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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

How to Seal the Deal and Keep it Real

Robert Manni - Thursday, January 22, 2015


Some say that for men, finding a willing sex partner has never been easier. But it’s not quite a glamorous as the media leads us to believe. After all, not every guy has six-pack abs, lots of bank and hooks up with a new hottie on Tinder every Friday night.

And although lot of young guys aspire to be a “Don Jon” style ladies man, many young bucks get sidetracked by porn, the ease of technology and watching too much sports. As a result, “hanging out” has become the new definition of dating. As a result many dudes think they have their swerve on, but are pretty limited when it comes to conversational skills and social élan.  And that’s no way to discover real intimacy with a prospective partner. Enter your Guy’s Guy with a handful of tried and true tips that can help any guy show respect for his partner while getting his ticket punched along the way. And, trust me, if you follow these guidelines word will get around with the ladies that you are one righteous hombre. Here are some ideas to keep in mind when meeting a lady of high interest. Drum roll please.

1. She wants to go to bed with you.

Women are like banks that prequalify lenders. That doesn’t mean everyone gets the loan, but if she agrees to a date, you're in a good position. Stated another way, when a woman agrees to go out on an actual (not hanging out) date with a guy, chances are she’s already thought about having sex with him. Women pay attention and they think ahead. And they don’t like wasting time. At this point it’s up to the guy not to screw things up. But, in the majority of cases that’s exactly what happens. They find ways to drop the ball, and like rookie running backs, they end up on the sidelines, hoping and waiting for their number to get called again. Keep this in mind and you are on a fast track to success.

2. Date like a Guy’s Guy.

Although she’s fitter than you and capable of tapping you out with an arm bar, today's women pine for men to treat them like ladies. That means being a gentlemen and asking her (not texting her) out by phone, or better yet, in person. That also means having a plan in mind that matches her interests. That requires some active listening on your part. She mentioned loving sushi? Need I say more about where to take her on that first real date?

When you greet her, tell her she looks pretty. Put the damn phone down and pay attention to her during dinner. Pick up the tab. Afterwards, hail a cab for her. If things go well and she invites you back to her place, good for you. That said, play it cool and don’t push her. She will let you know how you are doing, but don’t expect the whole enchilada on the first night (more to come on that). Read the signals and know when to go home. On the way home or the next day send her a thank you text. Tell her you had a great time and would like to see her again. Then follow up. That’s all, my friend. 

3. Be patient, be creative.

Good things come to those who wait and improvise. Quick story... One summer a few years back I connected with a hottie on Match. She had curves, piercing black eyes and legs to die for. Oh, I wanted her badly. The first time we met, we shared coffee at a café in the East Village. That was it. She knew she was smoking hot and I was unsure she wanted to see me again. That week I asked her out again and we met for a casual dinner. Following a late night drink she gave me a quick “goodnight” peck on the cheek. My balls ached the entire cab ride home. We met for drinks again that week with the same conclusion. Grrr.

I needed to try something different. I asked her to join me at a Fourth of July parade in the little seaside town where I have a small beach house. On a star-spangled sunny morning we stood side by side taking in the colorful wholesome, real Americana event. She was originally from Taiwan and I noticed how her eyes light up during the parade. She was totally into the pageantry. Afterwards I suggested we stop at my place for a soft drink. As we looked out at the sea I slipped my arms around her and leaned in for a kiss. She accepted my lips eagerly and a few minutes later we were rumpling my sheets like tigers in heat. Patience and creativity had paid off. 

4. Clean up your crib.

I’ll keep this short. Women appreciate a guy with clean sheets and a clean bathroom. I’ve lived in a few dumps in my day and have not always followed this rule. And on occasion I’m sure it prevented me from sealing the deal. Over time I learned that when your place sparkles, you have a much better shot at making hay with a lady. Case closed.

5. A little romance goes a long way.

The women I know really appreciate when a guy does something thoughtful. A bouquet of flowers (no special occasion required), a bottle of her favorite wine, and cooking her dinner can go a long way in sparking a woman’s interest in pleasing a guy. Think about it… And do it because you want to please her, not just for the reward.

6. Be appreciative and take care of her needs.

It took me awhile to get this one straight, but once I saw the light, my love life and sex life really took off. As a guy I know how desperate we can get when we want to get off.  But there is a big difference between getting off and making love. You can get off by yourself. You need a special lady to make love. And if you take care of her needs first and consistently, she’ll probably give you get everything you’ve dreamt about.

There’s more, lots more where that came from, but let’s put a wrap on this for now. A few insightful nuggets can go a long way in the evolution of a horn dog guy to a mature loving man.

Four Lessons I Learned from Surgery

Robert Manni - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Well, it’s a new year and I’m better now.  The first half of last year I got into the best shape of my life, relative to my age. It was exhilarating to run like the wind for ten miles and feel the endorphins kick in while perspiring under golden sunshine. My daddy weight melted away, I was jacked, and my abs were as tight as they’ve been in years. I felt great.

Then in July I found out I had a kidney stone that was slowly and painfully making its way to my bladder.  Following a CT scan I received a diagnosis of opportunity. The doctors found a non-aggressive growth on each kidney. As a result, the second half of the year consisted of tests and more tests followed by two robotic surgical procedures. Fortunately, I received excellent care and by the end of the year I was on a path to a full recovery, almost as if nothing had happened. I have a follow up MRI in six months, but that’s it. The ordeal is over and in some ways it was close to miraculous.  Now that I’ve had a few months to let things sink in, your Guy's Guy would like to share what I’ve learned from a very real, life-altering experience and wake up call. Maybe it will be of help to you as you find your way on your journey. I hope so.

