Non-Pirate Wilderman On The Move!

I am on the move …  True,  countless times I have sat in me ship on a calm sea,  no wind to push the sails.  But, I am still, indeed, on the move.  Mornings have emerged from merciless and endless, nights; I have had no desire to step out of my night, into my light.  Such a struggle, a mistresses of depression?  

(Bombardment of Algiers by Lord Exmouth in August 1816, Thomas Luny /http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piracy)

An intimate preoccupation with sleep? It is a false intimacy.    On such mornings I am reluctant to look up, fearful that I may see the Jolly Roger flying from the topmast.  As of yet, no such flag has flown.  Which leads me to a decent question: what kind of a flag am I flying, up above the ship?

(Capture of the Pirate Blackbeard, 1718 depicting the battle between Blackbeard and Lt. Maynard in Ocracoke Bay.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Capture-of-Blackbeard.jpg)

When I am sailing across the Seven Seas (which I’ve never done before, but is sounds good), seafaring men and women always take note of what flag I am flying.  

And I hope that they see that I am a good man, not afraid to fight for what is good, what is noble, what is honorable.  I hope they see that I am not a pirate; for I am a non-pirate.  If you were to hang out with pirates like Blackbeard, Thomas Tew, Henry Every, William Kidd …   you might hear such perspectives as:

  • I’m a pirate. I’m my own captain.
  • A friend can betray you, but an enemy will always stay the same.
  • Land was created to provide a place for boats to visit.
  • If ye can’t trust a pirate, ye damn well can’t trust a merchant either.
  • A pirate is for life, not just for Christmas.
  • Take what you can, give nothing back.

I am like a pirate in that I am a swashbuckling soul.  Adventure, which is at the core of “swashbuckling”, is profound: because adventure depends on what the adventure is about, and how the adventure is carried out.   Here are some contrasts, for me, when it comes to what a pirate is about, and what I am about:

  • A pirate, his own captain? That doesn’t work in a healthy marriage;
  • A “friend can betray you … an enemy will always stay the same”? I want to be a man who changes for the better … not stays the same; and friends? Yes, they will let you down; but you will let them down, as well;
  • “If ye can’t trust a pirate, ye damn well can’t trust a merchant either”?  Ahhh, the power of rationalization;
  • “A pirate is for life, not just for Christmas”?  It would get old living a life of violence, selfishness, greed, lying, thievery, doing the same thing over and over and over … always wondering who is going to betray you;
  • “Take what you can, give nothing back”? Bummer.  I guess that rules out being a good husband, a good father, and a good friend.

Yep.  Non-pirate.  That is the life for me!

Fears of Wildermen

Some men fear …

Not being known;

Being known;

Thus, some men desire to be known and …

at the same time … fear being known.

Men fear being ridiculed.

Men fear condescension.

Men fear isolation and … at the same time … desire isolation.

Men fear pain.

Men fear intimacy.

Men fear loss, and defeat; men fear being shamed; men fear being bullied; men fear being backed in a corner. Image below, from the movie “Braveheart” http://www.evanrichards.com.

Braveheart447

Men are called to deal with fear, with honor, with the right timing, the right strategy.
Image right, from the movie “Argo”, http://www.geckoandfly.com.  Men fear being betrayed.  Men fear their anger.  Men fear living … not dying. Men fear failure.  Men, at the same time do not fear failure.  Men fear insignificance. 

“Courage is not living without fear.  Courage is being scared to death and doing the right thing anyway.”  (Movie, “Argo”)

Haunts from Antarctic Wilder Man

CLOSURE.  I need some closure!

For years I have carried a distinct heaviness from a British Antarctic explorer by the name of Robert Falcon Scott.  He led an expedition to the South Pole.  They spent the winter of 1911 on Cape Evans, part of Ross Island, in a structure they built known as “Scott’s Hut”.  From here, Captain Scott selected four men to continue on for the South Pole.  Scott intended to get there before anyone else.  There was a Norwegian, Roald Amundsen, taking an Antarctic expedition for the South Pole at the same time.  Thus, a race.  Robert Scott reached the South Pole (01/17/1912) and was unfathomably despaired to see a tent, left by Roald Amundsen.  Inside the tent a note addressed to Scott explained that Amundsen’s team had arrived on December 14th, five weeks before Scott’s five-man team reached the Pole.  Amundsen and his team made it back to Norway.  Scott and his five man team died on the Ice.

So, where do I come in?  I worked in an Antarctica field camp (there are quite a few of us Antarcticans) for five months, a breakfast cook.  One evening, I was told to grab my ECW gear (Extreme Cold Weather) and climb into a Hagglund (below, http://www.milmac.se/index.php?page=hagglunds-bv206-personell-carrier&hl=usa).

Hagglunds BV206 Personell CarrierWe were going to Scott’s Hut.  The place is remarkably preserved, due to cold temperatures / low humidity.  I stood by the long dining table, next to the chair where Scott sat at the head of the table.  I feel like I know this guy; impossible … as he died before I was born.  His story is haunting; his pictures are haunting.  Maybe its time for me to quit thinking about Scott and Amundsen.  Maybe not.  His mission was a tragedy, not very positive.  Here’s the rub: Scott’s story is a prolific example of courage / desire to take on dangerous adventures. Things get crazy, sometimes, in a harsh environment.  Scott’s diaries show that he went after this dream.

