New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA) with The ManKind Project

This past weekend I took part in the signature program of the ManKind Project, the New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA) weekend. I learned of it thanks to Real Men Feel when we spoke with Boysen Hodgson in episode #26.

I’ve been to dozens of multi-day personal growth events, but never one exclusively with men. I hoped I would gain some clarity around my working with men, and I was also looking forward to learning more about the ManKind Project and how they run an event as I do see live events for Real Men Feel some day soon.

I gained all of that and more… a LOT more. All my expectations were insanely exceeded.

As I like to do when I’m venturing off into the unknown, I made a “before” and “after” video. So here they are.

 Before NWTA – October 21, 2016

After NWTA – October 24, 2016

Check out NWTA, they are held all over the world, and sign up! I cannot recommend this enough!

I’ll share more in the October 25 episode of Real Men Feel which is being recorded live Tuesday at 8pm Eastern. If you join us live you’ll be able to share comments, ask questions and even be fully seen and heard as part of the show if you choose. We use a platform called Zoom and you’ll need to download some software the first time you use it. RealMenFeel.org/show

UPDATE: The show is live and you can check it out here.

The journey continues.

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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

What Does “Real Men Feel” Mean?

People often tell me the like the sound of “Real Men Feel” but then ask, what does it mean? Well, to me, it means a world where men and women see that being real, being authentic, being tough also means being emotional – as in being aware of your own emotions, being willing to feel them and express them too. It doesn’t always mean expressing them on video, but that is often how I choose to go so that others can see I’m still a man, even when I’m feeling.


This video was originally posted on my blog a couple of days ago. I showed it do my dad yesterday and he really liked it.

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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

Feeling Inadequate? Suck It Up! (or, Three Steps to Avoid Inferiority)

I saw an advertisement for a product called LifeStraw®, and it made me feel worthless.

The product is a “personal water filter,” and all you have to do (according to the Internet) is “place one end…into unfiltered water (a water bottle, river, or even a puddle) and suck clean water through the top of the straw.”

For a few minutes, I felt pretty sorry for myself. The people who invented this thing are incredible, I thought. Compared to what they’ve accomplished, what have I done for the human race?

Yes, a high-tech straw made me question my contribution to the world. Have I done anything to make the world a better place that’s as inventive and useful as the LifeStraw®? I mean, that product could be the difference between life and death for someone living in a place where uncontaminated water is scarce.

Have I or will I do anything as important?

We all have bouts of self-doubt, and it’s alright to want to give back to the world. The problem here is one of comparison. Do you regularly find yourself questioning your own worth compared to what others are doing? Here’s a three-step process you can use to rewire that inferiority complex.

First, remember that you’re not being fair to you when you compare yourself to others. Sure, there’s value in getting motivated by seeing what others have accomplished, but not to the point that it makes you depressed. At that point, you’re paralyzed. You won’t be able to grow, change, and achieve new things.

Second, think about the things you’ve accomplished in life, and focus on your unique set of skills and talents. Don’t get bogged down in how “big” or “small” you think your achievements may be, because that’s just more comparison. Concentrate on what you do well, and use that confidence to break free of self-doubt.

Third, don’t try to avoid feeling inadequate. Just work on changing your reaction to that feeling. Instead of getting down on yourself, replace self-critical thoughts with a new routine of solution-centered thinking. Consider what actions you can take to improve your skills to achieve the abilities of the person to whom you were comparing yourself. Set an achievable series of smaller goals that could lead to your desired result, and get moving!

Many of us get into the bad habit of self-criticism, but it’s never too late to turn your thinking into something more productive. 

And yes, I eventually remembered to stop letting that straw feel like I sucked.

Do you spend too much time obsessing about the skills you think you don’t possess or worrying about your legacy? If you can relate to this post, please leave a comment and share how you overcome feelings of inadequacy.

Featured image via eartheasy.com

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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 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. 24, Feeling Sad Without Being a Victim

Feeling Sad Without Being a Victim, Episode 24, August 23, 2016.

Andy Grant and Appio Hunter discuss experiencing sadness without falling into victimhood or blame.
They both share some of their experiences dealing with elderly parents and dementia.

The post Andy wrote about his dad – FU: I love you

#RealMenFeel

Learn more about Andy at NavitasCoach.com and Appio at AppioHunter.com.

Like the show on Facebook facebook.com/realmenfeelshow

Subscribe to the Real Men Feel podcast on iTunes.

Join our private Facebook group: facebook.com/groups/realmenfeel/

Like to watch? View this episode on YouTube.

Enjoy Real Men Feel on Stitcher.

Listen to the podcast on Google Play.

Let us know what you thought here in the comments or shoot an email to realmenfeel@gmail.com

Real Men Feel Show

Strong Enough To Be Sad

A couple of weeks ago while I was on vacation visiting amusement parks on the US East Coast, which I dubbed the Great East Coast Coaster Tour of 2016, another roller coaster was happening at my employer. There was a sudden roller coaster of budget cuts, which cut me – while on vacation! My job officially ended the last day of my vacation, but fortunately some wise managers decided to find some funding to ensure two weeks notice for me. Also while away my stepmother went under hospice care and is pretty much waiting to die. My father, who suffers from dementia and multiple forms of cancer, is not taking this situation well to say the least. He’s stormed off furious a few times, and was even lost while only a few houses away. I don’t share this for pity or to present myself as some sort of victim of life, but merely to share what’s been going on.

