RSS Feed

Fulfilling childhood (and adult) dreams

Fulfilling childhood (and adult) dreams.

Being a Great Dad

scan0005It is always interesting for me when I look at how I am as a Dad and it is even more interesting when I look at how the little boy in me (Little Adrian) reacts and acts when I am being either a great Dad or a not so great Dad. Having six children from the blended family that I have created I do have my challenges on how to be this great Dad that I expect of myself and am aware of the inner child in me that has to also with with this journey. Little Adrian feels safe and secure when I am in a ‘great Dad’ space and gets scared and confused when I am not as it brings up memories of when I was a child and my own father was not so great. We had many great moments, but these memories and feelings are often not as prominent for Little Adrian when I am in a not great Dad space.

Having just moved through a somewhat challenging time with one of my children and dealing with the emotions and feelings that were attached to that, it has been a wonderful opportunity for me to ‘look at me’ and to look at how I am as a Dad. Apart from being a Mother, I believe that being a Dad is probably one of the most challenging jobs on the planet. Given that, it is also the most rewarding. I know that the rewards that I have received far outweigh the challenges and continue to be so.

So, what is it to be a great Dad?

For me there are a few ways to determine what it is that constitutes being a great Dad. First and foremost it is to stand by and watch and love and support my children in whatever it is that they choose to do with their lives – even if it is challenging to watch and see them ‘making mistakes.’ As we know when we are true with this, it is often through our ‘mistakes’ that we get the most learning. Watching my children make their ‘mistakes’ is a challenge and sometime I really just want to rescue them and tuck them up in my arms – even if some of them are over 6 feet tall!

Standing back is not always easy and it takes much courage and discipline to stay out of their experiences. Knowing when to step in and when not too is always going to be a controversial issue – especially between the children and the parents. My policy is that if my children are in a high danger situation or are in a position where they may endanger someone else, then I step in.

As I was a wild youth myself – and having experienced ‘walking the wild side’, I am often caught in a flux by knowing what that wild side is and being scared that my children might get caught up and stuck in it on the one hand, and knowing that I came through it with many good life lessons on the other. Somehow it all seemed okay for me to have experienced this but part of me is scared for my own children. Learning to deal with this has been a challenge. My eldest son spent a couple of years deployed overseas with the Australian army in Afghanistan and Iraq – now that was quite a challenge on many levels  – and I know that some of the others have dabbled with drugs and alcohol and that also was scary for me – as I know the bad side effects of both.

So, back to being a great Dad and what it is that makes me/us able to claim that we are one. Being the ‘Loving Brick Wall’ for me is an essential part of being a great Dad. Being the last bastion of strength when they try to push the boundaries is a role that I take on with my family. I strongly believe that at some point there has to be someone – The Dad in this case – who stands strong and solid and teaches children that NO means NO and that somethings are no go zones. I have clear boundaries with some of these things and the children have learned that my NO means NO – it is not a MAYBE. This is not always an easy position to hold, but I find that the alternative is having children that grow up not knowing what a strong boundary is – and the consequences of this are all to apparent when we see and experience children who have not had this in their lives. The analogy that I use is – If I do not teach my children that a red traffic light means stop – I put them and others in danger. They have to learn when it is time to go and time to stop and I see it as my role as being the one to sometimes be that red light.

As we, my wife and I, say to our children when challenged with a situation of letting them have or do something that we feel is not in their highest interest to receive, ” we feel that by supporting that we are not showing our love for you – by supporting that we are actually saying we don’t care – and we do”.

So, to all the Dad’s out there – well done if you are stepping up to being a great Dad – it’s not always easy!

Get in the kitchen – and get baking – and create ‘The Great Dad Cake’

Ingredients: 3 eggs, 150 grams of sugar, 200 grams of self-raising flour, 150 grams of butter, 50 grams of grated dark chocolate, 30 grams of cocoa powder, few drops of vanilla essence, juice of one orange, grated orange rind, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, 100ml of milk.

