17 Jan Anthony Marchant joins Portland Men’s Group
As 2014 arrives more fully and the calendar changes, so to does my work with Vital Collective. I look forward to many exciting offerings this year, including a rich and edgy mixed-gender group centered around feedback, relationship building, and compassionate communication skills.
Right this moment, however, my men’s work is experiencing a bit of a fresh start. I am saying good-bye to good friend and group co-founder, Ted Reavey, and saying hello to good friend and new co-facilitator, Anthony Marchant. Ted has co-facilitated groups with me for the past 16 months, and envisioned our brand of men’s work for the past 4 years. As he moves on with his own adventure, I remain to attempt to bring our work more deeply into its vision.
I am very excited to be collaborating with Anthony. He and I first met in a men’s group back in Boulder, Colorado, during the spring/summer of 2009. During that process we each learned that the other would be moving to Portland later that summer, and vowed to kindle a connection in the northwest. Nearly 5 years later, we are not only closer friends, but now collaborators in men’s work, something that is near and dear to us both.
Why do men need each other?!
This is a time when men need men more than ever. The feminist movement has armed multiple generations of adult women, now, with ferocity and tenacity to overcome bias and oppression, and I am excited to see so many powerful women coming into their own. Without organization and support, the vitality of men is slipping away. Years of entitlement and abundance of opportunity has left many of us under-equipped to survive and thrive. 2013 saw male unemployment “recover” to 7.0% while women are at 6.5%. While I am 100% behind equal opportunity from a political standpoint, I also propose, as many others do, that the need to provide, contribute, and develop purposeful work are inherently masculine in nature. And since most men tend towards a stronger masculine than most women, it stands to reason that there are far more men with under-met or unmet existential needs than employment statistics suggest.
The problem here is that in order for our world to survive, for future generations to thrive, I believe we are going to need healthy men and women to lead the way. Where is the support for men? Where is the leadership, the mentoring, and the evolution of the male concept?
At it’s heart, Anthony and I co-facilitate the Portland Men’s Group for this purpose: to help transform the health and emotional well-being of men. To help inspire them to create healthier, more reliable support systems. To allow them an opportunity to break free of the societal “manhood box” to which they may surrender.
In our group, we stretch our capacities for relationship using the present-moment. We practice deeper layers of honest feedback, and learn how to separate and take ownership of our own experience. We develop the ability to have a “spine” with each other, while staying connected with our “heart,” as both can co-exist for strong men.
5 Ways a Man can make his life better today
1. Call a friend and share a fear you might have.
2. Volunteer your time, skills, or knowledge to someone in your community, without expectation of a return favor.
3. The next time someone asks “How you doin’?” in passing, take a breathe and reach in for a bit more truth than normal.
4. Call a male friend to ask how you can help him get where he wants to go in his day/life.
5. Take 5 minutes and start a Gratitude Journal dedicated to the women in your life.
If you’re ready for more, try starting a group with close committed male friends. If you want to find one to join, they are out there. Take action.