Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Men's Health - The 10 Best Foods You Aren't Eating

This is a nice list of healthy foods a lot of us guys wouldn't even think about eating, but should. To make it easier, they tell us why we should eat them and how to prepare them. What more could we want? Personally, I'm already down with the cinnamon and pumpkin seeds, but I've never even heard of a couple of these.

Want To Do Your Body a World of Good? It's as Easy as Expanding Your Grocery List.

Although some guys aren't opposed to smoking some weed, most wouldn't think of eating one. It's a shame, really, since a succulent weed named purslane is not only delicious but also among the world's healthiest foods.

Swiss Chard, Guava, Cinnamon and Beets
Guavas, beets and cinnamon are among the super-healthful foods that you should probably be getting more of in your diet. (ABC News / Getty Images)

Of course, there are many superfoods that never see the inside of a shopping cart. Some you've never heard of, and others you've simply forgotten about. That's why we've rounded up the best of the bunch. Make a place for them on your table and you'll instantly upgrade your health -- without a prescription.


These grungy-looking roots are naturally sweeter than any other vegetable, which means they pack tons of flavor under-neath their rugged exterior.

Why they're healthy: Think of beets as red spinach. Just like Popeye's powerfood, this crimson vegetable is one of the best sources of both folate and betaine. These two nutrients work together to lower your blood levels of homocysteine, an inflammatory compound that can damage your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. Plus, the natural pigments -- called betacyanins -- that give beets their color have been proved to be potent cancer fighters in laboratory mice.

How to eat them: Fresh and raw, not from a jar. Heating beets actually decreases their antioxidant power. For a simple single-serving salad, wash and peel one beet, and then grate it on the widest blade of a box grater. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon.

You can eat the leaves and stems, which are also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Simply cut off the stems just below the point where the leaves start, and wash thoroughly. They're now ready to be used in a salad. Or, for a side dish, sauté the leaves, along with a minced clove of garlic and a tablespoon of olive oil, in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook until the leaves are wilted and the stems are tender. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, and sprinkle with fresh Parmesan cheese.


Absent from most American kitchens, this cruciferous vegetable is a major player in European and Asian diets.

Why it's healthy: One cup of chopped cabbage has just 22 calories, and it's loaded with valuable nutrients. At the top of the list is sulforaphane, a chemical that increases your body's production of enzymes that disarm cell-damaging free radicals and reduce your risk of cancer. In fact, Stanford University scientists determined that sulforaphane boosts your levels of these cancer-fighting enzymes higher than any other plant chemical.

How to eat it: Put cabbage on your burgers to add a satisfying crunch. Or, for an even better sandwich topping or side salad, try an Asian-style slaw. Here's what you'll need:

4 Tbsp peanut or canola oil

Juice of two limes

1 Tbsp sriracha, an Asian chili sauce you can find in the international section of your grocery store

1 head napa cabbage, finely chopped or shredded

1/4 cup toasted peanuts

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Whisk together the oil, lime juice, and sriracha. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss with the dressing to coat. Refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving. The slaw will keep in your fridge for 2 days.

Read the whole article.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

VH1's The Pick Up Artist - A Rant

[This clown is "Mystery," the "master" pick up artist]

Oy Vey! Have you seen this absolutely horrible show? My girlfriend is sometimes fascinated with stuff like this, and can't turn away, kind of like watching a car wreck. So it was on this weekend, like episode after frightening episode, so I watched for a few minutes, then I had to wash my eyes out with bleach.

OK, the show is called The Pick Up Artist, and the premise is that the "master" transforms a bunch of socially awkward but basically nice guys (who just want to get laid once in a while) into pick up artists like himself (i.e., shallow manipulative assholes). One guy "wins" and "joins the team."

Here is how VH1 promotes it:
The VH1 series, THE PICK-UP ARTIST, is a tale of transformation. For these eight lovable losers, "socially awkward" is the understatement of the year. And when it comes to this lonely hearts club, desperate times call for desperate measures. Enter Mystery, best-selling author and ultimate pick-up artist--a former nerd from the Great White North who has discovered the secret to wooing women. Under his expert tutelage, he'll guide this group of hapless horndogs through the rough waters of romance and help them find the courage to overcome their biggest fear--talking to women.

In THE PICK-UP ARTIST, eight misfits will live together, learn together and love together as they compete for the title of "Master Pick-Up Artist." Over the course of eight episodes, the men will learn the ins and outs of the Mystery Method-- "how to open a set," "the number close" and "the kiss close" among others. Aided by his faithful wingmen, Matador and J Dog, Mystery will teach these average guys how to turn the women of their dreams into the women of their reality.

But this seduction school isn't confined the classroom. After each lesson, Mystery's awkward apprentices will put theory into practice, hitting bars, clubs and coffee houses in an attempt to make a love connection. Via hidden cameras, Mystery is always watching to see who's got potential and who's got to go.

In each episode, one contestant will be declared the winner of a challenge and granted immunity from elimination, while one sad sack will be sent packing. At the end of the eight weeks, one winner will be named "Master Pick-Up Artist" and awarded $50,000.

They may not all win the prize, but every pick-up protégé departs with the tools he'll need to change his life forever.

Who will rise to the occasion? Who will crack under the pressure? And who will become...The Pick-Up Artist?
Is the last guy stranding really a winner, or has he been turned into a scumbag male douche whose only goal is to use women and toss them away? Nice show. You can watch some video clips at their site - the guy who looks like the Cat in the Hat in the first clip is the "master."

So where to begin?

The basic premise of this show is that men are dogs and women are to be identified as available and willing, then conquered. Women are objects for sex and nothing else. And the women the guys tend to go for are seemingly shallow and possessing little self-esteem, other than in their looks. So maybe it's all a wash.

