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My guest today is Brandon Archer.
We talk about:
- Brandon’s wake up call and his awakening,
- Communicating effectively with our partners and our children,
- Nervous system regulation,
- Inner child work,
- Mindfulness, and
- The initiation ritual that Brandon used to initiate his son into manhood.
Brandon grew up in a cult, is father of 4, a heart attack survivor, a men’s group facilitator, and a life long coach. Brandon’s life has been one of learning, observing, and supporting others’ growth through his own. In his quest to discover his deeper self, he discovered his buried masculinity while striving to have a healthy romantic relationship. Now, he is on his life’s mission to help other men discover what they have waiting inside themselves so they too can have great relationships.
Find Brandon online at:
Curt Storring 0:00
Welcome to the dad work podcast we are with Brandon Archer. Today we talk about near death. Wake Up Calls, awakening communication with your partner and your children. Parenting through divorce, holding space for yourself and your partner's feelings, helping to heal your inner child initiation for our sons, and so much more. This is an excellent episode. Brandon is a men's communication and relationship coach. He grew up in a cult. He's a father of four. He's a heart attack survivor, a men's group facilitator, and a lifelong coach. Brendan's life has been one of learning, observing and supporting others growth through his own. In his quest to discover his deepest self, he discovered his buried masculinity, while striving to have a healthy romantic relationship. Now he's on his life's mission to help other men discover what they have waiting inside themselves. So they too can have great relationships. This one is a must listen to for all fathers out there, there are some excellent knowledge bombs dropped. So enjoy. And here we go. Brandon, welcome to the show, man.
Brandon Archer 1:12
love being here. Thanks for asking me, Kurt. I'm pretty excited about what you're up to
Curt Storring 1:17
help. And I'm super pumped, I'm super pumped that you're here because you've got a lot of experience with the things that I'm working on as a dad, in relationship to my wife, learning how to communicate, and and in men's work. I mean, you've been doing this work for for a lot longer than I have. And you're also a leader in one of the men's groups that were a part of. So I'm excited to have you here. And I thought we'd start with your journey to healing into men's work, because it's super powerful. I think it started with a heart attack if I'm correct on that. So could you walk us through like, just how you got involved in all of this healing work?
Brandon Archer 1:53
Yeah, I would say it started sooner than the heart attack. This is this is an interesting because I don't tell this part of the story often, but let's let's start with that. So five years ago, I did have a heart attack. Two years before that, I woke up in the hospital one day, not having any memory of how it got there. And that was the start of really where I am today. And why I say it's a start is because it was the first time I was forced to slow down. It's the first time I was like, I actually couldn't do anything, I had severe concussion. And brain injuries are a real thing. And unfortunately, I got sent home The day after, but I couldn't speak properly, I couldn't see, I'd be looking at something it would look normal. And then it would go two dimensional, like a like a picture of painting. It was the wildest experience ever. And at the time, I'm like, I this is life. Like I need to like this might be my life. I did heal from that physically. But that was the first glimpse into being present. Nothing else mattered. Nothing else mattered. You know, I spent time with my kids. And just all my energy went into that my thoughts weren't running rampant. They weren't somewhere else. They weren't at work. They weren't dealing with stressful situations. But what happened is I recovered. All I did was keep doing life, the way I was the stressful way. Yeah, and then fast forward two years, and heart attack. And that is a pretty confusing thing for people that know me well, because I was 41 at the time, I was actually fitter than when I was in my 20s. I'm a I will say elite amateur cyclist, and I'd been training a lot super, super fit that year. And it was April, the week before I went for a ride with some friends and my arms actually ached, my arms hurt. I'm like What is going on? So I just took the week to take it easy. Sure enough following week group ride just went as fast as I possibly could up a hill to see where my fitness was. And I'm like, okay, that's bang on. I'm exactly as fit as I thought it was 30 minutes later. I'm not feeling well. And I said to my friend, I'm just gonna take it easy up this next climb, and it's like, okay, keeps going and then all of a sudden, I'm off my bike and I'm leaning on my bike. People are riding by Are you okay? And I'm like, No, I'm not okay. And then they're all gone. They'd all written off. And then I'm sitting on the sidewalk, all alone. And I really don't know what's going on. I'm not thinking heart attack. I'm thinking I wasn't then a guy I had got a flat tire and was behind the group and rides up. He's like, are you okay? And I'm like no. And I explained what's happening is like, we need to get to the hospital. His wife was a nurse. So he recognized some signs and what was happening, actually got back on my bike, having a heart attack cut back on my bike. And we were about a kilometer from my house, and he kind of pushed me. And he drove me to the hospital. And sure enough, you get there, and they do all the tests and having a heart attack. That was a pretty unreal, that was pretty unreal, that when I was in the hospital, they do see younger guys healthy guys having heart attacks, and they're like, we're gonna keep you overnight, no problem. And then I'm waiting still in the ER, and all these alarms go off, and nurses come running in, and you can see their eyes were huge. And I'm like, That's not good. That's really not good. And they give me some drugs to calm things down, whatever they did, and then they're like, we're gonna keep you overnight, but we're putting you in intensive cardiac care. So at that point, I'd already talked to my ex wife and just told her what's going on. And she's, she's like, should I bring the kids down, and I'm like, this would be pretty stressful for them to see me like this. Let's just wait till tomorrow. So when the alarms went off, though, I texted her back at him, like, maybe you should come down because I can tell they don't know what's going on right now. And they look scared.
