Boys Disguised as Men- The time to unmask is now by andrew parr

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Men, where did you learn how to treat women?

I grew up in a locker room culture. Hormonal young men pretending to know who they were and what it was like to be men.

One way we tried was through the objectification of women, upholding “normative” examples from culture, that women were something you tried to game, or to win — whether it was for social capital, sex or power.

In this culture, I saw and took part in this objectification. To give some context, it was almost always through verbal harassment. Firstly, as a bystander — I dared not speak-up for fear of social suicide. And secondly as a perpetrator — with my share of locker room talk. I find it was all a defense mechanism, to either inflate my sense of self, or to feel valued by my male peers.

We are seeing a wave of sexual harassment complaints in the media with the stars in the limelight for all to judge, bringing us face to face with the prevalence of harassment.

The time is now for MEN TO COME FORWARD with the bravery and courage exhibited by women, to say, this is not what being a man is about.

I would like to use this critical moment in history to raise a fundamental question. Have boys matured into men? Or did these actions and conversations simply get sidelined to the normalcy of adult life?

What about those that simply stayed true to the shared narrative among young boys, and grew into men walking the limits of sexually appropriate behavior? Often times not knowing better, or knowing better but not getting checked. I don’t believe that men are a ‘single story’ but I do believe that too many of us have rarely been taught what it is to understand what we need (sexual or otherwise) and how to get what we need without violating the needs of others.

After spending 25 years as a competitive athlete. I left a world dominated by men and their views. And over time evolved into more matriarchal social circles —filled with girl bosses — to see women in a new light, to see the love, and strength in women that ran beyond my prior comprehension and objectification.

This journey is greatly aided by a continued search to learn and understand. Recently in a movement educators forum with mostly women dancers, I heard again, especially in the backlash of all what has been going on with #metoo, women speaking up and sharing the impacts of sexual harassment and lack of consent in their lives today. These voices along with the work my beloved is doing with women around abuse and its pervasiveness in our cultures expands my sensitivity.

While I might have left the locker room, much of my work continues to be with young men and through this, I realize that my experiences of the locker room continues. And the narratives of what it means to be a man remains unchecked.

The normalcy is dangerous, we have seen it in the sheer scale of voices coming out.

A current status quo is to judge and vilify these men being called out. However, this makes it all too easy for most men, including myself to distance ourselves in a failure to acknowledge that we too might have been, or might still be a perpetrator upholding the norm. After all, no one wants to see their reflection in the deplorable acts of those being called out.

But a pure focus on judgement will continue to lead to too many men denying their roles en masse.

Healing, learning and a change in behavior, is necessary but it doesn’t come from punishment alone.

We need now more than ever for MEN TO COME FORWARD with the bravery and courage exhibited by the women to say, this is not what being a man is about.

We must all stand up for a different behavior — men and women alike.

In tandem, can we create space to ask, where do I go from here? A space for men to reflect, with the knowing that we fucked up and come forth with the intention of growing out of a destructive pattern. A space to go the distance together.

What does it mean to be a man right now?

In seeing that we are not who we were told to be, can we be strong in who we can be.

So, men, brothers, can you reflect on your life, and without judgement remember a time or times when you have taken part in the objectification, harassment or abuse of women and ask.

Is this the man I want to be?

Do I have the strength and courage needed to change my behavior and or stand up when I see it happening?

If you are having a difficult time with how to create space for you and others to heal, I will be holding such spaces for just this — dialogue and understanding. Please DM me.

Alone, you can change, together we can heal.

Why I don't read blog posts by andrew parr

You’ll get more by meditating for 4 min than using that time to read this post.

It’s easy to get distracted. I’m not here to distract you. If you’re looking for something to read that will save you from your reality. Then I advise to skip over this post. 

What do you truly know? 

Does that come from something you’ve read? Or does that come from something you have practiced, experienced, tested and retested? 

I was speaking with Tristan de Montebello earlier today and he asked me:

“What blogs do you read?”

I paused for a second and replied:

“I don’t read any.”

When hearing myself say that out loud, I realized that I get more out of meditating for 30 minutes than reading blogs for the same amount of time.

I have read fantastic posts. But to read one piece of remarkable content and implement its teachings, I have to swim through a sea of low quality, distracting content.

