Skip to main content

2023 © Nico Canon. All Rights Reserved. Terms and conditions | Privacy policy

The only problem with Masculinity is that there’s not enough of it. 👊🏼🔥


I’m sure this post will get me in trouble with those committed to vilifying men.

Those delusional enough to somehow imagine a house will become stronger by weakening its structure..

Dismissing all the weight that is held and carried by its foundations..

For those who only know the dark side of the masculine, it all smells of danger, tyranny and abuse.

But the fire that burns is also the one that cooks and provides light and warmth..

Context is essential.

Yesterday I joined @zarakfatah and @briancoones for an evening dinner where Men gathered to connect with each other, leaving work aside, and opening up about what’s really going on underneath all the noise and daily grind.

The more men I hang out with the more I realize that most of us are not business owners, we’re owned by our busy-ness.

So back to the dinner, as we went around the table sharing our stories and challenges I was reminded we’re all on the same boat.

We’re a generation of men without elders.

We all had either a weak, abusive or absent father. 

Best case scenario he was kind yet worked so hard to provide he failed to provide what we most needed growing up: His Love & Presence. 

Nobody taught us what it meant to be a man..

So as we shot in the dark trying to be “good men”, we missed A LOT..

Workaholism, anger, insecurity, overwhelm, stress, restlessness and the underlying inability to slow down are some of the side effects men share..

Symptoms of winging the “being a Man” thing all along. 

Looking around I saw myself in every other man.

The relentless drive, the single-pointed focus, the big responsibilities, high-standards and devotion to our work..

Paired with a good, yet often neglected heart.

We need new models of masculinity where integrity and presence become more important metrics than piling numbers in our bank accounts.

We need Men connected to something greater AND grounded in reality to initiate the newer generations.

Last night I remembered that a woman can birth a boy..

But a boy turning into a Man..
That’s a Man’s work.

That is Men’s Work.

& we need WAY more of that.
⚔️

There are parts of my wife that have been mishandled by every previous man, starting with her father.

I don’t take blame for what they did, but I have decided to take responsibility.

I am responsible for our relationship thriving, blossoming and rising above old stories of hurt, closure and betrayal.

These stories (which we all carry) show up in our reactivity to each other…

Unable to sit with our pain we often see no way out but to push back and -when all else fails- inflict pain on our partner so they may know how we’re feeling..

“If they don’t get how I’m hurting..

Then they get to hurt too..”

In a recent thread, a woman asked:

“In what moments may a Man need to protect the relationship from his woman?”

I can only speak from experience.

There are times when my wife forgets she is safe with me.

Times when her walls come up.

When a wound is poked in the most fragile of places..

Times when her emotions are too stuck in old patterns (of fear, anger, violence, shame and absence.)

There are days when she is more tender and -for whatever reason- she’s fallen asleep at the wheel. (unconscious, bitter, resentful, nagging, entitled, aggressive, passive-aggressive, sarcastic, etc.)

These days, it is my job to protect the relationship, her and myself, from these old ghosts.

In very practical terms it looks like having solid standards and structures of communicating our pain and honouring them as sacred. (I will not let a single word slide, outside of what we’ve agreed together. No matter what.)

I’ll remind her:

“Love, I see you are frustrated and it makes sense..

There’s so many emotions present and this is confusing..

I also want to remind you about our commitment not to (interrupt/attack/blame/ignore) each other during these difficult conversations..

Has the agreement changed for you?”

That’s often all that’s ever needed for us to re-member and come back to being centred and vulnerable, instead of reactive.

However, there are times when whatever is present is just too intense and she’ll plow through my invitations towards accountability.

In those moments I don’t let it slide either.

I say something like:

“I can see you are in a place where it must feel hard to honour the agreements we have set. This makes it very difficult for me to hear you and try to understand you.

I am starting to feel angry and frustrated..

It feels like scary territory and I don’t know what to do.

I feel like pushing back or punishing you, and if this continues the way it’s going I do not trust myself to not go there.

so I will step away from this conversation..

I want you to know that I am not leaving you.

I’m very interested in us repairing and finding a solution to this situation, so come to me once you feel ready to have a proper conversation where we can respect what we both committed to..”

This is what protecting the relationship from her looks like (in my marriage).

And of course, not every conversation is a sterile, surgical-like space of ” being proper “, sometimes we play with the fires of our emotions and unfiltered expression – but that requires a different kind of container and an agreement going into it.

That is more akin to playing with fire,

What I share here is how we put down the fires.

She does the same with me too.

She calls me out and doesn’t let it slide..

And I both hate and love it..

because NOTHING sucks more than being held accountable to high standards of relating when the wounded child within you would rather scream, kick and throw a violent tantrum…

Yet there’s no greater trust than to know that you’ve created structures robust enough to withstand any storm.

Structures that create space for all emotions to move through us,

while keeping our partners safe from potential explosions..

These structures are there to protect us from the uglier sides of ourselves.. (and our partner)

They prevent unnecessary damage, further rupture and saying / doing things that once sober (out of the emotional drunken haze) we would regret.

They prevent damage and often, invite us back into our vows and desire to work as a team in finding a solution to the problem at hand together..

Or at least, being anchored in enough love and connection that we are willing to hold hands while we both go through our own old stories, hurt and grief.

Your partner’s trauma and history is not yours to carry…

But you are responsible for ensuring you have the difficult conversations, agreements and practices that allow for this trauma to dissolve into compassion, love and understanding.

They did not hire you as their healer or coach, so they don’t need you to fix them..

They don’t need your clever ideas or the latest advice you heard on a podcast or read online..

They are your lover..

Love is what they want from you..

With you.

♥️

The way you are loved is written ALL OVER your face.

Yesterday our landlord in Toronto came to have my wife sign the lease amendment (so she’s *officially* living here) and mid-conversation he stopped, looked at her and said:

“You know? I’ve never seen Nicolas smile this much..”

She giggled and we kept going over the contract.

It’s so true.. though.

I recently read a study showing that a stressful relationship can shorten your life up to 20 years!

Wild, isn’t it?

Relationships are LITERALLY either life-giving or life-draining.

Blooming or wilting.

Never still, never half-full.

And the proof’s always in the pudding.

Last year I worked with a couple who runs a large infrastructure development business (8-9 figures) and while their finances were beyond settled..

Their family life was a mess.

When I first saw them, they looked like they had barely slept in weeks.

Bags underneath their foggy eyes and an underlying feeling of tiredness, stress and overwhelm.

They loved each other so they weren’t being abusive towards one another but it was clear that they were just brushing under the carpet and suppressing all the pain and frustration that they felt.

And it takes A LOT of effort and energy to keep such strong emotions suppressed.

So our bodies (especially our faces) are the first to show.

You can eat the healthiest foods, get good sleep, workout and move a lot..

Yet it your relationship is not working, you’ll feel like you are hungover, irritable, easily annoyed and overwhelmed.

Every. Single. Day.

And it’s true..

You are hung-over.

Your relationship is hanging over you.

All the stuff you tried to communicate and fell on deaf ears..

The boundaries you allowed your partner to cross…

Your fears about raising a concern and being seen as naggy, controlling or too volatile..

And in many cases, the endless back & forths where nobody feels seen and the wounds just deepen.

The constant internal negotiation about whether to prioritize connection or authenticity..

Being a good partner, or being an honest one.

You get the idea.

Fortunately, by the time we finished our work together they had come back to themselves.

He went from answering with single-word responses, always staring at the floor and having to repeat himself (for he was speaking too low, almost as a child who is afraid of being punished would..)

To taking up space, chest forward, shoulders back and legs spread wide.. topped with a smile that lit up the whole room.

Cracking jokes here and there, dancing around..

Giving me surprise hugs and telling me he loved me.😅

He went from being someone who seemed to have been dragged there by his wife, to a Man owning the moment and sharing his heart wide-open with gestures of generosity and affection.

I’m sure his wife got a much juicier expression of that love later on.

In fact, a couple of months later she said to me:

“Nico.. My daughter said ‘wow.. whatever you guys did really got daddy! it got it good!” referring to how unrecognizable he was.

He stopped a lot of his workaholic tendencies and was now waking up, having tea or helping to make breakfast and sitting with his family..

Instead of his usual 5am workout followed by 13 hours of work, work, work..

She teared up when I asked her how things were..

She said he’s a new man.

Now her, where to start?

She reclaimed her confidence so much that people at work commented on it..

She was being decisive, assertive, confident and speaking her truth (with kindness) and people just LOVED IT!

She fired people she was hesitant about for a while and made decisions that she’d been confused and paralyzed to make for YEARS.

Her gifts started to flourish.

And after a long time of never having enough time to take good care of herself (because of family, responsibilities and running a business) she shared that she now couldn’t stay in bed past 5:30am and had started working out again..

Falling in love with her body again..

No more shame or guilt around eating or prioritizing herself.

Last time we talked she’d lost 10 pounds! And told she was able to wear an old dress she really liked and people at work literally told her she looked “Smashing!”

Even her older daughter now relates to her from a completely different place.

She listens, acknowledges their differences and is able to both be seen and see her mother during moments of conflict..

And the list goes on…

It is WILD how much of our life can transform once we commit to doing the work.

And it’s incredible how fast the wins stack up once you know exactly what is keeping you stuck, what you need to do instead and how you need to do it..