1. ACT, DON’T WAIT.

My painful bout with a kidney stone was a blessing because it pushed me to see a doctor and get a CT scan. That scan identified the growths. The next step was up to me and I was told that the growths were non-aggressive and may not cause a major problem for years. But, they weren’t going away, and who wants that hanging over their head? I asked my inner guide and the answer was obvious. Do it and do it now, Guy’s Guy.  I decided right then to have them removed as quickly as possible. Now I’m sure not everyone would push to undergo back-to-back robotic surgeries within a month’s time, but I knew it was the right call. And now that it is over, I’m glad that I took this course of action.

2. PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCESS.

In the past many people simply handed themselves over to their medical practitioners.  No second opinions, not enough tough questions asked. I’ve seen this with my family and others. Frankly, in many cases, that’s a potential recipe for disaster. These days, our health care system is in flux. At times, it can be chaotic. This makes it critically important to have your insurance ducks in a row and know what is covered. Then, do anything you can to find the right practitioner for whatever ails you, and in particular, the best surgeon.

Follow directions prior to any procedure and take proper care of yourself throughout the healing process. It makes a difference. If a hospital stay is necessary, bring your own food, water and whatever else provides you with comfort. My hospital offered a free post-operative program that included numerous healing arts including Reiki. It really made a difference.

3. LEARN HOW TO HEAL.

Many of us live under constant pressure, and at times, fear. It doesn’t have to be that way. At some times it’s critical to step out of the whirlwind of our stress-inducing careers and simply be. One way is to set aside a half hour every day for meditation, but how many people actually do this? Not enough. But when life gives you the kind of heads up that I received last year, I made sure to listen to my intuition carefully and do whatever was necessary to heal— physically, mentally, and spiritually. I set time aside each day for positive affirmations and visualizations of my body healing. I actually spoke to my body— thanking it for the wonderful service it has blessed me with over the years. And, I let myself be. I ate well and went to bed early for three months, and it paid off in spades. I did my best to put my career and my personal brand on somewhat on autopilot and I was fortunate that I could afford a short respite from the pressures of a corporate career. This was a special time for me, and in ways, a sacred time. Find the time to take care of yourself. You’re worth it.

4. LIVE IN GRATITUDE. 

Getting caught up in our day-today world and media-driven society makes it easy to forget how and why we got here in the first place. Regardless of your personal beliefs on this very personal subject, we can all agree that we did not do all of this on our own. Somehow, we are here, right now. And although each one of us ultimately determines how our daily lives manifest, we are part of a great universal conscious. The fact that we are even here is a miracle. So thank your lucky stars or whatever you choose for this gift of being alive, on this planet right now. And remember— all we have is the right now and it can change in a heartbeat. Enjoy each day of good health and be thankful for it.

Now it’s time for me to put this experience behind me and put into action all that it taught me about life, love and the pursuit of happiness. I hope I treat people better and learn to respect and not judge. I hope to savor everyone and everything in my life, and know that despite my free will, everything is unfolding just as it should.

This week’s Guys’ Guys of the Week are my inner guide and angels who I know helped me get through this ordeal in a way that will make me a better person.

10 Great Books from 10 Great Guests on Guy's Guy Radio

Robert Manni - Monday, January 12, 2015

Being a featured host of a growing Blog Talk Radio podcast has its advantages. I get to meet an array of very smart, cool and nice people from all walks of life, love and the pursuit of happiness. And I get to read many wonderful, spiritual books.

We’ve produced over 115 shows now and they are available for free on iTunes. Just click on bit.ly/guysguyradio and you’re set. There is a new show every Wednesday at 7pm ET. Okay, enough of promoting me.  Let’s call attention to the written works from some of the terrific people that I’ve interviewed. There are many more, but this is a good starter list of very helpful books that are available from Amazon or your favorite e-tailers.  And you can find most of them at your local bookstore. Of course all the authors have websites, if you are interested in learning more. So, in no particular order, here is your Guys’ Guy’s sampling of books that can help raise your frequency:

1. LIQUID LUCK by Dr. Joseph Gallenberger

I recently read this helpful guide for manifesting personal good fortune and I eagerly await delivery of the companion CD with the meditation. The book stands alone as a constructive guide for grounding and putting yourself in position to receive all the positive manifestations that you deserve. The writing is straightforward, clear and the book provides a great way to clear the negative mental monkey-chatter and doubts that can hold us back.

2. GOD WITHIN by Patti Conklin

Patti is one of the world’s foremost medical intuitives and vibrational healers. I participated in a cellular cleanse with her and Patti has been very kind and helpful when I faced some health challenges last year. She is also an awesome person.  Her book is clear, concise and confident. I’ve read it twice and I frequently perform her ColorWorks and Healing Pool meditations.

3. I AM THE WORD by Paul Selig

Since I stumbled upon this book a few years ago, Paul has gone on to become a leading empath and channel for his spiritual guides. He’s gone on to “transcribe” two more books that were also gifted by his guides. He travels extensively leading seminars and sessions with the guides. I’ve read his three books and can vouch for their transformational qualities. I’ve felt a real change in my being and knowing since the concepts took root in my consciousness.

4. MY LIFE CONTRACT by Joel Fotinos

This gem of a book helps set you on a path to accomplishments in ninety-day chunks. Straightforward, practical and honest, Joel helps the readers set themselves up for success by laying out a workbook plan that keeps them on track with their goals. Highly recommended.

5. THE EARTHKEEPER by Adam C. Hall

What a story! Adam achieved the American dream in all its glory and then woke up to the nightmare of his own life condition. He takes us on his journey to knowledge while opening his heart and displaying his wounds along the way. Adam’s Earthkeeper foundation is doing great things to sustain and maintain our natural resources and environment.

6. THE DIVINE MOTHER SPEAKS by Rashmi Khilnani

Rashmi has written three books that share her channeled journeys and conversations with Gaia, Babaji and Buddha. Poignant, illuminating and energetically charged, these books put the reader in touch with the universal consciousness. Rashmi is also co-producer of the new documentary film, iGod

7. ONENESS by Rasha

This is a charged text that takes the reader on a deep-dive into the meaning of our existence and how we can find more joyfulness in our personal journey. The text is channeled and gives the reader a deep experience while reading. The book blows open previous notions of truth that we thought we knew about the meaning of life. Incredible.

