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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Staying Sane

Robert Manni - Thursday, April 06, 2017

Can you recall a crazier time in our lives than right now? Probably not.

Between every excruciating day of chaos ushered in by our new president, global terror, rising health care costs, homelessness, weekend subway service in NYC, an endless winter, GMO’s infesting our food, drone-like jobs with longer hours and less pay, it’s a tough time to be alive. People are stressed out, tired, unfocused, hyper, and stretched to the human limits. This is not how things are supposed to be, amigos. I’m actually surprised our society hasn’t completely melted down.

More and more I read about disclosure and how our planet is on the verge of a major change for the better. But when you are under a constant assault of fear by the media and the powers that be, no one would blame you for feeling life is uninspiring and becoming a long, slow downward spiral.

What’s a Guy’s Guy to do? Lots. With the hope of contributing to your mental, physical and spiritual wellness, I’ve pulled together a punch list of ten things you can do when your world appears to have gone absolutely bonkers. I call it, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Staying Sane. Here’s my list in no particular order.

Drum roll, please…

1. Breathe – That’s right. Breathe. When you are on edge, even the smallest slight can trigger you into overreacting and regretting things later. If your latest Facebook post puts you on the receiving end of the social media trolls or your boss is sabotaging you because you can do her job better than she can, don’t take the bait. Take a few slow breaths, hold, and release. Breathe and repeat. Try this slow breathing when riding the subway or the bus and within a few minutes your mind will calm down. It’s a good start.

2. Ease up on social media – I don’t know about you, but my feed features a polarizing gamut of spiritual articles and memes, sports and culture, and partisan political posts. After asking myself why do I care what my grammar schoolmates post about Trump, I began unfollowing, and at times unfriending and blocking those I found annoying. I feel better. It’s a start to regaining my sanity. I’ve found that endlessly scrolling Facebook and Twitter makes us anxious, like we’re all on pins and needles waiting for that post or tweet that’s going to make everything better in our lives. It’s making people crazy. Sure, I enjoy videos of the kitty that scared off the alligator and the kid with no arms who sank a 3-point shot. But there’s too much weird activity on Earth to keep up with while trying to be productive. So get a grip, amigo, holster that phone, and push away from your computer screen. Live your life offline.

3. Turn off the news – Whether it’s online or on your television, there’s an endless feed of news and propaganda spewed at us all day. Have you ever wondered why you see the same stories on most of the networks? It’s because a handful of organizations own the news outlets. They decide what stories are worthy and how long to pound them into our consciousness. Right now it’s all about Russia, Trump, the latest global terror strikes and other stories that instill fear. Those topics have legs, while other topics like fixing our environment and safeguarding our food supply are ignored. I’m not suggesting we turn a blind eye to what’s happening in the world, but we need to remind ourselves that there is an agenda. We’re served what they want to feed us. So it’s important to our mental health to consume news in moderate, manageable doses or else risk depression. After all, you still need to submit that updated Excel sheet with the Q3 projections by close of business tomorrow.

4. Get outside – Nothing brings me more sanity than getting out of my crib. When it’s cold and dreary, it’s tough to push yourself out the door. But, when you stay inside there are too many temptations to flip on the TV or laptop. A walk in the fresh air brings a new perspective and is very helpful for calming down.

5. Exercise – When the world seems to be going crazy, a workout or a run in the park provide a hard to beat mental, physical, and spiritual respite from all the stress. I prefer a long run to clear my head. Others like yoga or spin classes, stretching, cardio or free weights to decompress. Whatever you choose is fine. Like they say, just do it. Sex is a good exercise also.

6. Meditate – Meditation has many benefits. Besides relaxing and clearing the mind, meditation gives the physical body an opportunity to heal from the duress of modern life. And of course, it also allows us to get in touch with our inner consciousness and higher self. Even if you can only spare a few minutes a day, find time to meditate. You’ll see a difference in how you view the world.

7. Appreciate art – Thank God for artists. They reflect our world in so many ways while allowing our minds to process life through a fresh lens. It doesn’t matter if you are reading a novel, wandering through a museum, watching an indie film, or listening to jazz. Taking time to appreciate the arts always provides a needed mental break from the craziness and helps us see our world and plight with a different perspective.

8. Create something  Putting your focus into personal expression keeps the cray cray away. Writing, singing, painting, sewing, chanting, or even sculpting your body are wonderful outlets to let off steam and express how you feel about what’s gong on in the world and your personal experience. These all take a concentration and getting into a zone where you’re focused on building something instead of simply processing information. Creativity is a safe haven from a messed up world.

9. Engage with other people – Deep conversations with a friend, laughter, hugging it out, and sex are proven ways to de-stress and stay sane. And they’re usually fun.

10. Service – Extending oneself to others, even in small ways has a ripple effect. Doing good makes the world a better place, and a less crazy place. Sharing your knowledge, being a mentor, volunteering, or even giving accordion players a buck all helps make the world a better place.

