A Note from the Man Cave

by Joel L, Western Australia

In spite of the focus recently given to the number of women who are students of Universal Medicine, there are also men. As one of those, I felt to explore some recent discoveries about expressing as a man.

Warning:  this might be a bit like someone is explaining the landscape in a foreign land that they have not yet seen for themselves. The words may be familiar, but it is hard to grasp just how beautiful it is.

As I have mentioned in previous articles, the most profound shift in my expression as a man has been the recognition that there has always been a desire to recognise the sensitivity and tenderness that lives (not too deeply) behind all the bravado, drinking and standard mateship rituals.

I am coming to realise that my tendency to ‘close down’ (create a Man cave) was not because I was unfeeling but because of how much I was feeling. Feeling so much, but not having practised expressing these feelings, meant that the words usually came out in a clumsy or generally unproductive way.

The battle to try to explain what I meant/felt reinforced my view that life in the ‘man cave’ is not so bad (certainly easier). If my communication caused a reaction in another person, it was easier to blame myself and go back into the man cave rather than honour the fact that what I was feeling might be true. As such, the man cave was a safe haven and an easy retreat.

More recently, I have been popping my head out of the cave. I am finding a whole world of feelings that I have never really had to put into words.

I am learning the difference between not reacting to someone’s reaction to what I say, and to closing down… turns out there’s a difference. I am learning that someone reacting to what I say is not always a sign I said something wrong… and that sometimes it is. I am learning that the less time I spend getting my portfolio of achievements together and the more time I allow myself to be ‘real’, the more real life and other people become.

Finally, I am learning that other guys feel similar things and have the similar desire for tenderness to be their benchmark for life. What a world it would be once this becomes the norm, rather than the exception.

358 thoughts on “A Note from the Man Cave

  1. What a great exploration of the ‘man cave’ Joel and reactions changing to responses, making sense of things and bringing true understanding to your life.
    “I am learning that the less time I spend getting my portfolio of achievements together and the more time I allow myself to be ‘real’, the more real life and other people become”.

  2. This is the best definition of ‘man cave’ I have ever come across – it is not just a physical structure, it begins much earlier than that and makes me wonder to what degree we already start inflicting it on young boys.

  3. One of the things I have enjoyed most about maturing is the relationships I am developing with men and realising they are just as sensitive (if not more) than me. It is beautiful to have relationship with men that hold enough equality and respect to appreciate this fact.

  4. I was watching a documentary recently and observing some young people talking about their life in Year 12, it was fascinating to watch some of the young guys – they had so much to share but you can see the conditioning that happens and how they have not been encouraged to express. One of the guys in the show would just grunt at his partner and she didn’t question it – it’s like we just accept this is how relationships will be. It is gorgeous when men do express how they feel as there is much for us all to learn from this.

  5. As women we need to make sure that we are supporting the men to be the exquisitely tender beings they each in essence are. This does not mean that we are going to be crutches for weak and floppy men that want to cry on our shoulders (!) but more so that we can accept, appreciate, honour and adore the gentleness and strength that is the true man. We have got it so wrong when we decided somewhere along the way that men could not be both gentle and strong, choosing instead to see gentleness as ‘weakness’ (which it definitely is not!) and adopting a vision of strength to be ‘muscle and brawn’ which is basically just hardness and protection if you leave true tenderness out of the equation. In order to support the men in this way, we as women need to give up the game of playing small, make the choice to reconnect to our innate sacredness and absolutely honour the equally precious beings we are in essence also. If men have been in a cave, then us women have been in a pit.

    1. Very true Liane. As women we have a lot of pictures about how a man should be and most of them are based on lies that we have been bombarded with from outside. When a man is connected to his essence he is at his most powerful and most tender and he cannot be manipulated. This can be confronting for a woman that has relied on manipulation to protect herself. When I am met by a man who can express his tenderness I am given an opportunity to see just how skewed our ideals and beliefs about gender have been. When a man is met by a woman who knows and lives her own sacredness he has an opportunity to connect to his true nature.

  6. This is a great sharing Joel; making big societal change and outlook begins with a small step and in this blog, you have provided it. All men everywhere and young boys would get much support from the reading of your words.

  7. I love the way you express Joel, with such wisdom and tenderness. And you are so right – being a gentle and caring man, is like exploring new, unexplored territory. For up until now it is like we as a race have been stuck on one island and thought that this is ‘it’. But there is so much more to being a guy. Let us all move forward to explore the qualities that we truly have – without disturbing our native grace.

  8. Beautifully said Joel. Your words help me to see that the world is missing out on the wisdom men can express from their innate tenderness because we are not holding men in love and supporting them to express.

  9. ‘I am coming to realise that my tendency to ‘close down’ (create a Man cave) was not because I was unfeeling but because of how much I was feeling’. With all the roles, ideals and beliefs we impose on men these days to be hard and invincible have we completely misjudged and disregarded their innate tenderness which is actually one of their greatest strengths.

  10. “I am learning the difference between not reacting to someone’s reaction to what I say, and to closing down… turns out there’s a difference.” In my experience when someone closes down including myself there is a given up feeling that makes it even harder for any communication because in this place old behaviours start to play out that seem perfectly normal like work, or being on the computer and swear there is nothing wrong, because this is normal, but in the closing down all honest and meaningful communication is lost. When we stay with the reaction there is more opportunity in the rawness to keep the communication going.

  11. We hold back expressing as men, that is for sure. What we fail to express is that we are very sensitive. We get nervous that our expression will not be received in a way we want it to because that means we have to stand in our truth and also lead the way for others to see what being a true man is all about.

