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.
Author Jay Cradeur shares his visceral and heart warming experiences in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigion, Vietnam.
Upon arriving at the Ho Chi Minh International Airport, obtaining my highly valued and well earned “visa on demand”, passing through customs and finally walking out to breathe the Vietnamese air, I was immediately struck by the number of people waiting outside for loved ones or for potential customers. It felt like a full ocean of people. It was also raining hard, what I would call torrential rains, the kind of rain that hits your windshield as if someone had dropped a bucket from overhead. And then there was the music. My taxi driver was playing on his radio what I assume was a traditional Vietnamese tune; with a very simple sing song rhythm to it. The scooters also made a lasting impression for they were everywhere. They dodge and dart through this vibrant city like a cat swats at a toy placed above its head.
Each day out walking about is akin to an ongoing sweat lodge, uncomfortable at times but always worth the trouble.
Now having landed, I walked the streets with sidewalks largely rough and uneven, and the smell of grilled meats wafting here and there, I noticed the remarkable human diversity on display. There are not too many Americans, nor Europeans, nor Australians. Amongst the Vietnamese people, I saw the affluent in their big cars, the workers zipping around on their scooters, the tourists on foot learning how to negotiate through said scooters, the impoverished, who unabashedly hit me up for money time and again, and the physically deformed. I have never seen so many people with such physical challenges. There was the little girl with no arms, who approached me to buy a lottery ticket, which she held under her chin. There was the very old woman who had a body that looked like a reverse L, bent at a 90-degree angle. There was the older man missing both legs, who walked on his knees, in tennis shoes, with the help of two canes, and wearing a huge smile on his face. The human spirit is remarkable.
It is hot here. Let me say that again, it is hot and humid here. I like to walk. During my first day here, I put in 5 miles, going from restaurant to bar to restaurant and back to my hotel. My Saigon body is always wet. I don’t know if the body adjusts and sweats less over time, but as I felt the drip sliding down my back, or the chilling cold sensation of air conditioning pelting my sweat laden body, I remembered that sweating is an excellent form of purification. Each day out walking about is akin to an ongoing sweat lodge, uncomfortable at times but always worth the trouble.
As my local tour guide explained it, people are more interested in sharing coffee before work and having drinks after work, than what they do during work.
The food is unique and varied and most often accompanied by some cigarette smoke. Last night, I ate barbecue. Each table had a small gas-burning platter in the center. We ordered some beef, and a variety of fish and shrimp, all brought raw to the table. The platter is then coated in oil, and then without any further adieu, let the barbecuing begin. The flame is quite hot, so it does not take long for a piece of filet mignon wrapped in bacon to become an excellent accompaniment to a cold swig of Tiger beer. We also shared a salad and some white rice, and finished off with a nice crepe desert filled with bananas, vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup. I have had some of my most memorable soups here (Pho), and a pancake wrap filled with vegetables and duck (Banh xeo), and don’t even get me started on the unbelievable fresh sushi and in particular the lightly grilled salmon underbelly special.
But all of this covers up what I most strongly observed. The Vietnamese are a very warm and loving people. They are much more of a social animal than my American brethren. As my local tour guide explained it, people are more interested in sharing coffee before work and having drinks after work, than what they do during work. I saw this from the window of my hotel room. I awoke my first night at 4AM. There across the street was a small group of people, sitting on chairs, drinking coffee, talking and preparing items for the coming day. Again in the late afternoon, small tables seemed to appear out of nowhere, and groups of men, families, and old women, all were drinking, laughing, sharing and relating. Interestingly, I did not see many smart phones amongst these socializers. Say what – old school conversation? You can still find it in some places in the world. Vietnam is a place I could easily call home.
The article originally appeared on the Good Men Project Website.
Author Jay Cradeur shares a few simple strategies to reduce spending and increase the love you share and feel during the ever-increasing commercialized holiday season.
I enjoy the holidays. I grew up in America where the end of the year brings the two big holidays. I recall our family gatherings during Thanksgiving. We met at my grandparent’s home in Piedmont, California. Aunts, Uncles, Great Aunts and Uncles, friends of my grandparents all gathered once a year. I remember eating good food, watching the Wizard of Oz and playing Charades. Christmas also brings about memories of giddy joy upon waking up early in the morning to find gifts under the tree.
