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The Three Stages of Life

January 19, 2020


The first stage starts when we feel disconnected and unfulfilled for the first time. We experience ourselves as boys longing to feel and be seen as men.

And we quickly learn that the “man” to admire and copy is ‘he’ who has the most.
The most power, the prettiest women, the most money, fame, achievements and so on..
We are bombarded from early ages with these ideals of masculinity and success.

Our quest for completion then, is one rooted in seeking achievements and getting, or taking ‘more’. This is the stage of the frightened boy. This is the stage of both the bad guy and the nice guy. They are both out to take. One does it in a shameless way and the other is full of shame in his attempts.

Yet their intention is the same.

A guy in this stage is seeking to be seen as a real man by the world around him. So his quest is one of having to prove to others.

He wants to prove how much he has – hoping to one day feel complete and that he’s ‘made it!’. Even though he has made nothing of himself.

I was in a quest for love, completely disconnected and believeing this disconnection was because I had not found the ‘right’ woman.So I dated and dated…

I remember thinking: “I want an open minded woman”
And I met one and I thought…
I want one with a nicer body.
And I met one and I thought…
I want one that is hot but also smart.
And I met one and I thought…
I want one that is more spiritual.
And I met one and I thought…
I want one that is spiritual and wild.
And I met one and I thought…
I want one that is more open minded…

You get the idea.

From yogis
To strippers
Religious girls
To satan worshippers.
To a little too loose.

I had everything
And still could not choose.

So I moved from experience to experience with my gaze forever placed in greener pastures.

And yes, it was a fun and beautiful time of exploration, discovery and growth. At the same time, it was a time of destruction: I destroyed relationships in my ongoing desire for more. I broke hearts.

To me, she was one step on my infinite ladder of seeking more. To her, I was the man she loved.

Unfortunately for most men this stage will only end when you come to face the agony and deep aching pain of profound heartbreak.

The moment that you damage a woman’s heart
In your quest to finding who you are
Is the moment that you truly see
That you have gone too far.

So once we go through this and realize that we must take responsibility for our impact, we enter the second stage.

We notice that no amount of women, validation, approval or money will ever fulfill us. So we decided that, since fulfillment cannot be found externally – we will seek it internally.

At this point men shift from wanting more to wanting to be better: Better men, more authentic, more embodied, more self-expressed, more charming, more sexual, more conscious, etc.

We stop being bad guys and nice guys and we aim to be great guys.

Here we take workshops, seminars, courses. We read books and meditate. We are on a mission to be better men.

However, I see a lot of men have bypassed the first stage and jumped into the second one out of fear. They feared women, money or power so they told themselves they did not want them. It’s a lot easier to cope with unfulfilled cravings when you delude yourself into thinking you are above them – which I notice ongoingly in the spiritual community:

A lot of self proclaimed conscious men still struggling to make a living. Still struggling to attract and keep a solid, healthy and passionate relationships. All under the false pretense of spirituality and detachment.

Fuck that!

If growth, consciousness, service and positive impact on the world is what you want there is no faster way to get there than with plenty of financial resources and a supportive woman by your side. So any form of “I don’t want women” or “I don’t want money” renders you limited in your ability to truly spark some change.

You cannot be a great man until you have burned and marinated long enough in the pain that comes from having been a bad one, or one that was ‘too nice’.

Face that!

Do not run away from it. Do not cling but also do not ignore it. Do not avoid this because if you do, your growth will forever be tinted with niceness or darkness. And you will only become better at taking – and not actually a better man.

Do your work. Lift your load.

In the first stage we seek to be fulfilled externally because we have something to prove to others.

In the second stage we seek to be fulfilled internally and we have something to prove to ourselves.

We want to prove ourselves that we are bold enough.
Authentic enough.
Honest enough.
Self-expressed enough.
Conscious enough.
Masculine enough.

We don’t want to impress others yet we seek internal recognition. We drift from materialistic views focused on possessions, status and achievements and our bar becomes our moral compass: we no longer try to amass things of value. We seek to embody values.

At this stage we genuinely start to become better men (in our eyes and other’s). We have realized that the grass is not greener elsewhere, but rather we discover that the grass is greener if/where we water it.

So we start to water our inner gardens daily and diligently.

But it is a matter of time until we realize that no matter how much self-development and inner work we do – true fulfillment still feels elusive.

We start to see that there is so much to heal, to improve, to finetune within us. And that the quest to be better is not that different from the quest to take more.

In one we seek joy through the external, on the other we seek joy through the internal. But at the end of the day we are still seekers. And by definition he who seeks has not found.
He who is a seeker will never find.

You have to come face to face with the fact that your search has only become more refined. But that eventually, there is something fundamental that you are missing in life.

We just went from wanting to be seen as a man to wanting to feel like a good man.

This is what I believe:
The similarity and foundation between these two first stages is a self-referencing one.
At the end of the day we are only concerned with ourselves.

