In one of my more recent blog posts, on Emotional Gold Digging, I cited a lot of other websites. This one is different. It's just going to be from the heart. More precisely, this post is about my own heart.
I just drove home from Boston, having completed yet another amazing long weekend of training with my coaching cohort. Each of the last three months I've done this - and each time I have gained more insight into how the term "gentle man", which came shooting into my consciousness in March, matters to me.
For most of the two hours I was driving tonight, I was thinking about the Gentle Man idea. I came up with a theory: Every man is a gentle man until their heart breaks. It is how they deal with those heartbreaks that determines whether or not they retain that identity.
I haven't done any research (yet?) to support this theory. But my gut says that a heart left untreated after it's been broken will heal in funny ways. I mean if you break your leg and don't have it set properly, your leg won't be the same. You'll probably wobble, lose strength, maybe find you need to lean on things in awkward ways to achieve balance.
Those seem like the kind of symptoms that could crop up with the heart, too. Borrowing from some very early research into the Gentle Man project, men do not like to be considered weak or wobbly. And it seems to me that they might often lean on things in awkward ways to try and achieve balance. Imagine how that might relate to what's going on in our world lately...
I also believe that it matters how many times your heart is broken - and in how many pieces it ends up. A favorite quote of mine from Hazrat Inayat Khan helped me expand on this:
“God breaks the heart again and again and again until it stays open.”
I have had my heart broken more than once - and in far more than two pieces.
I've finally understood that, in order for me to fully claim and own the identity of a Gentle Man, I have to have enough people in my life who can each hold and support a piece of my heart to put it back together. Only then can I keep it open. I believe I have the people I need in place to do that now. In fact, I know I have enough.
Ultimately I don't know if this one story - my story - proves my grand theory or not. All I know is that it's true for me. Since I couldn't handle putting back the pieces from those heartbreaks on my own, I've needed to be vulnerable - vulnerable in ways in which a man is not expected to be. I tried to tough it out and not put the pieces back together. That didn't work.
So the work now is to keep "gentling it out" and getting the help I need to stay Strong Enough To Be Gentle. As I've recovered that identity, I've found amazing results, including happiness, amazing relationships, and a sense of freedom I've never had before.