However, I can imagine there are young men and boys all over the country - otherwise harmless kids - who watch this crap and think this is their ticket to being the "ladies man" they have always wanted to be. They learn nothing about how to treat a woman with respect, as an equal, as a fully human being. It's all about the conquest and the sex.

And then we wonder why men act like such dumbasses sometimes -- it's because there are actually quite a few men who think this is an acceptable way to treat women.

This is just immature masculinity at its televised worst.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Revolutionary Man - How to Meditate 101 & More

A great introduction to meditation (sitting and lying down) from Jayson at Revolutionary Man. Includes a nifty little video introduction. He's a certified meditation instructor, so yes, he knows from which he speaks.

How to Meditate 101, Video Instruction (Sitting Up & Lying Down)

From time to time, I have folks ask me, “How do you meditate?” and “Where do I start?” A lot of guys are wondering where to get started. So, I made a two short instructional videos if you are serious about learning the basics of meditation.

First, it’s important to ask, Why in the hell would a person meditate?

At first, it might be a way to relax or calm your mind. Later on, meditation becomes a powerful tool for growth, personal development and a resource to find your own answers to life’s mysteries and even work through seemingly intractable emotions and mind states.

It seems in this culture, many people would rather have some big authority figure tell them what to do, rather than rely on their own wisdom. But you can only tune in to this frequency if you get pretty quiet and very still.

The benefits of meditation are widely researched and well documented. From the NY Times to National Geographic Magazine. More and more western doctors and health practitioners are citing meditation as helping their clients.

This video give basic sitting up meditation instruction

How will it help you on your path?

I like this description of meditation from

“Meditation is a mental discipline by which one attempts to get beyond the conditioned, “thinking” mind into a deeper state of relaxation or awareness. Meditation often involves turning attention to a single point of reference. It is recognized as a component of almost all religions, and has been practiced for over 5,000 years.[1][2][3] It is also practiced outside religious traditions. Different meditative disciplines encompass a wide range of spiritual and/or psychophysical practices which may emphasize different goals — from achievement of a higher state of consciousness, to greater focus, creativity or self-awareness, or simply a more relaxed and peaceful frame of mind.” More here…

So, give it a shot and really notice what comes up for you. It might be interesting to discover that you must approach it quite differently than learning a sport or a new subject in school. How did you do? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment…

This video is for lying down meditation. Check it out.

And yes, I am qualified to teach meditation as a certified meditation instructor!

OK, if you like that, you might also want to check out Jayson's FREE conference call coming up on January 8th - The 5 Pillars of the Revolutionary Man.

The 5 Pillars of the Revolutionary Man

Get In Touch with Your Inner Jedi and Make a Massive Difference

Event Info

Jayson Gaddis
Time and Place
Thursday, January 8, 2009
6:00pm - 7:15pm
Boulder, Co
Contact Info


If you’re a honest man, you might be asking some tough questions of yourself right now:

* Is my life satisfying as it could be?
* Am I spending most of my time doing something I love?
* Is there more to life than my 8-5 job?
* If I died tomorrow, am I really content and at peace with who I am and what I’ve done?
* Am I fully bringing it to my life?

If you are asking yourself questions similar to these, you’re in the right place.

A lot of guys are just collecting a paycheck, all the while holding back their inherent gifts and talents for some random day in the future. What’s up with that? C’mon fellahs. You are needed, now more than ever.

On the FREE call, you will:

* Learn the 5 Pillars to being a Revolutionary Man

* Identify 3 areas in your life where you are holding back and get some wisdom on how to address each.

* Get clear on where you are with your Life Purpose.

* walk away from this call with 3 simple steps you can take right now to go from playing by the rules to charting your own course to success, happiness, fulfillment all the while having a bigger impact on those around you.

So, are you ready Step UP and start being a Revolutionary Man so you can start making a bigger difference?

If your answer is "Yes," join us on January 8th at 6pm MST for this ONE TIME FREE Teleseminar.

Life is too short to play by someone else’s rules. And, Revolutionary Jedi's are needed right now more than ever.

Why wait? It’s your turn to step up and be the MAN people remember.

You must register here to get the call details:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Men's Health Boost from Marriage Disappearing

A news story from PsyBlog - some thoughts below.

Men's Health Boost from Marriage Disappearing

Man wearing ring

Time was that the persistently single male was seen as an unhealthy lump, prone to nightly feastings on pizza and beer - probably destined for an early grave because of his unhealthy lifestyle and poor social integration. Marriage or cohabitation, though, would soon give this slob an ordered life with plentiful social and psychological support and therefore a longer lifespan.

Or so the story goes.

New research by Hui Liu and Debra Umberson published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, suggests this story may be changing. Liu and Umberson looked at self-reported health data obtained as part of a huge US survey from over 1 million participants. They were interested in seeing how the relationship between marital status and health had changed between 1972 and 2003.

What they found was that the health gap between married men and men who had never been married narrowed in this 30-year period. By 2003 there was very little difference in health status between unmarried and married men. It seems that marriage no longer confers the same health benefits on men that it once did.
The authors of the study suggest an economic explanation for the narrowed health gap:
They find that in the 31 years of the study there had been a relative decline in family income for whites (but not for African Americans) in US. This ties in with the modern idea that the economic benefits of marriage are now much less pronounced than they once were.
But I disagree. They also acknowledge that there is more social support and acceptance for single men, which is closer to what I think is happening.

My guess is that both of the researcher's points have merit, but I suspect that single men are simply taking better care of themselves physically - working out, eating better, and not isolating themselves. And why? Because there are many more single women across the age span than there was in 1972.

