Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Creating a Border "Win-Win" for Republicans and Democrats

...and By-Pass Donald Trump

December 26, 2018

As I write this, Donald Trump - and his propaganda arm - Fox News - continues to blame the Democrats for the shutdown. You remember the shutdown, right? The one where Donald Trump said that he would "proudly" shut the country down if he didn't get his way on the wall and not blame the Dems? I saw him do it "live" on TV, and you probably did, was everywhere...and then he reneged!

I find it so "Trumpian" not only because the Democrats have made their position on the wall very clear, but mostly because the last time I looked, the GOP still controlled all three branches of government...but still somehow can't get wall legislation passed "because of the Democrats."

Mr. President, you're in control, why don't you pass it?

Oh, yeah, you don't have enough votes even from your own party to get it passed, and yet, you have the audacity to continue to blame the other party. Perhaps you should look in your own backyard.. ah, but we know that's not going to happen: because like always, you need someone else to blame.

You take credit for everything, but responsibility for nothing.

I have little sympathy for the Dems and even less for the GOP, but there's a patently obvious solution around this manufactured impasse, and I can't believe no one else has suggested it, except that, while it may be patently obvious, it may not be easy.

The first caveat is that this can't happen until after January 3rd when the Dems take control of the house, and that solution is for the house and the Senate to first agree on legislation.

There's so much both parties have agreed upon in the past, that if we remove the wall and the myth that Dems don't want border security out of the equation, it should be easy for the new Dem-controlled House and the GOP-controlled Senate to come to an agreement. The GOP Senate has already put forth a bill without the wall. That's the one Trump would not sign. It was the House that put forth the bill with the wall. After January 3rd, when the Dems take over the House, that will no longer be an issue.

With an agreed-upon bill between the House and the Senate, Trump can still either not sign or veto the bill. If all the President does is refuse to sign the bill, it still becomes law unless the session runs out. If he vetoes the law, Congress can overturn the veto if no one changes their vote, the bill would then become law without the signature of the President.

If Trump manages to veto the legislation after Congress sends it to him, he then clearly owns the consequences and those GOP House and Senate members who helped send the bill forward can distance themselves for the president's action.

This brings us to the second caveat: It takes a two-thirds majority vote by Members present (provided there is a quorum) to override a presidential veto. When one house fails to override, the other house will not attempt to override, even if the votes are present to succeed.

Now why in the world would the Senators or Republican House members come together with the Dems to get a two-thirds majority?


Many of the people who are getting hurt the worst by the shutdown are trump supporters, and it's unclear how much they will be willing to bear before they cry "enough."

Republicans biggest fears around Trump are two-fold: One, the fear of being Primaried by their own party, and two, being called out by Trump's vicious tweeting. But recent information indicates that behind closed doors, GOP senators privately believe Trump is 'nuts. Yes, it's taken a while for them to realize what many of us already knew, and while that may not affect the "cult of Trump," they may want to think twice about being seen as a card-carrying member of that kool-aid drinking group.

If Trump loses a veto effort, he looses enormous power, and elected GOP members will likely gain. Most importantly, the nation will gain, and it will be easier for these elected officials to distance themselves from Trump and his more intractable followers, some of whom are elected officials, of course.

The alternative is that the intractables who hold office and simply won't distance themselves from Trump may very well go down with him, and some may even wind up being charged as accomplices.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Being a Better Man #1: Tell the Truth to Strengthen Your Relationships

by Gary Stamper - the first in a series about "Being a Better Man” 

It’s easy to lie. Sometimes it’s convenient. We often do it without thinking or just because we’re lazy, or thinking we’ll hurt someone’s feelings. A white lie. Sometimes we do it to protect ourselves: “What will they think of me?” A lie of omission (crickets).

A lie can be an insurmountable wall between people and even our own walled-in fears about what we’re afraid to acknowledge about ourselves. Lies can also be the coward’s way out of having difficult conversations…with ourselves and others. Don’t rock the boat, Go along to get along.

