Knowing Yourself – In Support of All

Dr. Mark Schillinger
MDI Contributor

It’s not possible to be the man you’ve always wanted to be if you don’t really know yourself.

If you don’t truly know who you are, and you live a noble life of protecting and providing for your spouse and children, and you dutifully go to work, day in and day out, it’s likely that you’re going to become anxious as you get older. For men in their late 40’s and older, this type of stress is often referred to as the “midlife crisis.”

From my perspective as a life coach and a family mentor, the midlife crisis simply means that a man wakes up one day and realizes that he’s been so busy giving so much attention to his responsibilities, that he hasn’t clearly focused on who he authentically is and what he really needs to do in order to be personally fulfilled.

I say this with no judgment. I am clear that we live in a culture that causes men to “give themselves up” to a system based on putting out extraordinary amounts of personal energy in order to survive and to be accepted as “normal.”

Thankfully, my parents supported me to follow my bliss even though they worried I might not be able to make money, as I aspired to be a philosopher. As a teenager, I was heavy into three activities which shielded me from the intensity of growing up in the streets of New York City, and which also nourished me to be deeply happy: music, sports and personal growth. I studied with lots of spiritual and personal growth teachers, played organized baseball and played keyboards in a rock band.

Like most of you men reading this article, my life after high school and up until now, has been filled with wonderful happy and high times and just as many sad and low times. 

I’ve been through difficult times, including this short list:

  • A painful divorce
  • Purchased a chiropractic office where the doctor lied to me about the income
  • Severe depression where I almost ended my life
  • Losing connection with my children when they were teens
  • Decades of hard work and long hours
  • Having my non-profit sabotaged by disgruntled men
  • Not knowing how to deal with my ADD
  • Being embezzled by an employee 
  • My son now needs a liver transplant – my daughter will be the live donor

Why am I telling you this?

Because I’ve never been happier and more fulfilled than ever at 70 years of age. While all of these challenging situations have come and gone, I have never stopped my daily rituals that promote my physical health, personal growth and spiritual development. I am more connected to me than I’ve ever been.

My Main Point 

I’ve never forgotten who I am and how to creatively express myself regardless of the unpredictable outer conditions in my life. None of these outer stressors has prevented me from being the man I always wanted to be. Consistently practicing these five aspects of my life has allowed me to remain connected to me:

  • I know my personal virtues and how to creatively express them daily
  • I know what virtues I need to develop and how to ask for help 
  • I have a good sense about what Reality/God is and how I am part of it
  • I know how to remain calm under severe pressure 
  • I have a lifestyle that allows me to give quality time, not just to my family, but also to my friends and to myself – even with my busy schedule 

The Man I Always Wanted to Be

At a young age, my parents and my mentors taught me the importance of never losing sight of the vision I had for myself and to never lose the desire and energy to go after it.

By remaining true to me, I’m blessed to say that my outer, worldly accomplishments have manifested because I was always driven by my inner world.

I’ve created a personal growth/spiritual development method that’s helped thousands of people move closer towards realizing their true potential. The nonprofit I founded, Young Men’s Ultimate Weekend, has been featured on the CNN show “This is Life with Lisa Ling.” In the year 2000, I attended the largest known gathering of spiritual pilgrimages in the history of the world called the Maha Kumba Mela.

My music has been professionally recorded and enjoyed by many people. My former wife and children have long reconciled our differences and now live within five minutes of each other. We enjoy the most loving and supportive relationships. 

Perhaps most profoundly, I’ve become a productive Elder in my community. I always wanted to be like Gandalf, the wizard in Lord of The Rings. At this point in my life, I know I am that man. My life as a public servant has directly led me to enjoy the meaningful life I always wanted to have. 

I’m convinced that when men know themselves and are truly at peace within themselves, the world will transform and finally reach its true potential as a place where safety and prosperity is available to everyone. I know that this world will be a healthier and happier place to live when men know how to work respectfully and effectively with other men and with women. By doing so, the men will be able to provide political and economic leadership that’s based on kindness, generosity and cooperation, not on hatred, greed and polarization. 

We are the men we’ve been waiting for.

Dr. Mark Schillinger is a musician, family mentor and founder of the non-profit, Young Men’s Ultimate Weekend, a rite of passage initiation for young men ages 13-20.

Join Mark on Saturday, June 10 for The RIGHT Way to Self-Mastery & Skillful Mentorship course, you can learn more about it by visiting this page. https://cts.drmarkmentor.com/self-mastery-and-skillful-mentorship Contact HERE: https://www.challengingteenagesons.com/contact

1 thought on “Knowing Yourself – In Support of All”

  1. Dr. Grrrrr.
    My hero/mentor/role model/younger elder. With your share, I read myself in a lot of ways. You have touched me since we did the LD weekend together in ’08?
    As I know you will; keep up the good work, as will I

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