Years ago, I learned to say “No” to the social and familial pressure to buy everyone a gift.
As I have aged over the years, it feels Christmas has become far more commercial. Rather than being my bucolic experience of childhood, it feels bloated and excessive. When I see people running on top of each other to get a good deal on a 32 inch television at Wal-Mart on Black Friday, I wonder how it all went so sideways. My children are all grown and out of the house, so the days of big gift buying have passed me by. However, the pressure of the holiday season is still there. It is a pressure to get everyone I have ever known, a gift. Here I present to you a few simple ways to reduce your spending, and recapture the real spirit of Christmas.
#1 Just Say No.
There are a dozen or so people in my life to whom I truly want to give a gift. Then there are another dozen or so that expect a gift. Years ago, I learned to say “No” to the social and familial pressure to buy everyone a gift. I let everyone know that I was planning to cut back and commensurately, I was not expecting anyone to get me a gift. This way, only those that authentically wanted to get me a gift would follow through. I gave my gifts to those that I authentically wanted to have my gift. This cut my gift expense in half.
#2 Give Gifts of the Heart
Ten years ago, I began an institution called ‘Jay’s X-Mas Playlist.’ At the time, people were still using CDs. My first step was to go over the ‘best of the year’ music lists provided by magazines like Rolling Stone. If I saw a song that I might like, I would then go to Itunes and listen to a sample. If I liked it, I would pay the minimal fee and download the song. Each playlist would also have some old classics, some of my favorite music’ like Dock of the Bay’ by Otis Redding or ‘Brandy’ by Looking Glass. Once you have your songs, then you need to put them in an order that has a flow to it. The first few song set the tone. I then select some music that is more mellow, and then follow those songs with more vibrant music, and then end with songs that captures the essence of the whole. Here, for example, is my playlist from 2010:
- I Phone 4 Don’t Care – The Bears
- If You Could Read My Mind – Johnny Cash
- Farther Along – Marideth Sisco
- Send In The Clowns – Frank Sinatra
- The Hands of Angels – Elton John and Leon Russell
- Nobody’s Fault But Mine – Willie Nelson
- For The Good Times – Jamey Johnson
- Round Midnight – Thelonius Monk
- Flume – Peter Gabriel
- Wholy Holy – Marvin Gaye
- When The Saints Go Marching In – Bruce Springsteen
- Slippin and Sliden – Justin Townes Earle
- Me and Bobby McGee – Kris Kristofferson
- Femme Fetal – Velvet Underground
- Moon Dreams – Miles Davis
- Tumblin Dice (Live) – Rolling Stones
- Angel Dance – Robert Plant / Band of Joy
- Long Road Home – Sheryl Crowe
- Stoney End – Barbra Streisand
- Tupelo Honey – Van Morrison.
It is unique joy to listen to a playlist that someone you know created. I have found the music is always a welcome gift, and far less expensive than traditional gifts. If you happen to be a writer, you might add a short poem in addition to the playlist. Icing on top of the cake!
#3 Reduce Electric Lights
Cars can be so isolating. When I was on the train, I had 50 or so fellow passengers, all on a journey together. It felt good.
I remember being shocked by my electric bill in January. All of those lights on the house, and all of the lights inside the house, can add up to a significant energy spike. You can still be festive without lighting up the neighborhood. I have also found that candles inside the house, rather than lights, adds a very magical feel to the holidays. Candle light is very soothing during a stressful holiday season.
Bonus Idea – Take Public Transportation
I have recently begun to use more public transportation. Now that gas prices are quite low, this idea may not be a big money saver, but it does make an impact on your overall energy output. I also find that using public transportation is a soul satisfying experience. I recently took an Amtrak train from Sacramento to Oakland. I was able to relax, look at the beautiful California landscapes, work on my laptop, and eat my apple and almonds. Public transportation also forces you to interact with your fellow human beings. Cars can be so isolating. When I was on the train, I had 50 or so fellow passengers, all on a journey together. It felt good.
If you have any more ideas for reducing holiday expenses, please share in the comments below. I wish you all a very happy and warm holiday season. I now will begin working on my ‘Jay’s X-mas Playlist 2015’. The only songs I know that I will add are Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk‘ and the Rolling Stones ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knocking’. I better get to work. Happy New Year!
The article originally appeared on the Good Men Project Website.