After the end of my last relationship – Okay, okay, my divorce (see what I did there?) – I took what I thought was much-needed time off from being in relationship to rediscover who I am as an individual whose identity is no longer at least partially defined by who I chose to partner with. When I decided to jump back into the dating pool about 18 months later, and thinking about what I was looking for in a partner, it was obvious to me that, at 73 years of age, I don’t have a lot of time to make mistakes or time to waste.

This is where the need for integrity comes into play and where small talk becomes a time-killing curse.

Disclaimers: While I’m talking about Intimate relationships with partners, I’m coming from a masculine perspective, but what follows is gender neutral and can also apply to friends just as easily.

This is the first in a series of articles about how to build trust in relationships, whatever kind of relationship it may turn in to. Paying attention to this could help you and your new friend in determining what kind of relationship you'll have without anyone getting hurt. (Conscious Dating?). 

Nothing here is easy, however.

When we first meet someone, we naturally want to put our best foot forward; that’s perfectly normal, but only up to a point. We want people to like us, and sometimes we might not tell the whole truth or leave something out because we’re afraid they won’t. At the same time, if someone says they're looking for a certain type of person and you know you're not that kind of person, but you show up anyway, you might have already told the first lie.

Of course, it goes without saying that truth-telling should be presented in a gentle and respectful way, and must be appropriately timed. In other words, you wouldn't want to blurt out "I have genital herpes" on the first date unless it becomes obvious you're going to get laid. A first date often revolves small talk around a group of fairly shallow hurdles that must be successfully navigated to determine if there'll be a second date, and somewhere along here, the opportunity may present itself to begin having deeper conversations and "is this someone I'm interested in enough to want to go deeper"?

You should have a pretty good idea where you'd like to see this new relationship to go at this stage. Once you know that, you do everything you can to make that happen, and if the other person isn't interested, you should immediately thank them and move on. They did you a favor by not wasting your time.

For me, as soon as I know I'm interested in going deeper with them, I'm attracted to them, I let them know straight out and ask if they’re interested in going deeper with me. If not, maybe we can be friends, but probably only superficially. I like going deep with my friends, too. If the answer is yes, I’ll then – and only then - gently move toward whatever difficult conversation might be needed, what might be a deal-breaker for them. And we never know what that possible deal-breaker might mean to another person. Could be age or health issues. Could be your cold parents who never said I love You and did not model mature loving partnership. It might be that short time you spent in jail or in rehab, or even previous marriage(s) (see what an impact a pair of perfectly placed Parenthesis' can have?). 

With honesty, integrity, and timing, even if you have Genital Herpes, there's still relationship potential. We're all sacred imperfect beings and people are a lot more forgiving if we're honest with them an tell the truth.

Again, this is a process, probably not first date conversations... conversations that involve truth-telling should only happen when they are appropriate.

Once that conversation is started, I’ll be giving them what they hopefully need to make an informed decision to proceed or not proceed by going deeper...or not.

Hey, sometimes people just don't click together.

When you speak truth to someone, one of two things will likely happen: they will either admire you for your bravery, candor, authenticity, and be grateful that you shared your wisdom with them, or they could decide to either move carefully with you until you’ve built up more trust with them (you’ve already started). 

There is a third possibility: They may choose not to continue the relationship at all.  Either way, you will have remained in Integrity. Better you both find out now, than later.

Even if the other person chooses to move on, you will part on better terms than if you were caught in a lie or omission, which could result in a total breakdown of any trust on their part and do a lot more damage than if you had been truthful with them in the beginning. They’ll be angry, and rightfully so, because you didn’t give them a choice. You led them on. You fucked up. Twice.

To recap briefly, when I meet someone new, I’m completely upfront about who I am with a couple of caveats: First, if we’re just going to be friends, there are some things that are just none of their business, and I’m not putting them at risk by them not having that knowledge.

Second, the moment I sense that I’m interested in having a deeper relationship with someone, I let them know, and if they are still willing, I’ll gently initiate conversations about anything that might color their eventual decision whether to reciprocate my feelings for them…or not. If they choose to go away, for whatever reason, I'm already ahead of the game because I’ll be avoiding bigger pain down the road.

