All — for those of you following both my blogs, this and XY Culture, I’ve decided to end the A/B testing.  Going forward, we’ll keep the content coming on XY Culture.  This blog will become more quiet for the time being, and I only plan to occasionally post poetry or reflections that don’t quite fit […]

gag grimm iron hans

8 min read | One of the most influential recent books about exploring the problems and potential solutions for modern manhood is “Iron John: A Book About Men” by Robert Bly. The book was published in 1990, was a New York Times bestseller, and is still in the Top 25 bestsellers at Amazon under Gender Studies. What I found striking about the book, other than its provocative arguments drawn from a wide range of sources – poetry, mythology, literature, and modern cultural observations – is how little it seems to be on the minds of men now.

Why? Either the book’s ideas no longer resonate with modern men, or we lost awareness of a flowering in the 1980s and 1990s of male writers trying to rediscover and reinvent manhood.

Bly interprets a Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Iron John, as carrying important insights for what boys specifically need to come to terms with as they mature into men. He writes,

“…the next step in initiation for men is finding the rat’s hole…

“Mountains in the Clouds” © Blaine Courts via Creative Commons

6 min read | Within 3 years of a first child being born, only one in three couples remain happy, according to research by psychologists John and Julie Gottman. Certainly many of those folks move on to file for divorce. The child is the catalyst.

So why – during what should be a joyous time for new parents – are so many people unhappy? And what, particularly from a man’s perspective, can new Dads do about it?

5 min read | One of our readers (EC in Australia) asked me to write about finding meaning in one’s job. As I’ve alluded to before, I’ve definitely tried a number of things and I’m proud to write that I bucked off a traditional career path about ten years ago, and have met a growing number of people along the way who have created similar paths for themselves (and they are not all wealthy; many are in or come from the middle class). …

The following poems speak to the puzzle of finding meaning in our lives:

There is no answer, and you know the answer.

— J. Andrew McKee, MD, “Meaning Koan” (July 2014)

“All day I think about it, then at night I say it.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?…”

Here’s a man we need to hear more about: happily married for forty years, still engaged in his kids’ lives, and able to balance work with exercise, family, and community. In our interview, he shares how he and his wife overcame a marital crisis, how he learned to cultivate balance and time for reflection, and how he transformed a potential career disaster into the mentoring opportunity of a lifetime. Rob is sixty years old and lives in Colorado. He and his wife Martha have three adult sons.

Please read to the end for a summary of life lessons based on the interview, and resources for further learning and practice you can try yourself. Please leave us a comment and share this with your friends.

The warm of friendship (c) Marco Fedele via Creative Commons license

Do you handle your anger, or does it handle you? We need to skillfully deal with anger when it arises, lest it derail our better intentions and lead to hurtful words and actions to those around us. We get angry for legitimate reasons.  A plan didn’t turn out as we’d hoped.  We feel hurt by […]

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