Curt Storring 6:38
And how are you feeling at this point, knowing that you just told your wife, your ex wife not to bring the kids because you're probably going to be fine. And now it's like, Okay, this might be this might be at what's going through your head, then.
Brandon Archer 6:53
Not a lot to be honest presence. Again, similar to the accident before just super present. not panic, not anything, just presence. So they take me up to the cardiac ICU, hooked me up, she shows up with the kids. And I look fairly normal. Now. You know, I'm in a gown I don't, I don't look like I was at an accident. And I remember my ex wife sat at the foot of my bed on the one chair and the kids are coming me. And then the alarms go off again. Not really something I wanted my kids to see. My ex wife, we just lock eyes and she stands up and I'm like, I'm saying Yep, this might be it. This literally might be needless to say full recovery. They actually medically could not find anything wrong with me. I asked a cardiologist what can do this? And he said, Well, he didn't say I offered can stress do this. He's like, yes, but there's no metric. There's no way to measure if you had a heart attack due to stress. I'm like, well, medically, I'm fine. And I know what my life was like. I'm gonna roll with stress because I can't just leave that open ended like you don't know what happened. And even post heart attack I you know, Mike, okay, so what's what's the risk is like, well, guy, your age, your fitness, you were 3% get a 3% chance of having a heart attack before this, you now have a 4% chance. So I didn't I didn't even move the needle. It was it was in my opinion, the universe was saying, Hey, man, you didn't listen to us the first time you read, we need to shake you a heck of a lot harder. Because you're you're a little bit stubborn.
Curt Storring 8:49
Yeah, no, that's a very clear sign twice over. And so you've gone through this huge medical ordeal, not once, but twice. You've had your kids in the room as the alarms are going off. Did anything shift for you after that? Let's say that's like a legit near death experience. So So talk me through, like, how would that change your life from stress? And sort of not fully present all the time? What did that do? And and maybe what could that look like for other men without having to have a heart attack? What are signs they were looking
Brandon Archer 9:22
for? Oh, what changed everything. I threw everything out the window. Everything. My life was like I just said to myself, I'm not doing things the same way. I just refused to. And that's right down to being a dad. And two other question, how can men not have a heart attack and like learn something I'm going to pretty much guarantee every man listening has had a wake up call. So I'm actually preparing a TED talk around this wake up call versus awakening. So my first event I look at as awake Call, like, I got a card, I got present for a minute. And then I just like kept going. Second one, I like got the wake up call, but I also woke I like chose to like, take a different path by that event, I can almost guarantee you Every man has had something in their life. That is that wake up call where you forget everything else, and you're just present. The present to deal with. Unfortunately, a tragedy is often what it is. But it just brings you to the moment and that's your window into change. So if you've had one, don't wait for another one. But what you can do is leverage what happened. leverage that thought that feeling that presence you had and go, alright, I have experienced that. And just trying to tap that into bring that forward to where you are now. And just remember how that made you feel? How you probably didn't feel stressed? You probably were just really focused, really present. Yeah,
Curt Storring 11:09
yeah. Are there tools that you've seen work to get back into there without being jarred into the awakening?
Brandon Archer 11:16
I would say yes, I would say yes. You know, through men's work, there's definitely some awareness, things you can do. And I've never actually used them to, you know, help bring a man back to those points. But I have now that we've had this conversation, I think that's brilliant. I think there's, I think there's a group exercise in there somewhere. But I think every man like you can tap into something that's happened. And if you can recall it, you can use it.
Curt Storring 11:46
Yeah, this brings up brings to mind things like meditation, journaling, and even being in a men's group. You know, there's so much space in that container to bring that up and to be called out on to what you were feeling then? And why the hell you're not doing anything about it? Absolutely. I completely agree that almost everyone's probably not a wake up call. And this hits really close to home for me, because my dad's wake up call was also his death. He had a heart attack, he was 50 years old. And there was no wake up call because he died. And that's the reality of you know, it was, he had just got the same sort of thing like he was, you know, fit enough, you just had his hard work done for getting insurance for this new business. He was starting, everything looked good medically. And I think it was just against stress, you know, not as healthy as you were, but stress as well. And it just, you know, that was it. And for a lot of men, that is it. And so if there's been a wake up call, or even if listening to this as a wake up call, you know, do the work. And we'll probably get into a little bit about what that looks like. But, but what about when you said it changed how you parented with your kids? What did that look like? And what were you like before that? Sort of what does it look like to be present with your man?
