Masculinity

Abraham Lincoln famously said, “Better to be silent and thought a fool, then to speak out and remove all doubt.”

Perhaps it was in Abe’s spirit then, that before everyone had GPS in their cars, it was a well-worn cliché among women that their husbands would drive around lost rather than stopping to ask for directions.

Personally, I never related to that behavior, but I knew it was a thing.

For me it was more like, “Hmm, I think I’m lost. I’ll ask for directions. Now I’m no longer lost.” But then again, I was never the kind of kid who didn’t raise his hand in school for fear of looking foolish, either. And it’s fair to say, I looked foolish and felt foolish a lot. Often it was embarrassing, and sometimes even painfully so. But I learned that being seen “not knowing” didn’t kill me, and by developing emotional resiliency, I could shift from “not knowing” to “now knowing.”

I bring this up because many of my women friends and women clients express frustration with their husband’s “fragile male egos,” particularly in the domain of intimacy. It’s normal that over time relationships change, and different challenges emerge. But deeply ingrained in men’s psyche is the need to be right and to get it right, and when things are not right, and we don’t know how to make them right, it’s scary. And it feels somehow safer to “drive” around lost then ask for directions.

At a very early age boys learn—more so than girls, I think–that love is conditional. We learn that life is a competition over scarce resources, and we only received approval when we won, when we got the good grades, when we “scored” with the girl, when we got the big paycheck–and it hurt when we lost, or made mistakes, and was especially painful when we got it wrong. We learned we were lovable (or not) for what we did, for what we achieved, not for who we were.

Sadly, we internalized conditional love for ourselves, learning to love ourselves only when we succeeded. From there, it’s not a stretch to only want to do things you’re good at, and to avoid areas of perceived weakness. To be a successful man is to be seen as a successful man—at all times!–and so the image of empowered masculinity becomes transactional, measured by money and the accumulation of trophies. Success means winning, winning means destroying your opponent, and life becomes a zero-sum game. Feelings of doubt or vulnerability are perceived as weakness and need to be quashed if you are to be victorious–and from there, it’s not too far of a journey of disconnection from our hearts and our humanity to the realm of toxic masculinity.

In the context of conditional self-love, then, it becomes understandable how admitting you’re “lost” could be so painful you will do all manner of psychological gymnastics to avoid it. However, we only learn from our mistakes, so if you’re not admitting your mistakes, you’re not learning. If you’re not learning, you’re not growing. If you’re not growing, you’re dying.

In relationship and in intimacy, what worked well in the past often doesn’t work so well anymore. Not because anybody’s wrong, but because everything and everyone changes over time. There’s no shame in that.

But if you’re not growing, you’re dying.

The shame is that the fear of “not knowing” leads to not looking. Old school masculinity “wins” in the short term by force, or by denial, but love always loses in the long term.

My mission is to empower men to create even more love in their world. To do that I believe we let go of having the answers, and learn to ask different questions.

What becomes possible when we stand centered and open-hearted, fully present in this moment, confident in our not knowing?

Let’s show the women and children we love that the patriarchy and toxic masculinity have had their day. Are you ready to join me in launching the 21st Century Man Project?

Published! Magazine Interview

Please enjoy my interview from Published! Magazine from 2019.

Lucas Roy Lehman speaks and leads seminars on personal power all over the U.S., Sweden, and Canada. He is a certified neuro-transformational coach, a certified sexuality educator, and founding director of the nonprofit Freedom Within Prison Project. He’s also the author of the new bestseller, Seven Principles of Sex and Money and Power: Your Clear Guide to a Better Life.

P: Lucas, can you share a little bit about what your background is and what brought you down this path to your passion and purpose?

LRL: Thank you. My background is really this exploration of creativity, energy, spirituality and consciousness. If you track my background, it starts as a writer, a musician, a songwriter, and a performer, and tracks into entrepreneurship, then it all starts coming together into the transformational coaching, what that’s about, and what brain states are required for us to bring the transformation into our life.

P: That’s so wonderful, so important, and so empowering for everyone. Could tell us a little bit about how all of the wonderful things you’re doing with clients translated to you wanting to write a book?

