I remember moving to Boulder, Colorado, in 1976 with no money, friends, or work. After living in a youth hostel with snoring men and working in a laundry, I got a job at a construction company. Within a few months, as a foreman leading the crew, I arrived before anyone else in the morning and left after everyone else at the end of the day. Working outside through the hot summers and frigid winters, feeling like I was working in a penal colony, I became depressed.
For good reason, I hated my job. I didn’t have friends or a life. I considered enrolling in Cornell’s Industrial Relations graduate program but wondered if I was only interested in doing that because that was all I knew. With my dad being in that field and a guest lecturer, would that be a cop out?
As mentioned in my other posts and newsletters, I stumbled into the mind-body connection. Out of boredom at best — and more likely desperation — I was willing to try things I would have never considered otherwise. Within a year of falling into the experience of releasing the body and therefore releasing chronic stress and emotional repression, I felt set free.
This new freedom brought a joy I had never felt. It also laid passion and purpose at my feet. Pursuing my vision of working with clients drove me to take emotional risks I had never imagined. My new quest also brought a pleasure I had never envisioned. Seeing others change because of my input had me going home happy every night no matter how hard other things in my life were.
When I started my men’s groups, particularly the one in Sandpoint, Idaho, I was surprised when other men received such joy in helping others. I began to think that maybe we are all meant to contribute our gifts to others. Perhaps that is one of the keys purposes of life.
One reason men look forward to each week’s group meeting is that they get to contribute. No one told me that when you do what you like and others benefit, it may be one the biggest joys in life. I saw this reinforced in my group every week. Men gave all they had to support other men, and rather than leave exhausted, we left meetings with more energy.
In part out of the desire to help other men, the group I started in a town of 8,000 has an alumnus of over 400 men and currently 40 in our groups after 17 years. That same desire to serve and help is what drives EVRYMAN’s growth.
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry from The Little Prince.
Assuming you receive joy in serving other benefits from it – let’s dive into it.
What are your limiting beliefs, fears, and judgments about yourself or others around helping men? Where do you hold back? I know I have felt that my contribution is not valuable. Or, I had to do it perfectly – I had to do it a certain way to be effective.
What are the constraints that restrict you in your giving/serving?
The flip side of giving, and often the more challenging side, is asking for help. If you are like me, it’s hard to believe others enjoy what you enjoy helping. You need to ask. I continue to have to remind myself of this.
What is the one thing you need support with that you haven’t asked for?
As always, feel the fear as you speak. Let your body experience the charge of asking.