While navigating these changes, my wife was told she wouldn’t be invited back to something she loves being a part of – via an email. Since there wasn’t much I could do about the prior situations I’ve mentioned, I sure wanted to go have an unpleasant conversation with the sender of that email. Anger was a welcome change, especially since I couldn’t yell at my stepmother, dad or anyone at work. Well, I guess I could, but I knew there was nothing to gain from doing so.

With my history of depression and suicidal thoughts, I was worried. I was worried when all these circumstances would gather their forces together to rise up and crush in a overwhelm tidal wave of emotion. Rather surprisingly, I rode out a couple of weeks quite normally. Last Monday, i woke up feeling down and sad. I wondered if this was the beginning of the overwhelming wave. No matter what I did that morning, the sadness sat upon me. I realized it was the first sadness I was aware of since January, which was rather amazing considering how miserable I had been feeling back then.

In the early afternoon, the lingering sadness had built up enough for the tears to start. I decided to dive in, and was completely willing to bawl all afternoon if that’s what was needed. Instead, I cried for less than two minutes. Then I felt fine. Two minutes. That was all it took to release that sadness, that energy. If I had resisted it, decided I wasn’t going to cry about any of this, the sadness would have lingered and grown.

Because I was willing to feel, I’ve felt great ever since. Felt great even while consoling my dad who is very upset that his wife is dying before he does. Today, we are headed to his doctor where he’ll be told that his cancer has returned (The doctor gave us a heads-up already). I don’t know how he’ll take it, but I know I can handle whatever comes next. Not because I’m tough or strong, but because I’m willing to feel.
sad

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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.

 

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 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 considered crossing my 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 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 without 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 narrow moral compass. I regret talking to him about the whole traumatic episode because his judgment 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 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 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 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.

Accepting What Is

Accepting What IsEach morning I pull a couple of Oracle Cards and post one on Instagram and Facebook. Yesterday morning it was, Accepting What Is, and it connected with me even more than usual. My family is dealing with some health issues, and I’ve been witnessing acceptance in others and myself on a daily basis.

My father has been on a slow mental and physical decline for a decade or so. His dementia and physical degradation have picked up speed in the past couple weeks which coincides with his wife going in and out of the hospital twice this month dealing with her own health and pain issues. They have both had to accept needing help, something they’ve resisted for a long time. Fortunately, they have support via insurance, their finances, and nearby friends and family as well.

Two days ago my wife and I accompanied my dad to visit his wife in the hospital. He needs a wheelchair to get around the hospital these days, and he nearly fell every time he tried to get in or out of it as well as in or out of the car. I had to help him go to the bathroom, a first for us both, and it was all I could do to be present and truly helpful and not just mentally checkout and disappear.

Yesterday he decided to find out if he could still drive or not. At our urging it had been a couple of weeks since he’d been behind the wheel. The short drive he took scared the shit out of him as he came close to multiple accidents, he later reported. For the first time, he’s accepted his driving days are over. Of course, the challenge will be, does he remember that tomorrow? When he got back home to an empty house following his wild ride yesterday afternoon, he fell. It took him 90 minutes to get himself back up. That has ended his arguments of not needing someone there all the time. He no longer can track the day or time. He can no longer be trusted to take his medication on his own, and we’ve had to call in help to be with him at night and soon now expand it to 24×7.

Even knowing his mental state, it is still challenging for me to not listen to him, to not believe him, to not trust him. That is what I must accept. I can no longer be the good son who does what his father asks. He no longer knows what is in his, or anyone else’s,’ best interest. He can no longer be trusted or believed. That has been the most difficult, and unexpected, part for me.

I’m sure some men are excellent caretakers and comfort providers, but I am not. I want to run and ignore this all. I thank God on an hourly basis for my wife, Lori, who has been going to his house every day for the last few weeks. Being a caretaker is something that comes naturally to her, plus she doesn’t have the baggage of growing up with this man weighing on things too.

This is the message on the Accepting What Is card.
It is an act of both power and faith to love, honor, and accept what is. At times it can be challenging to truly accept what’s occurring in your life. When you do so, however, you affirm that there’s a plan for your life and that everything is working for your highest good. Accepting “what is” doesn’t mean that you can’t work to change it, because you can. It does mean that there is gentle, yet profound, awareness that every experience can support your highest good and spiritual evolution.
If there is something you just can’t accept, start by gently acknowledging the fact that you can’t accept it. As you increase your own acceptance in life, this will help others be at peace in their own lives.”
Acceptance. It can be a real bitch.

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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

Mother’s Day

It is quite fitting, or a random coincidence, that I’m launching this site, Real Men Feel, on Mother’s Day. Mothers are the one thing most men in our society seem to be encouraged to love, even if that isn’t expressed verbally. Think of all the athletes interviewed on live TV after they did whatever great thing they did to win the big game and they sign off with, “Hi, Mom!”

Whether your mother is here or gone, your relationship is close or challenging, you wouldn’t be here without her so send her some love today. Hold her in your thoughts, visit her, send a gift; your options are endless. Even if you can’t stand your mother, recognize that you simply would not be if not for her.

10 Things Mom Never Told You

Hi, Mom! I love you, mom. I miss you. Please forgive me. Thank you. I’m sorry. Word to your mother. Happy Mother’s Day!

  Word To Your Mother
Rhetoric is Rendered

#RealMenFeel

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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