Charles DeVeaux

Social Theorist | Cultural Creative

Writing, producing, and facilitating works & conversations about love, modernity, and humanity.

LoveRules on Madame Noire's "Ask A Black Man"

Yours truly was selected to be on Madame Noire's new season of Ask A Black Man!  The series will begin next week, Monday, April 13th.  I'll be in Episode 1, so tune in early!

Here's the trailer below, but if you want to see even more of what Madame Noire has to offer, click here and follow along in your social media of choice.

Want to know how men feel about love & relationships? Fatherhood and more? We have answers! VISIT OUR SITE: http://bit.ly/KK8Af7 Ask a Black Man is back with even more men and more real responses on everything from what they were taught about manhood to what they want to teach you in bed.


Why is it so hard connecting with men in 2015?

A lovely woman in a Facebook conversation asked me about friendzones and why it's so hard to connect with men in 2015.  I'm thinking, "... because it's still 2014."  :-)

Okay, enough about being in the moment, let's get a jump on the New Year.  Here are some answers to the questions from that FB convo.

Everyone has challenges

Men are being forced to change everything we thought we knew as men, thanks in part to the wonderful changes of powerful women, genders, pluralistic ideas, globalism, and all things dynamic happening in the world.  Oh, plus, for some, their last partner broke their heart, and uh, video games and porn are overstimulating us while simultaneously causing us to emotionally withdraw.  Not to mention, we're as unsure as anyone else these days about the value of relationships.  But, hey, it's not a lost cause.  It's good!  Men have to adapt too!  Women can't be the only ones having to change.  Respectfully, though, as with all life's challenges, when talking about connecting, we begin an outward conversation from our center.

Talk about pet peeves

From what I have observed, women and men, of all types, want their future partner to be a complete person already.  No one wants to have to go through growing pains with someone.  Shit, we don’t want to go through it ourselves!  So why tolerate someone else?!  It’s inconvenient.  Fit the perfect picture of my love, for crying out loud.  Additionally, folks got pet peeves they are talking about way before dating.  No judgement, just perspective.  I've got pet peeves too.  In fact, I've got a wife of 20 years who I didn't know until too late, had mastered a couple of my pet peeves.  Go fig.  Do I wish I had known upfront?  Nope!  Get this, because it's her doing them, they are no longer my pet peeves!  How the hell did that happen?!  Rigidity is not our friend, good people.

I'm not saying we let go of our standards, but we gotta loosen up.  I once had a woman lick my face while making out on our first date.  (Some of you got stuck on "lick my face."  Others are stuck on "making out on our first date."  Let that be your gauge.)  Yes, licked, like Scooby-Doo, licked my face.  Not for me.  For her!  She liked the feeling of stubble on her tongue, but obviously liked me enough to share that.  Now, that's agentic!  And weird.  But after all was said and done, I don't remember complaining.  No, she did not become my wife.  I'm just saying don't knock it 'til you try it.  And as far as "complete people" go, neither my wife nor I are there yet.  Well, I'm definitely not.  I didn't foresee this state of "incompletion."  I thought we'd be there by now, wherever that is.  But I kind of like that there is something new and undiscovered to contend with each day.  It let's us know how well we handle change.

The Truths

The truth is women and men, particularly heterosexual women and men, whether we like it or not, hold each other to traditional social expectations.   Don't use cute emoticons, boys, it's unmanly!  I agree, if someone likes you they should be calling to TALK to you.  In fact, they should be in a hurry to meet up with you again (in a calm, cool way of course).  Call me crazy.  Unless you are skyping to a loved one cross country or overseas, digital time is playtime.  I don't think that's a traditional thing, I think it's a human thing.  Speaking of digital, while I wasn't necessarily a fan of the digital interface, I have been witnessing some good things with online dating.  After all, it's just further exposure to an available network, with a precision tool.  Truth is nothing changes, you still have to negotiate your needs and your relations.

The third truth, here, is that women, men, and all genders are socializing, and being socialized, somewhat differently than they were 50 years ago.  That statement alone says so much.  The combo of old and new makes things tricky.  We are acting in new ways, but in our minds, collectively, we are expecting/desiring some of those old traditional notions.  Especially heterosexual women and men.  Again, I say rigidity is not our friend.

What to do?

