Morris Kunz: solving masculine dilemmas

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Morris Kunz: solving masculine dilemmas

Jessica Wise

founder – The Litas

Devin Townsend

recording artist

Pat Bagley

Pulitzer finalist political cartoonist

Sean Whalen

men’s coach

Robert Clark

National Geographic photographer

Kurt Bestor

Composer, pianist, trumpet player Kurt Bestor

composer

Richard Dutcher

black and white portrait of filmmaker Richard Dutcher

filmmaker

Marianne Willamson

author & spiritual teacher

Steven Wilson

Grammy nominated musician & producer

Peter Breinholt

Singer / songwriter Peter Breinholt photographed by Paul Duane

singer / songwriter

Genpo Roshi

black and white portrait of Zen Master Genpo Roshi

Zen Master Genpo Roshi

Speaking of masculine dilemmas: I just finished reading THE TRUTH by Neil Strauss. This is one of the most fascinating journeys through traditional and non-traditional relationships (and sex addiction therapy!) that I’ve ever heard. I actually did HEAR it. I used Audible to listen to the book, which was narrated by the author, Neil Strauss, himself. This is by far the most entertaining, engaging way to digest a book. Get a free audiobook of your choice and a free 30 day trial of Audible by clicking on this banner. Enjoy!

Everyone wants good love. Fellas, there’s nothing like getting involved with a woman to reveal the places you need to grow in. Intimacy expert Morris Kunz shares some ideas on how men can grow and show up in their full power.

“Men, when your woman speaks to you, remember, it’s a message directly from God. Women – be nice.”  – Gary Acevedo

Nuggets of wisdom from Morris:

“The more loving we can be in EVERY conversation, the better results we have. I don’t care if you are doing business or whatever…”

“Be sweet to yourself”

“A woman will follow a man who is chasing something that is bigger than her.  Start dreaming again.”

“It’s about having fun and dancing with the ladies in our life.” 

Radical Intimacy Facebook Group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/168516880412002/

I DO

He said it like a man who had worked hard all day in the heat and was being offered a tall glass of perfectly chilled ice water.

She said it like a woman who knew exactly what she wanted and knew she deserved to have it.

“I do”

Over the course of my career, I’ve heard countless couples say the words, but I’ve never heard the two syllables said with more joyful certainty, solidarity and knowing, than Rachel and Jonny.

Beethoven once said,

“Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.”

As an artist, there comes a point where unconditional dedication to the instrument opens up a world of secrets that only the wholly committed are permitted to enter. There are days when your fingers are sore, but you practice anyway. There are days when you feel like you are a worse player than you were last week and you wonder how you could suck so much… you practice anyway. There are days when practicing is easy and playful – you practice anyway, because you know it’s part of something vastly bigger than your disposition today and are honored to be part of it. In forcing your way into the secrets of your art, you learn things about yourself that you could never know otherwise. It becomes a mirror that creates a singularly unique vantage point to see yourself, your relationship to the world, and ultimately, The Divine.

As it goes in the practice hall, so it goes in marriage. We are all souls at various stages of development in the cosmic scheme of things. Nothing is for everyone, not even marriage. For some, however – I believe that the lifelong commitment of marriage can raise men – and women – to the Divine.

Cafe Busted

I give to you a tale of coffee, heartbreak, and healing:

We had a love that started fast and brought the promise of forever – She was a twin flame, a magnificent mirror. To this day, I’ll tell you – that’s still true. We understand each other profoundly – we just can’t tolerate each other.

Spontaneous combustion happens when the right molecules run into each other under the right happenstance. The problem with spontaneous combustion is not just the unplanned consequences of the blaze, but that it’s impossible to sustain; because it wasn’t started intentionally, there’s no fuel prepared nearby to sustain the warmth of the fire. It simply erupts, consumes everything in it’s path, and dies out as fast as it began.  Nevertheless, the flames of such a fire can be pretty convincing.  Such was our brief blaze.

Before long, I was staying most nights in her bed, down the hall from her three teenage kids. The kids quickly gave their blessing of our sponaneous union; one of those first mornings we woke to find that her daughter had made us coffee and brought it to us in bed;  one of her sons would repeat that heart melting gesture some time later.

Coffee became a morning sacrament – we would wake early every day; she would get in the shower and I would start the coffee. She would emerge from the shower to find a breakfast of coffee and toast waiting on the bathroom counter. It was one of the rituals I invoked to show her my adoration. We left our old coffee ways behind and found a brand that we loved together – a rich cuban coffee called Cafe Bustelo.  If you look at the can from a certain angle, the font can be mis-read to say “Cafe Busted”. This coffee became a calling card of our relationship.