These are just a few ways we can keep our sanity in an increasingly dysfunctional culture. The media and the powers that be want us to live in fear and see one another as separate. The truth is that underneath the surface everyone is connected and we have a lot of collective power. Stay positive and control your thoughts. You are not crazy.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is the Dalai Lama. Throughout his life he has managed to maintain wisdom, calm, and equilibrium in the face of the endless challenges that have been thrown his way.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Detoxifying Your Life

Robert Manni - Wednesday, January 25, 2017

We’re bombarded with toxins every day. Whether they’re in the food we eat, the air we breathe, or the media we consume, human beings are under constant attack.

Autopsies show that most people who die had cancer in their bodies, even is it was not the cause of their death. Why? We enter this world pure, pristine, and in most cases, blessed with good health. But over time, due to our lifestyles, the foods we ingest, our thoughts, the images we view, heavy metals, the pollutants in our air and the water we drink create a poisonous environment within our bodies.

Some people claim that we can’t detoxify our bodies and that cleanses don’t work, but I’ll leave that up to you to decide after you do your research. Even so, there sure are a lot of people who are sick and contracting chronic autoimmune diseases. I’m a Guy’s guy, not a western doctor, but I’ve experienced a life-threatening health scare that forced me to stare into the abyss. As a result, I’ve taken the time to dig into the things that make us toxic and how we can clean up and live as healthy a lifestyle as possible. And that means eliminating and replacing much of what our body, mind, and spirit consumes.  My suggestions are based on reading, interviewing numerous healers on my podcast, Guy’s Guy Radio, and my personal experience. If our collective human makeup and physical chemistry is the same, why are some of us sick and others healthy? It’s a mystery and yet it makes sense. Some of us treat our body, minds and spirit like shit, and I think we can agree that there are steps we can take to help maintain better health. These are my suggestions, but ultimately, you’ve gotta live your life and make the choices that feel right for you.

Let’s break this down into three parts: our body, mind, and spirit and explore some tips and insights to consider that might enhance your day-to-day existence. My goal is that you are as healthy and happy as possible.

BODY – Our western diet has not evolved with our optimal health in mind. The bulk of our daily meals are laden with too much sugar, salt, meat, fried or processed foods, dairy, and GMO’s. The cumulative effect of a steady diet of these over the years can result in chronic autoimmune diseases, intestinal fungi, parasites, and lead to cancer. Add alcohol consumption, tobacco, drugs, prescription meds, and a lack of sleep and water, and our body chemistry can turn toxic. It’s imperative that we drastically reduce or eliminate much of these poisons while at the same time hydrating more frequently and getting more sleep.

We are what we eat, so choose organic foods and do your very best to cut out meat and sugar. Cut out the obvious bad stuff like drugs, prescription meds (when possible) and tobacco, drink as much filtered water as you can (about 8 liters a day if you can handle it) and get more shut-eye. Even a short nap helps because we’re a sleep-deprived culture. You might also add apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, Himalayan sea salt, and clay to your water, food, and oral health regime to aid health and hasten the elimination of toxins from your overloaded system. Even our environment plays a role with all of the electromagnetic energy pulsing trough urban locales. Over time all this can accumulate inside of you. Your body is a temple, but over time even the sturdiest temples crumble if they are not properly maintained.

MIND – If we are what we consume, that includes media, music, media, news, social media, films, video and games, porn, etc. Garbage in. Garbage out. Studies have proved that there is energy in all of the above, so be mindful about what you watch and read, and the music you listen to. It will impact your outlook and your health. As a marketing and ad guy, I always check out the ads running in the subways for the latest movies, television shows, and music. Most of it is dark, creepy, and violent. Is it any wonder why young people (I don’t want to put this all on millennials, but…) hold such jaded views on life and their fellow man? But more than that, when we consume all of the negativity, it poisons us from within.

I like to binge on the latest Netflix series as much as the next guy, but I am careful about how much violence, hate, and broken characters I allow into my consciousness. And let’s not forget good old Facebook and its daily barrage of memes and posts about our new president. I’m not a fan, but I also don’t want to allow his odd behavior be a constant distraction and annoyance. Concerning social media, the best thing I have done this year is to “unfollow” a bunch of guys from my high school that apparently live to defend anything Trump does, says, or lies about. Fellas, have at it, but I’m out. And I feel so much better.

SPIRIT – This might be the most important area to focus on if you want to detox your life. When you boil it all down, every real decision we face forces us to choose between love and fear. Choosing love requires us to do what we can to enhance our spiritual practices. Walking the righteous path is not easy, but it pays off if you maintain stamina and a determination side with love when the world around you gets crazy and people behave like jerks. To help detoxify spiritually, I meditate, affirm, appreciate my gifts, pray, forgive myself and the other guy. I know it sounds sappy, but if you give the righteous path a fair chance, over time you’ll raise your vibration and reap the rewards of living in alignment with your truth.

