Why Owen Marcus encourages men to have “all the feels”
WHY MEN SO OFTEN COME TO HEALTH CARE FEELING "BROKEN"
Owen Marcus, who specializes in Masculine Emotional Intelligence, says that men generally come to health, "in a worse condition than women."
He says men need to work on their emotions, their relationships, and their health... but men generally "don't do anything until they have to. This is starting to change for younger men, but most men don't [seek help] until they feel they’re broken and they need to fix it.”
Owen is co-founder of Evryman, which brings men together to experience and express emotions as part of being healthy. Evryman is not prescribing a new way -- or any specific way -- of being a man. It's simply presenting tools and opportunities for men to experience a more authentic way of being themselves.
Through men's groups, Owen says, every guy can gain connections that are deeper and more real. He says after a workshop, “men of any age, race, or sexual orientation say they’ve never felt so accepted, loved, or connected. That's what we're working toward.” His organization seeks to bring men together to connect as human beings, and as men.
Owen, who today leads individual coaching sessions as well as men's group meetings and retreats, began his career as a Rolfer in Boulder, Colorado, in the 1970s. His focus was performance enhancement for athletes, including Olympians, through Rolfing Structural Integration. In 1980, he formed a health clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona for many years.
Owen has researched men's health and well-being through many angles, for many years.
He has authored, "The Power of Rolfing: What Rolfing Structural Integration Can do for you" and "Grow Up: A Man’s Guide to Masculine Emotional Intelligence,"
DE-ESCALATING FROM "FIGHT OR FLIGHT" MODE
The problem with the status quo is that men have become oriented toward survival rather than connection. And as a result, they've started to experience the stress response as a natural state of being.
“Guys are told, ‘You need to perform. That's how you give and receive love’,” Owen said.
Pervasive work stress takes a toll emotionally and physically.
Chronic stress is unhealthy for both the body and the mind, but it has become a way of life for many men. Unreleased emotions basically get trapped in our physical bodies, so men’s health must treat chronic stress on many levels -- mental, physiological, emotional, and energetic.
Owen notes that there is a "synergistic relationship" between our emotional and physical health. He says, “You can't get real far in one without dealing with the other."
Evryman works directly on these issues by providing emotionally safe spaces for men to slow down and get more connected with themselves and one another. Ultimately, this helps them feel more vital and alive.
Owen notes, "In physiology, men have to unlearn the stress-dominant response. Dormant in them is the relaxation response."
In his Tedx talk, "What 10,000 Years Of Progress Has Cost," Owen describes going to the first men's group he founded as, "one of the scariest nights of my life." Yet he said by the end of the night it was "actually fun," as men began to open up and share what they were really going through.
While psychology researchers have found that, “most men would rather be electrically shocked than be left alone with their thoughts,” Owen has emphasized that, "men are not bad, broken and doomed." They just need the skills to connect with others at an emotional level in a way that feels comfortable to them.
HOW NUTRACEUTICALS HELP MEN MAKE THE MIND-BODY CONNECTION
Almeda supports Owen and Evryman to bring greater awareness to help all men transcend their conditioning and their pain.
Owen said, "We like working with Stacy [Almeda's co-founder] on projects; she brings the nutraceutical, emotional, physiological angles together in a synergistic relationship.”
A lot of men start out healthy and athletic, but find that some time into their 30s, aches, and pains start showing up. They struggle to feel the energy they once had.
As an example of this, Owen shared, “I was working with one guy yesterday, and I realized his diet was part of what was taking him out. He was eating a lot of carbs, sugar… He understood it all, that he was up and down with sugar and caffeine, perpetuating the stress response.”
Both Almeda and Evryman work on the body's physiology. Evryman serves to down-regulate the stress response, and increase the connection response. While Almeda provides nutritional support to relieve stress and reduce the effects of chronic inflammation on the body. Almeda products help detox and rebuild the body.
Owen said, “These products give more energy, but not in a pseudo way. Chi -- vital energy -- is the way to go."
Once men gain more vitality and more connection to self, the benefits go far beyond themselves. Feeling more resourced, they become more available to give of themselves and provide for others.
So, why is it so hard for men to express emotion? Owen says it's because men are stuck in a model that is too small, too confining. Men are given the false choice of becoming either hypermasculine "angry jerk" or a hypomasculine "nice sensitive guy". And he says he doesn't know anyone who fits either description--both are false models of masculinity.
He said the problem is that there has been no training for men to find their own way to build relationships and deep connections.
EMOTIONAL DISCONNECTION LEADS TO A MEDIOCRE LIFE
The risk of settling for the old model is a disconnected life. This results in a sub-par existence, filled with mediocre relationships.
The risk is real: Men commit suicide almost 4 times more than women. In doing the emotional work together, men find comfort in the camaraderie. Once they become comfortable letting their guard down in groups, they get to be themselves.
Additionally, Owen pointed out that women actually appreciate and are more attracted to emotionally healthy men. Women would rather have a man who is emotional in a masculine way, as learned from other men, than in the ways they've been conditioned to be.
Doing the emotional work of Evryman pays off in this regard. Owen reports that, "Men return from our groups feeling intimate, passionate, masculine, and so much a man. Their partners find it’s the most intimate night of the week.”
That’s probably why women, as well as men, are huge supporters of Evryman.
LEARNING UNTAUGHT SKILLS THROUGH BROTHERHOOD
As humans, we all crave connection. It's hard-wired into us to bond. So when men are socialized to "be strong" at all costs, there is indeed a price to pay.
Success for Evryman looks like bonding, and feels like returning home to themselves. Men can take the space to be together without the pressures of "performance" in athleticism or intellect as a requirement to receive love and praise from others.
Owen's hope is that future generations will learn new models for being a man. He said, “Men want tools to be who THEY want to be. Now, 6 months down the road, they may not be where they started, but they got there through their own experience, not by following some other model of how to be a man.”
As these men decide to become good role models for emotional bonding, he says, they can actually help the next generation of kids develop “emotional superpowers.”
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Evryman is a Benefit Corporation that helps men connect in order to lead more successful, fulfilling lives. It offers men’s groups, programs, and events that serve as safe spaces for men to do emotional work, which they call, “Crossfit for your emotions.”
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At Almeda, we know men don’t want to sit around agonizing and waiting for an answer to their health concerns. They want to take action. We recommend men start with a liquid multivitamin like Encarna for overall support of your health. Men who enjoy Encarna find it helps them with focus and clarity, giving a competitive edge in all the key areas of life.