Are you willing to go deeper into difficult conversations to deepen and strengthen your relationship with others and yourself?? There are more benefits than dangers when you choose to be in integrity, and most of those benefits are to your soul, psyche, and well-being.

It's all about integrity.

Questions To Ask Yourself
  • Are you willing to speak the WHOLE truth in your important relationships? Why or why not?.
  • Are there relationships that you have a desire to go deeper with? Are you willing to tell the truth (even difficult ones) to deepen that relationship?
  • Are you in confident or draining relationships? Are you confident or draining in those relationships?

    Note: This article may be freely republished but must contain a link to the original source: this blog

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Gary Stamper Design and Illustration

Award-winning artist creates affordable, unique, and imaginative designs & illustrations for all of your needs.

Gary Stamper, a three-time award winner of the prestigous International Sign Association/Signs of the Times Electric Sign Design Contest, Gary has capped off a 27-year career in the sign industry as a pinstriper, showcard sign artist, designer, a contributor to well-known sign industry publications Signs of the Times and Signcraft, and owning and managing several west coast sign companies, large and small. 

Gary's excited to announce his new freelance design and illustration business.
Visit Gary's new website at

     pylon sign in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Gary is a published author and speaker who does freelance design and marketing for commercial and electric sign companies, pet and auto portraits for lovers of animals and cars, Illustration and creative logo designs for small businesses and other marketing companies, the occasional editorial cartoon, and the even more rarified task of airbrushed body painting for parties , events, and photoshoots.

    Pet Portraits, a favorite with animal lovers

Friday, May 18, 2018

It’s Time for America to Face its Shadow around Racism

Making Intolerance and the Intolerant Intolerable

by Dr. Gary Stamper

Yes, I know…The subtitle of this article is a paradox. But since I am supposedly capable of holding multiple perspectives at the same time, I’m perfectly fine with it, especially for the purposes of this article

The Shadow In America: Reclaiming the Soul of a Nation, was first published in 1994. Compiled by Jeremiah Abrams with a foreword by Thomas Moore, and with contributions by Abrams, Jacquelyn Small, Aaron Kipnis, Robert Bly, and others, it presented an optimistic view of the firm ground needed to strip away the darkness that hides our country’s soul: racism.

Twenty-plus years later that optimistic view and the dream of unity has been stripped away and has been replaced by the original sin of  “separation,” the polar opposite views of American Exceptionalism, increasing intolerance against anyone deemed an “other,” not like us, and fear of  “those people.” When did we become such cowards?

It’s easy to blame the racist rants of leaders who loudly denigrate the “others, but if leaders weren’t supported by a large number of people, they wouldn’t be able to get away with it. A leader and a large number of people and their shadow/hatred/fear of the “other”- spurred on by the silence of those may not agree but are afraid to speak up - encourage their hatred to feed upon one another.

Is America standing on the precipice of a new civil war, or are we witnessing the death throes of the hatred-based systems of white supremacists, white nationalists, and neo-Nazis?

In 2014, America’s Southern Poverty Center said the number of hate groups in the U.S. was up from 602 in 2000, to more than 930 at the end of 2014.

Today the SPLC tracks more than 1600 extremist groups in the country.

And while a NBC Political Unit Poll on August 21st  -  taken a week after his first speech on Charlottesville - showed  President Donald Trump’s overall poll numbers were slipping again, what was particularly disturbing in the state-by-state polls was the percentage of Americans who approved of his job rating, ranging from 25 to 56 percent.

One cannot help but remember the words, spoken by Joseph Nye Welch to Senator Joe McCarthy in 1954 as we look today at a president who offered support to the abominable free speech rhetoric to those who were again inciting violence and urging extinction to Jews, including his Jewish son-in-law and his daughter who became Jewish upon their marriage: 

"Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?"

Trump was saying - not once, but twice – that both sides were to blame for the violence that led a white nationalist to plow his car into a crowd of counter-protesters killing Heather Heyer, and the poll numbers are even more disturbing: While 55 percent of voters disapproved of Trump's response, an astonishing 34 percent of those voters approved of Trump’s response.

What can we extrapolate from the 34 percent approval rating of his statement?

