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With all of the various events in the Arab world, our recent partisan political debacles here in the USA, and a recent contact by another men’s group praising us for being a peer-led group, I thought it would be timely to talk about Leadership.

Male stereotypes are rich in leadership figures.  Do we feel the burden of and expectation of leadership?  Have you shouldered the of leadership of others in your life?  Does it energize you, or is it a burden?  Do you feel connected to those you lead, or alienated?  Do you feel you have natural gifts in this area or have you figured out a strategies to overcome a lack of natural talent?

  • Do you wish you could acquire more leadership qualities?  Do they elude your grasp?  What prevents you from exerting yourself as a leader?  How do you react to leadership?  Do you prefer to guide your own life without interference from leadership figures?  Do you have latent anarchistic tendencies?  Or do you crave the clear direction provided by leadership?
  • Have you had leaders in your life that you’ve admired or tried to emulate?  Or have you been the victim of unfair or irresponsible leadership, possibly still carrying a grudge?  What do you want from leadership?  What are the qualities of a perfect leader in your opinion?
  • Are there leadership issues in your relationship with family, friends, lovers, work, our group?
  • And finally, are you able to ‘self-lead’ – to lead your life where you want it to go instead of following your reactions and repeating the same steps over and over?
Look forward to meeting with you all.

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Sep 12, 2011 : WOUNDINGS

In our last meeting, I tossed out the following quote in response to one man’s statements.  It seemed to immediately capture everyone’s attention, so here it is again:

Where a man’s wound is, that is where his genius will be.
Mircea Eliade (1907-1986)

All of us carry our own unique wounding, and how we respond to it literally controls our lives.

I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.
And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the deep emotional self,
and the wounds to the soul take a long, long time,
only time can help
and patience, and a certain difficult repentance
long, difficult repentance, realization of life’s mistake,
and the freeing oneself
from the endless repetition of the mistake
which mankind at large has chosen to sanctify.
D.H.Lawrence, Healing

As men, most often this wound comes from our fathers.

Every boy, in his journey to become a man, takes an arrow to the center of his heart, in the place of his strength. Because the wound is rarely discussed and even more rarely healed, every man carries a wound. And the wound is nearly always given by his father.
John Eldredge, Wild at Heart

Or we may shoulder the burden of our parent’s wounding.

Greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of the parent. So each man must examine, without the motive to judge, where his father’s wounds were passed on to him. Either he finds himself repeating his father’s patterns or living in reaction to them – in both cases a prisoner.
James Hollis, Under Saturn’s Shadow: The Wounding and Healing of Men

Addressing our wounding in paramount to our own person growth.

If you want to change the way you are with your sons, and your daughters, then my experience is you need to feel how you were hurt, and how you were wounded.
Marvin Allen, Wild Man Weekend documentary

In this meeting we will speak to each other about our personal wounding – what we know about it, how we have (or haven’t) dealt with it.  How our current status with our wounding affects our lives today and the lives of those we love.

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Our next meeting will be on Monday, August 29th, from 7:30-9:30pm.

The theme for the meeting will be ORIGINS.

(We discussed this topic a year ago, when the East Bay group started.  Due of the number of new men in attendance, and because this topic is always relevant to each of us, it seemed like a good time to revisit.  Below is Stefan’s original text.)

We all come from a specific place in the world. It is possible to adopt a new home, to find and claim a new land as “ours,” but there always remains some trace where we were young, an indelible mark. Where we come from becomes a subtle and deeply personal myth. This story will often color and frame our present more strongly than the actual events occurring in the moment.

Where did you come from? What were the places that you grew up which shaped you? How was your life impacted by your exposure (or not) to nature, to people who were like you, and people who were not? What are your earliest memories of place? What was the light like, the temperature of the air? Were you happy or uncomfortable? Why does this memory stick? Does it have any special meaning?
How does your place of origin manifest in your life today? What have you kept? What have you rejected? How strong is your feeling of “home?” What do you consider your home, your sacred space? Where do you find peace and safety? Where do you not?

If you are interested in attending this meeting, to be held in North Oakland, contact us for the location.

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We will be meeting Monday, 1/24, from 7:30-9:30pm
Our theme for the evening will be friendship.
When we were children making friends kind of just happened. We ended up playing with the kids down the street, or the kids who attended our school. It seemed easier to find people who shared our interests, who we liked and they liked us back. These early friendships may have continued into adulthood, where they either maintained or we grew apart. But as we entered the “grown-up world” making new friends, at least for most of us got harder.  We didn’t know how to connect in that wonderfully easy way, to spend hours together just having fun and playing. As adults it’s more complicated. We’ve grown accustomed to our own private preferences, we have stronger opinions, more experience and less time. It’s harder to make shared time with work, family, and relationships. So what does it mean to make and have friends?
  • What has your experience been in keeping and making friends as an adult?
  • What does it mean to be a friend? How to do you meet new ones? Why is it harder?
  • If all these people you know aren’t friends, then what are they? What is the difference?
  • How does introversion and extroversion affect friendships? How does gender? Race?
  • How to be successful in making new friends? How to practice at being a better friend?
I look forward to meeting with you

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We will be meeting Monday, October 4th, from 7:30pm-9:30pm.
Our topic will be Fathers.
As men our fathers, whether fully engaged in our lives, or absent had profound impact on our lives. Father is a role, it needn’t be a blood relative, it is the presence of masculine energy, the modeling of how men behave. Who was your father? What did he teach you? It is through looking up to the grown men in our lives that we learned, through modeling what a man is.  We may have rebelled against what we saw, we may have idolized it, we may have done both.  Perhaps your father wasn’t there, or there were additional men who deeply impacted your life. What was it that you learned? What came away as truth? If you resisted, resented or rejected, what did you struggle against?  How did he react to you?
How has your relationship to your father evolved, if at all? What has remained the same? Do you know about his own relationship to his father? What was that like? Are there bigger patterns that are repeating?  How did your father show you love? How did he demonstrate power? How was his relationship to your mother?  Did this impact how you related to women?
If you have children, or ever think about the possibility, how does your relationship to your kids reflect lessons from your own father? What have you rejected? What have you kept as valuable, as important? Are there things you wanted to avoid that somehow you found yourself doing anyway?
What does it mean to be a father? What are the relationships that that a father must learn to manage?
I look forward to meeting with you

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