8. QUANTUM CREATIVITY by Amit Goswani

A retired professor from the theoretical physics department tackles the concept of creativity through the lens of quantum physics and offers up a new way to harness it. But, don’t be afraid. It’s reader-friendly as it combines art with science. Amazing.

9. DREAMS 1-2-3 by J.M. DeBORD

This fresh, contemporary work takes the reader through a step-by-step process for learning the language of your dreams. It isn’t your “hot dogs chasing donuts through the Lincoln Tunnel” take on symbolism either. The book helps you use dreams to reconcile your past and present issues and set you on a steady course for the future.

10. WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE DEAD by Sondra Sneed

Magic happens when a former atheist interviews the source of infinite being. Sneed is a Godscriber who shares her dialogue between herself and the creator of the universe. It’s more an awakening and warning about man’s penchant for self-destruction than a touchy-feel-good  spiritual guide. Unique, to say the least.

There are many more authors and books I can recommend from my guests, but this list provides a good start to help you on a path to awakening. This week’s Guys’ Guys of the week are all of my wonderful guests that have visited me on GUY’S GUY RADIO. Thank you all!    

Five Resolutions for 2015

Robert Manni - Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Sadly, by the second week of January, most people have already failed at their New Year’s resolutions.

After all, making changes in our behavior is challenging, especially when we bite off more than we can chew. I’ve given up drinking a few times and have lasted three, four and even five months, but denial is tough. Making positive changes is no easier. But, fortunately each New Year, week and day comes with the opportunity of a fresh start. With that in my mind your Guy’s Guy offers you a handful of resolutions to make your life and this world a better place. And you don’t need a new year to get started.

1. Less tech, more active living.

We live in an age where technology keeps changing at an exceedingly more rapid pace. And to succeed in the conscious world we’d better know how to master our phones, apps, and social media or we’ll be viewed like Grandma trying to “turn on the Internet” or Google a cookie recipe. But tech can lead us to more passive lives. We’re watching instead of doing. We’re staring at the LED screen instead of reading and nurturing our imaginations. We’re texting instead of conversing. We’re focusing our attention on video games instead of playing ball in the park. We’re becoming wimps. If we could be mindful about our overreliance on tech and choose more activities that exercise our body, mind and spirit, we’ll be making great strides as a culture.

2. Spend more time in nature.

Every time I step into Central Park the energy changes. There is something special about being outdoors that grounds my spirit with the Earth’s energy. Unless there is a torrential downpour, I always take my young son outside for a walk. And I notice that my son and the toddlers that I frequently see at the playground have less anxiety on their faces than some of the tykes I see on the subway staring at video screens and eating potato chips. With all our creature comforts it’s easy to sit indoors and keep life at arm’s length. But that’s no way to live—step outside whenever you can. Fresh air and nature rejuvenate our spirits.

3. Don’t judge. Accept people as they are.

This one took me a long time. My internal critic has a razor sharp wit and working in advertising exposed me to too many judgments about people and ideas. But I learned, and as usual I learned the hard way. Over the years, I did not build as many relationships as I could have and I dismissed a lot of people who I thought were jackasses. I guess I’m not that different than anyone else in that regard, but I realize now that it’s not my job to have other people see the world through my personal lens. Trying to change people is tedious and frustrating because we cannot see what lurks inside them or what has led them to their behaviors, decisions or perspectives. I know now it’s more productive to work on myself. When we focus on bettering ourselves, we raise our frequency and shed light on the others we come in contact with. Basically, it’s leading by example.

4. Be grateful.

After receiving a medical “diagnosis of opportunity” earlier this year, I spent six months in and out of hospitals, doctor’s offices and medical procedures. I have ten puncture scars across my abdomen and a left flank that’s still swollen, but I’m thankful. Yes, I’m really, really thankful. My faith was strong, my medical teams were talented and capable, and my body was responsive. And now I am well. The few times I began feeling sorry for myself, I’d invariably learn about a friend or colleague in a far more precarious situation. Each day I awaken with gratitude for my many blessings and good health. Try it for a week.

5. Watch what you eat.

Let’s face it; our food supply has changed. Every day we learn more about the tricks and deceptions of food labeling, the horrible treatment of factory farmed animals and the potential long-term effects of eating processed foods and GMO ingredients. If the food industry has nothing to hide, why don’t they want all the ingredients labeled in clear language? People are sick of their games and also getting sick from the food they consume. Obesity and gastric-related illnesses have become prevalent in a culture that lives too passively and consumes mostly processed food. If you want to stay healthy, eat organic as much as possible and always be mindful of what you consume. It’s probably the most important decision you’ll make each day in regards to your health.

This New Year’s Day you can resolve to quit smoking, hit the gym three times a week or cut out sweets, but you don’t have to wait until the start of a new year to make a better life for yourself. If you treat yourself with respect and love, you’ll be more successful in improving your life than experiencing that week of agony during the first week of January each year.

This week’s—make that this year’s—Guys’ Guys and women, are the wonderful people who have supported my Guy’s Guy brand and the content I crunch out with a goal of making our world a better place. My best wishes to you today, tomorrow, and throughout this coming year!

Back to Basics: How to Make your Relationship Work

Robert Manni - Thursday, December 18, 2014


With the multitude of dating sites and coaches available, if you’ve got a pulse and can clean up nice, you’ll get a date.

And every so often one of those dates turns into a relationship. That’s where things get tricky. We spend so much time focused on dating that many of us are not prepared to address the slippery slope of a partnership and how to make it work.