Thrown in the level of accountability from a group of badass people and a gentle but firm guide and there’s no limit to how much and how fast your life can change.

The sky is the limit!

When it comes to our health, vitality and confidence NOTHING takes a toll on us more than being in a stressful relationship (and seeing it get worse by the day).

You can meditate, pray or do all the affirmations and bio-hacking that you want..

But if you’re on a sinking ship, you’re bound to get more anxious by the minute.

And the biggest challenge is that who we are with mirrors so many things to us..

Especially our standards.

“If he treats me like this, I must be X”

“I must not deserve to be treated like Y”

“I must not be good enough for Z.”

“Maybe I should just feel grateful for what I have.” (AKA: I’m not worthy of the life I dream of!)

What does it say about you that the person you say you love the most (and is supposed to love you the most) treats you in ways that PROVE the opposite?

It’s a huge mental battle…

Self-worth goes down the drain..

Self trust follows.. (how did I end up here? did I make the wrong choice? should I stay or should I quit?)

Confusion arises and then anxiety as a consequence..

Then come the sleepless nights.

The anxious eating.

The self-abandonment.

The neediness.

The fears and insecurities.

The judgements and resentments.

And the thousand ways you’ll hide just so you don’t have to feel any of it.

Working.

Shopping.

Business.

FAMILY.

Martyr mothers are a dime a dozen.

They confuse self-abandonment for virtue..

And all they teach their kids is how you must lose yourself in order to maintain love.

Eventually, it all leads to one of 3 places:

You either get out, get sick, or get better.

I’ve definitely been there myself..

7 years ago I was in denial about my drinking & drugs problem

30 pounds heavier

A couple of overdoses I brushed off as “no-biggies”

Slowly losing friendships and isolating..

All because of the unprocessed pain of a relationship that I allowed to consume me for far too long.

Of course I smile more!

I DID THE WORK.

That’s why my relationship no longer feels like work.

(I lost 30+ pounds, stopped lying, quit a toxic work environment, started 3 businesses, started to date quality women and eventually got married, healed the relationship with my mother, father and siblings, quit drinking and using substances, wrote an international best-seller, among so many other beautiful manifestations of living in harmony with my heart..)

I did what I need to do so it became an oasis that nourishes my health, creativity, aliveness, passion and sense of meaning..

And my finances as an enjoyable side-effect from being in integrity.

My relationship is longer a black hole that consumes all my hopes and dreams.

AND the interesting thing is..

When I met my wife, I picked up right where I left off with my previous long-term partner.

I even called her my ex’s name by accident a couple of times.

(Talk about deeply embedded trauma-bonding and stagnant patterns that repeat.)

I wanted to cry when I realized that it was the same software, different hardware.

Same patterns, different woman.

My body felt it, that’s why my Ex’s name slipped.

As much as I hated it, I knew I could not run away from it.

I realized that if I did not do the work, my relationships would be forever doomed.

Because it wasn’t about my EX.

It was about me and the way I showed up which pulled very specific parts from the women I dated.

This took a lot of suffering and humility for me to eventually accept.

(For a while I thought I was right and they were all wrong..)

But wow…

What a difference it makes in our life when we get clear on what is NOT working, what ACTUALLY works and get support to take those steps forward.

NOTHING beats the feeling of taking daily progress towards seemingly-impossible, yet worthwhile goals.

A conscious relationship being one of them.

Yesterday, more than my wife “officially” moving in with me in Canada, I celebrated the fact that we’ve officially (for a while now) become nurturers of each other’s lives.

I have become more of a man, thanks to her.

She has become more of a woman, thanks to me.

I now understand what they meant when they said that 1 + 1 is not 2..

It is 11.

Or Zero.. if being together slowly sucks the life out of you.

🙏🏽

As I opened up Facebook to write a post appreciating my wife I stumbled upon this message on my inbox:

“Hey Nico.. If a man is the one that offers security and financial strength, what does a woman offer in the relationship? I feel confused as I have always been more in my masculine energy…”

So let’s kill two birds with one stone shall we?

I spent the past 22 days going through “Arpanam Sadhana”, a set of daily practices and guidelines from the bhakti-yoga lineage (The Yoga of intensity, profoundness and exuberance of emotion.)

In simpler words: a 3 week journey to FEEL deeper and better.

The recommendations were:

– To wear white the whole time

– To eat only twice a day (no snacking) with the first meal after 12

– To shower twice a day

– To break the fast with specific herbal mixtures & only eat plant based foods

– To do 1.5 – 2hrs of daily meditation, chants and postures

Today during the culmination of this journey

I felt blissed out.

My heart throbbing with aliveness and joy!

I had to stop myself from laughing out loud because my wife was working in the next room.

I sang and played and allowed myself to feel fully.

And it dawned on me!

As a man who thrives on being focused, committed, structured and disciplined..

Being always “go, go, go!”

I NEEDED to slow down..

To learn to flow..

To enjoy the journey..

Not just rush to the peak.

That is the gift of the feminine.

I went through a rigorous 22 day process just to spend a few minutes every day in the sweetness of intense emotions.

For masculine men it takes serious work to put their planning, goal-oriented mind aside and let ourselves explore sensations, feelings and the present moment.

I know many men that fear that if they were to touch their heart they’d lose their edge, so they hide their fear behind extreme beliefs of “Being a Masculine Macho Man.”

You know?

The Andrew Tate kind of guys.

I used to fear it too.

I thought being in touch with my feminine made me less of a man.

But in truth, it makes me a more balanced man.

A solid man.

In all the meanings of the word.

I had a weekend full of work planned:

Can’t waste time! Gotta be productive and useful!

And after today’s session I felt so good that nothing else was needed in that moment.

Life was complete.

Life was worth living as it was.

Life was worth enjoying.

It was good enough, in its never-quite-perfect state.

I was good enough.

That was deeply freeing because when I looked at my weekend plans I saw a man -so fixated on reaching a goal fast- he never stopped to look around and wonder “why the rush?”

I’m grateful to have made choices that allow me to work only if I want to and whenever I want to, for as long as I want to…

And yet, there I was working all the time, whether I wanted or not, for far longer than I wanted 😩😅

And I know many of you reading this are on the same boat.

My wife is the opposite.

She will wake up and spend 30 minutes making herself the most delicious macadamia nut, dates, banana, berries and greens smoothie…

Grab a book and watch the sunrise as she sips off her cocktail.

She is the one to smell the flowers and feed the homeless when we walk down the street..

To giggle over the smallest gestures and cry over the simplest things.

For far too long I’d judged her as being too emotional, too volatile, too extreme in her expressions, too sensitive.

Somehow I expected her to be some kind of a stoic man with boobs?

Who knows but as years have passed I now cherish how different we are.

What’s the contribution of the flowers a gardener has so diligently watered and cared for and protected over the years?

What could they give him back, if not their beauty, their bloom and their sweet fragrance?

Is that not good enough?

I’m seriously asking you..

Or do we need for a flower to pitch in half the water, half the soil and half the effort – just so.. you know? it’s fair!

Fair is the killer of Love.

Beauty and life do not happen in the realm of “Fair”.

They happen in the realm of movement, of aliveness and grace.

My wife’s presence and radiance is her greatest contribution to me.

A feminine woman’s greatest gift to a masculine man is her energy.

For men are nourished and revitalized -quite literally- in the presence of a TRULY feminine woman.

It’s like being out in nature…

It does something to you.

It touches you where nothing and no-one else does..

And asks for nothing in return..

Just that you protect and care for it.

I may be the one that provides the majority of our income, pays for trips and ‘nice things’..

I make it possible,

But SHE makes it worth it.

I can build a house..

But she brings the feeling of home.

I can create a sacred space..

But she is the magic.

Could I feel great on my own?

Sure.

Could she lift heavy bags and pay all her bills on her own?

Sure.

It’s not a question of being crippled, but one of being cared for.

We nourish each other not because there’s something wrong with them…

But because there’s a lot that is right with us.

Being in connection with my heart makes me a better man, and I’m fortunate to be with a woman whose presence constantly brings me back.

That’s a gift I’ll never be able to pay back.

♥️

A few years ago, I was at a crossroads in my marriage.

I felt disconnected from my wife and deeply consumed by work. 😩

A two-minute conversation changed my understanding of her, myself, and relationships, prevented divorce and led to one of our most memorable vacations.

See, I’m the kind of guy who used to prioritize work over anything.

I’d wake up early in the morning, immediately open my phone and start replying to emails…

Shower and then straight to work..

Until I was too tired to keep working and then off to bed.

The occasional date just so she wouldn’t complain too much…

The truth is that I really didn’t want to spend too much time with my wife and I resented her for always wanting more time together.

And she resented me for working so much.

She wanted me to be more involved

more connected

more present.

She wanted to feel LOVED.

I wanted her to be less “needy”

less demanding

less judgy and unhappy

I wanted to feel FREE.

The masculine partner aches for freedom while the feminine aches for love, that’s just how it goes.

One finds freedom through purpose while the other finds love through relating.

So, back to the story!

This one time we were just packing after the retreat we led in Colombia had come to a close when she asked me about my plans for December…

She had planned to go to Costa Rica and asked me if I’d join her.