It is not a stretch to assume that 34% - or one-third - of voters are, at some level, sympathetic to the white supremacist/neo-Nazi/white nationalist position. Could it be true, that in the 21st Century, one-third of voting adults in the U.S. essentially support white supremacy?

Linguist George Lakoff places those who believe in white power and racial superiority at 35 percent of the country. In other words, the moral universe where male-led white supremacy thrives is rooted in a sobering significant portion of the country.

According to an article on the website AlterNet titled The Spread of White Nationalism Is Taking Our Nation into Uncharted and Dangerous Territory (link), it may take three or more decades for American demographics to change (when non-whites become a majority) to surmount this latest eruption of white supremacy. In the meantime, with one-third of our country eager to enter those unchartered and dangerous waters, with permission and encourasgement from the President of the United States, no less, we are witnessing an unraveling, and it’s only beginning.

A deeper look into these demographics of racism and authoritarianism reveal how a global rise in authoritarian leadership is all too eager to promote fear of  “the other” to their racist bases. Authoritarian leaders, who may or may not be racist themselves, use their racist base as one more tool to take more and more control.

I’m not naive enough to think that it’s possible to completely stamp out hatred and racial intolerance, any more than it’s possible to stamp out authoritarianism, but if the majority of us want to live in a better world, then we have no choice but to make intolerance intolerable, and we need to start now… and that includes the indigenous genocide over the founding of this country.

…and the only way to do that is to show up at the polls, and start winning elections.

But first, we have to care.

(Now, about that paradox…just one more variation of yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater: You can think it, but you can’t say it, a conservative’s politically-correct nightmare.)

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Really? The Wacky Senior World of Meeting Women on the Internet

I rejoined a few days ago. I’ve belonged to Match 4-5 times since the early 2000’s. I rejoined because they have the largest database of potential partners. Before I came back to Match, I was on a couple of smaller “niche” dating sites, but they just didn’t have enough members to be effective in what is essentially a numbers game.

At this point, I’ve recently only “dated” one person I’ve met on a dating site. I was more interested in her than she was in me, and we’ve wound up friends, but she woke me up, lightly cracking me open to realize how much I want a partner in my life. But since I can’t yet speak to the dating part on internet dating this time around, this article is going to focus on meeting people. It will also be focused on a man’s perspective but I hope it will be useful to women as well.

The last time I was on Match, my inbox literally blew up with over 90 responses to my profile in a couple of days, and that is happening again as I’m writing this. I don’t attribute that to me being some kind of fabulous guy (although I think I am!). I think the real reasons my inbox blows up are twofold: One, as a professional writer and a men’s and couple’s counselor, I write a really good profile, and I’d like to think that’s part of it, but I also think it’s because I’m fresh meat.

Fresh, red meat. To quote the Eagles, There’s a New Kid in Town. Aged, yes but there’s a huge market of women 60 and older, divorced and widowed, that are looking for partners.
I only need one. The right one.

Separated,  Not Divorced
I don’t just immediately jump in when a previous relationship ends. I’ve been married twice and my personal style is to get to know who I am as a single person again before I unfairly foist myself and my newly-claimed baggage on a new potential partner. As a consequence, I’m somewhat amazed that a portion of the women who initiate contact with me are only separated, their divorces not yet finalized.
I can’t help but wonder how someone can proceed to move toward another relationship before their current relationship is complete. It may be over, but it’s certainly not completed and it’s doubtful that such a person has had an opportunity to fully heal. It’s just too fast. My experience supports the idea that these are people who can’t bear to be alone, and they invariably wind up carrying the problems of the last relationship into the new relationship, creating a cycle of broken relationships. When I’m contacted by one of these women, I politely decline engagement as I’m not interested in dating someone who is still married. This is not a moral judgment. It’s a discernment based on knowledge of how things usually work. Not always, of course, but who wants to roll those dice?

The Younger Woman

I’m amazed by the number of “likes” I get from women who are younger than both of my daughters. My first thought is always, “what are you thinking?” Some actually invite me into conversation, but most don’t and are simply flirting through their “likes, likely “fishing” for an older man who will take them on for whatever reason, including supporting them, or being a sugar daddy, or just seeking a father-like approval that they probably did not get from a male figure earlier in life.

