The Man Code: What Is and What Could Be

Abstractions and programs about gender always miss the mark, because gender, genuine and full of blood, can never be separated in real life from individuality.

~ Thomas Moore

Most boys in our culture, somewhere around three to seven years old, have imposed upon them something called the “Boy Code.” In its shortest form, it reads as follows: “Don’t be a girl.” Later in life, this evolves into the “Man Code” (also called Male Code or Male Agenda or Guy Code), essentially “Don’t be a woman.” There’s a bit more to it, which I’ll get into, but you get the idea. Both codes involve a so-called “negative achievement,” in each case a rejection and renunciation (as well as devaluing) of what our dominant culture deems as feminine.

Below, after some review of the situation and the damage that’s being done, I propose a new, improved Man Code. This new code does no damage, actually leads to psychological health, and does not require boys and men (or anyone else for that matter) to go through life constantly trying to prove a negative (which is impossible).

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The Heartbreak of Cognitive Dissonance: Is this terrible condition affecting someone you love?

When I learned about the gray existing between the black and white of absolute terms, I began to experience more peace. The more I expanded my gray areas (more than 50 shades), the more peace I experienced in my life.
~ David W. Earle

Do you know someone who is “black and white” on every issue? Do they refuse to be even the slightest bit flexible on an issue, even when you throw irrefutable proof of their errors right in their face? Do they continue to throw totally crazy or irrelevant arguments back at you? That someone might be suffering from (dramatic music) cognitive dissonance. Continue reading

U-Turn Permitted: The Law of Reversed Effort

There is a Law of Reversed Effort. The harder we try with the conscious will to do something, the less we shall succeed. Proficiency and the results of proficiency come only to those who have learned the paradoxical art of doing and not doing, or combining relaxation with activity, of letting go as a person in order that the immanent and transcendent Unknown Quantity may take hold. We cannot make ourselves understand; the most we can do is to foster a state of mind, in which understanding may come to us.

 ~ Aldous Huxley

This rather long quote either seems obvious or doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, depending on what “state of mind” you’re in. If it’s the latter, then bear with me, for we are about to take a wild ride together. Continue reading

Power vs. Force: The Nuclear Option for Healing … well … Just About Anything

Simple kindness to one’s self and all that lives is the most powerful transformational force of all.         ~ David Hawkins

The term “nuclear option” refers, in modern lingo, to the most drastic or extreme response possible to a particular situation. When you’ve suffered a lifetime (or even a couple days) of depression or anxiety or relationship issues, you might feel ready to consider something like this, if you only knew how. Well, I invite you to consider that maybe we do know how. I propose that this option involves knowing the difference between what psychiatrist (but don’t hold that against him) David Hawkins* calls “power” as opposed to “force.” While these words seem synonymous, the way Hawkins uses them makes all the difference and, if you’re like me, can save your life. Are you ready for the launch codes to the nuclear option? Continue reading

Things That Have Worked For Me (Part One)

I think the most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the universe a friendly place?’ This is the first and most basic question all people must answer for themselves.                ~ Albert Einstein

I’ve regaled you in a past article with a list of things that haven’t cured me yet on my path toward better mental health and higher consciousness. Now, it seems appropriate to describe what has actually helped me. Since this includes several things, this will no doubt be a multi-part series of articles.

In a sense, all the things I’ve done have helped push me along the path. If nothing else, I’ve learned what doesn’t work for me, so I could let these things go and not bother with them anymore. (OK, I’m trying to make lemonade out of lemons.) In any case, the first thing I’d like to present has to do with the question Dr. Einstein posed, “Is the universe a friendly place?” Continue reading

A Laundry List of Things I’ve Tried

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.      ~ Thomas Edison

This represents a laundry list of most of the things (as my memory serves) that one person (me) has tried on the path toward increased mental health and higher consciousness. Some of these seemed to help for a while and some have had potentially permanent effects. It’s not clear that any of them “cured” me, whatever that means. It’s hard to say that that will ever happen. However, in retrospect, I’m grateful they didn’t as I would probably not be as far along the “path” as I am now without the experiences or suffering that motivated me to “try just one more time.” Continue reading

Listening to Parts: A Path to Healing and to a Higher Self

“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” ~ Leonard Cohen

In a previous article, I proposed that we all have “parts,” as in “There’s a part of me that really doesn’t want to believe that we all have parts.” For purposes of this article, I will assume that you either believe me or you’re willing to go along for the ride for a while. Either way, I hope that you’ll find the ride worthwhile. I know that I have.

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Do We All Have Multiple Personalities?

“There’s a part of me that knows I should do this. But there’s another part of me that really doesn’t want to.”

How many times have you said this to yourself? Does talking to yourself about “parts” like this mean you qualify for a diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder (previously called Multiple Personality Disorder)? Probably not. However, I have had the honor of working with people who have this diagnosis. I call it an “honor” because my sense is that someone who suffers from this does not let on about it to just anyone. In any case, in working with these people, it came to me one day that everyone (including me and including you) has something in common with them.

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Welcome to Your Life Journey!

The good life is a process. It is a direction, not a destination.                                                ~ Carl Rogers

NOTE: The following comes from the text of my web site:

With all that’s going on for you right now, it seems hard to imagine that better times lie ahead. Actually, you have taken the first step toward better times by searching out someone like me. Whatever caused you to do this search represents a call to action, or “call to adventure,” on what many describe as a hero’s Journey.* You find this Journey theme throughout stories in history, folklore, mythology, religious ritual, movies, and theories of psychological development all around the world. Believe it or not, according to those stories, your life is unfolding according to plan. That’s the good news. And, there is no bad news!

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The Evolution of a Diagnosis: PTSD, Part Deux

Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun;                                                               not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul.                                                                      ~ Dave Pelzer

Note: This is the second part of a series on the evolution of the diagnosis called Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. While it’s not necessary to have read the first part, it may be helpful in giving you some context and an understanding of the terms used here.

One of the significant changes in the DSM-5®’s criteria to meet the diagnosis of PTSD has to do with the age of the person in question. Specifically, the authors have: (a) singled out children of age six or younger and (b) changed the criteria (the set of relevant symptoms) for those children ever so slightly. Such children don’t need to have quite as many symptoms as people older than six. This seems mildly interesting to me in a positive way. But my attention really gets drawn to the fact that the authors single out criteria for younger children at all. Let’s call this “the good news.”

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