I believe that one of the core needs that everyone shares is the need to connect deeply and authentically with ourselves, with each other and with a sense of purpose. Sadly, we are living in a world of increasing disconnection and separation, behind our many masks. We have become addicted to screens on our phones and desktops and have lost that joy of face-to-face connection.
I watched a movie last night titled “The Mask You Live In” and I was profoundly disturbed by its message. It describes in painful detail how young men have been trained by culture, parents, peers and even teachers to believe they are fundamentally flawed and not worthy of love. Instead, they isolate and protect themselves by being defensive and superficial. They join gangs and develop a tough outer shell that projects power and domination, all while feeling a deep sense of loneliness and isolation that they cannot express.
As my partner and I watched this movie, she was saying, “That’s so true of girls to. It happened to me as a child and teenager.”
I have been active in The Mankind Project for over 15 years. I have staffed the New Warrior Training Adventure (an initiation into adult manhood) over 40 times every training I witness most of the men carrying the same, “I am not worthy… good enough… lovable” wound.
I felt deep guilt as I watched this movie and realized that I was not there for my own children as they experienced the bullying and peer pressure. I watched as they built walls around themselves. I would ask, “How are you doing?” and get a one word response: “Fine”. I could hear the unspoken “Fuck off – leave me alone”, but I never was able to deal with that in a healthy way. I simply didn’t know how.
In the years since, I have done my own painful work of waking up and becoming an emotionally mature man with a clear sense of purpose, but it took me until I was 70 to really get how wounded I was. I have, for the most part, healed my relationships with my three children, but the scars are still present in them and in me.
This healing has come about largely because of the work I have done as a member of The Mankind Project for the last sixteen years. As an outgrowth of this work, I have spent the last year developing a powerful weekend-intensive workshop called “ConneXions” that is focused around three concepts:
Waking Up – connecting deeply with myself;
Growing Up – developing the skills and awareness to connect deeply with others;
Showing Up – stepping through my fears and claiming my power to bring myself fully to the game of life.
In the ConneXions Intensive workshop, you will learn that you don’t have to be angry and fearful and ready to blame others for the discomfort you feel. If you feel the emptiness of being alone, the pain of believing you are not good enough, the sadness of not feeling worthy of love and respect, I have good news for you! These negative feelings come from beliefs that are simply not true! The good news is that you too can wake up, grow up and show up, and we can help you do this in a single weekend. Check out the ConneXions Intensive. Read the testimonials we have received from past participants.