Moving Beyond Mediocre Manhood: Sacred Masculinity Blog Series

By Raphael Awen


Mediocre manhood. Those two words don’t really belong in the same sentence. Sadly though, we can’t escape the reality as it exists today…..or can we?

Escaping mediocre manhood will require awareness of how you are showing up as man, what isn’t working for you, the humility to admit it and the choice to seek something more.

How each of us as men have become the man we are has so much to do with the patterns of manhood that we were shown. These patterns were ingrained into us on so much more than a cognitive level going to the very heart of our being.

The word ‘pattern’ is from the same original word for the words; father; pater; papa and patriarch. Our father is literally our pattern, our ‘patron’ Saint, our admission into the ‘patriarchy’. Each of us as men is running a kind of emotional operating system that came to us via our fathers. Our father got it from his father, and so on and on. It may not be our father, or even a man in the role of our father, but all of us as men received intense male patterning and templating for every boy and man around us.

It is only as the contents of this,…let’s call it our EOS (emotional operating system) become conscious and brought up into our awareness, that we can even begin to move out of mediocrity in our manhood.

Here alone is a big step. Most men have a codependent relationship with all men and especially their fathers whereby they agree not to speak any ‘negativity’ towards their fathers. What this really is, is an agreement to keep the patriarchy intact from generation to generation. Only as you refuse to participate in the insanity will you find any ground to leave the insanity. This means you’re going to have get critical about dad and his pattern as it lives in you. I don’t know how else to say it. You don’t need to be a superiorizing asshole about it, but you can’t escape critique. Your critique will need to be vocal enough to exit the insanity. Being critical beyond that is just cycling in an enmeshed relationship men, dads, and male friends.

Unless you are willing to say no to every man, you can’t actually find your deepest version of your truest manhood. You may not need to say no to every man, but you will need to be willing to say no if your goal is your highest expression of your manhood. You don’t owe your dad a thing, and a healthy self realized dad doesn’t expect a thing in return for his role and years as a father. Actually, the greatest gift a dad can receive from their son is their ‘fuck you dad!’ of individuation, which ideally should come around 18 years old. Now, after this healthy completion of the childhood phase, dad and son can go on to forge a totally new relationship with the old one having truly died and been reborn.

Only now, after this death and rebirth, can new patterns be explored and come to be a part of a new EOS. This is the real initiation into manhood that is not only missing in our culture, but so missing from all of the manhood groups I have encountered this far.

Men want more. It’s in them at their very core. No amount of conditioning can erase that. Conditioning can and does try to manage and suppress this wanting of more which is in itself is a testimony to this essence in a man.

Exploring this ‘more’ will be finding and feeling and healing all the aspects of your EOS that no longer serve your most authentic version of yourself arising. The way this is done in SoulFullHeart is through getting to know the parts of you that makeup your ‘you’ stream. You are far from a single personality. This is probably no more evident than in relation to your masculinity. Our parts can and do respond very differently in different situations. You are not insane. You are multi-dimensional. You have more than one you, several more in fact.

Until you come to discover your parts or subpersonalities, some part of you is posing as you, working so much harder than is healthy to keep your ‘you’ show running uncontrollably on the mediocre default patterns that are in the male collective.

More about the SoulFullHeart Subpersonality Healing Process Here:…

Raphael Awen is co-creator, teacher, and facilitator of the SoulFullHeart Way Of Life. Visit for more information.

A Son’s Ending, A Man’s Beginning


Male By Birth; Men By Journey

By Wayne Vriend

I originally wrote the following piece in March, 2010, and published it on a previous blog. I wanted to share it again as healing the wounds between men and their fathers (whether possible in person or in spirit) is so foundational and critical to our healing into authentic male expression.


It had been over two and half years and I had not been back since the day of the funeral, until today.

I took myself, my backpack, my umbrella and a piece of plastic to sit on and set myself down, right on top of the grave. I was reminded of the times I was too young to remember of sitting on Dad’s stomach. I felt welcome and belonging here now. I snugged my umbrella over me as the rain was lightly falling.

I unloaded the green stemmed purple crocus potted plant with the fuchsia wrapping, that I had purchased on the way out, in front of the headstone. The light rain was opening their blooms. The colors of it all fit well with the maroon color of the headstone, which I took in for the first time. The front read simply ‘VRIEND,’ and on top ‘Jim Vriend 1934-2007,’ and ‘safe now in the arms of Jesus,’ and ‘Loving husband, father and grandfather.’

