“In the eye of the storm, I’ll make my stand. But I’m not waiting for the walls to close in. I just brace myself for winds to change their ways.”
– Godsmack – “Eye of the Storm”
The hits kept coming.
“I can’t keep doing this.”
I thought to myself.
There I was, out on the warehouse floor of my work, Christmas rush blasting the dock, my daughter had potentially had another seizure, my parents were fighting, my ex-wife was threatening to take me back to court, and my aunt was having serious health issues.
On top of all this, I had just broken up with my girlfriend.
Towering waves, wind crested and pushed, were tossing me around. Swirling vortices of water, pushing me in every direction, a doomed ship upon the angry sea.
And I kept refusing to put down my anchor.
Helplessly bracing for the next hit, I was letting all of this consume me.
This hadn’t been the worst day. There’d been worse, don’t get me wrong. But everything was hitting at once. And I was letting it affect me. So I had to say “fuck it” and dropped the hammer. I lashed out at everyone at work about my shitty day. I got emotional. I punched a door. It was too much.
So I stormed out and slammed the office door. I was on the warehouse floor with freight, machinery, and large equipment in a righteously pissed off state and that wasn’t good.
After tossing a couple of load locks, my phone, non-stop since that morning, started ringing again. I chucked it across the dock.
After taking a 2x 4 to a pile of old pallets, I finally calmed down. I was sweating, out of breath, but surprisingly, everything was finally, mercifully quiet for a moment.
I sat on the pile of pallets, breathing heavy, fuming, and upset. It wasn’t stopping. The phone, surprisingly still working, kept ringing. Texts, alerts, overload.
It had to stop. It wasn’t going to.
I had to make it stop.
Enforce Your Calm
A man must understand one thing.
The storm of life doesn’t ever stop. You create the calm within it by being the strength to face it.
As I said in a blog post a few months ago called “Storms”, life doesn’t give a fuck about you or your problems. It’s unrelenting, and you can only control what you can control.
But what you can control will determine how you weather these storms, and if you are strong enough, anchored enough, and steadfast, you create your own calm, your own eye within the chaos, rather than being tossed uncontrollably by a machination of calamities, both perceived and real.
This is a matter of personal, emotional, and even physical strength. You make a stand against all of this, everyday. You put your chest out and face the wrath, unflinching. That’s the difference between today’s stressed out man and the man of the past, who was stressed, but did his shit anyway.
There is something to be said for stoicism, the practice of Marcus Aurelius, and why the manosphere continues to pine for his wisdom. Zeno of Citium founded the school of philosophy, and there is a ton of wisdom in it. It’s a lost art to be able to keep one’s cool, especially with a world that is constantly yapping at men to perform. Imagine a world that Aurelius lived in, with wars with barbarian hordes, disease, famine, and low life expectancy, as the back drop for a philosophy that required you to keep your head about you at all times, through all events.
Now, fast forward to today, where modern convenience has made all of what Aurelius dealt with obsolete, and see how we are MORE stressed than ever.
It shows to men today that we are not even close to being as weathered as our ancestors. And with the feminization of society, it only stands to reason that as society continues to denigrate men and masculinity, the victim hood of circumstances defense will still continue to get airplay.
All the more reason for men to focus on the small picture and handle their immediate concerns, and forge a calm center to retreat to in case of issues.
It really is up to you how you attack this.
The Mind’s Eye
All calm in your life starts with the calming of your mind.
Close your eyes in a quiet room. No distractions. Do you hear your mind chattering away? This is your mind’s default setting, but it is one that you can control.
You have issues. You have things that you have to do. You have worries. You have fears.
You have to assign importance of all of this in your thoughts.
You control what thoughts you listen to. You control your reactions to the thoughts that scare you.
You are in control of your brain. Many people aren’t, however. That’s where taking time to calm the mind is where the calm in the storm starts. When you’re calm of mind, the world calms around you, because you aren’t letting it escalate. This takes an enormous amount of self and emotional control which many men these days don’t have. To stand in the face of a blinding wind, gigantic waves, and the imminent threat of loss of life is to become more than the hurricane.
And it starts in your head.
The world, and hell, life in general is a bully, but it’s all bark and no bite, for the most part. We live longer now than we ever have. We have somewhat of a civilized society. The big picture things are handled so that we can obsess about the small shit, and obsess we do.
The human mind must always have problems to solve, or it creates them on its own. Idle hands are a major problem, and the problems that are easiest to solve tend to be the ones we overlook, and the lack of control for the bigger problems overwhelm us.
While seething on the dock that December afternoon, several things happened.
- My dock was full of freight and we were busy
- My daughter’s seizure was a false alarm
- My parents worked out their issues
- My ex-wife called and apologized and we worked out the issues
- My aunt found out she didn’t have cancer
My relationship with my girlfriend ended by my accord. I found out later that she had been seeing her ex-boyfriend before me again, so it made my breaking up with her much easier to handle.
All the shit I was stressing about during that day had worked itself out (with little lifting from me).
After an apology to my work crew and a bit of door repair for the dented door, I was back to being even-keeled. But this time, I reminded myself that feeling this way wasn’t the way to go, and clearing my mind was going to be a priority to avoid future blow ups.
I’ve always had a problem with anger, and there aren’t easy answers. But you can control and channel your anger into productive exercises, as well as utilizing stoicism and mind calming techniques to pull back from the brink of the blowup.
Before, I would be uncontrollable with my stress induced blowouts.
But now, they happen much less frequently because I’ve managed to remember the big picture and how forming a eye of calm inside a storm of reality will truly make me a better man.
Find your calm and claim it.