Chapter 50. Run Motherf….er. Run.

Chapter 50.

Run Motherfucker. Run.

‘They call the wind Mariah’.

The only way to run a marathon without dying is to train for it.  Then, when you think that you are ready, you train some more until running distance becomes second nature.  Well, I had been training long and hard for my manful mediation marathon and was more than ready for a mental run to far side.  A quick lunch burrito being gone and the dishes put away, big foot white dog would have to wait; there would be no walk today. Meditation was calling. I headed back to the mancave, sat down on the cushun’ and closed my eyes once again psyched to hit the ground running.

The task at hand that afternoon was to uncover a treasure trove of new manful subjects to meditate about so I could get them out of the way before starting to work again next week.  I was down to my last days at home and I knew that I was running out of time to do so. I could feel inside that things would soon be different, for the better I hoped, but different no matter what.  It was time to tie up some loose ends and seek some closure beforehand.

Instead, I plunged into the cool waters of a very calm and relaxed state of peace that seemed to last forever even though only a short time passed, no more than 20 minutes.  It was a classic meditation, the kind I couldn’t have dreamed in the past (what me sit still?).  When it was over I didn’t feel peaceful, I felt frustrated. I had failed. Where were those manful subjects that I wanted to cover in the now anticipated mediation marathon?  That list of great man stuff I wanted to deal with so I could move back into to a working man’s life without feeling guilty about what I hadn’t been able to accomplish while hanging out at home.

So I sat there. Waited some more.  Still nothing came.  Was this some kind of final cosmic joke?  A message on the inner machine that there was nothing left to meditate about, so why not just get on with life and move on.  Was that all there was?  Was MM over?

I sat up straight.  This just couldn’t be. There had to be more ground to cover.  The show couldn’t end here.  So I sat there some more and waited for any kind of inspiration to show up.  As I waited none came.  I began to wonder about the whole mishegas.  For starts, why had I even chosen to meditate in the first place?  I was never exposed to anything resembling Eastern thought growing up, except for that one group of guys in high school who heard you could chant for a new car (they didn’t get one) and the saffron robed Krishna’s dancing dancing down the streets.  I could have cared less about Eastern thoughts, having enough trouble dealing with Jewish ones.

Where had this desire come from? How did this Eastern stuff seep into my life?  Did it begin the first time I heard Coltrane blow India or Africa or a Love Supreme?  When I saw John McLaughlin and Carlos Santana take the stage filled with candles at the Kabuki, all dressed in white. So blissed out and blessed out by Sri Chimnoy as they wailed on their electric guitars. Listening to Miles play Bitches Brew live at the Hollywood Bowl or the opening chords of that weird Beatles song on Revolver? The first smell of jasmine incense?  The first sound of the tabla drum?  And when did the trance become real, that unusual rhythmic beat that had beckoned me for long, how did it become an integral part of my life?

No doubt I became really curious about meditation after witnessing first-hand what it did to see who does not relax except when she is asleep and maybe she isn’t relaxing then either.  I had never seen her calm (remember that quiet is not calm) in the first 15 years of our marriage until she began meditating.  It evoked a huge change in her. There she would sit in our bedroom, headphones on blissed out and so happy when she finished. It looked great.

What held me back from embracing it years ago? Simple.  The complete lack of male energy in her meditation process. By no means is male energy a prerequisite for me to learn a skill. I have no trouble sewing a button on my coat (it needs fixing and waiting for help is hopeless and hapless).  I love gardening, cooking and other allegedly feminine activities.  But the whole meditation scene around her was dominated by pastel colors, roses that contained your inner fears, burnt sage and steeped deeply in the zeitgeist of women’s issues and feminist philosophy.  Let me be clear, I am not criticizing their style.  It just had no appeal to me and it wouldn’t to any regular guy.    And to be perfectly honest, as a result I didn’t trust it.  It was just too foreign to embrace.

Only when a good dose of masculine energy seeped into my quest did these Eastern concepts gain traction in my soul.  I still have trouble believing that a series of events that began as a ruse on my wife to get her off of my back as I sat stuck on my couch unable to overcome the inertia of living without a career set me careening down this road less traveled. That out of nowhere I heard an inner man Buddha speak to me and a journey began that continues to this day down this out of the ordinary path that I came to call manful meditation.

