We are living through a paradigm shift. The restrictive ideas of masculinity that shaped our culture are collapsing. Men are faced with the challenge of redefining our identities in a constantly changing world and choosing how we will show up in this moment.
The Reckoning is a new program for men, built from my own process of self-examination and informed by my experience leading skill-building workshops and courses. It launches in November with an intro workshop and a monthly men’s circle.
In the introductory workshop and ongoing men’s circle I’ll offer tools and practices to co-create safe, healthy relationships and communities grounded in consent, and to actively dismantle the systems of oppression that limit and disempower all of us.
Hating women hurts men. Blanket distrust of women hurts men. Living in a culture of dominance hurts men. The unwillingness and inability to slow down and examine and safely express our own hurt, continues to hurt men. And hurt people hurt people.
I am a man who tried really hard not to hurt anyone. And I ended up hurting myself and others. The relationships I entered into were destructive. The deep beliefs I carried about women were toxic. As I became aware of these beliefs I worked diligently to counter them.
Even five years into teaching a well-regarded self-defense for women program, I had blindspots that would not be illuminated until the self-work I did in the wake of the #metoo movement.
The unconscious drivers of my behavior (defensiveness, distrust, micro-aggression) were unprocessed hurt and the toxic conditioning I received as a man in this culture. Until I was willing to make the unconscious conscious, I could not work with it.
This intentional process, my own personal reckoning, is in it’s third year. It’s not been easy or pleasant, but knowing what I know now, I would never go back to that state of misery and isolation I called my life.
To be a man is to be severed from our wholeness and sold a false story of what it means to be strong. In the last three years I have reclaimed my tears, my tenderness, my relationship to my body and my emotions, and my capacity to love and be loved. I have friendships with men that are grounded in affection, support, and accountability. I feel challenged and inspired.
I traded toughness for resilience, dominance for quiet strength, and an unquenchable need to prove myself for a sense of quiet self-acceptance and humility.
And my work continues. Daily.
This monthly group is two years in the making. Every time I thought I was ready I discovered another big piece of work I had to do before I was ready to hold space for other men to do this work together.
I have seen in myself and in other leaders a desire to change others before healing ourselves. At times I noted that I had a compulsion to “fix” other men when really I was being called to face my own shadow self. I have learned that so much of this work, this healing, happens within myself, and is supported by the community and relationships that hold me.
The Reckoning is both an intention and a space, an invitation for men to do their own work with support and guidance from other men along the way.
Illustration by Brian Britigan (c) 2019 Protect and Nurture, LLC