03-23-2009, 08:48 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Park City, Utah
| | Men's Groups
Reading Steve's post got me thinking about how much I've changed as a man during my 40's. The biggest influence: I've participated in a men's group every week or two for the past eight years. I can't imagine my life without it.
The men in my group:
- Give me a safe place to learn how to be myself and shed the society-approved masculine mask.
- Give me a safe place to talk and act in ways I wouldn't around women. To be with the boys without requiring intoxication, sexual exploitation of women, or sports.
- Encourage me to be vulnerable. They neither coddle me nor exploit my vulnerability. They listen.
- Support my conscious risk-taking even when the task appears daunting.
- Give me space to experience failure or disappointment. They do not pity me; they do not shame.
- Expect me to develop a life mission based on my vision for the world.
- Challenge me to live in accordance with my mission--to live with integrity.
- Expect me to be accountable for the commitments I make. If I have not kept a commitment I am expected to hold myself accountable in the group. When I hold myself accountable, I ask the other men ask me some tough questions which:
- help me understand the impact of my choice on myself and others
- help me identify possible unconscious motivations which took precedence over keeping my agreement
- invite me to "get back into integrity" by making a new commitment and keeping it.
- Expect me to be mentally and emotionally present during our group meetings.
- If I have an emotional charge (anger, fear, etc.) with another man in my group, which will keep me from being present, I can, with the other man's permission, utilize a powerful interpersonal process to express that charge and own the unconscious projections I am putting on the other man.
- Give me an opportunity to use a variety of group processes to help me live my mission; to live a life of integrity. For example, in one process, I ask the men to give me brutally honest and loving feedback regarding behavior patterns they see in me (and which I might not see) such as:
- staying in a victim role
- wearing a mask
- emotional numbing
- Have fun camping, hanging out, playing cards, bowling, having picnics with our families, and going on road trips.
- Teach me to respect my elders and to invite elders to share their wisdom with me.
- Respect and honor my spiritual growth, whether or not that includes involvement in an organized religion.
- Accept the fact that I'm gay; support my coming out process; and examine their own prejudices and feelings regarding homosexuality. For six of the last eight years, all the men in my group have been heterosexual.
I encourage all men to consider participation in a men's group as one way to help you become the man you want to be.
Last edited by MarkWorthen; 03-23-2009 at 09:12 PM.