The total time it takes to take out the trash in my house is approximately ninety seconds. It includes opening the top of the bin, looking inside to access the fullness or odiferous nature of the bag, picking it up, opening one door, walking approximately twenty yards and putting the bag into the trash. Ninety seconds. Done. Mark. Check. At least twice a day I check the trash and do my routine. It feels good doing it because I know, in this little way, I am taking care of my house. And, I know, that my wife Morgan loves it. She loves it because she has never asked me to do it and it is the first time in her life where a man has taken the time to take out the trash without her requesting he do it. I like being that guy. My teacher once called Men single-minded maniacs. We have the DNA to focus on the task at hand. We see the animal, we hunt it, we kill it and bring it home. Before my training to increase my situational awareness, I would never pay attention to the trash and depended on my partner’s squeaky request to take it out. No longer. It is part of my routine. Women love when you help without them asking. It has them feel appreciated and considered. For some households, this may be helping change the diaper or doing the dishes or taking out the vacuum to clean up the crumbs the kids left behind. In others, it’s simply asking “How was your day?” or sending a text “I’m thinking of you.” It is the little moments of noticing, considering, and acting.
Women love when you pay quality attention.
At the beginning of my training, my teacher Ray once asked a woman friend for her Desire List. He said, “Write it up Honey” and encouraged her to list all the things, material, and energetic, that she wanted. She was a good student and wrote a two-page list ranging from a new pair of boots to a vacation in Hawaii. He then proceeded to buy her a Tivo. For those too young to remember, Tivo was the first DVR available where a person could automatically record their favorite shows to a hard drive to watch at their convenience. Ray proudly brought home the big, expensive box and offered it to my friend excited for her reaction. Her smile diminished to a neutral expression because the truth was that she didn’t watch television. Ever. Even though Ray had asked for a list of what she wanted he had bypassed it and given her what HE thought she wanted. This makes a woman feels invalidated and not seen which is the exact opposite of NOT paying quality attention to a woman. This is how she felt. I take out the trash for dual reasons: (A) I know it makes Morgan happy and (B) it is part of my spiritual enlightenment. It helps me clean the clutter and ensure that we live in a healthier environment. This is, of course, a metaphor. I was speaking to a client of mine, and she was discussing the challenges she’s having with her husband. The basic issue is that she is expanding DEEPLY into her next evolution at a rapid rate and her husband is feeling abandoned. Like the runner in the race who sees the leader’s neon shorts over the next hill, he is feeling anxious. I recommended that she stay connected to him, be available, be vulnerable but not carry him. It is his job to choose his journey and find his mastery. It is his job to take out his mental trash every day. While it might not take ninety seconds to accomplish, it is still a daily practice that he can embark on for his sanity. It is not her job to remind him to call her or encourage him to do his daily practice to find his bliss. It’s his. We often look to our partners to do the work for us. In my world, it’s our job as men to do our own. For those partners whose pleasure it is to help their partners, the balance can be tenuous. How does one be supportive and let the other do the work? Where do you step in? There is no straightforward answer to this question beyond experimentation, communication between the two of you, and the willingness to let the other struggle to find their mastery. If it is too muddy between you, I highly recommend a therapist or a life-coach. Some of my personal practices for cleaning my mental trash include:
- Faithfully seeing my therapist even when I don’t want to
- Self-coaching “Rob – what’s bothering you right now?”
- Getting my butt kicked by my physical trainer at the gym
- Noticing and celebrating any victory- small or large
- Keeping my commitments
- Doing esteemable acts of integrity
Men – It’s time to take out the trash. Ask yourself daily:
- Where is a place in my life that I feel stuck right now?
- What is holding me back from letting go?
- What would be the benefit if I was free in this area?
BONUS ACTION STEP for the truly adventurous:
Remember what Ray asked his girlfriend to do? Go to a special woman in your life and tell her “I would like to know what you desire in your life.” Then ask, “Would you write a list for me, so I know? I’m always interested in giving you what you need and knowing more about who you are.”
BONUS ACTION STEP for the women:
Take the initiative and make a list of what you desire to give to your man. Let him know “Hey I want you to win big here with me, so I decided to make a list of what I love and makes me happy so that you know more about who I am and if you ever want to do something for me you’ll know what that is.”