I’ve been trying to figure out how to introduce Traver for some time now and while I’m still not sure I’ll give it a go. One of the reasons I’ve been searching for words is that I haven’t actually met Traver in person. Yup, I “met” Traver (or my Instagram boyfriend as I not so secretly call him) after I posted a video of a practice - post back injury - on social media mentioning acupuncture (it seriously saved me at the time). Long story short, I received a comment saying, “Yay for acupuncture!!!” and so our conversations began. Turns out we have a dear friend in common, we’re both in the health and wellness field, we both work as Coaches, and were both living in Williamsburg (Brooklyn Baby)! So naturally I did what any other wellness professional would do, I began to Insta stalk him. Turns out he’s inspirational AF.
Traver is the creator of Man UnCivilized, a men's coach, published author, LAC, TED-X Presenter, surfer, and former MMA Fighter. Am I missing anything? Probably. I find his messages to be inspiring, raw, honest, vulnerable, and empowering. It’s an interesting and exciting time to be human right now and I feel that Traver explores his humanness in a way that helps others (particularly men) see that self-work, shift, and spirituality doesn’t have to look a certain way. It is what you decide to create and how you choose to show up in your life. Not in spite of your past pain and experiences, but embracing them all to move forward and live fully.
After some discussion I sent Traver a list of questions for the WanderFreely interview series and when I got them back I laughed out loud and thought “dammmmnnnnnn, he isn't afraid to go there.” He doesn’t shy away from controversial topics and is willing to open the door for the sake of sparking much needed conversation not only between the sexes, but within ourselves.
WanderFreely: What is an UnCivilized Man?
Traver Boehm: In the simplest terms and most convenient definition, an Uncivilized Man is a man who has blended both the Primal Masculine and the Divine Masculine into his core expression of masculinity.
He is a man who lives by the five tenets of Uncivilized Masculinity: strength, presence, responsibility, obsession (growth oriented), and competency. This is a man who is striving at all times to be the best version of himself from both a physical as well as a consciousness standpoint.
This is a man who understands himself, is unapologetic about his masculine expression and power, as well as deeply engaged in his inner life. He also has an open dialogue between his head, his heart, and his balls.
Now of course on top of all this is his personal unique expression in the world. He can be a musician, a poet, a construction worker, or a surgeon Or all of the above if he’s got the time and energy!
He can be any color, sexual orientation, age, or station in life. This is about a mindset and an action set together. Inner and outer.
WF: A man who can “hold amazing space and change a damn tire” sounds like most women’s dream - No, just me? Why does it feel like such a foreign concept in modern civilization?
TB: Be careful what you ask for Nicole, this man is not like other men! I’ve often found that in theory women are incredibly interested in men who adopt this way of being, but only women who have really done the deep work themselves and are not plugging themselves into any kind of victim or bypassing narrative…I’ll leave that there.
This is a foreign concept in modern civilization right now because for far too long men have been the tips of two spears societally. We’ve been innovators, nation builders, and protectors — as well as destroyers, perpetrators, and subjugators.
Thus the idea of the “ideal man” in modern society is a version of the divine masculine expression with a neutered version of the primal. This man is safe. However, until all men have a deep connection with the divine masculine and in my opinion we will not see this in our lifetime, if ever, we also need to have men who are primal.
In order for a man to be a good protector, he has to be dangerous. And too many men have proven themselves to be irresponsible with the strength and power that they have. Thus the fear of empowering men in this fashion. This is the divine conundrum civilized society grapples with.
Thus the current paradigm men today are being pushed into is a far too feminized version of masculinity. One that inherently men are not meant for and do not survive in. There are a lot of reasons why men are killing themselves in record numbers these days, this is one of them.
WF: Where do women fit in and/or how can they support men in the divine masculine and primal masculine?
TB: It’s a beautiful question, yet often a frustrating one for women when I give the answer. Women cannot teach men how to be men, yet they often try. What women are is an incredible mirror for how men are doing as men.
It feels like the current M.O. at least in the U.S. is anti-male. Masculinity has been called a disease, toxic, and seems like something to be eliminated. A quick google search will give you countless examples of acceptable male bashing in the media and academia.
Yet, just about everything you see has been built by men. From roads to cars, to buildings. If there is a natural disaster, who comes to the rescue? If your house is on fire, who do you call? I can spend hours listing all of the advancements in our world brought about by the work of men (this is not to take away from the advancements made by women).