Brandon Archer 13:09
So I, like many men, probably promised themselves, they're not going to repeat patterns of how they were parented. Probably everybody's putting up their hand going, Yeah, I'm never doing that to my kids. And then you become a dad, and you're like, shit, I'm doing the thing. And that's pretty natural. That's how we learn, right? Those those things are just so deep in our subconscious, so much the same way. My heart attack made me change my life. It just got me more present to how I was actually speaking to them and treating them and that all that stress I was carrying, I was projecting onto them. And I'm like, Yeah, they don't deserve that. What's my shit? That's my shit. So I actually don't think I'd be yelled at my kids want since that heart attack. And they they're all their little Peyton just graduated Rider 16. And we've had a chat about it. And I'm like, Yeah, they don't remember me yelling at them since then. So that feels good as a dad, because that's not something I want to do to my kids. I never want to do that. But when you are not in touch with yourself, number one, number two, that's what you were modeled how to parent. Like you've got some you've got some things against you already. It takes it takes a man to do some work to to snap out of that and to make some changes in how he is a dad.
Curt Storring 14:40
Yeah, and I think that's a very salient point that a lot of the things we carry on as fathers are simply because we saw it done. And I think I've heard you actually say a couple of great things on like taking advice from a man on like a surgery just because his dad was a surgeon. Yeah, you know, he hasn't had any training, but his dad was a surgeon. So like, would you trust that man, and the same thing is for fathers. I say this all the time, is we have learned to parent from our fathers. Yeah, for lack thereof, and whatever has filled that void. And so like to hear this being a wake up call to be a present, conscious parent, like, where do you even begin with that, right? Like, for me, it was, I tried to do this parenting style. And I was very into this parenting style, which was great, because it was like a band aid for a while. But things didn't actually change on a fundamental level until I started doing my own work. Yeah. And so like, what what kind of work has been the biggest, most impactful for you? Because we hear this word, the work? Yeah, I need around a lot. And I think like for people who are in the work, it's kind of like you just know what the work is. But what has that work looked like for you, knowing that it's not necessarily parenting work? It's actually men's work on yourself that make you a better dead,
Brandon Archer 16:02
man? Yeah. Where did I start with first, I started with journaling.
journaling was the strangest thing at the start, because you just don't think to do it. And why that's useful. You know, you touched on we we just learn from our dads, I want to circle back around to that, by the way, cuz I'm going to trademark that thing, because it's so awesome. journaling allows you to check your thoughts, it allows you to write down what am I actually thinking, and you can write it down, and then you can look at it going, what the hell is that? Like, I actually believe that and then you can start questioning if you maybe you don't believe it, maybe you were just programmed, maybe your mom and your dad, their beliefs, you adopted them. And that's the way it works. And I even tell my kids that now it's like, you get to watch me and your mom. And it's not gonna make sense now. But you get to decide what you believe in the future. You get to take all these things, and you get to create beliefs. So the journaling as a man is a way to start to pull that apart. It's like, what do I actually believe? And do I want to believe that maybe don't want to, and you can change and that's part of men's work is like, what do you do it to me? It is? What are your paradigms? Are you okay with them? Most men will go, Yeah, no, I want to throw 80% of this stuff away. Because but what you have, what will happen is you keep doing that 80% on autopilot, and you get frustrated, and you're like, Why do I keep doing this? And that's where, you know, the second thing I did was meditation. And that's man, I probably for decades had wanted to start or wanted to explore meditating before I actually did, but it freaked me out. Like, I'm no monk, like, I can't possibly do that. What do you mean clear? My mind that's like, and that's not what meditating is. It's not even slightly what it is. Yeah, maybe one day you can get where your mind is clear. But that's not even what it's for. So learning to meditate is a absolute must if every man is not doing it. Go download an app right? Now figure that shit out. Like, straight up, figure it
Curt Storring 18:25
out percent 100%. What do you like to use right now.
Brandon Archer 18:28
Um, I've been doing it long enough, I create my own or I mostly create my own now. Mostly, some breath work at the start. I've got a few things I do. But it's taken years to be able to get to that point where I can just sit there and figure it out on my own. There is no shame in using an app. In fact, it's highly, highly, highly encouraged. It makes it easy. I think they started like, I used to use headspace. They have a three minute one, three minutes is not long at all, but it can change your day. And changing your day can change your week can change your life.
Curt Storring 19:08
Yeah, I would second headspace is a great place to start. I'm using waking up by Sam Harris in the last little while. And insight timer is another one has a bunch of free stuff on there. But in meditation, I just want to like really echo and drive this point home. That was my first piece of work is meditating. And I'd only been doing it for about five or six days at this point. And I remember something that would have triggered me in the past where I would have yelled at my son who is I think a year and a half at that time. I stopped and I found this space between the stimulus and the response that's often talked about and it was like, Oh my god, there's a different way to do things. Yeah, so that was like the first life changing moment of my journey, where I realized there was a different way to live and just knowing that never having seen it before. You know, even if you guys haven't experienced that themselves, just to hear that it's possible should be enough of a motivator to go there. So So journaling meditation, are there any other practices you do regularly now to stay in that sort of grounded, mindful, aware headspace?
