What Happens in ‘A Men’s Group’?

WDaily life is often busy and filled with working at things you might otherwise rather not be involved with. For some, it can be relentless and exhausting. ‘A Men’s Group’ is a special time-out when you can relax and be yourself – enjoying the support of other men who equally value being able to speak truthfully and say what is important to them. 

‘A Men’s Group’ is a kind of sacred space – a place where you can know that there is respect for who you are and what you want to say. 

Greg Govinda (aka Arjuna)

‘A Men’s Group’ is an excellent space to get support with a transition in life – or just get to speak about life’s challenges and sort out what needs to be addressed. You can explore past wounds or present hoes and dreams. You get to feel what it is like to share your truth and maybe realise that, in finding the courage to speak about issues that matter to you – you find that you are in a process of letting go. 

‘A Men’s Group’ exists to help men to get in touch with a better sense of self and find support and camaraderie in life. 

The latest structure for the Men’s Group meetings has become quite clear. It usually involves the following:

  1. Arrivals – I get there half an hour before anyone else and the men arrive when they do. A few who arrive early get extra time to share in a relaxed way. I have found that the most harmonious way to begin a group is to have an arrival time (e.g. 6.30 p.m.) and a start time thetas within ten minutes of that. This allows for less disturbance if anyone is not able to arrive ‘on time’ and gives ‘up to’ ten minutes for letting go of whatever disturbance was in you from the day or in getting to the session.
  1. After 5 or 10 mins we do the usual exercise of ‘Going Within’. To focus in on consciously letting go of any stresses that we each carry. The exercise of ‘Going Within’ is to centre oneself and to become present to what you are feeling in body, emotions, thoughts. To stop and experience what issues may be presenting or what is within your heart. Whether the mind is busy or calm and be guided into more ease. To be present to what is and for what will come. To open to what might be within you that needs some attention as well as to realise that peace is a constant within each of us, that simply gets lost in the busyness and distractions of daily life.
  2. In your own time, open your eyes and become present to being part of the group and what you hope for from attending the evening.
  3. Opening up for sharing. I often give the group a choice as to what exercise we do in what order. We usually begin with a simple warmup exercise so that each man gets to say something. It is up to each man how deep he wants to go in sharing. I aim to make the session as easy and supportive as possible. I also invite participants to be as serious as they wish to be. To share at whatever depth you feel is right for you to go.
  4. After the warmup exercise we usually go around the circle where each man gets to speak for a specific amount of time. Sometimes I relax this, depending on how many are present and what feels right. Usually we each get to speak for, example, ‘up to 3 minutes’. Lately I am finding that 3.5 minutes is an excellent time and sometimes ‘up to five minutes’ also works. Sometimes I set 2 minutes as the time limit and this puts some gentle pressure on getting to the point. You can use the two minutes to ‘open a door’ and get yourself going or you can see 2 minutes pass by in a flash and have to sit with whatever it was that you wanted to share but now cannot until it comes your turn again. Sometimes a theme emerges and some of the group like to speak to what that theme stimulates in them. Each man is also free to change that at any time and speak to whatever is important to them.
  5. Often the initial sharing takes us right through to the break. Sometimes we go around where each man might get to speak twice in the first session. It all depends on what each man is carrying – from past or present issues. Sometimes we have a choice where you can just speak or speak and then ask for feedback. In any case we create a focus of speaking and listening to each other and this generally lasts for around an hour or so.
  6. We then have a break for ten to fifteen minutes. The break is more and more welcomed, especially by me. In the break I get to rest from intense focusing, but also I see just how valuable it is to simply relax. The break gives each man the opportunity to let loose and catch up with one or two other men, away from the main group. The break brings space for easy sharing.
  7. The second part of the session is often a whole new start. I might bring in an exercise or find a way to do something different. It may be now that we bring in a talking stick and allow each man the freedom of unlimited time to share. The only stipulation on time during talking stick is that you keep in mind that others might also like to speak – so speak from your heart and to the best of your ability – be spontaneous.

