2.4 Running Around But Not Getting Anywhere

In the decade between the mid-sixties and the mid-seventies I was out in the world enjoying a sense of freedom.

This was a great period for me despite all the negative aspects. It would be a mistake to infer, from the negativity that you have read so far, that I hated life, far from it. I loved what I did and I loved learning what there was out there for me.

There were jobs out there, there were people to meet, there were girls to have fun with, and many other things that I had not yet discovered. I have always seen myself as a seeker, but I was not always a spiritual seeker. I was a seeker after life, no matter how much I found life difficult to deal with.

This turned out to be a key aspect of my developing personality. I pushed myself against the boundaries I saw in order to find where the next set were. I never succumbed to being shy or fearful, I wanted what was out there. A few years ago I mapped out a direction a man might take take to get control over his life. This was intended to take a man from mid-life crisis to mis-life mastery. Looking back I can see how the steps I developed came from my experience of seeking a better way forward, starting with these early years.

The indicators of a transition becoming a crisis related to job, relationship, drinking, toys and life. They related to how you saw yourself, against other people, and what you did to ease the pain. Depression and dissatisfaction were large elements, as well as drinking and spending money. The truth about these only came to me later because in this period I was at the beginning enjoying it all.

I was still aiming for the results that only came, I discovered, from reclaiming my power as a man. The results brought presence, confidence, truth, success, and power. The key, however, is that all these are developed as internal qualities not external indicators. There is a difference between knowing what success is for you as opposed to measuring your success again other people. There is a difference between having inner certainty about yourself and controlling other people.

To get to these results involved, in my view, five steps.

Preparation to be a Man

  • Be aware and accept yourself as a man.
  • Let go of family and cultural conditioning.
  • Understand your attitudes to life and people.

Ownership of Masculine Emotional Power

  • Own your core essence and masculinity.
  • Experience and live in your male energy.
  • Find your power strength and passion.

Wildness in Transformational Moments

  • Discover your purpose, live your passion.
  • Influence, inspire and lead with compassion.
  • Live authentically with freedom and love.

Energy in Overcoming Life’s Restrictions

  • Understand and enjoy sex and intimacy.
  • Let go of anger and shame.
  • Embrace emotional and energetic connections.

Release the Fully Empowered man

  • Live in the present.
  • Anticipate the future.
  • Live beyond expectations.

This is an amazing list of what you can do to fully embrace and love yourself. I see how I was trying to achieve this without having any idea of what I was trying to do. Wildness and energy were critical to me, even when I found them most difficult. Preparation and release were the keys, if only I had known that.

What was I doing to break free, so comprehensively, from my background? Where did I see my future lying. I have already looked at my drive to be creative and my liberal use of drink and drugs. Beyond that was a drive to find a place in the world. I threw myself into trade unions and associations with a desire to be seen as relevant. This backed up my need to solidify my creativity in relevant and significant work. At this point it was all in the theatre.

I moved rapidly from job to job around the country. I wanted to get on and become more influential and I was not willing to wait for promotion within a theatre. Sometimes just a few months was enough for me to get itchy feet again. I also wanted to shift what I did and I was not willing to let people pigeon-hole me. To shift into stage management from general technical work required a move. To shift from stage management to lighting required a major move. These I was willing to make.

I was continually meeting new people, making more connections and expanding what I could do. New jobs held no fear for me, I felt I could do anything. I made mistakes, and learned from them, but I grew and developed and became more than competent at most things.

Several times I ended up living and working in London; this was where the heart of British theatre was. Here was where I could make a name for myself, here was life that was big. I spent a few months working at a strip club in Soho — that was an experience to remember. It confused me with regard to sex and girls but it gave me a breathing space in my quest for world domination. It took me into the freelance world where being on the edge was a necessary requirement.

Spending six hours backstage with naked girls for six days a week was enough to confuse anyone. I was unsure of myself sexually as I had had little experience. I focused more on work and let relationships go, at this stage. I was uninterested in settling down and leaving this exciting world behind. That was soon to change, but I was not ready for that yet.

This was an important stage in my life, one that set up so much of the rest of it. It was coming to an end, though, as you will see next week. When I realised it was mostly about escaping, I started to seek another way.

I brushed with spiritual seeking towards the end when I took up yoga as a regular practice. This stayed with me to this day, although I did not remain committed to it throughout my life. There was an interesting period when I became involved with Evangelical Christianity (this was much later on) when I was persuaded that it was the devil’s work. I burnt all my yoga books and buddha statues, much to my eventual regret. I touched into yoga partly because I wanted to be fitter, but also because I felt that my life lay there. I had no idea how or in what form, but it was there. I felt the need to go inside myself and find some peace. I felt that my frenetic activity was still a way of escaping.

I was escaping what I feared, a return to the control and domination of my youth. In there, though, was my heart. Until I could discover how it could serve me, and the world at large, I did not want to go there. I did not know it, but until I was willing to let go and stop trying to create my life and purpose, I would continue to have to escape. In my effort I was getting further away from the true me, the heartfelt me. But that was to come.

Next week I will look at my return to normality and domesticity, or so it seemed at the time.

Thank you for following this story and remember to check out the whole of the book, as it is so far, by clicking the link below.

— Photo Credit: Flickr/Phillip Pessar