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My guest today is Daniel Moody.
We go deep talking about:
- Core wounds,
- Expressing anger,
- The healing power of grief, and
- The importance of doing the work within a community of committed men.
Daniel Moody is a Men’s Coach, Photographer, Songwriter and Family Man. His is a story of transformation from crushing anger and resentment, to Radical Self Acceptance and Responsibility. He works with men to heal from their past, figure out what they want to do with their little time on this planet, and Die before Dying. Conversation, Co-Creation and Liberation are a fancy way of rhyming what he likes doing best.
Find Daniel online at:
Curt Storring 0:00
Welcome to the Dad.Work podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and today's guest is Daniel Moody. We go deep talking about resentment, communication, core wounds, expressing anger, the healing power of grief and the importance of doing the work within a community of committed men. Daniel moody is a men's coach, photographer, songwriter and family man is is a story of transformation from crushing anger and resentment to radical self acceptance and responsibility. He works with men to heal from their past, figure out what they want to do with their little time on this planet, and die before dying. conversation, co creation and liberation are a fancy way of rhyming, what he likes to do best, I really resonated with Daniel in this conversation, our paths seem to be quite aligned from anger and resentment to experiences and healing. I think you'll get a lot out of this. Daniel is very eloquent. And he is very learned in the way of his own inner workings with healing, as well as healing other men. As a coach, I highly recommend diving into this one, if you have experienced anger as a father, which I know so many of us have. And I think there's more conversations with Daniel to come in the future. But for now, let's go with conversation. Number one, let's go.
All right, I am here with Daniel Moody. And Daniel, I want to start off this conversation with a couple of questions about your experience as a father, to try and ground this with some of the other men and the fathers who are listening. And I'm wondering, what for you has been the most challenging aspect of fatherhood? And then like, what's been the least challenging? What are you best at? And maybe we'll go into the answers if there's something there. But what are you most challenged with? And what are you best at as a father?
Daniel Moody 1:49
That's a really good question. I'm not really sure how to reduce it, to be honest with you, I could probably have pinpointed everywhere along the way that just about everything has been challenging, depending on you know, my current pressures at the time, I remember
the sleeplessness of having a baby being absolutely bewildering. The the getting used to the sounds of there's just always somebody around that needs you for something. The just the overall feeling of having somebody need you to take care of their needs, on top of your own, especially being somebody who had already been a pro at self abandonment, so not really taking care of my own needs first, there was sort of this perpetual cycle of resentment that builds up probably from from day one. So like the, the struggles of being a dad are pretty intrinsic. And it's as far as being good at something as a father, I guess. It's really just the willingness to do the work to overcome that basic, fundamental struggle with being responsible for another human being. That willingness is sort of a persistent need to be good, to be decent. And to figure out how to do that. So it's, it's almost something that I really, I'm reluctant to call it a superpower. It's really a sort of a basic need in myself to be able to respect myself and love myself and that I need to be better than I am today.
Curt Storring 3:40
Yeah, well, yeah, I I mentioned just before that there's a lot of similarities in our paths as fathers and men and I think we you just touched on a couple more with self abandonment, leading to resentment as well as just this inherent desire to do the work. And I think that is just so important for men and fathers to hear and see other people like us doing that because it's made such a significant difference in my life. And it sounds like in your life as well. And something that I think has come up here in self abandonment and he said, resentment. I'm wondering if you like me, became angry at your children or even mean to your children or your wife when these pressures were coming on feeling this neediness from these other people. Because this conversation will probably go to anger and resentment quite a bit which is something a lot of people struggle with as men as fathers. So could you maybe walk us through the self abandonment leading to resentment and what that looked like and whether that was indeed the path to your your anger as a father?
Daniel Moody 4:45
Yeah, absolutely. My anger my resentment. They were on full display. For most of my my career as a father and for the majority of my time, co parenting with my wife Yeah, it's just sort of a an untended fact that when we take on the role as father, or we take on the role as husband, there is this same thing, the same vein that runs through, you know, every man's mind about how to be successful and how to be seen as success, successful and succeeding. But yet, there's, there's not really a map or, or set of instructions on how to do this while simultaneously simultaneously taking care of your own needs. So I, I was basically spinning out my wheels every single day giving myself to my family, giving myself to my wife and my kids. And it was sort of, I was constantly falling under the illusion that I was I was doing what was best for them, or what they needed from me. But particularly in my relationship with my wife, I would consistently do things that weren't actually resonating with her as what she needed in the moment, it was sort of like, I'm going to go and do these things, I take them on as my, my, my chosen responsibilities, but it's not really what's needed in the time, and so she doesn't feel helped or fulfilled in any way. And therefore, what she reflects back at me is not gratitude for all my hard work and my sacrifice, but it's actually, it's actually her own resentment for me not really seeing her needs. And you know, that that sort of is a spawn from the fact that I, I don't even know how to see my own needs. So it's sort of, it's sort of just this really sad cycle of giving myself up to this role without any idea of how to do it. And that that lack of roadmap or instruction manual, which really, you know, I found is actually given through community through village through mentors, through people that are doing that and embodying that, I felt so isolated, and felt that I had to do it all on my own. And so the pressure when when, when my wife, or my kids would would not reflect gratitude back at me. I mean, that that just created this, this tremendous resentment, and this also this feeling of failure that sort of capsized any, any hope of being pleasant to be around. So while I was giving myself to the role, while I did believe that I was giving all of my energies to it, I wasn't effective. I wasn't, I wasn't really pinpointing or listening to what was really being asked, I was just sort of taking things upon myself, feeling that burden, not really feeding or filling my own cup. And yeah, just feeling like I was, I was empty all the time.