How much I have (1st) and how much I feel (2nd). And as long as we cannot see beyond this, we will forever be in a state of scarcity. Never quite enough of anything, and never feeling quite enough.

So where do we go from here? Where do I go when I see that no external or internal search will ever be fully satisfying?

At this point a man is forced to face the biggest challenge of all:

He must learn to surrender. To give up everything he has achieved and accumulated as wel as the carefully constructed version of himself he has worked so hard to build.

We must let go of it all. Let go of the seeking itself. And be open to be rendered helpless (but not without help!)

It is in this moment of total exhaustion and emptiness that a miracle will happen:
We will find grace.

The force of life starts moving through us powerfully and confidently.

Some people call this God, The Universe, The force of life, Great Spirit, mother nature. Whatever you name it, at the 3rd stage you stop seeking and you finally become.

You don’t seek greener grasses for joy.
You don’t seek to greener your own grass by watering it.
You become okay with the grass – whether green or burnt. You are the gardener, the water and the grass. You realize the timeless dance of life, and this realization fuels you.

You are no longer a good guy or a bad guy, not even a great guy.

You finally become a Man.

An untamed, grounded, loving expression of the masculine through you.

You went from having to prove to others, to proving to yourself to having nothing to prove.

Life flows through you and outwards. You are no longer concerned with yourself and you seek to be of service, because you realize there is nothing to be achieved or fulfilment to be chased from within (or externally).

To some of you this may sound confusing, distant, spiritual or somewhat “woo-woo”. So let me try to simplify it.

I believe that the 3rd stage is the stage of responsibility – and most men are deprived and starving for it.

1st stage was all about your rights. Your right to have and your right to experience.
2nd stage was all about your right to grow, to feel and to become.
3rd stage is about the other side of the coin: Our right to be, but with this comes our sense of responsibility and duty.

My friend Jordan Collier shared in a speech the other day of a couple of beautiful moments after a long day of work where he was moved to tears. Touched to his core by the beauty of a day well spent – a day of complete dedication and service.

Grace touches us when we finally take responsibility and stop living 100% in a self-serving way and decide to set our attention in others.

We are taught that the masculine is all about strength, presence, focus, protection and provision.

But there is no strength without challenge.
There is no focus without object of attention.
There is no protection without someone vulnerable.
Or provision without someone to receive.

We cannot embody the qualities of the masculine and become a Man without taking the others into consideration. There is no way to get there without choosing our load of responsibility and embracing it.

3rd stage is integrated King energy. A link between the divine and the human. This is the place where we truly become vehicles of service.

So where are you? What are you doing with your life?

I often asked myself this question.

Where was I when people close to me were depressed and borderline suicidal?
Chasing women? Attending another workshop? Reading another book?

Where was I when my loved ones were struggling financially and with their health?
Spending money on tinder dates? Or perhaps another online course?

Where have you been when those close to you, your share of the world, are in pain and in need?

And I’m not advocating for becoming a martyr and taking on the weight of the world, or to condoning someone’s lack of personal responsibility. Not at all. In fact, I call for the opposite:
To become so responsible that we choose to take into our own hands the shifting, evolving and molding of whatever we can handle.

But we have to be ready to get out of our own heads, our own bubbles and our own endless self-development projects, and actually get our hands ‘dirty’. Practice, train, develop skills that have us be able to serve – and serve well!

We have to grow up.

Life will very quickly become meaningless and nasty if the scope of our core and love barely extends beyond ourselves.

But we have a choice:
The moment we stop wanting, we start having.
The moment we stop trying to become we start being.
The moment we stop seeking, we find.

This is the great renunciation that Zan Perrion mentions in ‘The Alabaster Girl’.

The moment you honour your responsibility on this planet (to yourself, others and earth) you become free.

You become a source of energy.

You immediately stop trying to become a man and start being one.

Because as long as you are still attached to all you have accumulated and all that you have built yourself up to be, you will not be able to sacrifice it all for a higher thing. You will not feel the earth pulsing through you.

So when your day comes
And death looks at you
Will you be ready
To face what is true?

Will your gaze be still
Or will it shake without clue.

When your day comes
What man will you be?
The one so busy
With trying to see better
That he abandons and forgets
Everything he sees.

Or perhaps the man looking for more
Forever reaching to the heavens.
Forever stuck to the floor.

Or perhaps the one who seeks to be better
Every day and every night
So lost in his noble purse
That he too, has lost sight.

So when your day comes
And death looks at you
I hope it finds a man
Who has made it through.

A man with a smile
And a face full of tears
For he overcame
All that he fears.


PS: If you relate to what I just shared and have been feeling on the verge of transformation, I’m hosting a retreat early March in Medellin, Colombia. It will be a 5 days immersive workshop + 5 days ayahuasca retreat with a native shaman.

For more info click the link below: