I do quite a bit of writing. The truth about writing to which most authors will readily admit is it is often a laborious chore. Sure, there are times in which a rich wave of inspiration hits, and the words freely flow out of your fingertips on to the keyboard and are then made real on the screen, but that is rare. Instead, I sit down at the same time each day, usually in the same spot, although I do mix it up when I can and sit in a coffee shop or restaurant, and I look at a blank screen. This scenario is just the beginning. This is where the work begins. Inspired or not, I will start to type.
He needed absolute silence or else he would either yell at the protagonist, or refuse to perform until it was silent.
One thing that I do which supports me in my writing is to combine my love of music with my writing time. Some writers need complete silence. I do not. Music is a catalyst for my emotions. Music brings up memories. Music makes me happy. Ever since I heard Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin back in high school, I knew music would be a part of my life. Make no mistake, I am not a musician. I can’t sing, and don’t play an instrument. But let me listen to 28 minutes of Dazed and Confused and nine times out of ten I will have tears in my eyes during the guitar solos. Music touches my soul.
Now, decades later, as I look at the blank screen, I often think of Keith Jarrett in front of thousands, with a blank canvas in front of him, creating something from nothing.
Over the past year, I have been creating a playlist in ITunes entitled “AA – Writing Music.” First thing I did was add a few artists that I knew belonged on the list: Van Morrison. Miles Davis, Radiohead, Bob (Marley and Dylan), Leonard Cohen and of course, Keith Jarrett. I had seen Keith Jarrett in concert several times in my twenties. He is such a unique performer, improvising the entire concert. He needed absolute silence or else he would either yell at the protagonist, or refuse to perform until it was silent. In addition to his virtuoso piano playing, he would also vocalize a bit, working with everything he had to get the most out of himself and his instrument. I remember feeling grateful to experience such brave and marvelous performances.
Now, decades later, as I look at the blank screen, I often think of Keith Jarrett in front of thousands, with a blank canvas in front of him, creating something from nothing. When I hear his Koln Concert performance in my earphones, I am inspired. What one man can do, another can do. Now as I write, I hear the music of some of my all time greats playing and some new artists too. The list continues to evolve. I recently added an Irish musician Hozier and a CD by Annie Lennox. Writing has become less of a chore, for it is now also an opportunity to do something I love which is to listen to music. As I write this, a live version of John Coltrane’s Naima is playing. I am off into my own little world with all my writing and musician buddies. How amazing this life is!
The article originally appeared on the Good Men Project Website.
Author Jay Cradeur shares what 56 years showed him (so far) about being content with life.
Give them what they want!
There, now you have read the punch line. The secret to get what you want is to give them what they want.
This is simple advise but not easy to follow. For example, gurus have been talking about enlightenment for centuries yet for only a select few, it makes little to no difference. You can not become enlightened by reading about it or hearing about it. You can hear about something in theory, but unless you live it and practice it with discipline, it won’t have any impact. I can tell you how to ride a bike, explain about how the wheels turn and show you how the handlebars control your direction. But if you have never actually rode a bike, you will fall the moment you try to ride. You have no real life experience.
Instead, we see restaurants where half the people are looking down into their smartphones, or taking pictures of their food, or posing for a selfie. We are self-absorbed.
Virtually anything and everything you want involves other people. If you want your partner to do something for you, your partner is involved. If you want to build your business, prospects and clients are involved. If you want to grow as a person, then you will have teachers, either live, or through videos and books, who will need you to follow their instructions. In most cases, your wants are dependent on other people. Few of us live in a vacuum.
Give them what they want.
It’s not about you. In our increasingly ego based existence, this is harder and harder to realize. What does ego based existence mean? It means as our world becomes less and less secure, we think more and more about our own well-being. Our ego has a field day with fear. Also, as our society becomes more technologically dependent, we have less need to interact person to person. Instead, we see restaurants where half the people are looking down into their smartphones, or taking pictures of their food, or posing for a selfie. We are self-absorbed.
…a whole new world opens up. Life becomes an experience you flow with, rather than struggle against.
One of the great experiences in life is called Samadhi. This is a drug free experience in which a person feels connected to everything in existence. During Samadhi, there is no doubt that the individual “I” is an illusion, and we, all humans, exists as a part of a whole, not independent, but rather interconnected. It shatters all concepts of being separate and different and distinct. It allows one to function from a new perspective.
