A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Barry Schoenfeld from the California Community of Men. As I subsequently learned when I connected with Barry, he was doing “competitive research” when he came upon MenLiving. Curious, he signed up for the Weekly and sent me an email. Introducing himself in the email, he wrote, “Almost 10 years ago, I founded CalComMen, a heart-centered men’s community, live and online, for all men-who-love-men.”
Men who love men. Hmmm…my immediate reaction was Barry’s group was for gay men. The translation of this phrase in my head was “men who love (having sex) with men.” After talking with Barry, I can confirm that the majority of CalComMen do in fact orient this way. The thing is this fact wasn’t what was throwing me off. It was my reaction to the phrase, men who love men. As I read, the “old school” translator in my brain was spitting back, “the only men who write or say that they love men in an intro email are gay.” Luckily, the “enlightened” one inside, fighting against the decades of conditioning, quickly took hold…”Wait, I love men. Many. I feel it and I say it all the time.” And still…
For the last ten years, I have spent considerable time reading, writing, talking and thinking about love. While we could debate the definition of love, I offer two favorites of mine:
- love is “a meaningful interaction or relationship between two or more persons where the aspirations and aims of one person are shared and helped in their realization by other persons.” Sorokin
- “fear is not love, dependence is not love, jealousy is not love, possessiveness and domination are not love, responsibility and duty are not love, self-pity is not love, the agony of not being loved is not love, love is not the opposite of hate any more than humility is the opposite of vanity. So if you can eliminate all these, not by forcing them but by washing them away as the rain washes the dust of many days from a leaf, then perhaps you will come upon this strange flower which man always hungers after.” Krishnamurti
These definitions are what I want to be top of mine when I see or hear the word. Love is not sex. Not even close (you might beg to differ…cool…please comment below 😉).
When Barry and I met yesterday, I shared all this with him. I really enjoyed our conversation. It’s easy when we are coming from the same place. We are both men who love men.