Rebuilding my Hard Body with Care

by Tony Steenson, Bricklayer, Goonellabah, Australia

I use a lot of cement in my work as a bricklayer, but it isn’t just the cement that goes hard – I noticed I was turning into a lump of concrete too as I realised I had been creating a very hard body. For a long time it had all been about getting the job done, it didn’t matter what price my body paid.

WORK HARD + PLAY HARD = HARD BODY

The hard body I had wasn’t necessarily a physical description of my body, it was also how it felt from the inside out. It was like your hand when it makes a fist – it goes all tight and hard and feels very constrictive. That’s how my body felt, very tight and constricting, all locked in, my shoulders and chest especially so, but also my internal organs were like they wanted to be a fist as well.

Of course I was going to have a hard body because I treated myself very hard: I worked hard, I played hard and I became hard.

Whilst growing up, sometimes when I hurt myself my father would say to me “Is it bleeding?”. If I replied “no“, then he would say that it didn’t hurt.

But it did.

As I grew up I took on dad’s sayings more and more, to the point where I wouldn’t even stop when I hurt myself at work… or if it was bleeding a lot I would just wrap it up with my old friend, Mr. gaffa tape.

I am in no way blaming dad for the lack of care I gave myself. I was under the impression that to be a man I couldn’t show pain or emotion; to do so would be considered weak and feminine and I so didn’t want that because I was a man. From a young age boys are given all sorts of lines to try to make them stop showing their emotions or sharing their feelings – this is not ok. Boys are just as fragile and caring as girls, but society is crushing that.

I was ignoring how my body was physically feeling. I didn’t see the point in taking the time to tend to myself properly and I saw myself as fairly tough that I was able to work on despite an injury or not feeling well.

REBUILDING MY MACHINE, AKA MY BODY

I put my job before me.

I basically turned myself into a machine, one that could work at the same pace day in day out, sunshine or no shine. Hard and fast was how I lived and worked.

But what I forgot was that a machine needs regular maintenance or eventually it will need to be re-built. And that’s what I have been doing of late… re-building myself back to that original, pristine condition that we all first came here in.

What has been of importance is why did I choose to spend most of my life neglecting how my body was functioning?

I can honestly say that I thought I was indestructible, that my body would just keep going and going until I was older and then I would die, and if it did happen to stop along the way then a doctor would fix me up so I could keep going.

Real men were tough and only felt pain if they lost an arm or something, so I thought (isn’t it bizarre what we consider to be manly traits?).

I also thought that I wasn’t that important – that I was just a bricklayer, but that has changed. I am a son of God just as you are and we deserve to take care in everything regarding our bodies.

These days I take great care of myself and my body is showing it and feeling it. I am quite toned physically but I don’t have the hard body I used to have, or feel hard inside. Because I am taking care of my outside in a loving way, it is allowing me to be more tender and loving, and my inside feels exquisite.

Inspired by the work of Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine

141 thoughts on “Rebuilding my Hard Body with Care

  1. Tony, another divine sharing. Something that every man needs to read. Time for me to share this in the social media, so it can go viral!

  2. Tony, I too used to have a super hard body, from they way I exercised and competed, worked and talked. I was so hard on myself, really self critical and would exude aggression as a way of defence. Yet everything I did was to cover the fact that I am delicate and tender. My brick wall was built around my heart and I had no respect for my body. Like you said, I thought I could punish my body physically and it would simply keep going as I was indestructible.

    Now thanks to the inspiration of Serge Benhayon, Universal Medicine and its students like yourself, I have been able to remove that wall from around my heart and develop a tender interior that is reflected by the physically fit but gentle body that I now nurture, respect and care for on every level.

    1. Love this Rachel…”physically fit but gentle body”… Taking care of ourselves does not mean ‘doing nothing’ but just learning to do activities (including exercise and our work) in a different way and in a different quality that simply starts with and takes its queue ‘from’ the body, not an external approach that imposes ‘on’ or ‘at’ the body.

    2. What I’ve found amazing to notice lately is how having harsh and self-critical thoughts are reflected back to me through my body. The body is such an amazing truth-teller – however much I’ve tried to not listen to its messages, the way I am with myself is being constantly reflected back to me in the mirror, like it or not.

  3. Tony, this is fantastic how you are breaking the illusion that ‘real men have to be tough’. Put a puppy or a baby into a tough man’s hands and we’ll quickly see his tenderness – a tenderness that we, as men, have kept hidden from the world for a long, long time. Great to see a brickie leading the way!

    1. I agree – it’s so fantastic to read a blog that breaks the ‘tough guy’ mold, I love seeing the tenderness of men and why hide something that is so exquisitely beautiful?

  4. Tony, it’s wonderful that you have ‘re-built’ your body back to its original tenderness and true strength through connecting and allowing your feelings. It is so interesting to hear you talk about what it is like to be a man in today’s world and the pressures from young to ‘harden up’. It is absolutely true what you say, boys/men are just as sensitive and tender as girls/women. I have two boys and your story is an inspiration for myself as a parent and for them looking for true role models in the world. Thank you for sharing that that there is another way which comes from our understanding that we are here to express as Sons of God – and not just here to ‘get through’.

    1. “We are here to express as Sons of God – and not just here to ‘get through'” – a great reminder. Thank you, Sarah.

  5. This blog has brought tears to my eyes Tony. All you have written has so touched me. It so clearly shows what men have to contend with, and how, through beautiful men like you who have chosen to really feel what is happening, the next generation will have a real chance of living lovingly. So much of what you say also applies to women – the hardness, the imagined indestructibility, and the feeling of not being ‘important’ in the temporal scheme of things and so not worth looking after. The issue of identification with our jobs aside (and the energy in which we work), it is incredible how society would not totally value a ‘bricklayer’- after all we would have nothing to live in or work in!