Curt Storring 7:59
And when you were in that space, with your wife, I imagine that communication was not where it needed to be. Otherwise, perhaps you would have then found out what it was she needed. So what did that communication look like at the time, if anything? And and what does that maybe look like today In comparison, because it just sounds like your needs were being met, her needs weren't being met, and you weren't really sure what even to do? So can we go to the communication between you guys at this time? What did that look like?
Daniel Moody 8:31
You know, what's really interesting about communication is that my wife and I are exceptional at it. And that means that we can think thoughts, put them into words and give them to each other. And we do lots and lots of that. And we did it for years. And it didn't matter if we were talking about marriage, money, sex, daily chores, we would communicate as we would talk. But even when we were doing an exceptional job of articulating the problem, there was still some sort of fundamental miscommunication going on underneath the surface. So while lots of talking, lots of thinking, lots of suppose that communication was going on, and I thought we were really good at it, but yet I was sort of dumbfounded by the fact that we were getting worse and worse. So throwing more words at the problem thinking harder about the problem wasn't actually solving anything. And so there was a absolute shift, you know, a fundamental shift in our, in our world where we began to, it followed our disillusionment, which is there's this there's this quote, that Terry, real marriage counselor, quotes is the day that you wake up next to your partner and you look at them and you say, Oh, my God, what has happened? Who is this person? What have I signed up for? This is not who I'm married. That day that that you roll over and say that is the first day of your real marriage. And that, that sensation of like you have to, you know, a lot of people, it'll happen around year seven, for some reason there's these like seasons of seven in our lives and seven years is about as long as you can uphold the energy it takes to like, keep an illusion going. And the illusion was that I was I was built around who my wife wanted me to be. And she was built around who she thought I wanted her to be. And this wasn't working. And so the strain of not being ourselves truly ourselves eventually buttered out. And we were left with the the wreckage of what was our first marriage, you know. And that shift really turned the attention inward. And that's when I began, you know, I thought I'd been doing a lot of self discovery, and I suppose that I had, but there was, there was something really, really meaningful when I really took into account how much I was abandoning myself how much I was giving away my power, I was making myself an object of her attention. And, and not of my own attention. And so I started to dig into the inia gram to attachment styles really started to break down and understand just how severe my self abandonment was, I mean, I would be in a room with my wife, and the moment she would walk in, my attention would go to looking at myself through her eyes, it wasn't actually being in my own body, looking at her, it was her looking at me, it was a it was an assumption, it was an illusion, that I could see myself through her eyes. And so when you're that far away from being with your own attention with your own energy in your own body, it's no wonder you mean you, I was just living a performance, and I was failing at the performance. And so it was, it was absolutely miserable to be me, then No wonder it wasn't pleasant to be around me. No wonder we weren't really communicating because I wasn't actually speaking on my own behalf. I was speaking on behalf of the illusion of what she I thought she wanted to hear, or what I thought we needed to be, you know, this is the example of how to be a good man, a perfect man, this is my performance of that, why aren't you grateful? Why aren't you loving turns out, it's really hard to be grateful to someone when they are offering you a gift, but they're demanding your gratitude and return. It has to be genuine, it has to be freely given. And in order for something to be freely given, you have to be detached from outcome, which means that you actually have to be fulfilled with what you have, within your own container, I, I for the first time experience that sort of explicit joy of being after I had a profound psychedelic experience that set me set me back so much that I, I was contained within my own energetic fields, and words could never describe it. But I was basically, totally complete, totally associated with with what I had on my own. And from that place, sort of, with all fear and pain and suffering ejected from my body, and just the resonating bliss of the the joy of being the joy of life itself, I was able to see just how much I was abandoning myself able to see just how my patterns were leading me to assume all of these fears, my fears were my assumptions, my fearful assumptions, were creating the problems in our relationship. And so once I could see behind that veil, and then you know, all my awful patterns come right back online, and I'm stuck inside of that, that matrix again, I it was more painful than ever to not be myself. So it was just like, the work got set on double time, I was not going to stay this way anymore. I knew that I could be blissful, I knew that I could be loving, I knew that I could love her past all my fearful illusions. So that's been the work of the past. The past year of really re integrating myself with myself so that when I spoke, it was on behalf of my own energetic needs. And before I even get to the place of speaking, I need to take full responsibility for what it is that I'm feeling if I'm angry, it's not her fault. My anger is mine, her anger is hers, which means that I don't have to pick up her anger when she's when she's throwing a tantrum at me I don't, I should not give my anger to her when I'm throwing a tantrum. And that that sort of total self responsibility set us both free to do our own work and individuated and come to each other from a much more self grounded rooted place. And then that that creates a completely different paradigm in which communication becomes a genuine thing rather than a performative thing.
