A New Resource for Men

If you like Journey of Integrity… you should truly enjoy: www.owenmarcus.com.

For the past year and half I have posted a couple of time per week on men issues, men’s groups and relationships. The popularity of the blog continues to grow.

I moved to posting on this new blog to build my platform for the book I wrote, Grow Up, Men: Your 9-step Path to Releasing the Remarkable Man Inside You. My premise is that as men we aren’t bad or broken – we never got to learn how to be the man we want to be. Most men had more exposure to women when they grew up than they did to men. My dad was gone 12 hours a day when he wasn’t traveling.

Don’t get me wrong, I love women and I think they did a great job raising us. Yet, something was missing. We didn’t have men to model. So today I see with many successful men missing something. Often the effect of that missing thing doesn’t show up until they are successful. They hope success will fill that missing piece. When it doesn’t they start looking for what it is and how to fill it.

It can be as simple as having a men’s group to go to learn from the other men. He also gets to enjoy the friendship of men like he did in college or the military.

Sandpoint Men’s Groups has its seventh year anniversary (with over 350 meetings) in a couple of weeks. Two weeks ago Brad, one of our members had a feeling there were other men in our small town that wanted what we have. A week ago he packed a room with 20 men who wanted what we have. Their first group meeting was a couple of days. Men left saying it was more than they could have imagined.

Brad is using the protocol I created to start and run a kickass men’s group. You can get your free men’s groups guide from our nonprofit, Men Corps. In a less than a month you can be sitting with a group of committed men. Go for it!

Check out www.owenmarcus.com. If it interested you, sign up for our “Toolbox of Change” (newsletter) and get a free book on the 7 Lies and secrets of Being a Man. There is an extensive resource page for men on the blog. I would love to hear from you. Comment on a post.

Photo by Joe’s-Photos

Why Do I Sweat?

Sweat lodge
Image by lierne via Flickr

No, I don’t mean that kind of sweat. I am a guy and I can sweat aplenty. I mean sweat lodges. We just did one on Wednesday night instead of our normal group. Over the years I have probably done ten or twelve sweats. I often also choose to be part of the fire crew which means I get a double dose of heat from the lodge and the fire.

For the un-initiated a sweat lodge can be hot. I don’t know how hot but compared to a sauna they are hotter. The heat and accepting are the challenge. I have always felt challenged by the heat in the lodge but never so challenged that I needed to leave the lodge before the sweat was done.

My most common experience was it gets hot and I would use the heat as a metaphor for pain and breath through it. I would participate fully in each of the four rounds (prayer for self, prayer for others, what I want to let go of and what I want to receive) and clear a lot of stuff going on for me and call it good. I also would have a dehydration headache because two hours of sweating even while drinking lots of water can be draining.

This sweat last Wednesday was different. Half way through the first round I wanted out. It was hot and the heat was making me feel claustrophobic. My normal approach of working with the pain and fear were not working. I made it through the round but it was close. Mostly pride got me through it.

The remaining rounds were better but still harder than I can remember. Part of the reason that I feel like it was harder is we did it just with the men in the group. No guests. We have been together for a while and can generate some power. Mostly, though. I think it has to do with where I was and my emotional openness.

The next day I recovered really well but found myself asking why do I go in to the sweat lodge? Is it worth the work and suffering? I so what happens that is worthwhile? My first answer was I don’t want to do that again.

However, with some time I am again reminded of how much healing can take place in the lodge. The combination of the heat and the intent of the rounds can touch levels in me that are hard to reach any other way.

A lot of this is hard to intellectualize as I feel more than I think it. After the sweat I could feel this strong anxiety and sadness. The feeling was not located in a specific spot but just a general feeling.

The heat and staying in the sweat showed my shit. I realize now it was work I was avoiding. The heat brought it to the surface. Once it is up I can heal. That is why I sweat.

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No More Mr Nice Guy

If you are going to do men’s work you absolutely need to have some foundational guiding ideas and ideals.

In SMG 2.0 we all began with Mankind Project as a model for doing the transformational work in our meetings and at least initially for the form of the meetings themselves, following their model for an I group.

Later we adopted and incorporated David Deida’s work principally by requiring the reading of Way of the Superior Man. Deida’s work has given us more guidance or direction to our understanding of what masculinity is.

Recently I have come upon another source for inspiration in our work as men, Dr. Robert Glover. Glover is a psychiatrist that gravitated to men’s work. He spent 6 years writing his book No More Mr. Nice Guy. It is the culmination of work he has done personally and in his No Mr. Nice Guy men’s groups.

He has been leading these groups for many years, often 3 nights a week and clearly has vast experience with the work. From my reading I find what he has to say foundational to the work we need to do as American or Westernized men. Much of the book I found as familiar, the work I have been doing for the last 2 years and in many ways took me further.

The metaphor I have for reading the book is like reading the travel guide after the trip and realizing 1. how much easier it could have been if I had the guide book and 2. I want to go back and catch the sites I missed. I am recommending this book to all of the men in SMG 2.0. It talks to many of the concepts that we already use, and some ground we already cover and I believe that it will clarify and focus the work we have to do, particularly for the men who are joining the group and new to the work.

One particular awareness I received from the book was the idea of monogamy with mother. I became aware of my essence in my childhood being married with my mother. No masculine influence ever came in to sever this connection, the purpose of traditional rite-of-passage experiences. As a result I can see how I have looked to women for my affirmations. This has showed up in all my relationships with women, and of course women would tend to affirm my feminine qualities and values. By severing this connection with mother and being in the presence of men I am now receiving my encouragement and affirmations from men and expressing my masculine with the women in my life. I am more confident, expressive and powerful.

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You Are Invited

Welcome to Sandpoint Men’s Group blog. The men of SMG invite you to journey with us through our evolution as men in this world of change.

We will be sharing with you our process, our loses and wins, our insights and our prospective on what it is to be a man on a journey of integrity.

Please come in join us on our journey.

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