29 December 2010

The Online Dating Manifesto for Gay Men

The Online Dating Manifesto for Gay Men.
A short course on the etiquette for internet dating personals.

1st Principle ~ Politeness.
"Politeness is best expressed as the practical application of good manners or etiquette. It is a culturally defined phenomenon, and therefore what is considered polite in one culture can sometimes be quite rude or simply eccentric in another cultural context." [Wikipedia]
    Online we're exposed to many cultures. Keep that in mind. What one culture may think is polite, another may find rude. There's no guide-book for this one! May I suggest that you ask when you're not sure, and consider the 2nd Principle.
    As someone else so elegantly wrote in his own profile, 'Be the Change you want to see on the Internet'. Our technology has made communication less detailed, more text or short text (SMS messages) based, less grammatical (if any grammar at all) and filled with acronyms (lol, PNP, CBT, etc.). The more we communicate online, the more we need to respect what is lost in that communication. It's not always easy to remember this, especially when you have so many messages of different types in a single day (phone, text, email, business and personal). But when we drop Politeness (perhaps the most important Principle) we are doomed to a very harsh reality.

2nd Principle ~ Treat others as you would like them to treat you.
If you act like an ass expect to be treated like one. Impatience breeds impatience. Anger breeds anger. And sometimes, no matter how nice you are, some people are fucking assholes. Delete and/or block them from contacting you again.
    Politeness will hopefully be responded to in-kind. Enough said.

3rd Principle ~ Presumptions kill it.
If you think someone should act a certain way, you're dead wrong. The other guy is probably thinking the same thing or simply acting in whatever way is normal for him. Be patient (this is a Principle in itself!). It takes time to feel out the nature and character of another person online. Without face-to-face communication we miss 70% of the intended message. The written word is often misunderstood and this leads to hurt, annoyance, frustration, etc. Err on the side of caution and understanding. If you're not sure, ask for clarification.

4th Principle ~ Expect Nothing
You see his body, his cock, his ass, or whatever it is that gets you excited. The ball of expectation starts rolling and gaining momentum. When's he coming over? Will we do this or that? Stop. Breathe. Check your emotions and your expectations, because until he shows up at your door you just don't know what to expect. When you design the entire scenario (with the exception of you guys into role play), if it doesn't go the way you planned, you're only setting yourself up for disappointment.

5th Principle ~ Respond to all message when possible.
It's easy to delete a new message from a guy you don't find attractive. If he opened with a compliment ('You look hot', 'Great body', etc.) he deserves a 'thank you'. And sometimes, as awkward as it may be, a 'No' is absolutely called for. However, do follow a 'No' with something like 'Thank you' or, 'Not really my type.' It softens the rejection.

6th Principle ~ A 'thank you' is just that and only that.
When a guy takes the time to say thank you for your compliment or whatever you wrote him, and if that is all he writes in response, he's just not into you. Thus, let it go. Move on. Do not, a) write to say, 'No problem' or, 'You're welcome'. It's all empty rhetoric at this point. And by all means, absolutely DO NOT write back to ask him if he's interested. That's your ego and dick talking and you look really desperate at this point.

7th Principle ~ Avoid Drama
See the 1st Principle (Drama is part of some cultures. You know who you are!). But don't you dare blame others for your own issues! You might be spilling your drama bag all over the place and no one wants to pick up after your mess! As soon as you detect someone giving you drama or attitude you can, a) consider the 1st and 2nd Principles or, b) delete and move on.

8th Principle ~ Once, twice, three times the charm.
You sent a message expressing interest. No response, or maybe you got a simple, 'Thank you.' You send another. No response. You send a third (and if you wrote, 'Not sure if you are getting my messages' then you need to be seriously BITCH SLAPPED!). Three messages and no response? Really? Didn't you get it after the second message went unanswered? Go back are read the 4th Principle, now!

9th Principle ~ Be humble. It's not all about you.
It can be so frustrating when you want it so bad and it doesn't seem to be happening. Or the guy you've been chatting with, stops chatting. What happened? You thought he was interested. There could be ten different reasons from, he changed his mind, or his boyfriend just came home, to his internet connection dropped. Send him a message. Tell him you were interested and why, and that you hope to speak with him again. And then review the 4th Principle.

10th Principle ~ Have Fun!
After all the conditions and etiquette of the first 9 Principles, do try to have fun. Be yourself, be honest and genuine. Be playful! Some guys take online personals so seriously that you think they must have a spiked butt-plug wedged up their ass! Ouch! No wonder they're so cranky.
    And if it's not fun or restricted to a list of conditions, why are you doing it?

