When the pandemic became a reality to us here in the US, I found myself wanting to find a way I could reach out and support people. Pretty quickly, my friend and business partner Shannon and I plugged in with A Human Workplace, facilitating gatherings for people to process what the hell was going on. I also found myself thinking about men — what was going to be the experience of many, many men during this time? So, I decided to put out an invitation, and Men Connecting was born.
Over the past four months, this little gathering has turned into something special; something I couldn’t predict. I had originally envisioned a meeting space where 20 or so men would come and support each other and move on. What emerged was something entirely different. A smaller group…generally three to eight or so, that are committed and caring for one another…meeting weekly. There’s been a growing core group, and then another layer that come often enough to know and be known. This week, after four months, I decided to ‘seal off’ the current group as there are enough men coming that we can count on a great conversation each week. Sealing it off also helps create a container that can go deeper. I’ve even started cooking up some thoughts for a ‘virtual’ retreat for us to experience together.
The group meets Thursday mornings from 9 to 10:30. It’s my favorite part of the week. We’ve evolved from doing exercises that I bring in to supporting individual men in their work. And what work it is. These men aren’t holding back. They are bringing forward their life challenges. Crying together. Celebrating together. Being in community together. It’s awesome to see.
Whenever I start writing on something that feels really familiar, as this does, I look back at the archive of these posts to see if there’s already a topic I’ve forgotten about. When I did that a few minutes ago, I turned up this post from almost two years ago. Tears swelled in my eyes as I read this post, and recalled that moment. One of the things I’ve heard a lot since starting Men Connecting is that a lot of men don’t have the kinds of relationships that they long for. Yet they are finding it in this little rag-tag group that has found its way together.
From Tennessee to Arizona, from Montreal to San Diego, these men are caring for one another in ways that disrupts, I believe, the conditioning of a patriarchal society. They are connecting. It’s fucking awesome.
As I mentioned, I’ve sealed this group so it can go deeper. However, I think I’ll be starting up another soon. This isn’t about building a big movement. There are plenty of places doing that. It’s about creating the space for real quality connections. It’s about building some culture. We’re doing that together.
If you’re a man (or know one!) who might be interested in joining when the new group gets going, you can connect with me for more info here.