I felt my heartbeat accelerate as I anticipated her frustration once she knew I had planned to fly back to Toronto, had an agenda full of clients and wanted to be on my own to finish writing “Grace” (my 1st book).

I’d seen this scenario so many times..

She wanted me to be more loving, to plan more dates, to bring more passion, to create more memories..

She wanted to feel adored.

Not just like a roommate, business partner or a glorified maid/mother.

She wanted to feel like a woman, worthy of desire, admiration, appreciation and connection.

And I wanted to be left alone.

Every time we had this conversation I’d tell her something along the lines of:

– Why don’t you get a hobby, hang out with your friends or focus on your own work?

– If you cannot be happy on your own maybe you should sit with that?

– If I don’t work we won’t be able to finance X or Y shared dream..

Why do you get upset? I’m doing my best.

– I’m just too busy right now for X (X= what she wanted/needed)

Best case scenario we’d negotiate some half-assed date night to try and make up for it all…

Her emotional world crushed me

My relationship with work crushed her.

She felt neglected.

I felt unsupported.

So back to the moment we were packing..

When she asked me about Costa Rica I said “I don’t have the time right now, there’s lots of work coming up and I may be away for 2 or 3 months at least”

I braced for impact.

We had just wrapped up a plant medicine retreat and our hearts were both in a tender and vulnerable state.

When she heard my response she put the clothes away and stood right in front of me.

Looked into my eyes, hugged me..

And teared up.

As she cried she looked at me with the purest love and said:

“I understand you have to go love. I know how important this is for you and I really appreciate all the sacrifices you do for me, others and our family..

..I just feel so sad. I miss you so much already and I love when we are together… but I understand. Please let me know how I can support you.”

My heart broke in that instant.

For the first time in years of relationship I felt that both of our worlds could co-exist without attacking/invalidating each other.

I felt seen, understood and not judged.

I felt truly supported.

Before, her pain had led her to anger, frustration, judgement and condemnation of my choices…

Which only pushed me away further.

She thought it was wrong I worked so much..

I thought it was wrong she felt so much..

We both got angry about each other’s experience before we were curious or compassionate enough to seek to understand it.

In this case, she went first.

She allowed herself to touch her emotions and share them as a gift (instead of a punishment)

She allowed herself to see the beauty in my choices.

To see a husband that works hard, is committed and responsible.

And she owned her pain without hiding it..

She acknowledged and accepted my answer even if it’s not the one she wanted.

So in that moment I saw the woman I love the most crying tears of deep grief and feeling very intense emotions without making me responsible or blaming me for them.

And something interesting happened!

Suddenly, out of my own desire, I started to think about how I could show up for her.

Thinking of ways I could be her hero.

Not because she demanded it or expected it..

Not because she complained or nagged me into it..

Not out of obligation..

Not because “Mommy is upset”

But because I loved her so much and it would please ME to bring her more joy and aliveness.

Her vulnerability during those 2 minutes was a gift:

I was given a clear opening where I could lead our relationship into glory!

I didn’t say a word and came back to Toronto to call a full calendar worth of clients to reschedule our appointments, booked myself a flight to Costa Rica and -for the first time in our relationship- traveled without my laptop.

No work whatsoever during those 10 days.

Zero.

Just quality time with my wife..

It felt like a honey-moon! 🍯

We’d wake up in the mornings and look into each other’s eyes for extended periods of time as we made love and then cuddled..

Once thirsty we’d hop on the motorcycle we rented.

I loved feeling her arms wrapping around my chest as her head rested against my back.

Our first stop was a little boutique coffee shop where we’d grab Chai latte and almond croissants as we chatted about life and giggled..

We would then go surf or play with boogie boards, collect seashells and grab a “Pipa” (fresh coconut) and drink it as we walked along the most heart-melting sunsets we’ve seen.

Quite the difference from “wake up, read emails, work, sleep” routine..

Vastly different from our half-assed date nights.

So what did it for me?

I felt free.

And in that freedom, I chose to love her.

See, most women are so afraid that if they gave their man the choice, he wouldn’t choose them.

Their own anxiety, shame, lack of self-worth and insecurities make her feel that unless she forces him to do/be the man she needs, he won’t do anything at all.

“If my man was left to his own devices I would not be cared for.” is the sad reality most women in long term relationships live in.

So they settle for a half-assed, half-involved, half-present kind of man.

Because a FULL ON man must be free…

And freedom comes with vulnerability, because he could say no!

He could decide to play another game..

He could choose work instead..

But women try to stifle that choice away to not have to face their own emotions.

What emotions?

– Unhappiness over the relational dysfunctions..

– Annoyance over having to be the ones that bring them up..

– Frustration over their man not acknowledging them and understanding them.. (maybe even fixing or dismissing them)

– Anger about having to pick up his slack (on top of them having their own life, work and responsibilities to tend to).

They end up feeling that they have a child for a partner, or an emotionally unavailable and distant adult.

They end up feeling lonely, together.

And you know nothing sucks more than that!

Those 2 minutes with my wife were two minutes that TRULY surprised me…

Because I’m not the kind of guy to reschedule clients or to move around work for surfing.

I’m not the kind of guy to buy flights to Costa Rica on a whim..

Nor to stop working for 10 days and focus on connection, fun, games and tropical fine dining.

Heck! I’m not even an almond croissant, chai latte, shell-picking, boogey-boarding kind of guy…

Yet I found myself acting in ways my wife always dreamt I would..

Out of my own initiative..

and liking it! 🤣

I could not believe it…

So I’ve studied those 2 minutes over and over to understand what made the difference, trying to distill the core structure of it (so it could be repeated and taught.)

In all transparency I studied this because I wanted to feel seen ,understood and supported more consistently by my wife..

And for my wife to learn exactly what kind of communication and connection had to be in place if she wanted to get anything she wanted (and make me feel excited and like it was all my idea!)

The truth is that ever since, every time she communicates from this place, I cannot say no.

I melt and choose her!

I know the formula and how it works…

I taught it to her…

And I still cannot say no.

It’s about a certain way us males are wired.

Anyway, in recent conversations with friends who are engaged, married and in long term relationships I noticed the same ugly patterns..

Patterns that destroy love and alienate us every day a little further from each other.

Gridlocks that seem unresolvable…

Differences and worlds so different it seems impossible (or even threatening) to see how they could coexist harmoniously!

So I’ve been thinking to put together a webinar where we explore the most common mistakes a woman makes when communicating with her partner that have him not want to spend much time with her or put her needs and desires last in his list of priorities..

(As well as very simple, practical tips to fix them so that peace, presence and passion are reignited – all while he takes pride and smiles in excitement thinking it was all his idea! 😂)

Would this be of interest to you?

“Together or separate?” I heard the waiter ask

Just a few minutes ago the couple next to us had paid their bill.

First the dude reached for his wallet and once his part was covered he passed the bill to “his” woman.

She reached for her purse and paid whatever was left, they stood up and left.

You could conjure way more sparks out of wet noodles than from whatever ‘relationship’ they had going on.

Through their meal he would timidly touch, kiss and hug her..

His every move a little too cautious and calculated..

The kind of caution that is more about his fear and feelings of inadequacy than about his desire to care for her.

She looked like she hadn’t slept in weeks..

Clenched-jaw, distracted foggy gaze and closed off, hanging shoulders: The body language of a miserable woman.

A woman whose fear of loneliness was perhaps bigger than her fear of losing herself, so she let her beauty be drained down the toilet in a relationship where she ended up both losing herself and feeling alone anyway..

Nothing sucks more than feeling “alone” when together.

This was the 2nd day of my wife’s first time in Toronto so she asked me what was going on..

She couldn’t compute that a man was asking his woman to split up the bill on a date he had taken her on..

I told her that in North America and “modern” countries this is common. Couples split the bills, their dates, their chores..

Everything is carefully negotiated.

“I am willing to give you just as much as you’re willing to give me..” being at the core of the issue..

Generosity (of love, kindness, actions and care) is non-existent in most relationships.

There’s no relating, mostly transacting – I explained to her.

“So, together or separate?..” The waiter insisted.

I looked at my wife’s eyes with a mischievous smile on my face..

“Separate…” I said.

To what she laughed and quickly followed up with

“Yes, separate please.. My husband would like to pay twice. 😂

We all laughed.

I knew.

She knew.

The waiter knew.

He brought one bill, I paid.

End of story.

Men who complain about “having to” pay are men who refuse to ‘own’ their woman.

Men who do not understand that women want to be owned, deeply.

But not owned in an objectifying kind of way..

“Owned” as in a “fully included as an extension of..” kind of way.

“Owned” as a deep sense of presence and involvement.

Women want to feel included and cared for deeply by their partners, as if they were an extension of them.

Unfortunately most men only care deeply about that which is “theirs”.

It’s rare to find someone willing to mown their neighbour’s lawn or to take another’s kids to school..

But “Their car”, “THEIR money”, “their job”…

Damn.. even THEIR favourite sports team!

They all rank high on his list of priorities.

Priorities he doesn’t hesitate investing time, attention, emotion, energy and planning into.

But speak out loud about a “man owning a woman” and the whole world loses it.

Ownership, at a soul level, frees a man.

It gives him purpose.

Someone to care for deeply.

Someone to protect.

Someone to practice being one with.

A good enough reason to escape the cycles of narcissistic self-gratification, juvenile behaviours..

