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From His Father’s Decline, de Blasio ‘Learned What Not to Do By JAVIER C. HERNÁNDEZ, October 13, 2013,  New York Times

Warren and Maria Wilhelm with, from rear, Steven, Donald and Bill, who is now Bill de Blasio, the Democratic nominee for mayor. When Mr. de Blasio was 18, his father killed himself.

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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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