Method: Mix 150 grams of softened butter with the sugar and eggs and beat until creamy. Add grated chocolate, nutmeg, vanilla essence, cocoa powder and flour and milk into a bowl and mix until creamy and smooth.

The icing mixture is made with 75 grams of icing sugar, 50 grams of butter, a few drops of vanilla essence, a couple of squares of dark chocolate finely grated and 20 grams of cocoa powder. Mix it all together until smooth and creamy. Add to top and middle of cake after cake is cool. (You will have to cut the cake in half to add mixture to middle!).

To bake: Put cake mixture into a greased or lined cake tin (approx 20cms wide) and bake for approx 33-45 minutes at approx 190 C. All ovens are different so adapt to how yours works for you.

For more info on Adrian’s men’s work go to: http://www.EmpoweringMen.org

Celebrating 20 Years of Men’s Work – with a few words and a Yummy Cake!

IMAG0988Time has gone so quickly. As I step into the new year of 2014, I am aware that I am now 50 years old and that I have been working in men’s work for 20 years. I feel that this milestone needs some words – and a good cake – to celebrate this moment. The young boy in me loves to eat cake and I love to bake for him and stay in touch with this side of my nature.

Where did it all start?  It all started back in 1993, after a group of men, including myself, decided to start a men’s group in Hobart, Tasmania, where I was living at the time. This group of seven men connected after attending a spiritual retreat together. We met every Tuesday evening for about two years. We met in a church hall belonging to the  the All Saint’s Church – so we became the All Saints – a wonderful name for a men’s group.

Now, 20 years later, I can look back on that time as a time of new beginnings and insights into the wide world of men’s work and often reflect upon my own fears, challenges, struggles and naivety during that time. It was a time of exploring my own relationship to myself and to men and to what it meant to be in relationship with my wife and other people. I had three children at the time (now I have six) and I was trying to get a deeper sense of what life was all about. Steve Biddulph’s book – Manhood was hot off the press and men’s groups were popping up all over Australia and in other countries around he world.

The men in the group were from different walks of life, in terms of their social, educational, political and spiritual/religious beliefs and connections; each one walking their unique path in the world. Acknowledging and honouring our differences and learning to work with all of our different temperaments and personalities was an interesting journey. Learning to sit and listen, speak our truth, share our vulnerabilities,  step into our doubts and fears and  committing to meet each week was not always easy and yet we managed to do this for over two years. Some meetings were pretty layed back and easy going whilst others were, from my perspective at least, sometimes terrifying or very profound.

One of the biggest learning’s and gifts that I received from being part of the All Saints Men’s Group was allowing myself to be honoured by the other men and to honour myself in a new way. Allowing this honouring into my Soul has helped me to stand in my power and truth on many occasions when I have felt challenged in this area of my life. Being a facilitator of men’s groups is by no means an easy task, especially when the men choose, or are directed to go beyond being just a chat and share group. Had I not integrated this honouring into my being, I certainly would have given up this work (read – run away) years ago. Dealing with people’s reactions, judgements, projections, anger, rudeness, fears, doubts, whingeing, lateness, lack of commitment, lack of communication and a myriad of other things, is not always so easy when sitting in the position of a facilitator, and sometimes it takes a good deal of self-honouring and self-control to be able to sit in a space and experience this.

Right now, with this experience behind me, I am in a wonderful and fortunate position of being able to see and recognize where most men are in terms of their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual journey as a man. This helps me to support and guide, and even positively challenge them in this work and to be an effective and clear facilitator.  I love my men’s work and love to experience men stepping in and challenging themselves to grow and expand; this is a big part of why I do this work – this is what feeds and fills my Soul.

I remember one man, who was part of a group that I was running, turning up having never been to a men’s meeting before and breaking down in tears in the first five minutes. He was so overwhelmed with the energy and safety of the group that he let himself go and release years of pent up emotion. These moments are precious and very special for all men who get to witness such moments and it never ceases to amaze me how often and how easily men fall into their emotions once a safe and held space is created. It is a very empowering and sacred space – hence the names I use – Empowering Men and Sacred Men’s Circles.