Give them what they want.
Once you can get out of your own way, and put your wants and needs off to the side for a bit of time, you may see clearly just what it is that another person wants and desires. Once you see it, then all you need to do is deliver it. The trick, as I have been saying all along, is to get yourself into a position to see it. When you do, a whole new world opens up. Life becomes an experience you flow with, rather than struggle against.
“I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty…This is my highest and best use as a human.” Ben Stein
This approach works, and it requires a paradigm shift. I hope you can see the brilliance in the simplicity of this illumination. Put the focus on others. Treat them like your most prized possession for they hold the keys to the kingdom. What do they want? What does your partner want? What do business associates want from you? If you are building an online business, stop thinking about what you want to say or do, and instead ask yourself, what do my prospects want in their lives? Instead of pushing yourself onto life, pull life toward you. Can you be the bus driver and give what is wanted? In a world with much misery and suffering, can you jump off the merry-go-round and see it for what it is. The contentment from giving what is wanted is what we all want.
Author Jay Cradeur shares a few tips on attracting a partner and creating an environment in which they can thrive.
How do you have a person want you? Give them exactly what they most want from you. If you give them what they want, you are a valuable commodity in their life. They will want you back. What are five things that you can courageously give to a lover that they want? I shared this list with my 19-year-old daughter, and she said, “Dad, I can think of 10 more things that I want from a guy!” While that may be true, I present these five as a starting point. This list is based on conversations with many people through the years, and my own experience sharing myself and observing the varying degree of delight I received in return. This article does not address financial security as a core desire. “Do they love me or do they love my money?” That is a big topic for another day. This list reflects more personal interactive qualities. Let’s get to it.
#1 Your Partner Wants Your Depth.
As men, we have been raised from birth to thwart our own feelings. The fact that we have a male body has dictated that we should not feel nor express all our emotions. “ Big boys don’t cry!” “Don’t you cry.” “Be tough Son.” There is no doubt about it, suppressing our emotions, numbing our feelings, keeping things bottled up is part of the masculine path. However, and, this is the most important point. Our journey to courageously explore and feel those feelings in spite of our upbringing, and share those feelings, leads us to an incredible depth of experience.
“I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
Henry David Thoreau
The best way for a man to begin to feel more, to experience more perception, to increase his awareness, is to slow down. Meditation increased my depth exponentially. Life goes on. We get buried in our jobs, our tasks, our errands, the television, the smart phone, the Internet, and daily dramas. These all serve to overload our senses, numbing us even further. Slow down, move toward stillness, and begin to notice how your feelings and perceptions increase. That is the depth your partner wants to feel from you.
#2 Your Partner Wants Your Vulnerability
Be vulnerable. This is irresistible. When your heart is open, every human being is attracted. It is one of the few sources of real magic we have. I learned this from author Stuart Wilde. He once told me “Once you get your energy right, you will be pulling pubic hairs out of your teeth!” Keep your heart open and trust in life. Those are two tenets that I have strived to uphold, even when it hurts. And it does hurt at times, like a red searing hot poker slowly piercing the membrane of the heart. Stay open, especially when it hurts. It takes strength and your partner digs it.
#3 Your Partner Wants Your Humor
I was in Laos with my friend John. We were looking for some companionship. John is a wizard with conversation and humor. He knows how to work a room. He has a way of talking that makes everyone laugh and they love him for it. He is strong in the humor department. Who doesn’t want to laugh and be happy? Make your partner laugh, and they will keep coming back for more.
#4 Your Partner Wants Your Touch
“Simplicity is the glory of expression.”
Me, I am decent with the humor. It is not my strength. I am no John, but I have my moments. However, I am very good at the touch. I remember walking with a exquisite woman in Saigon, and I stopped her, grabbed her around the waist, and began to dance with her on the sidewalk. It was wonderful. It was unexpected. It was vulnerable. It was a risk. It worked. Try it sometime. Touch is such a gentle way of connecting. It lets your partner know you are present, in their space, happy to be there, and you are wide awake to hear and be with your partner. Touch more often.
#5 Your Partner Wants Your Adoration
Are you willing to tell your partner how amazing they are? Are you willing to have your partner feel as if they are the only one for you? Men will always get a positive response when you tell your partner “I think you are so beautiful” or “You are really amazing.” If you don’t feel that way, you probably shouldn’t be in pursuit. Go find someone for whom you do feel that way.
