The Man’s Authentic Journey can be hard and lonely. It invites one to explore their contradictions, limitations, and potentials and the whole system we live in tells us to not worry about this stuff, just be successful by doing your job. The problem is that to do our job and feel successful demands a great dose of self-knowledge. The system does not teach us about self-knowledge. This results in the psychological symptoms of depression and anxiety, along side anger, fears of failure, all kinds of insecurities and addictions, that dominates the human psychic.
One of the greatest insights was to compare the hardship of life as the seasons autumn, winter, spring and summer:
Autumn: ‘paradox of dying and seeding’. In real life, this metaphor suggests the decay of relationships, loss of jobs, and as for every end, the new has been just seeded. The problem is there is no fruit on seeds. We have to wait all the other seasons for the growth. While the new has been seeded, the old is letting go. It is a great moment to initiate the work of self-knowledge.
Winter: while in autumn one presences ‘mild little deaths’, on winter one presences a great victorious death: few creatures stir, plants do not visibly grow, and nature feels like our enemy. The gift is of ‘beauty and dormancy and deep rest’ as it is essential to all living things. The metaphor is towards failure, betrayal, depression, and death. It is a great time for deep and meaningful reflections. Time to discover the Deeper Desire.
Spring: The dark side is that at the beginning is ‘mud and muck’ as the ice is melting making everything wet and dirty; plus in muddiness, ‘the conditions for rebirth are being created”. In real life, could be the beginning of new relationships, new business and new insights about the Self.
Summer: the one everyone believes have to live there all the time. What illusion… The dark side is that is during summer that Mother Nature can be violent with floods, cyclone, and drought. The most positive metaphor is that summer must be spent in community, sharing our gifts with others. In real life could the moment when one becomes his own boss, with a business that comes from his heart; is a start of a new relationship connected with his authenticity learned from the other seasons; it starts to create values and communal spaces for others to express themselves freely.
Authentic success shows up in the summer, after the transformation journey from autumn to winter, to spring, to summer. That is the ecology of life. Life is hard and beautiful. The process of learning to read and process the signs of the seasons of life is difficult, but once learned, one becomes Mature and Authentic.
Parker Palmer had deep depression twice after his 30s. One of the points he was struggling was to let go his dream of becoming a president. In this process, his deep desire came up: “I wanted more than a job. I wanted deeper congruence between inner and outer life” (p.37). In today’s world, such desire can be considered the highest Ambitious. How can one bring the balance between the Material & Spiritual world together? If you approach this question with a dualistic mind, you will answer straight away that it is not possible, that they can’t be mixed. However, Depression & Anxiety has the power to invite one into unknowing places never visited before in one’s own heart. Palmer noticed that by accepting the ‘no’, new ‘yes’s’ showed up, revealing new opportunities for business, relationships, and deep and meaningful insight about his own Self.
Felipe Oliveira is a registered counsellor for men to live an Authentic Life™ .
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Palmer, P. 2000. Let your life speak: Listening for the voice of vocation.
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