After sitting in circle with hundreds of men around the world in different settings and feeling the need for much more of this work to happen in the world, I have made a decision to expand and deepen my men’s work and I look forward to meeting up with and working with many more men around the world. I know from my own experience and from hearing what others have to say about this work, that it not only helps the men who attend, but also helps their partners, children, families and communities.

Finally I would like to extend my gratitude and deep thanks to all the men who have chosen to sit in circle with me – it is always a privilege and honour for me and I do not take the position of being a men’s group facilitator lightly, as I know that it often takes a certain amount of trust and courage for men to allow themselves to be guided and challenged by another man.

Please take a moment to help me celebrate my 20 years of men’s work and perhaps even take the time out to make a cake from the recipe below and share it with other men (and women) in honour of all the men’s work happening around the world.

IMG_4717  The Celebration Cake recipe:

Ingredients: 3 eggs, 150 grams of sugar, 200 grams of self-raising flour, 150 grams of butter, 50 grams of grated chocolate, 30 grams of cocoa powder, few drops of vanilla essence, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, 100ml of milk.

Method: Mix 150 grams of softened butter with the sugar and eggs and beat until creamy. Add grated chocolate, nutmeg, vanilla essence, cocoa powder and flour and milk into a bowl and mix until creamy and smooth.

The icing mixture is made with 75 grams of icing sugar, 50 grams of butter, a few drops of vanilla essence and 20 grams of cocoa powder. Mix it all together until smooth and creamy. Add to top and middle of cake after cake is cool. (You will have to cut the cake in half to add mixture to middle!).

To bake: Put cake mixture into a greased or lined cake tin (approx 20cms wide) and bake for approx 33-45 minutes at approx 190 C. All ovens are different so adapt to how yours works for you.

For more info on Adrian’s men’s work go to: www.EmpoweringMen.org

The Future Potential Self

IMG_6667I have been working with quite a number of clients just recently with some personal coaching and a big part of the process that I use to support people is to get them to discover, create, step into and become what I call ‘The Future Potential Self’‘.  This creative and empowering process gives the client ‘a taste’ of what the future might hold for them from a new, more empowered position; from the position of this Future Potential Self (FPS).

When we learn to step into this position (of the FPS) we can get a more potent and clear vision of how this future place can be for us. Whether this place that we visualize is one week, one month or one year away, we can begin to imagine it and get a sense of what steps we need to take to get there. I developed this process many years ago from other similar processes that I have experienced and often use it for myself as well as for my clients. For many years I used the power name ‘Master Adrian‘ to connect me to my FPS, but just recently I changed it to ‘Creative, Intelligent Adrian’. This is the energy, the person, the being, that I try and aim to be in my life. ‘Creative, Intelligent Adrian’ is my vision of my FPS and is the foundation that I try to work from every day.

When I work with clients I get them to imagine their own FPS and get them to name him or her. Every client I have ever worked with has found a name for their FPS. When they first step into this new persona, this new energy, there is always a moment of grounded raw, powerful energy that the client feels. It is in this moment that they ‘get it’ and feel and understand exactly what their future potential can offer them. It is from this new place; this FPS, that we can learn to operate, communicate and live from. As we learn to ‘become’ this new FPS, it is as if the future moves to meet us as we move towards meeting it. Our goals and dreams and plans seem to ‘arrive’ quicker than they would generally. It is as if the Universe wants to meet our goals, our dreams, our demands and conspires to deliver at an advanced speed.

We have this empowering FPS to work with, however, on the other hand, we have to deal with other aspects of our being; other aspects that are not as future orientated, and sometime ‘wanting’ us to stay stuck, comfortable or trapped. These other aspects of ourselves often keep us from reaching our goals and dreams and it is these aspects of ourselves that we need to communicate with and overcome or tame if we are to move ahead. It is from the position of the FPS that we can make real dialogue with these other aspects of ourselves and, from my own experience and from working with hundreds of people with this, I have come to understand and believe that this is the ONLY place that we can be in if we are to truly overcome these other selves. From this empowered position we can learn to speak with conviction, power and strength and from here we can move ahead with confidence and clarity.

