It’s Monday, again.
I slept for 7 1/2 hours. I woke feeling very rested. But, my week’s already filled with a hundred inane tasks of paper pushing, signatures and mental demands . . .
It feels like everyone and everything is darting into my office and blowing up my phone to tear the flesh from my bones . . . the water at my feet is turning red as I stagger through the swamp.
Surely I cannot be expected to rise above this mire unaided. Surely there is some chemical nudge that might spur me on . . .
. . . some means by which I can extract myself from this bog of mewling, whimpering need and task that rains upon me.
And, yet, it is not the drug of usual choice that I now crave. It is not the drug you might expect.
It’s not marijuana or alcohol. It’s not heroin, coke, mushrooms, or meth. It’s not Adderall. And, it isn’t even caffeine.
It’s not meditation, or gratitude, either, though these do help.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. But, my job involves immense stress, that builds daily and nothing I’ve tried in the past provided adequate release.
Like most men, deep down inside, instinctually something was missing, something nagging, smothering, tethering that has been unfulfilled for years. It is the cause of “the male malaise” I see everyday in the eyes of my patients, and when I looked in the mirror.
This drug requires no prescription, no clandestine, back-alley purchase.
There’s no mind-shredding addiction, no body-ravaging side-effects. There’s no needle to insert, no tourniquet to tighten. For it is the purest, cleanest high of all.
It’s workings are alchemical, ancient, and primeval. It is, of course, raw physical action, used to fill the instinctual need to protect, defend and conquer.
For me, nothing else compares. No narcotic, no stimulant can match the bliss of my body in motion . . . of choice welded to physical force for good. Learning to control and using the raw power inside of my soul for protection, provision and defense – literally testing my metal against other men, a brotherhood of like minds. It becomes art. It becomes creation. It is marshal. It is the food of the warrior.
It is the Bushido of the samurai, the lost art of chivalry of the European knights and the Shaolin code of behavior. The man cannot successfully provide peace, unless he has full control of the raw & powerful chaos inside of him.
No one will ever openly admit to this, but when men evaluate each other as men, they subconsciously look for the virtues necessary to help keep and defend the perimeter. Men respond to and admire the qualities that would make men useful and dependable in an emergency. Men have always had a role apart. Whether they admit it or not, they still, to this very day, judge one another according to the demands of that role as a guardian in a tribe struggling for survival against encroaching doom. Everything that is specifically about being a man – not merely a person – has to do with that role. This is why brotherhood within the warriors is essential.
For years, I never understood the deep seeded yearning. Nothing I did seemed to satisfy that void – not prayer, scripture study, not meditation, not sports, not exercise, not food, not even sex. Separately, they never filled the void.
Once I realized what was missing, everything I do now compliments this action. It now gives purpose to all that I do. I makes me a better husband, a better father, a better doctor, and a better citizen.
It allows me to think like a warrior:
- FOCUS only on the things I have control over:
- Focus on my effort
- Focus on my attitude
- I LOVE what I do and I can attack each day with joy and enthusiasm.
- I DREAM big and I ignore the naysayers
- I am relentless and I will NEVER give up on my dreams
- I chose FAITH over fear.
Men cannot be men — much less good or heroic men — unless their actions have meaningful consequences to people they truly care about. Strength requires an opposing force, courage requires risk, mastery requires hard work, honor requires accountability to other men. And, these actions require frequent testing and exercise. This is the male right of passage.
Without these things, we are little more than boys playing at being men, and there is no weekend retreat or mantra or half-assed rite of passage that can change that. Any rite of passage of a culture must reflect a real change in status and responsibility for it to be anything more than theater. No re-imagined manhood of convenience can hold its head high so long as the earth remains the tomb of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers.
This is who I am.
Tomorrow is sword practice with the group. I look forward to tomorrow and today will be a great day.