Connecting to Men’s Emotions
Mark [0:00] I’d like to welcome Nathan Meola to the World Heart of Connection podcast. I’m your host, Mark Randall. Nathan Meola is Transformation coach in Sydney who I met through the Island of Men, earlier or later last year I think it was or early this year. Nathan is a coach who works with men to connect with themselves and others. He and his partner Mirette, also who is a coach, work with couples around the connection. So, I’d like to offer a deep welcome to Nathan to share his connection story.
Connection through the Island of Men
Nathan [0:32] Thanks, man. Thanks for having me.
Mark [0:35] It is a pleasure, mate. It’s been a bit of time since we connected at the Island of Men. I can’t remember whether it was earlier – I think it might have been earlier this year?
Nathan [0:45] No, it was – I think probably October last year. Okay. We ended up there in a tribal group together at the beginning.
Mark [0:56] That’s right. Gee, time flies doesn’t it (Laughter).
Nathan [1:01] It does, yeah it really does.
Mark [1:04] I think this – a positive edge of the COVID-19 is that we’re all having to slow down and connect to ourselves in that much slower pace. I think that there are some real positives to that.
Connecting to the Positives of COVID19
Nathan [1:22] Yeah, I’m seeing lots of things happening from my perspective. Speaking to men and speaking with women living in a house with sometimes nine adults. My mum, my dad, my brother, his pregnant wife, his two-year-old, my two-year-old nephew, all together and my fiancé, Mirette of course, all together under one roof. Navigating that and living with that and experiencing that. Finding some beauty in the connection of family. There are safety and comfort in a beautiful way by being here that I think I that I had taken for granted before all this happened. It’s really allowed even me to slow down a bit. To kind of let go of all the expectations and the pressures and the dreams and the visions and all that stuff. And just kind of sit back into what really matters. It’s been beautiful for me personally.
Taking our Connecting Rituals for Granted
Mark [2:42] It’s been amazing for me to see what we take for granted. Even the handshake and the hugs can be – they’re so important and when you can’t do it, I’ve really noticed how, oh – just innately I’m inclined. too – as part of the connection – as part of that communication is that extension of that. That’s been prohibited because of COVID-19 it’s really bought to consciousness how I have taken that just naturally for granted.
Nathan [3:19] Well, we won’t get too far down into it, but some of the things my ears pricked up when you spoke about hugging and handshakes being prohibited. To think about that is quite shocking to realise that’s actually happened. It was my cousin’s birthday yesterday and mum organised to drive past with some balloons and a cake to say happy birthday. She lives on her own and when we got there, it was kind of this whole thing of like, are we doing the right thing? Can we be seeing gathering in as many groups? Can I give her a hug? I just walked up and said, come on, give me a hug and just gave her a big hug and just felt that. People who haven’t had a physical touch or for weeks and weeks and weeks being pumped with a lot of fear and a lot of worry and doubt and uncertainty about the future. Then on top of that, not being able to tap into what I think is probably the most life-giving thing you can do for your own health which is, which is physical contact with other humans.
Mark [4:47] It’s incredibly important, isn’t it? We just, we just so take it for granted. It’s really an opportunity to just self-reflect and to notice how important it is for us. For me to be much more mindful in future that, hey, this is an important process and to not ignore it. And to just really bring a deeper presence to it in future. In terms of connection, Nathan, what do you have a process of how do you work at connecting to yourself? Do you have a morning ritual? How do you keep in check of your connection to yourself?
My Process of Connecting to Self
Nathan [5:38] Mark, I think, to answer that question, as directly as I can. I think one of the big things for me has been meditation. Lots of people talking about meditation, so I won’t spend too much time on that. It’s simply a time that I spend with myself every day. With the sole focus of doing exactly what you just asked, connecting with myself, learning how to be present in the stillness of who I am. Underneath all the layers of conditioning, personality, problems, global issues, drama and all of that. Just coming back to settle into the truth that lies at the heart of I guess who or what I am. And cultivating that feeling. Lately, I’ve been adding some meditations in with the energy centres as Joe Dispenza calls them e.g, chakras or whatever you want to call them, which I had never fully grasped before. But now after having meditated consistently for probably going on four years now. You can start to feel the energy flowing in the body. Another thing that’s helped that heaps are breath-work and breathing. Breathing, I breathe every day and I know that sounds funny. But I breathe – I breathe every day. Breathwork and breathing exercises and whenever I remind myself that I’m not breathing, the breath is the quickest connection. The quickest tether back to that connection for me.
