Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day Two - Evolving Men's Conference: Personal Reflections

Chogyam Trungpa: Freezing the Space

Someone is walking toward us—suddenly we freeze. Not only do we freeze ourselves, but we also freeze the space in which the person is walking toward us. We call him “friend” who is walking through this space or “enemy.” Thus the person is automatically walking through a frozen situation of fixed ideas—”this is that” or “this is not that.” This is what Buddha called “wrong view.” It is a conceptualized view which is imperfect because we do not see the situation as it is.

From “The Eightfold Path,” in The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation, pages 118 to 119 in the Shambhala Library edition.

When I found this quote in my email today from Ocean of Dharma, it resonated with how I was feeling about coming to Boulder for this gathering of evolving men, leaders of men's groups, and men who work with men. I had expectations . . . very few of which were realized in what happened this weekend.

If I had remained stuck in those expectations, those thoughts of "this, not that," or "this is not that," I would have missed out on an excellent, transformative experience - I would have missed out on connecting with some beautiful loving men (and some very wonderful, supportive women who called us out a few times and helped contain us a few times), and on finding some places in me where I need to do more work if I am to be an effective leader, coach, or therapist.

At one point today, Jayson called us out on not showing up in our fullness - for projecting our "perfection" and not showing the places where we are fucked up in some way. He called on us all to be transparent - to say, "I have places where I am wounded and broken, and I don't always know the answers." To model our growth process.

How can we expect men to show up and say, "I am hurting, I'm lost, I'm confused," if we do not model for them that it is OK to do that" And not only is it OK, but it takes some serious courage and strength to say, "I'm fucked up, and I need help."

That is my challenge to myself. Jayson's way of showing up is not my way, but I am on board with his challenge - I want to have an open practice, an open dialogue - I don't know all the answers, I am not an example of a fully present and healed man - and I don't know anyone who is all that. But I am committed to my growth - and to your growth - and to serving men who want to find their tender warrior heart, their fearlessness.

Chogyam Trungpa is the teacher who brought me to men's work, who taught me that fearlessness is not about facing down a lion, or a mugger - fearlessness is about facing myself, my wounds, my pain, my imperfections, and being compassionate with myself about those wounds. And if I can do that with myself, and for myself, then I can be fearless with your pain, compassionate with your wounds, and be tender with your broken heartedness.

That's where I am as the conference wrapped up today - in fact I tweeted this comment this morning before Jayson called us out:
I need to be more present in my primary relationship - I can be more present to Jami, who deserves my full attention.
In my life, at this moment, that is my edge - being a better partner to the woman I love, who totally supported me in coming here, even though it was not the best idea financially. She gives me so much support to follow my passion around men's work, around blogging and writing, around being in school, and I have not been as present to her as she sometimes needs - I get caught up in "doing" when she sometimes just needs me to sit down with her and "be."

I feel sad that I have failed to do that, and grateful that she allows me to be my imperfect self and still loves me.

So, anyway . . .

BIG THANKS to Jayson for having the vision to make this weekend happen - and maybe we need to do it again and again before we are ready to host a conference.

Stay tuned, I'll have more thoughts to share in the coming days.

1 comment:

Eivind F S said...

Hey William,

Sounds like it was a transformative time at the Evolving Men's conference. I was invited to participate myself, though I couldn't make it this time (for financial and lack of time reasons).

I hope that I will be able to attend the next such meeting, however.

Thanks for your report and I'd enjoy to hear more about it.

With thanks,
Masculinity Movies