Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Cubs, Sports, and a Rare Spot Where Men Get To Show Emotion & Affection

I was one of millions of people glued to my TV last night, watching the Chicago Cubs break their curse, and win the World Series in a dramatic Game 7.

I love watching championship games of all sports - there is something so moving about all the emotion I see flowing between the teammates (on both the winning AND losing sides).

And so it was last night.

The Cubs players first jumped for joy (literally), fists flying in the air, bouncing towards each other. They hugged. They embraced.

For some they smiled and yelled. For some, it was tears - of joy or relief or the release of tension after holding it together.

And as the minutes went by, many more long hugs with tears in eyes. It was marvelous.

I've watched the other sides reactions, too (though the camera didn't spend time there last night). There is usually disbelief, and tears of sadness. I've watched players hold, hug and console each other as they grieve the loss of something they invested so much in.

I point at this because these displays - of emotion and vulnerability (other than anger), of comforting and affection (of each other) - are rarely seen in the male world. The informal norms and rules this culture has do not tend to allow it. And that's a pity, because under the stoic surface, men are far more alive than you'd think from looking at them. They grieve, they fear, they wonder, they hurt. they wish to be closer to each other but often don't know how to, or whether it would be OK with the other guy.

I have seen places other than sports this all does happen (my men's work with The ManKind Project at The New Warrior Training Adventure), but those seem the exception in this culture.

Perhaps it is the bond long-formed, the camaraderie, the fight fought together that allows it out. I'll keep pondering that. But for today (tired myself after riding the rollercoaster of emotions with both teams), I want to say it's a wonderful thing to see. And I'm glad so many people got to see it, too.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

How I Got Over My Allergy to Men's Work: An Ode to the Mankind Project

I have a confession to make - through my first 12 years of being a psychotherapist in Seattle, I had assiduously avoided "men's work". I'd say I had an allergy to it.

See I figured men's work either meant a bunch of guys with ponytails and Birkenstocks banging drums in the woods and integrating being all soft with each other, or it meant a bunch of muy-macho guys yelling at me and trying to make me tough.

Neither prospect was appealing. In fact both bothered the heck out of me.

I knew already that I had aspects of both. I could be loving, kind, sensitive and compassionate. I could also be angry, competitive, sarcastic and lustful too. I couldn't fathom a place that would understand both.

But a few men I respected mentioned this group called the Mankind Project and I was like "nope, nuh-uh, not for me, thanks."

Then, well, I got desperate. After two years in what I would describe as a swamp (emotional, physically, financially, professionally), and trying all sorts of things I never thought I would try (to no avail) - the universe got its message across to me. I signed up for the Mankind Project's initial training, the New Warrior Training Adventure (or NWTA for short).

So this is where the story will get a bit mysterious - because it has to be. The training is experiential, and is an initiation of sorts - so what actually goes on there is meant to stay secret, and I am going to respect that.

But I can and will tell you this. It worked. It brought me back to life. It re-filled my energy and got me back on my mission and purpose.

I, a guy who had usually been more comfortable around women, came back feeling more connected to men than I ever had in my life. And more assured that I am a full-fledged man, equal to any man I meet (if different in our own ways), and confident in the contrast I am to the divine feminine.

I came back more integrated, finally feeling "grown up" at 49 years old.

That was in November of last year (2015). I've waited a while to write this, wanting to do my due diligence about the group (they're good), see if the effects lasted (they have), and to let my passion settle in so as not to sell, proselytize, or sound like I drank some testosterone-laced Kool Aid.

But having just come back from staffing my first NWTA, and seeing once again the healing, energizing, freeing effects on the men who came there, I had to finally write and share this with you all.

See, I am a psychotherapist. Healing emotional wounds is my calling and mission and passion. I love what I do and love continuing to learn. And I have to admit there are limits to what I can do in a therapy hour in a professional office setting.

Some wounds need more time and space and dedicated focus to heal. Some need a group of strong, diverse men holding the container and ready to help. Some need the distance from family and work and to-do's of the house.

Some need the NWTA.

Sincerely, Peter Hannah

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Dear Nice Guys - Your Silences Will Not Protect You

One of the things I actually find useful in social media and some of the email lists I am subscribed to is that other thinkers and healers and speakers connect me up with some GREAT wisdom that I might not have otherwise seen.

And so it is today. This came to me from a well-known therapist, author and speaker, Bill O'Hanlon. (Follow him on Twitter @POSSIBILL)

"I was going to die sooner or later, whether or not I had ever spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you. What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language." – Audre Lorde, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer

Oh, my fellow Nice Guys and People Pleasers, that one hits me square in the chest. How many things I have left unspoken. How many times I have stayed silent.

I get better at speaking my truth every year, but it is a journey. I hope this quote gives you some motivation to speak just a little more of your truth.

I wish you the best, Peter

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year & Intentions for 2016 from the Nice Guy Coach!

Hello, and Happy New Year!

I don't do resolutions, and haven't for a long time. They seem to be all about hard work and doing things I don't really want to do, but feel like I should do. Feh.

I do set Intentions, though. These are positive visions and affirmations for what I wish to experience over the coming year. They are what I want to be experiencing, not what I think I ought to do. That makes a huge difference.

They are also things that I can come back to if I miss a day. Unlike resolutions ("I will not eat any candy!" would be an apt one for me), I can be off on them for a day or even a week and come back to them. They talk about the process and the journey, not a goal that I don't get to have until after I do all the hard work.

So for you, and for me (a recovering Nice Guy), I'll share these intentions for 2016:

* I intend to share my truth more bravely, and to more people
* I intend to know and speak my feelings more fully
* I intend to show up authentically as much as I can
* I intend to take action toward what I want

I thought as I started this I would have a longer list, but those four are so powerful, and cover so much ground, I think that's a great place to leave it. And having FOUR intentions, rather than a laundry list, will allow me to focus more on those, and have a greater impact.

By the way, just writing this post is part of that first intention for me. Instead of wondering "what will people think", I am writing this post to you.

I wish you a happy and healthy year!
Sincerely, Peter Hannah MA LMHC

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Resource for the Nice Girls of the World

In my counseling practice, I've worked with both male and female "People Pleasers", and noted there are some real differences in how they show up as "too nice" in the world.

I've also realized that as a man, I have special insight and experience that can help the Nice Guys of the world.

I just ran across a website, with some good podcasts, of a great Seattle therapist named Sue Bates, which I think could be a resource for the Nice Girls of the world, so I thought I would share it with you:

What other Nice Guy and Nice Girl resources have *you* run into out there? Leave them in the comments!