I’m not at liberty to say! The first rule of the men’s circle is “You do not talk about the men’s circle”.
Just kidding.... kind of. I can however shed some light on the importance of attending such a setting and what it feels like to sit in one weekly, as I do.
No, we’re not shirtless hiding in a shitty basement. Nor do we worship an extremely attractive, confident leader preaching his ideals. If you haven’t seen Fight Club, you haven’t lived. Fix that.
It’s a whirlwind of emotions every week in my men’s circle. No two circles are the same. Men walk in scared or scarred or both. Some are excited, others relaxed, simply wanting to help others having a tough time. Some choose to remain silent, content to be near other men, learning from what transpires.
Filled with anticipation and intrigue we greet each other with an understanding that something extraordinary might happen. “What’s so special about it?” you may be asking. For myself, one element in particular stands out:
The upheaval of emotion, honesty and strength that arrives from truly being listened to has a big impact.
I find it profoundly uplifting to speak to a group with no one interrupting or judging me. I mean, not even a ‘mmmm’ or an ‘ahhh’. Being heard, not because I have demanded it or because I have something compelling to announce, but because the people listening are truly there for me, is an incredible experience. Knowing no one will interject enables me to wholly express myself, which I can never really do in everyday life.
I regularly see anxiety, break downs, tears in the circles.
Marital issues, suicide, addiction, identity crisis, financial woes, chronic pain are only a few of the subjects that are regularly put forth into the circle by willing men. One at a time we put a hand up to offer support or an explanation about how we may have overcome the same or similar complications.
You see, we’re not there to receive advice. We’re there to learn a way to navigate the issues ourselves.
Someone telling me what to do is not a personal discovery, hence, the solution is potentially less effective if implemented.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s also deep expressions of joy, love and comedic tales met with bellows of laughter. I see men experiencing the circle for the first with tears of appreciation and relief, overwhelmed by the realization that they had been searching for this space their whole lives.
One young man laughed at himself and the default mechanism he walked in with, that is, evaluating everyone in the group. If he was to fight me, he would probably lose, he said pointing at me. I laughed.
He then pointed at a smaller framed man and told him that he would probably defeat him in a fist fight. We all laughed because he was mocking himself and his own testosterone fueled judgment and insecurities that he had just shaken off like old leaves. It was honest, brave to announce and hilarious.
Anything happens in there and everything’s received. Lao Tzu states in reference to the Tao Te Ching that:
The Tao is like a bellows;
it is empty yet infinitely capable.
The more you use it, the more it produces.
The same can be said for the power of a men’s circle. Give yourself to it wholly and it will return to you exponentially.
A simple search for Men’s Circle’s in the groups section of Facebook will show if there’s any underway in your town. If there’s not, start one. Create an Facebook Group and share it with your community. You won’t regret it and your new friends will be forever grateful for your brave and generous act in support of Men’s Health.
Dean Walsh - Founder of Brothers Global
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dean Walsh is the founder of BROTHERS GLOBAL an organization for men ready to initiate a new beginning. Through their Bali Retreats they’re here to teach men how to reconnect to nature and the core elements within themselves that make them proud and powerful. In between Retreats you’ll find the founders living, learning and playing amongst the rich cultural life of their adopted home, Bali.