Curt Storring 14:55
Thank you for that, that. I think there's so much in there that I want to die. venturi might jump around a little bit here but I think just the basic foundation of all this is to hear someone who considered himself to be doing all the right things and still nothing was clicking. I think that's such a common place for fathers to be in so many areas of their life so if nothing else this is a wonderful way just to see that this is common and that there is a way out and the first thing I want to go to and we're going to touch probably four or five things you just said I made some notes here but how and why did you decide to double down and make the marriage work because I did the same sort of thing where again it's you know, people call it the Seven Year Itch or whatever it is, and you get to this point and many things that you've been harboring inside yourself start to come out and disappointments and resentments and then there's a lot of work afterwards and in this day and age it's only too easy to say well see you know, there's I've talked to so many men so many fathers who are parenting after divorce and it's just so painful not only for them but for the children and so what was it about your relationship yourself that gave you that ability to put in the work to make this relationship work when you know like I said it's only too common for people to to take the easy way out how did you have the fortitude to make it work? And what did that look like?
Daniel Moody 16:25
Well you know I've asked that question of myself many times, particularly at the times when I was confronted yet again with the same old patterns that would that would bring up the emotional storm that would bring up the cloud of thoughts that would would always be the same thought but taking new shape again and again why why am I here? Why are we doing this? Why should I stay what would what would a more ideal situation be like and that's a similar pattern of trying to escape the present feeling rather than just sitting with it accepting what it is and moving through it which is ultimately the path towards regaining that ground or or establishing a new relationship is just sitting with it staying with it, not living it living into the illusion not believing it but for most of the marriage I mean, I would I would basically be pulled into that storm and be unable to navigate it what thoughts are more real what feelings do I believe it's it's a tremendous amount of faith honestly that that that has to be accumulated over time that you can actually sit inside of the chaos of your mind the chaos of your feelings and not have to believe it to essentially ride it out to to a place where you can be present and really observe what's going on and really see the person that's in front of you rather than just your your your trauma reflecting back at you and the things that grounded me were the positive aspects of our relationship the positive aspects of our life you know, I I have two children one of which was from a previous relationship so I already know what it's like to co parent from afar I already have experienced that dividing my family it's already it has its burdens and its blessings and and it and it comes with something that I was, I was not I really wanted to fight against replicating that because there's so much in my marriage so much in our capacities together and our dream for the future and our home and and a life for our current family unit that is so precious and beautiful that it ultimately made me feel when I would when I would hold that up as sort of this like nugget of truth that to hold on to in the middle of the storm that I did not want to see my family torn apart I I clung to what was good I clung to what was worthy and and I asked the question is it worthwhile for me to give up on what feels like joy or or romance or, or a more perfect love. One of the one of the amazing things that happened to me after that psychedelic experience was this the certainty this clarity of mind that that purity of love was basically my choice, it was my choice to to surrender to it and accept my partner exactly as she was. Even though she could trigger me even though she was going to push all the all the right buttons to make it as hard as it could possibly go. That's like the idea of the imago partner, a person that comes along that you're subconsciously attracted to because they're going to challenge everything. Every bit of trauma, every button you've got that person is brought to help you heal that. And when you're basically at the full expression of that, that triggered state. It's really really hard to see that there's value here. It's hard to be grateful when you're feeling such pain and such suffering. But ultimately the value of my family the value of of, of
just deeply nourishing purpose and connection and the shared history that we had and the work that we had already accomplished, even in the midst of, you know, very dark times between us, it, it still felt like the best thing for us, the best thing for myself was to stay stay bond to keep to keep working to keep trying, because it's sort of an experiment, you know, lots of people have relationships that don't work, they split up, and then they pay the price for that. And then the people that stay together, also pay a price for that they don't have the potential or the opportunity to start something new, there's often when you split up, there's an opportunity to reinvent yourself in a way that's very, very hard to do under the gaze of this person who's known you for so long. But there is also a tremendous reward available to somebody who works through to two people who work through that together under each other's observation and not only allow themselves to be reborn, but do that for the other person. When you allow that other person to be reborn in front of you, it actually fortifies your own capacity to do that for yourself. And that gift that you give each other, to allow each other to die and be reborn with each other is, is so profound, it's in it and it's so deeply, deeply bonding because you've witnessed and nurtured each other through this death and rebirth process. That it's basically becomes a bond that is unlike anything that you could have ever imagined. Given you know, the alternative where you would have chosen to broken break it off and go your own route, which I'm not saying that one is better than the other, every path has, has its own blessings and burdens, and staying in the relationship has its obvious burden of we have to do this work together, it's painful, and it's only going to work if we're both willing to do it. And I suppose that's really what it comes down to is the fact that both my wife and myself, were willing to do it. Some days, it felt like we were on the verge of saying I'm not willing to do this anymore. But as far as you know, today goes, we have been willing to do the work and I feel the blessings you know, rolling rolling in, and and I feel the worthiness of that path. And and I i would implore anybody who's on the fence to to give it everything that you've got, and and just be as open and honest as possible. And yeah, it really does take take two, it takes both of you agreeing to do that.
Curt Storring 22:52
Yeah, and I think that's such a salient point. And what you brought up there with the gifts that come with this, I think there's something to be said for the compound interest of relationship, building up a history so that you can go deeper and sometimes it takes another person witnessing the depth of your own soul for you to be willing to go fully into it. And that's something I certainly experienced, and I'm very grateful that my wife and I have grown together rather than apart much like it sounds you and your wife have
And so with your children, when they were born, did they cause the same sort of triggered state that you mentioned, your wife did a teacher that came along and to teach you in this relationship? what it was he needed to learn with their triggers? How did that relationship with each of your children look?