“Apart from the known and the unknown, what else is there?”
I will be the first to admit that I don’t always understand my partner. If I think I do, I am a fool. Partners are a mystery wrapped in a riddle. I have learned the hard way that I don’t know what I don’t know. Every day, with each experience with a partner, I learn just a little bit more. I feel I am on fairly solid ground with these five items. These items are simple but not necessarily easy. I have seen them work over and over again. If you can think of anything else a partner wants, please share it in the comments below. Have a wonderful day!
The article originally appeared on the Good Men Project Website.
Author Jay Cradeur shares his views on the subtle power of the feminine that is rarely acknowledged by the masculine.
I wrote the following words several years ago. At the time, all of my experiences with women were in America. Having spent the last 15 months in Southeast Asia, I have now also experienced women from different cultures (Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore). I made many friends during my travels, with women in their twenties to women in their late sixties. I am even more convinced that what I wrote then is still accurate and represents a fundamental truth between men and women. Check it out and see what you think.
“It is a challenge to find a man who truly respects the wisdom of women. Most men, mired in the pathology of patriarchy, can’t see clearly through the darkened lens. Until a man surrenders to the power/divine connection/creative force of a woman (any woman, not necessarily his partner) and is humbled by the living goddess within the feminine form, he will hold women as a second-class citizen. Social conditioning makes it so.
Women, on the other hand, in order to warrant said respect, must do the heavy lifting to find and nurture the goddess within. European women do this better than our American sisters. Sadly, many women simply do not know of the power they wield. Therefore they invite the patriarchal dismissal, unaware that a man in their life is a choice and not a result of need.
Women living fully within their power are the most beautiful beings in creation. Only a humble man will ever experience the joy of co-creating with the feminine in a true organic partnership.”
I used the word Goddess is another post I recently wrote and received some masculine backlash. Many men don’t seem to want to acknowledge the divinity that lies within both men and women. I saw this dynamic on powerful display in Thailand. The Thai men I met and observed showed very little respect to the women. They do not see what you or I may see. There is a massive undercurrent of powerful feminine energy that lies dormant and unrecognized in the world. It is for this reason, I believe, many Thai women prefer to find a ‘farong’ or westerner as a life partner. To the Thai women, we the westerners offer a far more appreciate, loving and nurturing relationship. While it is true that many Thai women have finances as their primary motive for a farong, this does not denigrate the authentic attraction to and human need for love and adoration from one’s partner.
I wrote the original piece for I had been guilty of objectifying women. I still objectify women from time to time. I see this in myself, and work to remember that we are all equal, and that when I am seeing things clearly and in truth, the feminine in my life show up with a splendor and grace and generosity that still takes my breath away. I am inviting a mutual respect back and forth across the sexual divide. Men are put on a pedestal from birth just for being born a man. The invitation is to bring all of us up onto the pedestal where we all deserve, as a matter of birthright, to be.
The article originally appeared on the Good Men Project Website.
Author Jay Cradeur shares the rare opportunity of working with men over the past 15 years and the powerful impact on relationships.
Many men, especially young men, look for a woman to fill a hole they feel inside. When we do not feel whole, we tend to look outside of ourselves for something, anything, to make us feel complete. This is a common first reaction on the path to personal growth and healing. This is also the source of most addictions. Alcohol and drugs and female companionship and sex can give us a wonderful feeling of euphoria that we latch onto and hold onto for dear life. The hole gets filled, albeit temporarily, and so we go back to the well time and time again, for that same feeling of peace, serenity, wholeness, and connection. Eventually the well runs dry!
“We are a generation of men raised by women, I wonder if a woman is really the answer we need?”
From an early age, the American male is led to believe that a woman, or a relationship, or a marriage is a valid source of joy and satisfaction. As men, many of us not feeling whole and self-sustaining, we have looked to a woman to fill a void. Rather than feel the pain of being alone, or looking within to find our answers, our bliss, our contentment, we may grasp after a woman and suck all the life force out of her that we can. She will get tired of it and leave. Think about it, how many women have you “vampired”? If I am brutally honest with myself, I can count quite a few.