These are my simple suggestions that I hope will help you they way they have helped me live my best life.  That’s what I am doing right now. Sure, I’m a work in progress, but I am making consistent strides. And it feels great. Do what’s best for you, but always, always, always choose love. And remember to love yourself while you’re at it.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Lord Dhanvantari who is considered the physician of the Devas (gods) and the father of Ayurvedic medicine.    

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Aging - Part 2 (The Good News)

Robert Manni - Sunday, September 18, 2016

Life can change at any second. That’s right, amigos. Every new day brings an opportunity.

But to make change, we must be open-minded and try new ways of doing things. This is one of the keys to adapting as we age.

Remember when you attended your high school reunion? Quite an eye-opener. Some of your classmates still look fantastic and full of life while others appeared much older than their age. What happened? With each subsequent reunion the differences in how people we know age grows. For some, it’s a reflection of an individual’s life-experiences or genetic makeup. But in most cases, it’s indicative in how these folks have taken care of themselves. So it’s critical to approach each new day as a fresh start and take stock in how we are treating our mind, body and soul. In my last post I focused on all of the inevitable bad news and challenges we’ll face as we age. But, like I stated, it doesn’t have to be all bad news. Sure, we’ll all get old eventually, and faster than we expected, but there are steps we can take along the way to ease our path as we approach our senior years. Here are a few tricks your Guy’s Guy has learned along the way.

1. Pace yourself.

I’m a runner, and although I’ve completed three marathons, I still struggle with my weekly treks around the outer loop of Central Park. That run never seems to get easier, and running is hard on the body. Many runners switch to another form of cardio as they get older due to the pounding and the nagging injuries that often occur. And as we get older, those tweaks take longer and longer to fully heal. So what’s the answer? First, make a decision about running or any intense fitness activity you are involved in. Is your body still up to the challenges and pounding or is it time to find a replacement workout? Maybe add yoga, but at least incorporate stretching into your routine.

Everybody is different, so each one of us needs to take an honest stock of themselves and ask if running or whatever your most intense workout is can remain part of your regime. If the answer is yes, like it was for me, be smart and take it easy on yourself. Sure, I can still do those log runs, but now I take the time to recover between these runs and make sure I stretch after every run. When I get a tweak in your hammy or meniscus, I back off and hop on the elliptical trainer for a few weeks before hitting the pavement again.

I pulled a hammy this summer and wisely made the switch to the elliptical for a month. I also stretched every day and massaged my hammy until it was back to normal before running on it again. Ten years ago, I might have foolishly continued running and risked really hurting myself. It’s about being smart, amigos. You can do most of the same things, but as you age, you need to be smarter about how you work out.

2. Watch your weight.

Let’s face it. The food in our supermarkets is mostly processed and loaded with hidden sugars and GMOs. It wasn’t always that way, but it is now, so we need to use our noodle when choosing what foods we eat and how much of it we consume. I used to think that as long I kept running I could eat whatever I wanted in the same portion sizes as I consumed in my twenties. Twenty pounds later I began to take note of how quickly the pounds were sticking to my frame. And once us guys get that roll of abdominal fat around our waists, it becomes more and more difficult to shed it completely.

Over the years I’ve slowly, but consistently, adapted my diet to fit my aging body and lifestyle. I’ve always started my day with a set of at least fifty push-ups, but there have been times when I have skipped the gym for a few months and stop running outside when the roads were iced over during our northeast winters. What I ate became the X-factor in how I managed my waistline and health, so I had to make some changes.

I decided to stop eating meat eight years ago. At first it was hard, but now I don’t even think about it. I quit smoking over twenty-five years ago and still regret ever taking that first puff. Thankfully, I didn’t gain any weight when I stopped smoking, probably because I exercised more. I switched to a cleaner diet that has over the years evolved to predominantly green vegetables, fish, pasture raised eggs, and green smoothies, while avoiding sugars and simple carbs including breads, pizza, and pasta as much as possible. Another consideration is when I eat. Eating meals earlier in the day is better for our health and waistline.  I try not to eat after 8pm so I do not go to sleep with a full stomach. Has it been a challenge? Sure, but I like how I feel weighing twenty pounds less than I did twenty years ago. I have more energy and my clothes fit better, too. I’m happy with my choices and healthier as a result.

The key to success in managing your diet is to try a few different routines, including fasting (if you can hack it), put in the necessary time to get real results, and then make lifestyle changes based on what you’ve learned and what works for you. Do I enjoy a glass of wine or top shelf tequila now and then? Sure, but I’m doing my best to avoid the boomer habit of drinking my way into old age.

3. Consider natural solutions.

The last time I had a check up, the medical assistant administering the tests asked what meds I take. I told her, “Nothing”. She asked me the same question two more times. Same answer. I’m not suggesting that you do not take medication your physician prescribes, but in some cases, you have a choice of forgoing the meds by changing in your lifestyle and dietary choices. For example, two years ago, my doctor told me my cholesterol was on the high side. He suggested a statin pill. I said, “No, thanks”. He suggested that I return in six months. If my numbers were unchanged he wanted me to take the prescription. I asked if there was anything I could do to lower my numbers. He suggested a vegan diet. I told him I’d see him in a year. I quit eating meat and drastically improved my dietary choices by avoiding processed and acidic foods.

