For some it evokes visions of men connecting on deep levels and forming bonds that will benefit not only them, but everyone in their lives.
For others it evokes visions of white supremacy, and men who gather to pool their power to the detriment of women and other marginalized groups of people.
Where is the line between being reclaiming a word that has been abused - taking a stand for a world of whole, healed, and trustworthy men - and being sensitive to the very real emotional responses of unsafety that come up around our use of the word Brotherhood?
All of us men have been taught – either explicitly or by example – to be invulnerable.
We receive the message countless times each day that “real men” are rough, rational, independent, and always having their shit together. We’re supposed to be providers. We’re not allowed to be “weak” or “soft.” We could go on…
This patriarchal belief system is like a suit of armor that we can’t take off. We may get accustomed to living with armor on, but when we get honest with ourselves, the cost (to ourselves, not to mention others) is immense.
As a man committed to supporting men living the most satisfying and empowered lives possible, these principles have become a center of gravity in the Men’s Work I am involved in.
The questions every man who does men’s work with me needs to answer every time we meet are these: What is the state of your Integrity? What are you Committed to? How are you Accountable?
These Masculine principles are foundational to healthy relationships and a safe community. A great deal of the suffering we are seeing in the world has to do with powerful men who lack integrity and are not being accountable for their actions.
功夫 - gōng fu - skill; art; merit. In its original meaning, gong fu can refer to any skill achieved through hard work and practice, not necessarily martial arts.(Wikipedia)
How is your gōng fu... of communication? What is the state of your practice? When the chips are down and someone is upset, when there is either explicit or subtle conflict, when there's a "block" in connection or you are just not getting what you want, are you happy with the ways you typically respond?
Many otherwise high functioning people would admit that we are not. Of course this is so! We inherited our communication patterns from our family of origin!
Some of us have spent considerable energy rewiring those patterns and still fall short. Most of us have not spent much at all.
So many men focus on the state of their sex lives as a pain point, but what many of us don’t get is that the quality of our sex is just an indicator for something deeper. Although the physical act of sex is something we definitely yearn for, after talking to hundreds of men and women about their sex lives the deepest recurring desire is for deep emotional intimacy. Sex is just the canary in the coal mine.