Connection to Breath
Mark [7:41] Breaths an interesting one, isn’t it – because sometimes we can breathe ourselves out of a space but also into space.
Nathan [7:49] How do you mean?
Mark [7:50] In terms of emotional release work (ATEP) – when deep painful emotions coming up – trying to just breathe softly and gently into the emotion and just allow the emotion to-to just follow the emotion and just let it surface and release it in an appropriate way. Then we can also hold our breath or I’m wondering whether a lot of that is subconsciously trained. That we just – do we expand or contract to with our breath.
Men’s Connect to Breath can be Shallow
Nathan [8:29] Yeah. When the, when you open to allowing breath in, maybe for the first time in a long time. Particularly with men. I work with men and for a lot of men, the breathing is very shallow. They haven’t practised breathing in a way that is efficient and let’s say life-giving. The way that they breathe, it often leads to a kind of like heightened stress response. And closing off and constriction in the chest, lungs and, and throat and shoulders. This rigidity tends to form when you haven’t breathed and stretched your ribs open with the breath, for a long time. So, there’s a certain aspect that opens up well – opens you up to, to feeling emotions that you haven’t felt before. I think it’s beautiful and you don’t need any equipment and there’s something that I’ve been doing consistently for over three years or maybe even more. My life has improved dramatically from that.
Breath Connects us to Our Emotions
Mark [9:55] As you’re doing that – with working with men doing that, inviting them to breath and soften to open. What are you noticing men are experiencing when I do that?
Nathan [10:10] Grief.
Mark [10:12] Getting in touch with some of the emotions that we’ve held down for so long?
Nathan [10:19] Yeah, grief. Yeah, a lot of grief. A lot of anger, a lot of resentment. A lot of realising that they’ve just been working, pushing, fighting, striving and trying so hard and that they’re exhausted.
Mark [10:50] Do men, do you find men use their intellectual mind, their rational mind or their rational brain more so than their emotional brain to counteract that? To avoid, distract it not face it?
Men’s Disconnection to Emotions in Order to Live & Survive
Nathan [11:16] The way that you asked the question makes it seem as though men are making the choice to use their rational brain to avoid, which I don’t believe is the case. I think that it’s more so basically the strategy that man created in order to live and survive – based on what was being experienced as a child through the father, through the mother – through that relationship. Then also, just the fact that I think men haven’t been really rewarded for expressing their emotions nor has it necessarily been a benefit to express your emotions. It certainly wasn’t a benefit during the war, wasn’t a benefit you know in business, it wasn’t a benefit when you’re working in a dangerous job. so that aspect of the warrior which acts without emotion became overdeveloped in men.
Mark [12:38] We men, we’re emotional beings till I jokingly said till about five or six years old and then it was sort of the metaphorical ‘backhander’ – Hey, that’s not being male. You’re not being a warrior being like that. You need to armour up so to speak.
Connecting & Re-balancing the Male Psyche
Nathan [12:59] So becomes a psyche that’s out of balance. Too heavily rigid in the warrior pose, standing up straight with a straight back, shoulders back, chest out and stomach sucked in. That’s that kind of assholes clench tight, ready for, for whatever’s coming around the corner. Basically, on constant alert, eyes open, can’t sleep. Running, working, pushing, and not feeling ever able to stop. I had a client say to me the other day that when he’s in a relationship or dating a woman or going out on a date, he feels the overwhelming sensation that he must not slack off.
Nathan [14:00] He must not slack off he must maintain and hold on to the being the person that he feels she wants him to be and he can’t slack off even for a moment. And that really touched me when he said that.
Men Connecting to their Vulnerability
Mark [14:20] In doing that, does that then stop men connecting to their vulnerability within themselves?
