Johnny Elsasser | The Art of Masculinity: How To Be A Wildman In Our Modern World (Men’s Work & Mindset)


“When we start to look at masculinity, even in its essence, it's subjective to us. When we talk about men being masculine and embodying masculinity – what does that really mean? In my personal opinion, I think that means to find what it is that resonates with you in your heart and in your soul and then be that man every day. Be that man in every moment.” – Johnny Elsasser

Wellness + Wisdom Episode 424

Former Special Operations U.S. Army Ranger, Host of The Art of Masculinity Podcast, and Creator of both The SAVAGE System and The Wild Man Experience, Johnny Elsasser, teaches how to move through trauma, what it means to be a balanced masculine and feminine man, the myths and truths of masculinity, and the true price of freedom and why we're spending our currency of attention on things that hurt us without realizing it.

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What is masculinity? It's subjective. Go find what it is that resonates with you in your heart and in your soul and then be that man every day. Be that man in every moment. - @ElsasserJohnny Click To Tweet

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Listen To Episode 424 As Johnny Elsasser Uncovers:

[1:30] Exploring Masculinity with Johnny Elsasser

  • Johnny Elsasser
  • The Art of Masculinity Podcast
  • The SAVAGE System
  • The Wild Man Experience
  • What sparked Johnny to create the Wild Man Experience and what participants can expect from it.
  • How men like Josh's grandfather have really suffered to have freedom in their lives.
  • The comradery we can have with one another through shared experiences of suffering.
  • All the preparation including emotional prep that went into creating the Wild Man Experience.
  • What makes Johnny feel called to be the catalyst that brings men together in the community.
  • Breaking down what true shared vulnerability is compared to strategic vulnerability.
  • How Johnny's uncle was an incredible role model for him growing up.
  • What led Johnny to different experiences from living in a tent in his aunt and uncle's backyard to joining the military.
  • Experiences Johnny and his siblings went through after his parents divorced.
  • Why Johnny didn't feel like he belonged anywhere at 14 years old and it stopped him from connecting with friends at school.

[20:30] How to Move Through Trauma

  • How being present helped Johnny deal with the trauma of his parents splitting up and being on his own.
  • Why Johnny feels like his soul is older than his physical body's age; especially based on how he saw his parent's divorce.
  • The power of shifting our mindset from “this is happening to me” to “this is happening for me.”
  • Why Johnny doesn't tap into past memories or emotions unless someone is talking to him about it.
  • Johnny's experience in the military and how humor was used to help downplay the seriousness and fear of working in special operations.
  • What Johnny and fellow special operations agents do to shift their mindsets so that they are not held down by traumatic events as much as possible.

[30:00] How Much Freedom Costs Us

  • Why we need a re-education of what freedom really is and how much it costs.
  • The importance of being grateful for the freedoms that we do have in the USA compared to other countries.
  • America's impact on the rest of the world when we're doing well and also when there is havoc happening within our borders.
  • 353 Dr. Ben Lynch
  • 344 Leslie Manookian
  • The control US politicians have over citizens during the “plandemic” and how taking away our freedom of interacting with each other by staying apart 6 feet is abusing our energetic fields.
  • How we're spending our currency of attention on things that are hurting us like the news and social media scrolling.
  • Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties by Tom O'Neill

[37:50] The Myths & Truths of Masculinity

  • The key difference between masculine and feminine energy: completion energy vs nuturing energy.
  • Johnny's definition of what it means to be an embodied masculine man in this modern world.
  • Why masculinity is subjective from culture to culture.
  • Myths and truths of masculinity and the biggest factor for inauthenticity.
  • Why the masculine self doesn't have to be angry and stone-cold all the time and why we've been taught this.
  • The courage men can have now as adults to explore the lessons they either didn't receive or let go of what is not authentic to their soul.
  • Garrett J. White
  • Why embodied men have to be able to let everything burn to the ground and start anew.