(btw If the word “ownership” hurts you, switch it for “complete involvement and inclusion.”)

But most women I’ve worked with who are in painful marriages share the same grief:

They do not feel owned by their husband.

Meaning, they do not feel included, cared for, protected.

Proactively attended to in the way he would something or someone that was high on his list of priorities.

And it goes beyond that..

She often doesn’t feel desire for him..

And when it happens it’s like wet noodles.

Or a transactional at best.

One more negotiated chore because.. “being a good wife” you. know?

The truth is that we are all aching to become one.

This is at the source of the life that we are and the goal of every spiritual path!

Romantic relationships are a powerful container where we get to practice including each other as an extension of ourselves:

“Owning and being owned by each other.”

Being devoted to our beloved..

and simultaneously worshipped by them.

Big words!

Loving and being loved.

“Together or separate?”

A question about the state of your hearts, not your meal.

Answer carefully.

👊🏼
🔥

There are two specific phrases that almost destroyed my marriage..

Phrases that the moment I stopped saying them it all changed FAST. (From googling about divorce to scouting lands to build our future children’s nature home.)

“You guys got something going on!..” my wife and I heard upon meeting this woman at a retreat we attended last year.

“Hmmm.. I don’t know what it is but I want it!” she said as we all giggled.

She knew.

We knew.

Last year my wife and I received the most compliments and appreciative comments on our relationship..

And not from our social media audiences in response to our curated content, no.

But from people we met in the streets, at events and wherever we went together.

Total strangers.

Even family members who aren’t very vocal about their thoughts and emotions opened up just to let us know.

We were also often asked:

“How long have you guys been together?” by people who assumed that we were in our first year / honey-moon stage due to how happy, connected and close they saw us..

(“They definitely JUST met! that kind of love doesn’t last past the first 3 years, let alone marriage!” kind of looks)

What a wild ride!

knowing that a couple of years ago around this time we were sitting next to a Glamping on a beautiful mountain yet in tears talking about ending things and going our own way…

Feeling like we had reached a standstill.

Where our relationship was causing more pain and creating more ugliness than beauty.

Nervous systems fried, stress at an all-time-high and the distance between us feeling impossible to reconcile.

So what changed?

I committed to stop using two sentences.

(PS: this is a medium-length read so if you’re in here for quick dopamine hits and low-intellectual engagement I recommend switching to TikTok or IG stories… Otherwise, keep on reading 🙂 )

There were two phrases we stopped telling one another:

“That’s your problem! Your feelings are 100% your responsibility, not mine.”

and/or

“It’s your fault! If you had done / hadn’t done X, I’d feel better right now.”

Let me break it down in simple terms for you:

If your partner often dismisses what you feel..

They judge, avoid or always need to “fix” your emotions..

If they’re often right and therefore you are always wrong..

and you end up feeling like there’s something wrong with you..

Especially if your go-to strategy is to suppress your emotions under the cloak of being compassionate, “Spiritual” or a “good partner”.

It will NOT last.

On the other hand, if you’re always made to feel like your partner’s wellbeing, emotional & mental health and happiness rest on your shoulders..

Perhaps even their finances and social life depends on you..

If you are always either performing or walking on eggshells

Tending to their volatile moods and absent personal & emotional responsibility..

If they are often the victim and you are the tyrant and every pain they experience they trace back to your actions (or inactions).

It will NOT last either.

The problem is that in theory, these two approaches make a lot of sense!

Yet we cannot build a healthy relationship merely based on theories.

The mistake I made with my wife was that I bought into these truths but didn’t know how to use them.

Spirituality told me I am responsible for my own happiness and the creator of my inner experience. (and therefore, so is she!)

True.

Yet experience and life showed me that I am deeply interconnected with others and have a huge, direct impact on those around us. (as they do on me!)

Also true..

Yet these concepts quickly become shields and swords in the wrong hands.

The avoidant partner (myself in this case) often wields spirituality and stoicism (logic) as his defence system against his partner’s codependency, anxiety and emotional entanglement.

“If only I fix how anxious they are and remind them it’s all up to them, they will stop making me responsible for how they feel and everything will be fine!”

And the anxious partner (my wife in this case) often wields interconnectedness as the sword with which they will try to force an expression of care out of a distant, avoidant and uninvolved partner.

“If only I make sure he understands how deeply HE hurt me and how different it would all be if HE changed how he treated me, he would see how simple it is for everything to be better.”

Fights are inevitable.

Yet ones where everybody loses.

So what do we do Nico?

“I’m dating / married to someone who doesn’t pull their weight..

They don’t take responsibility for their own wellbeing..

I feel resentful for having to bear the burden of their inner chaos (on top of my own life’s challenges)..

Always at fault for their lack of self-love and misery..

Burnt out, drained and used.”

Or “I’m with someone who only cares about themselves..

Who is not willing to explore how to relate better..

They don’t take responsibility for their actions, nor measure consequences and how they impact me..

I feel like I’m the crazy one for wanting better treatment

and often judged for having boundaries, standards and expectations..

Like I cannot raise a question about how they show up without feeling guilty about it..

Or even worse, like no matter how strongly I stand on how I want things to be, I rarely see changed behaviour in them..

And feel angry that I have to teach someone what treating another lovingly, communicating properly and even apologizing looks like..”

Well..

The answer is simple:

It is true that we are all 100% creators of our inner experience..

and 100% responsible for how we feel.

It is also true that we have a HUGE impact and influence on the moods and wellbeing of those closest to us..

Our presence & hormones can literally shift the air in a room and either regulate or dysregulate our beloved’s nervous system.

The problem is NOT these truths..

But the fact they’re used to attack or suppress another.

All truths are meant to (first) be lived internally.

They are NOT made to be spoken, especially as means of violence, coercion or correction towards one another.

I stopped telling my wife that her emotions were 100% her responsibility.

And I saw that if 100% of my inner experience is my creation and I am responsible for it..

Then by telling her to “take care of herself” I was unconsciously trying to solve my own grief, anxiety and feelings of failure as a partner.

I tried to change who she was and how she felt… just so I would not have to feel the uncomfortable emotions that came up within me as I witnessed her pain…

I was trying to fix her with advice I was not using myself.

Crazy right?

(women, next time you hear a guy tell you “Just breathe!” or “Calm down! / Relax!” you now know they’re speaking out-loud to themselves hehehe.)

I also started asking myself:

What have I planted in my relationship that bears bitter fruits today? What do I desire to plant given the fruits I’d love to see?

How do my actions impact my wife?

How did I contribute to this situation I really dislike?

What is my role in this chaos I don’t want to own as mine?

This was illuminating.

Because I saw that when she made me responsible for how she felt, I felt annoyed, angry and resentful towards her.

But when I embraced -willingly- the responsibility for how she felt, I felt empowered, excited and generous.

It became MY idea to become more and more the kind of husband that would show up impeccably..

More involved, responsible and attuned.

To become a devoted gardener of my beloved’s heart.

And here’s where it gets crazier:

The more I did this, the more she actually started to own HER inner world – without me having to force any of it.

For example, before I felt she was making a big deal out of a few unwashed dishes in the sink.

I would often reply:

“You’re just angry and frustrated, you need to breathe.”

“How you’re feeling has nothing to do with the dishes and everything to do with your inner state… where else do you feel angry?”

“Have you expressed your anger? have you tried punching a pillow? let’s do yoga and meditate…”

🤢

I’d attempt to coach her through all of it which you can imagine did not go well..

Because it DOES NOT WORK.

It’d just add gasoline to the fire and make things worse!

Now?

This is what one of our exchanges looked like:

“Love, I am sorry for not cleaning the dishes on time. (I looked into her eyes and held her hands.

It makes sense you are frustrated as I can imagine it isn’t nice to wake up to a messy kitchen when you want to cook and still be on time with your daily practices..

I see the effort you always place on keeping our home beautiful and to feel that your own husband doesn’t support you on this probably feels discouraging.. I’m really sorry..

I will do my best to ensure this never happens again.”

Right away I saw her anger melt away as she hugged me and replied with:

“Actually no love, I am sorry..

It’s not really a big deal about the dishes and it wasn’t nice to speak to you with so much anger first thing in the morning.

I know you’ve been working a lot lately and can imagine it was not intentional and just skipped your mind..

I didn’t have a good night sleep and have not been feeling great health-wise and I sense I just feel a lot of anger and fear and took it out on you.

I’m going to explore this, thank you for being patient, understanding and loving.”

(In that moment we hugged as we both intuitively exhaled deeply and softened into recognition of each other’s worlds, without judgement nor expectation, inhabiting a space of love where all is welcomed and all is good.)

We BOTH got what we wanted.

We BOTH won.

She took ownership for her inner world.

I took ownership for my actions and their impact.

No longer out of obligation but out of genuine love.

Those 2 sentences can change your life..

They will make or break your relationship, depending how you use them.

Be wise

🙏🏼

When I set “Simplify” as my 2023 word I did not expect for so much chaos to unfold..

I imagined it would all just become simple, easy and smooth…

Forgetting that in order to simplify we must have the clarity about what isn’t serving us anymore & the courage to actually let it go.

I simplified my business and officially closed the doors to revenue streams that used to bring up to $50k/month so that I could go all in on my greater vision and heart calling.