    When I first came up here to Northern NSW and could not get a job in the Universities here (they do not teach Eng. Lit.) I took work as a cleaner and it was amazing to feel the difference in the way people treated me. I didn’t take it personally, but it was really noticeable. I was exactly the same person simply doing a different job – a job that felt beautiful and valuable in the way it harmonised a space that would then hold people when they came home from a busy day at work.

    Thanks Tony for your pioneering work!

    1. Lyndy, you brought up a great point in how society doesn’t value certain occupations. In my profession it is often said what we think doesn’t matter… we’re just brickies or what would we know we can only lay bricks. It is ridiculous because we can hear and see what society is saying about our job and place that upon ourselves and then we are locked into this certain way of being.

      Every profession – whether it be trolley collector or radiologist – has its place and importance in this world but we have to claim the fact that what we are doing is of equal importance.

      1. Great comment Tony. If we look at society we can see there is an incredible dependence and connection we have with each other in this world. To type and send this simple message I depend on many people such as the people who: build computers, make plastic, design software, build electricity stations, maintain the lines… the list goes on and on. And in return they rely on me for using and paying for these facilities which goes towards providing them with an income.

        And without brickies and other tradesman, where would we house all of this?

      2. I agree – the lack of value in certain occupations is shocking, and how some occupations like cleaning are even seen as demeaning. It really demonstrates how little importance we hold on the quality of the job someone does, rather than the actual details of it. And because of the way jobs are treated in general, people hold themselves in that energy – I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a cleaner hold themselves with respect and a sense of pride – yet I’ve always admired what they do.

  6. Tony, what a joy it is to read and feel you re-claiming your tender side. So cool to feel a man bringing his tender self-care to a typically ‘hard’ occupation that bricklaying can be. Thank you.

  7. Another awesome blog and a great eye opener to how men are generally raised to ‘work hard – live hard’ nowadays.

    I work with young children and one lad shared how his father says “suck it up princess” when he shows he’s been hurt physically. It was obvious he feels upset because he’s not being listened to. No wonder men have hardened themselves when this is going on for them since childhood. Male and female bodies have the same senses, so it’s ludicrous to say males don’t feel hurt simply because their bodies are designed to do heavier work.

    It sure is time for society to look at what is being created currently by this approach. It’s wonderful there are more men who now live the beautiful qualities a man naturally has when he is honoured and isn’t hardening himself to cope with life. Thanks for sharing how you have rebuilt your body and life, Tony.

  8. All young boys need to hear this and all parents, teachers and in fact all adults, also need to read it… as you say “Boys are just as fragile and caring as girls, but society is crushing that”. Let’s not allow than anymore. I have seen first hand the tenderness and love young boys naturally exhibit before they start to be ‘crushed’ by society’s many systems, and false ideals and beliefs. This issue is now being aired more than ever before… and your account of your personal experience is an inspiration to all.

  9. Your insides feel exquisite, and so does your outside too Tony. What a powerful healing you offer all men and all women with this blog. You are living proof that a man can work hard and honour his body and his tenderness. Amazing Tony! The world is blessed to have you and your amazing writing. Thank you again for sharing yourself with us all.

  10. Tony – Wow! Such a simple and honest account of your experience. Your analogy of hardening like a ‘fist’ inside rings very true for a lot of men (and women). I can certainly relate to that feeling. By living your true gentleness, you have dispelled the myth that men must be tough, unemotional and desensitised to pain. You’re a shining example.

  11. Thank you all, if I can be a role model for young boys and men, beautiful. I think if the youth of today can get an understanding that being a man is about being free to express his feelings, to be tender and loving then that is great. I am all for it as the role models society puts up are generally not a true man.

  12. Such a great sharing. Thank you. I will print this out, make a few copies, put it on the wall of my son’s room (haha), I will give it to my partner and as many men I can. You really know what you are exposing here and it is beautiful how you opened up and decided to go back to your essence, that pristine, caring boy. You have expressed it all with such simplicity and one can really feel the truth in your words. Thank you so much. Men really need to start honouring how sensitive, tender, lovely, amazing they are.

  13. Thank you Tony, for this exquisite sharing. You are such a lovely tender man and a true inspiration for men and boys, and for women. I have been witness to your personal transformation and it is a joy to know you.

    1. Thanks Anne, I agree that it is a joy to know me. It has only been in recent times that I am finding out who I really am as I had so many different costumes I put on to hide who I really was. I am getting rid of all my outfits and going back to being who I naturally am and yes, it is great.

  14. Thanks for sharing this so openly, Tony. The responsibility you started to take for your body and how you feel on a daily basis is really inspiring.

    1. Thank you Gabriele, responsibility is the key word in your comment. For so long I didn’t want to be responsible for my actions but at some point in life we have to, because our body bears the brunt of all the choices we make, and yes we can get fixed up by medicine and technology but the problem will return unless we decide to look at the choices we made that led us to that point where we needed fixing. To me that is responsibility.

  15. This is lovely to hear you share your journey from a hard body to caring for your body. Men seem to get caught in the belief that they have to push and hurt themselves and not care for themselves in the process. It’s awesome to hear you break the illusion on this and share with us your tenderness. Thank you.

  16. A brilliant blog that feels not only important to the men but to woman as well… having lived with a hardened body myself rather than feeling that I am actually in a woman’s body, and not a stone statue! I can also relate to putting my job before my body and that without different people in different roles society doesn’t work. In other words, although I may work in a supermarket this doesn’t mean I should treat my body with any less care because my role is not at a higher position or level. By honoring the body we can inspire all others no matter what we are doing or where we are working.

    1. So true leighoflight, the role we play in society does not justify or ask us to have a certain body. How we go about with our bodies is first, and we bring this everywhere we go, including our workplaces.