When I returned a year later, my numbers had dropped by ninety points. After two more years my cholesterol numbers are bordering on low.  Why? I looked for a natural path to wellness and stuck to the program so my body could heal itself. I also reduced my blood pressure significantly through diet and exercise. The point is; if you take charge of your choices, you can make positive changes to your health and well-being. Your doctor will let you know when things are going wrong, but they rarely tell you how to stay healthy. Do your own research and take charge of your health as best you can. And, make sure you don’t miss your check ups.

4. Mediate

Let’s face it. The endless onslaught of negativity spewed at us by the media, movies, and advertising can lead to an overload of mental monkey chatter that turns our lives into an endless loop of reacting instead of having vision that we act on. Starting the day or finding time for 15-20 minutes for quiet meditation connects us to our higher selves. This connection with the divine is there for all, but it’s up to each one of us to make the time to forge a connection to consciousness. Your higher self, sometimes coming through as that little voice inside of your head or heart, knows all about who we are, what we are, and how we serve. It’s there to help us. But again, it’s up to us to take advantage of our connection with divinity. 

Ultimately, no matter what diet or physical programs you incorporate the key to aging well is through love— self-love, love for your neighbor, love for humanity, and a love for the God that’s in each one of us. If you want to age gracefully, make smart choices and seek consciousness. Love and a connection to your divinity can help your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being while bringing you joy, gratitude, and peace.

This week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is Jack La Lanne. This true Guy’s Guy was a humanitarian who helped create today’s fitness revolution and healthy lifestyle. During his show he also shared much wisdom about keeping the spirit and mind strong and positive while training the body.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Managing Fear

Robert Manni - Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Fear runs rampant throughout our culture. If you don’t believe me, check out our newspaper headlines, evening news, movies and scripted television series.

Tales of terror, hate, murder, looming economic collapse, disease, and death fill our headlines. Listen to the language used by your friends, relatives and people on the street. In many of these casual conversations doom, gloom and threads of fear are etched in the subtext. And it’s true—the world can be a scary place, and there is a lot to worry about if we decide to focus on the negative. But is that how we want to live our lives? Of course not. So, this week I humbly offer my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Managing Fear as a way to escape this omnipresent perceptual trap.

Like Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “We have nothing to fear except fear itself.”

Those immortal words have never resonated more than right now. Fear is mindset, a perception, a decision to claim anxiety and potential negative outcomes lurking around every corner. This is a myth. When bad things happen, if we don’t immediately succumb to fear, we get a better handle on the situation and can make better decisions. For example, if you lose your job, you can freeze up, shut down, or panic. Don’t do that. Take a step back. Breathe in. Exhale.

When change comes abruptly, it’s better to study the situation before making any unnecessary moves that can be driven by fear. Be cool, amigo. You might be out of a job, but most of time life’s twists and turns eventually turn out for the better. Think back on when that job went kaput. Were you happy? Was it your dream job? Probably not. Now, what can you do with the down time? You can reassess your future and life’s purpose or go barreling into the first job you get offered because you are afraid that you will never get another job if you don’t take the first one you’re offered. Hey, I know the market is tough, but I’ve been there and I’ve done that and it was not a good move. Sure you’ve got bills to pay and you need that cash, but if you can hold out, don’t let fear control decisions on your life’s work. You may wind up in the same situation a year later, all because you let fear get the best of you.

Are you a spiritual person?

Most of us think we are spiritual. If that's the case, there is no reason to be afraid. Because if you have a spiritual foundation you believe that God or the universal consciousness has your back and is on your side. So why are you afraid? And most importantly, if you do have a spiritual underpinning pointing the way, you know that you’re exactly where you need to be and at the perfect place and position to learn whatever need to learn right now. This may sound like a convenient way to brush aside the seriousness of real life (and sometimes death) circumstances, but if you really think about it, how can you live in fear if you believe in God? Don’t be afraid. Believe.

Turn off the television.

Because of my inner work and meditations, I’m finding that I start to feel ill if I watch too much television or ingest too much media in one sitting. Hey, my background is in marketing and advertising so I appreciate a well-told story or an engaging advertisement. I also like to keep up with what’s going on in our world, so I like to check in on the news now and then. That said; the news and our media thrive on fear. The news stories scare the shit out of us. The movies and television shows show us how dysfunctional we are, and the ads sell us what we need to feel better about our lacking selves. Need I say more? Be careful of what your mind consumes, amigo. Which leads us to…

The mind is our most powerful tool.

The more you can control your thoughts, the more you can control your life and manifest or actualize what you want. In other words, if you spend your time thinking about what you fear most, you may end up getting exactly that. So let’s spin it another way. If you focus on what you want and your intention for it as being the highest good, you’re putting yourself on a positive track.

Gratitude works.

