Below is a brief summary of monthly topic
Above or Below The Line- We gave the men a tool to improve the relationships with the most important people in their life (life partner, children, friends, coworkers) by helping them “locate” themselves more frequently. This video was used as the foundation for the meeting.
No meeting- Unlpug, Unwind, & Recharge Retreat
Preparing for the holidays- For some the holidays are filled with joy, but for most of us stress usually comes along for the ride. We focused on triggers specifically to birth and extended family members and how we can deal with them in a healthier way.
King, Warrior, Magician, Lover- We used 4 male archetypes as taught through the book by Robert Moore. We discussed the teachings as a vehicle of better understanding of self and how to recognize our passive shadows and step into the best version of ourselves.
Cubs- We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming to watch the Cubs on their historic run of 2016.
Design A Better World- We completed the following sentence- The world would be a better place if…. and created action steps on how we might do this on a micro-level.
Key Decisions- We identified some key decisions we made in our adolesence and how those decisions affects our behaviors/habits/attitudes as adult men.
Privilege and Racism- Each man shared thoughts and perspectives when it came to race. We recognized our issues and challenged each other to transform the discussion into action.
Play Like We’re 8 Years Old – Our annual summer PLAY meeting consisting of pool games, pickleball, basketball & Cocktails. (This is a group favorite.)
Taboo topics- The intention of the meeting was to speaking our truth openly, confidently and clearly, letting go of judgement, being open to the possibility of multiple “truths”, and communicating respectfully AND effectively. Some topics were abortion, the death penalty, mandatory vaccinations for children, corporal punishment at home.
6 Basic Human Needs- We discussed the 6 basic human needs- certainty, uncertainty, security, love, growth, & contribution. We then examined how each man gets these needs met,
Release- Our focus was around choices and specifically, the choice to RELEASE (or let go of) that which does not serve us or that which may be preventing us from living our most meaningful, present, fully alive life.
Yoga & session of listen, bless & council-
Gratitude- We discussed different ways of practicing gratitude. We viewed this inspirational 10 minute video shared by artist Louie Schwartzberg. One of the exercises we did was to write a letter of gratitude to 3 different people in our lives.
Support & Reframe for the holiday season- We discussed the idea of “reframing” what is most important during the holiday season, challenged ourselves in seeking out what is most important and reprioritizing accordingly.
Adult Male Depression- We discussed the issues why we don’s speak about depression, the differences between covert and overt depression as well as the differences between shame and grandiosity.
Cubs Playoff Game- We cancelled any “men’s work” and instead elected to watch the Cubbies play the Mets. October baseball is too rare to miss an opportunity like this.
Action & Allowing: Striking The Balance- We discussed the difficult balance between taking action to attain your goals vs the idea of allowing events to unfold with a deep acceptance.
Love Languages – We did a brief overview of the 5 different love languages- Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Quality Time. We then took a quiz in an effort to understand our spouses love language and eventually created a 21 day action plan to express your love for 21 consecutive days
Painting – We turned Todd’s house into an art studio and the men expressed themselves through painting.
Play Like We’re 8 Years Old – Our annual summer PLAY meeting consisting of Ultimate Frisbee, Baseball, Football, Bean Bags, & Cocktails (This is a group favorite.)
What’s Wrong With The World & What Can We Do About It? – We discussed the incredible work of Tom Shadyac- The documentary “I Am” & his book “Life’s Operating Manual” We invited the men to write the first chapter of their own operating manual to include their own fear and truth dialogues at the end of their first chapter by answering the questions- What’s wrong with the world and what can we do about it.
Support/Resources – The focus was building rapport amongst the men and to “network” with each other to see how we can lean and support one another.
Peeling Back The Onion – Ed Glavinskas led the meeting. Read quotes from Hitler, The Bible, and the U.S. Constitution to illustrate how beliefs, once accepted, can be powerful enough to dictate the behaviors of large groups of people. Each man write down three or four learned assumptions that have guided our own behavior during our lives.
What’s Your Word? – In celebration of the new year each man came up with one word that describes that either describes us as we are or a feeling that we’re hoping to cultivate. We did this through a series of writing exercises and we each found certain patterns. The men were asked to go beyond wishes, desires, or goals. Each man came up with their word. This word was printed on 4 x 6 photo paper and is intended to be used as our litmus test for our experiences through the year.
Emptying The Container – Our lives are containers that gets filled up with different things, responsibilities, etc. We challenged each other to look at our own containers and see if it’s filled up with what we want. If not, how do we transform our container to make it look like the one we want?
Embracing Discomfort – Discussion on how embracing discomfort relates to working toward a goal/positive life change and how this almost always requires facing and confronting discomfort and needing to move beyond that discomfort or overcoming it before the result can be realized.
Play Like We Did When We Were 8 – Had an “Olympics” type of evening which included whiffle ball, football, playing on the pool, etc.
8 “What Ifs” of Parenting – Discussion based on 8 ways to look at parenting differently toward being a more self-aware parent. Each man was asked to focus on one of these between now and the next meeting with an opportunity to present any realizations as a result of their new focus.
Story Telling – Each participant presented a 3-6 minute story to the group. Story telling is a powerful vehicle of communication in our lives and one that needs to be practiced and shared.
Forgiveness – It’s not about them, it’s about you. Also discussed common misconceptions, self-forgiveness, and writing a letter to someone you need to forgive.
How to Fight Fair – Developing the ability to demonstrate a consistent willingness to understand the other person’s side and feelings in an argument as well as we are able to understand our own.
Cultivating Awesomeness – Being awesome (exemplifying mastery) at something requires several key factors. Shared each others awesome with the group and discussed strategies for prioritizing and cultivating mastery in other areas of our lives.
The Effects of Giving – Examine how we feel about giving to ourselves and others.
Male Friendships – How to take steps to nurture existing friendships and cultivate new ones. Observe and discuss why it’s challenging for men to connect with other men in our modern culture.
Physical Fitness – Participated in a series of fitness “tests” to gage where we are today and possibly where we’d like to go moving forward. Daily log was distributed and partner “check-ins” were encouraged.
The Perfect Being of Ourselves – Broke into small groups and shared our individual strengths and areas of improvement while comparing that to our “perfect” self.
Relationship with our Fathers – How it affects who we are today
Vision Board – Each member created their own version of a vision board and shared it with the group.
The Power of Vulnerability – Embracing vulnerability as a strength rather than a weakness.
Stress – Where does it show up in our lives and how do we cultivate strategies for reducing it.
Music – We spent this evening doing a writing exercise while listening to a meaningful song from each member of the group
Spirituality vs Religion
Time Management – What do we really want to be spending our days doing? How is our time divided into each priority? (Relationships, Career, Wellness, Spirituality, & Recreation)
Figuring out what the hell is up with the way women think – Cathy Adams gave insight on what women are looking for in life and within their relationships.
Career vs Purpose – Understanding the difference between work and our vocation.
The Energy of Money – How much value are we placing on $ in our lives and is it in balance? Or, does it have control over us?
The Shadow (Light vs Dark)Recognizing both the good and not so good aspects of life and ourselves and embracing (in some ways) both.
Morning of our Life vs the Afternoon of our Life
Making the transition from our young lives to our adult lives and leading up to middle age and beyond. What things to continue to cultivate and what to let go of.