This is my public letter of gratitude to you for the impact you have made on my life.
Thank you, men of my family; you taught me by example, and sometimes in words, how to become the man I have always wanted to be. Specifically:
Thank you, Dad, for all that you’ve given to me in the course of my life. Thank you for being The Hunter who taught me the value of following the traditions of my ancestors. Thank you for being The Fisherman who taught me the meaning of patience, and shared the story of the Taoist Fisherman. Thank you for being The Businessman who taught me how to provide for myself, and those whom I love. Thank you for being The Husband who taught me to respect women. Thank you for being The Brother who taught me to care for other men. Thank you for being The Storyteller who taught me a love of myths, legends and stories. Thank you for being The Philosopher who taught me to think for myself. Most of all, thank you for being The Father who taught me to care for my family and to care for all children.
Thank you, Cousin Dick, for being The Exaggerator; you taught me a love of a good tall tale, and passed on your ability to tell one. Thank you for being The Misfit, and showing me it was okay to color outside the lines.
Thank you, Scott, Matt, and Jason, for being The Brothers I never had. Some of my favorite memories of childhood are of the times we shared, playing, creating, imagining, and just being young boys growing into men together. You taught me how to be a brother to every man.
Thank you to both my Grandfathers. Though I never met one of you, and can scarcely remember the other, I know that you did at least one thing right: provided me with a parent who could do a good job of raising me, teaching me, and nurturing me to become the man I have always wanted to be.
Thank you to all the men who were my Teachers; you opened me to knew thoughts, ideas, and altered the landscape of my mind in ways I’ll never be able to thank you for. Specifically:
Thank you, Ron, for being the Mad Scientist and The Fool who captured my imagination, and that of so many other kids, way back in the fifth and sixth grades during science class. You were both a brilliant comedian and a skilled teacher that awakened our minds to ask new questions about the world we live in.
Thank you, Michael, for being The Poet; you taught me a love of poetry, of language, of playing with words, of seeing the world through a deeply connected emotional lens, and you taught me to express that on paper.
Thank you, Jake, for being The Prankster; you taught me an appreciation for a skilled prank. Thank you for being The Biologist; you taught me about the physical world of living things, and opened my eyes to the microcosm that is in the macrocosm.
Thank you, John, for being The Curmudgeon; you warned me of some of the bumps in the road that awaited me if I chose to pursue life as an artist or writer. You were right, and I’m still glad I made the choices I did, even though you were right.
Thank you, Chris, for being The Mountain Man; you led me into my first truly difficult wilderness adventure, and taught me to be wary of her dangers, but at the same time to revel in her mysteries.
Thank you, Tim, for being The Philosopher, and turning me on to philosophy through the writings of Albert Camus; you caused me to seek so many things outside of the normal path through teaching me about his works. Thank you for being The Historian; you lit a fascination within me for the past that has stayed with me my entire life.
Thank you, Ron, for being The Purist, and refusing whole genres of writing in your class; you taught me to stand up and fight for myself, even when my opponent is an authority figure.
Thank you, Dane, for being The Sociologist; you taught me a different way of looking at my fellow humans, and of seeing the world around me.
Thank you, Ken, for being The Mentor, and for treating me more like an equal than like your student; you gave me my first real opportunity to lead and to teach others.
Thank you, Roberto, for being The Malcontent; you showed me new ways to look at authority, and new methods to overthrow both the external authorities of the world, and the internal authorities in my mind.
Thank you, Michael, for being The Hypnotist; you passed on your craft to me skillfully, and opened my mind to a new array of possibilities.
Thank you, Boris, for being The Masseur; you taught me to manipulate bodies, to heal and to strengthen them, and to have confidence in my abilities as a healer.
Thank you, Greg, for being The Hesitant Guru; you taught me so much about my emotions and how to open them wider and become more vulnerable. My life and that of my clients is that much richer because of you.
Thank you, Justin, for being my Masculine Initiator; you taught me how to know when I’ve lost touch with my masculinity, how to get back in touch with it, and how to make it powerful, useful, positive, and filled with commitment and integrity.
Thank you, Wolf, for being The Shaman; you taught me the value of following the ways of ancient ancestors, and a powerful respect for all and everything, from the smallest to the largest, from the finite to the infinite, from the internal to the external. The power of song and sweat is part of my blood.
Thank you to the men who were my Friends, you led me by stellar example, specifically:
Thank you, Jim, for being The Jester; you taught me how to see the humor in any situation, if I just look hard enough, deep enough, or wide enough. Thank you for being The Devilish Flirt; you taught me how much fun it can be to play with the edge between flirtation and offense.
Thank you, Rob, for being The Rockstar; you helped me see that even nerdy geeks and outsiders like us could take the stage and rock on. Thank you for being The Young Writer; you inspired me in my own writing. Thank you for being my Best Friend; you taught me the value of a friendship that has lasted a lifetime, and the meaning of deep trust.
