• Men’s Work

    It is not easy being a man these days: the media tell us that the essence of men is inevitably toxic, and that their instincts inevitably lead to difficulties and conflict. While these principles can certainly be true, at times, the conflict between the narrative and the reality illuminates the fine line that men are asked to walk. The same instincts that drive men to be heroic, to defend, and to take calculated risks, are often the same impulses that attract negative attention in the workplace and in relationships.

     

    What is masculinity anyway? To me it's taking on challenges, having a purpose, a mission. Taking full advantage of your gifts, and not wasting them. Listening quietly enough to find your calling, and never ignoring your needs; not expecting others to meet them, but depending enough on those who can help. To be strong yet flexible, grounded and open. To have the courage to stay in the moment, to feel what you’re feeling, and to act on it. To be conscious of your boundaries, and to respect the boundaries of others. To respect yourself, and to accept who you are. To believe in yourself enough to treat others with reverence, curiosity, and acceptance. To sit down and say what is most difficult. To see and treat others as your brothers, your sisters.

    Mentors for boys and young men are conspicuously absent in our culture. Fathers who have gone without good guides themselves are so often absent or at a loss, or even harmful in bringing up their son. The son grows to be a man, yet without truly learning that it is right to feel emotions, right to express himself, right to accept and deal with everything that comes up, that man may develop into just a shadow of who he truly could have become. The cycle of neglect, denial, and grief continues.
     

    Often an important step in finding your way is becoming courageously acquainted with grief. Grief for men is most often masked by anger or rage, being unkind to others, and by “acting like a man.” It makes me sad to see so many men cut off from the whole of their being, relying on behavior that isn’t authentic, that harms both others themselves.
     

    Real strength arises from confronting the fear that prevents you from accessing a clear channel to your life force. When you live in fear, as many men do, you’re constricted in how you take on life. You're isolated from others, from the healthy and healing aspects of authentic relationships. Once you commit to get help in facing what’s holding you back, you can experience true confidence: that you are more than enough, and if someone thinks you’re not, it just doesn’t matter.