I had to face my fears, insecurities, attachments to money and hustle mindsets as well as lower my head in humility as I acknowledged that there were no shortcuts to where I want to go. (and therefore patience was in order!)

I simplified my relationships by taking good inventory of the people I could really -unconditionally- count on.

Some left my side the moment I became clear I wasn’t willing to garden someone else’s flowers, or to give to them at my own expense.

Simplifying my marriage meant for us to have long and difficult conversations, to recognize the patterns we used to sabotage love and to commit to letting them go..

Clearing the bulks of baggage we had unconsciously dragged with us these years..

Simplifying my spiritual journey meant going all in into my yogic practice and spending extended times of silence and deep meditations at the ashram on my own.

Moving from the fireworks of plant medicines into the realities and subtleties of actual life.

This year I let go..

I let go good friends to make room for Allies.

I let go of comfort to make room for growth.

I let go of cash-cows to make room for legacy.

Letting go of attachments (to people, habits and emotions) to make room for freedom.

So much has fallen..

It’s been a painful year in so many ways.

But the lightness, aliveness and clarity I feel starting to emerge I would not change for anything.

This year was in fact full of small ‘miracles’ thanks to this newfound spaciousness, among which these below were my favorite, in no particular order.

Launching of my first book (which turned into an international bestseller)

Shared moments with some of the men I feel deep resonance with (Sadhguru & Jordan Peterson) as well as dear medicine men and indigenous elder from the Colombian jungles..

🧠 Sitting in ceremony with my mother as she healed her brain tumour

⛰️ Hiking Machu Pichu

🪆Meeting my in-laws in Russia

🔥Holding space for my father-in-law to drink medicine for the first time in Colombia

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦Hosting The Way of Fire medicine retreat with family at my side

💒Being asked to host the wedding ceremony for two dear friends

🇨🇦Coming to Canada with my wife after 4+ years of denied visas and long distance hassle

And just now -as I sip a cup of golden milk latte next to my little sister’s christmas tree in Vancouver, we wait in family as she is about to give birth 🥹

What a year!

What was your word for 2023?

(or what will be your one this coming year?)

My father-in-law…

went from thinking self-development was for idiots and never having meditated to going through 3 Kambo purges followed by 7 Aya ceremonies among other experiences we curated during his 5 weeks visiting my wife and I in Colombia..

My wife had never spent more than 24 hrs together with her father since she was an adult..

and for VERY good reasons.

Recurring alcoholism and violence would have her mother and brother constantly beaten up and sometimes in the hospital.

Controlling tendencies and lack of empathy made for a tyrannical environment growing up.

When he was 1 year old his father committed suicide and his stepfather would later beat him up daily.

He grew up resentful of his dad for being “weak” and violently punished perceived weakness wherever he went.

My wife escaped home when she turned 16 to avoid the drama and toxicity that came with these kind of situations.

Fast forward to recent years, she realized she wanted to heal her relationship with him in order to work through some of her own relational blockages.

But it was hard!

He wouldn’t inquire about her life, he had no curiosity or good things to say about her choices..

When she told him she was a Breathwork teacher his answer was “What kind of idiots would pay for that?”

When she shared with him how happy she was she had overcome her scarcity mentality and we were living prosperously, he replied “rich people always steal from someone.. no way you’re wealthy unless you’re tricking people or stealing..”

When she sent him a video of me proposing to her in our medicine temple, covered in flowers next to a bonfire, he did not say a thing.

Not “congratulations”

Not “Wow!”

Nothing.

She grieved and asked him a few weeks later why he didn’t say a thing and his answer was “What do you want me to say? I’m happy for you.”

I think that paints a good enough picture of where he was at and their relationship.

A while back, out of formality and politeness, my wife told him “you should come to Colombia!” knowing he’d never follow through on that invitation…

Yet to her surprise, two months ago he sent her a message:

“Is the invitation to Colombia still up? I want to come.”

He’d never left Russia or been on an airplane.

My wife came to me nervous and with so many fears…

He wanted to come for an indefinite amount of time (30 days minimum)

“I’ve never spent so much time with him and the little bit of time we’ve shared isn’t really the greatest.”

I listened and encouraged her to keep her word while drawing a couple of boundaries – since I knew that most of this trip would be paid from our pocket.

I said:

“I’m happy to support your father’s visit, but not if it’s a vacation.

If he wants to have a good time he can go somewhere else and pay for it himself.

If he wants to come to Colombia, it will be to do medicine work.

I will take a stand for his transformation, not for his vacation.”

She agreed and told him the conditions.

He agreed because he really wanted to come, whatever the conditions.

What unfolded the next 35 days was a wild rollercoaster of emotions…

My wife would go from sharing the deepest conversations and connection she had had with him..

To deeply rooted anger, resentment and frustration about the way he communicated, her perception of his lack of appreciation, and the child-like tendencies.

At some points she felt like her father’s mother, when she was dying to feel like a cared-for daughter.

At some points she felt that -left to his own devices- he would eat like sh!t and destroy all the positive effects of the healing and medicinal ceremonies he attended..

At some other, he’d surprise her with how connected he was to nature and how much humility he’d developed.

Long story short, he went through a radically life-changing experiences through the itinerary we organized for him.

He cried tears of gratitude for life..

He wrote and send a letter to his mother, telling her he loved her for the first time and that she was the best mother.

He said he saw all the people he had hurt in his visions and apologized to them..

He told my wife he was sorry for not being the best father he could’ve been..

He’d recently cut a couple of trees in Russia and said he now understood that they also felt pain and with tears in his eyes he promised he’d plant many more..

He said he had not learned how to live his life, until now..

That he had lived avoiding his pain and therefore inflicting it on others.

But NO MORE.

He said he wanted to eat differently..

To spend more time in nature..

To spread joy and kindness..

To propose to his girlfriend..

and so much more.

But among all his insights, one of the key ones for him was to learn what true, supportive, masculine friendship was.

During this trip he met men who were kind and generous but also strong.

Men of purpose.

Men who lived with an open heart, yet far from being weak in any way.

He met elder, shamans, medicine men and leaders.

He sat with them and was touched by healthy masculinity.

He had never had that in his life.

Definitely not from his father or step father..

And not from his group of “friends” (whom told him he was stupid for flying to Colombia, casting all their judgements and calling him names out of envy and jealousy.)

He felt truly embraced by other men.

Respected.

& Lovingly corrected, when needed.

He cried and teared up so many times, as he hugged men he had just met but felt more connected to than any of his male peers at home.

He also cried for he saw that he was far from being like them..

Yet he felt inspired to shorten the gap and walk his path so that, one day perhaps, others would benefit from the work he’s done.

Wow…

My wife said she would have never believed it if someone told her that her father would say such things.

In fact, I held off from writing this post because I wanted to see what would happen once he went back to Russia..

For I know it’s easier to feel like you love the world when you’re surrounded by loving people.

Yet he did not disappoint .

My wife’s mother called her recently saying “After 15 years of not talking to him, your father reached out. We met in person with him and he apologized for everything. We’re in good terms now.. I cannot believe it.”

This and many more miracles have started to unfold.

So..

Where am I going with this?

Men NEED men.

We need to be around masculine beings of integrity and strength..

Men who are not the woo-woo, promiscuous. “tantric”, pseudo-spiritual bali festival dude..

Nor the chest-beating, self-annointed “alpha”, hustle & grind, all head and beef no heart macho guy..

We need the guidance of men who are not afraid of their masculinity, nor compulsively driven by it.

Men whose instinct is transmuted for the service of all…

Fathers, brothers, friends and partners..

Solid allies in our quest towards living more impeccably.

It would’ve been easy to judge my father in law for his history and not give him a chance..

It would’ve been simple to dismiss him as incapable and not extend a guiding hand..

Easier to ignore and punish than to repair and rebuild..

Yet that’s what a conscious man does:

He takes upon himself the duty of caring for all of life.

He shares his heart openly so that others may drink from the wisdom and compassion he’s cultivated through trials and tribulations.

Back in my 20’s I wish I had had more available mentors and role models.

I wish I had had spaces where men of integrity were present and their messages available to be heard.

Often in life, your gift and mission becomes giving to others that which you wished you had received..

So in recent months I was asked to be one of the speakers at a men’s summit:

The “Calling All Men Summit.”

A place where -among others- a handful of the very few men I admire and respect were also invited to speak.

A virtual gathering aimed to create that space that most men have never had:

A space among brothers.

My father-in-law needed family, not alienation.

It was male love that healed him, not punishment or rejection.

He opened himself up to the Colombian shamanic medicines because that’s what was available… but the greatest medicines of all are love, community and connection.

And that’s available everywhere if you are open to them. 🙏🏽

So if you’re a man (or know one) that cares about living life in more harmony, honesty and truth..

I invite you to attend this (FREE) summit (starting tomorrow).

I will share the link on the first comment.

Feel free to forward it to the men you care about in your life, or to share this whole post if it touched you.

Transformation is not only our possibility,

but our duty and responsibility.

Miracles are possible.

But we gotta do our part!

See you there.

👊
🔥

At 110 years old, Abuelo Querubin was the oldest (known) living “Taita” (Ayahuasca Shaman) in Colombia.

“Taita” is an indigenous word that means Father, but not ‘father’ in the way we use it today..

