Bang Your Drum

You slide into your chair alert and nauseous, with bile in your throat.

All week you’ve waited for this moment… the beginning of your witching hour.

Whether if be the book you’ll write, the album you’ll record, the startup you’ll found… this is the time for creation you woke at dawn for, traded favors for, said no to House of Cards for…

The hard-won space in which you’re determined to establish a beachhead of freedom and impact and legacy… the hour in which you’ll finally crack your life open to the possibilities inherent within. read more

One “Virtue” I’ll Never Teach My Kids

As the woman pulled the Christmas ham out of the oven, her son saw an odd feature:

Both ends were cut off.

When he asked his mother why she’d cut off the ends of the ham, she said that’s what HER mother had always done. She’d never thought to ask why.

They got grandma on the phone.

Turns out, grandma cut the ends off HER Christmas ham because that’s what HER mother had always done.

So they phoned up great grandma to get to the bottom of it.

After realizing she’d unwittingly started a multi-generational ham-trimming tradition, great grandma gave a long cackle into the phone: as it turns out, the one pan she’d owned back then was EXCEEDINGLY SMALL… so small, in fact, that she had to cut the ends off the ham every Christmas just to make it fit. read more

What Happens When Men Shirk The Deep Fix

Last night, I saw a few grains of coffee grounds in our french press and began to rinse them off in the sink.

Strangely, the more I rinsed, the dirtier the press became.

Finally, muttering in annoyance, I did what I should have done at the outset and peered into the bottom of the press.

Sure enough, the whole damn load of coffee grounds was still in there, pressed against the bottom in a big wet cake.

No wonder the glass wouldn’t come clean: the more rinse water I flushed in, the more grains broke loose from the unseen mother-cake. read more

Chains Invisible: How The New Slavery Stole Man’s Soul

Photo by 16210667@N02 [cropped]

Now that this year’s Independence Day fireworks are long gone, it’s time to hit you over the head with a hard truth:

It’s all a sham.

We are not “independent.” Not anymore.

When we were still a colony, our British oppressors posed a familiar, old-world form of threat.

Their oppression was singular, visible, and involuntary.

Now, 240 years later, we face an entirely new breed of tyranny.

Through a combination of our own growing sophistication, market forces, and scientific and technological advancement, this new form of oppression is infinitely more complex. read more

It’s All Still Possible

You survey your life:

Where you had meant there to be health and vitality, there was the cancer diagnosis, or the chronic disease, or the debilitating car accident.

Where you had meant there to be a steady amassing of wealth, there was the job loss, or the bankruptcy, or the business meltdown.

Where you had meant for your life to unfold as a steady, unwavering rise, your sword felling an ever-widening swath of enemies, you yourself took arrows, and spear thrusts, your chain mail slippery with your own blood. read more

Creative Work Is Fruitless Until You Do This One Thing

I put myself through college planting trees in the mountains of British Columbia.

And though the work was physically demanding, in one crucial way it was strangely easy:


Jam your shovel in, crack a hole, slide in a tree, kick the hole shut, done. Rinse and repeat ’till suppertime.

For most of history, this was the nature of our work: simple projects that were physically demanding but psychologically straightforward.

Dig the hole. Mend the fence. Fell the tree. read more

What Jon Snow Knows About Male Guilt

Credit: HBO

“You know nothing, Jon Snow.”

That may have been Ygritte’s favorite taunt, but as revealed a few episodes back on this season’s Game of Thrones, Jon Snow knows a great deal about male guilt, and how to reject the manipulations of those who would use it against us.

When Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen first meet, they circle each other warily, each wanting the other’s help, but unwilling to surrender their competing claims to sovereignty.

Daenerys tries to entrap Jon by reminding him that his Stark kinsmen had pledged to serve her family in perpetuity… and that on that basis, he was duty-bound to bend the knee. read more

Why Men Must Push Beyond Freedom To Power

You long to be free:

Free of the never-ending debt.

Free of the soul-sucking job.

Free of the fat hanging over your belt.

Free of the raw, blaring NEEDS OF OTHERS clawing you from all directions.

But, common though it may be, this longing for freedom isn’t enough to move your needle… not NEARLY enough to usher in the higher life you crave.

For deep down, you know: freedom is not the endgame. It’s merely the pre-condition to what comes next.

It is the life AFTER freedom that matters… when freedom clears the path for whatever level of POWER you’re willing to shoulder. read more

How Jack Failed

Photo by yellowskyphotography [cropped, altered]

Mack and Jack were remarkably alike: they went to the same college, had more or less the same IQ, the same level of drive.

Most remarkable of all, they married twin-sisters, making them brother-in-laws.

But that’s where the similarities stop.

For whereas Mack went on to create a life of abundance and freedom for himself and his family, with extended family vacations in India, Fiji, Australia… all while having spare time to play jazz violin and write poetry…

…Jack is still scrambling. His marriage seems always on the brink of collapse… his life always but one financial misstep from the abyss. His children, now in their early twenties and off to college, are polite yet distant… shivering with relief to finally be out of that house. read more

Swim Every River

It happened just before midnight.

There was no moon, and the night sky was so clear you could see thick clots of stars in the Milky Way, as though earth’s atmosphere had been peeled back, exposing raw, unveiled space.

I stood on the high dive at some nameless lake near Blue River, British Columbia, the still water of the lake below so perfectly reflecting the stars above that it felt as though the leap I was about to make would be not into water, but outer space.

I took a moment to breathe in the cold air, to savor this exquisite moment, to marvel with gratitude that life was capable of creating these moments of utter magic… and leapt. read more