Being a man in the United States is not so easy. There are many and mixed expectations, coming from many external sources—media, movies, advertising, spouses, girlfriends—and our own inner ones. There are rarely mentors or community enclaves to guide us on the journey.
I didn’t realize how much I needed strong, mutually supportive men in my life until I was 49 years old. I’d hit a point in my life at which I realized I wasn’t going in the direction I had hoped to, and hadn’t accomplished the dreams I’d had. I had lost my rudder. The deeper truth was that, despite my conscientious hard work, I’d never really had one.
I was fortunate. A close friend pointed me to an organization that built supportive communities for men all over the world. After attending a “rite of passage” weekend with this organization, I engaged in a weekly meeting with a circle of men in my area. This circle has helped me understand and trust myself, inside and out, with or without the approval of others. It continually challenges me to be the best human being I can be. This, for me, is the journey of being a man.
I belong to a circle of men here in Point Reyes. In this circle, I experience deep listening, while continually learning how to listen deeply. In this circle, I experience how other men see me and how I impact them. In this circle, men have the courage to challenge my temerity or my lack of integrity with love and wisdom, while also seeing and honoring my gifts and my giving.
It is important to be seen in our strengths and weaknesses by men who are also willing to be seen. This honesty grows men’s character and deepens their sense of self-worth and self-love. From that place, men can give more to their loved ones and their community.
If you are interested in having respectful men walk with you on your journey of being a man, then I invite you to learn more about the men’s circle here in your home town. We meet in complete confidence and welcome anyone who shows up with honesty and respect for others in the circle. For more information, call (415) 669.9656.
William Now lives in Inverness. He’s been an active facilitator and participant in men’s work for 16 years, and serves as development director for Public Health Advocates, a nonprofit building public policy and social structures for healthy living.