My own ‘Little Adrian’s’ who keep me small and stuck can learn to be safe with ‘Creative, Intelligent Adrian’ around and learn that they do not have to act in ways that are not in my highest interest. When I am in my power and in my FPS energy I am less likely to be reactive or judgmental or in any fear or doubt, which makes my decision making and my actions more conscious and clear and acceptable and then the Little Adrian’s do not need to be active or present. What a relief!

Perhaps you might like to take a moment to test this out for yourself and find your own power name and see if you can get a glimpse of your own Future Potential Self. This is a very fun and creative way to help you to move forward in your life to help you reach your goals and dreams, like many of my clients do every single week.

To celebrate our future let’s bake a cake. This cake is a Sweet Almond Meal Cake.

Ingredients: 300 grams of almond meal, 150 grams of sugar, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 3 eggs, 150 grams of butter (melted), 50mls of milk, 30-40 grams of finely grated chocolate.

Method: Mix almond meal, sugar, grated chocolate and baking powder together in a bowl. In another bowl mix eggs, milk and butter. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix thoroughly with a fork and then for 1 minute with a electric mixer or for 4 minutes by hand with a whisk.

Put mixture into a cake tin, I use a silicon mold which I do not need to grease, and bake for about 30-35 minutes at 180-190 degrees centigrade. Cool for a few minutes and then turn out onto a rack or plate.

As you can see, it disappears very quickly!

Star cake

Honouring ‘The Punk’

PUNK 3Today I would like to share something about an aspect, or part of me,  that I call ‘The Punk’. When I was only 13, back in 1976, Punk Rock started to come onto the music and fashion scene in the UK, and by 1977, thanks mainly to the Sex Pistols and their song, God Save the Queen, which was released during the Queen of England’s Silver Jubilee, Punk Rock was spreading fast across the western world. It really rocked the establishment and the media hype helped to escalate the Sex Pistols and other other punk bands to the top of the music charts and into the minds and souls of the youth. Punks took to the streets and attended concerts in their thousands and a new brand of music and culture etched its way into the world.

Getting caught up in all the media, music, social and school boy hype and excitement of Punk Rock, I created The Punk and developed my own Punk persona. With a ‘fuck you’ fashion statement of wearing safety pins, ripped up tee-shirts, tight trousers, ear-rings and crazy hair-dos, I got into the Punk scene along with 1000’s of others. My childhood innocence hidden behind a mask of colour, pseudo anarchy and bravado.

30 or more years later, as I reflect on those wild Punk years, I can see how The Punk became the protector and the defender of the more timid Little Adrian. I can see now, with the gift of hindsight, how The Punk built his persona so that he could help Little Adrian to be safe from the world. It is now, all these years later, that I can really honour that aspect of myself; that part of my persona. The Punk really was an amazing part of me and I am in deep gratitude for the way in which he protected the more sensitive side of my nature. Had The Punk not developed and held up his bravado, I am not sure if Little Adrian would have survived the teenage years without becoming a lost soul. The punk bravado helped to hide away the fears and doubts and insecurities that had crept in when I was a few years younger.

Working with, and honouring, The Punk has been a beautiful unfolding of deeper realizations and gratitude for me as I get to see how he became this protector. Even today, if I am in a situation of needing to protect someone in a challenging, dangerous or threatening situation, I can feel the energy of The Punk. He is alive and well and lives deep inside my soul. Thankfully these days I have the ability (most of the time), to choose when and where he can be present.