Brandon Archer 20:21
Yeah, I have three that work well, it's journaling, meditating and reading. The reading surprises me because I had never said I was a reader before. But now I really look forward to it. For me, I think there's two ways to approach that it could be a how to book, which I actually have like three on the go, which is weird. But also even a novel, even a novel at night, before you go to bed, put your goddamn phone away, don't watch Netflix and read. Because your mind needs different stimulus, it needs to stop looking at the screen, and it needs to be challenged, it needs to be exercised. And that is actually a way to do it. And not only does it exercise your mind, but if you're reading a novel, you're exercising your imagination. And you know, what greater way to connect with your kids then be playful and imaginative with them and build that fort. Build that sandcastle and the story that goes behind it. Like imagine that Imagine if you could play with them, how connected you would feel to them. And the amazing memories are going to have that dad like, Oh, yeah, I remember that time he was a Viking or whatever it might be. And reading is one way if you've, you know, live the life as we do, because we get super busy. And those things fall to the side. But you know, 10 minutes, 20 minutes before you go to bed, man, it can change everything.
Curt Storring 21:52
Yeah, you know what, I have read it myself before bed for a long time. And I've never actually thought of it as like a self care until now. And I think that's beautiful. My kids love to read. And we always read and you're totally right about not jumping into the Netflix and the screens which just suck the life out of you. I feel like there's a different relationship. There's that physical space between you and the book, there's a Kindle, or whatever you're reading on. And you have to choose to continue moving through it every page that you turn, which is so different than the endless onslaught of, you know, YouTube videos, and the recommended sections and all this kind of stuff. Okay, so journaling, meditation, and reading. That's amazing. So I want to go back to one thing you said about parenting with your ex wife, and that your parent, your kids get to experience both sides of that. So could you talk a little bit more about what that means, and what you hope that they get out of this?
Brandon Archer 22:54
Yeah, give me a second to see how I present this. People spouses have different backgrounds, on where they came from, and different parenting ideas, different ideas about life, when I got married, I was not aware enough to make sure those things lined up. So now my kids see their mom. And this is not at all disrespectful to her. But she has a very different view on life and a very different view on parenting. And it's actually a blessing for my kids. I actually believe that. So they get to witness how she does life, how she speaks to them how their relationship is. And then they get to experience me and how I live my life, which is very differently been a part, I think, dozen years now. And I get to experience our relief relationship. And that contrast is actually a gift man, that's actually a gift. I'm actually more excited for them. At first it stressed me out. At first it stressed me out but now I'm like, this is amazing. And it's amazing because through my journey, and running men's groups and just doing my work, I've been able to zoom out and put a different lens on it because it stressed me out. I'm like, Well she shouldn't talk to them like that. She shouldn't say this. She shouldn't say that. Mike, first of all says who says my belief system. Second of all, emotional mental resiliency is a real life skill. Like that's important. And, and if I not that I have a magic wand. But if I can put a slant on it from them that is positive. That's great. Like they just get to us. That, and it might not be today, it's probably going to be 510 years down the road. We're like, well, mom would do it this way. But dad would do it this way. What do I believe, I believe down the middle. And I'm encouraging them now to try to create their own belief systems. And that I mean, that's hard. Who at 16 knows what you, I think you have an inkling, and your parents might like, influence it directly more than possibly, is great, but I'm just trying to give them that lens where it's like, Man, what do you want? What do you want to decide? And often the answer is, I don't know. And that's also okay. That's also okay. Welcome to life. Welcome to being a human. Hang on, so.
Curt Storring 25:43
So you're actually giving them the conversation, you're having the conversation with them, which is like, here's how your mom does it. Here's how I do it. Now, what do you think?
Brandon Archer 25:53
Not quite like that. But yes, I just invite them to observe how mom does things differently than me and what feels right for them.
Curt Storring 26:02
That's it, right? So there's no judgment, there's no, no one sides better. It's, it's about creating that container where they are free to choose based on what they observe. 100%? Wow. That's amazing. That's one thing that I have wondered about actually, like, how do you have that healthy relationship? And so I'm really glad that you shared that because that's, that seems mind boggling when you hear about how most people do it right? To be able to have that trust, and that zoom out that you said that men's group gave you.
Brandon Archer 26:28
Yeah, that's Well, the thing is, is we try to go to our ex partner and influence how they parent to align with us. That's never gonna fucking work. It's just not going to work. There could be conversations that you have, and I have had some hard conversations with her about things I disagree with end of the day, I can't change how she's going to act. Like that's foolish to think I can. But I can use my voice now. That is, I mean, and that that only word divorce for co parenting, you know, it's obviously different if you're in the same household and parenting children together, but I would hope people are more aligned than we were styles.