  17. An inspirational article Tony. A house built by a tender and gentle man who cares for himself inside and out – puts a whole new meaning to ‘Des. res’ (Real estate term for ‘Desirable residence’).

  18. Tony, I love what you’ve shared that hard on the outside is of course hard on the inside. Isn’t it crazy how much we impose on men to be a certain way rather than just being and feeling them and this affects us all men and women. It’s gorgeous to feel how tender you are with you now, how inspiring for us all.

      1. Yes as women when we truly honour the stillness we bring we allow all to stop and feel how we truly are and feel and move from that depth within all of us, and yes Simon for men to be the super tender beings they naturally are.

  19. Wow Tony, such great and powerful points you have made here, why should men and boys be told to toughen up? Throughout my life this has never made sense, as at some stage we go from seeing boys as these gentle tender beings, to then telling them they need to toughen up, not cry and wonder why many boys and men struggle to express their true feelings. I love how you have claimed back your tenderness and now honour your body, inside and out by showing yourself true care and love. What a wonderful inspiration you are!

  20. I like this phrase: Boys are just as fragile and caring as girls, but society is crushing that. Why is it that we spend our entire life just making sure that no one will ever notice this? We work really hard at making sure that there is no a single hint that we are fragile and caring as girls are. We go to the details for this. In the way, we loose ourselves and we harden to the point that there is no way that anyone will assert that what we are in truth is true. Horrible!!

  21. And this is exquisite to feel in all you’ve shared Tony thank you. Tending to ourselves with loving care nurtures the pristine delicacy of the divine sons of God that we all are.

  22. Tony, I know from observing the men in my life that what you have written here is the case for many men. I am not a man, but I too hardened my body to cope with the life I had been living. The way I now live my life has changed much in that I feel much more connected to my body and in such connection I feel how and when to do what is needed for the day. To begin with I found this challenging, as I had ideals around what should be done first in the day. Yet now that I have allowed myself the grace to feel what, when, I can’t imagine living any other way. My body loves it too, feeling so tender and supple, I feel more fluid than I did 10 years ago.

    1. In the beginning I too had doubts as to whether I could work gently in my trade as it is physically demanding and extremely so at times. Over time I have introduced ways of moving, working, preparing that allow for the gentleness to come through. I was never keen on working in the rain and even more so after I had started taking care of myself but as I was an employee I didn’t have the final say as to whether we stopped work or not, yes I could say to my boss that this wasn’t fun but at the end of the day he had the final say. It was just another learning curve for me to be prepared for all occassions and those rainy days allowed me to deeply care for myself, or not.

  23. That’s awesome Tony, I totally understand what you mean by becoming hard in your body, there have definitely been times where I have felt that way too. It’s awesome to hear about the change in you, now you regard your body and look after yourself. You would be a great inspiration to many men that you work with and meet.

    1. Thank you Ariel. It is all too common for men to punish themselves in my line of business.The human body is a marvellous creation but one most of us take for granted, what the body can physically do is mind blowing, from pulling a semi trailer to staying underwater unassisted for five or more minutes. But we must ask the question of is what we do good for us? We could say yes as it gives us recognition, fame, fortune, adoration, yet these accolades are all outside of ourselves. What is it actually doing to our body and our wellbeing? As men we are so caught up in what we can achieve we tend to ignore the fact that we are gentlemen.

  24. It makes me shudder to think how far men are allowed to get from the sweet and tender boys they were where using gaffa tape on them for wound repair would be considered child abuse. It is so beautiful to read of your rediscovery of the gorgeous and tender man you are, loving your body in the way it deserves.

    1. Yes I agree Samantha Westall for a man, or a woman, to honour their tenderness and let go of all the ways they have been led to believe is how they should behave is awesome and allows for a harmony and flow in relationships that is not possible when we are protecting ourselves with a hard shell.

  25. Tony, I too have lived most of my life with the mindset of getting the job done, what ever the cost to my body. Now that I am in my senior years I can feel very much the consequences of this in my body. But thankfully, from being inspired by the presentations of Universal Medicine, I now care deeply for my body, and slowly but surely my body is returning to the delicateness it once was, from when I was a child.

    1. How amazing is that mccannelizabeth, you are a mould breaker. In general we have the belief that once you get to a certain age there is no turning back, so for many of us we reach a point in our life where our body is showing us that we have treated it harshly yet we easily say “the damage is already done” and keep forging ahead in the same disregarding ways that led our body to be in that state. You have shown that, that doesn’t have to be the case. Age means nothing as it comes down to our choice of whether we want to care or not.

  26. “It was like your hand when it makes a fist – it goes all tight and hard and feels very constrictive. That’s how my body felt, very tight and constricting, all locked in, my shoulders and chest especially so, but also my internal organs were like they wanted to be a fist as well.” – You have described hardness in the body to a tee. Often I have tried to describe this to people, now I have an analogy, thank you Tony.

    1. Going back to that time, I can liken myself to a wind up toy and how they can only operate after you have pulled the string or wound the dial. When they do move they are stiff and robotic, never free flowing as we should be.

      1. It can still be something that is easily chosen as our past way of living is very familiar to all. The familiarity has an attraction in it, we may not exactly like our way of being yet we are drawn back into it if we are not to careful in choosing otherwise.

  27. In a way it makes me sad to read how the world is geared up to make hard and tough men from the tender and sensitive boys we originally come from. This is what has to be stopped since we men are naturally tender, loving and very sensitive. Thank you Tony Steenson for posting this blog. This story is so needed to be told.