Bonus Principle ~ Be positive
Have you ever read an online personal ad that reads like a grocery list of 'nots'?
Not into this, not into that, no one over this age, etc.
How boring! Maybe one or two 'not's are useful, but any more than that makes the person sound like a negative-Nancy and a bitter queen. Candidate for the 7th Principle!

Copyright © 2010 Darren Stehle

14 September 2008


The root of procrastination is ultimately based upon fear. Procrastination may manifest in many types of fear, for example: a need for perfection, which is the fear of not being good enough or not being worthy. We may seek perfection in the sense of always getting ready to get ready, the need to continually learn more about something and never making a decision, or continually working on a task never completing it because it’s never quite right. This is the fear of potentially being criticized.

Getting to the root of any of our fears usually starts with a trip into our childhood upbringing. What was your family life like? How were you made to feel? Were you loved? How were you treated by others around you, like friends, neighbours, teachers, etc? Did you spend a lot of time alone or were you supported by the love of others. How often were you told, ‘no’, how often were you criticized, punished, supported, encouraged, or allowed to dream?

I had a mother who was a perfectionist. Why I don’t know, but I too became a perfectionist. Now, I do not blame my Mother for this, my own behaviour. Why? Because when I realized it was one of my limiting behaviours I decided to learn more about procrastination and limiting beliefs so I could change. In understanding how I was raised I was able understand my own past programming and with this knowledge I was able to consciously change to who I am truly meant to be.

Life is such a wonderful journey, more so when we fully understand what choices we have made that limit us. So much of who we are is based on how we were raised by our parents and our environment during our formative years. I recently read some new research that showed the brain wave patters of infants are predominantly in the alpha state. This state can be achieved, for example, when you mediate or when you are close to falling asleep or upon waking. This is considered a time when your brain is susceptible to suggestion. This is why you will find a lot of mediation recordings use a particular type of background music to produce the brain wave state of relaxation, especially if suggestion or affirmations are part of the recording.

Why is this relevant? Babies in a predominantly alpha state are like sponges and will absorb everything they sense from their environment and these sensations will shape their character, their language, their perceptions – from praise to negativity, from calm to violent surroundings, to the loving touch of a parent or the lack thereof.

We can change old habits we no longer want by creating new ones. Sometimes that is easier said than done but the journey is worth the effort. We might not even be aware of our limiting beliefs and it may take someone else to see our greatness, someone who is compassionate enough to reach out and find a way for us to listen to their observations. Have you ever been in a situation where someone said, “I told you so”, or if you were in a relationship that wasn’t the best but you held onto it, even though someone close to you expressed that this relationship good for you. You finally ended that relationship when you saw your own truth with clarity, just as your close friend had seen.

I think we are transparent to others when we are struggling with our choices and inner truth and when our limiting beliefs are causing us to avoid our greatness. We have such infinite potential as human beings but most of us are afraid to stand on the edge of that cliff and jump, with the knowledge that we can create a parachute on the way down.

It may be that one day you wake up and the pain of having procrastinated about something is now so much greater than what you were originally afraid of. Ask yourself what dreams, goals or tasks you have been putting off to later, to tomorrow, to next week, to next month.... What would the cost to you be if you keep procrastinating? What’s the worst thing that could happen if you took action? Sometimes this is a massive ‘a-ha’ moment for people, a waking up to your own truth. When you procrastinate you are not living your truth. What are you afraid of? Know that change can happen in an instant, it’s the preparation to change that may take time.

Our greatest fears and frustrations are the one's we create for ourselves that get layered like a snowball, gaining size and weight, and in reality the core of it all is so small it’s almost insignificant. So go out and face the light and imagine you are where you want to be...and then smile and take that energy back into the rest of your day as you create your life.

Be well.

Copyright © 2008 Darren Stehle

Working out first thing

Most of you are aware of the value of regular exercise – it’s probably one of the reasons you are reading this blog.

The body receives incredible benefits from your workout, but what about your mind?

I have found that if you can workout or do your preferred physical activity early in the day – before work for example – the benefit of having completed your physical activity; this care for your body, may have an equal or greater benefit psychologically. The reason for this is simple: you will have cared for your SELF physiologically before caring for anyone else, or getting distracted by the other things you have to do. This benefit empowers you to help others with greater ease, or to do your work and tasks with more calm because of the release of neuro-chemicals (like endorphins) that reduce stress and help you to better manage your metabolic energy levels throughout the day.

Knowing that you have done the most important thing in your day first – caring for you – helps you to better face the challenges ahead, since you won’t have any regrets or guilt from having not done your workout.

The 4 Pillars that Support the Structure of Your Live

The roof is supported by the 4 pillars.

The roof is a metaphor for doing what you love to do; that which brings you your highest joy, your greatest sense of well-being, your highest energy and longest states of flow – of being in the moment.