Be autonomous.  This works for anybody.  To get out of the friendzone life that I had unnintentionally mastered so many years ago, I had "to learn" to be a "bad boy."  Why? Because no heterosexual woman I was trying to talk to responded to Mr. Sensitive Nice Guy.  I didn't have to stay a "bad boy" as much fun as that was, I just had to learn a new mode of interaction.  I know many guys still stuck in that badboy place because someone hurt their feelings.  True story.  But that's not being autonomous.   Being the bad boy or the "bad bitch" (I hate that term) are the same.  Entice and withdraw.   It's like trying to catch a wild animal.  When you imagine how any date night plays out, it should be something like this,

We had fun, I like you, I want you, but I don’t need you. I got another date. Talk to you later?

Wha??  Sorry.  I just turned myself on.  Can you imagine the desire that kind of interaction creates?  Imagine being able to deliver that kind of an experience to the person you just dated.  How does someone not get drawn in on that??  And by the way, you can still be autonomous and considerate.  Don't weaponize this tactic.

Mystery and Playfulness

Agentic.  That's my new favorite word.  It seems modern women especially are about being more agentic.  I agree with it.  Flirtier, sexier, more fun, and less forced expectation.  In my experience, fun, free-hearted people get called back, even if just to hang out or to be matched up with a friend.  Get a couple of your friends, go out and do that.  Act like you want to make 100 friends instead of finding "The One."  Most likely, you'll get both.  100 friends.  50.  Shoot, 15!  That's about rapport, openness, and trust.  If you can do that over the next couple months, you'll be amazed at the changes that will occur.

But... You'd Better

You had better know the 3 non-negotiable things you are looking for in your partner.  Qualities, not possessions. For example "Person has to be resourceful," rather than "Person has to be rich."  Don't include the obvious.  If you are a comedienne and know it only makes sense you'll have a partner with a good sense of humor, then don't include it.  Think of another quality.  If you don't know the important qualities you value, you will never even notice them when that person goes right past you.  Even if you get your hands on them.  Also, please don't let your 3 things sound like every other person's 3 things.  They should be based on your particular experience.  You want to know yourself better?  Me-di-tate.  And that's no platitude; take it to heart.

Make room for more.

LoveRules at the Eric Garner Rally - Foley Square, NYC

After multiple cases of exonerating police who have committed blatant acts of misconduct, unchecked violence, and ultimately manslaughter and murder, I lent a voice to the efforts of awareness against systemic police brutality and the disproportionately wholesale criminalization of men of color.   Can you please do the same?

Things must change.  This doesn't call for a back and forth discourse in knee-jerk reactions or the projection of useless stereotypes and culturally controlling images.  It doesn't call for institutional racist apologetics, or conservative-bashing.  It requires an open minded and qualitative examination of the historical and current evidence in the spirit of coming together in understanding. 

When I hear sensationalist rhetoric that police brutality is somehow legitimized because 90% of all black murders are committed by black people, without the accompanying statistic that roughly 90% of all racial incidents are committed by people of their own race, it is clear that the non-nuanced view of statistics alone isn't any more appropriate than using a broad sword for delicate surgery.

Innocent until proven guilty, right?  The right to a fair trial?  We're clearly still working on the basics of democracy.  I have another well used NYC saying for you: If you see something, say something, right?  Well, we should all be able to see this now. Let's talk about it. 

Charity (Love) begins at home.  Let love rule.

Check out the full coverage here.

I heard my heart sing and it was like this

Something strong and feminine... Like subway commuters, waiting, looking longingly down rails receding into the dark that still promises a swiftly approaching glowing light, like songs through the fire, like old women waiting on Jesus, humming spirituals enraptured in the strength of the moment that the longing provides, like ride or die, like I'll be waiting when ur heart decides to stay, I'll be waiting when ur love comes my way. In the right season, that's not a foolish love. Strong love. For the right reason. 

A human chose to love himself, and then...

Most of us are impatient with ourselves and impatient with Love.  Individually and all together, we are impatient in loving ourselves.  If you want to love yourself, yes, spend some time with yourself.  Get comfortable being quietly with yourself.  Additionally, if you want to love yourself, admit to yourself the things you want, then go get 'em.

