the seven words of well-being for men

Even though my books and writing may be labeled “for men” or “for women,” these distinctions often reflect publishing-world realities more than anything else.

Each one of us resides (and from time to time, slides) along a masculine/feminine continuum. Much of the work we undertake to be whole now, involves integrating our inner masculine and inner feminine in a divine marriage. Liberation from cultural and family oppression and repression is not the province of any particular gender or lineage: It’s Universal (with a capital Y-O-U).

I culled these 7 words from my out-of-print book, What There Is To Love About A Man (Sourcebooks, 1999). My prayer is that women’s anger and the culturally acceptable male-bashing of the late 20th century are behind us: Let us now see our own reflections in the eyes and hearts and spirits of others, variations in body parts notwithstanding.


Something inside a man sizzles. Red-hot coals lie aglow in his belly, waiting for the breath of inspiration that will set them aflame. This is the fire that lives in a man. These are the roots of his passion, his fervor, his fuel to create a well-tempered existence. Herein lies his tinderbox, awaiting to arouse a man to a luminous life. When his fire is tended and nourished and fed, a man can kindle a revolt of his spirit, and awaken a brilliance as bright as the sun. He need only build the proper hearth to channel this white-hot intensity into the energy of action. To build and to dance; to begin and to be. To radiate a light that shines from within and enlightens all in his orbit — and nobody needs to get burned. A man has the power to be a firebug for his very soul, but first he must find his own matches. And then, he must play with his fire.


This is not about sperm counts. This is about the potent fruitfulness that lives in a man. It lives in his fertile imagination, in his prolific mind, in the seeds of innovation and initiation that he gently scatters like milkweed on the wind. A man’s heart is fertile when it gives rise to acts of perfect love and radical forgiveness. When it sows the seeds of peace and justice. When it flowers and drops its petals in receptive soil strengthened by the sun and nourished by the rain. A man walks upon fertile ground when his every thought and his every action favor compassion over contempt and amity over animosity. This is more about productivity than it is about reproduction. This is about begetting a future void of old, obsolete ideas, and bringing forth new ways invigorated by new truths. This is about creating; this is about life.


It doesn’t matter how many jobs a man may have, unless he’s found his work. Not just the work that pays the bills, but the work that feeds his soul. The real work of a man goes on 24/7/365. The work to define his place in the world, and to help create that world. The vocation that fits him like a glove and that no one else can do exactly like him. If he listens, work will call to a man. But until he’s found right livelihood, everything else may feel wrong. He can work for money or love or sheer satisfaction. He may wear a white collar or a blue collar or a pink collar or no collar at all. He can work for wages or work for himself or work for the company store. A man can work with his hands or his head, but to work at what he loves, a man must work from his heart. He must give freely of the gifts that only he can give. Until he steps into his one true calling, a man’s work will never be done.


Cupid pulled back his bow and hit a bull’s eye, and now the man is real, real gone. He’s leaking love all over the place and sucking the deliciousness out of life. He’s stopping to smell the roses and sticking around to taste the dripping flesh of a ripe and juicy mango. He sees lovers cavorting in the clouds and alongside the road and he’s trembling with runaway lust. Suddenly, all is sensational! Birdsong sweeter than he’s ever heard lilts across meadows more lush than he’s ever seen. A light rain sprinkles his face and he rises up into rapture. He trades in flannel for silk, and cotton for satin, and finally chucks it all to run naked ‘neath the moon. Love songs spill out of his lips without the slightest provocation, and he stays home from work on account of desire. He craves deep chocolate ice cream with hot raspberry syrup, passionfruit nectar with a twist, and Pavarotti twenty-four hours a day. He’s washing in rosewater and soaking in ylang-ylang. He’s been struck by an arrow, and he’s taken it to heart.


Listen to the voice of a man. Hear it cry out for freedom and call out in triumph. Hear it keen and bellow and moan and wail. His is the voice that exploded in battle; his is the howl that ignited the flame. Beneath all the babble, he spoke sotto voce ; his basso profundo enveloped the hall. You can hear the entire world in the voice of a man. The bit of brogue, the touch of twang, the patois of the plain, and the elocution of the noble. The changing voice of a boy becomes the unwavering voice of a man. A full-throated man voices his fears and his deepest yearnings. He voices his anger as he voices his joy. If called upon and ready, he voices the conscience of the people. The strongest men’s voices still strain to be heard, while somehow, the lesser are heard over all. Listen to the sound of a man’s voice in all of its glory. It just might be a god, with the voice of a man.


There’s a lot more to the truth than just facts. Or consequences. Truth be told, it matters little whether a man tells the truth, unless he also lives it. Unless he lives the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth of his life. The genuine article; the very life he was born to live. It is one thing to stand in a court of law and swear to be truthful; it is something else altogether to stand in front of the mirror and commit to live a life without lies. When a man creates a life in tune with his deepest knowings, he lives in his truth. When a man forsakes the agendas of others and lives according to his highest values, he can truthfully say he is living an authentic life. The truth is sometimes bitter, and often strange. To get to the naked truth of his own existence, a man may have to peel away lifetimes of layers of lies. When he does, he will find his truth, his way, and his life.


In the woods, beside the creek. High on the mesa, beneath the ruins. Down in the cellar, behind the furnace. At his desk, late on Sunday. Back at the woodpile, chopping, chopping. Out on the range, running the horses and racing the wind. Over at the levee, skipping stones. Hangin’ at the garage, tinkering with tools. Men without women. Men deep within. On the floor of the library, flipping through art books. Up on the roof, watching the sunset. At the tip of the island, building castles in the sand. Down on his knees, surrounded by Spirit. Underwater. Alone in his den, gathered at the lodge. Lost in his music, seeking the silence. Finding his song, quelling the voices. Behind the wheel. At the controls. On the road. Off the grid. Below the surface. Beyond the din. Far away, men go within.

10 thoughts

  1. Malcolm,

    I am touched by your kind sentiments — and delighted that the words beckoned you out of hiding. Based on the responses from Christian, Outdoors2, and you, I’m sensing it may be time to try (again) to share this work with a wider audience…


  2. Sia,

    What a great surprise to hear from you! Please visit again – and bring 8 or 12 of your closest friends. (In particular, your beautiful Mom.) I have only the fondest memories of those beautiful Berkshire Hills…


    For some reason, I had you pegged as an Idaho type. (-; I myself am a native Washingtonian (DC, that is), raised up as a Marylander. But the metro area doesn’t really count as either Maryland OR Virginia, does it? Been some 30 years since I discovered I was a Westerner trapped in the body of an Easterner…


  3. The Piedmont of ole ‘Ginny
    not a sight to be seen
    tops of the woodlands
    and just brackish streams

    If I had my druthers
    the top of some peak
    the glory of mornings
    these risings I seek…

    ha, Virginia is where this saddle rests Rachel


  4. HI Rachel!
    Long time no see or talk! Just came across Eugenie’s name which reminded me of you and searched and here I find you… rockin’ on, looking great, and still putting your finger right on the…word. Much love from Western MA, Sia


  5. I have dreamt of people who might know me this well and then having the wisdom and poetry of spirit to express such truths. Then, in the light of day, I put up the well-constructed barriers again and hide within.

    But for this brief moment on a sunny Georgia morning, I’ll confess that you are telling the truth with a beauty I seldom see, much less permit.



  6. Christian and Outdoors2,

    Thanks to both of you for the validation. It means a lot to me. When the time comes for me to repackage this content in a new, highly marketable form, I want your testimonials on the outside back cover! Hey, Outdoors2, what part of the world do you call home? I know that Christian hangs his hat in Colorado. (-;


  7. I agree with Christian! I was absorbing and understanding all your words, Till I got to ‘Sanctuary’ and I realized you understood me better than ‘I’.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s