Many times, RealJock members have written to us asking for an advice column—and certainly our forums are full of requests for counsel. Enter our regular writer Joe Weston. Over the last year, Joe has contributed pieces to the site on the subjects of stretching, breathing, setting life goals, and finding contentment in one's life. And we've loved all of it. Joe is a life coach, workshop facilitator, lecturer and peace advocate who believes we all can find a desired level of personal fulfillment and inner peace through the practice of deepening, illuminating and integrating the various aspects of our lives. So we thought, why not ask him to write an advice column?
Welcome to "Ask Joe," our new RealJock advice column. Looking for some clarity on tricky issues in your life? Share what's on your mind with Joe—concerning work, personal awareness, love and romance, physical well-being, meditation, and spiritual exploration. Joe will offer advice, life strategies, and the occasional exercise to help put you on track. And reaching him couldn't be simpler: just email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your identity will be kept anonymous, but do note that questions may be edited for length and clarity.
This week, we started Joe off with a couple of questions solicited from RealJock members. Keep your eyes on the site in future weeks as we get more wisdom on how to find (and keep) happiness.
I am 37 years old, with a fabulous partner for the last 13 years. We have 2 kids, ages 4 and 1. I have everything—great family, great house, lucrative corporate job—but I feel like all I do is scramble to get everything done, and mostly fail at it. Seriously, how do people manage to do it all? In a given day, I need to commute an hour to work, where I stay at the office for nine hours before commuting home again, hoping to get there in time to kiss the kids goodnight and spend a few minutes talking to my partner while I cram some fattening food into my face so I can collapse into bed and do it again. I feel like I'm always running, and yet something is always left behind. How do I find time to earn a living, parent my kids, spend time with my partner—let alone workout (which is the only way I can really feel good), take care of my house, run errands, and see my friends on occasion? Often I feel like a bad boyfriend/father/employee...something. How am I supposed to do it all?
—Overwhelmed and Anxious
Hello O and A,
Thanks for getting in touch. The first thing you should do is take a moment and rejoice in what you have, celebrate your abundance. You are a very rich man! Now, how to manage all that, that is the question. That is the challenge for anyone with an abundant life. How do you enjoy what you have and not feel burdened by it?
I’m sure it would help to take a look at your schedule and see if there are ways to sharpen it and eliminate any extra activities that aren’t essential. It’s like gardening. You have a garden that is growing well. Now it’s time to prune and weed. Some things you can get rid of entirely, some you can perhaps cut back a bit.
But it seems to me that your issue is not so much time management, but energy management. There are ways to do all you are doing and not get burned out. It has to do with consciously focusing on how much energy you put out at any given moment. You may be putting more energy into things than is necessary. What if you did the same amount but did it in a way that was calmer, more efficient, less hectic? That would save you a lot of wasted energy which you could put into some of the other things you are not getting to.
And what are you doing to “tank up?” Five to 30 minutes of meditating, or conscious breathing, or massage, or walking in a park, or good, mindful eating will go a long way to nurture yourself and replenish your reserves so you have enough energy for all the wonderful things in your life. This will make you more present to your partner, your kids, your work and you will find yourself enjoying them again and not seeing them as an obligation. Enjoy!
I met this guy at school—he's in one of my classes, and sometimes hangs out at this cafe I go to. He is just so hot. Sometimes he sits down with me and we'll chat a little, about class and other people at school. Sometimes I think he likes me—I mean, why would he keep coming over otherwise?—but I've never said asked him out or anything. The thing is, I can't tell if he's gay. How do you find out if someone's gay? I've never had a boyfriend, just a couple of drunk hook-ups at parties. I don't really know how to approach a guy sober and ask him, and I'm scared of what he'll say about me if he turns out to be straight. I was thinking of inviting him out for beers and then pretending to be drunk and making a pass at him. I know that seems lame, but I don't know how to do it otherwise. What should I do?
—Don't Want To Be A Bar Whore Anymore
Hey Don’t Want To Be,
Aaaahhhh, romance and flirting and “wondering if…” and being nervous is so exciting. It may feel frustrating, but it reminds us that we are alive!
You say that you think he may like you. Well, he does like you. I’m not saying he is necessarily gay and “wants” you, but he likes you enough to keep engaging in conversation with you. But does he like you “in that way?” Now, that is the question. Well, how does he act when he sees you? Does he smile? Is he a little nervous? Does he make dumb jokes? Those are signs of having a crush on someone. Especially if you guys are in an environment where you can’t be open about being gay.
You seem to like him, right? Do you think you could be friends with him? If so, then you have nothing to lose. Ask him out for a beer, whether you end up as boyfriends or as friends. Wouldn’t that be nice anyway? To have the foundation of your relationship be friendship? That would only lead to a strong partnership. Take it slow, look for any signals. You don’t have to plan a whole “getting drunk” scenario, just ask him out for a beer or something. See how he reacts. If he says yes, then you know he is interested in getting to know you better, more than just casual conversation at a café.
Now comes the fun and tricky part. If he says yes, then, before he can ask, ask him where he’d like to meet up? He may mention a gay bar. Who knows? Do you know of any gay bars? If he doesn’t mention a gay bar, you could ask him if he knows of such a place, or you could suggest meeting there. See how he reacts. If he knows this much about you, then he’ll know you are gay. Then he can decide what to do next.
That’s a good way to start. Make a fun, innocent game out of it. Think of other “gay” things you could mention and see if and how he reacts. If he doesn’t pick up on your signals by that time then you know he is either straight or not form this planet! Remember, you have nothing to lose. You may get a boyfriend, or a new friend, out of it, and you will gain more confidence for going after what you desire. In the end, that is the most important part.
About Joe Weston: Joe Weston is an international workshop facilitator and personal life coach. Born and educated in New York, Joe lived in Amsterdam for 17 years and now lives in California. He is committed to helping others embody spirituality and supports others on their journey towards personal fulfillment and empowerment. Joe brings a wealth of insight to his work based on many teachings, including Tai Chi Chuan and various spiritual traditions—plus his experience in theater and various organizational trainings. He also volunteers for the Liberation Prison Project, teaching Buddhism to inmates. To find out more about his workshops and his personal coaching, visit www.joeweston.com. Joe will be offering a monthly class in Oakland Ca, Full Body Meditation, combining different physical disciplines as a preparation for a successful mediation. Check for details: http://www.heartwalkerstudio.com/events.html. His next Respectful Confrontation workshop will take place in Oakland, May 8 – 10, and he is offering a 45 dollar discount to RealJock readers. For more info: http://www.joeweston.com/register.