Give yourself permission to be the person you want to be, as long as you're not causing injury.  That person will not magically materialize one day from a flash of light and insight. That person must be lived.  If you could meet your fulfilled future self, would you mostly judge them, or honor them? If you say you will honor them, then don't spend most of your time judging yourself now.

All of us are layered, textered, complex people who most times don't set out to do things which are wrong.  Understand that most people want to live doing what in our clearest mind we think is right.  That is an undeniably lovable quality in human beings.  At the same time, understand that none of us is always 100% clear sighted.  There is always more to learn, and be mindful of.  Still, individually and together, let's give ourselves a chance.

This Is Risky Business

In yesterday's post I made a statement about the "risk" that society characterizes Love to be.   Like any subject, we find mixed messages in the national conversation.  On one hand there are the traditional institutions like religion and family, even friends, saying it's essential to do.  "Go fall in love; get married."  That's the side that the guilt trip comes from if you are having challenges in your love life.

At the same time you have economics dictating your actions too.  Certainly living with someone can help reduce costs, but what about all the costs associated with broken relationships.  Costs of residence change, possible shared debt, dividing belongings, dividing friends, and also, perhaps, what it will take to support children, if any were had.  Add to that the lost time.  Hey, time is money.

In yesterday's post I said,

"I've made risks for money, and have lost money.  I have made risks with false pride and lost friendships.  I have made risks for conditional "it-needs-to-be-done-this-way-to-work" kind of love and subsequently experienced MAJOR heartache and loss.  I have made risks for lust and, eh, you win some you lose some.  Be careful.  But my risks in Love have delivered nothing but huge payoffs.  Working toward a union of ideas and practices which make the relationship feel full, yet selfless, has been worthwhile in spite of the the scary and unfamiliar experiences that came with it."

EVERYTHING is risky when you don't know what you're doing.  It stays that way until you learn how things work.  And, even then, you'll still learn new lessons.  But when you learn, at least you minimize the risks.  And that's all we can ask for.  I took a risk with my life just by getting out of bed this morning.  Folks who are good with money, tend to gain it, not lose it.  The same is the case with love, even though it is seen as an emotional practice,  rather than a logical one.  The more practice you get handling emotional challenges, the more likely you can manage all the crazy quirks of a love life.  So, on this blog, I hope to share some things that maybe inspire you to go take some risks with love.

Like money, love doesn't grow if you do nothing.  Right now, if you are in a relationship with someone, let them know they've been worth the risk.  If they haven't, then have a good talk - maybe 'ultratalk.'  And if you're not in a relationship, I recommend stretching out and making some more good friends.  Good friends are absolutely invaluable.

Journey of the Lonely

Before Love, there is, frequently, loneliness.  Loneliness and impatience.  Daily, we find ourselves rushing to attain "that" dream, that vision of happiness that fits all our little checkboxes of love-list requirements.  We might have friends, we might date, we might even have relations, and although we find might ourselves surrounded, perhaps, by people having a good time, we are still filled with loneliness.  Loneliness perhaps is not so much our hearts being alone, but our hearts being still.  We look around at others, measure and compare.  Why not me?  What am I doing wrong that I don't find love, or keep love?  When is my turn??  I want my turn.

This is part of the human condition.  When I'm not careful, I do the same thing myself.  I don't do it so much in my love life, at this point, but I certainly extend these feelings of uncertainty to other areas of my life.  When, when, when?  If I'm not careful, I too "lose" or give-up the available moments of love currently present in my life.

"When" is a frequently misused concept of space and time.  I don't want to come off like a time management wonk; that would only add one more thing to our list of things to worry about.  For example, "As soon as I better manage my time, I will be able to etc, etc, etc."  No, let's not do that to ourselves.  When it comes to giving time to love, "now" is the best time.  At the same time, I have folks ask me, "How?  How do I do that?  How do I find love?"

The are many ways to find love.  The most radical, and sensible, thing for me to do when I feel rushed and impatient is to let go.  I let go of all the concerns that are accumulating in my mind, because in that frame of mind, I cannot possibly clear the list of mounting concerns faster than my mind is adding on to it.  Instead, I clear my thoughts, examine what it is I claim to love, (ideas, activities, & interests) and I give them some time.  Or, I just clear my thoughts.  Period.  I sit down, visually let the thoughts pass overhead, and don't attach myself to any of them by pulling them down to ponder.  I spend some time in that silence.  I know in time my heart will "speak."  Yours will too.  In this sense, it's more about opening up the way so love reveals itself to you from "inside-out."