Nathan [14:31] I think it’s an atrophied muscle to a certain extent. I think men we’re talking in generalities here, but I think that men are more likely to do some bicep curls and build their bicep muscles. Rather than to build their, emotional literacy, their emotional intelligence, their emotional, their ability to connect on an emotional level – to feel emotions. It certainly is its own type of training – it’s like an invisible type of training. That’s why men’s mentorship that I run is called an inner gym. The inner gym is the gym but for the inner world, the only place where you can make changes.
Connecting to our Beautiful Male Sensitivity
Mark [15:22] Inside men, inside our psyche, is that sensitivity – that beautiful sensitivity that men do have and being able to connect and access that is such a gift. It’s a vulnerability. It’s fragile, but it’s got such beauty. Wondering how do we help? Do we need to help or guide men in our evolution, it’s okay to have that? It’s okay to understand that, it’s okay to connect to that, to share that and through connecting to that within ourselves, we can then connect to others, particularly our partners in their sensitivity.
Nathan [16:15] I think that what might help is if men really understood how much it would benefit their lives if they were able to face some of this stuff that they had buried. That they haven’t been willing to feel. That whenever there are those areas of life, those memories, those people in the past, who we hold resentment or blame towards or anger or guilt about some of the things we did in the past. Or where we should be and then worry about not being far enough along in life and all those things.
Connecting to the Benefits by Facing our Emotional Pain
Nathan [17:01] I totally lost my train of thought then – I was like flowing…
Mark [17:10] The benefits ~ I wonder whether some of the benefits that you are alluding to can be a sense of well-being. Instead of contracting to open – which created a better flow-state in our bodies – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, which then facilitate a deeper connection to self and to others?
Nathan [17:32] Right, exactly. In quite simple terms there is a huge benefit to identifying those areas that are causing you to essentially be shaky on your foundations. To fill those areas of, I don’t know what you would call maybe like weakness or instability. As you come to terms with those things and clear those things up, you will feel a natural kind of strength, solidarity, certainty and integrity deeply inside. Which, and the benefits to that are just too many to name. I mean, as you can only really love from that place. From that place of truth – you can only really create from that place.
Connecting to my Deep Purpose
Mark [18:32] What’s it like when you connect to that place within yourself, Nathan? What do you experience? Can you share the experiences you just touched on a couple just then it’s beautiful to hear that?
Nathan [18:48] It’s like the deep knowing that I am here for a purpose. There is a purpose to being here. There always has been a purpose for me being here. And that everything in my life has happened perfectly to bring me to this moment which is so totally aligned. So deeply aligned with my values, with my sense of self – capital S self. My inner world which just feels so strong and grounded, that I no longer question myself, no longer feel the need to apologise for my existence.
Nathan [20:00] I decisive and I’m believable because I tell the truth and that feeling is the most exquisite feeling that I’ve experienced in this life.
Words cannot explain the feelings resonating in our Connection
Mark [20:25] As you’re sharing that space with me – I’m resonating with the energy that you’re sharing. What do you experience in your body as you are touching that and coming from that space from your true self? Or your inner self, whatever you want to call it?
Nathan [20:50] It feels like I speak from – It feels real like I’m taking a feeling and I’m transmitting the feeling directly to you. And I’m doing that by the most convenient method that I have, which is words. Knowing that the words are totally inadequate to truly describe how I’m feeling and that I’m only transmitting energy through the words that I speak. So, it doesn’t matter what words I say because connection happens on a level that is pre-language, its own thing. So, I feel like the words come directly from my gut, my inner heart and my body itself. And that at the same time I’m not really this body – that it’s, about as close to an instantaneous connection as I can imagine.
Mark [22:14] I’ve got – go on – sorry – as you’re sharing that I’ve got a sign on the wall. It says the soul knows what to do to heal itself, the challenge is to silence the mind. When you’re coming from that space, what do you experience happens to your connections to others?