  28. This is a great read Tony, applicable to the corporate/business/office world too in regards burnout or job fatigue. And love how you describe the importance of looking after and maintaining your machine (body) with tender-loving-care to tenderise it, as opposed to otherwise stretching, pushing or maxing it for increased physical strength or endurance like going to the gym every day lifting heavy weights etc. to harden it up even more. To protect even more and keep people out. To feel the genuine tenderness touch of a man is inclusive beauty.

  29. Wow Toni that is a super honest and powerful blog.It allowed me to feel the hardness in which you had lived before. It is sad that we treated ourselves like that in terms of being a functional human being that is indestructible or not worth it. You showed through your living example that it is possible to change such a behavior and be the super tender man you really are – Thank you Toni to be such a great role model.

  30. A beautiful read Tony, taking care of your self to be tender and loving, but in the world it is so opposite, and isn’t it amazing how abuse is equated with manliness.

  31. Tony, your blog has brought amazing healing with its words, meaning and Love. The realisations you have shared and owned hold the most powerful impact. I could feel a renewed awareness of the depth of my own denial around over-riding the deeply fragile and tender being I am. Your comment – ‘I also thought that I wasn’t that important – that I was just a bricklayer, but that has changed. I am a son of God just as you are and we deserve to take care in everything regarding our bodies’ brought tears to my eyes. So many of us think we are ‘only a ……..’ but in truth we are ‘Sons of God’. Your blog is inspiring and you truly are exquisite. In Appreciation, Love and Acceptance of all that we all are.

    1. Your comment blew me away ch1956. I could really feel the claiming in your words “We are the Sons of God”. So beautifully expressed, and you were the piece of inspiration that got me over the hump to fully feel what my Husband the author of this blog expressed. I know I have pure gold in my backyard, with the Husband I have, but still I miss snippets of the gold, so thank you for reminding me to let myself feel the enormity of the treasure I live with.

    2. Gosh the absurdity of this world with its sense of who is less important, who is more important. The outfall from this is huge, with so many people who see themselves as nothing… and so many people who see themselves as nothing without their important job! I guess we forget that, the people at the so called top only recognise their worth from being good at something ‘important’ – they are no better off, except maybe materially.

      1. Great point Dr Rachel, “the people at the so called top only recognise their worth from being good at something ‘important’ – they are no better off, except maybe materially.” -and quite often, it seems to me, they have traded love for that material wealth.

      2. Maybe even worse off in a sense, as they may not even be aware they are doing this. I find the illusions/ beliefs/ideas that hold me the tightest are the ones I am not aware of so I simply think that way of being is me. Actually I don’t even think it is me I just accept it as me.

  32. Absolutely beautiful Tony. And I agree that it is not OK that boys and young men are imposed upon to feel weak if they feel and express their sensitivity and tenderness. When in truth a true gentle man is one that walks knowing and is connected to their gorgeous tenderness and loves that this is who they are, as you magnificently do. Thank you for reflecting to us all that there is another way, where true strength is a quality that emanates from the connection to our essence within which then sustains our natural way of being.

  33. ‘Because I am taking care of my outside in a loving way, it is allowing me to be more tender and loving, and my inside feels exquisite.’ – What a beautiful reminder for us all. What you share in your blog is deeply inspiring and supportive for men and women of all ages, thank you Tony this was awesome to read.

    1. This is something that needs to be known by all, men and women alike. ‘Because I am taking care of my outside in a loving way, it is allowing me to be more tender and loving, and my inside feels exquisite.’

      1. Isn’t that how we were all brought into this world – super tender on the inside. So why do we feel the need to ‘train’ that out of us… in order to protect from a hard and unloving outside world that has been shaped by lack of love through the millennia. Its long overdue to return back to our natural state.

  34. Wow this is inspiring! Thank you for sharing this beautiful journey of going from feeling hardness in your organs to feeling exquisite on the inside. I was able to feel the hardness in my organs when you were describing the hardness that you felt. I love the simplicity in the image of a machine being re-built, tenderly and with care. Your journey is inspiring me to listen tenderly to what my body is saying, and to tenderly look at why I haven’t been doing this. Thank you.

  35. “For a long time it had all been about getting the job done, it didn’t matter what price my body paid.”
    I see this all the time at work where proportionately there are more women than men … everyone just ignores their bodies and the messages of pain or discomfort, and get their very physical tasks done at their own expense … until often their bodies seize up or break down and they have to stop completely. And then workers comp seems focused on getting them back into the same job with the same approach of working.

    1. After reading your comment Marian I realised how important the workers comp program is and how much understanding needs to filter through to this area. Every where I look our society’s systems have it back to front. Mainly because they are focused on results to acquire funding, yet the people the systems are set up for are seen as just another number to push through to achieve the results that will acquire the funding. Nothing actually changes.

    2. Yes Marian we need a radical overhaul of the way work is managed which recognises that if we all took better care of ourselves many long-term costs would be avoided both personally and to health services/governments. Unfortunately at the moment it is all about short-term results which see workers as disposable.

  36. Thank goodness for men like yourself Tony who are out there saying and reflecting to young men and all men that they don’t have to be tough. It is such a ‘hard’ nut to crack – pardon the pun. It is so engrained in our society. I am with a lot of young teenage boys and can see how confused this transition is for them as they work out what they think it is to be a young man. If you look beyond the surface, you can feel the hurt and pain as they turn their backs on tenderness, playfulness and who they naturally are.

  37. What an inspiration for all men, especially those who have a physically demanding job – you can look after yourself, you are worth it!

  38. Tony I really relate to your comment of May 25th, “Going back to that time, I can liken myself to a wind up toy and how they can only operate after you have pulled the string or wound the dial. When they do move they are stiff and robotic, never free flowing as we should be.” I have referred to myself as exactly that. When I first started working in Aged Care I felt I needed to be and do everything for everybody plus more, the work was far more physically demanding than I had imagined and I found myself working hard and fast, skipping breaks and staying late to ‘get through the load’. I was empty and so was all I did. As you can imagine like clockwork when my day was finished so was I. Over time I’ve taken more loving control and responsibility and am much less affected by outside influences trying to wind me up or pull my string. Working at my own pace in my own rhythm, being more discerning about both the needs of others and my own, allows me to share my love and flow through my day with energy to spare.