Don't let a day go by without finding, creating, or cherishing something that stirs your heart, or that whispers deep from your soul (from within yourself).  There is something special about the heart's song.  It resonates and harmonizes with others.  It creates a call to which other hearts can respond.  Heart stirring efforts create a work of their own making, not work that is intended to primarily satisfy or impress others; yet it will beneficially impact others.  This kind of work in action creates feelings of inner worth and satisfaction not at the discretion of your boss, family, or friends.

The call of the heart is an inner vision, the steps leading up possibly to some of the same images you have dreamed or fantasized about.  Actions of the heart might be collecting the materials you need to design your product idea, it could be going out with friends with a more open attitude to accept people as they are, it could be the work you put into starting your day with exercise, whole foods, and affirmations. Actions of the heart are expressions of spirit, whether, aspirational or inspirational. And if they are going to be worthwhile, then at some point they will cause you to be perspirational. (Ha!  Get it?)

The call of the heart is the courage to act differently than you have up to now, to not walk in the same pattern you have for the last few days, weeks, months, years, not because someone wants you to, but because you want to.  Love in your heart leads you to consider a different set of values in your mind, a different way of looking at yourself; not neccessarily what your religious institution promotes, not necessarily what your social group thinks.  In fact, the stirring of your heart enables you to face your worst fear, facing yourself.  You might need to open your mind to new or different ideas or perspectives, or make new friends and associations.  Or you might realize you need to better cherish the older relationships you have.  Still, you might find yourself unavailable to the same people who expect you in your usual place, obliged to their assessments on your life.  That's a good thing.

Life can feel filled with difficulty and we can take ourselves way too seriously.  We often prioritize all other needs before our own (because "we have to") and spend only imaginary hours anticipating the life and love we want.  For some reason when we place "finding love" first on our priority list, we feel like we are potentially risking everything else.  That, right there, is the rub.  Society makes us absolutely fearful of risking making a living in this world.  Somehow the primitive mind didn't have that to worry about.  Love and connection improved civilization.  We are absolutely afraid to:

  1. risk being able to support ourselves financially to pursue notions of love.
  2. risk looking like we don't have all the answers.
  3. risk looking like we don't fit "the mold."
  4. risk looking like a fraud if we ruin the image we want others to have of us.
  5. risk looking weak from being vulnerable.
  6. risk being in our little, safe comfortable spaces.
  7. risk being held responsible for our actions, and errors.
  8. risk feeling in control.
  9. risk being a sucker for love.
  10. risk being hurt.

I have felt these same turbulent emotions along the way, but I can't think of a single incident in my life where I made a risk for Love and it caused my world to crash around me.  I've made risks for money, and have lost money.  I have made risks with false pride and lost friendships.  I have made risks for the conditional "it-needs-to-be-done-this-way-to-work" kind of love and subsequently experienced MAJOR heartache and loss.  I have made risks for lust and, eh, you win some you lose some.  Be careful.  But my risks in Love have delivered nothing but huge payoffs.  Working toward a union of ideas and practices which make the relationship feel full, yet selfless, has been worthwhile in spite of the the scary and unfamiliar experiences that came with it.  I want more of that, not so much for the material gains but for the whole, healthy way it makes me, and others, feel.

Loneliness is an insecurity and a stillness of the heart.  We can try to romance or sex ourselves into the heart.  There's nothing like stirring it up below the waist to get hearts beating.  That practice easily mimics the feeling of a love connection.  We can try to spend our way into the heart.  It gives us the achievement and security fix we crave.  We can try to feed happiness into our hearts because it equates the loving feeling of nourishment, and there are still more, other, manipulations.  Or we can try to ignore loneliness altogether.  But the only way to overcome the loneliness, the fears, and the life associated with it is to listen to the heart, follow it, and be nonjudgemental of what it prompts us to do.  Mostly, we need to be patient with our hearts (ourselves) as we walk out its fulfillment.  Before love - and sometimes again - is loneliness.  Be quiet, be patient, and listen to your heart stir.  It's making Love.  And there is no time like the present for making Love.