Enter Guy’s Guy. I’ve been there and done that by way of many dates, a few educational long-term relationships, and a marriage that’s going on five years. Along the way, and as my partners would aptly point out, I’ve made more mistakes than I can count. But I’ve learned, and in most cases I learned the hard way. And each time I got knocked on my butt, I’ve picked myself up, dusted myself off and started all over again. Now I’ve got a partner who is my friend, lover, and teacher. With that in mind, here are my building blocks for maintaining a successful relationship.

1. Pay attention.

If you’re a guy, you probably suck at this. Women pay attention to everything, at times to the point of madness. But ultimately, paying attention is a good thing. We’re all super busy and focused on ourselves. I get it. But if we want to succeed in love, we need to see it as a two way street and behave in a respectful manner to our partner. That means always checking in with them on a regular basis. A simple, “How was your day?” is a good start. And mean it. And listen to what she says without feeling that you have to solve all of her problems for her. Just listen.

That’s a good start, but it’s not that simple. If you are guy in a relationship eventually you will get called on your shit. Let’s say your partner points out your selfishness too often, and it bugs you. But maybe she has a point. And maybe the reason she told you is she thinks you’re worth the trouble. If she didn’t care, she’d bide her time before dumping you. Most guys have been blindsided and dumped, and many times they don’t know why. This is why. So don’t take her criticism personally. She’s paying attention and she cares about the relationship. But, don’t think you can point out all of her peccadilloes in the same way. She’s already well aware of them. That’s because she pays attention.

2. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt.

If you’re female, it’s easy to fall into the pattern of constantly criticizing your partner’s faults. He probably doesn’t pay attention enough and as a result is prone to repeating his mistakes. But I’ll bet he’s trying. So lighten up if you can. If you believe in your relationship and your partner, it’s paramount to take a deep breath before going on the offensive. Ask him what he was thinking when he does something that defies logic. Like, when he took the bed apart and left all the pieces on the floor and then went out for two hours. Maybe he went to the hardware store to buy new bolts. Whatever. Just give him an opportunity to explain and you might be surprised by his response. If you value your relationship, listen before pointing your finger.

3. Share values.

Long lasting relationships are usually built on a foundation of shared values. That means how both of you view the world and the people who inhabit it. Yes, opposites attract and can provide a nice counterbalance personality-wise, but when it comes to values, it helps if you are seeing the picture through a similar lens. How you view people, friends, family, and even money are important factors to consider when wading into deeper relationships waters.

Let’s take money. When one partner is a free spender and comfortable with debt, how does it impact their partner if he or she comes from the school of “if I can’t afford it, I don’t buy it”? Problems can quickly ensue and many times divergent money values cause irreconcilable harm to a relationship. Think about your successful and failed relationships and I’m sure you’ll see a pattern between longer-term compatibility and shared values. When values match up, there is a much better chance for success. Think about it.

4. Keep the lines of communication open.

When you are in committed relationship there will be times when no one feels like talking. Maybe one partner has become resentful while the other has no idea about those feelings. Eventually the repressed toxins build up and explode. Things are said. Feelings are hurt. Damage is done. If only you knew how he or she felt. But, that’s how many relationships fail. If this sounds familiar, remember, no one can read your mind. If there is something bothering you, discuss it. If you hold your feelings in and suffer silently, your relationship is at risk. Always maintain a healthy dialogue.

5. Always be dating.

It’s easy to take our relationships for granted. Over time, the thrill of new love evolves. This can actually be a good thing. Sure, you want the sight of your partner to be a source of joy and you want the sex to get better and better. It can, although there will have to be some adjustments. The key is keeping things fresh, like when you started dating. And that means never taking your lover for granted. I’ve been married for a few years now and I’ve learned that nothing is a sure thing, even a marriage. You have to constantly learn about your partner and up your game if you want to keep them happy with the direction of the relationship. Nowadays, people don’t settle. Not in life, not in jobs, not in marriage. We want what we want, and that’s not a bad thing. The key to keeping things fresh is romancing your partner. Little surprises, lots of love and affection, and a genuine smile when you see their face are all recommended. I know it’s not that easy, but if you keep this in mind, I’m sure you’ll stay ahead of the game.

There is more, lots more when it comes to keeping a relationship rolling, but the bottom line is to respect yourself, your partner, and your relationship. It all flows from there. What you decide to do is your business, but please keep love in mind whenever you are thinking about your relationship. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

This week's Guy's Guy and Gal of the Week are Serge and Carole Manni, my folks, who have been married for 64 years. 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Robotic Surgery - Part III (Bigger, Deeper, and More Complicated)

Robert Manni - Thursday, December 11, 2014


My left side was riddled with five deep puncture wounds. The medical term for the procedures is robot-assisted partial nephrectomy.

And I was scheduled for a second surgery, this time on my right side, five short weeks later. The waiting might have been the toughest part of the ordeal. But there was no way around my new reality. I had to man up and deal with it. After all, I was carrying the torch for Guy’s Guys.  It was my turn to really walk the walk. Although somehow I knew everything would turn out well, the mind plays tricks to create fear and uncertainty.

Although the first surgery went perfectly and my spirits were high, my left side was very sore. It was covered with bandages and ultra-sensitive to the touch. While traversing the streets of the city I cocked my left arm for protection from the aggressive onslaught of the rush hour crowds. I washed my hands a lot and did whatever else I could to avoid catching a cold. I quickly learned that the violent abruptness of a sneeze could be quite painful after surgery. But, my condition steadily improved.  Each night I slept more soundly, slowly shifting from my back to my side and finally onto my stomach, which is my position A for sleep.

After four days I’d stopped taking painkillers and the stool softeners I was given to combat constipation from the drugs. After a week I looked like my old self, although my abdomen remained swollen from the carbon dioxide pumped into my body cavity during surgery. This is to make space for the doctors to guide the robotic rods safely through the body and around the sensitive organs.  When you have surgery, it’s not like you have the procedure and if it goes well you can immediately go about your business the same way as before. It becomes a series of connected events whose aftereffects each need to be addressed for healing. You’ll need to learn how to eat solid foods again, urinate without pain again, take a shower wrapped in plastic and bandages, and even celebrate the simple pleasure of a morning dump (actually, that never gets old). Plus I already had two doses of general anesthesia and was primed for another one in a few short weeks.