    Say what you feel needs to be said, or give yourself the space to speak and see what wisdom sits within you. See what comes when explore ideas around your own questions. I find it a very healthy exercise to not plan what I will speak about, but to allow myself to just speak. To wait until i actually have the talking stick in my hands and then to sit quietly and feel a sense of peace. When it is my turn to speak, I speak about anything at all that I feel to share in that particular moment. Waiting until I feel to speak can be a powerful exercise. The other men in the group are listening and feels very supportive. When you get to speak your truth, it helps you feel very present to yourself and enjoy the support of the group.

‘A Men’s Group’ has been running in Daylesford, Victoria, Australia since October 2017.

For more information see www.innerwork4men.com

(c) 2019. Greg Govinda 

Greg (aka Arjuna) is available in a Mentoring / Counselling role as well as for facilitating Men’s Circles in Corporate and Community levels.

Contact via greggovinda@gmail.com or text 0466 339 287

What Is a Men’s Group? A Facilitator’s View

Greg Govinda (aka Arjuna)

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 greggovinda@gmail.com or text 0466 339 287 or www.innerwork4men.com

Struggles? Just saying.

Image by Kyle Glenn

I often meet men who seem to struggle. They look at me with blank eyes and wait for me to say what it is that I have come for. What I want from them – other than to be present and relate in some way. They are ready to work – to take action – and have no interest in meeting me.

Often, it would be my preference to relate in some way – to get to know something about them – if only one small piece of information. How are you going? How is your day? What do you care about in life? Do we have anything in common?

I know this is not what men do in general but it happens to be true for me. Life is challenging enough without remaining isolated. I like to connect – if only for an instant – but to share something of the uniqueness of our meeting.

I wonder why it is the way it is – and I delight when I do meet the people who are willing to share.

I too do not have all day to gossip. But just a moment or two is often enough to actually “meet.”

A split of a second – or a smile.

A recognition that there is something in common – or not.

I’m not looking to force anything. Just to say hi.

So I wonder – What do you experience? Have you found what gives you joy in life?

Do you ever sit quietly and simply go within? Have you discovered hidden treasures?
Do you feel high or low? Do you need to share something with another?

I certainly don’t want to disturb you in any way. I just live a life of wonder.

I enjoy when I can simply have a moment of play – or interaction – with another.

I too need space at times.

I don’t need long stories or too many details about the past. I can, sometimes, if that is important to you. But I am looking to be in THIS moment.

In the truth of life.

In the spark of being.

To relate from my heart.

Hey !

I hope that you have found some joy in life.
I hope that you have found meaning and purpose.
I hope that you are content.

(c) 2019. Greg Govinda (Arjuna)
www.innerwork4men.com
greggovinda@gmail.com

In Search of Essence

Have you ever considered joining a Men’s Circle? A small group of men who meet regularly, who support each other in an open and honest sharing of how they think or feel in any given moment. This is my present attempt at defining what the group is – in essence.

My own focus, as facilitator, is that the group exist to support men in their personal and spiritual development.

We meet and sit together in a circle – in respect – in truth – and in enjoyment of the company of our collective, personal contributions.*

We do practices that include guided relaxation, open and honest sharing, contemplations on what is important to each individual, and what it means to be true to oneself. Being together in our wholeness and all that brings with it. 

Exploring and sharing inspirations, concerns, fears, wounds, hopes, dreams – inner, as well as outer, nature. Being present to oneself, and each other, and giving of our personal best.

We make the most of the opportunity to go beyond the day-to-day, mundane, ego-mind, to include connection to one’s heart-mind and open to our deeper and higher potentials.

We enjoy what we create as a group of committed men, and where possible, live in the moment, learning to transcend our fears, blockages, old wounds and traumas – opening to, and entering into a new, more fulfilled life.

The Men’s Circle exists –

for support,
for learning,
for healing,
for providing an environment that affirms life, light, soul and spirit.
for realisation, transformation, growth, and a deeper enjoyment of life.

Feel free to contact me if you are interested in such a group, at community level, in your organisation, and/or for individual counselling work.