PARADOX Review: Ma'at and the Victory Run

Welcome to the PARADOX Review Webisode #1 - [LoveRules segment]

My guest this episode is Ma'at Petrova of The Refinement Group. We sit down after her vigorous weekly, open, psychophysical fitness training session, The Victory Run, in Prospect Park, Brooklyn.  We talk about love, personal growth and transformation, sex, and naked yoga!  Don't ask, just watch.  And fellas, she makes a series of comments starting at 16:47 that I'm sure will get a reaction out of you or at least stir your thoughts.  Check it out, and make room for more!

Animal Spirits

Have you heard of Spiritual Literacy?

If "spirit" = "breath" by definition, and animal life facilitates the processes of mechanical aeration and chemical respiration that occur in nature, then animals (and plants) can be understood as earth spirits, literally and scientifically.  They are the parts of the global breathing apparatus that supply air, food, and energy within our ecosystem.

While this might not be a very detailed description of what's occuring in nature, it is valid and more than suitable scientific information that our ancient forebears could reasonably pass on to future generations.  In fact, narratives about woodland spirits (including The Lorax), apparently have also conveyed far more an understanding of "oneness" and a responsibility to nature than a discussion of scientific mechanics ever has - a global discussion and understanding that we are only getting around to now.  It's enough indication that the word "primitive" to describe our ancestors, should probably be replaced by "primary."

- Convergicon

 

Gift Giving Season at The Table of Truth

Hey there!  I've just posted another article over at The Table of Truth.  It's the second part of a series of ideas that I am focusing on to share some insight with guys (and women too) interested in tweaking their relationship potential.

If you like what you read, please share with a friend or lover, and check me on Facebook or Twitter.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!  More good stuff coming so subscribe and stay tuned!

A New Look + Writing for The Table of Truth

I just posted my first blog in a while.  As you might have noticed, I've rebranded my site to bring all my content under one roof and unify the topics that I'm passionate about.  I hope you like it.  Subscribe here and share with a friend.  In the meantime, read the latest post.  It's hosted with the creative fellas over at The Table of Truth, where I'll be blogging twice monthly.  It's called:

"At Least One Good Reason Men Should Listen to Women More Often"

I'm looking forward to an awesome year, and this is the beginning.

Your #1 Most Valued Trait in a Relationship

While preparing to take a business trip out west, a friend of mine decided to ask his girlfriend along, and surprise her with an engagement ring.  He took her to one of the National Parks.  In that park is a mountain called Angel's Peak.  He told me it's one of the most beautiful places he's ever seen.

"Man! That's amazing," I said.  You wanted to take your angel to Angel's Peak and  share the most beautiful place you've been with most beautiful person in your life.

"Well, not really," he said.  "This mountain has been here thousands of years, and will most likely still be here long after we're gone.  I wanted to propose to her in a place that represented "Permanence."

I thought that was one of the greatest things I'd ever heard!  Let's look at a mountain.  It represents ideas like strength, protection, reliability.  These aren't qualities my friend picked up recently.  He's been practicing them a while.  When we were young, his parents split up.  As a result he had moved around the country a couple of times.  I've had other friends who've moved away and we've never stayed in touch.  But he has maintained contact with all his friends all the while, no matter where they are.  And he's always willing to help, when you need him.  He wanted to create examples of permanence in his life.

Everyone is looking for permanence, right?  It can be tough in a society that has a short-term, disposable attitude toward everything.  But my friend, despite challenges, is saying, "I'm here.  I ain't going anywhere."  He can say that because he's worked at it.  And because he's worked at it, he knows what he's looking for.  It took a little time for him to find it, but it was worth it.  It can take us all a little time to find what we're looking for.  It's okay, though, because it gives us time to practice.  And that's fantastic!

LIfe gives all of us a bunch of challenges.  We can let the hardships break us, or we can summon the qualities that help us adapt, be stronger, and even change the cycle of our lives.  For my friend, that meant imparting some of the permanence he desired.

What does this mean for you?  What are some qualities you value in a relationship?  Could you name 3 of them; or maybe there's one you're working on the most, and wouldn't mind sharing in the comment section below.  Go ahead.  Claim it.

Make room for more.