A Taita was often both the political and social leader of his community.

THE Man whom everyone could trust to keep their best interest in mind..

A ‘spiritual father’ of sorts.

“Taita” was a title given to men whom – after decades of experience, trials and tribulations – had earned the respect and trust of their whole tribe.

These men more than leaders were healers, sages and warriors.

Men of integrity, chosen to lead due to merit (and not mere popularity as we see today.)

I sat in ceremony 2 years ago with Abuelo Querubin and got to have a brief chat with him.

I asked him for guidance about something that was weighing heavy on my heart and he answered with a joke. 😂

He was a lucid man who embodied mastery, a rare trait to witness today.

In a world where we switch “life partners” every 7 years and careers every 5, this man dedicated a whole century to the study of medicinal plants and healing through the Yagé medicine (Aya).

Everything else aside, such focus, discipline and dedication to mastering his craft is a tremendous accomplishment.

However, what touched me the deepest was his humility and simplicity.

In spite of being a “big deal” with everyone rushing to snap a selfie with him and filling up retreats with hundreds of attendees..

He remained simple.

You could tell that his mission and devotion to serving others was what kept him energetic, clear and wise well into his 100’s.

A couple of days ago he graduated from this experience we call life..

Rest in peace abuelo. 🌱

May the seeds of service you spread through the world blossom to their fullest possibility..

& may the sacred medicines be held and carried forward with the same respect and humility you showed them.

Onwards & Upwards.

🙏🏽
🔥

Broken families

That’s the pattern I notice as I hear every participant share why they decided to join The Way of Fire and fly all the way to Colombia for 10 days.

Some of them came to step into their purpose, unaware that their broken relationship with their father is at the root of their confusion and fear of giving structure to their dreams.

A violent dad or an emotionally absent one creates a vacuum of direction which manifests itself as feeling stuck- consumed by unhealthy patterns.

Some other came to heal their addictions, aware that they’re not a problem but the solution to old trauma that’s been hard to process.

The trauma of controlling parents, violence and punishments.

Absent love and education, drugs become a somewhat reliable hiding place where temporary love and peace are found..

yet they ditch you lower once the high has passed.

Sexual abuse, violent fathers, absent ones, overbearing mothers, painful divorces and breakups, seemingly un resolvable health complications and numbness from life are some of the trials that our retreat participants have faced..

And when I look at them, I see the root in the breaking of the family nucleus.

The grief and impossible pain of a child born within the tiger’s cage.

The anger of our innocence stripped away by parents that didn’t know any better..

And the responsibility (and tremendous possibility) we have to be the ones that break all patterns.

The Way of Fire is a retreat where our prayer is one of union with the masculine and feminine within us, and our family as an extension of that.

I’ve already cried tears of pain and joy through witnessing some of what some people have gone through…

and the courage they had to believe a different life is possible..

Paired with a sense of fulfillment and humility knowing that they’ve trusted me with their lives.

That they trust I can bridge them into healthier relationships with themselves, their mind, body, heart and homes.

It touches me because I used to be against family values, resent those who gave me this life and be as distant as I could from my parents and relatives..

I used to spend years without seeing my parents, and fly back home only to hang out with friends and -occasionally- join my family for a meeting or Sunday lunch.

I used to feel heavy about being in connection with them due to all the pain, dismissed emotions, controlling tendencies and judgements (from both directions).

And today I get to serve others in healing their closest relationships, with my family being the team that I host this retreat with,

We healed our family

and now our family stands holding space

for the healing of others’ hearts

and therefore their homes.

Miracles are possible. ♥️

What a life!

Tomorrow we set sail for the mountains of Medellin…

together with my wife, mother, father, sister and godmother to welcome this year’s participants to The Way of Fire (A retreat that marries the deepest relational & spiritual practices I’ve learned in 2+ decades together with south american shamanism and plant medicine work.)

I feel ready.

Eager.

Nervous of excitement

Joyfully anticipating the transformations we’re about to witness..

And what a privilege that I get to hold space -on a retreat focused on healing our relationships- with my family by my side.

The proof’s in the pudding 🥮🤣

This poem/prayer I wrote last year is at the core of why we do what we do.

“I was once a little boy

so scared of people

that the only safety he found

was in closing down

and hiding away his heart.

A boy so scared of love

that he told himself a thousand stories

about women and life.

About pleasure and lust,

about romance and trust.

A thousand stories to justify

the avoidance of commitment

and the escape from responsibility.

A boy so scared, he used his mind as a shield

so that his heart wouldn’t break open.

So afraid to be alone

that he filled up his bed

with many women

afraid -too- of their own loneliness.

A tragic dance of two people

craving nothing more

than to be seen and loved

yet clinging

to their eyes staying closed

and their hearts hidden..

It is not true what the math states

two negatives never make a positive.

I was once a boy

who objectified

and took from the feminine..

in all her forms:

Mother, sisters, lovers and nature herself.

Entitled to their caring gestures..

yet stingy with his giving.

I was once a little boy who

growing up absent from his heart

did not know how to receive

someone else’s

so they broke in his hands.

A little boy so blind

he stepped over the softest of flowers

and brought chaos

to the prettiest of gardens.

I was once an agent of destruction and pain

and I’m sorry about that.

In recent years I’ve made a vow,

that today I want to share with you:

I vow to protect and restore

all that is sacred and beautiful

starting with my own heart,

then my family’s

my community

and life at large.

I now take a stand for the sacredness of family..

For most of today’s pain in the world

can be traced back to a father and a mother

that through their absence

or their forceful presence

bruised their kid’s heart.

I vow to support, guide and educate

powerful men and heart-aligned women

committed to creating

conscious relationships

and sacred families.

I vow to help us

re-member

what it’s like

for the masculine

and the feminine

to live in harmony.

To raise and praise The Feminine

in all of her glory

To help rise and make wise, The Masculine

in all of his strength.

I vow to be a bridge

to the creation and restoration

of divine union.

Within each of us

With our beloved

& with the world.”

AHO 🔥

Stay tuned!

❤️‍🔥The 3 Most Difficult Lessons I’ve Learned 2 years into my marriage:(Pt.3)

My woman is my greatest mirror.

She can be the most beautiful blooming rose.
Or the most putrid smell, stagnant waters, weeds and rottenness..

I am the gardener of my relationship and of her heart.

I used to think we’re only responsible for our part in the relationship.

I do mine, you do yours and it will work out

And there’s truth to it

But it’s far more complex than that!

We’re deeply interconnected 🪬

Especially when there’s sex involved a huge exchange of energy and memory happens.

So what we do matters, relationally.

For example:

I used to resent how insecure she was when we started dating..

Which suddenly stopped once I was willing to look at how I kept certain doors open with past lovers and engaged in subtle “innocent” flirtation with women (that she did not know about)

At one point I resented how masculine, closed off and harsh she had become..

Unaware that I had stopped leading and she was picking up my slack

I’ve encountered this SO many times that I now know:

She’s the barometer to my consciousness.

She reflects the state of my awareness.

She can be beauty, bliss, passion
chaos, damnation & destruction.

A beauty at times
A villain at others..

And I’ve gotten great at noticing how most of it could be traced back to me.

The seeds I planted
through my words, actions and even my thoughts.

This is hard because I thought that a good relationship meant both people were taking full responsibility (only)for themselves.

Yet I now see that a great marriage requires we take full responsibility for one another.

That we commit to becoming great gardeners of each other’s heart..

Protectors of each other’s nervous systems..

Guardians of the sacred bond we share,
especially against mediocrity.

More than lovers, I have learned that to have a beautiful relationship..

We must become Allies.

We must let go of the toxic narratives of hyper-independence we were sold and learn to be inter-dependent.

The way nature intended.

This is the hardest work I’ve ever done..
Yet I’ve started to see the fruits of planting such seeds.

& I wish one day you get to do so too.

🌷The 3 Most Difficult Lessons I’ve Learned 2 years into my marriage:(Part 2)

You can’t nag or punish your partner into being a better partner.

In other words:
Your love will do FAR MORE to transform them than your criticism, complaints or passive aggression ever will.

This one was rough for me.

I had a tendency to confuse emotional unavailability for ‘high standards’.

I became extremely good at scanning for, finding and pointing out all of my partner’s flaws.

Back in my late 20’s I had a huge crush on this woman..
She was extremely attractive (and beautiful inside out.)
And I was in heaven when I found out she also had a crush on me.

She was hot, sweet, caring and generous with her heart.

But… I decided not to continue dating her because her hand’s size to height proportion felt off.

🥲😭
Ridiculous right?

We’ll find a thousand excuses not to date someone before admitting that we’re actually afraid of love.

I’d lie to myself saying I was waiting for “the right one.”

Several extremely right and beautiful women showed up at my door- and they were never good enough.

Not fit enough. Not spiritual enough. Not sweet enough..

Easier to point a finger and think they’re the ones not up to our criteria than to realize that the criteria itself is nothing but a shield.

So when I started dating my wife the same pattern came up.

I was set on changing her because she wasn’t “good enough.”
It was tense and ugly..

Until the frustration forced me to ask myself:
If NOTHING ever changed in her would I be okay with that? would I be capable of loving her?”

The answer was Yes.

Her virtues and my love for her were bigger than the perceived flaws.