Many more women get married later, or get divorced earlier, which allows for single men to stay "in the game," even after their twenties, the age when most men were married if they were going to marry in the 60's and 70's.

So, as usual, I think it is a combination of things (multiple quadrants in integralese), and not just one thing.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Men's Health - 10 Steps to Be a Better Father

Not being a father myself, I can't really tell you too much about that most important role a man may ever play in his life, but it seems Men's Health can. Based on my limited knowledge about parenting (having come from pretty lousy parents), this seems like good advice. Not all of it is profound (like not dancing, or not riding amusement park rides [I disagree with this one, depending on the age of the child]) but some of this is important.

Being Christmas and all, the best gift we ever give our kids is being loving, caring, nurturing, and open parents -- every day of the year.

10 Steps to Be a Better Father

I have found the fundamental laws of fatherhood. Skeptics said it couldn’t be done. Fatherhood is too complicated, they cried, to be reduced to capsule form. But the complexity only added intrigue to my search for guiding principles. After all the emotion, all the yelling, all the laughter, I have distilled the duties and demands down to a decade of Daddy dicta. Herewith, on behalf of all God’s children and the men who love them, the Ten Commandments of Dad.
Follow the links to read each item.

I liked this piece of advice:
The kids ought to know what the old man would think about this or that. You are the anvil on which they hammer out their deal with the world. Be a presence in their lives—and their minds.
And this one, because it's one my father never did -- learning to say "I don't know" or "I was wrong" or "I'm sorry" are some of the greatest skills a man can learn.
I told you, fatherhood is complicated. Don’t be so big that you suck all the air out of the room. Give your kids a little space to move around in, to test their thoughts and strengths. Take a back seat, figuratively speaking, three or four times a week. Say, "Maybe." Say, "I don’t know." Now and then, tell the kids you’re sorry. There are plenty of things to apologize for: anger, inattention, bad career planning, lack of whatever. Mean it. Be sorry.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Lesson in Manliness

The Art of Manliness addresses an on-going drama involving a reporter and the coach of the absolutely horrible Detroit Lions. The reported insinuated, and rightfully so, that the team's defensive coordinator would be unemployed if he wasn't married to the coach's daughter.

Here is the gist of the feud:
The question that just won't go away: Detroit Lions Coach Ron Marinelli refused to accept an apology from Detroit News columnist Rob Parker for his question Sunday about the team's defensive coordinator, who happens to be Marinelli's son-in-law.

Parker had asked, after the 15th Lions loss, whether Marinelli had wished his daughter had married a better defensive coordinator. Marinelli didn't respond Sunday, but certainly did on Monday, calling the question inappropriate. Now Detroit News Managing Editor Don Nauss says the question was unprofessional.

Unprofessional, yeah, but relevant - and an attempt to make light of a BAD situation in Detroit. But Marinelli won't own his mistake in choosing his son-in-law as defensive coordinator, and he won't forgive Parker's bad choice in humor.

Here's the key section from The Art of Manliness, who I think nails the real issue:

No, this question was very funny and Rob Parker should not get fired or suspended for it. An apology was fine and it should be left at that.

I am not endorsing his comments here, but I think manliness is about taking responsibility. Parker has taken responsibility for his question and apologized for any hurt feelings. Marinelli should accept the apology and simply say, “we are all very dissapointed by our season” and simply move on.

That being said, Rod Marinelli also has to take responsibility. He took a HUGE risk by placing his son-in-law as the defensive coordinator. It has not worked out, people in Detroit are pissed about it, and he has to step up and address the critics. Also, Marinelli has to take the heat. He is the guy in charge. He is the coach and ultimately responsible for putting his team in position to win. He has failed on this point. Don’t want the heat, then don’t take the millions of dollars in salary and the position which is coveted by so many.

Damn straight. I don't care if you are a man or a woman, it is incumbent upon all mature human beings to take responsibility for the things we do, the decisions we make, or the missteps we take in life.

Marinelli probably should have never hired his son-in-law as his defensive coordinator, especially given his lack of experience. Now take the hit, fire the kid, and admit you made a mistake - it's that simple.

It's always that simple, if only we are mature enough to "man up."

Mushin Schilling - Woman - or a man’s apocalypse

This is an interesting post from Mushin J. Schilling at Love, Truth, Beauty, Pluralistic Spirituality. Here he deals in various and intriguing ways with his relationship to woman, as archetype and as a person, and what that means for him as a man.

In the end, many men define themselves (rightly or wrongly, and I think wrongly) by their relationships with women. Still, for those of us who partner with women, this is HUGE part of our existence. We often feel ourselves at a disadvantage with women because they tend (this is a generalization, to be sure) to be more adept at navigating the emotional terrain than are men. We need to change this - and here Mushin talks about his efforts in changing this role, and the struggle of doing so.

Woman - or a man’s apocalypse


Woman is a masculine apocalypse, or can be - actually, she really is.

Once I started to open up to the area of feeling into the world as it is - which obviously means, as I feel it to be - I find that women, and my beloved is the closest woman nearby, know this ‘terrain’ much better. Actually it is almost their home ground. From the very beginning they’re into the games of relationship and seem, in my eyes, much smarter at playing that game: and if it is playing that game to win, woman wins, hands down.

“Anima” - the term C.G. Jung used to designate what I would call soul, or the innermost being - is a female word, it is what animates us, makes us move and be the way we are in the rivers of life.

The first woman a man meets, the first woman I met was Mother, the source of all life - but as a baby I didn’t care about life, I cared about food and kisses and stroking and cuddling and all that. Mother was the source. That is a broken relationship for most of us, because as all women, my mother was limited by, well, her own limits.