And what does every single one of those men have in common? Every one? They were all birthed by a woman. So we’re all in this together.
To answer your specific question I would love to see a return to honoring the masculine for what it provides more often than a tearing down of the masculine. No, this does not take away from the immense work men need to do ourselves, nor does it absolve us of our history and continuation of all kinds of horrendous behavior.
You used the best word of all — support. Men need to feel needed. Men need to be needed. And just like all people, men need to know the women in their lives will be there for them when they struggle.
WF: Tell us more about vulnerability and strength, must the two always go hand-in-hand?
TB: This is another nuanced conversation but I believe with regards to men, they do. Vulnerability is a feminine trait (not female, but feminine). Strength is a masculine trait (not male, but masculine).
For men, strength is the foundation. It’s where we find our grounding.
When we advocate that a man be more vulnerable, it’s easy to push him into his feminine. This is great as long as he has access to a strong masculine foundation. If he doesn’t, he often falls apart. This is especially true in relationships with women.
Imagine having a beautifully sensitive partner who is in touch with his vulnerability and shares openly his feelings, fears, and desires. Sounds pretty swell, doesn’t it?!
Now imagine two scenarios:
You have a man who actively cultivates his strength. He moves and trains his body, he sits in meditation and contemplation. He is strong of mind and body. This man comes to you and shares a fear of his, a challenge he’s having with something he’s been feeling lately. He’s unsure of what direction to go and seeks comfort in knowing you’re there by his side for support.
You have a man who has no sense of strength, no foundation. He is aimless in any pursuit and is cut off from his inner life. He is weak of body and has no discipline over his mind. This man comes to you and shares his fears, he is lost without guidance and looks to you to provide it. He’s not looking for support, he’s looking to you to make him feel like he’s going to be OK.
The man in the first example is not going to topple over and fall apart, he’s able to “go there” with you because he knows he can trust himself. He’s not afraid of being tested because he’s built strength based upon passing and failing many times in his life but he’s alchemized the tests into power.
The second man has no foundation, he cannot hold the container for himself, let alone for his partner. His vulnerability is not a sharing, an unlayering or a gift into his true self, it’s a cry for help, an invitation to come to save him.
I’ve asked a number of women this question — would you want your man to be more vulnerable and share his fears and challenges with you, even if this brought him to tears?
They’ve almost all said an emphatic “Yes!!”
I’ve then asked them if they would be comfortable with this happening every week? Every two weeks? Or even every month?
The answer was not so emphatic.
Men are to be strong first, vulnerable second. Not the other way around. Sorry…
WF: What is the difference between sitting with your pain and wasting your pain?
TB: To me, pain is first and indicator, then it’s fuel.
Sitting in your pain is just that — being with it, not bypassing it. Letting whatever hurt you’re going through hurt. It’s not running from it, numbing it, or pretending it’s not there. It’s crying on the bathroom floor for as many days as the tears want to come. And doing so unapologetically.
As you may have gathered by now, I’m a doer. I’m a man. I’m a fighter and a builder. So I also think that pain is and can be the greatest fuel source. It was for me, it is for my clients.
I ask them, “Now that you’ve honored and breathed with your pain, what do you want to do with it? How do you want to use it?”
When I say it’s fuel I mean it’s fuel for transformation. What changes do you want to make in your life? If you’re in pain — get busy!
How many changes have you made after a breakup? What fueled those changes?
Most likely it wasn’t just the space created, it was also the “I can’t stand this feeling so I’m going to do something.”
Wasting your pain, to me, means not seizing on the opportunity to use heartache, misery, and agony to take a deep breath and say, “Well, I’m already miserable here I might as well go do something amazing.”
Think of how many works of art, adventures, and massive life changes have all come after a breakup, divorce, or tragedy. Pain is fuel, don’t waste it.
WF: At one point you were an MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter by day and training to be a LAC (Licensed Acupuncturist) by night. Seems counterintuitive, inflicting pain and healing pain. Why?
TB: It was a million things, Nicole. And while it would seem counterintuitive on the surface, in fact, it was quite the opposite. I could speak on fighting for days, it’s something I believe every man should understand.
My goal was to be as fluent as possible in my understanding and experience with pain. With stress. With fear. With control, dominance, anger, breathing, and violence. Fighting forced me to take philosophical ideas and embody them, otherwise, I’d get myself choked unconscious or get my face smashed. There’s so much bullshit in both the healing worlds (spiritual worlds) and fighting worlds, that it taught me about truth. About living truth.