Daniel Moody 25:29
Absolutely, yeah, my wife and my children are by far my greatest teachers, my daughter has taught me what it's like to control another human being, and, and that sort of superimposing of my will on top of hers and robbing her of her own autonomy, I get to see what that looks like across time. And then my son is an example of somebody who will not let me control him at all, who is very, very certain of his own will and autonomy. And that that brings up all kinds of different triggers for me. So being, being in that position of trying to control another human being, my children have taught me the, you know, the pitfalls of those paths. And yeah, it's it's really been the most demanding work of my life.
Curt Storring 26:15
And let's go back to anger. I think for a little while here. When you say, you mentioned earlier, your son brought up one kind of anger and your daughter brought up a different kind. I think that's how you you said, and I'm paraphrasing here, but what what did those angers look like to you because I think there's a conversation to be had about anger itself and where it comes from, and perhaps even anger as a cover for sadness, loneliness, despair, other things that we might not be willing to feel. So if you're willing to go there, could you discuss what your anger looked like? How it manifested, perhaps even what it felt like to you, in each parenting situation?
Daniel Moody 26:59
Yes, absolutely. My, my anger would come up as a red hot flash, sudden surge of anger, and it would be so consuming and so blinding that I would go from being the person who would want to foster peace and compassion, to suddenly switching over after being triggered to basically being a rage monster, where I would swoop in and try to control things with my hands with my words, very firm, very unapologetic, straight out mean, it wasn't so much that I would be tremendously cutting with my words, although I could be judgmental, and, and diminutive, but I also it was mainly I would see my, my child not doing something according to my expectation, and the red hot flame of anger would come up, and I would, I would get involved and I would force things with my hands, and I would, you know, push them out of the way and take take charge or literally move their body and, you know, my daughter being an example of somebody that would let me totally come in and take take control of her and the situation, my daughter, my son, being an example of somebody who would not at all, so each situation brought up a new kind of anger response that, you know, with, with my son, I had to learn how to not shut down and, and, and go inward and, and basically not kneel, to kneel to him as the authority in the situation and, and with because, you know, my wife essentially set boundaries of, she would not tolerate the anger in the household. And that was very important for me, but it also sort of created a new challenge of not being able to express my anger, because a lot of times makes my expression of anger was just to come in, take charge of the situation, be really pissed off about it, be an asshole, and, and do whatever I did to, like, move things along. And it wasn't until later when I learned how to step back and let someone let someone else decide what happened. That not only was I experiencing a tremendous amount of like, repression of that anger, you know, my bottom lip has a scar on the inside from perpetually biting it when I would, when I would get angry, uncontrollably, you know, just just happens. I have this face, you know, they say that's your angry face. Like, my wife can see it on me now. Like, I would try to hide it. But you know, over time, you can't really hide things from people you're living in close quarters with. And so I would, but I got to see that things actually took their own course when I was not involved. And you know, I would particularly have issues around time, transportation transitions travel. When it was time to go, my daughter would always have a 15 minute lag time where she had to get things together and you know, I would try to adapt My my skill set to give her enough warning but that would always sort of I would always be cutting edges and I would still be getting very frustrated and yeah there there was basically an unfortunate long period of my life where that anger response was coming out and not only was I you know still suppressing the mass majority of my resentment and my anger but like you said it was actually it was actually like covering up a deeper well of sadness and when I started to tap into that sadness, some clarity came from through hindsight that I was I was not setting appropriate boundaries for myself and I was also clinging to outcome and expectation with my daughter particularly with my son I was not setting boundaries I was not creating a safe container for him to feel that there was structured that he could rely on and with my daughter I was I was constantly expecting things to be different than they were or just demanding that they be different and well anybody who's ever had their expectations not be met knows that there's a great dissatisfaction there and for me, you know on top of on top of my sadness there's this thick thick armor of of anger and it didn't it doesn't it didn't take much for me to drill down through there to see usually it would come after a burst of anger of some kind that eventually tears would come up after and addressing the deep well of unmet needs underneath there the energetic needs that I was not considering
that's that's sort of like that root of resentment there that resentment leading to anger I was not considering the fact that I needed some boundaries set here, I was not considering my own needs and that I was placing all of my all of my sense of well being on these expectations being met when this person doesn't actually align with that at all. So I was basically giving all of my power away to an illusion a hope for an illusion that was just never going to come this person is not going to be something other than what they are and as I've as I've come to choose to accept and to fully embrace who these these people that I live with truly are and I've been able to let go of the anger response a little bit sooner and a little bit sooner and a little bit sooner. And on the other end of that I as I've been taking care of my my energetic needs such as making sure that I have time in the morning by myself to do my daily practice I have I'm not waiting on them to get ready before I go and do something that I need to do I actually take time for myself to make sure that I'm actually doing okay, I actually check in with with how I'm feeling I journal about it I meditate on it you know those those kinds of things, you know, dropping the expectations helps me to to let go of the anger response when it comes up and then treating the the underlying wound allows it to not build up to a point of explosion