This time the growth was as deeper, larger and trickier to deal with. And so it went for five weeks. While healing, I still knew that in a short time I’d face this procedure again. It would have been easy to think, “why me?” but what good would that do? I knew the reality of the situation. I was lucky that my persistent kidney stone forced me to see a doctor. It was what it was so I searched for the blessing and reckoned this to be my wake-up call.

My two-week post-operative check up could not come soon enough. Good news. The doctors told me everything had gone exactly accordingly to the plan. I looked good, my blood was flowing perfectly with 100% functionality in my kidneys, and I was feeling better every day. There was no further work required on my left side. Hooray!

As I grew stronger over the next few weeks the upcoming procedure still hung over my head like a dark cloud. Each day I continued the ColorWorks and Healing Pool visualizations I learned from Patti Conklin, vibrational healer and medical intuitive that helped me during my bout with the kidney stone. Patti has also been a guest on my GUY’S GUY RADIO podcast. I’d been doing both practices for three months now. Knowing that the tumor was still there, I asked myself if all of the meditating was a simply a rote exercise to distract me from my cold reality. I would find out soon enough.

When the time came for my second surgery I was prepared. I packed a heating pad, coconut water and a thermos of hot organic vegetable broth, requested a window bed and a vegetarian diet. I also learned about the hospital’s grant for its integrated health program so I scheduled a Reiki session the day following my surgery. When I checked into the surgical unit on a cloudy Tuesday in November I was ready to face my future.

After stripping down to that dreaded blue paper gown, socks, and hair net, I leaned back in my chair and waited for the doctor and nurse to file in with their battery of questions. When the first doctor stopped in I asked him what he thought. He inhaled and told me it was a bit more complicated than my left side. He was telling me the truth, but that did not make me feel any better. When the surgeon arrived—the very best, I sensed stress. I asked his opinion of the situation. I already knew that this growth was larger and in a more precarious location than the other one. I had complete faith in this man, but I was entering uncharted waters. When he began his response with “I’m going to try to…” I was concerned although I knew he was just doing his job and focused on the procedure. After he left the room a delay forced me to sit alone in my gown for another uncomfortable forty-five minutes. My mind raced in circles. How would this turn out? Was I in danger of losing my kidney? But this time alone turned out to be a blessing.

I continued the affirmations and visualizations I’d practiced, telling myself, “I am protected by God’s grace”. Then a voice inside let me know that all of my spiritual work had led me to this point. It was time to step up. I had the power to assist the doctors. I took a deep breath and commanded my body to release the growth so it could be easily removed. “Release this growth”, my inner voice repeated over and over. A calm fell over me as I entered the surgical room and lay on my back. Then a wave of emotion enveloped me. No one noticed as my eyes welled up. I felt like my entire life had led me to this moment.

I felt the needle prick my arm and watched a hand begin to lower the oxygen over my face. I gently pushed it aside and said, “I don’t need that. I’m about to go under”. I grabbed one of the doctor’s arms and said, “I’m going to help you. I am releasing this growth.” Then my world went black.

When I awoke my wife was standing beside me. Although I was still groggy from the anesthesia, I heard a doctor tell me that the surgery had been a major success. Then I was wheeled down the corridors to my room. And this time I had the window bed with a view of the East River. Later, as my wife was getting ready to leave, my surgeon stopped by. This time he was beaming. He told me everything had gone according to plan. In fact, he used a 3D printer for the first time to create an image of my kidney. I was so pleased that I had participated in a new method for helping patients. An hour later another doctor showed up. He was also pleased and somewhat surprised when he told me that the growth in my kidney had simply peeled out of my body. I laughed to myself.

That night I befriended my roommate. We talked behind the curtain that separated us for four hours. Bonding with someone I could not see or had never met before reminded me that we exist in a loving universe. It’s up to us to find that love. The following day I received a wonderful Reiki session and the next morning I came home.

It’s been a month since my surgery. I received an ultrasound during my post-op appointment. The radiologist told my kidney and functionality were perfect and looked like they had never been operated on. Sure, I have another set of wounds, but since they are on my side and not my stomach, they are not as unsightly or discomforting. My only side effect was an expansion of the fascia tissue that wraps the muscles in my abdomen. That said, God willing, the swelling should subside and I should looking good by the spring.

2014 has been a long ordeal that’s put my day-to-day life on hold.  Now I understand that this was a necessary part of my soul path. I learned to trust, to know and to never give away the power we all have inside. We are the miracle.  Onward…

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Robotic Surgery - Part II (Under the Knife)

Robert Manni - Thursday, December 04, 2014


There isn’t a more vulnerable feeling than sitting alone in a small holding room dressed in a blue paper gown, socks, and a hairnet while waiting to be summoned for the first of two robotic surgeries.

Two days earlier I ran a brisk eleven miles followed by a refreshing dip in the Atlantic. And now this. It would have been easy to ask, “why me”? But Guy’s Guys don’t whimper. They show up and deal. And so it was. In this case I was facing a separate procedure on each kidney—the left one on this day followed by the right kidney five weeks later. And it was time to face a surprising new reality.

Every few minutes a doctor, anesthesiologist, or nurse popped in to ask questions or pass along information. Not that it mattered. I would be out cold within ten minutes and by the time I’d awaken a small portion of my left kidney would be sitting in a jar. It could have been worse though, a lot worse.

When the anesthesiologist gave me an overview of how he planned to knock me out he looked me over and told me I appeared relaxed. Under the circumstances I was as calm as I could be. There was nothing I could really do so I visualized myself healed, trusting in the medical team and my spirituality.