  12. I can feel how we all close down, both men and women when we think we have been hurt; we put tentative feelers out to see if it is safe to express, but often they come with a certain criteria, that others prove it is safe to do so….this is no way to live. The freedom of expressing who we are in essence with no testing is immensely empowering and something that I am reclaiming.

  13. ‘Finally, I am learning that other guys feel similar things and have the similar desire for tenderness to be their benchmark for life’. Beautiful Joel, it is so great that at last it has been put out there and confirmed what has been felt but unable to be acted on. There are so many open, connected and tender men and what this shares is the big invitation to make the choice to act on the love that is felt within.

  14. The use of a mans’ man cave is defined by his behaviours in life not just a physical location that they retreat to and find security and comfort in. I know my man cave has been within me, not my inner heart which is a much deeper place of truth and unification and love for all, but a shallow place of withdrawal which I would seek in the past by going to my room and now have noticed I seek by shunning my voice and shutting myself down when something is not as I like it to be.

    1. I can relate to this Joshua, there have been many times in my life where I have actually said to myself that I will never open my mouth again. This is often followed on from speaking up and having others react. I thought that was a bad thing until I met Serge Benhayon and I thank every day for his reflection of never stopping expressing even when the most horrid of reaction comes his way.

  15. It is so beautiful when a man is willing to express himself and share his observations, feelings and sensitivities. It allows you to understand and grow together.

  16. It is a well known fact that those in history who in the face of the reactions and disapproval of many have stood for truth even if to have to endure torture and at times death. It shows there is far greater value in upholding what is true than giving in and allowing the lie to continue.

  17. Thank you for sharing this Joel, it gives an understanding of what plays out for men and why they struggle to express themselves.

  18. What you have shared here Joel, calls us all to be far more understanding, and offer space for another’s expression – to listen more deeply than to ‘the words alone’ and appreciate if the doors to a long held-back voice are being opened.

  19. For so much of my life, I have found myself literally holed up in my bedroom, in my house, on my own. Actually reflecting back the cave has come with me outside of these places, in my office, my friendships and relationships too. Any chance to withdraw when things get rough and too hard to handle. Yet what I never saw is that we are all doing this in our own way with sugar, Facebook, games or TV – sooner or later someone has to be the ‘bigger person’ or this roundabout of hurt will never stop. So it’s down to you and me to choose how we will be – to honour our sensitivity but to find out, what is life like out of the cave, perhaps it’s not so bad after all? Thank you Joel.

  20. It is extreme behavior, to live from the tough shell to who we actually are as sensitive, tender men. I feel uncomfortable now when I feel myself go into protection and how hard it feels on my body.

  21. Oh wow. There I was blaming men with their cave and their retreat but I can see how I push them into it and affirm that is where they belong. Just as much as women would love to be accepted for simply being the women that we are, men equally deserve support from women for them to be and express the true essence of who they are.

  22. I now have a greater understanding as to why men feel the need for retreating into a man cave, layering up with protection and the facade of toughness. We as a society have come to expect this from men, as we judge and ridicule them for expressing their sensitivity and tenderness, basically being who they are. Thank you Joel, for expressing this clearly and simply, in which you also highlight our responsibility as women, to meet men for who they are and allow the quality they naturally hold with within to be freely expressed.

  23. Beautiful to read thanks Joel, this is a gorgeous understanding you offer of why men retreat to their ‘man cave’ and what it takes to begin venturing out. Lovely to have you in that tenderness and honesty, you pave the way for not just other men to follow suit, but also for women to have some understanding of what it is men have felt and reacted to.

  24. It is so touching to read from a man’s perspective, what the man cave’s purpose actually is. When you consider it, it makes so much sense. The way you express throughout this blog has an inspirational freedom, it’s brave and strong yet vulnerable. It really does moves me to imagine that through the philosophies and teachings of Universal Medicine true equality between men and woman will one day be possible.

  25. Thank you Joel for a great sharing about what the “man cave” really means, so beautiful to accept and be able to come out of the cave to live the tenderness and vulnerability that exists deep within your heart. with that openness that: “I am learning the difference between not reacting to someone’s reaction to what I say, and to closing down… turns out there’s a difference. “

  26. There are various kinds of men. Those that never leave the man cave. Those that venture out a bit but keep the cave as a ready back up, a go to place if something happens. There are also those that say no to the cave anymore. On the other hand, there are those who work to make sure that those who dare to venture a bit outside go back to it and those who have said no to it that invite everybody to feel how beautiful it is in the world out there. These are all choices of how to move in life.

  27. Living in a house of all men I have much more of an understanding of why men at times seek out a man cave. As women we can often give out different signals of what we feel is acceptable for a man to support us with and what is not. Men in truth are naturally tender, gentle and loving but when they express in this way sometimes women can shut them down with trying to compete and be one up. Men then have it coming at them from all sides, other men and women too. It is great with blogs like these to start having a conversation about it and to start decommissioning the man cave for good.

  28. Dear “Joel out of the cave” I love this sentences: “I am learning that someone reacting to what I say is not always a sign I said something wrong… and that sometimes it is.” With that you are joining the “club” of human beings who chose to be real – as you mentioned. It is simply wonderful that the numbers of members of this “club” is continuously growing . . .

  29. Oh I totally agree Joel, what a world it would be if we were all to live with the love and tenderness we all are rather than it being the exception.

  30. There is only one entrance to a cave that you go to hide in and you have to step out through where you went in to feel the warmth of the Sun and take your place in the beautiful surroundings that await you.

  31. How beautiful to read your blog this morning Joel, it made me truly appreciate how sensitive and tender men are, even when they build a bravado of toughness, it is only to throw others of the scent of their sensitivity. It made me realise how we all have a responsibility to allow men to show their sensitivity without the need to protect themselves and how through supporting this men are able to support women and other men to a deeper level of connection.

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