Curt Storring 33:22
Yes, that is all so good. I resonate so much with all of that and I think it's perhaps some of the most important work that we as fathers can do, which is as you say move beyond the anger response but not only to do the things that you know day to day give you that that time and space but to heal the underlying wound and I don't think that aspect of this is talked about enough. I think there's a lot of work that people do on you know, clearing the mind and meditation and journaling and Somatic Experiencing and things like that. But when it really comes down to it, I believe that all most I should say issues like like anger or like things that are diagnosed you know, psychologically disorders and stuff like that, most of which most of them I should say are unexpressed trauma and wounds typically from childhood or perhaps later on in life as well. So I'm not a doctor, I'm not whatever, but that's my my core belief is that most of the things that we struggle with are simply wounding and trauma that has gone on discovered unexpressed and unhealed. So a few things that you said there that I want to go into a little bit. One is this idea of letting go of control. Another is setting boundaries, and another is your own needs. So in my own psychedelic experience with I was one of the things that a woman there, who I had a very strong connection with as a healer. She told me that anger was a very reasonable expression of emotion after one's boundaries have been crossed. Until that point, I was very, almost angry about my anger, I was ashamed of my anger, and I didn't understand, you know how it could possibly be good. And therefore I couldn't reframe it, and I couldn't express it positively. And so when you talk about your own needs, and setting your own boundaries that is so, so vital for people to understand. And, and you've, I guess you've talked about what your own needs are, and setting some of your own boundaries. But what about this underlying wound? What was it for you? Do you think? Or have you? Have you gone there that sort of led to this, whether it was childhood, whether it was something else, but why was this wound in your life? And how did you go about healing this
Daniel Moody 35:46
so what comes to mind, there are many wounds, but ultimately there there is, our core wound, the one the mega wound, and for many, many men, particularly, it's the mother wound and I say we all have a mother wound, it's our belly button, you know, it's it's, it's where it starts and and it and it just it's it spreads out from that that central place of there was once this connection that you had with another human being and this person literally routed you to reality and that sense of belonging you were built into this other human being and that separation from mother comes with the you know, the harshness of birth but then the the 18 to 30 years that follow that a slowly breaking up with that person. And you know, everybody has their own trajectory and their own timeline for that. And for me, I had a you know, a sort of a harsh falling out in my early puberty and, and felt a lot of desire to fill that void with romantic love. I wanted romantic love to be my Savior. And so I became a very, very romantic or at least that was my idea of myself, a very romantic boy. And I felt I fell in love very easily and deeply. And the first girl that ever I ever had a crush on i was i was terribly cruel to her after it was unrequited. Just to give to give an example of like I was not looking to give her love I was looking for her to give me all of her and that's that that example of of an unmet need and, and a sense of enmeshment a sense of codependency on on others. And I was basically there's a song lyric I wrote that I hold on to love like the wrong side of a gun barrel pointed at my chest ready to pull the trigger at anyone. I was, I was, well, I was I was ready to give myself totally to another human being, but only in exchange for their entire being and and that never fully went away. And even though I was growing up, and I had had a child and I had this a job and a sense of responsibility, and then I had this air of moral superiority about me, which really can exist in a vacuum, if you just isolate from people that challenge you or don't really face the truth of your situation, my mother could still make me very, very angry. And that that's a sign when when that person that that archetype archetype for you is still triggering deep emotional reactions means that there's something on healed within you. And that mother wound sort of became on full display at the point of the disillusionment of my marriage, where I realized how much I had expected my wife to be my surrogate mother. And, you know, I think a lot of people when they engage with that kind of thinking or talk about it are probably grossed out or triggered or challenged by that language. But ultimately, it's, it's what's happening energetically, you are looking for this person to take care of you emotionally to be responsible for your emotional needs. And I was constantly berating her for not loving me enough, giving me enough, being enough. So I was basically I was looking at her seeing all my expectations, and then only seeing the discordance of how she was not meeting those expectations. And then, and then, like a child, expressing all of my emotional turmoil, as if that was her responsibility, unloading it on her. And, you know, in many ways, I'm amazed that she's stuck through it being the very independent person that she is, in many ways she actually taught me she embodied setting boundaries. She was the one who was like, no more. I can't take this anymore. I have to take care of myself now. I've been performing for you I have to stop so she she instigated it. And I was miserable about that decision, I was like, No, you're supposed to take care of me and I had all these expectations in the sense of entitlement. And I'm, you know, I berated her and you know, threw my bombs at her at her boundary walls and and it didn't break and so