Curt Storring 27:14
But that's a perfect segue, actually into the work that you're doing today. Because having that awareness that you can't change someone, particularly your partner, even though you spend so much time with them, and that you can use your voice without needing your needs to be met. So I guess the first thing I want to ask is like, broad general overview, can you give us what you have observed to be maybe rules or a formula, or just the base level of how men can communicate with women in their intimate relationships? Like what are what are guys coming to you to figure out
Brandon Archer 27:54
how to do it. So everything you think you know about how you communicate in your professional life, just throw that away, because it's not going to work? It's just not going to work. And most guys are probably either triggered by that or agree with that. And why I say that is we are used to professionally, you know, it's results based, whether it's communicating with a partner at work, whether it's directing employee, whether it's receiving direction, communicating with your spouse is less about that, of course, there's some aspects of life that need results, what color car we're going to buy, whatever, the end of the day, it's about feeling each other, it's about aligning with each other. That's very, very different women need from men. base level to feel safe. What's feel safe? Um, there's layers to that. Obviously, there's a layer of physical safety doesn't mean you have to be a 250 pound, big muscular guy, but it does. The physical safety is a thing, but emotional safety is far, far more important. And that is not something as men were taught about at all What the hell is emotional safety? Talk to a guy on the street, he's going to be like, I What are you talking about? I don't know. So yes, there's words involved in communicating. But body language and nervous systems. regulated is going to go far, far further than the words. So think about any time you're triggered. And for we're going to use that word, assuming everybody knows the word, but I'll try to break it down. When you feel angry, you're probably triggered when you feel frustrated, you're probably triggered and your nervous system literally changes into fight, flight or freeze. It's not negotiable, that's what's happening. If you as a man go into that space, what do you think's gonna happen with your spouse, you're gonna force her nervous system into the same place. This is biology, this is not this is beyond like, thoughts is beyond the mind. You need to use your mind to bring it back. So you can regulate your nervous system. You cannot say anything rational, when your nervous system is in flight, fight or freeze. Any, you know, for me, and I know, amen. You might like, an hour later the next morning goes, why the hell did I say that? Why did I speak to her like that? It's because you were triggered, it's because your nervous system was trying to protect you. And the way to learn to communicate with your spouse is like, figure out your nervous system, figure out your way to recognize that that's happening, like don't speak when you're there, like try not to speak when you're there. And there are ways there's breathwork, there's ways to get it back relatively quickly. But unless you have the awareness of what's happening, you can ever get there. Now why I'm like, kind of spending time on that versus like how you speak to her. It's because if you use words when you're in there, and she's triggered as well, which is highly probable, it's not going anywhere, it's just not going anywhere productive. If you, as a man can learn to regulate your nervous system and bring yourself back and be present. your nervous system, she will pick up on the fact that you are calm. She will pick up on the fact her nervous system will feel it. And then she can start to regulate to its co regulation. It's a beautiful, beautiful thing. And it's not talked about at all. But and that's Yes, there's, there's there's dialogue, there's frameworks for dialogue, but until you can do that, the dialogue doesn't matter. Step one is learn how to stay present.
Curt Storring 32:15
There's that word again, staying present, being in that moment. And staying grounded in your own nervous system. Like you're saying it's the fundamental to pretty much everything and not just with relationships intimately, which will stay on for a little bit, but also with your kids. Like, I feel this all the time when you're triggered when you're angry when you're frustrated when some old wound has been activated, basically. And then it's like, you know, like you said a couple hours later, why did I say that? I can tell myself in my head, while I'm saying it, don't do it. And it comes out anyway. It's like that, like you said, Is this biological, you can't get past it. And so you have to learn the breathing, you have to learn feeling your feet on the floor, you have to continually put yourself in these areas where your nervous system can be trained from sympathetic to parasympathetic, and back and forth. So that when it happens in the real world, you're not snapping and going there. So one of the things that I wanted to touch on just to close the loop, what does emotional safety look like to women?
Brandon Archer 33:26
What does that look like? It starts with them observing through your words, but more with your energy and your nervous system, that you know how to regulate yourself and, and own your own feelings. So this is a this is a somewhat difficult paradigm for men to possibly get over. And it's confusing, because we hear be vulnerable, we hear, you know, feel your feelings, then we're saying kind of, don't show too much of your feelings. So let me explain that it's this is, this can be a challenge to to wrap your head around, so fully endorse, owning all your feelings, learning your feelings, going deeper understanding yourself. Here's the part that is important to understand. That equals you knowing how to manage your own feelings. It equals you not emotionally being a little boy and needing your mom slash projecting onto your wife, or spouse or partner to take care of those feelings. Speak to this.