As a married man of nearly 50 years old, sometimes old aspects of myself, including The Punk, pop up in situations, or at times, when it is definitely not appropriate. I know that for my wife; my woman, The Punk is not always welcome and is certainly not appealing for her when she is in ‘Woman mode’. However, if we are in a street in Cape Town, South Africa and we are suddenly caught up in a tricky situation, then The Punk is very welcome! The trick is to know when and where to bring these ‘sometimes useful’ aspects of our being out into the open and when to keep them out of the way.

In honour of The Punk I have made a Punk Cake. I trust that you will enjoy making and eating The Punk cake too, if you choose to spend some time being creative in your kitchen. When I spend time in the kitchen with my inner child(ren), I often like to play music from a certain time period to help me connect back. This cake making process was no different – the kitchen was alive with Punk Rock music. The Clash (my favourite punk band) was blaring from the speakers and I managed to get in a few wild dances between mixing and baking!

Ingredients: 200 grams of semolina flour, 100 grams of self raising flour, 200 grams of butter, 200 grams of sugar, 3 eggs, 60 grams of grated chocolate, 100 mls milk, 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon of bi-carbonate of soda, teaspoon of  ground nutmeg, grated lemon rind from the lemon.

Soft icing for middle and top. 150 grams of soft butter, 120 grams of icing sugar (may need to be sifted), 50 grams of dessicated coconut, a few drops of vanilla essence and a food colouring of your choice (try to use a natural colouring, I use 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder). Mix together until smooth.

Method: Mix all the dry ingredients together ( flours, sugar, bi-carb, grated chocolate, nutmeg) in a bowl. In another bowl, mix the softened or melted and cooled butter, eggs and the juice of the lemon together. Add all the ingredients together and mix for 2 minutes with mixer or 4 minutes with hand whisk. Place into a greased or buttered cake tin – I use an 18cm round cake tin. Bake for 30 – 35 mins at 200 degrees. Cool the cake on a wire rack and then add soft icing to top of the cake in a Punk fashion!

punk cake

It’s so good to be back

scan0005It is so good to be back writing this blog again. I have been missing the Boy and the Cake writing process and also missing the connections and comments from all of the readers. For those of you who are knew, or may have forgotten, this is how this blog started. Whilst in the middle of a psycho-therapeutic process with my wife Arleen (who is a counsellor and pschotherapist like myself), I remembered back to a time when I was about 8 years old and at work with my Father and his friend Gordon, who were both builders. We were having a morning tea break and the woman that they (my Dad and Gordon) were working for asked if they would like to have a nice cup of fresh tea. “Yes, thank you – that woud be lovely” says Gordon “and if you have a nice slice of cake to go with the cup of tea, that would be wonderful.” You see Gordon was a great believer in asking for what he wanted and whilst in the process with Arleen this story came up in my memory to support, and remind me, about asking for (and receiving) what I want in my life. The Boy and the Cake was born and I now continue to write about the journey of Little Adrian (the younger me) and Master Adrian (the current me).

Each week and each day and each moment, we are all in a continual journey of moving from being in our present and current aged self, to returning to and being in the energy and memory or experience of a past, younger part of ourselves. As new experiences arrive each moment of every day, we move and shift from our various reactions, projections and judgements, fears, doubts and old belief systems and then often revert back to this earlier, younger self and start acting, feeling, thinking or being this past, younger self. In many therapeutic fields this work is known as ‘Inner Child’ work. Becoming aware of all that is going on for us every day and then challenging ourselves to work in a way so that we grow and develop ourselves to overcome many of our unconsious, and often less than positive, behaviours can be a challenge.

This is why I love to write this blog. It gives me the opportunity to explore, discover, challenge and change some of my own behaviours, beliefs and thoughts and also give other people the opportunity to do the same. I also love to offer up a cake recipe each time I write as a reminder of Gordon’s and my story. So please, enjoy the Boy and the Cake and also enjoy the cake should you venture into the journey of following the recipe and baking a cake for yourself.

This weeks cake is a Mango and Almond Cake – the mangos are abundant here this time of year and I love almonds!