[47:00] Coming Back After Hitting Rock Bottom

  • How Johnny had to start over after coming home from the military which led him to his second wife, Taylor.
  • Why Johnny used to believe that if you were doing self-development, then that made you weak and how that all changed for him as he began to do the inner work.
  • How he used to judge and expect a higher standard of men from this place of control and considered himself a superior alpha male to them.
  • Why Johnny felt disconnected from his first wife when he came back to the USA.
  • The fact that Johnny used to be a big sports fan watching football games all the time but now he reconsiders how his time could be better spent improving himself or his relationship with Taylor.
  • How his past actions weren't serving himself to be better as they set him up for bad routines and mindsets.
  • The psychological downward spiral he went on as his marriage dissolved after he came home from overseas.
  • Johnny's past relationship with alcohol and the lack of self-love he felt for himself in those moments.
  • The healing journey he went on after hitting rock bottom and why the first thing he did was find his purpose and passion again in fitness and bodybuilding.
  • Excuses Begone! by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
  • How Taylor became more present in his life as he began to heal and helped introduce him to self-development tools including this podcast.
  • 410 Mark Divine
  • Lewis Howes

[1:01:00] Johnny's Self Development Journey & Embodying Masculinity

  • The incredible sensations and mindset shifts Johnny felt when he began to dive deeper into self-development.
  • Moments of stress and anxiety as he struggled to move past his old ways and patterns of thinking about the masculine self.
  • Why he refused to reach out for help at first and the relief he felt when he finally let that guard down.
  • Chris Harder
  • The incredible impact and help he has received from other men who have also gone on the same journey and have the same questions or thoughts about the self and masculinity.
  • Struggles Johnny faced with setting up his podcast and the guidance that Josh gave him to get started with it.
  • Why running a successful podcast is actually a full-time job.
  • Josh's own experience of not being willing to reach out for help to prove to the world and his father that he could be successful on his own.
  • The fact that no one gets anywhere without help from others and why it's not easy for men to understand or accept this.
  • Why it was hard for Johnny to celebrate the wins or think that he couldn't achieve something great again even with the success and recognition he has earned for his podcast and program.
  • Johnny's morning ritual to set his mind up to not allow the dark “Jiminy Cricket thoughts” to pop up.

[1:09:30] Healing with Mother Ayahuasca

  • Carl Jung
  • Why Johnny decided to take part in an Ayahuasca healing ceremony when his wife, Taylor, felt called to do it for her birthday.
  • Concerns, thoughts, and questions Johnny had about plant medicine and what he would experience in Peru.
  • Why Johny felt more scared for himself and how he would react during the ceremony than the plant medicine itself.
  • Josh's thoughts on the phrase, “I just feel called to the plant medicine,” and the importance of doing the work beforehand with different tools.
  • 209 Jamie Wheal
  • Why you should do a deeper inventory if you feel more excited than cautious to try plant medicine for yourself.
  • The importance of pausing and integrating the wisdom you've received from the plant medicine ceremony before jumping right into the next one.
  • What Johnny learned from his Ayahuasca experience and how he's using that wisdom now.
  • How Josh introduced Johnny to the psychedelic, bufo, and how that helped him do some deep ancestral healing.
  • What Johnny is doing now to build greater respect for both his internal and external body.
  • 384 Shawn Stevenson
  • How the food and beverages we consume impact not just the body but our mind and emotions too.
  • What helps Johnny stay in check with the integrity he has with himself.

[1:21:00] Masculinity and the Collective Shadow Self

  • Ram Dass
  • Why we all have this collective dark, shadow self that keeps us down by telling us we're not fit enough, we're not good enough, we're not gonna make enough money and so on.
  • The importance of being vigilant of whom we spend time with so that we do not absorb their negative thoughts and energy.
  • Exploring the concept of purging for others and clearing the energy of others through another person.
  • The huge energetic output that came from New York City after September 11 that has been studied by NASA.
  • Breaking down how a collective release can help energetically heal other people.
  • Insecurities around trauma and comparing his own to what other people have gone through.
  • Why we cannot judge people for their trauma and what they're working on in their wellness journey.
  • Exploring why men are so hungry for practical spirituality.
  • How helping other people actually helps us grow.