I looked at the photo of my dad in his early seventies attached to the wrought iron prop. He had bright blue eyes and a boyish alive playful happiness. Here is where we rested his body, committed it back to the earth, in solemnity, in ritual, with hymns of the church and a homily of remembrance. We all stood that day. Today, I sat down, on the earth, and remained there for the better part of two hours.

My father had attended church every week of his life, and felt a palpable connection to God, and remained his entire life not too far from the safety and comfort of his family upbringing. I’d often chafed with him in my desire and decision to explore beyond the bounds of safety. I’d often tried to be nice and not so antagonistic and hoped in exchange that he’d see my soul for who I am, in the hope I could see more of myself. I always felt crazy for not being able to overcome the wall between us.

Today, however, I felt the wall was dissolved between us, like it had simply never been.

I breathed in and out the incense I had lit that was wafting in my face. I read aloud the words again before me: ‘Safe in the arms of Jesus.’  I said, “Dad, how I longed to feel safe in your arms.”  His pained eyes felt my pain, and bouncing shoulder sobs shook me. My pain mingled with his pain for the joy he missed in not knowing me in this way, and for his not being known by his father in this way.

For the first time, the anguish became ours.

I shared with him a piece of treasured driftwood I brought and a jade stone, both of which reminded me of his love and familiarity for the earth. He accepted them with an ocean of gratitude, and we shared eye to eye tears over the gifts we had not up until now been permitted to give and receive.

The rain subsided along with my tears and I set aside my umbrella and jacket.  I said to the spirit of my father, “Dad, so much of my life, even to this day, has been shaped by the attempt at trying to feel your deep approval, your love, and admiration.”

He paused, and then replied in a cadence and tone that contained the world, “Son, I can tell you with everything that I am now, I have never ever met a man that I esteem higher than you, in fact you are truly my hero.” The genuineness of his heart and words I ingested easily, and my tears now were of deep gratitude.

The differences in our beliefs and choices in so many areas of life did not even require a debriefing here in the domain of heart and spirit where beliefs often only serve as a wall of protection and alienation.

I paused to drink some of the coffee and eat the bar I had brought with me, not wanting the host in him to fuss.

Eventually I said, through tears, “Dad, I’ll be 49 this year. I’m again embracing more change, and letting go of securities. I know I need to keep food on the table, but living for a job, and a mortgage is not what I am here for. I need to find new courage and I want to ask your help. Dad, will you help me?’

I waited until I felt his response and then let my voice carry his voice through mine, “Son, I would be so honored, and I will do everything in my power to show you, to guide you, to cheer you on in the choices you make.” In the tears that wouldn’t stop, I was able to feel some of the reason we’d been so unable to connect in this life and to give way to the connection I’d need with him now.

The coffee was moving through me, and I didn’t think the cemetery workers across the way would have an issue with me taking a side trip to the bushes. I relieved myself and returned and sat down again, digesting all that had moved in a matter of minutes.

My last visit with my father had been in the hospital, with warm smiles, small talk that differed little from any other visit, and no mention of his soon passing. I felt his true joy at seeing me. The young boy in me was struck by the weakness in his body and the bruising on his arms and legs, a sad contrast from the man I had always admired for his strength. Then his tone and focus changed, sitting up in his bed and with fore finger tapping the hospital table like a pulpit, he exclaimed, “I’m not the one who instituted the family,” reminding me what the Bible teaches about family, and referring to my recent distance from family. I knew he meant well, but I felt the gulf between us and our values (since I had left Christianity a few years earlier along with my marriage) as uncrossable. I kept the visit short and we exchanged back tapping hugs, “I love you,” and “I love you too.” And, I left, aching for so much more.

Here though, perched on his grave, there was no awkwardness, no taboo subjects, no inabilities to simply ask for what we wanted from each other, no fear of our angst, no withholding of our forgiveness and our apologies. There was just love that filled the space that gave rise and fall to words to assist the love.

It was evident we had both taken in all we could.

I remembered singing his favorite hymn “Amazing Grace” at the funeral. I sang a few lines now as I gathered up my things and got up. As I took in the scene and caught my breath, I realized that my dad and I had just met for the first time. I said to him, “Yeah, Dad, grace really is amazing.’

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