There is strong and popular misconception, that being in the company of a woman is the answer to a man’s woes. There is a seminal line in the movie Fight Club with Brad Pitt who plays a fascinating character named Tyler Durden. He says, “We are a generation of men raised by women, I wonder if a woman is really the answer we need.” That is a powerful question and one that bears looking into on a deep level. Why do we assume a woman and a relationship is the key to our happiness?
In order to become whole, a man must learn to become a father and a mother to himself. And of those, being a mother to himself is the most important.
I remember being a young whippersnapper, attending Catholic school. I don’t actually remember if it was at school, from my parents, or it was just something in the cultural air, but the life path that was set up for me, and which I embraced with exuberant boyhood enthusiasm was go to school, get a degree, get a good job, get married, and have children. By the age of 25, I had done it all. I was married, living in the San Francisco bay area, one child born and another on the way, I had a good corporate job, and then the bubble burst. I thought to myself, “Is this all there is?” I felt bamboozled. It was this feeling of profound discontent that initiated my quest for something deeper.
“The power of quiet is great. It generates the same feelings in everything one encounters. It vibrates with the cosmic rhythm of oneness. It is everywhere, available to anyone at any time. It is us, the force within that makes us stable, trusting, and loving. It is contemplation contemplating us. Peace is letting go – returning to the silence that cannot enter the realm of words, because it is too pure to be contained in words. This why the tree, the stone, the river, and the mountain are quiet.” Malidoma Patrice Some, Of Water And Spirit.
The best company a man can keep is with himself, with his quiet knowing, with his inner peace, with his silent power. In order to become whole, a man must learn to become a father and a mother to himself. And of those, being a mother to himself is the most important. If you can provide yourself with the motherly nurturing that we all need from time to time, you are home free. Once you can be a loving mother to yourself, you don’t need a woman to hold your hand as you walk this path of life. You become independent and strong. Rather than having a relationship provide you with a mother who harps on you and praises you, you are open to the real joy and the real juice of a relationship of equals.
She wants to feel your unwavering presence, and your humor, and your knowing touch. Period.
In the pursuit of personal growth and inner peace, the next best company a man can keep is with other men. The best men to keep company with are strong men, men who will tell you the truth and challenge you each step of the way. You want men who will tell you “That’s Bullshit!” It is hard to find good men, trustable men, men who you can count on to deliver the goods. I ask myself this question about other men: If we were at war together, and gun shots were flying over my head, would I trust this man to cover my back? If you can answer that question with a “Yes,” that man is a true gift in your life. In the company of men, we men can gather great wisdom about ourselves. By listening to the stories of other men, we hear stories about our own life. We are all the same, and we have the same “stuff” to deal with: women, work, mission, purpose, our dads, sex and desire. Together as men, we can arrive at core truths that will help to set us free. We won’t get that same experience from our women.
Most women I know don’t really like spending time with their man in conversation about their relationship. That is not being in relationship: rather it is talking about it. Frankly, women I have spoken to about this have reported they would rather we men sort out our issues on our own. It’s not their job. In the company of strong men, we can do that job together and meet women on the other side. Women would rather we come to them already full, deeply present and with a clear direction for our lives. That is living. And in that space that we as men can create, a woman is free to be her radiant self, a free flowing fountain of love. She doesn’t want to be bogged down. Who does? Life is short. She wants to feel your unwavering presence, and your humor, and your knowing touch. Period.
In the company of men, there is opportunity for powerful insight and growth. It is a gift of strength and independence.
Many men, most men I know, don’t experience good close strong male camaraderie. It’s heartbreaking. Having discovered the power of a group of committed and focused men in my forties, I realize there is nothing like it. Men in a man’s life are a rare and precious gift. It is a simple and beautiful experience. I hear men talk about how they yearn for good male companionship, about how they feel alone and isolated. Many look at the state of the world, wars and fear of terrorism rampant, and instead of sharing heart felt feelings, they experience “guy chat” where the topics are often beer, boardrooms, and blowjobs.
Men are waking up to this truth more than ever. In the company of men, there is a comfort, an at-easeness, which men don’t feel around a woman. We can breathe, and really relax, and know that we are among our own. In the company of men, there is opportunity for powerful insight and growth. It is a gift of strength and independence. This is a gift you can share with everyone you meet. It is a gift you can take back to a woman, if she is ready for it. It is your choice.
The article originally appeared on the Good Men Project Website.