I co-founded a men’s group with Frank Naugo in March of 2012. We invited a few friends into my living room to come together for a conversation. They didn’t really know what they were getting into and neither did we, but we knew it felt right. Tough to predict then, but we have since created a men’s organization with members from all over the world having as many as 8 programs every week free of charge.
I went through my notes and on that night and our topic was the shadow. At that time, I didn’t really have a definition of the shadow, but my current working definition is anything that we hide, deny, or repress. We spent a few hours having a conversation about these things guys typically don’t want to talk about. It required us all to step into an unfamiliar space- one of vulnerability. It was quite the departure from the normal conversations that most men have… kids, sports, work, etc. This was different.
Almost ten years later, I’m often asked “What is MenLiving?” The answer is that it’s many things and it continues to evolve. My immediate response is we create a space for men to be vulnerable and authentic- the good, the bad, the clean, the messy, the mad, the glad, and everything in between. It’s a space for men who are doing well to keep doing well and share their experience so they can inspire other men to do well. It’s a space for men who are in crisis to lean on other men who will be open to whatever the man is experiencing in the moment without judgment or the need to “fix” the man. It is for lonely men. It is for men who have a ton of solid friends. It is a space for men who view the world differently and disagree with passion and at the end of the day are closer because of the opposing viewpoints as opposed to being in spite of them.
I close with a quote that was shared on that fateful March night all the way back in 2012.
Don’t search for all the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without ever noticing it, live your way into the answer.
This is as true for me now as it was back then. I want to live my way into the answer. If you are a member of this community, I thank you for being on this journey with us. If you are not, I invite you to jump on board… plenty of room for you.