Fighting in that regard was so beautifully simple — am I who I say I am? I’ll find out in the cage or on the mat. It’s real in a world where almost nothing else is. It’s where I found truth and then took that truth into my acupuncture practice.
While that may sound extreme, to me it wasn’t, it was simply my daily reality. Fighting for people who haven’t done it is such a foreign concept, so it’s hard to articulate. My life at that time was a bit bipolar, but I felt like I was getting two separate Master’s degrees. Both in the same subject, just on opposite spectrums of it.
Fighting also shaped the way I approached my patients. It humbled me and gave me empathy even though it was teaching me ways to break people’s bodies. It was a daily reminder that I could do something most humans cannot even fathom, as well as the fact that I was no different than they were. I was breakable. I bled. I got injured. I lived in the same chronic pain I was trying to help others with.
One of the main reasons I did it was because of acupuncture school. Truly. At the end of my first year of school, I realized I was going to have to sit across from a patient and say, “Your relationship, job, mindset, marriage etc, is the reason you’re sick. I can help you with the symptoms but unless you’re willing to tackle your greatest fear, you won’t ever heal.”
At the time, risking injury, death, and getting my ass handed to me in front of thousands of paying people was terrifying, as was the journey to even get in the cage for the first time to fight. I knew I wouldn’t be able to have an authentic conversation with my patients about their own fears unless I was willing to face my own.
I realize this may make me sound insane, so be it.
WF: What happens when people are given permission to “walk alongside their fears” fearlessly?
TB: When you give yourself permission to do this, I believe people then get the insight the fears want to give us.
Fears don’t have iPhones or emails, they’re old school, like 1992 or something. You actually have to sit down with them, go for a walk with them, or call their house and ask their parents if it’s OK to speak to them!
Our fears are messengers. They’re either trying to keep us from harm, keep us alive, or keep us from dying an egoic death. They protect our bodies, our families, and most importantly on an individual level, they protect our identity.
The juice here is that our identity is often just a collection of our own stories and interpretations, all of which are projections. “That thing” that happened in our lives didn’t happen to us, it just happened. The story we make up about it though becomes our reality.
Fears are anything that questions that reality or pushes us to grow in new ways.
A beautifully honest question to ask yourself if you’re so inclined is, “If my fears could speak to me today, they would say….” And then journal out your answer.
I ask my clients all the time to answer that question and also to replace the word fear with the word pain and see how the answer changes…good fun.
WF: What fears are you currently walking alongside?
TB: Ah, a personal question! Let me put on my strength based vulnerability hat and answer honestly for you…
Three and half years ago my life changed drastically when a miscarriage led to a divorce and then a transition out of the business and community I’d spent almost a decade building. Since that time I’ve lived in a way that has made it nearly impossible to become attached to anyone, anything, or any one place. I’ve moved geographically every few weeks or months.
I’m finally going to stop this pattern and settle down in Colorado. I’m going to put down some roots and stay in the same place for a while, I’m going to integrate myself into a community. This is moderately terrifying for me as my fear says doing so will only lead to someday waking up and having it all not be there again.
That’s a biggie. I don’t have as much fear around my business and message but owning a couch again…that’s fucking terrifying.
WF: Do you actually sleep with a kettlebell at night? ;)
TB: Hahaha. Well, Bella does come with me most everywhere I go, but she has her own little spot on the floor next to my bed.
WF: What are you most excited about right now?
TB: I feel like societally we are in a massive shift Nicole, this is the Digital Age and there is so much change happening at the moment. Every day something that used to take years has happened overnight. I’m so excited to be alive to both witness it and be a part of the stewardship of helping guide people through it.
Of course, I also love being a part of the shift in masculinity. I’ve seen so much positive change in men who have taken on the Uncivilized mindset, things they and their partners never thought was possible. Every day I wake up eternally grateful for the men who are willing to listen and try out my ideas as well as the women who are supporting and holding space for us.
And as nervous as I am for my own next chapter, I’m equally excited for it. Every day I wake up and am astounded that I get to live the life I do and can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.
Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your own journey and message to the world. I appreciate you to no end.
Thank YOU Traver! To learn more about Traver and Man Uncivilized visit: www.manuncivilized.com and keep the conversation going.