    1. Barbara what you share here totally decimates the idea the faster we go the more we get done. I still get caught by this idea throughout my day and I can get myself into such a busy fast moving pace that I think I am getting more done. Yet when I slow down the raciness inside myself and become very present with what I am doing, I create space and time and seem to be more productive, plus like you say I have energy to spare at the end of the day, in fact I feel as fresh and ready as when I started the day.

  39. There is a massive arrogance behind having a solid super tough and strong body that feels indestructible. But what if no amount of physical might can truly cover the fact that deep inside we are very very sensitive beings that are very destructible if we do not honour our true truth.

  40. Tony, this is such a great sharing how we build hardness in our bodies. This needs to be read by young men who are on their path into hardness so that they get the opportunity to see that there is another way and that they can be sensitive, and that only being sensitive is truly being a man.
    I have been building hardness in my body all my life too, but in a very different way. I have been always very delicate and sensitive I did not tolerate anything that was hurting or hard on my body. I couldn’t do any strong exercise for example I tried running for three weeks and my body would hurt so much that I gave up on it, or carrying heavy stuff, doing hard physical work or when I hurt myself it impacts me a lot and I was caring in these terms to not get hurt and looked after myself.
    But I lived from a drive and a push, not letting people in, always working for two and making this my normal.
    I also took recreational drugs and drank alcohol which always felt horrible the next day in my body, each time I took ecstasy the next day I would have such a muscle and body pain that I just stayed in bed. The hardness I built with this started to express in shoulder pain, numbness in my arms, headaches, etc. I was always called a little girl and laughed about that I was so sensitive, but in reality I was very abusive with myself and my body, just not in an obvious physical way.

    1. Yes Rachel there are many different ways to build hardness in the body and thus abuse it. Although less overt girls are also derided for showing their tenderness and therefore learn to shut it down and harden up. For me I learnt early that it didn’t feel safe to express pain or hurt so I taught myself not to cry with all the consequent disregard that brought with it. I have worked through a lot of it but I can still feel myself harden when in a situation where I feel exposed.

  41. Its so true Tony, if we ignore and bury our hurts and issues they become hard like cement. This cement then becomes the foundations from which we live our everyday. But, eventually cracks will appear in these foundations and it will fall into disrepair and affect the function, stability and quality of our foundations. Clearing all our old hurts and issues away with a healthy redevelopment process will lay new foundations and so begin our very own and ever evolving rebuilding process.

  42. Tony this is a great reminder for us to stop and ask ourselves at work ‘how am I feeling?….tense, hard, tight?’ I am not a bricklayer but recently work has felt like I am choosing that as a profession, and the cement is what i’m feeling. I stopped the other day and reconnected with the Gentle Breath Meditation and was amazed by how easily I came back to myself and the feeling of gentleness and how this supported me in my day.

  43. I now understand how sensitive men and women are, equally so. I had never allowed myself to feel my own sensitivity before so I wasn’t able to feel that of men. I had bought into the belief that men didn’t feel what women did and now I know that is so far from the truth. I love the equality that I am allowing myself to feel with men. I often see boys crying at school and see also how much it is squashed out of them. I loved reading that you have been re-building yourself ‘back to that original, pristine condition that we all first came here in.’ we are the same and when I read this I can feel that gentle, tender body that we all have.

  44. ‘Whilst growing up, sometimes when I hurt myself my father would say to me “Is it bleeding?”. If I replied “no“, then he would say that it didn’t hurt’. I too have heard this Tony and feel it is a horrid saying that is so not true!

    1. I too had similar occurrences growing up where I had to be able to prove something had really hurt me to warrant receiving recognition of being hurt. This is where we start to learn to dismiss what we are really feeling and to play things down and not give situations the care they deserve. So it is no wonder we wait for really big health scares later on in life before we start to pay attention to our health and ways of living.

  45. I remember that image as I grew up – my Dad would hurt himself… a cut here, a bruise there but because he was so tough it did not seem to hurt him. At the time, if I got hurt, I cried… but over the next few years I too learned how to desensitise. Its a terrible waste of our innate sensitivity, and it has taken me a long time to reclaim that.

  46. “I am a son of God just as you are and we deserve to take care of everything regarding our bodies”. No matter male or female I feel that most people ‘harden up’ in some way to prevent being hurt, but hopefully one day to realise that this is far more harmful. It is wonderful to read how you Tony have seen through this illusion and now choose to come back to honouring and caring for your body and not bow down to the pressures that most men are put under to be ‘a real man’ and through witnessing the loving care you now take of yourself your fellow workers may be inspired to do the same.

  47. Tony I just I love your analogy of likening our bodies to machines. ’But what I forgot was that a machine needs regular maintenance or eventually it will need to be re-built. And that’s what I have been doing of late… re-building myself back to that original, pristine condition that we all first came here in’. Re-building ourselves with love and care is something we can all begin to do at any time or age, its never too late nor are we ever too far gone to start.

    1. Well said Suse, it is never too late to start rebuilding and develop that quality of tenderness and of love in our bodies, and it can only enrich our lives and henceforth those of our family, friends, and really everyone we meet.

