– Words inscribed at the Temple of Apollo
And the Truth Shall Set You Free
(But first it will make you angry)
Hey brother, before you read on, I invite you to go at your own risk because what you will see here will either stir some deep sadness, uncover fear, or trigger anger. Any combination will do and it means you’re alive and aware.
If not, you will probably not feel anything from this brief article. If you feel nothing, please move on to the next article and look for the quick solution of change—which by the way does not exist. I’m going to be totally real and raw with you and here is the disclaimer I give to all my coaching clients, men (and women). Please don’t believe me. I invite you however to keep an open mind and suspend belief. Feel what resonates with you and observe where in your body you feel it. I am not here to trigger you as much as I am here to ignite that spark, or better yet that flame; that primal fire which lives eternally in the soul of all men. That fire in the belly is only a spark of the fire in the soul. So here are some questions to begin this exploration, and then let’s look briefly at the present situation.
Are you willing to be sponged out, erased, cancelled? Are you willing to be made nothing? Dipped into oblivion? If not, you will never really change.
– D.H. Lawrence
Self-Inquiry Opens the Way to the Hero’s Journey
What is your deepest desire in your present life circumstances? What do you want? Really want? Do you know what your deepest fear is or what calls forth your greatest strength and courage? Who are you my brother? Beyond the roles you play out and the different masks you wear? (As we all do.) Where are you going? And most importantly why do you do what you do? Do you consciously have a life mission and bring that mission through service in today’s world? I can go on and these questions of self-inquiry only begin to turn a man within. Maybe you can answer these questions and maybe no one ever really asked them directly to you before.
The world is asking these questions of us men every day. In over 40 years of coaching the art and science of healing and transformation it is clear to me that a man can go through an entire life and never turn within. Here are some of the consequences from not knowing ourselves as whole men:
✪ 1 man in 5 dies before the age of 65
✪ 2 men in 5 die before the age of 75
✪ The average man dies 3.7 years earlier than a woman
✪ 3 out of 4 suicides are committed by men
✪ Suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 45 in the UK (CALM)
✪ There is a rapid increase in depression, anxiety, obesity, chronic heart disease, impotence, and other chronic physical and mental health issues in men in today’s industrialized world
As stated in my previous article in the April / May Issue regarding my presentation of the Illness-Wellness Continuum, this is a result of life’s trajectory moving us in a limiting way. We’re not getting all the information we need to live a full, vital and mission-driven life. Men in our culture are degenerating physically and mentally and dying prematurely.
If you think I am bending the statistics then look around you brother and how many men do you know who are in top physical condition for their age? How many men have bullet-proof mind sets which are ignited by mission and service? How many younger men do you know who are not only lost in life’s transitions but are confused in one or all the categorical questions I asked above? And how many men beyond middle age still carry the fire and vitality to mentor the younger generation. Who is awake to the global slow and steady sedation of the heart and soul of modern day men?
So, what’s the problem? Let’s look at the state of affairs into which our culture is heading. We need a serious “direction correction” and it’s only going to come from the inside-out.
It begins with these three steps.
1. Hear a greater calling; be open-minded.
2. Answer the call of that Voice within, pay attention.
3. Do the work, not go to work but take the internal dive to look within.
Brothers, there is a revolution going on and a man can only enter the battle once he commits to wake up and go deeper within.
Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.
This was the recruiting ad placed by Ernest Shackleton for his 1914 expedition to Antarctica. Close to 5,000 applied for the 27-man team.
At the core of every young man is the burning desire for adventure and separation from the familiar. A young man in today’s culture, and even an older man needs to fulfill this natural hunger for individuation and personal growth, self-discovery—the testing of a man’s inner grit. We have almost completely lost the rituals and knowledge base that initiates young men into these initial levels of power and knowing. Initiation is a lost art and science that has become absent from modern day civilization since the beginning of the industrial age—even further back than that. Without true male initiation, a young man begins to lose touch with his soul early on.
The distractions of the domesticated world (a term used in the Toltec tradition and introduced in Don Miguel’s book, The Four Agreements) are far too seductive for most men to resist. “I want that new car more than the tempering and development of soul and self.” Parents alone cannot provide this kind of initiatory work. It must come from the tribe and community. Your life is your hero’s journey. Will you do the work my brother? The world needs the return of the sacred and whole masculine. It starts with me and you and us. Welcome to this brotherhood.
Dr. Len Izzo has been coaching men and women through the cycles of their personal Hero’s Journey for 40 years. This work is never done. There is always another level to embrace. He works closely with these two global communities of brotherhood. He is willing to talk to any man about anything. He can be reached at 516 527-1383. lennyizzo.com.