My surgeon dropped by a few minutes later. He made sure I’d signed the waiver allowing him the option of switching from robotic to open surgery and if necessary, removing my entire kidney. Yikes. He studied a computer image of my kidney while speaking with me. He’s focused. This is good, I thought. On his way out, I told him I knew he’d do a great job. He turned and gave me a feint smile and a “thanks for putting more pressure on me” look before closing the door behind him.

Two minutes later a nurse summoned me. I followed her to a large steel door leading to the operating chamber. I heard the door seal shut behind me. This was it. Inside a dozen workers in scrubs scurried around the room. The nurse announced that the patient had arrived. I looked around at the beehive of activity as I was led to the operating table. I searched the room for my surgeon but he was nowhere to be found. I asked to lie on my back. They fastened me down and stuck a needle in my arm with general anesthesia.  I stared at the bright lights and continued the mantras I’d silently declared to myself over the past few hours. I thought of my wife and son before closing my eyes and putting myself into God’s hands.

When I awoke a nurse and a doctor greeted me. The doctor assured me that the operation had gone perfectly. Before his words sank in the nurse was wheeling me down the hallway towards a room where I’d spend the next two nights.

Once I was rolled into the corner of my shared room I had a chance to think and center myself. I was hooked up to an IV with a catheter inserted into my you-know-what, but I was feeling pain...yet. The drugs were swirling through my system. I felt surprisingly good given the fact that an hour earlier five metal rods had been inserted into my abdomen. My kidney had been tied off so the robotic device could remove the growth and pull it out through one of the five holes I now had along my abs. My left side was swollen, but still no pain. My surgeon came by an hour later looking pleased. He told me that everything went as planned. I had one hundred percent functionality and ninety percent of my left kidney intact. He said he’d taken a “shark bite”, but that it would work as well as it ever had. Kidneys recalibrate themselves and in most cases can function as if nothing happened. I heaved a sigh of relief. So here I was covered with bandages, but feeling relieved. I’d spend the next 48 hours propped up in a small bed healing slowly.

One thing that sucks about hospitals is you can’t get any rest.  People keep popping in to check your vitals, examine you or slide some food onto or off of your tray. The lights are constantly being turned on and off and of course you get a roommate, which is very random. My roomie was a cranky old guy who had the preferred window position. And he did not open the blinds the entire two days I was scrunched up in the interior bed. For some reason I was not given a table and my television was not working. My options were reading the one magazine I’d brought with me, checking my phone, staring at the wall or trying to sleep.

Finally my wife and little son arrived. I was hungry. Thankfully she brought along a thermos of homemade organic vegetable broth. Ironically, I had made two requests during admission—a bed by the window and a vegetarian menu. I got neither. The attendant had first brought me beef broth. When I reminded her I was a vegetarian she returned two hours later with chicken soup. The other “foods” they offered were Jell-O, ginger ale, and apple juice. Brilliant. One key learning from the experience was that hospitals are like the airlines. You need to bring your own supplies to be comfortable and eat well.

That evening I remained drugged up from the procedure and was discomforted but not in pain. I foolishly passed on the narcotics offered and opted for two Tylenols before drifting into sleep. I awoke a few hours later in a world of pain. I took two more Tylenol again. Foolish me. When I awoke in the morning I was hurting all over. This time I took the drugs and thankfully they worked. A few hours later a nurse informed me that it was time to take a walk. Are you kidding me? They pump gas into your gut during robotic surgery so the surgeon can move stuff around and isolate the organ that’s being worked on. Walking becomes critical for breaking up the gas and relieving the accompanying discomfort.

So, with my IV tray on wheels in one hand and my catheter hanging out the nurse left me at the door. I looked both ways and shuffled into the busy hallway. I felt frail and vulnerable, a far cry from the lean muscled stud who had run eleven miles a few days ago. But that was my reality so I sucked it up and carefully made my way down the crowded corridor. My pain level remained high so after a short cruise I trudged back to bed and passed out. I couldn’t wait to go home.

Before I knew it, the day had passed without issues. During the night a nurse came by and removed my catheter. Free at last! I slept soundly and woke up eager to head home. My left side was covered in bandages that covered the five holes that had been drilled into me and I was in pain, but still I was happy. Hell, it was time to go home.

I needed to heal before returning five weeks later. The next time things could get complicated.

To be continued…

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Robotic Surgery - Part 1 (How a Kidney Stone Saved My Life)

Robert Manni - Thursday, November 20, 2014


Your outlook on life can change in an instant. I learned that valuable lesson this year. After an amazing run of great health and a level of fitness I had not experienced since my twenties, I found out that I needed surgery. Twice.

Imagine what you’d look like after fighting the “Wolverine”.  Say hello to robotic surgery. Robotic surgery is a “minimally invasive” procedure where five rods are plunged into your body to seek and remove unwanted growths. Compared to the medical technology available just twenty years ago, robotic surgery is a miracle. But it’s still surgery, and it’s no joke. Thankfully, all that remains after two rounds of robotic procedures are the scares. And I am one happy and appreciative Guy’s Guy. Here is my story.

It all began one cold night last winter. After dinner I felt a searing pain along my left side. This went on uninterrupted for three endless hours. I had no idea what was going on.  And I could not find a way to soothe my body. I flipped and flopped and sweat like a beast in heat throughout the relentless onslaught. Then suddenly the pain subsided. I exhaled, sighed and chalked it up to acute indigestion. By the next day I’d forgotten about it.

Fast-forward two months. I experienced a replay of identical symptoms over the course of another uncomfortable three hours. Again, the pain suddenly disappeared. I considered calling my doctor, but instead shrugged it off. The next day I ran my six-mile loop around Central Park without problems.