  48. I feel it is so sad that our little boys and young men are given the directive to be tough, and unafraid of hurts and pain, which is not only on the outside but also on the inside. Boys ” don’t cry, toughen up” is often what they hear from Dads and Mums, sometimes! How is it that we women want a Man in our lives who is in touch with his tender, sensitive side without first a change in the way we bring up our boys? Perhaps this will be the generation of young Parents who make the shift possible, seeing that lovely tender little being for what he is. It is lovely to hear that you Tony have been able, through the teachings of Serge Benhayon to be tender and loving. “Because I am taking care of my outside in a loving way it is allowing me to be more tender and loving, and my inside feels exquisite ” This is beautiful Tony.

  49. Boys are taught to ‘not cry’ and ‘toughen up’ to hide their feelings. It would seem that girls are allowed to cry and show their feelings but from experience and through Universal Medicine I can see that girls are taught to be emotional rather than feeling. Emotions can change like the wind but our feelings are very solid and they are genderless.

    1. “Emotions can change like the wind but our feelings are very solid and they are genderless.” I love this line Leigh as it is so true, we all have feelings whether we are male or female. It has only been since I came across Universal Medicine that I have understood there is a difference between the two and that is a feeling is something felt inside of us and an emotion is a reaction to that feeling.

      1. I agree Tony, it is a great learning to understand the difference between a feeling and an emotion and allows me to bring greater awareness and to differentiate between feeling what is there and the emotional reaction I may go into. the feeling allows the space for greater understanding and awareness, going into the emotional reaction obscures the learning and evolution that is on offer at that moment.

    2. Leigh, my experience growing up was the message that everyone needed to be tough otherwise we could not survive the world. Learning to be tough took a terrible toll on the body, and did not support me one bit to live truly in the world. Through the presentations of Universal Medicine I have come to understand and experience what living with tenderness and true love can be, and how nothing I knew before even comes close. There is a true way to support our bodies – listening to its guidance. and then it can support us towards understanding and knowing who we are, and how to live true to ourselves in a crazy upside world.

  50. Great blog Tony,my mind goes back to when I was young and had brothers, if they cried or felt pain, the words that were used were, ” don’t be a sissy, don’t be a girl,” how sad that boys were not allowed to feel pain, to say, when they felt hurt. It is so beautiful now to see men stepping out and claiming their tenderness and vulnerability, becoming the true gentlemen we know they are deep down.

    1. Well said Jill, I love hearing men express their tenderness it is truly beautiful. There was a saying ‘man up’ when I was growing up that was said to women as well as men. At the time I didn’t realise how harmful that saying was and it was sending the message that you need to shutdown what you feel and toughen up. Tony it is great to hear you release all this hardness and rebuild your body with love and care – what an inspiration you are to men and women of all ages.

      1. The saying such as man up, don’t be a girl etc are all to make men feel less of a man than they are if they show feelings or fragility, yet this is exactly what we need in the world today so boys growing up have different role models that say it’s okay even great to not be hard and unfeeling.

  51. Thank you Tony it is beautiful to feel how you are now caring for yourself and nurturing your tenderness. We are all Sons of God and equally important and it is inspiring to read how you have changed how you take care of yourself. For me accepting that I was worth it has led to the hardness that encased me gradually dissolving and my body is thanking me for being looked after and not driven to perform with total disregard for the consequences.

  52. Thank you for being such an awesome role model Tony, I can feel your re-discovered tenderness shining out to all you meet and this reflection is such a welcome contrast to the current perceived norms in society which encourage protection at any cost.

    1. I agree Helen, the tenderness and love that shines out allows us to know the truth of the man and to see that our own protection and hardness we hold is not necessary and only adding to the misery and separation of the world. The reflection that men like Tony and others bring, make it easy to cast off that protection and open up to the world and begin to trust again. It is super inspiring however, we don’t need to wait for their reflection as we can make this choice for ourselves at any time.

  53. Being hard and ‘resilient’ is championed so much in the world because of all the things we can do in a hardened state, we get it done regardless of the quality. But what I am finding more and more is the lighter I am being with myself and my body the greater, grander, even faster (as if time doesn’t exist) I can ‘do’ in life. Going hard to avoid feeling something in life keeps the whatever I don’t want to feel held onto, then I try to do life. It’s like holding onto an object in one hand and trying to do my everyday normal, two handed tasks but at the same time hold onto the object, it doesn’t work, I am slower and my body feels the tension. Just because we can get to the end result doesn’t mean that it is worth celebrating if we hurt ourselves and others in the process.

  54. wow, this is amazing to share Tony, the gaffa tape says it all really. But you have so beautifully shown the hardness, toughness is no real protection and that turning to a stone machine is nothing compared to the true strength of the lightness of our being. And this way is ours for the choosing.

  55. It’s great how you expose the way boys are lured into a false state of macho-ness out of fear of being labelled something derogatory and humiliating when in fact they are as equally fragile and delicate as women. Fascinating to read that you were able to discern that your hardness was coming from the inside out. We are not machines that can be worked to their max and then fixed. We are delicate instruments that need nurturing and thorough respect so their purpose can be fully realised.

  56. Tony, the description you gave of how you have been in your until recently fits the pattern of most men. Women do the same, albeit in different ways. But the common thread is that hardness is equated with toughness and toughness means that you aren’t weak and vulnerable so you can defend yourself if you are attacked. As you have pointed out, the problem with this is that everything hardens and we don’t even notice that there is a different way of living that respects the body. Yet who would want to live that way when we can still be active in this world but in a way that develops a self caring, loving relationship with ourselves that is then shared in all our interactions with others! Thanks for sharing so we can all remind ourselves that we do have value and that caring for our bodies is actually a natural thing to do.

  57. How refreshing Tony to hear a man say that he feels exquisite because of the way that he cares about himself and the more tender and loving he is with himself the more exquisite he feels. It’s even rare to hear women speak in this way too.Through your sharing you are leading the way for both men and women in how we firstly care about ourselves and the impact this then has on our lives.

