What Is A Men’s Group? A Facilitator’s View
Welcome to ‘A Men’s Group’. My name is Greg Govinda – also known as Arjuna.
This is to give you a broad idea of what ‘A Men’s Group’ is for me.
‘A Men’s Group’ is a group of men who meet regularly for about two and a half hours, and sit in a circle. In the Circle-work we give each other space to talk and share about whatever matters.
Each individual is given time to speak while the rest of the group listens. We take it in turns to speak – sometimes around the circle and other times whenever you feel you would like to go next.
Often we all have open discussion. At any stage you are free to participate or just be in your own process. The main thing I ask of the men is that they use the time to the best of how it serves them, and the good of the group. To honour the fact that it is a unique opportunity to actually speak, from the heart, about what is important to you – and be heard.
One main aim of the group is to be present to yourself and others, and to be real. To use the opportunity to connect with your true-self.
You can play many roles and be more of an actor in normal life but in group you are asked to be true to your deepest self. To relax and see what presents from within you. To be quiet enough that you might hear what is going on for you, behind the usual mental chatter or presenting a sociable persona. In ‘A Men’s Group’ you can simply be.
‘A Men’s Group’ has many different ways of being together but mainly we sit in a circle and relax and share in different ways. Sometimes laughter, sometimes in the quiet of going within for five minutes. We use a myriad of different ways that create a flow of being present to each other as well as to oneself.
My own process includes finding out who I am as a facilitator. I commit to being as present and real as I am able, and as loving and truthful as I can be. For me, this is a powerful opportunity to feel who I am in this role, and take the risk to speak my mind when it feels appropriate to do so.
I take some risks and most of them seem to give something of value to the group as well as myself. For others it has been the opportunity to speak to issues that are, in some way, important to them. I ask for participants to aim to speak from the heart and to find out what feelings, memories, wounds, hopes and joys live there. To find out what is within oneself that seeks to be felt or heard.
No doubt ‘A Men’s Group’ is different for every man who attends and what they might discover about themselves in any given session. Perhaps for some it is challenging while for others it is simply enjoyable. Perhaps it is both for all at different times.
Each session has several regular parts to it. We meet and greet for awhile then go-within for a brief time; to relax and let go of the usual lower mind chatter. We open up to being present to ourself in our fullness and wholeness, and be aware of just what is happening within.
Then we share with each having the same time to speak to an issue, or not. There is no pressure to speak. Each is free to share or pass. Depending on the feel of the group I might suggest 2 or 3 minutes each to speak in turns about something. This works well as an introduction to being present in the session. This time allowance is extended as the session continues where a Talking Stick might be used. Whomever holds the stick, gets to speak uninterrupted.
The only exception to this is if I feel the need to guide for some reason. One reason might be if I felt that the individual had lost sight of what they were sharing or strayed from their heart into more mental explorations. The aim for me is that we at least aim to include our heart in this work.
‘A Men’s Group’ is constantly evolving so the group itself finds the way it likes to work and I constantly view and review how we can expand the ways the group-work might serve us better.
To the best of our abilities, we are each being present, but we are also looking within and allowing aspects of ourselves, that have been forgotten or suppressed, to come to the surface. Aspects that can be worked with through the support of the group.
The support of the group allows a man to be truely present to himself. This can include ‘shadow’ nature which is simply aspects of oneself that are usually unconscious or hidden. In this Inner-work it is important to stay present and to be honest with each other. In honesty there is safety and strength.
To the best of my ability, with a group of other unique and individual men, I simply set some boundaries and allow the process to unfold. These boundaries include: 1. Giving Respect – to self and others; 2. Harmlessness – do no harm to self or others; 3. Confidentiality – give your best support to the others by keeping private what you hear; and 4. Be Responsible for yourself – only you know what is best for you and what you hope for by attending.
Being part of ‘A Men’s Group’ has given me an enormous chance to get to know myself; by bringing my best to the group and by enjoying the sharing that we create on a regular basis. Simply by meeting with a clear agenda, we each, and all, benefit greatly from the caring and support of other unique and heartfelt men.
(c) 2019. Greg Govinda
Greg (aka Arjuna) is available in a Counselling role as well as for Running Men’s Circles.
Contact via firstname.lastname@example.org or text 0466 339 287 or www.innerwork4men.com