Woman is the giver of all good feelings. No, not all - the blessing for a man is to find a whole realm that is not really women’s territory; it’s a man’s world. And I don’t mean soccer, beer and lusting. I mean measuring up occasions, accessing one’s own strengths and courage, and deciding: “I will conquer this.”

I know, conquering is really “out” these days, laying a claim to this, that and the other is really spiritually or philosophically incorrect, using one’s power and might to get what you want is totally out of whack, but it is part of being a man, as is pulling things apart and putting them back together, and being proud of being able to do so.


Crossing over in women’s terrain is dangerous, and really, I wouldn’t advise anyone to do so unless his “anima” forces him, and there is really no choice. It is dangerous because, since winning and losing is an important happening for a man, you’re going to lose most of the time. If a man’s mastery is playing the game of heroics in some form or another good enough to be proud of himself, than a woman’s mastery is playing the relationship game in such a way that she ends up in the center of a relational vortex, where being close to her is the prize.

To put it rather bluntly (a masculine ‘thing’ I guess), a women’s game is for closeness to her, and a man’s game is to being the top of the heap. Both places offer a sense of great security.

Ooops. I’m sorry, if I tread on some toes here. Being paradoxical, crying out of nowhere, almost dying because of the feeling’s strength that one encounters, being shaken by a scene on the street, endlessly mulling over how this relates to that… that’s become a major “new” part of me and all of these seem ‘female’. And I’m just beginning to study this first hand (including the f…ing feelings). Doing so I find that the women around me are expertly wielding the little knives and chisels, are in possession of all the tricks and arts that are so very necessary when conflicts arise - and arise they must. So, again, why is it dangerous ‘here’? That’s easy: woman has all the weapons in a conflict, and you don’t (if you don’t want to take back on your male armour etc.)

Well, why I write all this?

I just lost another battle - and in the end got an honorable settlement in which I could put out some claims and be heard. It’s not that women fight better or worse than men, it’s that they fight using different means. And if you have started to develop opening up on feeling levels, which means you cannot really hit the table with a fist any more and play the conflict in the way you know best (loudness, restrained violence, mental fitness, maybe)… you lose.Which means that it’s now up to her to ‘make up’, because that’s what the winner does; eitrher ‘take the cup’ and shit on the loser or draw the loser in and make him/her part of the reconciliation.


Apocalypse means revelation. The revelation is, woman is expert in feeling-field, or the feeling connection to relationship and life. Woman is expert in ‘being the womb’, in ‘holding the space’ in

So, being a man, this is what I do: I turn a lost battle into a great lesson that then I write about. There is, of course, an interesting feeling dimension to this - a dimension that is typically overrated by woman and underestimated by man. The soul is an apocalyptic teacher, to a man like me…

I hope Mushin doesn't me posting this whole entry, but I think it's important that more men think about they relate to the women they love, and how the old ways of being silent and secretly hurt do not work anymore. We need to be as in touch with our feelings as most women are with theirs.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Unorthodox Ab Training

We all want to be fit and look good naked, which means having a nice set of abs. If you want to see your abs, you need to eat well and exercise (adopt the 80/20 rule - 80% of the time you are eating clean and busting your arse in the gym, the other 20% can be having some foods you enjoy).

Assuming you do all that, then you need to develop strong, supportive, functional abdominal muscles. Crunches and sit ups will not get you there. For functional, sexy abs you need to adopt some unorthodox training methods - this article presents one of the better ones.
One Side Loaded Barbell Squats

By Nick Nilsson

This exercise is a very simple but VERY effective way to really hit your core strongly. It looks like squat, stands like a squat, and IS a squat but it doesn't really work the legs!

Pretty simply, you're going to just load ONE side of the bar with 25 to 45 lbs or so. Start towards the lighter end until you get an idea of how the balance on this exercise works.

It's best to do this exercise in a squat rack. Load the bar up, set it across your upper back/traps as you normally would for squats. Hold on TIGHT then step back.

The first thing you'll notice, of course, is the weight pulling down on the right side. Pull hard with your left arm to keep the bar locked in place on your back - the goal is to keep the bar horizontal while you're squatting.

From there, it's basically a matter of squatting! Go down as far as you can then push back up. The uneven load on the bar will force your side core area to really contract strongly. You will feel this one INSTANTLY but especially as you're at the bottom of the squat when there is more emphasis on the core to provide stability.

Overall, it's a great way to build side core strength and power.

Do all your reps one way then set the weight up on the other side of the bar and go again:

This one will really challenge your core strength.

And, as I mentioned above, start on the light end of things - don't go right for the 45 lb plate. It takes a bit of practice to feel the balance on this one.

Totally worth it, though, especially for the strange looks you'll get at the gym when you start doing this one.

Windows Movie File (WMV format)

QuickTime File (Mac format)

The New Man Episode 43: Jun Po Denis Kelly: Did You See the Size of that Chicken?

The New Man podcast has posted part 2 of their interview with maverick Zen priest Jun Po Denis Kelly. Interesting stuff - check it out. Can we really live without anger? Kelly says we can.

Episode 43: Jun Po Denis Kelly: Did You See the Size of that Chicken?

Listen Now
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Can you imagine not getting angry if someone was trying to steal your money? What about someone violating your daughter?

Jun Po Denis Kelly insists that there is no place for anger, no matter what happens.


The path of the modern-day warrior looks for what is true beneath our reactivity. In the case of anger, there is always something deeper.

What does all this have to do with a chicken?