LRL: I really began to get a distillation and a synthesis of where…essentially, like Albert Einstein said, that matter and energy are the same thing. Energy is vibration. Vibration is most clearly understood really when we think of music and how different vibrations have different frequencies, have different energies, and even different keys. If you’re a musician playing a song in one key, it will have a different emotional resonance than playing it in another key. How those things correspond to then physical energy systems and different energy levels in the body, and the chakras, and all those sorts of things. I began seeing a synthesis of all of that. In some ways, The Seven Principles is the distillation of that.

P: What can the readers look forward to learning when they pick up your book?

LRL: They can look forward to learning that in a sense, we create our own reality. Whatever our reality is, we’re actually creating it now. People think changing their reality means changing their external reality. A more effective way to do that is actually to change my relationship to my reality and the judgments, choices, and the thoughts that I’m making about it. From that place, it actually becomes much easier for the external to change. But, if I’m not okay until I get over there, then I’ll still not be okay when I get over there. It’s this question of how do I shift the brain state that I’m in, whether I’m in frustration, fear or hopelessness? Those are all normal and understandable brain states, but it’s not solved by something out there shifting it. It’s solved by how I shift my relationship to whatever problem I have, move into a higher functioning part of my brain to deal with it. Then, life becomes a different process.

P: For people that are just entering into the idea of transformation and this whole concept that you teach so brilliantly, what are some tips that you would give them?

LRL: There is a concept in music that’s called sympathetic resonance. What that means is that if I had a guitar leaning up against a piano, and I played an A on the piano, the A string on the guitar would begin to vibrate. Likewise, we’re vibrational beings. The predominant vibrations that are coming at us from the outside world are predominantly negative: fear, frustration, and anxiety. Naturally, those vibrations outside of us trigger those feelings inside of us and make it feel real.

I might be afraid. I read about climate change, and I’m now in a place of fear in my life in general. I’ll not only bring that to a discussion about climate change, but I’ll now be in a place of fear, which is then going to impact how I respond to everything, because I’m now playing in the key of fear, if you will. I might be snappier with my partner or anxious when I’m in traffic or whatever, which isn’t to say that fear of climate change is not real, but do I have a problem in this moment? My fear isn’t real; the thing that I’m afraid of isn’t happening in this moment. How do I bring myself back into connection with what actually is true in this moment? Oh, in this moment, I’m driving in the car with my loved one, we’re going to the grocery store, and there’s plenty of money, plenty of love, and plenty of food on the shelf. Then, I now have experience of life based on what’s actually going on, not on my fear of what’s going to be happening tomorrow or in two decades.

P: That’s so wonderful, the idea of living in present time. There was a book out at one point called The Present and it was all about the present, being present time. So much of what you teach is around that. How do people veer away from going into the past and moving into the future, and conjuring up all these emotions that are possibly not so positive? Any tips for how they stay present time?

LRL: Well, I believe the first part is to recognize that’s what they want to do. I have a meditation practice that I call “Tuning into the Key of Me.” That really again speaks to this notion that if I’m a musical instrument, what’s going to have me play the prettiest music? It doesn’t matter how many hours I practice if my instrument is out of tune.

My first intention would be to notice that I’m doing that, and to have the intention to bringmyself back to the present moment. “Oh, there I am, having fearful thoughts about global warming. Ha, ha ha. Aren’t I wonderful? What’s true right now?” Our physical body is a great way to do that. Just let me smell some wonderful oil or small a lemon, or take a walk in nature, or any of the things that bring us back to the feeling of, “Oh, actually everything’s fine right now.” It starts with the intention to do it, and the intention to put less inputs that cause those things.

I don’t know how many people out there listen or watch the news every day, but I would argue, “What’s the point of that; to ingest psychic garbage every day that makes us feel less powerful, more fearful.” I’m not suddenly safer because I watch MSNBC every day versus one day. Trump’s either going to be impeached or he isn’t or whatever. I’m taking myself out of the vibration that puts myself into those places is the first step, and then having the intention that that’s what I’m doing.

