Socrates is believed to have said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Most days, we navel-gazers over here examining our lives to death are inclined to agree. But, some days, we have to admit that the examined life, even in all its richness of purpose and meaning, can be f@#$ing exhausting. Of course, that assumes one is able to distinguish between self-obsession favorite pastime) and genuine self-awareness. Of course, that is a whole ‘nother podcast!
Nevertheless, our guest, Rick Belden, makes a pretty good case for the examined life, in spite of its drawbacks. He’s spent decades examining his upbringing, his behaviors, his masculinity, his triumphs and disappointments, his relationships and his very being as a poet, as an early client of the great John Lee, and as a member of many men’s groups and support systems. In this episode, one in our monthly Deep Dive series, he talks about the decisions that led him to where he is today, and why he thinks that taking that road less travelled by has made all the difference.
Examining a life, especially one that’s gone a bit off the rails and led us away from our true hopes and desires, requires an uncomfortable level of self-awareness. It’s not hard to understand why many would choose an unexamined life, preferring to escape into any and all of the distractions and diversions the material world has to offer. Still, we endorse it heartily as certainly better than the alternative. Just make sure you give yourself permission to watch reruns of Beavis and Butthead every once in awhile, too.
Note: If you liked this episode, you might also like Rick’s other appearances on this podcast:
When His Best Was Not Enough, on the father wound
If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother, on the mother wound
Uncomfortably Numb, on grief and loss
Rick Belden is a respected explorer and chronicler of the psychology and inner lives of men. He has been writing for most of his life and has been using creative expression, dreamwork, personal mythology, and listening to the body as tools for self-healing since 1989.
His book, Iron Man Family Outing: Poems about Transition into a More Conscious Manhood, is widely used in the United States and internationally by therapists, counselors, and men’s groups as an aid in the exploration of masculine psychology and men’s issues, and as a resource for men who grew up in dysfunctional, abusive, or neglectful family systems.
Rick’s poetry and essays have appeared in multiple books and on numerous websites around the world, reaching an international audience of many thousands of men and women. He helps men who are feeling stuck get their lives moving again by drawing on over 25 years of experience exploring men’s issues, masculine psychology, and recovery from abuse.
He lives in Austin, Texas.