Listen as Jun Po tells the story about the chicken and one simple step we can take today, to change the rest of our lives.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Feeling Sorry for Ted Haggard

Most everyone knows the story about Ted Haggard's fall from power. He got outed by a former gay prostitute he had paid for sex and with whom he had allegedly used methamphetamine. He lost his mega-church, his fame, and his income. He did not lose his family, however, which says a lot about his wife.

He has recently re-emerged in a couple of sermons he gave in Illinois. Turns out he is also the subject of a documentary film.

But first, here is an ABC story on his return to the pulpit:

Now here is the AP story on the HBO documentary about his life - The Trials of Ted Haggard - made by Alexandra Pelosi, the daughter of Nancy Pelosi.

He seems a broken man.

First of all, he says here that he never claimed to be heterosexual, but one of surrogates did make that claim [emphasis added]:
According to a report published by Associated Press, Tim Ralph of the counseling team stated that evidence suggested that Haggard is "completely heterosexual" and that his only extramarital sexual contacts have been with former prostitute Mike Jones. Ralph said, "It was the acting-out situations where things took place. It wasn't a constant thing."[64]
He also admits, just in this small clip, that he had long struggled with his attraction to men, and still struggles with those feelings. He says he never came out because he was afraid of judgment by his friends and being fired by his church. Looks like both things happened, so his fears were well-founded.

I found the AP story at Warren Throckmorton's blog - he's a psychology professor with a prominent conservative religious bias. This was his response to the piece:
I hope to find a way to see the documentary without getting HBO. What Mr. Haggard is doing by striving to maintain his marriage vows is an honorable effort. He is giving voice to many who remain same-sex attracted while in heterosexual marriages. There are many marriages like this which fail but others remain intact.
I posted a series of comments trying to suggest that Haggard is likely doing himself and his family more harm by trying to deny who he is. But I was persuaded that I was wasting my time by Throckmorton and his readers - don't want to be a troll.

Here is a sample response from Throckmorton to someone else's comment:

jayhuck -

the message is suppress your true feelings for what society or religion says you should be - the oldest and most debilitating message to give to gay people -

Yes, the message is deny self and follow Christ. All people have natural desires which are very strong which are to be denied. You may not like that teaching but it is a teaching of Christianity. Evan beat me to it but the parallel to males being monogamous is a good one. It may debatable but males seem to be wired to desire multiple partners. Should males do what is natural? Surely, self-denial and suppression are harmful, right?

I'm not sure where to begin in breaking on this down, so let's start with the imposition of social and cultural values over biology and psycho-sexual experience.

Haggard is being more honest lately about his feelings that he ever has - he is a gay man, feeling ashamed of his gayness because his religion and his friends tell him it is wrong. I feel terrible for him, and I never thought I would say that. Here is a passage from one of the stories about the HBO film:

“As cameras follow him on a job interview, golfing, doing his laundry, moving into a house, selling insurance and dining in a restaurant, Haggard is extremely forthcoming.

He rattles on about his same-sex attraction, bitterness toward New Life, revised view of the Bible (he relates more to the stories of strife and sorrow) and difficulty in his new career as an insurance salesman.

Throughout the film, he swings from self-loathing to self-aggrandizement to self-pity, yet only once does he seem to express real emotion. That occurs as he drives down a lonely highway to make stops to sell insurance. Close to tearing up, the 52-year-old former pastor says, ”At this stage of my life, I am a loser.””

Any time the collective strives to repress the personal, the individual involved is going to suffer in multiple ways, as he clearly is now - he thinks he is a loser. He seems depressed, and rightly so. He is living a lie because his religion (or at least his fundamentalist version of it) tells him that loving a member of the same sex will get him tossed into hell, along with murderers, rapists, and all the other horrible human beings.

One wonders: How would Jesus relate to gay men or lesbians? Would he find them to be worthy companions as he did with others who society had rejected in his times? That's my guess. And I also think he would not look kindly on those who judge others in his name.
“The church has said go to hell,” Haggard says in the documentary. “The church chose not to forgive me.”
However, I want to look at the other element that seemed to show up in the comments over there - essentially that just because Haggard is attracted to men does not mean his is gay, or that he needs to act on those feelings.

My response? Good luck with that.

The argument seems to be that he no more has to act on his sexual interests than a married man needs to have sex with every women he is attracted to. In both cases, the argument suggests that men can know what they feel and choose to act otherwise. It further argues that Haggard is not living a lie any more than a man who chooses not to hump the secretary because he is married is living a lie. Both are denying their fundamental nature (which assumes that males by nature want to hump everything that they can get their hands on).

I reject the premise. It is not my nature to want to have sex with every attractive woman I see. It never even occurs to me, even when I have been single for extended periods. I admire attractive bodies, both male and female, but that does not mean I want to have sex with them.

I would argue that men are no longer subject to that biological drive in the same way we once were. But rather, the culture tells men that this is who we are and how we should act if we are truly masculine. And the media pushes this false image of masculinity in films, TV, music and everywhere else.

The men who I have talked to about this admit that they feel pressure to live up to this image, but what they really want is an intimate, monogamous relationship where they feel safe to be themselves. Women often expect men to be certain ways, based on the cultural and social images they see, and so many men don't even feel safe with their partners to be themselves, but feel they have to live up to the images their wives or girlfriends hold of how men are. [I'm lucky to be in a relationship with a compassionate woman who is also a therapist, with a background in gender studies, so she is more aware of these hidden biases.]

I admire Haggard's desire to be a good father to his children by making the best marriage he can with his wife. However, I worry about the message he is giving their children by choosing to deny his true nature because of pressure by others.