It’s back to one of the things that I talk about in the book is that people want different things than they have, but the first step to that is, who are you being? There’s a saying, “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve got.” Albert Einstein calls that the definition of insanity, to expect different results from the same behaviors. I would say, if you keep being who you’re being, you will keep experiencing what you’ve experienced. If you do not like the quality of your experience, then who do you want to be that’s going to have a different relationship to your experience?

P: Again, so true and so powerful. You decided to put some of this wonderful work you’re doing into the book. It’s touching people all over the world, literally. It’s so wonderful. You already have a practice where you touch people, but now more and more people can be touched by your writing. Did you have any challenges with converting what you’re doing to the actual writing of the book?

LRL: Well, I did, actually. I was percolating on this idea for quite a while. I remember a girlfriend of mine actually bought me a stencil to put on the wall of my office of The Seven Principles, and that was back in I think 2015. I already had the idea of what the seven principles were, and there definitely was resistance to writing it. I had several false starts. Some of that I think sources back to this being question of, “Who did I need to be, to be the guy who wrote this book? Was I ready to stand in the authority of that and the responsibility of that?” Sometimes what we think might be procrastination, and there might have been a lot of judgment of myself that I was procrastinating, and what was that all about? It could have just been I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to be the guy who had the authority to be that person.

P: That’s a wonderful point, because I think a lot of people beat themselves up over that. I found when I was younger, I used to think if I threw more energy at things, it would be a really, really good thing. If I was at a place where I was in a stalemate, I’d just throw more energy at it. Now I find, and I learned this way later in life than I wish I had, that if I just step back and allow peaceful place for energy and for intuition and inspiration to come in, I get it resolved in a much gentler and beautifully finessed way than throwing everything against it.

LRL: I agree. There’s a saying, “What we resist persists,” and throwing more energy at something that I am in resistance to doesn’t necessarily move it. We also have a limited amount of energy to put into the system to make changes. What you’re saying really speaks to the question of how do we get out of our way? How do we eliminate the blocks to what wants to flow? I talk about that in the book. That’s a way better use of our energy…back to this question of, “Who am I being? How do I create clarity on myself so that energy flows through me?” rather than thinking, “Oh, I need to crank up more energy or work harder or whatever.” We want to let the Dao or whatever you want to call it work for us – it’s got way more power than we do. How do we get on board with it is really the question. How do we be gentle? I love that. You just said that. That’s beautiful.

P: How did you know when your time was right to write the book? Were there signs saying, “Okay, I’m ready now. I’m the person I need to be to do this.”?

LRL: In some ways, I would say yes. There were things that had happened in my personal life. My marriage had ended. Some health issues had happened. In a way, it sort of came around of like, “Okay, this is it now. It was necessary for me to take my business to the next level. Obviously, I had always had that in the back of my mind. “I want to do this to get my business to the next level,” but it was just like there was something in the timing.

Then, the final piece was a friend of mine wrote her book. It was like, “Oh.” She did a program that helped her write a book in three days. I knew that I wasn’t going to write my book in three days, but that I was ready to write ‘the good enough book’ and get the support that I needed to write ‘the good enough book’. I signed up for the program, and in three days, I had a draft of a book.

Once you have a draft of the book, then it’s like, “Okay, now I just need to make it better.” Not, “Am I ever going to finish it?” It was definitely a process of “Time to just do this.” I was just ready. Yeah. It’s hard to say exactly what shifted, but it just became…there were other things that had happened, and it was just, “You know what? This is it now. It’s time.”

P: If you look at the fabulous work that you’ve done over the years and are doing now, it just keeps expanding and growing out to more people, and also, of course, the book, which is global, what would that look like to you if you were to look at it almost like a legacy? How would you like that work and your book to impact the world?

LRL: Wow. What a question. I think how I would want it to impact the world would be to have people ask the questions of themselves, “What matters? What are my values? How am I living in alignment with those values? How do I get myself in a place where that’s what matters?” That’s a question of present. Becoming present to, “What am I feeling and how am I behaving from what I’m feeling? Oh, I’m feeling afraid. Okay, what’s necessary for me to shift out ofbeing afraid?” Not solving the problem that I’m afraid, because typically fear is – what do they say – false expectations appearing real.

