I want to talk about a dead end that is a potential pitfall for us as men when we are building our lives and figuring out how to become the best we can be and actualize our potential.
When we’re listening to podcasts, or fasting, or doing fitness, or journaling, or doing whatever the thing might be that makes up our own personal “routine” towards excellence, there’s a danger of becoming hyper-focused on the “I” of that work.
This is actually potentially a dead end for that work, and can restrict our growth beyond a certain point.
Hacks only take you so far
We’re all practicing these great “hacks” we’ve learned that are supposed to make us better people, and to help us be more in tune with ourselves and our surroundings, but when we focus only on how they relate to us individually, these hacks can really only take us so far towards becoming who we need to be.
Our collaborative capacity (or incapacity) is a doorway to much greater potential, but that doorway is only opened once we stop angling all our work towards a greater potential for “me.”
Stay with me; this may start to resonate.
Expanding on our capacity for collaboration
The truth for a lot of guys is, what’s coming next in terms of future challenges, tests, and new requirements for our ability to navigate life all have one thing in common: they’re all going to require an ability to enter more definitvely into a “we” space. Collaboratively. In raising money, in building a team, in going deeper in our marriage, in our relationships with our children, and in our connection to larger projects we want to initiate. Almost everything we want has this component of “bigger than me’ness” that can upend our plans if we haven’t prepared for it.
It might sound crazy to put it this way, but it’s true. And there’s a really quick fix to help us get started with this. We need to recognize, whenever we’re doing meditation or journaling or any other part of our “work”, how much of that is devoted to the singular “i”, and how much of it is being directed towards building and expanding our capacity for collaboration, for surrender.
So, ask yourself, what space am I making for entering flow space itself? Am I taking the time to surrender into a wider field of belonging throughout my body and my awareness? What room (in my consciousness, in my brain, in my office) do I give towards allowing my ambition room to breathe?
Strengthening the “I” component and the “we” component are equally important
This might be a hard concept to grasp. We talk a lot about masculine archetypes when doing men’s work, and there’s a way in which each archetype – when misunderstood – can have a kind of individualistic bent. For example, the lover can say, I am going to feel into the world for “me”. The warriors are going to penetrate the world for themselves. The magicians are creating their visions in the physical world for themselves. And of course, the king gets the crown and wears it for himself. Each archetype has their own goals and projections of themselves that they are working towards meeting.
However, each of these archetypes can also be seen to have a community side.
The lover is also often seen as the fool; he surrenders and falls backwards into the arms of the divine. The warrior is not penetrating the world on behalf of himself, but behind him, for all the people he’s protecting. It’s not about him, it’s about the wilderness and nature and the love for his community.
The magician surrenders completely to the wildness and processes that alchemize him, serving the future of not just himself but everyone his magic influences.
Lastly, the king is not just garnering riches and power for himself, but so that he can offer blessings and protections to those in his kingdom. He is warmed by the sun and made king by the sun, and in turn he becomes the sun that warms others.
Learn to let go of the reins
In the Parcival legend, there’s a key moment when the warrior-would-be-king (who has integrated his Lover and is working on his Magician) loses his way. After succumbing to his grief (alchemizing vulnerability into strength) and in his fatigue, he lets go of the reins of his horse, and the horse picks his own way through the forest.
The hero must learn to stop being the hero, in order to integrate the fullness of a heroism beyond the “I.”
“Keep hope alive by energizing those around you.” -Shawn Mullin
In your own life, ask yourself: which archetype most resonates in the present moment, and how? Which archetype do others see you as, and how do you see yourself? Then, try to break it down into the individualistic and the communal portions. Wonder about how you are accessing that communal part, that “we” mentality, in your daily life.
If you are doing regular practices or “hacks” as a way of reaching more fulfillment, joy, and appreciation in your life, try to take time during those practices to focus your energy on becoming more aware of the fulfillment, joy and appreciation of others around you.
The challenges and nervous system upgrades are coming, ready or not, at some point in your life, and they’re going to require some capacity for surrender and collaboration. Time to get ready, by learning to let go.
If you want some help fleshing out this concept, or if you’re not sure how to begin applying it in your own life, reach out to me and book a free call: https://www.pietervw.com/connect/