Mentally expressing appreciation and thanks for all my blessings upon awakening and right before falling asleep has created a less fearful mindset. It clears my mind and creates space for good things to come into my life. After all, if our minds have been choked with fear, we need to make room for the things we want. So again, each morning and night I mentally express thanks for everything in my life even experiences of loss or rejection. Somehow it calms me down and slows my mental chatter. If you don’t believe me, give it a try for a week and see if you don’t begin to experience a shift in your mindset from fear to feelings fueled by positivity, abundance and gratitude.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Pope Francis. He’s fearlessly taken on the conservative, static framework of the Catholic Church, world leaders intent on power, people’s prejudice, hypocrisy, and warring factions across the globe.

Image courtesy of Stu Mayhew on Flickr.

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!

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Meditation

Robert Manni - Friday, September 12, 2014

In today’s hyper-competitive, fast-paced world, it’s almost impossible to slow down. It seems that every day is mired in multitasking, double booking, and working overtime—all just to maintain the status quo. The demands on our time are endless. While all this is going on our brains get clogged with mega doses of information that perpetuates that incessant, internal monkey chatter. What time is my client meeting? Is my hairline receding? Who do I start at tight end in my fantasy football league? Why are there so many housewives shows on television? Should I buy the new iPhone or wait? It goes on and on. Our mental circuits are overloaded. We’re all on a runaway train careening along the rails towards a meltdown. What can we do? Sometimes the best course of action is to simply go inside and chill. And Guy’s Guys like to keep their cool. With this in mind I humbly offer you my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Meditation. I’ll share what I know about this new age, old school art and how I do it. There are myriad of ways to mediate, so I’m sure you can find one that suits you best.

Why Meditate?

It’s ironic that one of the healthiest activities for the body and mind requires that we do nothing. The benefits of meditation are numerous, led by a double dollop of good news. It helps prevent stress from entering the system, while at the same time releasing stress that has accumulated internally. Physical benefits of meditation include lowering high blood pressure, improving the immune system, reducing a propensity for anxiety attacks, decreasing tension-related pain, increasing serotonin and increasing energy levels. If that doesn’t convince you to give meditation a whirl, consider the mental benefits: decreased anxiety, increased creativity, happiness, intuition, and peace of mind, and an expansion of your consciousness.

How to Meditate

Meditating is easy and you can do it just a few minutes a day and get great results. And there is a cumulative effect. The more you meditate, the more benefits you reap from the process. You plant a seed and a flower grows. It’s up to you to plant those seeds.

I have a background and accreditations in Reiki and clinical hypnotherapy and I’ve been meditating for years. I can go deep almost anywhere whether it is during a long run or even tucked inside a MRI tube.

Over time, everyone develops his or her own technique. What I usually do is find a place where I can be left undisturbed for approximately twenty minutes. I sit quietly, close my eyes, and slowly inhale through my nostrils while exhaling through my mouth. Slow and steady, slow and steady. Then I count myself down from three, saying to myself with each breath, “Three, calm and relaxed, two, calm and relaxed, one, calm and relaxed.” While doing this I imagine a stream of white light pouring into my crown chakra and down throughout my ethereal and physical body. As I maintain my slow, steady breathing I begin focusing on releasing tension throughout my body and mind. The monkey chatter quiets down after a minute or so. If a random thought surfaces during the process like “where could I have left that dry cleaning ticket?” I treat it like a fluffy cloud that shows up in the sky on a sunny day. I recognize it and then let it slowly drift off. I’ve found that it helps if you can meditate outdoors in a pristine, natural setting, but that is not always possible.

If there’s an issue I need to resolve, I ask my subconscious or higher self for guidance. Other times I spend the time visualizing. I focus my intention on something I want, what it looks like upon completion and how I will feel when I have it. It may be for perfect health or writing a best seller or being of service or providing for my family. In fact in can be anything as long it is for the collective higher good. Although there is nothing wrong with abundance, I personally don’t intend hot cars or money for the sole reason of material gain.

Other times I intend that the divine white light pour into my consciousness and flush out any dis-ease or toxins in my system. I allow, I receive, I release.

Whatever direction I take my mediation… or not, the process goes on for twenty minutes or so. When I feel that I reached completion, I slowly bring myself back to the surface employing the same breathing technique. This time I tell myself “Three, I am awake and alert, two, I am awake and alert, one, I am awake and alert”. Then I open my eyes. And that’s it.

There are many forms and schools of thought when it comes to mediation, but the end results are the same. Better mental health, better physical health. Choose the type of meditation that fits you best, but do give it a try. 

Are you ready to go deep?