Maybe some of them are turned off by the awkwardness of many younger men and are looking for a degree of non-threatening contact by men who are easily assuaging and attending to their own inadequacies around mature women.  There may be a small number of younger woman – and men – who actually benefit from one of these May-December relationships, but here we go again, rolling the dice on something that reasonably has very little chance of working.

My own personal rule about age dating has been that I’ll likely not even consider someone who is not at least 10 years older than my oldest daughter. That’s becoming less of a problem since my oldest daughter will be turning 50 next year.  I also like the concept of dating “age-appropriately,” whatever that may mean to each individual, and it is a personal choice.

You’ve Got A Friend

Clearly, some of the strangest emails I get is where someone claims to be writing for a friend. They begin by saying their account is expiring soon, that they’re not going to renew, and they’ve got a really shy friend that would be a perfect match for me, and here’s here email address, and an admonishment to treat her gently because he’s really fragile.

This is wrong on so many levels. First, it violates Match’s policy of not giving out email addresses in a first contact. Second, there’s no denying that there many fragile and broken people in the world, but (1) why would they accept an email from someone they don’t know if they’re so shy, and (2) why would I want to be involved with someone who is that fragile and broken? My shadow loves your shadow?

This is a scam and I wonder if they’re specifically targeting older people like me, which brings me to….

The Older Man and Ageism

That would be me.  I’m not suggesting that I would or should date older men. I’m touching on how strange it is being in the situation I find myself in: I’ll turn 73 later this month, and I was pretty sure I’d still be happily married for the rest of my life. I never imagined I’d be in a situation where I’m not only writing this article, but actually on looking for a partner, hopefully, the last great love of my life, and trying to figure out what exactly that means.  I mean, 73! Definitely unchartered territory! But isn't it all?

The first thing that comes to mind is that, at 73, I appear to be at the upper end of the Match group of older men. Not the oldest, but definitely close enough for it not to matter. There’s good news and bad news: The good news is that there are a lot of men at 60 who look older than I do. The bad news is that I’ve got bad knees that are, hopefully, replaceable, and that’s my next step as alternative Regenerative Stem Cell Therapy did not work for me despite the promises.

Earlier in this article, I referred to the woman who woke me up and gave me the gift of knowing I could love again. I’d hoped I could, and that’s why I joined a dating site in the first place. She’s 60 and was at first skeptical of even meeting with a man who was 72 and I was put into the position of pursuing a “younger” woman. Using humor, I charmed her into meeting with me and we both immediately liked each other and I’m extremely grateful for her valued friendship.

One of the challenges here is that, on one hand, some women both young and old, say age is relative, that age is just a number. They are correct. On the other hand, if another woman states a certain age is too old - or a man says a woman is too young – they are also correct. Yes, both things can be true.

When I first got on a dating site a few months ago, I remember thinking, “So many of these women look like my aunt,” and then one morning I walked by my mirror and realized I look like my uncle. Welcome to my awareness of my own ageism.


It’s interesting that the drive to love and to be loved is so strong in us, no matter what our age. I’m grateful to my friend for helping to wake me up to not deciding I’m just going to be alone. I considered it…briefly.

While I’m looking, though, I’m also building the best life I can on my own and I’m going to have fun doing it. In the meantime, I’m now having a relationship with _______ (put the name of your dating site here), and eventually will replace it with someone I meet.

So thanks for reading. My hope is that some of this has given you some insight into your own relationship, existing or longed for. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to fix your existing relationship so you don’t wind up going through this in your life. If you’re not in a relationship, perhaps you’ll be inspired to open your heart to the possibility of love, no matter what your age. Either path is an assurance that you’re still alive and vibrant.

I could go on, but you get the idea.  I’m going to check to see if I’ve got new Match mail!

Friday, April 06, 2018

The Shadow of the Boy who Would Be King

In my 2012 book, "Awakening The New Masculine," I write about how archetypes can be the hidden forces at work in our psyches.

