Comfort and the safe option rarely get you where you want to be
Whenever I’m asked, “What exactly does a weekly men’s circle bring you?” and “What has changed?” I pluck my nasal hair is usually the first thing that comes to mind.
Trivial for some, perhaps, but a game changer for me.
I quickly reached an age where there was much more hair sprouting all over my body, except where I wanted it most—my head. I was at a loss at how to deal with the thick nasal hair growing and poking out of my nose.
“Yank it out!” my female friends said (and a lot of men, too). However, I was never good with physical pain. Not a fan. I gravitated towards comfort. So I endeavoured to find a less painful, even pain-free, solution.
I spent years purchasing gadgets that promised this. While painless, every one of them failed to keep the hair in my nose under control. I also learned that tender nasal membranes are no place for any form of depilatory cream. Once the burning stopped, I settled for a weekly routine of diligent trimming with a small pair of rounded scissors.
Since I was getting older, opting for comfort and safety became the norm. Unless we’re talking food, new experiences become less frequent. Learning a new board game, language or skill became activities I avoided. And my world got smaller as my waist got bigger. Fear became a frequent companion—fear of change, aging, the new (and fear of those who embraced it).
Prioritizing comfort and safety didn’t help. Anxiety and stress were more present, more of the time.
“Why can’t life—everything—just be easier,” I complained. The universe was a frustrating and relentless antagonist, determined to thwart any ease I sought or found.
Something had to give.
In January 2020, I joined a new Men’s Circle in Whitehorse. The Circle leader met me for coffee beforehand and asked, “Why do you want to join?”
“My comfort zone has become a prison,” I said. “I need better tools to tackle what life is throwing at me. Friendships are fading. I need to be a better friend. I have to stop hiding, running away from life. It’s not getting me anywhere.”
“I think this will help,” he said. “It’s helped me.”
At my first meeting, I surveyed the nine men around me. I wasn’t quite the oldest, but most were younger. Despite not knowing the men I was comparing myself to, I found myself lacking.
My inner dialogue screamed Get out. Run! You don’t belong here. You’re not like these other men. They can’t help you.
I stayed. Partly because fear froze me in place. Partly because I didn’t trust this voice anymore; it hadn’t guided me very well. I was going to try something else.
What exactly is men’s work?
It’s the work of growing up, maturing, becoming seasoned, self-reliant.
It’s being curious why we act and react in the ways we do and then owning our emotions and taking action to find balance. It’s becoming sovereign, taking responsibility for all areas of our lives (no more blaming the government, our parents or the universe for what’s not working) and taking action to change it.
It’s facing all of the ways we numb ourselves to avoid difficult emotions. Facing all of the ways we avoid conflict, difficult conversations, hard decisions. Accepting that our answers can’t be found, our growth can’t occur, deep within our comfort zone. It’s accepting that growth happens beyond the edge of comfort. We must embrace the unknown and accept the possibility of failure.
It’s asking for help and sharing the parts you’ve always believed no one could love. It’s making the long, arduous journey from our heads to our hearts. Accepting praise. Self-love. Self-care. Self-trust.
It’s facing whatever life throws at you and knowing I can handle this, and, if you can’t, that the other men standing alongside you have your back. It’s understanding that pain is inevitable and that suffering is a choice.
It’s plucking your nasal hair.
Three years later, I have better tools, deeper friendships and a stronger relationship. I show up better for myself, which means I show up better for everyone else in my life. I lean into difficult conversations. I am more resilient. I know what fills my cup and do more of that. I appreciate that fear is a message—a temporary companion—not a permanent state of being. I know where my edge is and live life from there.
Sitting in Circle with other men, every week, I’ve learned we’re all struggling with similar challenges, similar self-judgements and recriminations, and similar fears. And we each think we’re the only one going through it.
I’ve witnessed men who’ve turned their lives around—who move beyond addictive behaviour, who switch jobs, change careers, improve their health, set boundaries and end a toxic relationship.
Each man is on his own journey. Each man discovers his edge in his own time.
In Circle, we call attention to each other’s blind spots, our weak defence of the status quo, our familiar complaints, and ask “What are you going to do about it? How will you change this? How can we help?” And we celebrate one another for each and every step taken to shift from being stuck, to moving forward.
It’s incredible to see the distance each man has travelled after their first year, and then the exponential growth that follows.
What discomfort are you avoiding?
The ARKA Brotherhood is a transformative community of conscious men positively changing the world through self-leadership and self mastery attained in weekly in-person and online men’s circles. Michael Vernon leads one of two circles in Whitehorse and knows what fills his cup. If you identify as male and could use better tools to face your challenges, email [email protected] or visit arkabrotherhood.com
1 thought on “Ripping Out Life’s ‘Nasal Hair’”
The ARKA Brotherhood is a transformative community of conscious men positively changing the world through self-leadership and self mastery attained in weekly in-person and online men’s circles. Michael Vernon leads one of two circles in Whitehorse and knows what fills his cup. If you identify as male and could use better tools to face your challenges, email [email protected] or visit arkabrotherhood.com.