eventually I just had to set set in for the storm of acceptance that I was not I was not going to get what I needed from this other human being that I was actually alone, that I was actually responsible for myself, and that no one was going to come and save me that my mother could not come and save me that another woman could not come and save me, you know, my friend would say, don't run into the arms of another woman run into your own arms. Really, really, and that that was I heard that thought it was a beautiful sentiment but emotionally when I was sitting outside in the dark and crying and holding myself like it was it just didn't feel like I could ever possibly be enough for myself. And I think that sitting there and holding that space and crying it out and writing the songs and writing, writing the journals and talking and talking and talking about it with her but then eventually I had to stop talking to her about and go talk to other people about it because I was basically we were in this vacuum together essentially re traumatizing each other by just unloading all of this truth that we were discovering at each other and that that wound really needed space as you put it, it needed time it needed attention and I got a little bit lighter, a little bit less heavy, but I realized you know, the first time I ever saw a therapist, and I started to cry in the first session I said it feels like I'm just touching the surface of a lake of sadness. There is a deep deep well of sadness here. And that is sort of like finally facing one's own mortality finally facing the fact that you're going to die that that you are not going to have your your your day dreams come into fruition you're not going to have this fantasy world become real or this person or this particular incarnation in this relationship is not going to fulfill your fantasy it's like a part of you has to die that that part of you that lived and breathed for that potential outcome has to die and so it feels like a death of self it feels very very painful and but ultimately what's what was remarkable to experience that even when I was holding in that space that I'm I'm ultimately alone No one is going to save me No one is going to save me No one is going to save me honestly it was it was a it was a mantra to myself and it felt purifying to say it even though it hurt every time eventually eventually I began to accept the truth and there was enough space there for me to realize that there was a sort of a threshold there's a there's a threshold for how much pain you can experience at one time and and you know, I've never experienced I've never experienced war I've never experienced death of a child I've never experienced these kinds of greater extremes I just experienced the dissolution of my marriage so I only know what what the limit is for that what the cap is for that but ultimately it felt like a death it felt like mourning a death of myself a death of of my partner a death a death of who I thought I was married to. And that that level of extreme it basically can only come out so far so fast so much and and I basically I resonated with Victor Frankel's Man's Search for Meaning is that there's there's ultimately we can survive even a living nightmare and still come out we can still survive that. And I learned what it was like to experience that much pain in my body, I learned what it was like to totally let go of the fantasy and, and I learned what it was like to just go ahead and feel that the inescapable pain of my own mortality that I was going to die, that that my fantasies were not going to become true. And that there was no running from it. And if there's really no other way to heal a wound than to just let it Let it be truly what it is. And, you know, those those words sound really extreme, but you know, facing your own mortality, you were just talking about like, dealing with, you know, a marriage shake up. But ultimately, like I was I was trying to face the hardest truth I could because this was my opportunity. This was my opportunity to
to be as real as I could possibly be to be real for the first time and the fruits of that labor are are, you know the pain of that experience and that disillusionment, I look back on it with extreme gratitude, I look back on that time, that that crying on the porch in the dark by myself and feeling that that awful, gut wrenching feeling of hopelessness. I look back on that with immense, immense love and gratitude. And I'm thankful for my wife for for setting that boundary and for telling me her truth. And even though it's excruciating to hear, I'm so grateful because of what it has afforded me what I was, before I was trapped inside of a box, I was very much in a cage. And now I'm in a bigger box, because you can't really ever leave the box. But I have much more space, I have much more room to explore myself. And I can I can now choose to expand. And I actually speak with my own voice, because I know what I want. And I know what I need. Which is priceless.
Curt Storring 45:54
Yeah, wow. Hell yeah, man, I am so excited that you shared that I'm so so grateful that you're able to go there, and that you're willing to go there. Oh, man, I have gone through a very similar process. And the word that's coming up for me is grief. This is such a powerful tool for healing. And I wrote something that today that was about the courage that it takes to go into this space that you just described, and a lot of men are not willing to go there because it hurts. And because it is excruciating, because you have to face your mortality, as you said, and yet, many people in the culture we live in, believe that a man is strong, that he has to be brave. And for some reason, we don't put that together with the emotional, spiritual and soul realm. And so this story, and what I've experienced myself, as well as that this is perhaps the most courageous work that men can do. And if you think that strong men do uncomfortable things, then this is the work that you can and perhaps shouldn't be doing. I think it's just a beautiful, deep reminder of the strength of men and the strength of the emotional body and the heart. And so I just want to honor you, first of all for for going there for sharing that, because just hearing this is, is I think, a beacon of hope, at least for me. So thank you. And thank you, I, there's just a couple of things I want to get into before we wrap up here, just being respectful of your time. And they're they're almost tactical things, because there's something that is extremely powerful about hearing the stories. And there's also something that goes hand in hand with knowing what the hell to do with them. So when it comes to expressing this anger, that I'm sure you still feel I am you know, I still feel anger, of course, it's a natural thing. What do you do now to express that healthfully?
