To remember What we have long forgotten
In his recent film, Mel Gibson helped to answer the question, What Women Want. Yet who knows what men want? No, I'm not talking about that, I'm interested in what's in the hearts of men, that which calls to and from, deep inside the soul.
I've been writing about men's issues for over ten years with this very question fueling much of my interest. Of all the topics, the one that seemed to resonate with the most men and in a profound way was the article I wrote about my process of taking a year off from leading men's work. I was letting go of my identity as workshop leader, something that I had many attachments to. Many issues surfaced for me at that time: fear of the unknown, who was I without the label and responsibilities, what would I discover by allowing Myself to slow down and just feel. It was to this writing that I received by far the most responses I ever had. The theme of the phone calls, letters, emails was how they were touched by the honesty of my struggle that I had publicly shared. This leads me to the question I pose now, which is, what do men want, what touches the hearts of men?
Men want honesty, real emotion - authenticity. I'm reminded of a sentiment shared with me by my good friend, Pounding Heart, on a men's canoe trip in Canada- "What I trust is true emotion... it is not what a man says but rather what a man shares, that is inspiring and trustworthy."
My experience working with men supports this claim. What men seem to want for themselves and are drawn to in others is - authenticity. Whether it is to be in touch with one's own authentic self or to be around others who are in touch with their own, men desire being in the presence of this energy. This authentic energy could be descried as having access to the four masculine archetypes; King, Warrior, Lover, Magician. Each archetype translates and inspires the necessary energy, heart, and spirit into what I'm calling authentic expression. This expression manifests itself in men as clarity, purpose, and the ability to create connection and intimacy in their relationships. Perhaps by looking at the men in your life whom you would describe as a "man's man", you can identify and translate these archetypal attributes into your own language.
Men crave this authentic energy. However, developing these deep attributes is no small task. It is a journey or odyssey perhaps, exciting and daunting for sure. The work necessary to overcome the challenges, unfortunately keeps many men at bay. What I frequently observe is a void in their eyes and hearts, which I feel in their lack of energy. This is in part why our families, our society, our nation, and our leaders are the way we are. It is the inauthentic man who is unable to express his heart and spirit, make commitments, and feel what is in his body, the lack of which hinders growth and connection.
This craving has lead some men to seek men's gatherings and similar explorations, where the container of safety and trust is created in order to journey inward. These men seek to have access to their authentic self Such experiences often result in an enrichment in their lives and relationships. The void is filled through the intimacy of an expressed open heart. Men become alive with passions and the willingness to commit themselves.
"Only from the heart can you touch the sky. " ~ Rumi
I know what inspires and attracts me to others. It is the same thing that I seek to develop in myself. It is authenticity. What inspires you? Who are the men 'in your world that you consider authentic? What provides you with opportunities to access these energies?
I continue to strive to develop these energies within myself, as I continue my commitment to supporting men in getting in touch with these authentic qualities in themselves. These qualities are what we are looking for. They are what men want.