(c) 2019. Greg Govinda (aka Arjuna)
www.innerwork4men.com

greggovinda@gmail.com

What You Choose

Image by Noah Silliman

(by Arjuna Govinda (c) 2019 – Inner Work 4 Men)

One of the sentences that had a most profound effect in my early life was in a book by M. Scott Peck titled ‘The Way Less Travelled’. The very first line in the book was: “Life is difficult.” The truth of it struck me. Life was indeed difficult. Not what I had expected after believing the societal mores of “want more – get more – be happy.”

Somewhere I had picked up the beliefs that life was about getting all cravings satisfied, but once a certain level of lower desires had been experienced, “more” was not more. More became some empty chase for something that was never going to bring me true happiness, or meaning, or purpose in life. That would be found elsewhere.

So, older and wiser, I see that life indeed has an incredible potential, both positive as well as negative, and these days I find deeper peace and fulfilment when I am in gratitude and appreciation. Gratitude for what I do have and appreciation for being alive and somewhat conscious. I also see how other qualities give life more value in a way. 

Generosity and humility give me far more enjoyment of life than wanting and yearning. Having simple needs met, loving people around me, and the camaraderie of being part of Men’s Inner-work. Being satisfied with what I do have rather than constantly seeking more or becoming depressed, having little connection with the true gifts that life does have to offer.

Have you found what works for you? 

Is life fulfilling or still wanting? 

As the poet Hafiz wrote: “…where do you hurry to before your death? Can you find the thing of true value in this world?”

Despite the many challenges in life, one of the thoughts I keep close by is : 

“there is a perfect solution to any problem.” 

It may take time to find it but it does exist.

Inner peace may be elusive at times but it is also possible and constantly available !

It exists within you and often it takes the right effort to find it. 

It may come in the form of being active at work, or in loving someone dear to you, or connection made when sitting quietly and doing nothing.

I believe one of the first tasks is to disengage from the busyness of the world and simply go within. 

To train oneself in how to respond to life and not merely to re-act. 

To be as conscious as able, and to choose one’s responses. It does take practice. To be conscious, to choose and to practice.

All of the wisdom and theories in the world do little without bringing such knowledge into practice.

This is where I find the Men’s Group-work very helpful. 

In the group we get to be together for a time. To speak out about thoughts, feelings, old wounds, past traumas, future hopes and dreams that sit dormant in the heart. Anything at all that is inspired from one’s heart-mind, to say out loud, and feel your connection to a personal truth.

Doing such Inner-work with only men, gives time without distractions. 

There is no competition. 

No one to impress. 

Just other men who also enjoy the support of the group and the opportunity to speak about what is of actual importance to each.

We train ourselves to have respect for self and others, and the processes of being together as a group. In learning to listen, we give each other space to feel what it is like when people actually listen to you. 

You do not have to speak but just sit quietly in that space. You can speak if you feel to, and be present to who you are in truth. How you feel. What presents from within you that would like to be shared, and heard, and given support.

Men’s Group is a time where anything is possible. 

As facilitator, I treat it is a sacred space. A place where you can feel valued for who you are and the efforts you are making in finding connection to your true self. The hero’s journey of taking action or taking time out to just be. Going beyond the apparent safety of day-to-day life, and seeing what unfolds when you answer what calls you – from deep within.

It is wise to remember what the psychologist C. G. Jung wrote: “We are not what has happened to us – we are what we choose to become.”

There is an ongoing Men’s Group held regularly in Daylesford and I can be available to run these Men’s Circles at other venues as required.

Contact Greg Govinda (aka Arjuna) for any further details.

I am also available for one-to-one counselling sessions. Walk and talk. Sit and share. Explore and identify what needs attention; what matters to you, and any changes you feel might be relevant to you opening more to a more joyful, or meaningful, experience of life.

(c) 2019. Greg Govinda (Arjuna)
www.innerwork4men.com

greggovinda@gmail.com

Being Male

Image by Jeremy Perkins

What is a man?

What is it to be male?

Who are you at the core of your being?

What limits you?

