Men’s circles are a great tool to help us Men do the work and find support in community.
Due to our society, many men have lost (or never found) the ability to communicate with one another honestly and openly. Our society has not taught us how to hold ourselves and each other while being vulnerable.
In fact, it has so often positively shamed men for showing emotions whether that be sadness or anger. We have been taught not to cry and not to get angry. We have been taught that at all times we must “be a man” and remain composed regardless of what shit we have going on.
What a load of bollocks.
You see how this creates toxic environments for men when it’s played out when groups of lads get together. Especially in the Pub or in sporting environments. There’s so much “banter” which is mainly insults while laughing, general talking crap and emphasising laddish behaviour slagging of partners, jobs, families.
God forbid you’re going through any real emotions because so many men have absolutely no idea how to respond or hold space for that. I think often they become and uncomfortable and don’t know what to say.
Why? Because society and patriarchy have taught us to suppress our feminine, our softer side. We have been taught it’s not manly to show emotion or even be loving especially to a fellow man.
There is a reason why the suicide statistics for men are shockingly high. In large it’s due to all the above.
Don’t get me wrong it is important to vent and talk about things however there is a skilful way to do it….a way that allows for Men to open up and discuss what’s actually going on without having to put on a façade to save face in case they get made fun of.
This is where Men’s circles come in.
The purpose of a Men’s Circle
A Men’s circle is where Men come together to talk. Simple.
We come together in an environment and space that allows us to talk about what’s going on for us in our life. Our deepest worries, fears and truths.
Importantly we do this in a space that is specifically created to allow for such vulnerability.
We don’t talk about what is shared in the circle. It is left there.
There will be a host or leader who facilitates the circle. Who sets out the structure and guidelines and ensures it runs smoothly. It’s up to this person to help ensure that the space is safe and held correctly.
This space then allows us to practice being emotionally open in a safe environment. An environment where we are all asked to step into our truth and express it openly.
The key is in holding the space. What does this mean?
It means we allow people to express themselves openly and honestly without interruption and often without advice or comment. Just attentive presence.
We sit and we listen. We accept that person and acknowledge the courage it takes to be open and vulnerable.
Sometimes we don’t need advice. Often the wisdom comes from within and the therapy and healing we need may just come from voicing things. Speaking our truth and being accepted by our fellow brothers.
It does take practice being open in a group environment. However, once you get used to it, it becomes very powerful.
Who attends them?
Men from all walks of life attend these meetings. They really are for anyone looking to learn and grow and improve their lives taking responsibility to work through difficult situations in a way that serves them and their loved ones.
Men who are seeking a group of peers who can talk about more meaningful things without the banter and crap that happens in a lot of situations.
Themed Men’s Circles
Men’s circles can also be themed around specific topics such as relationships, addictions, sex, controlling emotions, work and health.
These give the opportunity to go deep into certain areas and process issues that everyone at that circle are experiencing in some way, shape or form.
In a non-themed circle, many of these topics come up however each person contributing may be currently facing a different challenge that they would like to discuss.
Opened discussion and Feedback
We can also share with the intention of receiving advice or wisdom. This is also an important aspect of circles, especially if you are visiting them because you lack people in your life that you can call on for support. Or you may simply value the opinion of the other men in that group who are of a similar mindset.
These open discussions are done in a skilful way and overseen by the circle leader to ensure Ego’s aren’t getting carried away and that sharing and advice are done with compassion.
Men’s circles are not specifically for those struggling with their Mental Health however they are an incredibly powerful tool to help manage our Mental Health.
My advice is always if you are really struggling with your Mental Health is that you seek professional help such as a therapist.
However, having an environment where you can talk honestly about what’s going on and learn from others experiences and life lessons can really help manage what is going on for you.
Online Men’s Circles
If you are unable to attend a men’s circle in person, there are many that take place online. As with many things over the last year, a lot has had to be transferred online. These still can be powerful and tick a lot of the boxes and the benefits of connecting with other men.
However, nothing takes the place of being physically present in a circle with peers so I would highly recommend finding one in person if you can do this.
Everyone, Men and Women need a place where they feel that they belong, where they feel they can be open and honest and talk about meaningful things.
I believe it is even more important for Men due to the things I discussed in the opening paragraphs.
Men’s circles are a powerful tool for life. If you want to level up then it’s hard to do this without a community of like-minded people.
Men’s circles provide that community. If you can find one local then be courageous and get involved. It may well help you change your life!
I feel it also important to say that these are not Hippie feminine meetings. Men’s circles are very much grounded in strong mature masculinity. Yes, opening up and sharing may feel alien to you however the way in which they are facilitated will hold you in the strong presence of the masculine.
I am in the process of creating in-person Circles in Derbyshire. My circles are based around a fire in nature so we have that connection to the elements. There is something very healing about gathering with Men around a fire.
Something our ancestors used to do as ritual and right of passage. It is my aim to bring that into my circles so we can harness the strength of the earth and fire as well as the community.
If this is something of interest, please get in touch and I will send you the details and can discuss it further.
I hope you have found this brief introduction useful. Good luck!
Love First, always Make Ready.