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Posts Tagged ‘trust’

It’s my week to host our men’s group. Guys I talk to often ask me “what goes on” in the group, so I thought I’d sketch out what a typical meeting is like.

We’re a group of 6-7 guys (one guy is currently living out of state for a few months) who meet for a few hours every other week on a weeknight. We take turns hosting at each of our respective homes in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Marin counties, and we often car-pool. We arrive at 6pm, share a meal, and then have out meeting from 7-9pm.

Whoever is hosting provide the meal – most of us like to cook, and some cook quite well, but even the best cooks resort to take-out on occasion due to time constraints. These meals seldom include alcohol, but one a few special occasions it has been offered by the host. Those assembled try to help the host in whatever way they can, but it is his night.

After we’ve enjoyed our meal and helped clear things away, we move to the living room (or whatever space is available) for our meeting. To get ‘centered’ and shed distractions, we usually go through some sort of relaxation exercise. One of our guys is particularly good at leading a relaxation meditation and enjoys doing it, so we often avail ourselves of that gift.

When we’re ready to start the meeting, the host welcomes everyone and asks if anyone ‘needs time’. Men may have something that they’ve been thinking about recently, been burdened by, had an epiphany about, or otherwise wish to share with the others. Not every man is required to share at each meeting (though there is the expectation that, over time, all men will share with the group). Then the host asks who would like to go first.

When a man shares what he has brought to the group, the other men listen. The point is the opportunity to be heard and to share feelings (“I feel” instead of “I think”). Sometimes the man speaking may not be clear or what is being shared is complex – the other men can occasionally interrupt to ask a question or clarification, but it is important to allow the speaker to continue where HE is going with his stream of thoughts and feelings.

When he has relayed what he brought to the group, if moved to do so, other men can respond. They can speak from their own perspective (“when I feel that way, I . . .” instead of “I think you ought to . . . “). Advice is occasionally requested directly by a man, but it should not be a primary assumption that a man is seeking advice in all cases. Often just being heard is enough.

The man of focus is asked if he is ‘done’ (said all he wished and heard enough responses) – if he is, another man starts his share. It is important that men assess the urgency of other men’s need to share at a given meeting since time may run out. It is also useful of the host can monitor the group to make sure we’re staying on task and not wandering aimlessly and wasting valuable time.

What have men shared? Anything and everything. Residual childhood issues, employment problems, relationship struggles, insecurities, anger, shame, dreams & nightmares, the burden of aging parents, raising children, monetary problems, etc. In all cases, the other men will encourage the man speaking to say how he actually feels about what he is sharing and not just the explanation of events (from which feelings are to be inferred). Each man’s experience of an event is unique, so we try not to make assumptions, but to get to that man’s reality.

What I find most interesting about all of this is learning that other men experience many of the same struggles and challenges that I once thought were mind alone. And some men have significant challenges that dwarf my own in comparison. The perspective provided is enlightening.

We try to make sure and wrap up nicely by 9pm. If one guy really missed sharing something, we might decide to run over or at least make a note to allow him to start off our next meeting. As a ‘close’ to our meeting, we gather in a tight circle, arms on shoulders, looking down at our feet, and chant three ‘ohm’s in unison (the sound and vibration is quite primal and brings us into a sort of synchronicity with each other).

Then its hugs all around, thanking our host, and departing for home.

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LINK:  Why you might want a men’s group

You might want to keep building on the success that you are having right now! And you know that the people who are the best at what they do are always looking for another edge … another way to practice and get stronger.

You, like many men, may have had some hard knocks in the past couple of years … and now you’re trying to figure out what’s next.

You might want to stop taking your anger out on the people you love, or on strangers or on YOURSELF.

You might think that the world needs more good men.

You might want to be part of the solution to the epidemics of depression, violence, and isolation that impact men, women, and children.

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Why a group of veterans with PTSD allowed 60 Minutes cameras to record their gut-wrenching therapy sessions and air them on national television; then, Bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell objects to critics who say he fails to credit other people’s works; also, In an interview with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes, author Malcolm Gladwell critiques his bestselling book, “The Tipping Point”; and, On the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, former Secret Service agent Clint Hill remembers his emotional interview with Mike Wallace in 1975.

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/60-minutes-overtime-112413/

 

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Former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Lydon Murtha pulls back the curtain on what he saw and what he’s heard of the relationship between Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin, from the locker room dynamic to that now-famous O-line trip to Vegas

Playing football is a man’s job, and if there’s any weak link, it gets weeded out. It’s the leaders’ job on the team to take care of it.

Incognito and Martin

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“Leadership, I must fully admit, was provided primarily from women in the Senate,” McCain said after the bipartisan deal was announced.

Pryor said that people sometimes like to joke about women in leadership, but he is a huge fan of his female colleagues after watching them negotiate. “The truth is, women in the Senate is a good thing,” he said. “We’re all just glad they allowed us to tag along so we could see how it’s done.”

“The 20 women in the Senate have formed such strong friendships of trust, even though we come from different places, that I’m very hopeful as we go forward with Patty Murray, head of the Budget Committee, Barbara Mikulski, head of Appropriations,” Klobuchar said. “Those relationships are going to make a difference as we get into what matters, which is the long-term budget.”

huffingtonpost.com article & video

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This meeting’s topic was Health, but one of our men had a need to discuss something else, and we honored it.  We’ll postpone the topic of Health until next time (unless another need arises).

(We try to respond to what the men in the group need, rather than some sort of arbitrary objectives.  Our men need to know that we’re there when they need us.  We actually had a great meeting, with all the men contributing something of worth toward this man’s topic request.  We’re maturing as a group.  Cool.)

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We will be meeting Monday, September 13th, from 7:30-9:30pm.
The topic is Agreements.
Last time we touched on different kinds of relationships we may be involved in. Specifically we relayed stories about those who we work with, families, or romantic partners. It is possible to gain insight into ourselves and our relationships by looking at them though the lens of agreements.  Whenever we enter into relationship we are making an agreement either explicitly or tacitly about what we will give, what we expect to get, and what kinds of boundaries we need. Agreements are the fundamental building block of relationship, and while we are explicit about them in business we rarely look at the agreements we unconsciously enter into in our private, personal lives. The agreements we may make with a lover might be around commitment, monogamy, honesty, support, reliability, priority, or availability. We might make agreements with a colleague around trust, competence, responsibility, or direction (goals). We may make agreements with a client around timing, cost, deliverables, or quality.
Reflecting on your own life what agreements have you made? With whom have you made them? How tacit or explicit are they?
Do you feel more comfortable when the agreements have been spelled out, or do you prefer to let them be quietly understood?
What might you gain from strengthening your agreements by talking about them? By raising consciousness around expectations, needs and desires? What kinds of agreements do you need from people? What do these agreements protect or guarantee? Do you honor your agreements? How can you make better agreements, ones which are clear, which you honor, and which help you become a more evolved being?
I look forward to meeting with you

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