Happy Father's Day! I want to recognize the grown-ass men of the world, who stand in their purpose, who are emotionally articulate, who own their shadow, who balance their Lover, Warrior, Magician and King energies in service of their realm, of all they care for and protect. I call grown-ass men, Taus. In this article you'll meet the Tau archetype, the philosopher king. Taus are bold, purpose-driven leaders who make their greatest contribution to the realm and advance the human and ecological condition. These men need recognition because we are in the midst of a crisis of authentic masculinity, as our species' boys are generally raised by larger boys and initiated into an increasingly adolescent masculinity. We find our men disconnected from their life's purpose, from their proud lineage as warriors, kings, creators and visionaries. Instead we find our men concerned with survival and escape, shuffling between fantasy sports leagues, porn, video games and overwork. As such we need to revisit the purpose of men.
But first, I want to take a moment to give thanks to the men in my life who illuminate different purposes and energies (Lover, Warrior, Magician, King) of the authentic masculine. Most of us have one Dad, but some of us aren't so lucky and grow up without a strong and steady male influence. If our parents divorce and if we're lucky, we get a second Dad, a Stepdad. I believe I won the Dad lottery, as I have been blessed three Dads, three strong and steady male influences in my life. My father, Bob, Stepdad, Dennis, and Uncle Mark are three very different men who have helped shape me. I call them the loosely, the salesman, the cowboy and the family man, which is not to say that this is all they are. Each has unique perfections (and of course, unique challenges).
My Dad has very strong Lover and Magician energy. My Stepdad, Dennis has very strong King and Warrior energy. My Uncle Mark has very strong Lover energy. I am blessed to have had these three very different versions of masculinity from which to draw upon.
My father, Bob, is the quintessential, upwardly mobile salesman, and like most of the Baby Boomers was sold on the American Dream, hook, line and sinker. From humble roots of American dysfunction, he rose through the ranks of various sales organizations, learning to "get to yes". A product of economic hardship and Lord of the Flies chaos (5 siblings, a stretched hard working mother, and an absent father), he raised himself, and sought out male mentorship from his Uncle Bernie. Despite a learning disability, and family dysfunction, he graduated at the top of his class at Southern Illinois University. He worked hard and leveraged America's deep social safety net of the 1950's, 60's and 70's (public universities, food stamps, Army) to step into his fullness economically. As a result, he improved his station in life, had two sons, and built a prosperous career in financial services.
My Father is very fun and affectionate. He knows how to have a good time. He showed us how to play hard, to have fun, to enjoy sports. He took my brother and I on adventures, played jokes on us and others, and generally was a giant fun plaything. He took us to professional sporting events, instilled in us an ethic of hard work and determination on the field and in practice (hustle and catch with two hands), and steadily imprinted his worldview upon my brother and I - money provides happiness. He also instilled a deep reverence for integrity and order, as truth was to be told always, and messes were never tolerated (Warrior energy). He instilled in us self-discipline - we made lists every morning with our tasks - make the bed, shower, brush teeth, pull ups, push ups, and lay out our clothes for the next day. We turned in our lists and each day received a quarter.
As boyhood gave way to young adulthood, his parenting was focused on the leading indicators of financial success - a strong social network, good grades and athletic prowess, or our shorthand - ASA: Athletic, Social, Academic. He made it clear that poverty was the root of all evil and misery in the world and that the safest ticket out of poverty, was to get into a good college, be likeable, dependable and a play a leadership role. He set firm boundaries with great rewards. I was told that if I got straight A's and played three sports (which I did most of the time), I would have no curfew, spending money and access to the car. If I did all these things I would be in a great position to choose my future - a good college, a prolific single life, and eventually a career and family.
My Dad's goal in life was to raise sons that would enjoy his visits in college. He succeeded. My Dad and I had a great time together during his frequent visits to my college / fraternity. Eventually, we initiated him as a full fraternity brother (an experience he didn't get to have going to college in the late sixties / early seventies). As college gave way to my twenties, we became friends and eventually running mates - a pair of affable swinging bachelors. What he excelled at most was "getting to yes" in the boardroom and bedroom, of listening to and being sensitive to the needs of others, of being a man of his word, of managing appearances, charm, first impressions and reputation.
However, what is unique to my Dad, what I see apparent in so few men in the world, is an openness and hunger for personal growth (Magician energy). Despite his learning disability he was always a reader, ingesting volumes on psychology, golf, spirituality, sales techniques, and mindfulness. In his early 50's (my early 20's) he jumped into an intense 15-month coaching program where he revisited every key area and relationship in his life and crafted a new life plan. From this place he shifted towards authenticity, towards developing fewer and deeper relationships, towards readying himself to be a life partner, and towards deepening his personal spiritual practice (meditation / golf).