Fast forward to the July 4th weekend. A few hours after my ten-mile run along the boardwalk, the same unbearable pain erupted along my left flank. Five hours later it finally stopped. It was a holiday weekend and I was away from the city, so I crossed my fingers and fell asleep. I awoke the next day feeling fine, but by the early afternoon the pain returned in full force. I was in such severe pain that I too weak to go to the hospital. In my desperation I contacted Patti Conklin, a recent guest on my GUY’S GUY RADIO podcast. Patti’s book, “God Within” was a game changer for me. I loved its clear empowering message and got know and respect Patti as a person. She advised me to deploy her “Color Works” meditation to task my body with addressing the pain. She also helped me with my vibration and frequency by long distance, sending me balancing and healing energy. I took her advice and meditated. I also drank lots of lemon water, gritted my teeth a lot before finally passing out. I continued the “Color Works” meditation daily to visualize the elimination of the stone. It helped calm my mind and spirit while teaching me to love and trust my body.

When I returned to the city I finally went to the doctor. He told me that my symptoms mirrored those from a kidney stone. In late July, he sent me for a CAT scan. They found the kidney stone. And they found something else—a small growth was lodged onto each of my kidneys. This is not uncommon. They could easily be fatty deposits. Wisely, my doctor advised me to see an urologist. For now, the stone was my primary concern. It was moderate in size and painfully grinding a slow, uncomfortable path towards my bladder. I was in for a bumpy ride. I began feeling discomfort when urinating, but there was nothing I could do about it until the stone passed. And that could take awhile. So, I squirmed through business meetings, occasionally excusing myself to catch my breath in the bathroom. Things finally came to a head after I sampled some wonderful new tequila. I felt the burn as the smoky liquid traveled down my urinary track. I called the meeting short, hoping I had not alienated the client. Then I went home and fought off some wildly uncomfortable urination for the next few hours.

I saw the urologist the following day. He was not smiling as he reviewed my CAT scan. I assumed that the growths were random fatty deposits. They weren’t. They were something far more dangerous and they needed to come out. To say the least, I was surprised. To be sure, my urologist ordered an ultrasound and an MRI. Same results. There was a growth on each kidney, and although they were not aggressive, they had to be removed. The finding was purely incidental. There had been no symptoms. If left untreated for another few years, all bets were off. I did my research and agreed to set dates in September and early November for two rounds of a surgical procedure that I knew nothing about. Who even thinks about their kidneys? Not me. I had been on the best health regime of my life in 2014 and now this? When I thought about it, I realized that my annoyingly persistent kidney stone had led me to this critical disclosure. And that little sucker still hadn’t passed.

The ultrasound showed the stone perched directly above my bladder and ready for release. And that could be excruciatingly painful. My priorities had rapidly changed. I now had to face up to the passing of a kidney stone followed by two rounds of robotic surgery on my kidneys. Right after the ultrasound, my urologist and I reviewed the results on his screen. It was still sitting right above my bladder. He suggested I return for an ureteroscopy the following day. This way the stone would be out of the way and could not cause trouble during my upcoming surgeries. An ureteroscopy consists of sliding a camera and a little grabber up the ureter to snatch the stone from the bladder. Not my idea of a fun afternoon, but I agreed to do it. 

Since my painful bouts during July, I had continued my daily “Color Works” practice. I asked my body to show me the right color and vibration to shrink and dissolve the kidney stone. I'd been doing this for over a month now. I thought about that in the ensuing hours before the ureteroscopy the following afternoon. Although it was still painful to urinate, the situation remained unchanged. I was in pain until I went under.

When I awoke after the procedure, I asked the doctor if he put a stent into my ureter. That’s fairly common following an utereroscopy and it supposedly hurts like hell. Thankfully, he said no. Then he told me to buy a lottery ticket. Although he and his assistants searched my ureter up, down and all around, the stone was nowhere to be found. Somehow, over the course of the past twenty-four hours, it disappeared.

To be continued…

Teachings from a Toddler

Robert Manni - Thursday, November 06, 2014


Time flashes by. It’s hard to believe my young son is already eighteen months old. As any parent of a toddler can attest to, the job of raising a child is both exhausting and exhilarating. As a long time bachelor who never considered children, I scoffed when my friends told me having a child changes everything. They were right. It’s a whole different ballgame and hopefully it has made me a better Guy’s Guy. While I’ve witnessed my little boy learn about the world, I’ve also learned a lot from him. Here are a few things I’ve picked up by observing and tending to my son.

Life is discovery and learning.

It’s so refreshing seeing a young one interact with things for the first time. Whether it’s trying a new food, hearing a fire truck, or seeing a big dog or a little girl with flowing blonde hair, I’m continually amazed at the sheer joy children glean from what adults consider uneventful daily occurrences. Just a few minutes ago I watched my son play with a hanger for ten minutes. He picked it up, tossed it, dropped it, pushed it and basically milked the life out of it before leaving it on the floor so he could hide in my closet. When we’re outside he’ll pick up a leaf from an oak tree and carefully examine it like an astronaut who just landed on a strange planet.  He constantly reminds me about the wonders of our world and little things like fresh fallen leaves that adults take for granted. Maintaining one’s innocence and sense of wonder is important to keeping fresh and staying young at heart.

Get your hands dirty.

Like radar, toddler boys gravitate to nature and the earth. My son loves trees and bushes and wading through leaves that crunch beneath his feet. As we walk he picks up random broken tree branches, blades of grass and leaves and he’ll stop to scrunch down and play with each item until he’s gotten whatever joy he can get from it. Then he picks up the next thing in his path. There is something about little boys and their fascination with nature and getting their hands dirty that reminds me to roll up my sleeves mindfully dig into whatever I’m doing.   

Practice makes perfect.

My son has a stack of books. When I ask if he wants me to read to him, he carefully pores through the pile and makes his first selection. I pull him onto the couch and read aloud. He seems to always pick the same books, never bored with hearing me read each again and again. I must have read, “The Runaway Bunny” aloud over one hundred times. He points to the illustrations and says, “Caw”, his current word for everything. I’ll respond, “moon”, “cat”, “fish”, “frog” or whatever before he turns the page. Then he points to the same images again to be sure he knows the word. And he’s learning. When he places his finger on the illustration of a window, I’ll say “window”. Then he points to the window in our living room and says, “Caw”. He gets it. Repetition sounds boring, but it’s good for learning. Think about it next time you’re in that language, dance, or cooking class you thought would be so easy.