What brings you to life?

What are your values?

Do they need updating?

Are your present beliefs still right for you?

Do they give you a feeling of upliftment – or do they limit you in a way that lessens your life experience?

What is in your heart?

What dreams do you hold for a better, more fulfilling life?

What choices – do you – need to make – to begin to create these hopes and dreams?

Do you know your true self?

Do you have purpose?

Is there something you have always dreamed of doing but never got around to?

At ‘A Men’s Group’ you will get the support that can help activate you to a more creative and fulfilled life.

Learn to relax deeply.

Explore various themes of what both limits and liberates you as a man.

At ‘A Men’s Group’ we listen – and give honest feedback if asked.

You can just share and be heard, and listen and give support to others.

No pressure is put upon you other than what is inside you that wants to be shared – and the support that is felt once you do.

You are also welcome to just be present and aware of what is happening inside of you while others share. Get to know yourself in the company of other men who are on a similar journey.

Inner Work 4 Men’ aims to help you understand and feel where you are at, and how to move forward. To honour the past, savour the present, and envision and create a heart-felt future.

Enjoy the camaraderie of other men in a safe and supportive group environment.

Greg Govinda is also available for one-to-one counselling sessions. Walk and talk. Sit and share. Identify what matters to you, and where to go next.

(c) 2018. Greg Govinda (Arjuna)
www.innerwork4men.com
info@govinda.com.au

Men’s Group-work

image by Simon Wijers on Unsplash

What is there to say about being male? Is it true what Thoreau wrote that:

“all men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

Well – most importantly – is this true for you? – and if so – what to do about it?

Being Male is many things. Each of us is unique and individual and each of us shares similarities.

In my personal experience and in reading about male psychology, I see that we share many patterns in common. I see how many men suffer silently. And many of those suffer because they do not feel confident to share openly and honestly with others.

There seems to be a kind of defensiveness and lack of trust in having others know what they are thinking. For whatever the cause, there seems to be a lack of confidence to be true to oneself and to enjoy being fully who we are.

In Men’s Group I encourage open and honest sharing, where each man learns to listen to others, as well as to share their own thoughts – when it feels right. There is no pressure to participate other than any inner pressure you may feel to talk when the opportunity is there.

We use a talking stick, where whomever is holding the stick, gets to speak and be listened to.

Group aims include

  • meeting with respect
  • keeping confidential whatever is shared, and
  • to meet in harmlessness.

So far, these are the three main principles we work with.

  • Respect for the other men while learning to have resect for yourself.
  • To agree to keeping confidential whatever is shared, to create a safe and supportive space for all.
  • And to meet in harmlessness which includes being free to participate or to remain silent and just be present, to the degree that feels right for you.

The sessions run for 2 hours with an opportunity to have informal chats with the others, before and after we start the formal session. When it feels right we include a 5 or 10 minute break within the formal session.

The sessions are generally relaxed, beginning with a guided process of “going within.”

In the guided process we spend 5 or so minutes relaxing, using the practice of mindfulness and creative visualisation. Within the relaxation the group takes time out from normal busyness, to simply be present with where one is at in truth. For example – to be present with how busy the mind is – to allow it to settle – to feel any tension in the physical – any disturbances in the emotional – etc etc. Just 5 minutes to be aware of what is happening for you and reset yourself to a peaceful state of being.

After this, we simply share what is happening in our lives that anyone in the group feels to share.

Sometimes there is silence. Sometimes we have explored more outspoken sessions. Most of the time, each man enjoys relaxing and being together with other men in a respectful, safe and supportive space.

And there is something deeply supportive, enjoyable, and healing, in that.

© G. Govindamurti 2018

Welcome

Welcome to ‘A Men’s Group’ and ‘Inner Work 4 Men’

A Men’s Group began in Daylesford, Victoria, Australia and has been running weekly since October 2017.

A Men’s Group offers regular sessions for men to meet and have open and honest conversations in a safe and supportive group environment.

It is not a chat group but an opportunity to speak openly about issues that are important to you. To speak from the heart, and be supported in that.