This radical shift instilled me with awe (and fear as our tiny little worldview of work hard/play hard/ womanize harder began to crumble in front of me). He showed me that it is possible to "course correct", to change everything in service of purpose, of a deeper understanding of self and the world. He continues this tack today continuing his relentless pursuit of growth, of being a great husband and friend, with vision boards and quarterly goal setting with his wife, Kathy.
My Stepdad, Dennis, is the quintessential individualist, a rugged adventurer, a man's man. He spent his twenties partying, traveling, exploring the world, and America's National Parks. Dennis loved the outdoors (and still does) and when he came into my brother Carson's and my life in our early teens, he encountered two soft, coddled, commercialized, and largely neutered boys - choosing the mall, TV and video games over the greater realms of natural experience. He saw that we were desperately in need of adventure, initiation and the self-respect that comes from knowing how to do stuff. He showed us how to work with our hands, to drive nails, change oil, paint, dig holes, to use and appreciate tools. He picked up where the suburbs and Cub Scouts failed us.
He took us on big trips lasting anywhere from a week to more than a month. We explored the Canadian boundary waters via foot and canoe. We kayaked in the gator-infested Florida Everglades. We traversed the country several times visiting friends and family in California and Mexico. We hiked the Grand Canyon together a few times en route. He pushed us to take on more responsibility and risks (Warrior energy), and in doing so we learned new things about ourselves, our bodies, and began to see challenge, endurance and hard work as fun things to do. He gave us freedom, letting us roam about and get into trouble.
As boyhood gave way to young adulthood, he provided an alternative to the Salesman role model my Dad put forth, that it was ok to opt out of the American Dream (King energy). He showed me that it was ok to stake a claim for myself alone, to be my own man, to live life fully without expectation of result, to push beyond my perceived limits, to have the self-reliance and confidence in my own capabilities that I can handle any situation Mother Nature throws at me.
My love of weightlifting, of altered states of consciousness and eventually my love of yoga, and desire to create more elegant and novel approaches to meet humans needs, had their origins in Dennis's example. To this day, I love pushing myself beyond where I thought I could go.
The Family Man
My Uncle Mark shows me what love looks like when contained in the body of a man. In my late twenties and early thirties I had the good fortune of being able to spend a lot of time with him, living with him and his wife, Amy, on two occasions. My Uncle Mark is an outstanding civil architect. But beyond the traditional markers of an accomplished artisan, he derives great joy from his work. Much more than my other two Dad's, my Uncle Mark shows me what it is to love his work and find joy and connection in it. He still has the energy and joy of a child, and this flows into all of his creative pursuits - architecture, design, glass work, photography, love of nature (hiking, travel, biking) and creating awesome holiday experiences. He models for me what it is to be fully alive in professional and personal pursuits, to find joy, connect with and care for the people around me.
One of my first memories of my Uncle Mark is when he took the time to show me his coin collection from his world travels. My Dad and my Stepdad are more deliverable / action oriented, teaching me how to do things for a particular end, to be a good baseball player, to pass Algebra, cross a river, etc. Whereas my Uncle Mark showed me the gift of authentic male presence, without attachment (Lover energy). He was one of the few men who sat with me as a boy and made me feel seen and heard. He told me about his travels that the coin represented, delighted in the design differences in the coins, and helped me see that coins were an end in themselves, artifacts of design, history, culture, not just an investment, the mentality I had inherited from my financial advisor parents.
Of course, as the title I've given him suggests, he is the Clark W. Griswold of the West Coast, a true family man. Unlike Clark, however, he isn't spun around by the chaos of his wild and crazy wife, the shifting economics of architecture and the Bay Area, or his talented, adventurous and brilliant children. He is a rock. He is steady. He is the glue of the Schatz-Peele household. He's on time and in integrity, keeping the wheels in motion logistically, and fostering the safe space for the creative unfolding of his realm, his wife, Amy, and children, Gracie and Bennett. I love watching his expression of love for Amy. He models for me what it is to be other-centered, to care so deeply for the happiness and well-being of another person, to be so tender and affectionate, so shamelessly and freely giving of love.
This love of family cannot be contained. He and Amy let the fountain of their love flow out to all of us, opening their home and hearts to celebrate and to family members in need. Twice in my life, I called 31 Sunny Cove home, when I needed a safe place to heal from the trauma of a break-up and get back on my feet financially. He and Amy have made me and our entire extended family feel welcome to heal, to rest our bones, to recharge, to reconnect, so we can go back out into the world with full bellies and a full tank of love. Without this home away from home, I would have been much worse off and would have taken far longer to recover. I cannot express my gratitude enough for their hearts, generosity and presence when I needed them most.
I am extremely lucky and grateful to have my 3rd Dad, my Uncle Mark, in my life. He is a man of conviction, a child of wonder, play and creativity, an authentic male presence and selfless creator of joy and community.