If I spend that time meditating, (noticing my breath move through my body), I get to learn valuable information about myself that I can integrate immediately.

If you don’t see the practical application of meditation, here is an example:

I was in meditation the other day, and I had feelings of anxiety around a conflict with a loved one. I felt tightness in my chest and distinct tension in my face. When I brought awareness back to my breath, my body relaxed and so did my mind. When those feelings arose in conversation, they didn’t cripple me. I wasn’t afraid of being uncomfortable, because I familiarized myself with those feelings. I was able to listen to the critism I was receiving. Wanting to understand, so it could help me instead of getting defensive. My primary conflict resolution strategy would be to disengage completely. I’m not saying I’m the best communicator or I haven’t hurt others, but I’m making the effort in my relationships to actively listen to the needs of others and communicate my needs. (cnvc.org for great communication strategies)

Meditation is a skill in awareness. Training this awareness allows us to first become familiar with thoughts, emotions and sensations. Then we can regulate how the mind and the body respond or co-operate. This helps us take action instead of freezing up or disengaging. 

There are many types of meditations. With the athletes I work with, we begin by bringing awareness to the breath. It’s the simplest way to sync the mind and body for performance. The best athletes, martial artists, dancers and singers know this.

Here is a video of NBA All Star Lebron James meditating.

 

If bringing awareness to the breath doesn’t seem practical enough, it’s useful to ask oneself: “Body, how do you want to breathe?”

Let’s do this right now for 1 breath. You can have your eyes opened or closed.

Ask the question: “Body, how do you want to breathe?”

Did the quality of your breath change? If so, this is a tool you can use that helps you be better with yourself, in turn, better with others. 

One fallacy of meditation is that you must not think. Most beginners constantly get lost in thought when trying to meditate so they believe they suck at it.

There are two options:

1. Beat ourselves up each time a thought arises. (Reinforces judgment)

2. Bring a sense of curiosity to our thoughts and sensations. (Bringing a playful curiosity, instead of judgment, was something I learned from coach Tripp Lanier. This tiny shift in perception has helped me have my best performances, with everything on the line.

When we can bring a sense of curiosity to what we are experiencing, we lose the self-judgment. Then can the mind and body be at peace.

I’ve struggled with a meditation practice for years, constantly judging and fighting myself. I know I’m not alone in this.

Have you also experienced a similar struggle?

I now think of it as an adventure into myself; going into the clouds of my head and into the dark caves and tall forests of my body. Sometimes there is a volcano erupting in my chest, and I feel it completely. Other times, I ride the wave of excitement. We can begin to see the changing nature of everything within us and around us.

Conclusion

Meditation is not a practice to escape reality; it is the exact opposite. It helps us see and experience reality closer to what it is. Meditation helps us to gain an understanding about ourselves, others, and ultimately, be greater contributors to society.

Please don’t jump into meditating for 30 minutes to build your practice. To create a lifelong practice, start by meditating 1 minute at the same time every day. Do you have 1 minute for yourself? Practice two minutes per day the second week, three minutes the third, and so on. In 4 months, you’ll be consistently meditating 15–20 minutes every day. Not only that, but it will seem “easy.” It will have become routine, and you’ll thank yourself daily.

Important note; You don’t have to sit cross-legged. You can sit on the edge of a chair or stand. And ask yourself “body how do you want to breathe?”

 

I put my energy into a few key areas. You can find that out here at andrewparr.com/now. It’s not a blog, but a page that details where I am currently focusing my energy. I also use this now exercise to help my athletes focus on what’s important for them and far from distraction. I got this idea from my friend Tristan de Montebello who sends me his blog posts. He got it from Derek Sivers who also writes fantastic blog posts. Thank you to the two of them.

Stardust Performance Camp by andrew parr

August 18 5:45-8:45pm

Do you want to learn what it really takes to be a world-class athlete?

This is your chance to explore and practice these essential skills alongside Olympian Jessica Zelinka and performance coach and ex-professional golfer, Andrew Parr.

It’s about the little details you don’t see. Our secrets from over 25 years combined, competing on the world stage.

This camp is designed for all athletes, coaches, trainers, or anyone with an interest in learning and practicing for athletic performance.

Ages 13+

This is NOT a track specific camp, it will cover skills for all sports and life.

CLICK BUTTON for complete camp info and to register 

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