My Connection to Others
Nathan [22:46] Well, I’m living at home with my Mum and Dad, and have been for almost two years and that has been my training ground because I had for most of my life run away from family and tried to escape try to gain my independence. And just recently I felt the experience of – well I had an opportunity fall into our lap to move. To move to the Central Coast a couple of hours away and kind of dropped out of our laps right at a time where we – we Mirette and my fiancé. Where we had kind of come to this place of acceptance about being here. And just letting go of the idea that we needed to have our place and we needed to move out, but we could be fine here with everyone. And then that came into our lap and we said yes, so we’re moving. And what came next surprised me. Took me by surprise which was a deep feeling of sadness and a deep feeling of really knowing that I’m going to deeply miss my family moving away. And that was strange to me because I’d never really felt that before. Because I had always been running away.
Nathan [24:15] So, that’s how it’s shifted my relationship with my family. The change and the things that I’ve seen in my family, the growth, and the light and the connection and just the ability for us all to be together under one roof and get along and it’s just such a beautiful thing. So, that’s kind of a way to explain the impact that it’s had on my relationships in life.
Connecting to my Deep Purpose
Mark [24:51] Just moving the conversation along. One of the questions is we talk – I invite guests to talk about their connection to the ‘All That Is’ – whatever that is to. Be it a God, be it the ocean, the sun, the moon doesn’t matter. When I talk about ~ when I asked the question, your connection to ‘All That Is’ how do you experience that question? Where does it take you?
Nathan [25:33] Well, the more words, right? Like they’re just more words (Laughter).
Mark [25:38] I like that. Yeah, that’s a really – yeah, well done. Yeah, they are words.
Nathan [25:42] They’re just words that are pointing to the thing that I now know – that I also know don’t have words to describe it.
Mark [25:54] That invisible space or what a something that – words cannot just share it. It doesn’t give it adequacy or just doesn’t…
Nathan [26:05] So, it’s ~ I don’t know. It’s home with – that I always carry with me. It’s the unchangeable, unmovable, unborn and undying.
Letting go of our Mental Health (LOL)
Mark [26:30] When you’re in there experiencing that space – Do you notice what happens to your mental health when you’re in that ‘All That Is’ whatever that is to you?
Nathan [26:46] When you say mental health that makes me think about my brain. Reclining on a sun lounge, in the sun, with its little feet in the ground and breathing.
Mark [26:49] Good one!
Nathan [27:04] When you say mental health, not just mental health, every kind of health.
Connecting All Our Health
Nathan [27:10] Every kind of health. It is just a returning back to rest and deep rest. Resting the mind, resting the body and strengthening the body, strengthening the mind and all of that. Done from a place, not of I must change because I’m not good enough as I am. But of a just digging this growth. I really want to just kind of see where this goes. I guess that’s the path – that’s the pathway. I’ve stopped questioning. I finally stopped asking myself the question about whether I’m on a path or not. That took a while. At least now I know for sure that this will never end. And that it’s not about the end. It really isn’t about getting to a destination or an outcome or any goal.
Mark [27:10] Well done.
Mark [27:12] Just being?
Nathan [27:46] Just being. Just being – I mean doing – I had to do a lot of work to turn the ship around so to speak. Because at one point in my life, it was really going in a dark direction. To turn it around, took an incredible amount of work – just hard work-work, discipline, pain and suffering. Mistakes and fuck ups and lying, cheating, stealing and then all of it.
Connecting to Our Flow-State
Nathan [29:04] Just turn the ship around and then the closer I got to that place that you’re talking about the “Is-ness” the-the what is” – the narrower that river began to get and the faster the water started to flow.
Nathan [29:30] So when I have experiences of altered states of consciousness, so whether it’s with psychedelics or through meditation or through breath-work or cold exposure or whatever it is, it’s a very reaffirming place to be, because it always has the ability to snap me immediately back to I guess that’s what they call flow.
Mark [30:08] The flow-state? Yeah. What would it be like to anchor into that flow-state?
Nathan [30:24] Well, the ability to I mean, it’s just kind of like total, effortless – It’s like electricity pumping through every cell of my body. It’s a – it’s a deep, deep sense of certainty. Rock-solid certainty that shoots down through my feet into the ground. Snaps my spine up straight. Its presence, it’s the ability to fill a room when you walk into it.
