Here’s the forgotten word that could avoid endless bickering and help build consensus.

The word toxic, as it’s popularly used these days, has its roots in the concept of “toxic mimicry,” first introduced by environmentalist and award-winning author Derrick Jensen in his book, Endgame:¹

I used to believe that civilization is a culture of parodies. Rape is a parody of sex. Civilized wars are parodies of indigenous warfare, which is a relatively nonlethal and exhilarating form of play, meaning civilized warfare is a parody of play. Abusive relationships are a parody of love. Cities are parodies of communities, and citizenship…

When tested for resistance to pain, Zen meditation practitioners showed a higher pain threshold than non-meditators.

Researchers studied their brains in an MRI to see what was going on.¹

There are two groupings of brain regions that tend to work together. There’s the “experiential brain” — the areas of the brain that are involved in experiencing the world.

Then there’s the “evaluative brain,” which is constantly thinking about the past and future and giving a running commentary on everything that’s happening. All. The. Time. This is known as the “default mode network.” Or, “monkey mind.”

Normally these two sets of…

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If you’re quarantined alone or separated from your loved ones, it’s understandable if you’re not feeling too great right now.

No I mean literally, it’s understandable, it’s comprehensible. The importance of human contact for our wellbeing is well known and the brain mechanics are understood.

We’re social animals. Contact with others is part of how we regulate our physiology. In isolation, our internal system can go haywire.

Isolation can make you sick.

To understand how this can be, we’ll need to geek out a bit on how emotions evolved and the multiple purposes they came to serve.

(The literature on…

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A few things to know about your feelings that might shed some light on what to do with them.

Here’s a question. Are our emotions completely involuntary, beyond our conscious control… or do we have some say in what we feel?

The answer is… both. It’s nuanced. But with a little unpacking we can understand when and how we can shift how we feel.

Let’s begin by distinguishing between thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations.

Physical sensations are what you feel in your body. A headache. An itch. The gratifying relief sensation of scratching that itch. Sore muscles. …

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If you’re adults and speak the same language fluently, “communication” isn’t the problem—it’s only an issue because you’ve made it one.

Here are some examples of what people mislabel “communication problems”:

1. Being evasive — lying, avoiding, omitting; basically anything other than being honest, candid, transparent and forthcoming.

2. Being manipulative — saying what you think will get the other person to do what you want.

3. Being vindictive — spiteful, vengeful, deliberately hurtful.

4. Not understanding or feeling your own emotions (“Emotional Intelligence”) —your words and your emotions don’t match.

5. Extortion — withholding something your partner wants, or…

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In which I propose a working definition.

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.”
-President Bill Clinton, televised press conference, January 26, 1998

(White House intern Monica Lewinsky sucked his cock in the Oval Office.)

It was popular at the time to assume Clinton was trying to say only penis-in-vagina (PIV) counts as sex. But the truth is even more fascinating, and preposterous.

Apparently he read and re-read the court’s definition of “sexual relations,” put on his lawyerly hat, and concluded that it would apply to him if he had gone down on her.

People often tell me the advice they’ve gotten is to learn the art of compromise. They’ve heard it’s a necessity for successful long-term relationships.

Compromise is a consequence of lone-rangering. Someone has a plan of their own devising… then gets upset when their partner isn’t onboard… then labels that “having to compromise.”

And yes, that’s going to generate tension in the relationship.

But the opposite of lone-rangering isn’t compromise, it’s co-creation.

From scratch.

Anything that affects or involves both parties is co-created. From what to eat for dinner… to when to conceive a child.

Coming up with the plan in…

12 ways confidence gave me a much needed ego… and greater confidence let me set my ego aside.

As I gained confidence as a man, I was able to skillfully take the lead in my relationship, in a way that felt good to my partner. I became attractively assertive.

But I’ll tell you something. You know what else takes confidence? Apologizing cleanly.

With no defensiveness. And not to placate or manage her feelings. Just a clear, honest expression of regret.

I didn’t get good at apologizing — or rather, I didn’t really understand what an apology was — until I…

Anger isn’t as dangerous as we think. It’s not as useful, either. Here’s what you need to know.

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Living Passionately

“We cannot selectively numb emotions — when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”
- Brené Brown

Passion n.
the capacity to feel intensely, to experience life vividly, to care strongly. The opposite of apathy and indifference.

I’m a big fan of this. But we’re not talking about being emotionally unstable or dysregulated here. Which brings us to…

Emotional Intelligence n.
having the full range of healthy emotional response, recognizing your own and others’ emotions, understanding what’s…

We set out to redefine masculinity. Then I realized the word had problems that wouldn’t be resolved by a new definition.

In 2015 I teamed up with two leaders in men’s work to offer a workshop for men in search of a new healthy masculinity.

Over three days, thirty five men bonded, grappled with their emotions, held each other to a higher standard, changed their behavior, and stepped back into the world with new self-esteem and power.

In support of the workshop we created a Facebook group for both men and women to invite open discussion about masculinity. Each instructor…

Ken Blackman

Relationship and intimacy coach.

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