Yeah, this is this is my personal journey at the moment. I've known these things for years, have not been able to put them into practice. I am doing that right now. And it's how do you take care of your own feelings, your own emotions. There's no like, yeah, there might be books on it. But how do you embody that? And how do you actually do it. So that is emotional safety for yourself as a man, number one, emotional safety for your spouse, and your kids for that matter is by them observing that you know how to do that. So if you show up in relationship, and you're like, here's all my feelings blank, and you sound like a child, that is not attractive to her. Unfortunately, that's the paradigm of many relationships. And it's because our parents didn't know these things, either. And it's nobody's fault. It's nobody's fault. But it is our responsibility once you gain knowledge to change that. So emotional safety starts with you. And that's the only way you can provide it for your spouse. If you don't know how to hold your feelings, she's not going to bring you her feelings. Once you know how to hold your feelings, and your emotions, what you may perceive as her being a super overly emotional woman. That's not actually what's going on, like she trusts you to bring that to you. That's probably the aspect of her that you actually like that she has these feelings. It's probably what you like, you just don't want to admit it. But if you are a man that has not done the inner work, and learn to control his feelings, and emotions, and regulate himself, take care of himself, it's gonna feel chaotic. Because it you feel it inside. You literally feel it, it triggers you triggers your little boy, and he's like, Oh, my God, mom's freaking out, I need to freak out, too. It's not helping anyone. It's not helping anyone. And then I mean, emotional safety for your kids. Are you kidding me, if your kids can't rattle you, if you don't feel the need to yell at them. Because if you feel the need to yell at them, they're triggering you. They're bringing up something, they're bringing up something, it's not their fault, their behavior may not be acceptable, but behavior is very, very different. It's very different. Why would we return poor behavior with yelling at them? Does that make any sense? Does that make any sense at all, it's like they're having feelings. They're acting out their feelings, because their children, they don't have these skills that we need to have as adults yet. And we're gonna yell at them for having feelings and not knowing how to regulate them. Wait a minute, that's like, That's messed up. So it starts again, like we talked about back to you. And regulating yourself, and, and learning how to manage your own feelings and emotions. Because now you have something to teach your kids. And probably their behavior is going to change if they if you can teach them young how to regulate their own emotions. And I've got mad I've got the most beautiful thing, my former partner is like magic to observe. She's got a four year old, four year olds are there. They're trying to discover themselves. There's lots of stuff going on. And his older brothers would do it. All their brothers do get him worked up. And I would observe him run into the room, crying. And she wouldn't react at all. She wouldn't say anything. He would just run up, put her his arms around her and she would hold him. And she would listen to what he had to say he wouldn't give any any feedback. She would just say, Would you like to have some breaths with me? And just like four deep breaths, and she's like, How are you feeling? Like, I'm good. And then he would run off. I'm like, Damn. Damn, like that is brilliant. She just taught that little dude how to regulate his nervous system on his own.
Curt Storring 39:11
That's so good. That is so good. We been
Brandon Archer 39:15
so simple. It's so simple. But how can she do that? It's because she's done enough work that that didn't rattle her. Like I'm like, boys running around can be chaotic. It can be like, it could be stressful. It could be but she's done enough work to like not let it activate her nervous system so that when the four year old came to her, her nervous system wasn't losing it. So the second they embrace, there's already something happening. Already something happening internally, and then she just adds on that layer of some breaths, which, like 100% makes you switch. nervous systems. Boom, that kids never he's always going to have That skill, and she's not even trying to teach him, she's modeling it. Beautiful.
Curt Storring 40:05
Well, that's amazing. I love hearing stories like that, because it's so hard to find in the wild, so to speak, when people are actually attuned like that. And we're trying, I mean, we're coming personally from, you know, some years of very poor parenting. And that's why I'm so committed to, you know, showing other dads what it's like to go through this transformation, because like, I was pretty shitty for a long time. Yeah, but with my youngest son, you know, we go to him, and we just, we take that breath, and he mirrors it back. And it's just like, Oh, my heart, you know, it's like, yes, we've got this a little bit, we've done something here. love hearing that, that's also something that you've seen, because it's so powerful, just don't have to do anything. You don't have to fix it. And I there's so many things are coming up for me right now I'm gonna have to funnel this into a useful conversation, because it's already been so amazing. There's like 100 other things I want to ask you. But, but the first thing is, I guess, with the parenting with relationship, I mean, we've only gone to the very first step here, which is, you know, sorting your own stuff out and making sure that your ever system can be regulated. But on the one hand, this could seem like a daunting responsibility from it. And suddenly, you're saying, it's all up to me, you know, I've got to manage my nervous system, I've got to be the one doing this for them, I've got to do this. And that's scary. And for a lot of us that goes I mean, we were talking before we started recording about that, the inner child who needs someone else, perhaps to see him to take care of him. But I want to just throw it there that it's actually one of the most freedom giving things that you can think of, because when you are the one who gets to take responsibility for how things go, suddenly, you've got the freedom to fix everything. And if we want to be fixers, why don't we start with ourselves first. And so I just wanted to throw that out there because as I'm hearing this, I'm sensing maybe some people could be worried that it's all up to me. Now, the thing that you said about going out there and showing all your feelings and exploding with your feelings, it's hard to sort of wrap our heads around this when a lot of people are saying, well, we need more. We need men who are more in touch with their emotions. And you just said that if we go out there spewing it. That's not good, either. So like, Where is this middle ground? And I've know I've heard you talk about polarity and masculinity and femininity, and I think the answer probably lies in there somewhere. But what is that middle space? How do we hold space while still getting our needs met? And our emotions conveyed in a way that is not scary? That is not judgmental, but it's not too much. What does that middle space look like?