It wasn’t easy to find help or guidance.  There certainly was no map to follow for guys like me. I suffered through poor teachers and bad instructors. When that failed, I figured that there might be some reference on the internet or something to meditating with a male emphasis.  Nothing.  I was on my own and lucky that I found the way over time. I thank the stars for that.

There were other more personal reasons why it was hard. Early on it became clear that while I yearned for a powerful inner peace within, I knew damn well that I couldn’t calm myself down using traditional methods.  I needed help and not just the usual prescription. I needed guidance with male view that spoke to me.

I searched for books about Eastern thought by male authors who might make sense.  They were wonderful writers but completely neutral in tone, virtually asexual in nature and some downright creepy, replacing the power of the rose with the shape of a pine needle.  For a man who grew up with Vin Scully and Chick Hearn as his primary motivators, their mellow approach did not anything to help me overcome the long-standing persistence of my hyperactive Jewish/western mind. Nor were their instructions to practice and practice until it came good enough either. I stood on the other side of this dance floor afraid to step across just looking and looking waiting for an opening that was already there.

Eventually the mediations began to take hold.  I’m the kind of guy that has trouble reading a manual about how to work something and would rather poke at until it does.  Meditation was no different. I just kept at it until it worked. I learned over that first year that the problem with meditation for me and maybe for many others it that it is passive and we aren’t.  As I began to practice Manful meditation regularly, I replaced the traditional emphasis of meditation on emptying your mind with a focused and controlled set of thoughts that were appealing.  It helped me concentrate to pick a specific subject and then to focus on it.  That, in turn, made it easier for me to relax which helped my mind to calm down and over time it trained me to do so easily.  Oh, and it was fun.  That’s right, fun.

My manful meditations started with simple easy subjects that made me happy and held my attention.  Easy things to focus on. Stuff that reflects the glue that binds us, the male html code that builds manfullness.  Good healthy things like beer, baseball, hamburgers and wine.  Hey, I didn’t know what I was doing.  I was just thinking about what seemed to come naturally and easily.

Then over time as my power of concentration increased, the mediations grew in complexity.  As my studies intensified and fall blended into early winter something else happened that was unexpected.  I calmed down and I believe that as a direct result, she who is my wife loved me more than before. I meditated about manful subjects that I could understand and love and focus upon with an open heart and lots of joy. I could spend hours lost in manly bliss and equally powerful marital harmony.  No wonder I was attracted to it.

With equal parts concentration and confidence, I covered some serious issues in my life via mediations. Taught myself to forgive, never my strong suit.  Then forgave my parents.  Learned how not to be as overwhelmed by the complexities of living with someone as complex as someone who would even think of living with me. Learned to embrace the pains and struggles and to let go of what I cannot control. Learned the new mantras that guide me now, how often do I hear the voice within that steers me away from anger, resentment and corrosive thought towards joy, giving and strength.

As I continued down the path of manful meditation I discovered something else. I believe that I learned what Manfullness really is.  A deep understanding of Manfullness that is grounded in the belief that the world that we know as men is truly a holy place.  That every waking moment that is spent in a manful state of harmony can be a blessed one.  A perfectly balanced state of mind and body, something to be revered and celebrated as healthy happy males.*

(* a brief side note: As women have staked out their roles as equals in his world, the concept of manfullness has taken quite a beating in the past 20 years.  And let’s face it; many of our brothers have done a shit job by polluting manfullness with stupidity and abuse.  Do not fall into the trap of blaming women for this. Our goal is to honor being a man by living a better life and that honor extends to respecting those around you.  And a note to those self-righteous women who continue to condemn the mass of men for the sins of those who came before us, do not throw stones in the bedroom when you live.  It pisses us off and makes us want to leave.)

I had embraced the gentle part of the word gentleman, something so many men have forgotten.  It felt good.

Manful Meditation created an additional benefit that I grasped as another incidental pleasure of the practice. A sweet real treat, a sort of mental biscuit waiting for me at the end the road. Here is one of the most important and liberating lessons of the practice of manful meditation.

No woman, including she would not want to be called ‘my woman’, will ever challenge time spent in a manful meditation practice if you repeat the blessed chant of the meditating manful man to her:

“Honey, I need a few more minutes, I am in here meditating.”

