On Arnold, Hair, and Strength.
I grew my hair out really, really long last year. It took about six months, and that’s saying something, since (like most people in L.A.) I’m a little vain.
One of my clients at the time was, John, a native of France who’s undergoing training to become a shaman. In case you don’t know, a shaman (especially among tribal peoples) is a person who acts as intermediary between the natural and supernatural worlds, using magic to cure illness, foretell the future, and control spiritual forces. He’s an incredibly intuitive guy, and coincidentally, John also happened to be growing out his hair.
During the process I began to understand how much patience it took, so I’d often encourage John along the way complimenting him on his current incarnation of length and style. I even developed a theory, which I shared with him one day.
“I think letting your haircut ‘hang out there’ is a spiritual exercise,” I said. “It requires patience, a measure of mastery and discipline, and a certain loss of self-control.”
“Strange,” he replied. “That’s why I’VE been growing mine!” He’d even been doing spiritual research on the topic, discovering that hair symbolizes the “father energy” of a person’s masculine energy. Conversely, he found, the removal of hair is feminizing, associated with the mother energy. He told me that in many cultures, the length of your hair is linked to your power, and often associated with the quality of your relationship with your father. In some spiritual traditions, having long hair indicates a level of healing, acceptance and completion with the father energy. In the Hebrew scriptures, Samson’s brute strength is derived from his hair (which he loses when Delilah tricks him, cutting if off and rendering him impotent).
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you may know that for the past couple years I’ve been working to reconnect with my biological dad. Well, in 2007 the reconnect finally happened and we’re both enjoying a new e-mail relationship between “long-lost” father and son.
Is it just a happy coincidence that the year I finally mended fences with my father was the year my hair was the longest ever? And that the one time I shaved my head was during my years at Gonzaga University, so overcompensating for being gay that I joined Army ROTC, became a Promise Keeper and rowed on the crew team just to prove what a macho guy I was? How about that in the gay ghettos, short hair is almost a prerequisite. There’s even a barber shop in Los Angeles devoted to it!
I shared with Bronson (who also grew out his hair) this photograph of a young Arnold Schwartzenegger, training in World Gym, in his early 20s. Arnold had long hair too, as did his training partners. I wonder if he knew back then that he was on to something.
As for my long hair, I’m thinking about growing it out again. I kinda miss it.