Lucky in love, conscious of the poor odds of success, and anxious to defy the world by telling everyone about it,  we set out to create an online memoir – a “how to” for other couples to follow:  CafeBusted.com :  “An impossibly single bachelorette meets an incurable bachelor. Tales of dating, blended families, and a new take on love”.  This is a graphic I made up to serve as the header image on our new blog:

From the notion of sharing our personal life, to our choice of names, the whole idea was adorable, if not staggeringly naive.  It invoked a principle of the Universe that I have come to understand more as I’ve become older: Every time I set myself up to be a teacher of a thing, the Universe has a way of giving me a test on that very subject that takes me to the edge of my sanity and shoves me toward the abyss.  I’ve learned that if I am going to challenge my tribe to do 10 pushups, I must be prepared to do 100. I will be forced to do 100, regardless of how well I prepared.

In the beginning of every act of creation, the idea is birthed from one’s mind into the world of three dimensions as The Word, be it written in an email or spoken to a friend.  Because The Word is the first and primal act of creation – The Word is God.

Busted.

Our love was explosive, and as all good explosions do, it laid waste to both of our hearts. After many months of exhillirating togetherness, moments of truth brought our love affair to a screeching halt.  Sometimes doing the right thing is still heart breaking, rightness be damned.

After our split, my weekly walk down the grocery store coffee isle became an open casket funeral viewing for a loved one that just wouldn’t end. Has the coffee isle ever made you cry? Yeah, me either…. and that’s because I learned to get the hell out of there ASAP. This hot beverage PTSD continued for about as many months as we were together: the better part of a year.

I spent those first many months drinking cheap, generic coffee; I didn’t mean to be symbolic about it, but in hindsight I can see that it wasn’t really the $3 per bag difference in price that was motivating my coffeee choice.  That dry, shitty coffee was a mediation of sorts. After a while I allowed myself to graduate up to something truly delicious, a new brand devoid of the emotional fingerprints of any lover.  It’s *really good* coffee, and it invokes mornings of happy solitude, journaling, meditation and creation.  It’s all mine.

So here we are, one year and two days after she and I parted ways. While restocking on staples at the grocery store last night, my regular brand was out of stock. Cafe Bustelo sat on the shelf, stoically staring forward, trying not to make eye contact with me.  The yellow and red of the can no longer elicited pain in my heart. In the name of curiosity and science, I picked up a can of Bustelo.

I was okay

…bought it.

I was okay

…brought it home

I was okay

…brewed Bustello for breakfast today

I was okay

…like the way you sit in the theater and read every last scrolling credit for a movie that affected you deeply but will never watch again, I drank the coffee.

And not only was I okay,

much to my surprise and relief,

I found it

to be

just

coffee.

 

Two kinds of giving up, two different paths

 

Swiping left and right as a 40 yr old dude is interesting business. I’m open to dating a rather wide range of ages. It’s an interesting vantage point to observe the feminine trajectory.  (these observations probably apply to men as well, but since I’ve only gone swiping for ladies, that’s all I’m going to talk about. Transpose as you may.)

40-ish is a fascinating fork in the road. Women tend to head off in one of two directions:  Those who have given up, and those who have let go – and they are TOTALLY different.

The first group are those who hit a point where they have decided that their world view is the final word. In their frustration and exhaustion, they made up their mind that “this is just how life is” and began making their quasi-peace with it. These women, seemingly overnight, go from being young women to old ladies. The essence of femininity is growth, ebb and flow, change… They’ve given up on exploration and their femininity withers on the vine.

There are women who have let go, and they are totally different. It’s hard to tell how old they are – they have a youthful something-about-them that would inspire the appetite of any young man in his sexual prime, yet they exude a wisdom and confidence that young women can only imitate, at best. To say she loves herself is one degree from the truth – she IS love. It manifests as nurturing and fierceness. She’s young enough not to care too much about the way things used to be – the past has no claim on her. She’s old enough not to care too much about what anyone thinks of her. She knows who she is and her definition of her identity is completely independent of other people or things. She may have done many laps around the sun; those laps have just made her more hot.  She has let go of all of the notions of what she “ought to be” and finds pure joy in being what she IS.

One is a slave to what “ought to be” and has given up trying. The other has let go of what “ought to be” and just IS. She is magnificent – the mother of all living – whether they be children or ideas or causes.

How much honesty is too much honesty?