  58. What a gorgeous blog to read Tony and I can feel how supportive it is for everyone including both men and women in how we ourselves make our bodies so hard. I would describe myself as a small, petite women, yet I remember years ago, I would think nothing of cutting the 6 foot hedges in my back garden with a heavy hedge cutter ( saw). When I think of how foolish and dangerous this was, and how I could easily have cut my arm off, makes me shudder. The good news is that today, I would hire and pay someone to do the job, now that I take much more loving care of myself.

  59. Re-reading this again Tony I can feel what an inspiration and support you would be to anyone who works with you or sees you working. It is often accepted as the ‘norm’ to be tough and work like a machine in your line of work, what a game changer that you are showing the world that you can still work efficiently and bring quality work without losing your tenderness or gentleness.

  60. Such a great blog Tony and so needed in this world where all men have been imbued with the idea that a real man has to be hard. I am very tender compared to how I used to be but I am still struggling with going hard whenever I go into the doing. If you write a follow up blog addressing the tools and methods of the how to change from choosing hardness I would love to read it.

  61. This describes exactly the power we have to determine our state of being. If we cling to ideals and beliefs we are formed by the world but when we allow our inner sweetness to set the rules and listen and abide to them love and care is what prevails.

  62. Tony, for a very long time I too concentrated all my energies on getting the job in hand done, and ticking it off on the completed list. This was all done with little or no concern for what my body was feeling or the abuse I was inflicting on it. Since finding Universal Medicine, I have come to the realisation that my body is my best friend on my journey through life, and I am now starting to rebuild my body of love from the inside out and this feel, so lovely. Thank you for your inspirational sharing.

  63. Reading your blog Tony, I get the sense of how the building industry is truly blessed to have you as a role model of how a true gentle man can work in an industry which is considered strenuous and where one would need to be tough to survive in. And here you are enjoying your work and caring for your body within that environment.

  64. “it didn’t matter what price my body paid” I used to share this belief that the job needed doing so pushed myself to get it done regardless of what my body was telling me loud and clear. Since becoming a student of Universal Medicine and honouring my body and how it feels I have changed the way I work at many tasks and my body shows me the difference every day.

  65. I love this tony. It highlights how we can show ourselves tender love and care in all parts of our life, no matter what we are doing, even working as a bricklayer. This is huge.

    1. I agree Jennifer. Bricklayer is a skilled and physical job, so to be able to work with gentleness and care in this field requires a lot of awareness, commitment and willingness to live in a way that brings true care, tenderness and nurturing. Tony is certainly a great role model for men (and women) to be inspired to also choose this gentle way regardless of what type of work they are in.

  66. “I noticed I was turning into a lump of concrete too as I realised I had been creating a very hard body. For a long time it had all been about getting the job done, it didn’t matter what price my body paid.” Although not a brick-layer i too can relate to the hardening of my body in an attempt to get the job done. Learning about how we do things, the quality, rather than the quantity of work done has been a huge learning for me. Yet when we are present with quality the quantity also seems to take care of itself.

  67. Thank you Tony. What you have written applies to us all. When I first heard the word hard and in reference to my body I couldn’t get it. I hadn’t even considered that my body might be hard. Over the years I have discovered just what this means and the extent of how this has been affecting me. There is a very deep sensitivity we all carry and the hardness is like layers of concrete covering this up. I am learning how to strip back the layers, as raw and uncomfortable that it can be at times, and explore living from this sensitivity. With this I discover more layers and more sensitivity. The more hardness that I let go of the stronger I actually feel. The irony of it all is that the more I feel the less affected I am, which only reveals how the hardness and protection never ever worked.

  68. This is a beautiful blog Tony! We need more men to ‘man up’ and show their tender and caring nature. We are so conditioned through movies where men are portrayed as muscly machines that just function with a certain stupidity, very stereotyped or if they are not that they are mentally driven, sarcastic and hard hitting with words. It is beautiful to feel the true nature of a man, it makes you melt.

  69. Exquisite blog Tony. It is certainly worth it to treat our body with love and care because our body is so precious. Your choice to rebuild and reconnect to your tenderness, sensitivity and gentleness is deeply inspiring. It is beautiful to read how you are now caring and looking after yourself Tony sharing with the world how tender and caring you are.

  70. I am slowly letting go of the hardness in my body by slowing down and and paying more attention to my body’s signals that I have ignored for 60 years. I have lived a very physical life and had many minor injuries that I would just override because I convinced myself that what I was doing was more important then the pain.

    I understand now that I did this so I would not have to feel the emotional hurts that my body was trying to get me to deal with, which is as simple as just feeling them.

    This hardness also keep me from feeling all the joy and love all around me.

    This process of letting go of the hardness is basically surrendering to my body and rebuilding trust that my body knows what to do in any situation.

  71. The saying that ‘youth is wasted on the young’ is so true when you really stop and consider it but it doesn’t have to be that way. It is our responsibility to lead the way and show that there is another way and your blog is a perfect example Tony.

  72. I love this Tony for not only does it expose the unloving messages that are reproduced throughout society over and over tainting the truth of the innate qualities men are and should embrace, but it is a gorgeous sharing that shows it is never too late to reverse the harm that has been done, through lovingly committing to honouring the body and who we really are, not who we are told we should be.

  73. I can relate to a lot of what you have shared Tony. I believed my body was something that I told what to do, as such I drove it without any consideration of how it was feeling. When my body was fatigued and struggling to keep up I fueled it with stimulants to keep going. As a woman I had fallen for the belief and ideal that a strong woman was one that worked hard, drove herself and could ‘cope’ with anything, never backing down. It is beautiful to feel that it is more than possible to continue with the work you do, but instead with a quality that honors who you are, your tenderness and your loving way through which you feel more of yourself. I too have found the same, that our lives richen when we work and live in connection to ourselves and our bodies, bring a greater quality to all that we then do.