Routines can be good.

Let’s take repetition a step further. My son, and I think all toddlers, prefer routines at this early age. When you are new to the game, there is a comfort in knowing what comes next. Mommy gives you a bottle in the morning. Daddy tests you with flash cards when he feeds you dinner. You grab your shoes when it’s time to go out, and so on. I’ve noticed that when his routine gets changed up, like with daylight saving, it takes him a time to adjust. But within a few days, he settles back onto his groove. Adults like the comfort of routines also, and there is nothing wrong with a little predictability during chaotic times.

 

Leave the baggage behind.

My son is endlessly curious. He wants to examine anything he has not seen before. And that’s good. Recently he’s been obsessed with a deck of cards in a plastic case wrapped with a rubber band. I knew that as soon as he got to those cards they were destined for the floor. And sure enough it happened as predicted. I finally took the rubber band off after watching his sad little eyes peer up at me again while holding the case. When I took off the rubber band and handed him the case, I could see the delight in his eyes. Then the cards tumbled onto the floor.  After a quick glance at the cards, he cheerily marched off with the plastic case. He had no interest in the cards. And, of course, toddlers don’t think about who cleans up the mess, but that’s okay. Every time my son moves on from his most recent object of desire he reminds me not to put too much value on things or emotions. It’s better to leave our baggage behind.

Maybe I’m connecting the dots a little too conveniently to suit my point of view, but I know I’m learning as much about myself that my son is about the world. Thank you, little man.

Have you ever taken the time to learn from little kids?

 This week’s Guys’ Guys of the week are the growing number of stay-at-home dads who unselfishly devote their time to raising their children.

The Things I Learned Running Marathons

Robert Manni - Friday, October 31, 2014


The first Sunday in November is a special day. Runners of all shapes and sizes come from around the globe to New York to share a special human experience while packed together for 26.2 miles traversing the five boroughs of the city.

If you’re entered in this year’s race, I wish you the very best. It could turn out to be one of the most special days of your life. Enjoy it.

For me, the greatest thing about the marathon is that for one chilly morning anyone who puts in the training can experience what is feels like to compete in a world-class athletic event.  After all, very few of us know what it’s like to play a professional sport and perform in front of a rabidly cheering crowd. I love running, but I’m no elite athlete. I’ve done my share of 5k and 5-mile races and finished three marathons. Each marathon proved to be a different experience, but all of them taught me valuable lessons. Here are a few things I learned that continue to help me out today.

Stay focused. Connect your mind, body, and spirit.

Both the training and actually running the race demands a fine balance and integration of your body, mind and spirit. No matter what kind of shape you are in, you will find yourself challenged at some point during the relentless twenty-six point two mile course. It might be a cramp, exhaustion, bad weather, or an upset stomach, but trust me you will face something unexpected. And even if you train diligently and put in those long runs, a marathon requires an elevated level of mental toughness and a fighting spirit. Be prepared.

Don’t judge a book by its cover.

Marathoners come in all shapes and sizes and speak all sorts of languages. During my first race I was surprised at how many runners who did not look like they were in great shape pass me. At first my ego got the best of me when waves of older and chunkier runners zipped by. I got down on myself and even questioned my training. Then I remembered reading that everyone’s physical body processes oxygen differently. Plus, I had no idea what kind of training regimen these people went through or how many marathons they had run. I shook it off and kept running.

Don’t worry about anyone else. Stick to your plan.

After a few miles of being overwhelmed by the magnitude of my first marathon and the presence of so many runners running elbow to elbow, I dug deep and focused on my plan. That meant plugging along slowly and steadily until reaching mile twenty. If I had a gas in my tank I would speed up towards the end of the race. I tracked along at a ten-minutes per mile for the first three quarters of the first marathon. And I did not hit the dreaded wall at mile twenty. I breezed through the final six miles and now I was passing everyone else. I crossed the finish line with both hands in the air. Let me tell you; it felt great.

Hydrate and eat well.

Running for four hours requires a lot of fuel so during each marathon I made sure to slow down at most of the water stops while also grabbing healthy snacks when I saw them handed out. This made a big difference in my energy level. And it’s the same in day-to-day life. Skipping meals or not drinking enough water results in mental and physical burn out. And who doesn’t enjoy eating and drinking?

Pat yourself on the back.

People in general and marathoners can be pretty tough on themselves. Instead of celebrating their amazing feats, they carp about what they did wrong and what they’ll do next time. I’ve been guilty of this also. Now I always give myself credit whenever I put in some hard work. Now that my marathon days are over (did I really say that?) I realize what an accomplishment it is just to complete this long race. I’m proud of a job well done.

Practice makes perfect. Train like a champ.

Like anything else in life, you need to prepare for the big opportunities. Whether it’s writing a screenplay, making a presentation, or running a marathon you need to invest time and psychic energy into the undertaking if you want to enjoy the experience and savor victory—however you define it.  My solo twenty-mile training runs were critical to my physical and mental state of mind during the marathons. I knew that if I could run twenty miles in September without the cheering crowds I’d be well prepared for race day in November. I was well prepared for each race and it sure came in handy.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Running a marathon is a microcosm for life. There is pleasure, pain, joy, tears, and camaraderie—basically a full range of human emotions experienced over a few brief hours on a Sunday morning. If you ever get the urge to run a marathon, by all means do so. And if you do, make sure you fully immerse yourself in the experience—from each mile of your training until you cross the finish line.  You’ll be happy with a job well done. What more can you ask for?

Have you ever considered running a marathon?

 

This week’s Guys’ Guys of the week are the 30,000 plus runners in Sunday’s NYC Marathon. Have a great race, people!


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