This week’s Guys’ Guys of the Week are the southern Indian tribes credited with conducting meditational practices fifteen thousand years ago. Talk about old school… 

The Guys' Guy's Introduction to Reiki

Robert Manni - Friday, May 16, 2014

It all started when I hurt my leg while training for my first marathon. It was two weeks before the race, when one Sunday I limped my way through a street fair. I stopped to rest at small stand. I saw a man placing his hands on another man’s shoulders. I didn’t know that he was performing Reiki. I watched and skimmed through a leaflet on the table. Then I stuffed it into my pocket and waited my turn. I told the man I was experiencing cramps in my right calf. I took a seat and he placed his hands a few inches from my calf. I could feel currents of energy around my leg. Amazingly, in a short period of time the muscle loosened up. I handed the man $10 and moved on, feeling a lot better. I had never seen a Reiki practitioner at a street fair before and haven't since then. Maybe it was a dream. That night I researched this amazingly gentle, yet powerful holistic healing art. And because Guy’s Guys believe in giving back and passing on good things, I decided to take the plunge. 

That was fourteen years ago. I’ve studied and graduated the prerequisite levels to become a Reiki Master Teacher. I don’t practice full time, but it has been a gift and important part of my life. So what is Reiki? Simply put, according to Master/Teacher William Lee Rand, Reiki is a Japanese form of stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. Some say a Reiki attunement brings us closer to the Source while providing a clearer form of guidance from the universal consciousness. In a nutshell, Reiki helps break down and remove blockages along the body’s energy meridians. Think of a flowing river dislodging a pebble and moving it down stream. Once attuned, a practitioner visualizes a series of symbols while intending energy through the top of his crown and out through the hands. This pure energy is intended to the subject. The practitioner can either touch or hold his hands a few inches away from the subject and have the same effect. Although there are a variety of hand positions to learn, the Reiki energy knows where to go. Amazing. 

A full session lasts about forty-five minutes to an hour, although you can also benefit from short sessions as I did with my calf. From a historical standpoint, the practice began in India. It became a lost healing art until about one hundred years ago when a Japanese man named Dr. Usui re-imagined Reiki while in deep meditation. He began passing attunements to others that continue on to this day. In fact, my attunement comes from Dr. Usui’s lineage.

The benefits of learning Reiki are many. First, Reiki practitioners are encouraged to practice on themselves. We receive the same benefits from self-Reiki that we’d get from another practitioner. It’s like giving yourself a great massage. Secondly, although there are set attunements by virtue of the level of study you have reached— one, two, three, Master, or Teacher— a practitioner can continue to receive attunements at any time. And the attunements are permanent. Once you are attuned at the Master Teacher level, you can attune others and your physical and spiritual perspective changes. I literally see the world differently now. Additionally, I can send healing energy to past, present, and future situations, and also send Reiki to people across the globe by visualizing the appropriate symbol and the right intention. It truly is a gift and an amazing practice to learn.

A person receiving Reiki feels relaxed and refreshed. The energy flow is gentle, but it clears the paths and blockages that cause disease and discomfort. Frequently, there is also an emotional release accompanying a treatment. I have witnessed many subjects crying or needing the use the bathroom after a session. Sometimes, people call me later and tell me they cried it out on their drive home. I’m not going to get defensive about the science of how Reiki works, but the proof is in the pudding. Many hospital and traditional medical practices now offer and encourage their nurses and doctors to learn this healing art as a way to promote wellness and comfort their patients.

If you are interested in learning more and studying Reiki with the goal of attunement and practicing, I suggest a thorough Google or You Tube search and reading a book or two on the subject. I’d also recommend that if you do decide to follow this path that you take it slow and not skip from level to level. Although you can learn the basic symbols and get attuned for level one during a weekend workshop, I suggest extending your studies of the levels and attunements over the course of at least five years. Reiki is not something you rush into. It is a life-altering practice that requires love and your spiritual attention.

Think you have a basic idea of Reiki now?

Our Guy’s Guy of the Week is who else, but Dr. Usui, who rebirthed this lost healing art and began the spread of this wonderful practice around the world.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Finding Inner Peace

Robert Manni - Saturday, March 15, 2014

We live in a high-octane, turbulent world that keeps surging forward. And inner peace is an important topic that requires more insights than a down and dirty blog post can address. But in true Guy’s Guy fashion I’ll share a few tips to help get you started on a path out of the chaos and into that snuggly happy place inside your consciousness. Here are my Guy’s Guy ways to tap into your inner peace.


It’s easy to take things for granted, that is until things are taken away. Many guys, including this Guy’s Guy, has been the lead actor in that play where we don’t pay attention to our partner before she blindsides us and tells us she wants out. Ouch. Part of paying attention is being appreciative of our blessings, big and small. Just waking up, hopping out of bed and inhaling a deep breath is cause for a minor celebration. You’re alive, you can stand on your two feet and you’ve been gifted with yet another fresh start. It’s that simple. For the past few years, and no matter how bad things may have seemed to be at times, I’ve done my best to say, “thank you” upon awakening each day and again before falling asleep at night. This sets up and ends my day up with a positive vibe and I’ve learned that I really am thankful for each day on this beautiful, crazy planet of ours.