Turns out that the moment I stopped breathing on her neck, hoping or forcing that she became someone or did something I thought she should..

She had room to actually find AND BE herself.

On her own terms, at her own pace.

The moment I started loving her and appreciating all the beauty she brought to my life was the moment that that beauty multiplied a hundred fold..

And this love became the very fuel that would inspire and nourish her to transform her health, mind and even her finances.

And it transformed me too.

I understood that you can’t make a flower bloom by shouting at it..

Nor by demanding it grows and becoming bitter when it doesn’t.

A flower blooms when her time has come..

The same goes for every human.

🙏🏽

🌷The 3 Most Difficult Lessons I’ve learned 2 years into my marriage: (Part 1)

1- A conscious relationship takes A LOT of work,
yet it should not feel like work.

This is a big one that I used to confuse back in my dating life..

I’d think “great things in life take effort” and then jump head-first into swamps of toxicity, justifying the pain and chaos through a false sense of martyrdom.

Feeling like a righteous, compassionate, loving white knight when in reality I was nothing short of a codependent, afraid, emotionally closed-off doormat.

“Sticking through it” is not a sign of relational health.

Getting through it is.

Noticing tangible, consistent and reliable improvement.

Even a round peg fits into a square hole if you force it violently enough..

But the process destroys both at their core.

A conscious relationship takes a lot of -INNER- work

Yet relationally, it should feel stable, safe and supportive of growth.

I realized marriage takes a lot of self-inquiry:

“Did I fall asleep at the wheel? How?”
“Is there a chance that her complaint speaks to something I’m not willing to see?”
“Could it be that this emotion is about myself and not about her actions?”
“How is this feeling familiar? Is this really about us or is this about my unprocessed trauma”

It demands so much..

Rigorous self-analysis.

Moment by moment awareness.

Disciplined thought, emotion and action.

These take A LOT of work and energy.

Yet any spiritual path does..

And if you’re doing your relationship right, it is a bridge towards spiritual liberation.

Now, if you think the work a relationship requires looks like:

Drama..
Bickering.
Resentment.
Violence of any kind.
Betrayal.
Manipulation.
& cycles of pain and make-up sex..

Your relationship doesn’t work.

You’re just trying to make it work.

I’ve learned two years into marriage that the more responsibility I take, the better it gets.

The more I work on myself (and her on herself)

The less work it all takes.
🙏🏽🔥

SARASWATI: UNDERSTANDING THE THIRD ASPECT OF THE FEMININE

Failure to understand and embrace this aspect leads to a life on anxiety, meaninglessness and suffering.

The first two aspects (Kali & Lakshmi) refer to both the creative and sustaining energies of life.

If Kali is the fire, Lakshmi is the constant adding of logs and tending to it.

One is the raw energy of creation and the other one is the caring of it.

Most human beings live between these two, they are the states of survival and thriving (or aching to)

Sexuality, power and wealth are all most aspire to, however there’s a third energy.

Saraswati refers to the aspect of transcendence.

Touching grace..

Reaching towards something higher.

She’s the goddess of art, music and spirituality.

She’s the energy that pulls us upward and out of the basic cycles of life.

When we are disconnected from her, life feels like a struggle..

Something to endlessly tend to..

Never ending desires to chase, the birth of new desires, the pain of unfulfillment if they’re not achieved..

And the greater pain of emptiness when they are.

Disconnection from this energy leads to addiction, for every addiction is nothing but the pursuit of a higher state.

However, no amount of sex, pleasure, money, power, fame or even health and friendship will every satisfy our soul.

There’s something within us that longs for that which isn’t limited.

Something that doesn’t want “more” or “better”

It wants it ALL.

It wants to experience its own, true, limitless nature.

In relationships, disconnection from it shows up as emptiness, boredom and struggle.

The absence of a spiritual path will slowly consume any relationship.

Only two people whose love is not predicated on pleasure or survival, can withstand the tests of life.

A man or woman disconnected from Saraswati gets entangled in the day to day busyness of life..

She’s the touch of the divine..
The taste of something sublime.

She’s the heartbreaking beauty of a sunset,
the smile of a child,
the song of a bird.

She’s that which comes to show us that we’re not mere humans..

That were eternal souls.

And that our love can become more than the mere exchange of pleasure and quest towards comfort..

That our love can become a vehicle towards ultimate liberation.

When this energy is cultivated in a relationship, you are no longer another human’s lover.

You see your beloved as an extension of the divine.

And as such you become devoted.

A reverence where you would do whatever it takes,
to truly honour and raise one another.

Only when we’ve touched this place, our love spreads beyond the boundaries of the couple and it becomes contagious..

A love story that inspires the world 

And reminds us that beauty is possible

That there’s more to life,

and that God exists.

🙏🏼♥️
May we embrace our desires and creative force,
may be sustain our life in prosperity and trust,
and find a love whose fire destroys the smallness or who we are..

So that we may be born anew

And become the greatest expressions of the life we are.

This is what’s possible when two humans commit to each other and decide that they won’t leave any stone unturned..

That they will treat their love as sacred,

and as an extension 

all of life.

This is my prayer, that as we heal our masculine and feminine, we heal our relationships..

So that our children may light up when they hear the word “family”

Sp that we may cry more tears or beauty, than of pain, through this complex experience we call love.

☀️🙏🏽

My reaction when someone tells me their relationship isn’t working because of their partner

I get it.

There’s only one problem in relationships:
We date people people who unfortunately aren’t as perfect as we are. 🤣

Back in my mid 20’s I went on a ‘tinder/bumble rampage’

I was certain that I was not the problem, how could I be? 🙄🫠

I just wasn’t meeting the exact type of woman who would inspire me to commit.

Sexy but not slutty
Classy but not prude
Spiritual but not hippy
Spicy but not crazy
Hardworking but not too masculine
Sensitive but not too emotional
Smart but not in her head
Wild but not reckless
Wealthy but not superficial
And with a big ass, among dozens of other requirements. 😅

I knew that if only I found “the one”, my relationship would be effortless, passionate and nourishing.

And since I was clearly not the problem then it just meant that I hadn’t met enough women or put myself out there enough to meet someone up to my “standards.”

The next few months were some of the most tiring yet informative of my dating journey.

It became a full time job.

I’d go on 5-7 dates per week..

Most weren’t quite it..

And the ones that seemed promising wouldn’t last past a couple of weeks of dating. I’d see all their flaws..

The plain truth is that I hid my fear of connection behind unreasonable standards and a goalpost that kept moving.

I hid from taking a hard look in the mirror by obsessing over the flaws of others..

It was easier for me to say “there aren’t women worth committing to.” than it was to accept I was not a Man capable or ready of commitment.

Easier to say the dating pool in Toronto was 🤢 than it was to admit I was continuously gravitating towards the same type of women.

After hundreds of dates the pain of frustration made it evident that I was the common denominator.

My relationships weren’t going anywhere not because of whom these women were, but because of whom I wasn’t.

I wasn’t connected with my heart
I wasn’t able to communicate my emotions
I wasn’t in touch with my “No.”
I wasn’t aware of my needs
I wasn’t trustworthy
I wasn’t honest

I wasn’t ready.

Neither was I ready for the depth of honesty and courage it would take to look within myself and see all the ways -conscious and unconscious- in which I was closed off from the love I pretended to want so much.

The truth is that it is rarely the other..

In relationships it is always about US.

And often all about you.

See.. if you transform who you are, the new you will draw a completely new part out of your partner.

I have seen this over and over in my work..

Men becoming devoted “out of nowhere”, once she did her own work.

Women feeling turned on once again, for “no apparent reason.” once the guy dealt with his BS.

We hold incredible power,
Let us not pretend we are victims of our circumstances..

Or buy into the lie that another has become the gatekeeper to our joy.

“If it’s to be, it’s up to me!”
👊🏽🔥

LAKSHMI : UNDERSTANDING THE SECOND ASPECT OF THE FEMININE

Failure to understand this aspect of the feminine will keep you single, financially stuck and without energy 🥵

The aspect of Lakshmi refers to the 2nd dimension of the feminine: “Rajas”
(For context, read my previous post on Durga.)

Rajas means Aliveness, Energy, Movement.

Prosperity and Passion are her main qualities.

Lakshmi is beauty and abundance oriented.

She’s the ultimate multiplier and giver..

The universal principle of affluence.

This part is often attacked by those whom -in their failure to build the kind of life they dream about- judge, shame or belittle a woman’s desire for wealth & passion.

The shadow expression of this energy is entitlement, “gold digging”, vanity and superficiality.

Deep attachment to all that is physical paired with an unquenchable thirst for “more” (AKA: Nothing being ever enough.)

The conscious expression of Lakshmi understands that we are creators of our world, abundance is our soul’s nature and that a poverty mindset isn’t a virtue.

It is to remember that the source of creation is thriving within us and therefore there’s no such thing as ‘not enough’

A man disconnected from this dimension will resent a woman’s standards and desires for luxury, passion and prosperity.

It is easier to judge someone as greedy than to recognize all our limiting stories of scarcity and lack of financial responsibility.

Easier to point a finger and think someone cares too much about “physical stuff” than to reconcile physicality and spirituality.

Easier to date someone with low standards than to be in relationship with someone who knows magic is possible,

Riches aren’t evil..