If I were counselling him, the first thing I would tell is that a loving God only cares that he be able to love, too; that a loving God would not judge who he loves; that any church that makes those judgments is not doing so in the spirit of God's love.

He knows what they feel when they judge him, because he used to do the same thing to other gay people. Rather than humility for his mistakes, he seems to be broken. I think he feels that he lost God's love, but that never will happen.

I would advise him to leave his wife, but stay in his children's lives on a daily basis. I would advise him to seek counselling for the abuse that he attriubutes his homosexual feelings to. Most likely, a great deal of his self-loathinmg comes from that trauma.

And I would advise him to seek a church that accepts him as he is - all of who he is. A father. A former preacher. An insurance salesman. A homosexual.

But first, Ted needs to accept himself. This is the lesson for all of us.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity

Interesting video on the labels of masculinity that keep boys and men locked into unhealthy definitions of what it means to be a man. [This is a review version of the film (full length).] Here is the nine minute trailer:

Obviously, the media is complicit in all of this. As consumers of this cultural media, we contribute to our own imprisonment. The Media Education Foundation has a great collection of films on this topic,several of which specifically address masculinity.

Here is the statement from the creator of this video:
While the social construction of femininity has been widely examined, the dominant role of masculinity has until recently remained largely invisible. Tough Guise is the first educational video geared toward college and high school students to systematically examine the relationship between pop-cultural imagery and the social construction of masculine identities in the U.S. at the dawn of the 21st century.

In this innovative and wide-ranging analysis, Jackson Katz argues that widespread violence in American society, including the tragic school shootings in Littleton, Colorado, Jonesboro, Arkansas, and elsewhere, needs to be understood as part of an ongoing crisis in masculinity.

This exciting new media literacy tool-- utilizing racially diverse subject matter and examples-- will enlighten and provoke students (both males and females) to evaluate their own participation in the culture of contemporary masculinity.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Are Power and Compassion Mutually Exclusive?

This article seems to follow naturally from yesterday's post. As usual, I have some thoughts about this below the article.

Are power and compassion mutually exclusive?

The fact that many cultures emphasize the concept of "noblesse oblige" (the idea that with great power and prestige come responsibilities) suggests that power may diminish a tendency to help others. Psychologist Gerben A. van Kleef (University of Amsterdam) and his colleagues from University of California, Berkeley, examined how power influences emotional reactions to the suffering of others.

A group of undergraduates completed questionnaires about their personal sense of power, which identified them to the researchers as either being high-power or low-power. The students were then randomly paired up and had to tell their partner about an event which had caused them emotional suffering and pain. Their partners then rated their emotions after hearing the story. In addition, the researchers were interested in seeing if there were physical differences in the way high-power people and low-power people responded to others' suffering; specifically they wanted to test if high-powered individuals would exhibit greater autonomic emotion regulation [or respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) reactivity]. When we are faced with psychological stress, our RSA reactivity increases, resulting in a lower heart rate and a calmed, relaxed feeling. To measure RSA reactivity and heart rates, all of the participants were connected to electrocardiogram (ECG) machines during the experiment.

The results, reported in the December issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reveal that individuals with a higher sense of power experienced less compassion and distress when confronted with another's suffering, compared to low-power individuals. In addition, high-power individuals' RSA reactivity increased (as indicated by lower heart rate) as they listened to the painful stories; that is, high power participants showed more autonomic emotion regulation, which buffered against their partner's distress.

Analysis of the participants' final surveys (where they rated their thoughts about their partners) revealed that high-power individuals reported a weaker desire to get to know and establish a friendship with their partner. In other words, powerful people were not motivated to establish a relationship with distressed individuals. This idea is supported by the fact that the distressed participants reported less of a social connection with high-power partners compared to low-power partners. The authors suggest that powerful people's tendency to show less compassion and distress towards others reinforces their social power.

These results do not just apply to how powerful people react to strangers; the authors note that this study "suggests that high-power individuals may suffer in interpersonal relationships because of their diminished capacity for compassion and empathy. The many benefits enjoyed by people with power may not translate to the interpersonal realm."


For more information about this study, please contact: Gerben A. van Kleef (

For a copy of the article "Power, Distress and Compassion: Turning a Blind Eye to the Suffering of Others" and access to other Psychological Science research findings, please contact Barbara Isanski at 202-293-9300 or

Wow, that would seem to be a pretty depressing study, if taken at face value.

The important question is less about who has power, but where are these people developmentally? And how much empathy are they capable of holding?

The reality is that power and compassion are NOT mutually exclusive, but the degree to which that is true depends on the developmental stage of those who hold the power.

Power, in general, is not confined to one or another developmental stage, although the Red Meme in Spiral Dynamics is often associated with the quest for power in an egocentric way. And this is an important point - the subjects in the study who held power seemed from the description to be more egocentric.

Here again, were the important findings:
The results, reported in the December issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, reveal that individuals with a higher sense of power experienced less compassion and distress when confronted with another's suffering, compared to low-power individuals. In addition, high-power individuals' RSA reactivity increased (as indicated by lower heart rate) as they listened to the painful stories; that is, high power participants showed more autonomic emotion regulation, which buffered against their partner's distress.
Essentially, these subjects -- if we consider the spectrum to be egocentricity at the low end and empathy at the high end -- are lower on the developmental scale.

So really, this issue is not power, it's the developmental line best expressed as egocentricity vs empathy. We really need better research models that can encompass a more integrated understanding of human beings.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Manhood, Power and Respect

Interesting . . . . This focuses on black men (in London), but some of it applies to manhood in general.
A short documentary film contrasting styles of manhood exhibited by Senator Barack Obama and Rapper/Mogul Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent.
I think this whole video is interesting for what it says about the role of women in this part of our culture - and the failure of mature masculinity to create boundaries and structures to reign in egocentricity.

50 Cent represents a (stereotyped) Red Meme egocentric, power drive in the African American community, while Obama is more of a (stereotyped) Orange Meme self-actualizer. Interesting thing is that Obama has more of a connection with 50 Cent than Reverend Wright (Blue Meme, sort of) or Maya Angelou (Green Meme, sort of) might - he can speak a language (of success and respect) that 50 Cent and other young people like him can hear.

If we want to change the "thug" culture of inner city black men, we need equal parts Bill Cosby and Barack Obama to do so.

Adopting a New Male Paradigm Is Both Possible and Necessary - Pip Cornall

Pip Cornell runs the Sustainable Masculinity blog, one of the better blogs dealing with men's issues. In this article he looks at the issue of a "new" masculinity, one founded on peace and compassion.

I have some thoughts below.

Adopting a new male paradigm is both possible and necessary - Pip Cornall

Most of us despair about the wars and violence we have seen in our lifetime and wonder if the goal of world peace is possible. I believe it is possible and outline some ideas for achieving it in this article.

If we examine the violence gripping the world, we see that it is predominantly men who perpetrate the wars, rapes, homicides and domestic violence occurring throughout the world. To end global violence, we need to view the issue as a male problem. When more men have the courage to do that, the solution will follow. Violence will diminish as the old male paradigm (dominator) is replaced by the new paradigm (partnership) model because this paradigm will address the root causes of male violence.

Historically men needed to hunt and protect their tribal group, but what is most needed today are collaboration skills, non-violent methods of conflict resolution and emotional intelligence. Curiously, modern media still glorifies violence and promotes ‘hyper-masculine’ values with such great effectiveness that the old male myth lives on in the schools, streets and sporting clubs of our nations. Given the awesome power of modern weaponry, men must adopt the path of nonviolence, adopt new male values or destroy the planet.

Futurist Gregg Bradden says, “We have taken the old male paradigm about as far as we can without destroying ourselves.” Scientist Carl Sagen calls us “technological adolescents” and highlights the need to “catch up” and mature into humans who can resolve conflicts peacefully and ensure the future of our species.

The violence can be reduced! It is already happening on an unprecedented scale. Inspired by the women’s equity movement, large numbers of men around the world are changing and redefining masculinity. I’ve seen too many men make these significant changes to believe that it can’t be done on a massive scale.

Historically many great teachers have come amongst us to demonstrate what is possible and have taught us that men can embody the (feminine) qualities of kindness, compassion and equality. Men such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Mandela, inspired by the spiritual teachings of Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and others, showed the world the power of nonviolence to correct social ills.
Read the whole post.

I'm going to get all Spiral Dynamics on you here, so hang in there. [I'm using Chris Cowan's web material here, rather than Don Beck's (for no reason other than fairness) - they co-wrote the book and both serve and protect the model as best they can.] Here is a brief summary of the developmental stages:

What people in each world seek out in life . . . (Goals of "Successful" Living)

1 BEIGE (A-N) survival; biogenic needs satisfaction; reproduction; satisfy instinctive urges; genetic memory
2 PURPLE (B-O) placate spirit realm; honor ancestors; protection from harm; family bonds; respect elders; safety for tribe
3 RED (C-P) power/action; asserting self to dominate others and nature; control; sensory pleasure; avoid shame
4 BLUE (D-Q) stability/order; obedience to earn reward later; meaning; purpose; certainty; Truth; the reason to live and die
5 ORANGE (E-R) opportunity/success; competing to achieve; influence; autonomy; mastery of nature; understanding self
6 GREEN (F-S) harmony/love; joining together for mutual growth; awareness; belonging; spirituality and consciousness
7 YELLOW (G-T) independence/self-worth; fitting a sustainable living system; knowing; the big questions; the long view
8 TURQUOISE (H-U) global community without exploitation; understanding of life energies; survival of life on a fragile Earth

OK, now to my argument.

I don't totally disagree with what Cornell is saying here, since a non-violent Green meme stage is likely next for masculinity in our culture. But this should be seen as a necessary stage, not the desired goal.

However, in order for masculinity to really evolve, we need some higher order thinking - people who can express the "feminine" compassion Cornell writes about in his article (which I am not convinced is essentially feminine in the end), and still be able to contain lower stage expressions of unhealthy masculinity, which will generally be violent.

No matter where the leading edge of masculine evolution lies, there will always be those who are lagging far behind and expressing a more primitive and often pathological version of masculinity. Loving these people and treating them (and their cultures) with respect is necessary, but doing so will not contain or control their violence. This is not work for "bleeding heart liberals," like me.

Ralph Altar, in an article he posted at American Thinker last year, referenced Chogyam Trungpa's concept of idiot compassion, and quotes integral philosopher Ken Wilber offering his understanding of Trungpa's view:
"Idiot compassion" thinks it is being kind, but it's really being cruel. If you have an alcoholic friend and you know that one more drink might kill him, and yet he begs you for a drink, does real compassion say that you should give it to him? After all, to be kind you should give him what he wants, right? Giving him the drink would therefore show compassion, yes? No. Absolutely not.

"Real compassion includes wisdom and so it makes judgments of care and concern; it says some things are good, and some things are bad, and I will choose to act only on those things that are informed by wisdom and care."
Altar then makes the following observation:
The biographies of the Buddha reveal that in one of his early incarnations, he met a murderer of 1000's of men. Acting correctly and with compassion for all sentient beings, the Buddha's incarnation killed the murderer to prevent additional suffering. That is true compassion!
This is exactly where masculinity is going to have to exercise true compassion rather than the idiot compassion of the Green Meme. An integral masculinity has to be able to act with force when it is needed for the greater good.

Total and complete non-violence, which is an admirable trait and goal, is a form of idiot compassion in the world in which we now live. Yellow Stage (integral) masculinity will understand that the world is chaotic and that we need to take in the big picture, as in the story of the Buddha killing the murderer to prevent more suffering. In order to protect the highest number of lives, we may have to use violence to suppress those who would kill others

It's going to be a long time before anyone reaches a Turquoise Stage masculinity that is not just a state experience, but is actually a stage of growth. But when that happens, we can begin to think about a more fully integral model of masculinity, one that employs true compassion in the most peaceful way possible. Hopefully, by then, the cultural center of gravity (life conditions and human interiority) will be sufficient to support a more global and non-exploitive vision.

But that time is not now. For now, we need to be able to harness the righteous anger of Red Stage power to protect the weakest from being over-run by unhealthy versions of Red Stage aggression - and we may also need to employ Blue Stage law and order to contain and disarm those who threaten others.

A truly integral and mature masculinity understands when and how to use power in the most compassionate ways, even when to do requires violence.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Canadian Bear Program - Phase 1

[I posted this over at IOC, too, but I thought I'd post it here for those interested in some power lifter style weight training.]

The Canadian Bear Program - Phase 1

The The Canadian Bear Program is a power lifting program designed by Christian Thibaudeau that incorporates the density training of Charles Staley's EDT model with the power lifting focus on the "big three" lifts (squat, bench, deadlift).

Thibs is a former power lifter who now looks like a bodybuilder:

He knows his stuff when it comes to power lifting, and he also knows how to make that style of training work for growth and leanness. The program that he posted combines focused training on specific lifts with the density element that makes EDT so useful and productive.

The method is simple: for each time block, perform as many sets of the suggested number of reps that you can. Rest as little or as much as you want, the choice is yours. Next time that lift comes up, try to do more sets.

What I am posting here is phase one, the accumulation phase - the 12-week whole program is posted at T-Nation, which is linked to above. Since he didn't offer suggested percentages of max, or rest days, I'm adding my own suggestions based on having done the firs two days.
The Canadian Bear Program

Phase 1: Accumulation (4 weeks)
Target rep range: 6 reps/set, using a weight that you can lift for ten prefect reps.

Day 1: Squat Day
Warm-up: Box jumps, vertical jumps, jumps with a knee tuck, etc. (10 minutes)
Movement 1: Back squat (20 minutes)
Movement 2: Half squat from the bottom position (20 minutes)
Movement 3: Leg press (15 minutes)
Movement 4: Leg extension (10 minutes)

Day 2: Bench Day
Warm-up: Plyo push-ups, medicine ball throws, etc. (10 minutes)
Movement 1: Bench press (20 minutes)
Movement 2: Close-grip bench press (20 minutes)
Movement 3: Lat pull-down (15 minutes)
Movement 4: Dumbbell shoulder press (10 minutes)

Day 3: Deadlift Day
Warm-up: Box jumps, vertical jumps, jumps with a knee tuck, etc. (10 minutes)
Movement 1: Deadlift (20 minutes)
Movement 2: Goodmorning (20 minutes)
Movement 3: Seated rows (15 minutes)
Movement 4: Glute-ham raise (10 minutes)

Day 4: Rest Day

Day 5: Overall Day
Warm-up: Box jumps, vertical jumps, jumps with a knee tuck, etc. (10 minutes)
Movement 1: Squat (20 minutes)
Movement 2: Bench press (20 minutes)
Movement 3: Deadlift (20 minutes)

Days 6 & 7: Rest, or high rep active recovery training.
Yes, that IS a hell of a lot of volume. And yes, there are NO abs and arms - he suggests you can add ten minutes of those (if you want) at the end of any given day. I don't think anyone needs to add more arm work to this. Today was "chest" day for me, and between the close grip bench and doing V-grip lat pulls, my arms got plenty of work. Squat and deadlift days work the core pretty hard, so I only will do abs on bench day and on overall day.

That's it - have fun. I'll try to post some numbers from time to time, and then the routine for phase 2 when I get there.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The New Man Episode 42: Jun Po Dennis Kelly: From Heroic Doses of LSD to the Spiritual Hero's Journey

This is an interesting episode of The New Man, if only because Jun Po Dennis Kelly advocates drug use (LSD) in a way no other serious Zen teacher (to my knowledge) does. Check it out.

Personal admission - LSD and psilocybin opened my own doors of perception. I may never have become a "seeker" of growth and meaning had I not discovered those drugs and been exposed to "states" of being that I wanted to transform into qualities in my daily life (through practice).

Episode 42: Jun Po Dennis Kelly: From Heroic Doses of LSD to the Spiritual Hero's Journey

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From heroic doses of LSD to the spiritual hero's journey

How can a heroic dose of LSD lead to a dedication to spiritual practice. We'll according to Jun Po Dennis Kelly, that is the only way to go in order to find true freedom with true integrity.

Jun Po has spent his life committed to the truth, the deepest truth, and has the scars to prove it. In his psychedelic experimentation, he took extremely high dosages, much more intense than your average day-tripper. Living on the fringes of the law landed him on a "government sponsored vacation," in federal penitentiary. Yoga and Zen mastery helped him to focus his passion constructively. Recently, Stage 4 throat cancer took his body to the very edge of survival and back.

Jun Po's life on the edge has given him a serious gift for sharing the truth.

Listen as Jun Po Dennis Kelly shares his uncompromising journey to find out what lies beneath all the bullshit.