There are a lot of people out there who behave like total a-holes. Surely we’ve all come in contact with the person who cuts in line at the movies, cuts you off on the highway, steals your food from the company refrigerator, or does things a lot worse. The media subjects us to so many movies and TV shows with messages seeded in retribution and revenge that it’s easy to let these poisonous emotions take control of our thinking. We just have to get that person who screwed us back. Now I’m not saying you should be a doormat, but it is possible to forgive the bad behavior of others while insuring that you getting your due. Focus on rectifying the situation while leaving the punishment to karma and the universe to deal with at the appropriate time.


Acknowledging how crazy busy our lives have become and how we are constantly tethered to technology, it’s important to find ten minutes a day to center ourselves and quiet our minds. This can be as simple as a brief walk around the block after lunch, even if you ate another tuna sandwich at your desk while checking in on your fantasy teams. If you can discipline yourself, set aside five to ten minutes in the morning or before turning in to sit calmy, breathe deeply while slowly while watching the thoughts from your monkey mind drift by. I repeat Om Namah Shivaya, which is basically a bow to the inner self as being part of the divine consciousness, to myself throughout the day. It’s non-denominational and helps quiet my mind.


Yes, I know that we can never get enough bacon, but you really are what you eat. Over the past six years I’ve eliminated beef, lamb, pork, poultry and for the most part, fish. I’ve lost some weight and really don’t miss the meat. I gave up both caffeine and alcohol for New Year’s and surprisingly I have never felt better. Anyone who knows me knows I love a glass of pinot noir or a top shelf cocktail. Still, it’s good to give your body a break now and then and after the first time out at the bar with friends, ordering that first club soda with lime is not such a big deal. The tricky one is caffeine. You drink coffee to wake up and then it keeps you awake at night. So you wake up tired and need more coffee. Thank you, Dunkin Donuts, for keeping us going. Bottom line, what you consume impacts both your mind and your body, and that means your inner peace, too.


The older we get the harder it is to work out and maintain a high level of fitness. And that makes it easy to find excuses to forgo exercise for a cold beer. I find that working up a sweat clears my mind and keeps my body as strong as it was twenty years ago. A long run in Central Park is a great way to get with nature and break down whatever is bothering me. I constructed each chapter and the plot for my novel, THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE, during my runs and I’m working on another book now as I do my six-mile runs. Again, exercise slows me down in a good way and quiets my mind.

There are so many ways to find your peace. I’ve just touched on a few that have stood out for me. But even thought we’re all connected, everyone has their own style, ways and means of chillaxing and finding their inner zone. The key is making the time to find yours. Peace out, amigos.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Thich Nhat Hanh, author and spiritual leader who said, “Smile, breathe and go slowly”.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Spiritual Books

Robert Manni - Friday, May 24, 2013

Being a Guy’s Guy is not all sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.

Reading keeps us in touch with our inner selves and reminds us of our collective connection to the universal consciousness. I’ve read hundreds of books in all genres, but I’m called back by great stories about regular people finding their paths and enlightenment and books about energy and spirituality.  Life speeds by in a flash, and it’s important to take a breather now and then and ask ourselves why the hell we're here, what really matters and how we can enjoy the ride. There are many well-deserving books that are not included, but the following features a handful of practical, thought provoking and well-written tomes with deep insights and positive messages. I hope you will find an opportunity to read a few of them. You will not be disappointed.  In no particular order I humbly offer, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Spiritual Books.

1. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Dr. Joseph Murphy. This is one of my all-time favorite books of any genre.  I was walking through a bookstore about ten years ago and this little book literally stopped me in my tracks. I picked it up, began reading and purchased it. I’ve read it several times and it convinced me to study hypnosis. I am now an advanced clinical Master Hypnotist. It’s fast, practical, easy to read and chock full of advice about self-hypnosis, staying positive and trusting your inner self. Sounds like bullshit? It’s not.

2. Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain.  A classic New Age helper in seeing, believing and making it happen. Another easy to digest book that packs a punch and a reminder about how we choose our paths and determine our outcomes. Inspirational.

3. The Healing Energy of Your Hands by Michael Bradford. If you want to learn how to manipulate energy for healing, this is the one book to read. Filled with easy exercises and demonstrations, you can learn how to work with the flow of energy to heal and stay healthy. This book inspired me to study Reiki. I am now a Reiki Master/Teacher. It’s that good.

4. The Book of Love and Creation by Paul Selig. This is the second of what will be three contributions about tapping into universal love through the, “I Am” presence. Guides channeled these texts through Paul. The passages are uplifting, powerful, and filled with love. I highly recommend these books to anyone interested in raising their frequency.

5. The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hahn. This one takes compassion and mindfulness into our everyday practical lives and into the halls of government and business. The mindfulness trainings alone are worth the price of admission. Great reading, especially if you have a foolish boss.

6. Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss, Ph.D. This pioneer in energy medicine expert explores how energy is encoded in our physical vessels and how we can read the signals and take positive steps in managing our spiritual and physical health.

7. Three Magic Words by Uell S. Anderson. If you read or watched the video of “The Secret” you will want to read this book. It strips out the pizzazz and gets down to how our conscious and subconscious minds determine our course of actions and outcomes. You will learn how to eliminate negativity and stay the course in practical terms and through a series of meditative exercises.

8. Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss, MD. If you have ever wondered what past life regression is and how it works, this is the book for you. As a hypnotist, I’ve explored past life regression and found that it to be an interesting way to learn more about who we are and what’s inside. Very easy reading as it follows one case from beginning to end. A page-turner.

9. Your Sacred Self by Dr. Wayne Dyer. Yes you’ve seen him on PBS and might think he’s merely a curator of other people’s findings. That said, he makes a lot of sense and he’s taken his game to another level over the past few years. I found this early book to be an excellent primer for learning how to tap into the power of our higher selves and others for self-improvement.

10. The Power of Awareness by Neville Goddard. Touted by Dr. Dyer, this little gem dives into the power of the “I Am” with forays into consciousness, creation, acceptance, and righteousness. Another book devoted to teaching us how we are all connected via a universal consciousness. In other yours, we all are God.

While buzzing along with your career, are you taking time to read and reflect on what’s really important in life?

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Brad Pitt for his support of his partner Angelina Jolie, one of the world’s most beautiful and boldest women. We wish her good health and love.

Our Cycle of Violence

Robert Manni - Thursday, March 07, 2013

Now showing: “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters”. Really.

My blog posts focus on life, love and the pursuit of happiness. Last year I focused on interpersonal relationships and a better understanding between men and women. I will continue with these posts because I believe that we need to come together one person and one relationship at a time. But, today I am taking a time out to talk about life and our pursuit of happiness.

With so much discussion focusing on the horrific school and movie-theater shootings and calls for gun laws revisions, its troubling that our pop culture is going out of its way to feed the violent beast within our collective consciousness. I’m not sure what to do about gun laws, but obviously they aren’t working. The rub is that history (albeit prior to the availability of automatic weapons) warns us about the risks of disarming the people and the value of the second-amendment. This Guy’s Guy does not own a gun. I’m not a hunter, I don’t shoot skeet or targets, and I sincerely hope that I will not attract a situation where I need a gun to protect my family. That said, I believe in the second amendment—within reason. Nowadays, it’s very easy to buy heavy-duty arms, especially since the assault rifle ban was lifted in 2004. I don’t have a perfect solution for registering and monitoring the physical arms many feel a need to carry. But, I do have some thoughts about the Gatling gun of violent images that spews our way in the news and in our choices of entertainment starting at a very young age.

Are we desensitized to violence in America?

As I walked past a series of movies posters upon exiting the C train yesterday, it struck me how many new films feature violence to attract interest. Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is clearly an amped up twist on the fairy tale. I’m sure took its lead from last year’s successful, Snow White and the Huntsman which was quite the gore-fest. The poster for Ah-nolds’ return to the screen, The Last Stand, features the recent governor blasting away with a gigantic automatic weapon.  Django Unchained?  Tarentino is a brilliant auteur, but his films are usually built on stories about violent retribution.  The five top-grossing films of 2012—Marvel’s The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, The Hunger Games, Skyfall, and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part Two all had buckets of blood spilling from beginning to end. Make no mistake; these are all stories well told, but they all overflow with death, blood, and retribution. Me? I liked Silver Linings Playbook and The Intouchables, great, non-violent films that served up positive messages without sanctimony. Yet, these films are having challenges finding their audience.

Do I need to mention video games?

Whether you like to play or have a kid that plays video games, you have to admit that a majority of top-sellers center on killing opponents. What also bugs me about video games is that they are predominantly built on reacting, not thinking. I see so many people playing these games on the subway, mesmerized by their screens. I’m a certified advanced clinical master hypnotist and this is hypnotism. This Guy’s Guy is glad to have grown up before the advent of today’s video games.  My mom pushed my out the back door at 9am and only called me in for lunch or when it got dark outside. I rode my bike, played sports, built tree houses, played games like Stratego, chess, and backgammon, and most importantly read tons of books. I’m glad I grew up then, but then again, we live in the now.  So what can we do?

It’s all connected. Use your judgment and consume in moderation.

Even if my generation didn't grow up with video games or ultra-violent films, a lot of us made fortunes from selling them so we’re no better. I suggest the best tonic for living in an aggressive society that feeds and thrives on violence is to be circumspect about the amount of media we consume. At times, the news broadcasts are automatic weapons spurting skewed reporting, violence, and fear to attract and maintain their audiences. It’s a form of storytelling. And storytelling is about conflict, people. No one tunes into the news when everything is just peachy. It needs friction, and baby; we’ve got a world full of friction to draw upon.

So consume your news and your media, be careful how much you take in, and READ. The networks are built to sell ads. It’s an advertising-based model. Ads and eyeballs bring in the cash. Happy people don’t sell. Misery and violence sells. It’s that simple. Think about that next time you hear, “Gruesome murder in the Bronx. Details at six.”

Are you overdosing in your consumption of violent media?

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is The Dali Lama—a leader is positive thinking and a proponent of non-violence.

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