Oh, and toss this one in if you really want to be left alone.  ‘I am really into it.”

Or this one:  “It’s a really tough one.”

She will embrace you.  I guarantee it.

The first time that these words came spilling off my lips they worked so well that I laughed out loud, reveling it their power, it was that good. I used it on her after watching a brutal 49er loss one Sunday afternoon (it was the early game). Not wanting to see a soul afterwards, I retired to the mancave where I went to console myself with several cold ones, a corned beef sandwich and some SCTV videos.  Sometime during the afternoon she knocked on the door and asked how I was doing.  I turned down the volume and told her I was meditating. After my reply she walked away from that door saying not to worry and talk to her as soon as I was ready.  When I emerged later that afternoon she could not have been more sympathetic (and affectionate too!). Do you really think she cared about how pitifully the secondary handled itself that afternoon (please just turn the fuck around and look at the ball) or that she would have reacted as well if she found me on the couch in the living room in the same scenario?

Over the course of my growing meditation practice, I imagined how this teaching could help my brothers in arms out there.  Think about this. Repeat that line about needing time to meditate to yourself a few times and imagine how that would play with your partner.  Go on, imagine the scene.  She has just walked into the room.  You are sitting up on the couch.  You might be thinking about how your favorite ball club gave it up last night in the 9th inning and worse yet, how much money you lost on the game.  You hear her walk in.  Now close your eyes quick. What do you tell her when you look up?  You tell her that you are meditating.  That’s right.  Mediating.  You are bettering yourself.  The result? You are golden.  She loves you. She walks away feeling whole.  The entire scene has changed. Done a 180. But the truth? You could have been falling asleep.  You probably were asleep.  You might have been thinking about a blessed cold one or a slice of pizza. Your mind could be anywhere.  Period.  You could be thinking about anything, anything at all.  You can and it will work.  But I digress.

Manful Mediation taught me lessons that I will always treasure. It brought me joy where there was pain, slack where there was tension.  It acts as the coder pins of a balanced manful experience, the silicon lube that frees the internal rusty mental hinges. Teachings as clear as the power of a strike at the bowling alley.   A journey with the integrity of Sean Connery and the consistency of Tom Brady.

I had found my roadmap, a manual, a guidebook to living life fully and completely in the moment. Free from boundaries and loved by those around you.

How is this even possible?  I just relaxed, released and practiced grasshopper. And please don’t think too much about how Carradine died. Wow that was weird.

As was the case on so many afternoons I started to think about dinner.  Maybe Rack of lamb.  Real Mashed potatoes.  Cumin scented  Carrots.  A dry white for her and a big red for me.  Suddenly I felt excessive, it was only Thursday.  But wasn’t there a rack still in the freezer just waiting to be defrosted?  Time to thaw.  Time to thaw.

Rack of Lamb.  Is there an easier way to show off?  I don’t think so.


1 Rack of Lamb, about 8 to 10 little chops for 2 persons.

Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil.

Option 1.  Mustard, Bread Crumbs.

Heat your oven to 450.

Put a flat baking sheet in the oven as it heats.

While waiting, toss the rack with salt, pepper and a small amount of olive oil.          If cooking option 1, combine all other ingredients and coat the rack.

When oven reaches cooking temperature, remove the baking sheet.  Place rack fat side down.  Bake for 7 minutes.  Should be brown when you turn over. Bake 7 more minutes. Lamb should be brown but still pink in the middle of the chop.

Real Mashed Potatoes.

For small portion.  3 russet and 3 Yukon potatoes.

Milk/Half and Half.




Boil the potatoes in salted water.  Cool.  Peel.

Put the potatoes in a large bowl.  If lazy use a hand masher, if pure, a ricer.   Pour in ½ cup of milk or half and half depending upon health vs. pleasure concerns.  Add butter.  Mash.  Add salt to taste.  Add liquid until the texture looks right, you know what they should look like. Chop parley and sprinkle on top.  Place a pat of butter in the middle and let it melt.

Early meditation music before I knew what it was.

John Coltrane, India, Africa and/or A Love Supreme.

Ravi Shankar

The Beatles, Within and Without You, Revolver.

The Kinks, See My Friends, Kinkdom.

Miles Davis, Shhh/Peaceful, In A Silent Way.


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