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
172 thoughts on “Rebuilding my Hard Body with Care”
Tony this is concerning to read, ‘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’, I totally agree. We grow up with so many impositions it is ridiculous, that we become lost in all of this.
Even as a little girl, I became hardened and it makes no difference whether we are male or female, we equally have tenderness and delicacy within us all. Our responsibility is to reflect that to people when we come to that awareness, and the rest is up them.
There is another way to live from, it’s a matter of whether you are open and willing to it or not, is the question.
Funny (or not so funny) in someone thinking if it doesn’t bleed then it doesn’t hurt. It just shows how hardened we are as a society and of course a stereotype that boys cannot be hurt or cry but have to be strong and brave … gosh 🙄 thankfully we are starting to debase all of these ill beliefs and are starting honour boys sensitivity equally to a girls and give them the space to be themselves but we still have a looonng way to go with this one.
Yes Vicky, if it doesn’t’t bleed it doesn’t hurt – wow! But can you imagine where that belief came from and how it is passed on from generation to generation? And along the way more is added to those beliefs, until one day someone presents there is another way, then our life changes and we see the reality of what life has bought to us, then we awaken further.
Anything that claims ‘you are X gender, you must be like this’ is an attempt at crushing who we truly are. We can go hard and fight it or react to it or question those beliefs. Our bodies can and do tell us what is true or not.
Thank you Tony for your honesty which is the new foundation that will break the mold that men have to be tough and hard; this is the stereo type that we are all fed and go along with. What is it about our society that we have such expectations on men? Why is it they are not allowed to keep the connection of tenderness and sweetness they had when they were young? I have just been in the company of a man who is so tender and gentle it is pouring out of him and it just felt so delightful to be in his company because I felt the invitation to let go of the hardness we as women walk around in. What a difference the world would be if we all let go of the hard outer casing we have made for ourselves and instead allowed our delicateness to be felt.
I work a lot as a massage therapist, and I frequently encounter bodies that are hardened and very tight. This tightness is like Tony has described, the body is like one big fist. Massaging can only release so much of the tightness. The real release has to come from the person themselves being willing to let go and be. As part of the massage therapists job it is all about supporting a client to do this through body awareness. In this way I too have learned to let go of much of the tension and hardness in my body and I still am discovering pockets of this to release and let go of.
Men as well as women are taught in our society to override what we feel and instead to use the mind over the body. Men seem to cop it more so from a younger age, but women are still also taught that to match men, they too must harden up and abandon what they know to be true. Thankfully there is a different way to be and live, but one has to be willing to go against this so called ‘normal’ of hardening up.
Tony, thank you for a super refreshing read – the honesty and openness and the willingness to see what you have done that has not worked, is super inspiring for anyone to read and feel.
We are indeed, ‘ I am a son of God just as you are and we deserve to take care in everything regarding our bodies.’
When we toughen up so called, we have lost sight of our tenderness we have as a child and to be hard is brittle and eventually we cracks will form and then we break, and sometimes it is necessary to break so we can return to our tenderness. And being tough can seen as a good thing by most but who would want to eat a pair of old tough boot-straps? But a lamb roast prepared Loving is tender and if we lovingly treat our bodies they can also return to the tender-ness we had as a young child as you have shared Tony; “Because I am taking care of my outside in a loving way, it is allowing me to be more tender and loving,” and I can say the same. These days I still work so called hard but in a Loving energy that supports my body in many ways including being tender and feeling “exquisite’ on the inside.
We are so delicate and sensitive by nature and that makes us super strong to a degree where we can see through the lies of this world – so no wonder the world is set up to crush this trait from the word go.
That hardness is so common, I see it in the jawline of other drivers, in the way women walk, men at the gym or exercising, it’s a kind of shutdown-ness, because when we are loving, caring and tender we are naturally open. I would suggest that many people don’t feel safe to be themselves and encase their tender, sensitive and delicate being in a hard protection. Most people would not even realise how hard their bodies are as it’s pretty pervasive and our current ‘normal’ for people to move and be in hardness.
Yes, it’s like the norm for many people, being hard, and they don’t realise how protected they are when they are like that. I used to be very much like that.
I remember this one too, ‘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’.
Before I came to the work of Universal Medicine I didn’t have great body awareness and I was very in my mind, nor did I consider things like hardness in my body. Now I feel more aware of myself I can definitely feel when I’m going into hardness and look into why that is on an emotional level, and what hurts might be triggering it. I can also see the correlation between that hardening and protectiveness and stiffness and pain in the body, as well as changes in the way I move. The link between hardness and musculoskeletal issues is very clear to me now from my own experience and from observing others.
“For a long time it had all been about getting the job done, it didn’t matter what price my body paid.” This is such a pervasive belief in the world for men and women, and it’s also affecting children because the education system says that exams and results are to be placed ahead of the care we can bring ourselves. No wonder we can struggle with self-worth because everything outside of ourselves is held to have value, but not ourselves or our precious body.
Tony you’re an inspiration to other men on how to care for your body, especially since you work as a tradesman. Many can burn out at a certain age because of the way they have worked pushing and exhausting their bodies until eventually the body gives up. You bring a very practical and real way of how to support your body no matter what your job is.
By Tony sharing what he shares, he gives permission to other men to be more aware and to begin to express that which needs to be expressed.
A hard body is not necessarily part of the (bricklayer) job description. It is something you bring into this activity as you choose an activity that provides the perfect alibi to keep in a pattern of movement you are already in. The latter is not restricted to this profession. We choose professions where we can fit well our way of moving in life. So, more than professions we are confirming movement we feel comfortable with.
And hence, we can use many excuses along the way to excuse ourselves from a certain movement or conseil our movements that we know are actually not good for us. What makes us do that, and why?
Well said Eduardo – we can be a very hardened massage therapist too – it is not the job the hardens the person, it is the way that we do the job that makes our body be the way it then is.
I think we kind of assume that to do a tough physical job we need a tough body – but what if this is not the case, and like you discovered you can do a hard, demanding job without actually being hard in or on yourself.
How beautiful Tony, thanks heaps for sharing letting your expression out and exposing the falsity of what we have made manhood to be.. WORK HARD + PLAY HARD = HARD BODY, you have well shared. But, luckily we can see and observe from this piece of writing that there is a way to dissolve this, truly heal and become tender in life. Profound.
This article is an invite to every man, it gives permission to them all to again know the tenderness they have inside.
And for men to take care of their body in a tender way, ‘ 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.’
The image of what a man is ‘supposed’ to be in this day and age is far from who he truly is within, and it this belief that is harming the potential of who men truly are in order for them to live the innate strength of their tenderness through all that they do, and bless the world as a result. A what point did we submit to the ideal that the body of a man is less tender or less deserving of love than that of a woman anyway?