Brandon Archer 42:46
Boy. It's very rarely in the moment. It's very rarely in the moment. If you choose a partner that is very feminine, you've you need to understand what you've chosen. And it comes here's the here's the best analogy that I've Which one should I use? Yeah, I like this one the most. So think of an island, bigger rocky Island in an ocean. And the ocean, there's a storm comes in the ocean. It's just like there's waves crashing against this island. But it doesn't move. It doesn't it actually doesn't care. It's just going to be an island. So like, yeah, okay, ocean, I'm right here, not going anywhere. And then it comes down. Then the storm passes. And the sun comes out, and everything's great, and oceans calm. So as a man, you need to learn to be the island. If you and your partner is the ocean, you need to understand that those emotional storms are going to happen, but that they pass. If you buy in if you if you want to switch from being an island to an ocean, it's gonna be messy. It's gonna be messy. So how do you get your needs met? I think it depends on what needs you're talking about. I think that's kind of a there's a loaded question there. And yeah, I I am gonna just straight out say it there's a lot of responsibility on men we've gotten away with being not having to play this game the right way for a really goddamn long time. And it sounds scary. I get it like I'm in the same boat. I'm in no different boat. But here's the thing that nobody tells us in our powerful as fuck and we can handle it and we can handle it. We can take care of our own emotion. needs and feelings. And we can provide the space for our partners and our kids to do it too. But we've been told we can't, we've been told it's too hard. We've been not shown that little boy who represents our feelings, we've not been shown how to take care of him. So we feel like that little boy. And we feel like we need external validation and somebody else to hold our feelings and help us with it. Now, your partner's not the person to explore that with, you know, you and I are both in a men's group. I stand by this forever, every man in the world should be in a men's group, period. I don't give a crap. If you think you're advancing, you don't need this stuff. In that case, you owe it to society, to be in the men's group and help these other men find these skills. I don't care who you are, that's how I feel. And I stand advice that, you know, yes, men are encouraged to be more in touch with their feelings. That doesn't mean you go off on a tangent, it doesn't mean that they rule you It means you know how to manage them, it means you've explored it means you've sat in the corner and cried, it means you've asked that little boy, what do you need from me? What did mom and dad not give you that I can now give you? And I'm not going to say that's easier that the answer is going to come right away. This is the air quotes that work. This is the work. What does that dude need from me? But what did he need from my mom or my dad that he didn't get? And don't? Don't look for somebody else to give it to you? Because it's not going to happen? It's not going to happen that that's where like I said, we can handle it. Men are powerful. Did you know I gotta find this this research. They're actually figuring out that men are more sensitive than women. Maybe some women are going like, yeah, I knew that snapping. But two things in that, imagine if we are more sensitive than women? Does that mean we're more feminine than women? No, it means we have these abilities as men and our masculine essence, to hold that. Just think about that for a minute, we have the power to hold that emotion, we are more sensitive, let's just roll with that. Maybe it's a fact I really want to find the research. So if we're more sensitive to women, and we have the ability to feel more and have more emotions. Doesn't it make sense that we also have the power to hold that?
But we've been told no, don't be emotional? What if the two actually go hand in hand? What if the most masculine man in the world is actually the most sensitive man in the world at the same time? Yeah,
Curt Storring 47:59
I love that. There's this container that I that I see you sort of making here, which is being able to both embody and hold the feminine emotion and the masculine container, the holding of the space in one. And as we talk about, you're not supposed to have feelings, you know, women are the sensitive ones, all this kind of stuff, we just lose that understanding that as a man, it's our job to, like you said here to hold the space for the woman so that you're not, you know, here's all my emotions at once, but to hold space for yourself to. And that's this beautiful thing that as strong men, we can do. And I think there's so much profound change that can happen in that container, being able to both hold and express for ourselves, and then for everyone else. And so I thank you very much for bringing that up and for like rounding that off, because it's nobody talks about that. It's beautiful. And, you know, we could go into, okay, Brandon, what happens when my woman says this, and I want this and blah, blah, blah, like, that's sort of what the plan was like, oh, how do you get your needs met here? How do you hold the space when you're triggered? And what I'm realizing now is that you're telling me that it's about emotional safety or holding space, so to speak for yourself and everyone else around you. And that's like bedrock. From there. Maybe there's tools maybe there's things like nonviolent communication or whatever you want to read about it. But until you have that bedrock of your own shit figured out and feeling your own feelings, which is the hardest part of all this by the way, nobody's saying it's easy. Then communication relationship with your intimate partner and your kids becomes so much easy, easier. So is there anything on that thread before we finish off with a very powerful story, I hope, on initiation, anything on that last little thread that you wanted Before we move on,
Brandon Archer 50:01
oh, man, I could go on for hours on it. So just leave this Leave it.
Curt Storring 50:07
Okay, well, maybe we'll do this again. This is Yeah, amazing. Okay, so with the last few minutes we've got, this is something that I'm extremely interested in hearing because I have been thinking about how to do this with my sons. And we're talking about initiation. I was not initiated in any way, I don't think you were probably initiated any way. And the initiation ends up being self driven when we're given the wake up call many times, and even then it doesn't feel like how we probably should feel. And so I've been wondering, what do I do? My kids are eight, six and one now what do I do and you know, another eight years when they're in their teens, to invite them in to being a man, not becoming 18 not getting a job, none of those things, but really to embody the change between child and men. Teenagers, there's this like new word called teenagers, right? And it usually it wasn't a word for so long, because there were boys, and there were men. And so you have done this with your own son, you have had an initiation process, whereby you invited him into manhood. And I would love to hear that for myself, and for any other man out there, because this is one of the most important things I believe we can do for our sons.