While there are more than enough real life examples of how the four major archetypes play out in our lives, few, if any, are more visible or useful than the shadows of the king as played out by the man who currently holds the highest public office in the land.

Played out on the world's stage for all to see, the shadows of Trump's King archetype are the same shadows - our dark sides - we all express to some degree or other. In Trump's case, it a very big "other, indeed.

The shadows of the King are the tyrant - the active shadow of the king - and the weakling - the passive shadow of the king.

Manifestations of the tyrant include bullying, aggressive and negative behaviors, and resentment. How they show up determines whether the shadow plays out as active or passive. Trump exhibits both at different times.

Trump's tyrant thinks he knows it all and will not listen to anyone else. In the end, he will either be overthrown or just ignored. This will come at a  terrible price not just for just the person concerned but, sometimes, in the case of authoritarian rulers, whole countries who will suffer. The tyrant has no conception of service to those under his care, so this fall is inevitable. He has never "followed his bliss" and so cannot bear to see anyone else follow theirs.

The polar opposite of the tyrant is the weakling. The weakling would rather go sulk in the corner than stand up for what he believes in. He may go off and lie on the beach in Bali for years, thinking he is being really cool but in reality not having a clue what his life is about. Whilst not as destructive as the tyrant, he is still of no use to the world as he is giving nothing.

Trumps' weakling - the passive shadow of the king - cannot bring himself to fire a subordinate face-to-face, but rather, has to resort to "tweeting" so he doesn't have to look them in the eye. He wants everyone to see this as him being powerful when in reality he performs an obviously cowardly act of a spoiled child.

And while using Twitter to destroy his enemies, when you put pressure on the weakling king, he will jump to the polar opposite of the tyrant, screaming abuse to all those around him. The weakling and the tyrant can be very close friends.

If you know someone who is out of touch with their king archetype, ask yourself who dominates them? The ones who dominate Trump are the ones he attacks the most. They are the ones who own him, even though they are powerless and he has all the power. They are the ones who get the blame for everything that is not right in the shadow king's life. His child-like narcissistic ego requires that he not only attack, but demolish those he deems his enemies.

He can’t help being dominated by them. They trigger him when he doesn’t get his way or when they manage to accidentally – or on purpose - touch upon his deepest unowned shadows and his wounded elements that he can’t even see, and denies even when someone hauls them out and he’s forced to look at them. That’s when both the tyrant and the weakling are most vulnerable. It’s also when they are the most dangerous.

Other leaders found in foreign governments, corporations, and politics, who understand the workings of humanity’s deep psychological connection to these mythological archetypes, will find it fairly easy to manipulate the boy/king for their own purposes, seemingly supporting the king’s power plays while all the while serving the interests of their own shadow king in a never-ending cycle of psychopathy, treachery and greed.

So what are we to do? Many of us - in a horrific awakening – have shockingly awakened to the reality that a third of us are perfectly content to support authoritarian leadership, even at the expense of the U.S. Constitution and democracy itself in favor of power, hatred, crony capitalism, oligarchy, and fascist rule. We are not going to change their minds.

It’s up to the rest of us. Simply waking up is not enough. We must also awaken to action, or Sacred Activism. We’ve got to take the Democratic Party back to its roots of being the party of the people, instead of the party of Corporate Lite. We need to get real. We need to stop thinking power is an inherently evil thing. It’s what we do with power that is good or bad. We need to stop fighting power and being squeamish about taking that power and wielding it to do good.

Nothing gets done without power, and no one is going to give us power. Power must be taken. The one-third of the country that supports the current administration is not going to give us what we want just because we marched, signed a petition, or called our congressman’s office. It’s not enough to be right. We need to be winning.

And what, then, happens when we win?

We start to lay some Tough Love on the Boy Who Would be King, and set about helping create a better world that works for everyone. The archetypal role of the King in mythology is to oversee the well-being of their kingdom. These times require that we all become benevolent kings and It’s going to take all of us.

Where can you take power?