This Blog – sharing my thoughts with the world - is one of my joys.

The 4 Pillars to support your Highest Calling:

1st Pillar – Exercise

Do what you enjoy to keep your body mobile, flexible and healthy.

2nd Pillar – Rest
You need sleep to recover and regenerate. If you don’t awaken feeling rested you are in a deprived state of wellness. Proper breathing is also a form of rest. Most of us breath high in our chest. Instead, breathe deep, long and fully into your abdomen, just below your navel.

3rd Pillar - Diet
Healthy food enjoyed throughout your day keeps you well.

4th Pillar - Mental and emotional poise

Be aware of maintaining balance in your life. When you are out of balance, how soon until you make the time to re-balance? Do you make time for stillness, meditation, time in nature or whatever you do to quiet your mind? Are you conscious of the words you are speaking and how they create your reality?

The more sturdy, healthy and well-maintained each of your pillars, the more easily will you be able to support that which you are called to be.

Copyright © 2008 Darren Stehle

Live Life According to Your Values

What are your values for life? Just to get things started, here are my current top values and passions:

1. In a Loving Partnership
2. Joyful and at peace
3. Financially free and secure
4. Deep and meaningful friendships
5. World travel
6. A published writer
7. In excellent fitness and health
8. Working from home

I have to say it can be challenging to put my values in order, and I give thanks to the book, The Passion Test, by Chris and Janet Attwood, which provided a great system to follow to really get clear on what's most important to me.

Ask yourself, Are you living your life according to your values? Let's say for example that your family is your highest value, but you work 60 hours a week at a job to which you have to drive 30-minutes or longer. When you come home you may bring your work home and or the stress of the day. How many QUALITY hours in the week do you have left over to live in your number one value of 'Family'?

Or let's say health is your greatest value, but again you work 60 hours a week in a high-stress job with too little time to eat right and when you get home you are starving and you eat anything and everything. Now you are overweight and unhappy.

Do this exercise: List your top 5-10 values and then put them in order. Next, list what you do with your day from the moment you wake up, in 30-minute blocks, until you go to bed. Check and see if you are spending the greatest amount of time in your day on your number one value, or any of your values for that matter.

Lots of people know what to do, but they don’t take action. Take action on what you know. The knowledge is within you, but the only way to manifest your goals is to take action.

There are no accidents in life. Everything happens for a reason, based on the choices you make; consciously or unconsciously. Which would you prefer? The same old results or will you make the choice to take control and define life on your terms? Once you know your top values and passions, making a plan to take action and make change will be so much easier.

To your happiness and success.

Copyright © 2008 Darren Stehle

The Art of Losing

There are at least two ways of understanding ‘losing’:

1. From a competitive viewpoint
2. From a creative viewpoint

When losing is viewed in the world of competition, only the winner benefits; the winner gets the scholarship, the cash, the medals, the corporate sponsorship, and the cheers of the adoring crowd. The winner becomes the hero and the saviour. There is only one winner – winning cannot be shared. This is the case with most sport.

Winning can be seen in a different way. Winning and losing are opposites. We can’t understand one without the other. It’s the same with up and down, hot and cold. Winning and loosing are illusions and when we are trapped in the illusion we can’t see outside of the box.

Winning and losing are a part of life; they are aspects of all ‘play’ and of any ‘doing.’ We can also refer to ‘success’ and ‘failure’ to describe the same thing.

The challenge for many people is that when they fail, they only focus on the act of failure, the fact that they didn’t achieve their goal. They get bogged down with worry about future failure and then either sabotage any future potential success or give up instead of making a new attempt.

How many attempts did Thomas Edison make before he created a working light bulb? Apparently it took over 1,000 models before one filament lasted and the now common light bulb was born.

So was Thomas Edison a loser or a failure? Why didn’t he give up after 20, 50 or even 500 attempts? Didn’t he feel like a loser?

What Thomas Edison knew is that failure is an illusion. However, failure is a way to understand what one needs to do next to achieve the result. Failure is a lesson: a simple lesson that says, ‘don’t do that action again.’ Out of every defeat is the seed of opportunity, but one has to be willing to seek the truth and to better themselves, to try again, to look at the ‘problem’ with new eyes and a different approach. Winning, then, is the determination to continue after multiple loses without emotional attachment to the loss.

Every failure is a successive step towards success. Success is the ‘following’ or the ‘coming after’ the work completed. Success is natural and success is also a mindset, the belief that failure and losing are lessons.

When the loser loses with grace, he or she knows they gave their all, and played their best. When a team loses with grace they recognize that all the elements that make up a team simply came together in a better ‘way’ for the ‘winners’ and they will study what the winning team did, post-game, in order to become better and win the next time around.

To your success!

Copyright © 2008 Darren Stehle