Brandon Archer 51:25
Yeah, every man should be doing this, I don't care if you think he can't do it, you just need to do it. And whatever version works for you. And yeah, resources for that, oh, there isn't any that I've seen. So I'll just say now to anyone listening, I'm happy to have a call about how to how to formulate your own that works for you. So this came to my attention a couple years ago, just researching manhood and in men's work, talk a bit about, you know, how things have changed for men, and how there used to be initiation and and even in some tribal cultures are still is it's not that it doesn't exist. North America doesn't really exist. So I've been I've been on my radar. And my, my grandfather was Cherokee Nation. And as my son got closer to 16, I'm like, I'm going to I'm going to do something and I looked into my specific heritage, and what could I pull from that? What could I possibly come up with that would work. And so I took a hybrid like I made this up, which I mean, any man can do, you can come up with something, you can research past rituals and do ritual, you might think it sounds hokey, and it feels hokey. Only feels that way, if you make it hokey. So the Cherokee one was a lot simpler than a lot of the other ones I had. And there was something that really, really resonated with me more than all the other ones, the tribal ones, specifically because a common tribal one would be like a hunter gatherer tribe. And at a certain age, the boys had been raised in the village with the women clutch, there's a whole great thing about learning about your emotions there, but we'll skip over that and go to and then the hunters are the warriors would come in and take away the boy in this like, ritual. And the women would be wailing, it's all kind of stage though. And they're whisked off and they have an initiation with the whole all the men and the tribe a little more common. The Cherokee one, man, it was like, on the money, which is the Father, blindfolds his son, takes them out into the wilderness, in the evening, starts a fire, sets a son on a log. And initiation is if he makes it through the night and does not take off the blindfold, and does not to succumb to the animals because there's gonna be wolves, there's gonna be all kinds of things. And the sun comes up. He's allowed to take off the blindfold and walk back to the village and he's initiated.
Here is just the part that makes me cry. Why this one's different than all the other ones is that
when the sun takes off the blindfold, he realizes the father never actually left.
So now When I cry when I share this it's because my inner child craves that so badly that connection.
And instead of this process being booting out of a Nast and like CSS on your on your own, it's actually a deepening of the relationship with the Father. So I use that as my inspiration for that. initiation I did, and I did blindfold him, did not leave him in the bush overnight, but we walked on the drive out to this beach at night. We blindfolded him halfway on the drive, and he's like, What is going on? And then there's a gravel trail, quite treacherous, and I had him put his hand on my shoulder, and there's a reason for this. All the way down. He had he had to trust me, he had the guy, I had to guide him, did a fireside them on the log, had some drumming music on on a speaker set up candles on the beach, in a circle. Before he took the blindfold off, and then we had a discussion, you know, it was very ritualistic, you know, explain why he's here use a big booming voice as best I could. told him this was his journey from boyhood to manhood. And that all my knowledge is now his knowledge, everything.
Yeah, everything I knew about a man was now for him to access. And many other things, we said many other things, but that's the gist of it. And then we sat inside the circle of candles, we did some Wim Hof breathing, or we did a cold plunge, which he wasn't too fond of. But I wanted to symbolize the transition. And then, after getting redress, SAT, stood inside the circle of candles. And got quite close to him face to face did some deep breathing together. And I said Who are you? This name is riders like I'm rider and I'm like, I want to feel it. I'm rider might know, more. I wanted to access this power. I wanted him to feel it in his whole body when he declared who he was. And finally he just bowed. Right? Or like right in my face. So can you imagine doing that that your dad saying like, basically give me all the power you've got, give me everything you got right now. And so he did. And then when he did, I'm like, said, I believe you know, we're at the edge of the lake, and there's homes across the lake. So I'm like, now you go tell them. So he stood at the edge of the lake, and just so powerfully rider, like three times just as much power as he could he could muster. And I asked him, How did that feel? He's like, That felt really good. And I'm like, Whoa, there it is.
Curt Storring 58:29
Well, thank you so much for sharing that, you know, I just want to witness you. And appreciate the vulnerability and the pain. And for sharing that I just really want to deeply honor you, because that's beautiful work to be doing with your son. And it makes me want that for my father. And so what you did was beautiful. And that was the pinnacle of fatherhood, in my opinion, to stand there and allow that to happen. I just I hope this is a lesson for anyone listening because it certainly is a lesson for me. So, I mean, I don't want to go on after that. I just want to sit in this. So where where can people find you? You're a men's relationship, communication coach, you our men's work leader. If people want to go deeper with you, where can they find you?
Brandon Archer 59:30
My website is the easiest. And then you can follow my social media if you choose. It's just Brandon archer.com easiest way to track me down. Yeah, like I said, there's links to my social media where I do try to post a lot and give some some useful stuff for people. So we'd love to hear from anyone that wants to chat.
Curt Storring 59:54
Amazing. Brandon, thank you so much for all of this. I think there's so much gold in here. That I couldn't have couldn't have said anything better. So thank you so much. And we'll leave it here. Make sure to check out Brandon archer.com That's it.
Wow, that was a powerful conversation, especially at the end there. I hope you learned a lot from that and I have requests from you. Could you please on Spotify, click that follow button or on Apple podcasts. Subscribe, and leave a review. If you liked what you heard. That's how we're gonna spread this message to more fathers. That's how we are going to change the world. So follow on Spotify and subscribe and leave a review on iTunes and you can join our free Facebook group at dad dot work slash FB that's a URL type it into your browser dad dot work slash FB We will see you on the inside. Thanks for listening.
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