Wednesday, April 04, 2018


by Gary Stamper
Integral Life Coaching:  Finding Purpose and Meaning After Retirement
Congratulations!  You’ve retired from whatever you’ve been doing in your professional life. It may have been a single career, a journey through a particular industry, or, like me, a continuous birth and rebirth process of many professional lives.  No matter how you pursued your professional life, if you were blessed, that journey filled you with purpose and meaning
The question now is, what’s going to bring you purpose and meaning - and joy - from here on out? After all, there’s only so much rest, relaxation, and recreation a person can take before they start to feel unfulfilled and restless, driving everyone around them nuts! Awful? Now imagine what your retirement will be (is?) like if you can't retire?
I know a lot about this. With only social security, I'm going to work, one way or another. At the ripe old age of 73 years young, I'm fortunate to be healthy enough to continue working. I also know that the phrases "Welcome to WalMart" or "Would you like fries with that" are never going to be part of my vocabulary. I enjoy being busy, and I've learned how to turn my many passions - including art and music - into multiple streams of income to supplement my somewhat meager SS checks. And, I know what I'm passionate about.
Like this...My counseling and Integral Life Coach services. Today I'm speaking directly to men, about how to re-purpose their lives after retirement, but everything I'll be doing will apply equally to women as well.

Man's Search For Meaning

Like Freud a citizen of Vienna and a practicing psychotherapist, Dr. Viktor Frankl also became a university professor and prolific author. His most widely read work is Man's Search For Meaning, a keenly observed account of his experiences in the Nazi death camps during World War II.

As he saw in the camps, those who found meaning even in the most horrendous circumstances were far more resilient to suffering than those who did not. "Everything can be taken from a man but one thing," Frankl wrote in Man's Search for Meaning, "the last of the human freedoms — to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

Frankl believed that the very pursuit of happiness is what thwarts happiness, but once you have a reason to be happy – i.e. a meaning – happiness comes automatically.

"Happiness is about looking inward. It’s about satisfying your needs and wants. Happiness without meaning results in a shallow, self-absorbed life. When things go well, when your needs and desires are satisfied, you’re happy. When things get difficult, watch out."
"Meaning is different. It’s focused outwards, on others. It’s about taking care of others and contributing to your community or society as a whole. When we see our purpose as larger than ourselves, we no longer need to pursue happiness. It comes naturally, even in the face of temporary setbacks and discomforts."
Why is that important and how does it apply to you? I'm glad you asked!

The Ugly Statistics

Experts point out that men are more susceptible to depression in retirement, in part because their identity is more closely tied to their careers compared to women. In their careers, men developed strong routines and many of their friendships come from work and when they retire, their social networks disappear as does their meaning, their sense of accomplishment, their purpose, According to the Institute of Economic Affairs, retirement increases the probability of suffering from Clinical depression by about 40%.

Men live an average of seven years fewer than women, suffer far more from ulcers and stress-related disease than women, and are more likely than women to die from the fifteen leading causes of death.

Over 80% of all suicides are committed by men. Statistics from the U.S. -based Center for Disease Control and Prevention show the highest increase in suicide is in men 50 and over, and over the age of 85, men are fourteen times as likely to commit suicide as women!

How To Help Yourself

I initially imagined that helping other "retirees" could be done in an online cohort of a couple of a dozen like-minded seekers for a smaller individual cost to each but quickly realized that I had that backward: That I would need to focus my attention onto individuals using my counseling experiences as what I'm calling an "Integral Life Coach," working one-on-one with men around "repurposing their lives."

As a pastoral counselor and a men's and couples workshop facilitator with ten years under my belt working with people in groups and as individuals around their issues, I've seen that the biggest obstacle getting ion the way of happiness is almost always a lack of Purpose. It's what the masculine is all about.  For the last 15 years, my passion and my purpose has been, and is, helping others rediscover their purpose.

I'm not going to tell you how I'm going to do that for you in this writing. That's part of a larger one-on-one conversation between you and me as I learn who you are and what you need to successfully transition to your new life, your new or re-discovered joy, your purpose, to uncover and expose your new passion about your life. 

Whadd'ya think? Is this something you'd be interested in? With approximately 10,000 baby boomers retiring every day*, there should be quite a few of you willing to explore this path with other seekers...and I can't help all of them. But I can help you!