To get people, especially in this country, to become present. We’re in a time of abundance of richness greater than ever in the history of the world. With my iPhone and a credit card, I’ve got more power than Louis XIV ever had in terms of what I can do and where I can go. What’s with all the fear? To connect with our bodies, our spirits, and what’s here right now, and then what choices do I want to make from that place?

 A world of connection and presence and joy that’s available right now. That’s what I would want.

P: I can’t thank you enough for being so generous about your sharing. I would love it if you could share a link on the web where people could connect with you, to learn more about you, and the wonderful things that you teach.

To connect with me, my website is the easiest place to go, which is my name – www.lucasroylehman.com. There are some cool free gifts there. My “Tuning into the Key of Me,” videos and meditation practice, which is two minutes to transform who you are being and your relationship to yourself and the world outside. The Seven Principles Assessment is also on my website and lots of other goodies as well.

A Good Day in Prison

This past week I was sitting in circle with 20 incarcerated men at the Salinas Valley State Prison, like I’ve done nearly every Wednesday for the past 7 years.

It was a profoundly typical and typically profound group, with considerable laughter and camaraderie, frustration and fear, and more than a few tears. (Mine, as well as a handful of the inmates.)

I devote 24 hours of my time each month (half inside and half commuting) in service to the transformation of consciousness and emotional literacy of gangbangers, drug dealers, addicts, and murderers, for reasons both simple and complex.

It’s simple in the sense that during those hours I am crystal clear about what I am doing, who I am being, and why. 

What I’m doing is showing up with presence and acceptance, surrendering to the dictates of prison dynamics and the incomprehensibility of life and fate.  Who I’m being is my highest self, living into my Purpose to empower men to create more love in the world.  Why I do it is because it allows me to release the guilt that I carry about enjoying such an abundant, liberated, and empowered life, while so many other humans are less fortunate and must struggle through lives full of abuse and suffering.

It’s complicated because I don’t know how long a man convicted of murder should be incarcerated, or if he should ever be released. 

It’s complicated because what kind of prospects for life outside is available to an ex-con if he were released, after he’s spent decades in prison falling farther behind the rat race of a world outside, a race he most likely already lost before he turned to a life of crime to survive?  A man who often is grateful that he’s been in prison all these years because everyone he knows from the ‘hood that’s not in prison is now dead?

It’s complicated because I don’t experience these men as monsters or evil.  I don’t actually even experience the 40-year-old who killed somebody 22 years ago as a murderer, but rather, I experience a grown man full of sadness and remorse, unable to forgive himself today for a life he took and the grief he caused half a lifetime ago. 

But when a man living in integrity today is witnessed taking responsibility for the impacts of his actions in the past, that’s when the true healing and transformation begins.  He begins the process of recognizing he is no longer the same man who committed those unforgivable acts, and his heart softens to himself and others.

I doubt anyone reading this newsletter is a former murderer, but I would inquire if there are stories of self-judgment and lack of forgiveness that you hold toward yourself?  Maybe you cheated on a spouse and wrecked your marriage; or abandoned a friend or a child when the going got too tough; or betrayed yourself by playing it safe and not living up to your potential, or failing to pursue your dreams? 

And if so, what is the cost of your continued self-judgment to your heart and to your experience of your life now? 

And if so, are you ready to be witnessed creating new stories and a new experience of life for yourself?

I challenge you to honor the millions of men and women behind bars who don’t have the freedom to live full out, and reply to this email.   I’ll give you a 20% discount on one-on-one coaching or my super-affordable “7 Principles of Personal Power” online group coaching program starting next month (based on the system in my book 7 Principles of Sex & Money & Power).

If you’re not sure which is right for you, please contact me for a complimentary 30-minute Breakthrough Coaching Call and we’ll go from there. 

I look forward to hearing from you.

With love and gratitude,

–Lucas