[1:33:00] Practical Self-Development Tools for Men

  • What self-development practices Johnny does on a daily basis that have really helped move the needle for him.
  • The power of keeping this simple and having a solid foundation to help you start your wellness journey.
  • Why Johnny keeps a  journal to help him get out all of the voices and thoughts in his head that are holding him back.
  • Previous fears Johnny had about journaling out his thoughts and why it has become such a liberating practice for him.
  • How Johnny integrates his physical intelligence into becoming a higher version of himself.
  • Johnny's experience starting a simple breathwork practice before going to an event and how that's been so vital for him to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • The power of just doing an easy meditation or breathwork practice every day.
  • What a “threshold practice” is and how it helps to check in with yourself and see how you're showing up with your energy.
  • Gentle methods of helping your significant other be more open to self-development like putting on a podcast in the background or suggesting a book.
  • The benefits of getting curious about our triggers rather than letting negative emotions control our thoughts and behaviors.

Power Quotes From The Show

Strip away all of the material things in your life; strip away the people you love from your life and what do you look like? If you aren't happy with that person, then how are you well? - @ElsasserJohnny Click To Tweet

Letting Go of Our Anger

“Men are carrying around this level of anger and judgment because they're taught that men are really supposed to be like that. They're taught this version of masculinity that if you're someone like a mechanic and you're grinding every day then it's okay to come home, have a beer, not talk to your family, and to be angry when someone wants something from you. Men like that are taught that it's okay to be resentful and put themselves above other men when they don't meet their standards. We still have men today that are promoting that way of being but how is that serving you, the community, or the betterment of the next generation if you're still stifling all of these things that are coming up with you and your only exposure to it is through anger in your actions and words?” – Johnny Elsasser

What It Means To Embody Masculinity

“The embodiment of masculinity in my eyes is finding and tapping into both the masculine and feminine to balance them out and so that you're aligned with who you are and you're also teaching the next generation of men what it looks like to really embrace both sides of the fence. An embodied man is somebody who can sit here, be with himself and his demons but not project them, not be a victim, and not let his anger wound others.” – Johnny Elsasser

The Mirror of Truth

“Strip away all of the material things in your life; strip away the people you love from your life and what do you look like? If you aren't happy with that person, then how are you well? How do you treat yourself psychologically – what do you say to yourself in those moments when you're alone? How do you treat yourself when you have a success in your life? Do you celebrate anything? Do you give yourself grace when you falter? If you can't look in the mirror and say, “I love that man,” or “I love that woman staring back at me,” then I don't feel like you've hit that complete wellness for who you are. I just want people to be themselves in this world because in all reality, nothing outside of ourselves means anything if we aren't well and we aren't centered in who we are each day.” – Johnny Elsasser


Links From Today's Show 


About Johnny Elsasser

Johnny Elsasser | The Art of Masculinity: How To Be A Wildman In Our Modern World (Men's Work & Mindset)Johnny Elsasser is a former Special Operations U.S. Army Ranger with four combat tours between Iraq and Afghanistan and another 5 years protecting the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq in Baghdad. Johnny has seen the field of masculinity through extreme alpha perspectives and knows the trials and tribulations all men, to include the toughest men, deal with in society today. Johnny’s mission is to help men find strength in developing their authentic masculinity to be consistent with who they are and not what society expects them to be. Johnny has shifted his fight to advocating and supporting men in finding their own masculine blueprint and cultivating their purpose as positive men in this world today.


Embodied Masculinity: Honoring The Young Man Within

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About Josh Trent

Josh Trent lives in Austin, Texas with his love Carrie Michelle, son Novah, and a cat named Cleo. He is the Founder of Wellness Force Media, host of the Wellness + Wisdom Podcast and the creator of the BREATHE: Breath & Wellness Program. Josh has spent the past 19+ years as a trainer, researcher, and facilitator discovering the physical and emotional intelligence for humans to thrive in our modern world. The Wellness Force Media Mission is to help humans heal mental, emotional, and physical health through podcasts, programs, and a global community that believes in optimizing our potential to live life well.

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