that little boy introduce himself to family members however he wanted to. I wouldn’t try to humiliate the shyness out of him. I wouldn’t ask him questions such as “Do you love your father?” Those aren’t really questions, but rather demands that a child provide a statement that will make adults feel validated. I would value that child’s individuality.

And if my grown son had just gone through an event in which he feared for his own life and lost a close friend? I picture myself showering that man with unconditional love.

I know my parents did the best they could in every situation in my life. And I understand how they let their own petty frustrations and repressed emotions get in the way of good parenting. That’s why this morning I quietly took time to forgive Mom and Dad for everything I’ve written about, and more, in my own mind. I did this because I love them and I love myself.

I also know this forgiveness won’t be a one-off, but a continual choice. That’s what forgiveness is, and that’s what love is.