Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Graham Phoenix - A 40 Day Challenge For Men

It's Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40 day cycle (known as Lent) leading to Easter Sunday in the Catholic tradition, often a time of purging and renewal (give up anything for Lent this year?) - a personal version of the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert before he began to teach (the separation period is crucial in most myths of this nature).

Graham Phoenix of the Male eXperience blog is offering us a 40-day challenge to explore and expand our potential as men.

A 40 Day Challenge For Men (Day 1)

“Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.”
(General George Patton)

I believe that men grow strong through challenge. I believe that we come to know ourselves through challenge.

A Cycle of 40 Days

Over the next 40 days ‘Male eXperience’ will host a time of challenge for me and for you. This is the first day of a ‘Cycle of 40 Days‘, a time of growth and renewal, a time of challenge that we can see through, as men, and come out of victorious.

Men, join me and use this period as a time to question, a time leading to re-awakening.

Each day from today to Easter Sunday I will set a challenge, it might emotional, it might be physical, or it might be about how we see ourselves and our life. I invite you to join me in accepting it and using it to look at your life, to look at yourself.

This will be a path of discovery, a path to find your essence, deep inside you.


Starting today, Ash Wednesday, is the time of Lent, the time of preparation for Easter. This is a great time to face challenge. Just Spring is a time of new growth, Lent is a time of new awareness.

Lent echoes the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert before he started his ministry. He was tested there, he was offered the opportunity of an easy way out. He rejected each possibility.

When Jesus entered the desert, he left behind all the expectations of others, all the hopes, all the illusions. He was just himself, alone with his own hopes and illusions, and in solitude demons came to test him. He won through these tests but only after going through a challenging 40 days and 40 nights.

Can we go through this period? Can we survive these tests? Can we remain strong to who we are? Can we win through the challenges?

Loving Yourself

A recent post, ‘10 Ways A Man Can Love A Woman‘, has been popular with both men and women, who enjoyed my take on how men can love. The critical point in the post is the first:

Start by loving yourself

This is not being selfish. If you are unable to love yourself you are unable to love someone else.

This is something men, particularly, have trouble with. They might respect themselves, think they’re absolutely amazing, but loving themselves, that’s a bit sissy.

This is an issue that men face, but often don’t realise they do. They want to know how to love, how to have a relationship but they miss the essentials of understanding themselves.

This is the first challenge. Do you love yourself? Can you love yourself?

If you do then write down all the ways you love yourself. Write down all the things you love about yourself.

You can be honest, no-one else is going to read this.

If you don’t, or you aren’t sure, write down all the parts of yourself that get in the way. What is it you aren’t sure of? What don’t you like? Can you let go of these? What would it take to love yourself?


As men we face challenges, challenges to our sense of ourselves as men, challenges through people’s view of us as men. We face these by getting to know ourselves as men, accepting who we are and living authentically.

Join me in this cycle. Take this opportunity to look at yourself and your life. Discover who you are. Prepare yourself for re-awakening.

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”
(Bernice Johnson Reagon)

Tomorrow we will face Awareness

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