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.
‘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 hopes 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:
- 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. 6.20 p.m.) and a start time that is within ten minutes of that (6.30 p.m.). 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or text 0466 339 287