& passion isn’t sinful.

Women, if your financial situation is messy or if you feel shame around wanting a more beautiful experience of life..

You’re disconnected from Lakshmi.

Men, the same goes for you, but also if your woman’s dreams burden you instead of motivate you, perhaps what bothers you isn’t what she says she wants..

Is that deep inside you do not feel capable of creating that.

You’ve bought into lies of limitation.

Lots of money or s€x won’t make you happy..

But everyone must realize this on their own.

Lakshmi speeds up the process 🚀

About a decade ago, during my university days, I came home from a trip and found that the bathroom wall was infested with mold.

I asked a friend’s friend (who did renovations and contracting work) and he said he would have to tear the wall apart and replace it all due to how much the mold had spread..

He was a hard working Colombian man and said that since I was Colombian too, it’d only be $1k Canadian to renovate the bathroom.

I called my landlord and told him about it..

He said he had his own guy, who would do it for $70 and asked me to pay him in person and deduct it from the next month’s rent.

Next day this guy shows up, goes into the bathroom and comes out 45 minutes later, asks for money and leaves.

As I proceeded to check his work my jaw dropped. 😱

He had literally just painted on top of the mold so that -to the naked eye- it all looked ‘just fine.’

Long story short the mold kept spreading and the landlord ended up having to pay $2k+ in renovations, as more stuff broke down and ended up having to be replaced.

This is not a post about mold or about landlords.

It’s a reminder that rearranging furniture – as beautiful as it might look, and as much as you might feel you have done something good that feels like progress-

Is irrelevant and completely useless if your house is on fire.

If the ship is sinking, it’s not the time for new decor.

So be aware, especially if you feel stuck in cycles of dysfunction.

Are the tools, teachers and paths you’ve chosen working?

REALLY, tangibly working ?

Or are you’re painting on mold over and over, so you can get a glimpse of false progress without actually dealing with THE thing..?

Remember:

It might look good right away,

but you will pay a bigger price later on.

That’s guaranteed.

So do THE work..

Stop just reading, talking or philosophizing about it.

And sometimes..

The work looks like demolishing the whole thing..

Chaos..

Breaking everything apart..

Letting it all go..

So there can be a radically new start.

👊🏽

PS: Don’t know where to start?

Think of a difficult conversation you’ve been postponing / too afraid to have.. and dial them up right away.

“Nico, how do I communicate to my man without stepping in for him, mothering him, nor ignoring an issue that is important for me to see tangible changes around..?”

This is the 2nd most asked question I receive in my DM’s, so let’s explore it shall we?

First of all, there are a couple of frames that MUST be present if you intend to build a healthy, conscious relationship with a man.

1- You must respect his free will and free choice and understand that love is not coercing someone to do what you’d like but allowing someone to do what they want to do.

2- You must respect yourself enough to understand that leaving is the only loving option if someone’s choices repeatedly clash against the standards of beauty, commitment and connection that you have for your relationship.

3- Your job is NEVER to fix another. You signed up to be a partner, not a parent. Do not cross someone’s boundaries especially when you have not been asked to do so.

With these in mind, let’s go!

If your communication about what you dislike in a relationship or in your man’s behaviour constantly creates more chaos, frustration, deflection and defensiveness.. congratulations!

You are nagging, not communicating.

The difference is obvious at the level of words,

subtle at the level of voice tone,

and really nuanced (yet felt) at the level of intent.

Words:

Wrong approach:

“You work too much and never make time for us, I’m tired of feeling like you don’t care about me and that work is more important. I don’t want this kind of relationship. Either you do something about this or I’m out!”

or a common, contrasting experience:

“I’m tired of feeling like I have to push you and nag you to communicate with me and understand what you’re feeling, I need you to communicate better with me. I’m done picking up your slack, you need to get your sh!t together and sort out your work/finances/health otherwise I can’t keep going like this!”

(99% of the time a partner advertises they’re about to “be done with it” you can be certain they are not. Drama, ultimatums and threats are signs of co-dependency and attachment. True “being done with it” looks like absence, contempt, distance, silence and indifference.. followed by a seemingly abrupt ending.)

Conscious, healthy communication approach:

“Honey, I love how deeply you take care of us. I love this part of you being a masculine man and having so much discipline in the work that you do… I can imagine how hard that is to sustain at the level you do it. Thank you.

I miss you so much these days at home (playfully makes pretend-sad face) and to be fully honest I’m also a little scared, as I feel some of my old wounds, where I wonder if I may not be attractive anymore.

I know you’re doing the best for our family and I’m here to support you.. I guess all I want to say is thank you, and I miss your presence and our time together so much.”

I’ll let your imagination do the equivalent for the 2nd example above.

Here’s the dissection of the conscious conversation:

– There’s appreciation and understanding/compassion for him. You’ve put yourself in his shoes and are willing to see the world from HIS perspective, and letting him feel seen for the sacrifices he makes (instead of shamed or judged.)

(Hint: If you ever push a masculine man into choosing between his purpose and you, you’ll always end up losing. You want to stand behind what he cares about and ensure you’re seen as a sanctuary of beauty, passion, connection and fun where he refuels himself, a supportive place towards his ‘greater’ mission.

Not a liability, drag, burden or necessary weight he must carry around and begrudgingly attend to out of obligation.)

– Conscious communication with a man is rooted in the assumption that he is a capable man, he is smart enough to make good choices for the family and he is willing and excited to take the lead around important things.

Therefore, there’s no clear request or demand. (I need you to / You must do X, Y , X or else…)

Instead, there’s the opening of your heart and letting him in.

Seeing the impact of his absence on you..

Witnessing the woman he loves grieving his absence.. without blaming him for her grief.

This creates a vacuum of possibility where any man who loves his wife sees a problem he can solve, a mini-story he gets to be the hero of..

Allowing him to step in and step up, come up with solutions of his own and feel the pride of thinking it was his own idea.

(I know this because I dated hundreds of women over the last decade and I rarely budged when a request/demand was placed upon me.. however my wife -when communicating consciously- has found a way to inspire me to do almost anything she wants, feel good about it and think it was my own idea… EVEN THOUGH I taught her myself how to communicate in this way.

It works even if he knows what you’re doing. It’s pure relational magic to be honest.)

– Healthy communication allows him to see that you take full responsibility for your life, emotions and inner state. You are not dumping your unprocessed solitude on him, nor using him to extract a sense of meaning, company and happiness in your life.

It’s very important that he knows that your sadness, loneliness or deep ache is not his to carry on his shoulders.

Otherwise you become another bullet in his list of “unfinished projects I am failing at”.

A man who feels he cannot win with his partner will always end up leaving. (often for someone else with whom his efforts do feel appreciated and celebrated.)

Never in the history of humanity a man has divorced a wife he was consistently successful at making happy.

Men don’t ever leave happy women.

Think about that.

– Finally, you own your desire without shame nor projection.

You acknowledge that the pain you feel is not because he’s working too much but because you’re feeling too little.

It’s not that he’s a bad man, is that you feel insecure.

It’s not that you dislike that he is disciplined, is that his absence makes you feel unworthy of love, attention and care.

This one takes guts to face and embrace for most women.

Most can’t discern that the source of their pain, in relationships, always comes down to their feeling of inadequacy…

Yet they go out to try and fix things from the outside.

I feel lonely because I don’t have a career/ social life that I loooove? then I better force more company from him, because with him I don’t have to look at how empty I feel or how much I’ve abandoned my own dreams, hobbies and friends.

That will never work.

You must always own your world.

A masculine man usually has a very sharp intellect.

If he’s attuned he can sense and dissect what’s happening within you before you’ve even gotten clear about what it is that you’re feeling..

If you smell of grief yet come to him with anger, he won’t trust you.

If you smell of insecurity yet come to him with controlling demands, he won’t trust you.

If you smell of loneliness yet you come to him trying to win points and be a good girl so you can fix and secure connection, he will definitely not trust you.

Only truth is welcomed in his heart.

And the truth is never that he’s the reason for your misery.

The truth is that you feel miserable.

If you start communicating from that place, a man that loves you will feel your pain and make it his own.

He will find solutions.

He will lead.

He will love you into wholeness..

Not because you nagged it out of him with your projections, complaints and covert insecurities…

But because you were open and truthful enough to invite him into your feeling world, a world he doesn’t visit too often, and allowed him to bathe in the tenderness of your vulnerability and the trust you must feel towards him to expose yourself like that..

You can either poke..

or evoke.

If he bends over to your bitter demands, both of you lose..

for even if he does what you wanted him to do, you can be certain he did it out of obligation and not love.

You had to crack the whip to get the horse to move, but you know deep inside that there’s just so much you can crack it before the horse goes wild and turns against you.

Masculine men are beasts.

Disciplined ones.

There’s only so much they’ll be willing to give into, through force.

You must inspire his respect.

Evoke his love.

Turn on his desire to be there for you..

And after 1000’s of people I’ve worked with and even more conversations with many others I can tell you one true thing:

No woman in the history of humanity has ever nagged, shamed, blamed, ‘called out’ or complained her husband into being a better man.

Ask yourself why.

👊

PS: If you’re not part of my Free fb group The Sacred Relationships Circle, I invite you to join. There’s plenty of relational gold, as well as first access to the courses and events I hold.

Talk soon!