Jessica Wise

founder – The Litas

Devin Townsend

recording artist

Pat Bagley

Pulitzer finalist political cartoonist

Sean Whalen

men’s coach

Robert Clark

National Geographic photographer

Kurt Bestor

Composer, pianist, trumpet player Kurt Bestor

composer

Richard Dutcher

black and white portrait of filmmaker Richard Dutcher

filmmaker

Marianne Willamson

author & spiritual teacher

Steven Wilson

Grammy nominated musician & producer

Peter Breinholt

Singer / songwriter Peter Breinholt photographed by Paul Duane

singer / songwriter

Genpo Roshi

black and white portrait of Zen Master Genpo Roshi

Zen Master Genpo Roshi

What is the difference between a white like and a damn lie? We explore the topic on today’s mini episode.

Listener Q&A:

Stephen from Austin writes,

“I really admire how open you are with your fashion sense and you seem to have a lot of success with the ladies. I just started dating a girl that I really like. Just like you, I’ve got a closet full of high heels. When do I tell her? I don’t want to ruin a good thing.”

Joseph from Salt Lake City asks,

“Women SAY that they want you to be honest all of the time and tell them everything, but it seems like as soon as you let your guard down and actually do it, they lose respect for you. What do you do?”

On today’s episode, I answer these questions and explore the question – just how honest do we want our political leaders to be, anyway?
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When Mormons Doubt: Jon Ogden

Have you ever had one of those awkward conversations with someone who grew up the same way you did… but… YOU’VE changed?  Maybe they are still in the same mode of thinking and living, but you’ve shifted in some way. It could be politics, religion, sexuality, career, school related… whatever. We’ve all been there.  Author Jon Ogden wrote a great book called “When Mormons Doubt: A Way to Save Relationships and Seek a Quality of Life”. It’s a great book about how to navigate those critical conversations while preserving those important relationships. Order your copy of it today by clicking on the book cover below:

when-momons-doubt-john-ogden-cover

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cookies, toys, playtime, and why your wife doesn’t respect you

Marriage was a special kind of hell for me, and here’s why:

No matter how hard I tried to make her happy, it never ended well.

It’s not that I married a bad woman – she’s a really good person and a good mother.

I misunderstood the basic dynamics of how grown men and grown women need to deal with each other. Let me give you some background:

As a little boy who was raised in a traditional family (stay at home mom, dad went to work all day), Mom was the gatekeeper for everything I wanted during most of the day.

Cookies.
Toys.
Permission to play with friends.

If I wanted it, Mom would have to grant it.

Our relationship with the parent of the opposite sex as a child, is, for the most part, the template we use to relate to the opposite sex as adults.

As adult men, we still want “cookies”, “toys”, and, to play with our friends.

…. and SEX. Let’s be honest. Sex is the ultimate prize that the woman in your life is the supreme gatekeeper for. If she’s not in the mood to give it to you, you aren’t getting it.

The temptation to do whatever it takes to “make your woman happy” is rooted in the most fundamental drive of our species. A mature, healthy sexual relationship is the supreme challenge and holy grail of human connections, for this reason. It pits you against your strongest impulses – impulses that may not actually serve you well.

In my 20’s, (my married years), I was still operating from this unchanged paradigm from my childhood – “make the woman happy by doing what she says”.

There were many times when my truth was quite different from her truth. I found it really difficult to tell her my personal truth when I felt like it would upset her, and jeopardize my access to cookies, toys, and playtime. This misguided pursuit of “making her happy” led to the decay of our relationship.

I had never been so frustrated and defeated in my life – how in the world could all of my good efforts have led to so much destruction and unhappiness? It caused me to even go so far as to think about suicide. I felt completely broken and hopelessly flawed.

Guys – how many times have you “sacrificed” your personal truth for her, thinking you were acting selflessly?

I can’t speak for you, but I will tell you my experience:

Sacrificing my personal truth to “make her happy” is a supremely selfish and immature act. The only thing motivating it, was my desire to maintain access to cookies, toys, and play time. There’s nothing selfless about it.

She doesn’t want your “obedience”.
She wants your TRUTH.
She wants to be able to trust you.
She wants to feel safe with you.
She wants to know that no matter what crazy mood swing she comes at you with, you will remain stable.
She wants to know that when you are out in the world, you will be the same man she loves at home.

When she can count on you to be real, authentic, and firmly rooted in your own truth – she feels free to be fully feminine.

(By the way fellas – this is why women “put the pants on” in a relationship – if they can’t trust your masculinity, they’ll just do it themselves and drag you along for a while).

A real woman doesn’t want your obedience.
A real woman wants your strength.

You don’t have to be a jerk to be strong in your truths. It’s possible to be kind, AND strong.

That’s the magic combination.

If you think kindness means sacrificing your authentic feelings – you’ve misunderstood the word. You’ll need to learn what true kindness is before you will be able to deeply satisfy a mature, healthy woman.