Thank you, David, for being The Psychedelic Freak; you opened my mind to new vistas, expanded my consciousness, and explored the distant frontiers of transcendent mind with me.
Thank you, Bill, for being The Therapist, and always speaking your truth to whatever was going on with me or any of our mutual friends; you taught me the value of honoring the truth.
Thank you, John, for being a fellow Healer and Mystic; you taught me the value of seeking my own truth, understanding who I am, and always spiraling upward to a better me. Thank you for being a Man’s Man, and inviting me to join your masculine circle; you gave me an initiation into my own masculinity, and have helped make me into the man I’ve always wanted to be.
Thank you, Karl, for being The Fire God; you taught me to eat fire, not just literally, but also symbolically. Through the inspiration of your courage in the face of perilous danger, I have expanded my own horizons. Thank you for being the Demon Wrestler; you showed me how to really release my pent up anger, fear, doubt and pain.
Thank you, Michael, for being both The Doubter and The Believer; through our conversations you have caused me to question many of my own beliefs, ideas and perspectives. Thank you for being The Steadfast Father; you showed me how to remain committed to those I love, even when people try to inhibit that commitment.
Thank you, Martin, for listening to my guidance and eventually becoming The Tantra Teacher; you showed me what it looks like when someone really listens to me, and follows his heart. Thank you for being The Warrior; you showed me how to stand up in defense of myself and those I love.
Thank you, Raymond, for being Your Word; you taught me the value of integrity not only to my word, but also to my ideals, and to who I really am as a man on the inside. Thank you for being The Musician; you inspired me to broaden my own musical landscape.
Thank you, Steve, for being a Loyal Friend, even if you were also an Arrogant Asshole in the workplace. You showed me that what happens in the office can truly stay there, and that some relationships can be defined in more than one way.
Thank you to the leaders and bosses I’ve been asked or forced to follow; you either taught me exactly how to step up and lead powerfully when needed, or you provided an example of the things I should never do when leading. In either case, your example was remembered, and carried with me to be utilized every time I lead. Specifically:
Thank you, Steve, for being The Arrogant Asshole; you taught me all the worst qualities of the worst bosses. Through your lying, cheating, stealing, misrepresentations, bullshitting when you didn’t know the answer, and failure to pay employees or deliver goods for which you’ve been paid, I learned all the things to avoid whenever I lead. I only wish that you were the only person to provide me with such examples.
Thank you, Will, for being The “My Way or The Highway” Man; you taught me never to think I’m the only one with good solutions, and always to listen to and consider the ideas of my team members before dismissing them outright.
Thank you, Roberto, for being The Career Mentor, and sharing some of your leadership secrets; you taught me to take the reins of my own advancement, and steer my career and my team in a positive and meaningful direction and with compassion.
Thank you, Alex, for being The Listener, and talking to all the leaders in our company, taking all our feedback into account, and restructuring leadership in a way more beneficial to the success of my team. You were the first superior I was asked to follow in 15 years of career positions who actually listened to those below him, and did something about what he heard. You taught me that powerful leaders do exist, even if they are very few and very far between, and gave me hope for my future.
Thank you, Jessie, for being The Team Player, and standing next to me as a leader, instead of on top of me. You taught me the meaning of the word “team” in the workplace.
Thank you, to all the men who have been Social and Political Leaders, and Inventors of scientific change and progress; you taught me the power of passionately following my ideas and ideals. It is truly our passions and commitments to the integrity of our purposes that drives us as men.
Thank you, to all the men who have been my healing clients, for being Sincere Seekers; you have shown me, more often than not, a perfect reflection of my own opening and expanding into ever higher realms of self-realization and self-expression.
Thank you, to the men who inspired me through your creative works, for being True Artists; you have lit the fire in my belly, and inspired me to spread that fire far and wide.
Thank you to the Sun and the Stone, those two traditionally masculine features of nature, for being The Constants upon which we may all rely; you show me what it means to be consistent from one day, week, month, year and decade to the next.
Thank you, at last, to all the men who have pushed and pulled with or against me in my struggle to overcome those limitations that bind me, and to soar above the clouds, becoming ever more and more the man I have always wanted to be. My path often seemed difficult because of you, but it was only the stress of the lessons you were trying to teach me, and I now recognize and embrace your challenges as a man moving from Apprentice to Journeyman, and perhaps even one day toward Master. You have helped me out of the depths, provided a clear reflection, and remained committed to me even when I refused your encouragements. Know that if I overlooked a particular experience in my expression of gratitude that the thanks are still there, fully felt, even if my memory has dropped the experience out.
Thank you to all men and to the masculine principle in nature for receiving my message to you, and for seeing yourself in the reflected images of the specific men I’ve thanked. I truly cherish all that you have given to me on my path toward greater awareness.
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin – We are All Related