Daniel Moody 47:52
So Good question. And the the process is ever unfolding. You know, I'm in a group of fathers, and we do this work together. And we, not that long ago did an anger ceremony. And that process is a sort of like a deep dive. And you write out the things that you write out whatever comes to mind that you could potentially be angry about. And that that list is a living thing, you keep adding to it and subtracting from it, but you you set it up to where you create a space with the intentions you connect with yourself and your environment. And, and you really go to this place reading from the list expressing these things. And that that process you repeat for a few days. And as you just basically keep doing it until there's no charge left to the thing on the list, which is sort of a testament to the fact that these things live within us, but they do not have to forever. And that that's a it's a it's a way of exploring what's been hiding, and you never really know what's going to come out the things you think you're really angry about might be just covers for something that is more of a deep, deep wound and sadness might come up the moment, the moment right after the first little bout of anger has been expressed. Sometimes the anger is inaccessible, sometimes it is just coming out unfolds. And so I find, you know, there's the expression of, of your emotions, and then there's the digestion of your emotions. That might my friend says you know, don't don't repress don't express digest. And the idea there is that you can actually use that energy towards your life, use that energy towards your goals. And that that's, that's really from a state of integration from a state where you're you don't have a huge build up and you can use your anger effectively towards what you're trying to accomplish. And I can speak from that place that that is true. But before you get to that place, there's there if there's a deep deep pattern of repression, expression, becomes necessary just so that you can learn how to do it, so that you can learn how to To let the pressure off, I basically see it as like a loosening the lid a little bit. So that that anger ceremony is an example of something that you can actually you can do that sort of intensive thing. It's nice to do it with a group because the insights and and being witnessed and having that shared is is so, so valuable. I mean, it's, it's honestly, the grief recovery handbook you mentioned grief, the grief recovery handbook implores you to find a witness someone to do this work with because there is a, it almost, it's almost ineffective to do it by yourself to a certain degree, eventually, once you once you connect with another human being and they see it and you really feel seen and heard, it actually allows that final release, it allows you to fully let go because you feel like you've given it to the universe. So community really fortifies the the processing of these things. So being totally vulnerable in the face of other men has actually, you talked about strength, I, the way I interpret strength now is his total vulnerability. I find myself able to speak about the darkest hardest things in my life with with with strength and compassion for myself, because I was accepted within a group of men that that held that space for me with wisdom and love and so
that we've strengthened each other in that sense that that sort of spread so that's something that we can do for each other. This podcast is an example of we how do we embody that truth, but ultimately, one of my missions in life is to bring people together so that this this becomes a commonality of the human experience, again, like it once was in a village setting. But the the day to day anger ceremony is sometimes I just go out into my truck and scream into a pillow. I have a little back pillow that perfectly muffles me and my wife says this is great, you know, this is way better than you yelling at us, you know, you just you go out there and I don't even notice and you've like led off a tremendous amount of pressure and then you come back in. And you know, screaming into a pillow is going to hurt your vocal cords which I have blown out my voice doing that before, followed by tremendous sadness that I didn't know was under there and a vocalization of my own crying that I had never actually heard before. It was like something just needed to rupture and it literally ruptured my vocal cords when I did it. So like I wouldn't suggest harming yourself in the process because it's not sustainable. You can hit the heavy bag, but you want to make sure that you are warmed up first so that you don't break your wrist in the process. You know, you go for a run, you put your face underwater and scream into the water that that's a very cathartic experience, but ultimately vocalizing the anger to yourself to a witness, preferably not to the person that you're angry about unless you guys are at a really really mature place and you can both handle it but that's that's a very rare occurrence. Mostly you just want to express these things. So that you know what they are, give yourself this space, the time allotment really like that the reason why the anger ceremony is so impactful is because it creates the space the container and and the fact that it is a ceremony is actually like tied to deeper roots of human of human tradition that we are, we are vessels for our spirit, for our attention for whatever it is that animates you and that thing, whatever you are has, it has needs. It has goals, it has a proper place and function within within a community within within the world. And so when we are in congruent when we are not speaking our truth when we are not acting out our true potential. When we are disharmony and disharmony disharmonious in our relationships, we, we repress. And this I love this quote that the the soul does not speak it just suffers. And I think we all know what that feels like. Ultimately, we all have that sense of self locked down within us. And it's wanting to come out and one of the easiest way for men to express what they feel is anger my own father when he experienced the loss of a friend I asked him Are you sad? are you hurting? He said, No, I'm pissed. And I you know, I could, I could see right through that but that was the veil that he was wearing, no matter the emotional situation. It was always anger as as the front because that was what is acceptable for a man or at least understandable that a man would feel I'm a warrior I'm angry. And
ultimately we are unaccepting of the possibility that we are also vulnerable children on the inside which I see it See our hearts, I see our emotional beings, our basic desires as being fundamentally the same as when we came out as when we die. When you were born, you ultimately want to love and be loved. You want co creation, you want belonging, you want things to go, Well, nobody comes out wanting war that is inflicted upon the mind that it's a distortion of what we are, ultimately, we want more life, we want more, more joy, more and more of the obvious, like positive attributes of experience. But ultimately, we just want a well fit life where we belong, where we fit in, and where we do something that that really makes us feel that we are alive. And most of us are not living lives that make us feel alive, we're living in a box, we're conforming to somebody else's idea of success, we are performing somebody else's idea of being a good man, husband, father, son, whatever. And that performance that that confined space that we live inside of is going to create pressure on on our spirit is going to create pressure on what it is that we actually are and what we want to be in our fullest expression of ourselves. So that creates that, that that intensifies the pain of the core wound. And and it creates that hardening shell of anger and resentment and bitterness towards the world. And that's what we that's what the world sees when they look at us is that anger and bitterness, and, and deep down inside, we know we're just children that want to love and be loved. And how brutal is that, that if you imagine your child, if you imagine a child, that, that you can truly see an except as being a beautiful incarnation of life, a beautiful example of of joy and love and laughter, that lives inside of a shell of anger and bitterness and resentment. And that's every single man you've ever met, they have been, in some way confined into a tighter space than they actually need to live inside of in order to be healthy and breathe. And this creates the anger, you know, epidemic that you see all around the resentment. And that's why you see people committing more and more atrocities, you see, you see this manifest on the fringes where people have gone so dark, so, so deep into their their own darkness, that that the the, the natural hope of spirit of being alive, is is so squashed that they can't even feel their own flame that can't even feel This little light of mine inside of them. So I I believe that letting out the anger is the first step of being able to tap in to the deep, deep sadness underneath that. And that allows you to clear it out and find the wound, and then you do the work. But you can't get there by superimposing, I'm just going to think these positive thoughts on top. I'm going to do this work without actually having to do the nitty gritty hard stuff. But ultimately, like you said, it's a hopeful message. If you do this work, you come through on the other end with more power than you could have ever imagined. Alternatively, you are a stronger, more competent, more whole integrated person, because you have looked at the truth of your anger, your own pain, you have faced it, you have lived through it. And since you have died already, since you've experienced the death of your fantasy, the death of the the illusion that you thought you were, you come through with the capacity to face life with more more fierceness and tenacity than you could have ever done before. So a truly strong man is somebody who has faced their demons who has faced their wounds, who has accepted that they are a child inside, I am just as vulnerable and soft as my little boy, which is how I can be soft to him, and yet turn around and be firm to the world in order to set necessary boundaries in order to keep a walled garden of peace and love and compassion where wisdom and things like that can actually flourish.
