January 17, 2024

Do Men Need Safe Spaces Too? (Spoiler Alert: Yes!)


It’s a big week for the Wake the  F*** Up podcast as Alix and David welcome their first male guest to the show. Michael Hernandez is a Marine veteran-turned firefighter paramedic, who now works as a certified trauma-informed yoga instructor, an Oxygen Advantage certified breath coach, and Wim Hof instructor. We’re so excited to share Michael’s incredible journey with our listenersthis week. In this interview you’ll hear about how Michael is helping veterans and first responders overcome their challenges through his unique blend of alternative therapies and holistic approaches to wellness.

We kick things off by talking about the importance of creating safe spaces for men to be vulnerable. As you may have noticed, there are not nearly as many men working in the mindfulness space as there are women, but Michael is working to change that! And so are we, here at the Wake the  F*** Up podcast.

Our hosts also connect with Michael on the topic of how childhood trauma can have a long lasting impact on one's life. Michael shares about how he had a traumatic childhood and learned to compartmentalize trauma from an early age. He carried that ability into his career as a Marine, and it made him very effective in combat situations. A serious injury sustained on the job eventually forced Michael into medical retirement. After completing his military service, Michael transitioned into a career as a firefighter/ paramedic.Despite the setback, Michael refused to let his injury define him. He turned his attention to helping others in his community. The conversation then turns to the need for alternative therapies in mental health treatment, and the significance of self-work and constant personal growth.

Michael shares that he as been on an idea quest about rite of passage rituals, and how people are living in isolation now more than ever, instead of connecting as a community. The discussion also delves into masculinity, societal constructs and the role of vulnerability in relationships. Overall, it emphasizes the importance of open communication and emotional connection within partnerships.

Stick around for the end of the episode, an incredibly powerful moment with Alix reads one of Michael’s poems. We won’t give away too much about it, you just have to hear it for yourself. That poem seques perfectly into a discussion about shadow work, inner child work, and its connection to grief and death. Alix reflects on the challenges faced by widows and widowers in understanding their identities after experiencing loss. The big message here: while partnerships are important, individuals are ultimately responsible for loving and changing themselves.

And finally as we wrap up, you’ll get to hear about the men's retreats offered by Michael's company Sovereign Journey, and how they help to function as safe spaces for emotional expression.

Resources mentioned in this episode:


More episodes
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Tune in to You: How to Listen to Your Mind and Body

April 17, 2024

Anxiety Q&A with Alix and David

April 10, 2024

Polyvagal theory: Body Responses and Coping Strategies for Anxiety

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