I think of Antarctica as a cold, merciless, jealous, mistress that refuses to let some men leave; such as the five men on Scott’s polar team, pictured below: (http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/18/jan-18-1912-robert-falcon-scott-discovers-tent-of-explorer-who-beat-him-to-south-pole/?_r=0)

http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/18/jan-18-1912-robert-falcon-scott-discovers-tent-of-explorer-who-beat-him-to-south-pole/?_r=0
Henry Bowers pulled the string for the camera. Robert F. Scott’s expedition team at the South Pole, Jan. 17, 1912. Left to right: Lawrence Oates, Henry Bowers, Scott, Edward Wilson, Edgar Evans.
scott-hut_dinner_spri
http://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/05/captain-robert-scotts-hut-in-antarctica.html

 Here is an image of his last diary entry.  The lines read:

“We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far. It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more.

R. Scott

Last entry

For God’s sake look after our people.”

Winning Battles, Men

Don’t worry.  You are tougher than hell.  There is a substance within you that makes the demons tremble.  True, they mess with you.  They mess with me, too.  That is one reason conflict happens.  If the battle gets bloody, that’s okay.  You will listen to your heart, and the wisdom that belongs to you.  You may find yourself in a battlefield, no one in sight.  The ground’s ripped up, ugliness in the trenches.  You will wonder, “Where are the other guys?”  You may not see them.

(Image below: ecogentleman.com)

ecogentleman.com

They are out there, somewhere.  Regardless of where they are, you know where YOU are.  And you are a warrior.  What else are you going to do?  You press on!  You own up to your pain, you’re wounds, your fatigue.  You consider that you are afraid.  You feel it in your stomach, and your mind is racing.  And you consider your courage.  Its there, in your heart and soul.  If you come across some enemies, you might be out-numbered.  But, you are still you: a force to be reckoned with.  Better men than you and I have died in battle.  It is not a dishonorable thing to die with courage and nobility and honor, knowing that you went down fighting.  A smaller warrior said to his larger adversary, “You very well may get the best of me.  But by the time it is over, you will know that you have been hit.”  Beware of the wrath of a patient man, when his anger manifests in an honorable way.  You will see strength, then.  And you might want to stand back.  

Men of 2014: Hold On To Your Hat!

I am hoping for a better year:

NO BRAINER!

Of course I am hoping for a better year; and, of course … you are hoping for a better year, right?  Tell me I’m right.  Tell me you are hoping for a better year.  That’s what we do, right?  We hope.  ‘Cannot stop hoping.  If we don’t hope, we die … mainly inside.  If we quit hoping, it may be obvious on the outside; but death is really happening on the inside, even though it is a gradual process.

And …

of course we are hoping for a better year.  If it is obvious, then WHY am I mentioning it?  I bring this up because I am a firm believer in reminding each other of what is true, what is important, what is dynamic.  I believe we need to talk to each other,  face-to-face, phone calls, EMAILs, and … blogging, of course.  There is that word again, “course”: a reminder to …

S t a y   O n   C o u r s e

Man Your Post

And, Hold On To Your Hat

indy1.jpg

http://www.examiner.com/article/hold-on-to-your-hat-indiana-jones-5-is-coming

Gentlemen, all of “this” is not just about us.  This is about the people we love, the people we care about, the people who we will impact.  The women in our lives; the sons, the daughters, our co-mentors, those we mentor, and those folks we will meet in 2014.

Man Feels Weak: Let Him Speak …

Man, do you feel weak?  Speak.  You won’t be redirected, no solutions expected.
Wisdom released,
Men seeking peace,
“Find your voice!”
Yet, be cautious with your choice.”
‘Makes sense, “Negativity … nonsense.”
Positive: the way to go,  let your success show …
Show the world, show your friends … you are the one that shines and wins.
“So, please dear brother, keep your melancholy;
We are the winners, the strong and the jolly.”

Davis, T

FYI:  Usually I don’t mind poems that rhyme, as long as it’s not my poem.  But some things happen, beyond my control.

One definition of ambivalence, because it makes the word logical and digestible:

“Ambivalence . . . the existence of two mutually exclusive (any combination of) ideas, emotions, thoughts, realities.”

STEELY DAN lyrics, from the piece entitled “Deacon Blues”, come to mind:

“They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues”

I am a firm believer in adages like:

  • “Don’t let people pull you down …”;
  • “Think negative things?  You will experience negative things …”
  • “You are responsible for your thoughts, your emotions, your actions …”

‘Got the picture?

Someone comes into your space, with heaviness, pain, anger, sadness.  It is your responsibility to set up and maintain your boundaries.  Reality: you may experience some tension:

  1. Compassion;
  2. Desire to empower;
  3. A murky mix of wanting to help, and unhealthy guilt for this person’s pain / obligation to “rescue”;
  4. Someone once said (I don’t know who) “It is what it is.”  It is of profound importance to find the “what” that “it” … “is”.

More about the tension that you may, or may not, feel.  St. John of the Cross wrote a piece

St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church.

(sixteenth century) entitled “Dark Night of the Soul“.  A great writer (passed away in 1997) named Dr. Gerald May

The Dark Night of the Soul

wrote a book based on the work by St. John of the Cross, Dark Night of the SoulTerrence Real wrote a book entitled I Don’t Want to Talk About It (one of the best books on male depression I have ever read).

Cover of "I Don't Want to Talk About It: ...