True kindness is the utmost kind of strength.

Kindness doesn’t’ show up when you are agreeing with each other.
Kindness doesn’t show up when you feel lovey-dovey.
Kindness doesn’t show up when you are in a great mood.

True kindness shows up when you are sick, angry, disappointed, or otherwise really don’t feel like showing up….

…and you do it anyway.

That is serious manly strength.

much love –
Paul Duane

Sunny Strasburg

Subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher or TuneIn
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My show is all about exploring the freedom of the individual. One of the main venues of personal freedom is human relationships. I love having therapists on the show to talk shop. On today’s show, one of my favorite therapists, Sunny Strasburg, joins us to talk about dating, love, and sex! It’s a good one.

http://www.sunnystrasburgtherapy.com/

https://www.gottman.com

sunnys@jps.net

Thoughts. Ideas. Weirdness from my brain, delivered into your mailbox: In your mail box:

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Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder

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Rachel Pool Robins gave a candid, in depth interview today about her journey through and out of Borderline Personality Disorder.wpid-20150617_151014.jpg

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?  According to the DSM, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, a person must show an enduring pattern of behavior that includes at least five of the following symptoms:

  • Extreme reactions—including panic, depression, rage, or frantic actions—to abandonment, whether real or perceived
  • A pattern of intense and stormy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often veering from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
  • Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self, which can result in sudden changes in feelings, opinions, values, or plans and goals for the future (such as school or career choices)
  • Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating
  • Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats or self-harming behavior, such as cutting
  • Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness and/or boredom
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger
  • Having stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality.

Read more at:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder/index.shtml

Rachel is creating training to help those afflicted with B.P.D to learn the skills necessary to evolve past the disorder. If you’d like to talk with her more about your situation, she can be reached here:

dreadpiraterobins@msn.com

https://www.facebook.com/rachel.robins

Check out the follow up interview with her husband on what it’s like being married to a borderline. 

 
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Thoughts. Ideas. Weirdness from my brain, delivered into your mailbox: In your mail box:

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Group Therapy Wed: Sunny Strasburg and the Four Horsemen of Relationship Apocalypse

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Today’s edition of Group Therapy on The Paul Duane Show featured Marriage & Family Therapist Sunny Strasburg.  Sunny has one foot firmly in Jung’s theories, and another firmly in Gottman’s empirically driven, groundbreaking work on relationships.  It’s fascinating to talk with someone who operates effortlessly and simultaneously from such different paradigms. Sunny mentioned something about one aspect of relationships that really got my gears turning: Witnessing.

The need for “witness”.  The need to look into the eyes of another, and to see that knowing depth in their eyes that says, “I see you. I acknowledge you as a human, being right here, right now. Your experience just went from being something theoretical in your head, to something real because now a separate being from you – I – am in on it.  You’ve become something more than a brain-in-a-bottle. My witness of you, in this moment, has made you real. It’s the observer effect. It’s science, it’s quantum physics, it’s poetry, it’s love – the Holy Grail.

It is not good for man to be alone, they say…

According to Sunny, it’s essential for parents to make this connection with their kids when they are small.  An insufficiency in this realm tends to sow seeds for some kind of attachment disorder in adulthood. Ever meet someone that has problems with intimacy? You can bet that their parents fucked up this stage of parenting for one reason or another.

We spent some time talking about the “Four Horsemen Of The Relationship Apocolypse”, a phrase coined by John Gottman. These 4 phenomenon are the harbingers of relationship demise. Gottman can predict with 94% accuracy which relationships will survive and which will perish, depending on the prevalance of the following:

  • Criticism: stating one’s complaints as a defect in one’s partner’s personality, i.e., giving the partner negative trait attributions. Example: “You always talk about yourself. You are so selfish.”
  • Contempt: statements that come from a relative position of superiority. Contempt is the greatest predictor of divorce and must be eliminated. Example: “You’re an idiot.”
  • Defensiveness: self-protection in the form of righteous indignation or innocent victim-hood. Defensiveness wards off a perceived attack. Example: “It’s not my fault that we’re always late; it’s your fault.”
  • Stonewalling: emotional withdrawal from interaction. Example: The listener does not give the speaker the usual nonverbal signals that the listener is “tracking” the speaker.

Another number of interest: Couples that stay together display a certain ratio of positive interactions to negative ones – 7:1, to be exact. How are you doing in your relationship?

Visit Sunny’s website to learn more about booking an appointment:  www.sunnystrasburgtherapy.com

Learn more about John Gottman’s work here: www.gottman.com

 Listen to the show ↓

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Thoughts. Ideas. Weirdness from my brain, delivered into your mailbox: In your mail box:

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