Each of these men inform my understanding of masculinity and what it means to serve the realm. Each has many strengths and gifts that they gave me. For this I am forever grateful. These men, my Dads, are always with me, in my heart, as advisers, as elders, as keepers of the realm. I have been very blessed by these men and am compelled to pass on their gifts to others, so that the world may know peace, harmony, joy, purpose, love and authentic masculinity. And to you all - Bob, Dennis and Mark: Thank you for the opportunity to learn from you. Thank you for your time, patience and love. I love you.
From this place, let us explore the purpose of men.
The Descent of Man
The Western world (and by extension the whole species and planet) is in a crisis of authentic masculinity. Specifically, over the last 1000 years, we've allowed, and created support structures that enable, pathological adolescence to assume leadership of our species and planet. In doing so, as men, we've ignored our shadows, the portal to finding our life's purpose, and dishonored the sacred masculine, who is a sacred warrior, loving king and wise servant of the realm. The sacred masculine is found in the Tau Man. He is the integration of the warrior, of sacred action (Alpha Male) and the king, of wisdom (Omega Male). He finds this integration by doing his inner work and meeting his demons, in order to find greater freedom, compassion, authenticity, and service in the world.
Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, we've slowly glorified and empowered the pathological Alpha male (tyrannical oppressor), turned him into messiahs like Napoleon, Rockefeller, Stalin and Reagan. We are now awash in the consequences of his tyrant kingship - faltering ecology (1-200 extinct species per day, 1000x pre-carbon levels), torture, misogyny, ethnocentrism, rape, unprecedented income inequality, disease, starvation, war, genocide, and a deep cultural ignorance of the sanctity of life itself.
The answer to this quandary is not simply to put women in leadership roles, because most accomplished women have ascended the same pathological hierarchies that adolescent males created, by embodying the same oppressive tyrranical pathoadolesence, e.g. Hillary Clinton, Sheryl Sandberg, Ayn Rand, Meg Whitman, Nancy Pelosi, Anna Wintour, Carly Fiorina, etc. Yes, we do need more authentic and sacred feminine leaders, as well as the organizational support that empowers the sacred feminine. And this same support structure would also empower the sacred masculine. But creating divine feminine friendly, soul-centric and eco-centric organizations is another topic for another day.
Today we are talking about the sacred masculine, the rise of the Tau Man. Historically, men have divided themselves into Alpha, Beta and Omega male archetypes. The Alpha male is the dominant leader, the vocal visionary / tyrant (depending on the character and context). The Beta is an impotent Alpha, one who tows the line of the Alpha to gather a few crumbs (money, success, female affection, etc.), and in hopes of one day knocking down the Alpha, to become Alpha himself. The Omega man is outside society, the man who sees the pathology in this limited set of choices who makes a study of himself, society, spirit, and from this elevated and abstracted viewpoint, sees the great potential of humanity.
The Omega man can be pathologically eddied as the punk, the cynic, the skeptic, the terrorist, the rebel, the revolutionary. In it's healthy expression, in divine connection with the flow of all things, the Omega man is expressed as the sage, the guru, the teacher, the poet, the mystic, the philosopher, artist, the healer, the ascended master.
The Rise of the Tau Man
We now demand a deep integration of the Omega and Alpha, through the Tau. We can no longer afford to have warriors without wisdom and poets and philosophers on the sidelines. The Tau, is the "t" in the Greek alphabet. It is the cross, the integration point of the Alpha (action) and Omega (wisdom), of heart and mind, body and spirit, of art and science, mystery and knowledge, faith and reason. The Tau Man is the philosopher king, the mystic leader, following a long line of Tau Men - King Solomon, Muhammad, Jesus, Marcus Aurelius. The Tau manifests as the ability to holistically conceive of oneself, our species, ecology and Cosmos, and express this illimitable identity through action in the terrestrial domain. The Tau Man, is possessed of deep self-knowledge that results from pursuing purpose, owning shadow and submitting before a higher power and the good of the commonwealth.
The Tau inspires, empowers and shares leadership with other Tau men and women (there are no Betas in the presence of the Tau). He is humble before great mystery, before superior intellects and capabilities of others. He is open-hearted and kind towards all who need his grandfather energy, loving presence or warrior shield as the case may be. The Tau is possessed of deep contextual knowledge of, and spiritual reverence for, his role in leading our species, planet and Cosmos.
Thus, we must enact a plan to unleash the Tau within each human.
Programs, such as the Planet Purpose Leadership Academy's Delta Leadership Program, create Tau Men, men who lead with their purpose, lead their industries, become powerful authors, public speakers, entrepreneurs and change agents. To do this the Delta Leadership Program combines rigorous purpose discovery work, a deep contextual curriculum (science - Carl Sagan, philosophy - Ken Wilber, psychology - Bill Plotkin), entrepreneurial training and guidance. This program empowers the Tau to play the largest leadership role possible, the stewardship of our species, Earth ecology and Cosmic evolution. If ascending to the sacred masculine is of interest to you, you can start right now by claiming your your leadership and finding your life's purpose.