What is Men’s Work?
Reprinted with permission; By Boysen Hodgson
I have had several men ask me - what this is all about … what do you do?
We sit in a circle on chairs. We talk to each other about ourselves. We listen intently. We do not shame or criticize. We do not spend time giving advice. We use processes to ‘dig in’ to those parts of ourselves that we find confusing, upsetting and STUCK. We resolve conflicts, both internal and external, by taking responsibility for ourselves.
A men’s group is a place to figure out what you want in your life, take steps to making it happen and continually look at what is getting in the way of you being fully alive and empowered.
Do you want better relationships?
Do you want to learn how to better handle situations that stump you over and over?
Do you want to break out of a rut that you have been living in for years?
Do you want to sit with men actively working to make the world a better place?
Here’s an even harder question … do you instinctively NOT trust men (or women or yourself)? You learned this somewhere. Not only is it bad for your physical health, but it is probably preventing you from living fully.
WE ALL HAVE FEELINGS. As men, we all share a lot of common understandings, feelings and experiences that we rarely share.
About 90% of what is happening in our daily interactions is UNCONSCIOUS. Our bodies are constantly feeding us a stream of information that we may or may not have thoughts about. Many of the reactions we experience with people on a day to day basis have little or nothing to do with the present, and everything to do with the psychological patterns that started being created in our brains from the earliest days of our lives.
As Men, it is culturally acceptable to deny, repress and shut down the emotions. But the interesting thing is - those emotions that we shut down tend to pop up in other ways and other places, many of them counter-productive to what we actually want in our lives. Addiction, violence, depression, lack of close relationships, anger, uncontrollable sadness, apathy, lack of motivation, chronic fear, chronic shame, anxiety, feelings of powerlessness. These are all related to repressed emotional states. Learning to connect to these emotions opens a huge array of new possibilities - for your family, your work and the world.
What choices do you need to make? What skills do you need to build? What boundaries do you need to set? And WHO is going to be there to support you and offer you an honest look at who you are?
Many of us rely heavily on the women and intimate partners in our lives to meet our emotional needs. And that is great, but it is not their job - and they have probably let you know that. Many of the blocks you experience in your relationship are probably related to over-dependence. You can learn new ways of relating.
It is up to us to deal with our own internal landscape, to clean up our messes and to create the world that we want to leave behind for the next seven generations.
THAT is what a Men’s Group is for.
In order to show up, you will have to take a risk. You will have to show up at a place you’ve never been. This may feel scary. That’s good. It means you are open to learning.