9 Steps to Remarkable Success in Love - Part 3

[This is the final part of Remarkable Success in Love, a LoveRules reinterpretation of Jeff Haden's 9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successfully People from Inc.com.]

  1. Be Yourself - This step on the "9 Beliefs" article didn't really align with what I'm trying to say, so let me tweak it a bit.  If you find that you are always putting on an act when meeting people, stop a moment.  You want to be appreciated for who you are?  You want people to like you, for you?  There are many internet sites that can give you steps on how to be more likeable.  There are professional courses offered that do this as well.  "Ask questions to create conversation."  "Orient the conversation around the person you want to like you." It takes practice and can be worthwhile.  But if you want to be appreciated for yourself, after LoveRules #1, the next thing is to appreciate others.  Stop being judgemental of other people's quirks and idiosyncrasies.  Always having something superficially critical to say about others isn't cute.  Have a little more patience and be accepting of others and you'll find people more patient and accepting of you.  People will receive you, as you receive yourself and as you receive others.
  2. The Extra Mile - The extra mile is not how freaky you can get in bed.  Well... it could be.  And if it is, still, please add more depth to your game.  The extra mile is what you owe yourself, first.  How open will you allow yourself to be to possibility, to opportunity? Will you try again when you're a little depressed? Will you try again when you've written off Love? Will you allow yourself a little forgiveness?  These will allow you to go the extra mile for others.  Have an open ear when someone is apologizing for an honest mistake.  Be a real friend to someone you've only known a short time, even if the romance didn't work out.  To be thoughtful and creative about what might interest your partner instead of thinking only about yourself.  That's the extra mile.  All that adds up in making you more lovable, and you'll feel good too.  And that's attractive.  I'm just saying.

Simple enough, right?  I hope this helps stir some thoughts.  Perhaps these ideas were new to you, maybe you've heard them before.  But like I was saying, sometimes we know what to do to be successful, but can we consistently follow through our steps to see the results?  How strong are our beliefs?  How serious are we?

If you were able to have a life surrounded by things you are most attracted to, would you consider that success?  Most people say yes.  Is Love one of those things?

Make room for more.

9 Steps to Remarkable Success in Love - Part 1

I recently read an article about "success," written by Jeff Haden, Inc.com.  Don't get wrapped around that word just yet.  I'm not about to talk money or business.  Success is like beauty, it's in the eye of the beholder, a subjective matter.  Some hear the word and think of financial success, others envision their dream careers.  Every person defines success a little differently.  And by now you know I'm all about defining things differently.  Still, certain principles of action carry across all areas of life.  Welcome to the world of physical laws.

The same principles that create success in your favorite hobby or your career are similar to what I share on LoveRules.  Although some of my readers might think LoverRules is purely about romantic love, it's fundamentally about Love, at large.  Universal Love.  Love, the attractive force.  Let me ask you a question:

 

If you were able to have a life surrounded by the things you are most attracted to, would you consider that success?

 

For most, the answer is yes. Here is the article from Inc.com about success principles.  It's called 9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People.  Read it and come right back, it's quick.  No wait, read it later.  ;)

At first, I didn't like the title of that article, but actually it's good.  It inspired me to write a parallel LoveRules piece because two important questions are asked:

  1. What kind of life do you want... a remarkable one?
  2. It also asks you to consider what makes things remarkable... the strength of your beliefs.  What are your beliefs?

I find the limitations of a person's beliefs are a major obstacle to having Love in one's life, the way they want.  That's because we're conditioned to think it's a notion reserved for fantasy.  Yet, we want it in all its fairytale glory.  So as Lauren (my wife) says, how do we get over the fairy tales and just get the dream?

How would LoveRules reinterpret these same "9 Belief success" steps to create Love in your life? Let me go step by step:

  1. Time - First, establish honestly with yourself what you want, then commit to aligning yourself to those ideals in your off hours.  This is personal work, self-development. Are you for real?
  2. People - Tired of the party people and one night standers? Stop going to clubs.  Want someone who is focused on their career?  Spend less time with your gaming buddies and join a meet-up for professionals instead.  Like my friend Bassam Tarazi likes to say, "You'll lose friends along the way."  See Lesson # 18.

I'll stop there for now.  Thanks for reading.  Stay tuned Part 2 of this installment, coming shortly.