5 years ago, me and two of my friends started a men’s group.
Since then we have grown to a group of nine brothers,
committed to meet every two weeks, be each other’s mirror,
and support one another throughout life’s challenges.
We have grown through several stages of development,
and dealt with issues like anxiety, depression, addiction,
failed relationships, business success and failure, suicide and childbirth.
Over the years, a very deep sense of brotherhood has grown between us,
and I can confidently say that I fully trust them to have my back.
This kind of friendship and commitment feels invaluable to me in a world
where so many people suffer from loneliness, depression and lack of connection.
Especially for us men, who tend to retreat into our cave (alone) when things get rough,
it’s incredibly valuable to learn to reach out to others.
We learn that we are accepted in the midst of all our perceived weaknesses and failings.
We learn that what we feel most ashamed of, or judgmental about,
is an experience, shared by many others.
And we learn that when we feel at our most vulnerable,
we are still fully welcomed and celebrated.
Yesterday evening we had another one of our gatherings.
And already at the start, as we greeted each other with hugs,
I noticed the evolution we had gone through.
I remember that two or three years ago, we would still hold some kind of
facade of toughness and closure, and an unwillingness to fully show up.
Now I sensed a great willingness to meet each other, both in power
and in vulnerability.
At the start of the evening I felt pretty fucked up:
Sad, scared, stuck, and at a loss with my life.
Judgments about not living fully, not being good enough,
and not being able to see my own worth, haunted me.
In the group, I took time to share this.
Sitting around the campfire with the others, I expressed my state of being.
Telling them my story helped me to feel seen and heard.
Before long, I was crying my eyes out in front of this group of men,
feeling both my grief and the immense power of my gifts to the world.
Our hearts were blown wide open, everyone felt touched and alive.
And every single man recognized himself in my words.
Being held by the powerful shared presence of the brotherhood
helped me to jump head first into this experience.
And it showed me how much my trust has deepened throughout the years.
It made me realize that I am now able to connect to my friends, and people in general,
on such a profound level, that I can only be grateful.
And even though I still don’t have my shit together
-reliable sources tell me nobody actually does, or ever will-
the ability to stay present with my inner world has grown.
To such an extent that I notice a relaxation,
a spaciousness, a deep love, which is slowly taking over my life.
And I become more and more willing to hand over my life to the unknown.
I don’t always understand it (who does?), but I do know that it feels good.
And I believe this is the essence that creates a life worth living.
Not needing circumstances to be perfect -good luck with that!-
but being deeply ok with whatever arises.
Or, as my ex-girlfriend Ronja would say: “The all-pervasive ok-ness of being”.
I want to share this experience as a tribute to my brothers:
I am proud of them, and I love them.
And also to all men around the world who gather in groups like this.
This work is an invaluable part of the evolution to our next stage of manhood.
I believe it shows a way out of loneliness, not-dealing with your emotions,
and figuring it all out by yourself.
If you’re not part of this kind of network yet,
I invite you to connect with us at the Real Men Project.
We don’t do quick-fixes, 10-steps-to-fucking-a-hot-woman, or the 3 keys to ultimate happiness,
but we DO do real transformational work that, in my experience,
stays with you for the rest of your life.
We stand for that. And I’m proud of it.
Thanks for reading,
let me know what you think in the comments!