Ingredients:   2 fresh mangos (cut into small pieces) or one 400gram tin of mango pieces. 100 grams of almond meal, 250 grams of self raising flour, 250 grams of sugar, 3 eggs, 200 grams of softened butter.

Method: Mix eggs, butter and sugar togrther with mixer for 1 minute. Add all other ingredients and mix for a further 1-2 minutes until soft and well mixed. Place the mixture into the cake tin – about 30cms round size – I usd a star shaped tin. bake for approx 20 – 25 minutes at 180-190 C. If there is a bit too much mixture – make a few small cakes in pattie tins.  Cool and eat!  Yum.                                 I use organic ingredients wherever possible.

IMAG0122

The Rocket Launcher and the 43 year old blockage!

It feels so good to be back. I have neglected this blog site for a while and now feel that it is time to reconnect and get my fingers tapping away on the keyboard again to bring you more stories and insights about The Boy and the Cake and Master Adrian and Little Adrian.

Today I wish to say something about emotional blockages – actually I want to say something about a 43 year old blockage that I recently discovered, whilst out on an Eco-Soul Bush Experience in the Australian bush, with a group of people a couple of weeks ago. During this day out I had a memory that set off a train of events. The memory was about a toy  ‘Rocket Launcher’.

When I was about 6 years old I was at a school fair and saw, on the ‘White Elephant stall’ a big white Rocket Launcher. It would have been 1969 or 1970 and the Rocket was a model of Apollo 11. Anyway, this Rocket Launcher caught my eye and I wanted it. I am not sure of the full details anymore and am not sure if I just missed out from not being quick enough, or whether I did not have enough money or whether my parents would not or could not buy it for me, or whether it was some other story. Whatever the story was, I did not get my Rocket Launcher that day, and somewhere that incident, that experience has stayed locked in my memory; in my subconscious,for 43 years and then BAM- it comes to the surface and I start to uncover that this subconscious memory/experience has driven much of my behaviour for all these years.

That Rocket Launcher story has, on many many levels, played itself out over and over again in my life and when I stepped in to work with it and change the subconscious story and programming and see what it was all about, I was overwhelmed with emotion. Arleen, my dear wife and therapist, coached me through a Life Alignment session and I got to uncover and re-program a lot of old beliefs. I had a clear image of where this story has affected the way I inter-acted in certain situations and could see how this has impacted on me and others around me throughout my life.

Even the name of the boy who bought the Rocket Launcher came to mind – Gary S******. Yes, his name and the whole ‘movie’ of the incident came flooding back to me. It was as if I were standing over myself and watching myself 43 years ago – in full HD colour.

The power of the mind is incredible, and our old experiences can easily block us in so many ways, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. This old blockage of mine was deep within me and uncovering it, working with it, and putting it to rest, has been a great experience for me. I am so thankful for having the skills to uncover and work with these type of challenges and am also thankful of having Arleen beside me to support me in it all.

So, in light of this unblocking, Little Adrian has one less thing to carry and Master Adrian has one more thing to take on and look after – what a relief!

To celebrate my breakthrough Little Adrian and I made a cake together – A Grated Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:  3 eggs, 300 grams self raising flour, 200 grams sugar, 200 grams of softened butter, 1/2 cup of milk, 80 grams of organic dark chocolate, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence.

For those of you who want to add icing.

Icing: 100 grams icing sugar – sieved, 20 grams of the grated chocolate, 80 grams of butter. Mix well until smooth.

Method: Pre-heat oven to 190-200 C. Grate the chocolate (80 grams). Use an electric mixer and blend the eggs, sugar and butter until well mixed. Add the milk and vanilla essence and chocolate and mix in well.  Slowly add the flour and mix in well. Put the mixture in a lined cake tin. I use a 25cm round cake tin.  bake for 25-30 minutes.

For adding icing sugar mixture.

When the cake is cool, cut cake in half and add 1/2 of the icing mixture on the bottom half and smooth out. Add the other 1/2 of the mixture to the top of the cake and smooth it over the top.