I'm a full time music student at the moment, and I'm loving learning how to write songs, perform in front of people and express myself through music. Music is great because it deals with both the analytical and emotional side of our brain. [caption id="attachment_2994" align="alignright" width="200"] Becoming a rock star isn't all riffs and distortion. There's conflict with other musicians to navigate too.[/caption] However, the irrational nature of emotions means that they don't always arise just when we want them to. Most of us are still carrying unhealed emotional baggage from our past which can get triggered in what might otherwise seem fairly innocuous situations. This can make dealing with unexpected upsets challenging both in ourselves and in other people. In yesterday's guitar class, I got triggered by my teacher's response to what I though was a fairly intelligent question about whether the best way to improvise over a chord sequence in a major key would be by using the associated relative minor scale. My engineering brain thought that this would lead to less potential dissonance; but for any other budding musicians out there the answer turns out to be No: you use the minor pentatonic scale of the same key. (more…)
I developed an intense fear of conflict when I was young, and it has hung around with me for a long time. The fear evolved as a series of things led to each other: I used to find the fights between my parents very frightening as a kid, and never experienced any of their conflicts actually being resolved. Conflict was scary, and never seemed to have a positive outcome. My parent's anger during conflict always felt out of control and destructive to me, so I decided that anger was a bad emotion to be suppressed at all costs. Plus my religion taught me to “turn the other cheek” rather than to stand up for myself when I was being treated in ways that I didn't like. As an awkward, sensitive boy I was bullied mercilessly at my sport-oriented all-boys high school. [caption id="attachment_2767" align="alignright" width="300"] When we are afraid of conflict, other people can treat us like this.[/caption] So the message I internalised was that conflict was scary and often led to me getting hurt. I developed an intense fear of conflict: Any time I was under threat or being criticised, I would collapse into sadness or be overwhelmed with fear. I didn't know how to utilise my anger to stand up for myself in times of conflict, nor had I been taught the communication skills to resolve conflict in a win/win manner that left me feeling empowered. Once we've internalised negative experiences of conflict in our nervous systems, our default programming around conflict can be to run away from it, and it can be a challenge to reprogram our brain and nervous system to step up in the face of conflict, instead of fleeing from it. Standing up for ourselves in the face of conflict is how we overcome the fear of it. (more…)
I get my fair share of hate mail on the Internet, which I find unpleasant but not entirely surprising. Many people aren't good at expressing their anger cleanly, and some of them choose to channel it into hate mail directed at me. Being on the receiving end of somebody else's hostility can be stressful, so it's important to be assertive with these people to stop their stress from entering our emotional boundary. [caption id="attachment_2716" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Use assertiveness to stop other people's anger entering your emotional boundary.[/caption] He's an example from a few weeks ago: I got an email from a female ex-friend who I initially met through a blog I run, which began: (more…)
One of my mentors once described families like the one I grew up in as crazy-making. I thought, “Wow, that’s a fantastic description.” Take a perfectly normal infant child, bring them up in a crazy-making family and you’ve pretty much got a recipe for insanity. But how do you know if you’re living in a crazy-making family? Well, I’m glad you asked. So here’s the top 10 signs that your family is crazy-making: http://youtu.be/W8H98yKcymo (more…)
One of the most powerful things I've done in the last 12 months to continue building my own confidence is to join a men's group. Our fortnightly gatherings allow me to connect more deeply to other men and in doing so, connect more deeply to my own masculine power. My experience of other males at my all-boys high school wasn't a particularly positive basis for me to build trust in men. So my men's group is a valuable opportunity to learn trust and mutual respect amongst men who are prepared to be vulnerable and real about what is going on in their lives.
With this in mind I was keen to interview Brett Churnin from mensgroup.info, who is at the centre of a loose collective of men's groups all founded with the intention of growing more confident, capable, loving, powerful and honest men.
Brett first become involved in a men's group after he and another desperately single male friend discovered David Deida's book The Way of The Superior Man while looking for more powerful ways to relate to women. They came to realise that being a man was very different to what they had thought, and started to explore the notion of masculinity and how to develop themselves as men.… Continue reading…