Curt Storring 58:50
That was unbelievable. Thank you. I could not have asked for a better expression that you are wise and you are well spoken and I really appreciate that you laid all of that out. There is just so many lessons in there. I'm I'm going okay, you know how many more hours can we push this and I know we're about to wrap up. But I guess the last thing I'll just touch on here is what are the recommendations do you have for men who who know they need to do this work? I know you touched on journaling, meditation, screaming into pillow screaming underwater having a men's group a community? Is there anything else any other tools or resources that you either use or recommend that can help men do this and go on this journey which is often so frightening to do alone?
Daniel Moody 59:41
Well, exactly doing it alone. I would never recommend the finding the community finding a coach, a therapist, a friend, a mentor, someone that you trust, starting there, but ultimately we live in a time when there is a blossoming of Why are there a blossoming of men's groups and men's coaches that this is it's because there's a great demand and this is an opportunity in the world of coaching in the world of of men's groups and community building opportunities to to really that we already show up with that intention This is a space where you as a whole being with all of your shit that you're ashamed of all of the the vulnerabilities all the things that you can't see about yourself are welcome This is the we created the container because that we needed it for ourselves and each time somebody comes into this they're they're just blown away at how much more they're able to love and respect themselves at the end and how much how much that opens them up to feel connection and compassion even even over you know the the virtual limitation when when they're just online like you you would feel that that technological barrier would be enough to crush spirit but it actually can overcome the more vulnerable that you are the more raw and honest and you know, I wouldn't want to beat a dead horse here that you need to go find a men's group you need to find a coaching community but that like it's it really is the where the soil is ripest where it is ready for you to do the work that you want to do, because you cannot see it on your own. You cannot see yourself I as as much as I've done this work as much as I can articulate it, and I've written about it and read about it and talked about it at nauseum I still am surprised at what people see in me, which which deep deepens my connection to myself but also to the world around me which which creates that sense of belonging that I used to long for but now it's the water that I swim in. And now I'm able to speak with more confidence and more nonchalance about but about the hardest truths in my life. As if there is if it were passing conversation with with with more certainty that it is useful and valuable. And people want to hear it because it has been fortified and the all the affirmations that I've gotten that people want to hear about your trauma, maybe maybe some people are not ready. But when they come to those spaces, they are ready, they find so much value and you expressing and you making requests because it gives them permission to do what they're too afraid to do for themselves. So find a group, find a coach, find a therapist, find somebody to talk to get the grief recovery Handbook, start working on a timeline of your past so that you can end but find a buddy to do it with. Talk about it with people get online. And as much as you can go outside, put your bare feet on the ground, get into the water, commune with the trees and connect to this beautiful world that we live in and stop living inside of a tiny box. Whether that be your literal home or the box inside your mind. Get outside there see the big expansive sky and remember that you are a part of something much bigger.
Curt Storring 1:03:04
dropped the mic right there, man boom, we think you touched on this conversation on like every single one of the the 13 points that I've come up with is like sort of the foundational fundamentals of conscious fatherhood that have helped me and so I'm just feeling incredible connection to you and your message. So thank you so much. Where can dads men find you work with you, online or otherwise?
Daniel Moody 1:03:29
Yeah, they can find me on Instagram at Daniel hunter moody. They can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org we start there. The rest is his cake.
Curt Storring 1:03:40
Beautiful. All right, Daniel, thank you so much for spreading this wisdom on the podcast for the fathers listening. And I hope to catch up with you much more very soon.
Daniel Moody 1:03:50
Yes, and Curt Same to you. I deeply resonated with everything that you've been sharing. And it's quite clear that you've done a lot of work on yourself and it seems as though you've really tapped into the same vein of wisdom that's available to us also. Thank you for doing this work and thank you for having me on.
Curt Storring 1:04:06
Of course. All right. That's it for this episode. Thank you so much for listening. It means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including show notes resources and links to subscribe leave a review work with us go to dad.work/pod. That's dad.work/pod/. type that into your browser just like a normal URL, Dad dot work slash pod. To find everything there you need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.
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