In a broader view, it is extremely hopeful to see the mainstream inclusion of men’s work in publications like GQ, Men’s Health, and Men’s Journal this year. The messages we’ve been nurturing and the support we’ve offered over the last 35 years is having an impact on the dialog. The prevalence of the conversation about manhood in a growing number of communities and cultures is what has continued to fuel the ManKind Project’s growth into over 26 countries around the world. In the last year in the United States, the ManKind Project saw an 8% increase in enrollment in our programs and a 25% jump in inquiries. Currently there are over 700 ManKind Project men’s groups in the USA, with over 1,000 operating world-wide providing support and challenge in a safe and confidential space.
All this … because men are waking up more and more to the reality that the old story is done. We no longer have to go it alone. The story we tell and teach of what it means to be a man has been restricted over the last several generations to a set of stereotypes that don’t accurately resemble or reflect ‘real men.’ And this ‘man-box culture’ has created a toxic environment in which boy’s and men’s natural humanity is subsumed by acquisition, competition, and dominance – the dumbed-down objects we are told to pursue. Men’s work is about claiming the fullness and richness of manhood for all kinds of men, giving them skills and tools to grow in maturity, responsibility, and compassion.
This does not mean weak. Quite the contrary. Men who step forward into their vulnerability demonstrate courage that is a prerequisite to building emotional strength and resilience. There is no triumph without vulnerability. And when we, as men, decide that the parts of ourselves we’ve denied a voice deserve to be heard, a revolution in human connection happens. For some men, this may begin in a men’s group. And for those men who take on this practice, every relationship will improve. We build compassion for ourselves and gain compassion for all people.
We live in a culture saturated with unhealed trauma. The distractions we have created to avoid seeing and feeling the reality of this disconnection are rapidly losing their ability to cover the exponential damage being done. Modern men’s work, like that being done in ManKind Project and Evryman groups is a response to the systemic failures that are harming and destroying our communities. And while not every man who participates in this kind of work will be inspired and empowered to begin confronting and rebirthing the systems that have caused our dilemma, many men will. These leaders are on the front lines helping others to rethink and rebuild our communities with whole-hearted approaches to business, civics, health, food, environment, and more. Far from being a movement outside the mainstream, men’s work is an evolution of the mainstream, an evolution of the stories we tell about who we are and our place in the world.
Evryman’s connection with the ManKind Project goes deeper than shared column space. Owen Marcus, one of the founders of Evryman has been connected with the ManKind Project since 1996, and was the founder of the Sand Point Men’s Groups, which was the subject of a 2013 documentary film, “About Men,” by Maja Bugge. See an interview with Bugge and the ManKind Project’s Boysen Hodgson here. Marcus says of his participation in men’s group in Sand Point this way,
“I wanted a powerful men’s group, so I took all I knew and invited 11 other men. They all said yes. That was 2005. The Sandpoint Men’s group is now four groups with over 40 men and well over 200 men who participated over the years. We’ve had a documentary film, About Men done about us. What we created with the Sandpoint Men’s Group became the seed for Evryman.co.“
The ManKind Project is proud to be part of the growing movement for men’s wholeness. If you’re a man ready to start on the path of growth and connection in community, please check out our introductory 3 week course, the Men’s Work.