Menstuff® ask what new men's work have you done lately?.
As I enter each fall, with the sun remaining less in the sky, I notice that my shadows are staying longer and and getting darker as they head for their long winter nap.
As a workshop leader, I also see my schedule get fuller and fuller where I could virtually fill every weekend with "my stuff". Then I read a flier from someone's workshop. It really strikes me. It's different from what I'm doing. They use different concepts. Ways of doing things that seem unfamiliar to me. I might discover something new about myself. But then I think about how much more I have to do than time to do it in, and can easily justify not spending time or money doing someone else's weekend. "Maybe next year" I catch myself saying.
I wonder what it is about this man's workshop that I'm hiding from. After all, things are going pretty well right now. And I do have alot to do (for others).
I remember back on weekends where I choose to challenge myself. Each time I seemed to take a leap forward in my work. Getting some of the shadows off my back and out in front of me so that I could see them, always seemed to be alot of work at the time. However, each time that I have made the stretch, I have learned something about myself that has improved my work with others.
I've found that if I've been concentrating alot on poetry, maybe it's time to do some movement work. If I've been spending alot of time drumming in the woods, maybe it's time to attend a heady lecture at a local book store to stimulate new thought, challenge patterns that for me often become ruts, to see if I'm more in a changing mode or dying mode. Remembering the lessons from brother coyote, when things get too calm, it's time to shake them up. If things are too frantic and disconnected, it's time to come back into my body and ground. Always looking at the other side of where I am right now to see if there isn't some shifting that would be valuable.
Coyote reminds me that when I start spending alot of time on outside causes, I need to look at what is happening to my mind, body and spirit and that of my family and friends. How am I creating my life from control, using my busy schedule as an excuse rather than including spontaneity to shift that control. Listening to my intuition that says "this year" while my mind is saying "next".
Then, there's my image as a "leader". What would happen if I was doing someone else's work and I really became vulnerable and started breaking through int' some really scary territory? Might I reveal that I'm not perfect? Might I show that I really am real and don't have all the answers? Just another man on a path of healing.
My greatest lessons have come when I lose control over my experience and put it in the hands of my brothers who always lovingly guide my canoe to an island I would probably have never been able to visit on my own.
A note to those who've done a workshop or two, got alot out of it, and think "That's it. I'm done. I took care of everything - my mom, my dad, relationships, everything." Know that, chances are, there's a ton of stuff buried underneith what you've uncovered - like peeling an onion. You got the outer layer. Are you ready to go for the core? Just known that the growth and knowledge you got from that first or second workshop will manifest many times over when you connect it up with the next peice from the next workshop. It's not about selling workshops. It's about exploring and growing, breaking the chain of dysfunction from your past, cleaning it up so you don't spill it all over friends and family and give them something to have to clean up on their own later on down the road. I believe that when I stop growing and changing, that will be it. Life will be over. I'll be dead. Even if I'm still physically alive. So, keep on the journey. Take the next step. You'll thank yourself for it later.
So, what have you done for you lately? Whether you lead or solely participate in men's activities, check out the "Calendar" on this web site. Read the fliers you get in the mail. Then, when something strikes an unfamiliar core, I encourage you to risk, go beyond your own safety and ego barriers to find that there are other men out there willing to show you new areas of safety and trust in new, different and exciting ways.
When air fares drop, see if there isn't something in another part of the country that might be a worthy challenge. And finally, share this information with leaders and friends, all of whom would benefit from a little additional work. In the words of Thomas Traherne:
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All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance. - Edward Gibbon