The Missing Language of Men's Experience
And all the good stuff waiting to be said
Recently, I was privileged to explore deeply in a group of men. I recognized how diffused and incoherent is our common language for understanding each other. The other side of that incoherence is how much we gain by learning to speak a common tongue. Men’s wisdom, or lack of it, depends in having a good language together.
Men’s work has been a central theme in my life. I’ve often been ambivalent about accepting this, thinking that the current calamitous social situation deserved my attention. In this post, I’ll share why I think that the deeper personal work - men’s work, or woman’s work for women, comes before that.
The social disruption and dislocation experienced by men and women of all ages hides just beneath the headlines. Young people struggle ever more to find a place for themselves. There’s little coherent language for situating how they are before a future that can’t easily be imagined.
This fog of unknown unknowing is filled with nameless shadows or a grasping at images that aren’t connected to a body of understanding. The word body is interesting here because with much of our information, the shadows and images that fill our minds are found online or televised; they’re not embodied or felt in the real world. As a result, a sense of a future that has weight and solidity, something to have confidence in, is often missing.
What is the internal language for being a man and how can becoming fluent in it, a natural speaker, help us? (Or can it?) And how might we practice that?
I hope to explore all of those questions in depth in future posts, a little bit here, but first a context-setting distinction: A similar or parallel concern happens for women around the language for being a woman today. I'm speaking to men for two reasons. One is that our languages are different. Women and men are usefully seen to be two cultures, each with our own sets of understandings. We can communicate and love each other, but the two are not the same. Communication and dialogue between the two is a goldmine but we're not able to dig in that mine together, so to speak, until our own sex’s language of understanding is grounded. I hope to support that language and story for men, but as a man I can’t do it for women. Down the road, I look forward to meeting practitioners of a female equivalent to the Men’s Wisdom School.
I haven't even touched on people who don't identify as men or women. I think that having a language for men and women thriving will help others in defining themselves with respect to that. One can’t be non-binary without understanding the binary we’re “non” with respect to.
This pivot to working with the language and experience of sexual identity is exciting and clarifying for me. A relief! Much of the writing and exploration of the Great Reset, conspiracy theories and social control, while interesting, has an abstract quality; it’s out there, not out there and in here. Its language has lacked for me the energy of being grounded in personal and sexual identity. I think this is a social norm; it’s in the air we breather together.
I have an incomplete language for masculinity myself. I missed many of its traditional rite of passage markers and had to discover some of them on my hands and knees.
I'm not raising all this or coming in with the answers but with a clear understanding that masculinity is a collective endeavour. A man alone can't get it together any more than a single man could speak a language in the absence of other speakers. It’s a community effort. Connecting is essential for understanding manhood. Much more to say about this in future posts.
Courses, Practice Opportunities
I will be offering various opportunities for men to explore and learn better language for their experience and future. One is the Four Gateways process, really a language for understanding core elements of the masculine psyche, usefully summarized as the perspectives of the King, Warrior, Magician and Lover.
Another group learning opportunity is the hidden language of belonging that underpins Family Constellations; this has been wonderfully useful for me personally.
A third is a group connected to Peter Block’s six conversations. It asks powerful questions around what’s possible (as opposed to what’s the problem), what’s ownership (as opposed to who do we blame), real dissent (as opposed to lip service), commitment (as opposed to barter), and gifts (as opposed to lack or scarcity). I would love Dialogues between women and men, but not yet.
I’ll provide registration links for a group or groups soon.
I also offer individual mentoring or constellations for women or men, either on a one-off or an ongoing basis. Hit reply to discuss this.
Men, young men, women, young women, elders. I hope you'll join me in this quest for uncovering and speaking a language of the sexes that respects where we are and where we can go to together. If you’re able to contribute using the paid option, that's wonderful and will help my work which is not on a secure financial footing at this time. But you are welcome as you are.
In the short term, groups are for biological men only as we practice learning our common language. (A possible exception is a group for mothers seeking to connect better with their sons. The bond between mother and son is so important and often disrupted; we need a clearer language for that too.)
Send a like (if you do like) or make a comment. Or share! Whoever you are, your feedback is a part of the language of change as it puts you in the conversation, which imo is the best place, and I love to hear it.