  74. Tony it’s beautiful to read how you have broken down the tough guy image and starrted to take to true care. More men need to start to connecting to self care, like you say men are as tender as women.

  75. I love the way feeling “hard” in the body is described in these sentences. “The hard body I had wasn’t necessarily a physical description of my body, it was also how it felt from the inside out. It was like your hand when it makes a fist – it goes all tight and hard and feels very constrictive.” Wow what a gift to anyone who is experiencing this. Such a simple description that supports another to explore their own body. And then the confirmation that self care, tenderness and love supports physical changes in the body. An article that everyone, trade or not can gain a wealth of wisdom from.

  76. Now that’s a role model! Awesome Tony. What a enormous point of difference you are making in an industry that is so so hard on it’s people.

  77. My body used to be very hard too and I have been working on reconnecting with the tenderness and the delicateness of my body for some years now, and it really is horrible to feel when my body hardens up in trying hard or in defense, it feels like I create a knot and stop the flow my body naturally is in. Thank you for reminding me that we are not a machine that ticks along without breaking down whatever the schedule/condition we are being put under; we need to be cared for, deeply so, and there is a rhythm that may be contra to what the society might pressure us with, and that needs to be honoured.

  78. I can relate to what you say here Tony about having a hard body not just in the way it looks but in the way it feels tight and constricted. It’s like I’ve been bracing myself against life, pushing myself ‘just to get through it’ – and in this there’s been no respect or consideration for how my body feels at the end of it. Which is hard, worn down and exhausted. It feels amazing to start making space to actually tune in with what I can feel, to slow down and live my according to my rhythm and not anyone else’s. This is taking a while to break – old patterns can be hard to let go of. But the more choices I make that are in line with my body and how it feels, the more I let go, and the more flow there is in my body and in my day.

  79. It’s beautiful to read that you can still work physically very hard but that it doesn’t have to take a toll on your body. You have shared wisdom that we can all relate to no matter our roles or gender. Undoing those ways of being with ourselves that are hard, takes time, patience and love.

  80. Tony what you have shared here and now live is an absolute blessing to every man you spend time with, for your self care, love and support will be very evident, and a point of difference that others cannot but see and feel.

  81. This is a consciousness-breaking blog – deeply needed in our societies today. Why do we not hear every man, or woman for that matter, openly share about connecting with an ‘exquisiteness’ within?
    Because we’ve all allowed this horrendous state of play in which we find ourselves, one where “Boys are just as fragile and caring as girls, but society is crushing that.”
    Thank-you Tony Steenson. Being married to a builder and having generations of tradesmen (including brickies!) in my family, it is beyond awesome to see the truth of a man be permitted the space to be – whilst in such a profession. Deeply inspiring indeed.

  82. Thank you Tony, this is a much needed perspective from a man socialised to not be himself in the world, and about your return to who you are. Once we return to a more loving way of life our careers and other areas of life may not change, but how we are in them does.

  83. I love reading this Tony and the simple self-care principles you applied to your working life that supported you to become the sensitive and tender man you truly are. This blog is a great example that no matter what work we do it is possible to bring a different quality that is more in harmony with our bodies.

  84. When our actions, walk, talk (internally in our minds and externally) are hard our bodies harden and it goes around in a cycle. Hard movements, hard body and so on. What I am learning at the moment is that while connected to the body and letting go of those areas that feel tight like a fist my base line is a feeling of openness and delicateness. The hardness is introduced, not a part of who we truly are.

  85. Feeling exquisite on the inside. That sounds delightful. Doing Esoteric Yoga is supporting me to make the connection to my body so that I stay tuned in to how it’s feeling. I feel like I’m beginning to let go of years of tension that have been locked up in my muscles, and there is a freedom and pleasure that is now part of my movements.

  86. When we learn to take great care of ourselves our body naturally responds to our choice to be more loving, dropping the hardness and realigning itself back to the harmonious state it knows itself to originally be from.

  87. Lovely to hear how you are returning to your true self, the tender and fragile man you have always been, I too am choosing to let go of my hardness and protection that concealed my beautiful delicate self. I was raised in a family where I was not allowed to show feelings or emotions and be ‘weak’, but to be strong and stoic, and I was the girl in the family.

  88. I can relate with this Tony, ‘I can honestly say that I thought I was indestructible, that my body would just keep going and going until I was older and then I would die,’ I was super fit, healthy, strong, independent and arrogant in thinking I could treat my body pretty much as if it was indestructible, after all I ate healthily, exercised hard, and so my body would support me. My body is now teaching me full on how I have to respect, honour and listen to it, how it is delicate, fragile, and to treat it less than that is no longer an option.

  89. It has brought a tremendous amount of healing and truth back into my life to acknowledge and go deeper beyond my hurts and protection. To honour my innate sensitivity, rawness and love I feel from within. I am a Son of God and he is my father I know and trust. He is in me. I am made in his reflection.

  90. Tony I smiled as I read your blog, it really made me feel how we cement our patterns through life, which make us hard as we protect ourselves, and the huge difference there is when we live from the gentleness that we are first, which then allows us to feel how our body is able to guide us along the way.

  91. This is the spirit of many thinking that we can do anything and everything.. with our body, going beyond even physical limits or even exhausting ourselves at the very deep expense of our body. That is so unwell. Knowing that eventually our body and us needs to clean up, heal and face all that we have chosen.. So, time to re-understand what our body truly is about — not the way it has been used and seen by us all.

  92. We’ve all fallen for the trap of putting our work before our own wellbeing. Ultimately it doesn’t work and comes back to haunt us in ill health or simple unhappiness. We need to be well to work, and that is how our work will get the best from us.

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