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August 26, 2013

Wanted: Awakened Warriors. ~ Ben Neal

There is a lot of talk lately about masculine and feminine, and the dance they do together—most of it by women.

I recently read one such article by Lori Ann Lothian, in which she describes the widespread disappointment women feel with men today (an “existential despondency”) and their deep soul longing for a warrior-hero to meet them and match them in life and in love. I also read several comments on Facebook from men who claim her article is unrealistic, a “little girl’s fantasy.”

Really guys? Is it ridiculous for a strong, intelligent, self-aware woman to ask for a man to be her partner and her equal?

I understand the disappointment Lori is talking about. I am a man raised by my Mom—not because my father left or ran away, but because he simply didn’t show up. He came home from work every day, cracked open a beer, turned on the TV and essentially checked out; while my mother (who also worked) handled all of the duties of raising children and maintaining a household.

I’ve seen enough to know that this dynamic is all too common. Generations of men have been raised without any real example of manhood; just an absentee father and whatever cultural stereotypes are being pushed by the media.

So we try to fit this “manly-man” image—be tough, work hard, make money, chase pussy, play sports, eat meat, drink booze—but it’s a hollow shell that doesn’t reflect the true depth of human nature. It’s an outward show that leaves us feeling fake and inadequate. To hide from that feeling we do whatever we can to tune out, zone out and escape reality.

More and more men are rejecting this macho bullshit; turning within, finding ourselves and embracing the feminine aspect of our nature. Unfortunately, we often swing too far toward the opposite end of the spectrum, and in getting in touch with our feelings we lose touch with the primal essence of masculinity.

Collectively, we’re still trying to find the balance.

I think it’s fair to say that we men are receiving mixed messages about what women want from us. We’re asked to be brave, strong, confident and sensitive, caring, emotionally intelligent. We’re asked to be ambitious, driven, successful and to make time at home for family, love and intimacy. We’re asked to be artistic, romantic, passionate and balanced and responsible; to provide security, stability and fun and adventure.

Not to mention, blow her mind between the sheets.

In short, we are being called to grow in all directions at once. We are being invited to push the boundaries, break the mold, and come into the fullness of who we are and what we are capable of.

And you know what? It’s about time.

It’s about time we stopped selling ourselves short. I’ve heard enough excuses such as “nobody’s perfect,” or “I’m only human.”

Women aren’t asking anything more than what your boss expects of you at work, or what your coach expects of you out on the field—that is, everything you’ve got. To be successful in sports, in your career, or anything in life, requires that you give your all. Why should relationships be any different?

Women aren’t asking us to be perfect, they are asking us to be fully ourselves; fully alive, awake and purposeful. They are calling us to be artists, poets, fathers, lovers, activists, leaders, entrepreneurs, craftsmen, teachers and trailblazers who are intentionally creating a new and better way of life.

Is this too much to ask?

If it is, that’s fine. Go back to sleep. Find yourself a woman who is equally unconscious and keep playing out the same old co-dependent drama. I wish you the best.

But the goddesses of the world are ready for awakened warriors; men who are bold and strong, clear and present, fierce and passionate. They are calling for a new generation of bodhisattvas—heroes on the battlefield of life. Men who will show up, give their all and not hold back.

I know you’re out there. It’s time to stand up and be counted. Speak out and be heard. Let the women of the world know that we are here. We are awake.

We are ready to dance.

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Ed: Sara Crolick

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Ben Neal  |  Contribution: 1,680