Flow-State Connects to Confidence, Power, Artistry & Craft
Nathan [31:26] To speak with, with confidence, power, artistry and craft. To share a message, a message that is in alignment with that flow. And to invite everything that I always need into this space instantaneously because I’m rushing past everything that I need. I only must reach out and grab what it is that I want as I rush past there. That’s the flow.
Mark [32:09] The flow within?
Nathan [32:11] Yeah, where else. (Laughter).
Mark [32:14] That’s lovely. It’s really – as you’re sharing the story is your connection to that flow. It’s I think sometimes we do it an injustice to put word – cognitive words to it. But it really sounded like the warrior was – the empowered warrior was there. For want of words, and what a beautiful connection we men can make when we connect to that.
Connecting to the 4 Masculine Archetypes
Nathan [32:43] Yeah, mate. Like, I talk a lot about the four archetypes of the masculine archetypes, the warrior, the lover, the magician and the king. And how integral and important it is for all four to be activated to balance each other out. The warrior without the lover becomes a warlord. The lover without the warrior without the discipline of the warrior becomes an addict.
Nathan [33:28] So, they’ll support each other, and men’s work has been so important for this journey as well as deepening my own understanding of myself as I relate to masculinity and manhood.
Mark [33:54] And the seems to be a real movement that there is a new ~ the birth have true masculinity coming forward?
Nathan [34:09] What is true masculinity?
Mark [34:11] Yeah, good come back on that. The source of – the deep essence of our masculinity that rich – with all the four archetypes in balance, what a gift to ourselves and to others?
Connecting our Polarities ~ Masculine & Feminine
Nathan [34:37] It’s like tapping into something that runs whose roots run, run back about as far as things can run. Men and women, there is a difference and that difference has run back as long as there’s been in humans. And the polarity between the two sexes, which is the polarity is everything. What results in the explosion that produces more humans? That polarity has taken a pretty long time to un-develop. So, we can’t untangle – we can’t rewire that in in a very short time.
Nathan [25:38] I feel like that’s a little bit what’s perhaps what was starting to happen in terms of gender and all the stuff that was happening. I think it’s a perfect opportunity right now during everything that’s happening for men to really ground into that sense of what it means to be a man.
Connecting to Long Term Changes
Mark [36:11] And like I said, it took a long time to turn ~ it takes a long time for a ship to turn around. And yeah, hopefully, ~ we are now creating that time and that space. There’s more men like yourself coming out into the world and being the guide to other men. So, looking forward to watching this space of men’s growth and men’s movements to really give men the gift not just for themselves but to others and the ‘All That Is’ to make this world the divine place that it needs to be – in the safety of Mother Earth.
Mark [37:06] Any advice you’d have in drawing the conversation or close any advice you would have for a young male embarking on his journey?
Connecting to Doing What You Want to Do
Nathan [37:25] I would say have a look at your life and write a bit of a list about all the things that you’re currently doing that you don’t really want to do. Get real with yourself, about the reasons why you’re doing the things that you’ve committed to doing. Whether it’s because of your parents, whether it’s because of your girlfriend, whether it’s because you want to be liked? Whether it’s because you think that’s what you need to do, as a man, as a boy, as a son, as a boyfriend.
Nathan [38:16] And I would look very carefully at that list and see how much of this life that you’re living is yours, versus how much you’ve rented out. And when you’ve figured out where you’ve rented all your life out to and who, then don’t take it all back.
Mark [38:46] Thank you. Nathan, thank you for the wonderful opportunity to yet again connect with you. Your wisdom, your knowledge, your inner journey work. It so resonates. I could feel the powerful energy, as you were reflecting. And I agree with you – the word sometimes – yeah, words are just insufficient to really touch on the essence of your growth and your change. It’s wonderful for future men to be able to have men like you that have done their work and continuing to do the work and I really appreciate this and I’m honoured to have this conversation ~ to hear your story in change.
Mark [39:41] Namaste mate.
Nathan [39:43] Namaste. Thank you, Mark.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai