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by Jim Herbert

Jim is passionate about life and he explores his individual hero’s journey with curiosity and zeal. Jim is a father, husband, yogi, mystic, storyteller, author, coach, teacher and student who sees himself as a spiritual being having an amazing human experience. Learn more about Jim.

Fred Rogers is a television and early childhood development icon. Even though he left his body over twenty years ago, his spirit lives on like a wave of kindness that washes over future generations of leaders, healers and everyday humans. Many of the almost 900 episodes of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood are still available for streaming via the PBS Kids app.

I grew up in the early days of Mr. Rogers in the late 1960s and early 1970s. My favorite part of the show was when Mr. Rogers would visit the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. Many of you probably remember puppet characters like King Friday, X the Owl and the now even more famous Daniel Tiger, who has his own animated show on PBS Kids with over a hundred episodes. Fred Rogers is on record as having said that he created the Neighborhood of Make-Believe as a way for him to talk about difficult topics in a way that children could understand.

I have often thought it would be really nice if we had an adult version of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe so that we could create a way for full grown adults to talk about difficult topics in a way that they could understand too. Many adults, including myself, have spent a lifetime avoiding difficult topics with the hope that the difficult parts will just go away. They never do.

The other day I was sitting in an in-person men’s circle with a group of men, some of whom I have known for many years and others I had only met that day. The conversation took on a weightiness as a few men checked in with some heavy feelings. Creating a safe space for men to check in with their challenges is one of the main reasons we do the work we do in organizations like MenLiving and many other amazing men’s community organizations around the world. These types of conversations often bring up a wide range of emotions for the men in the circle.

As we came to the end of our opening check ins, one man used the phrase, “I’m feeling all the feels right now.” The line definitely landed with me in the moment, but it wasn’t until much later that night after I had some time to process the whole experience, that a lightbulb went on for me as it relates to the importance of feeling all the feels.

What I realized is that I often continue to try to define the way that I am experiencing the world at any given point in time by a single emotion or by a group of emotions that are similar to each other. In other words if I am feeling sad, it probably relates to some sort of grief I am processing or a fear that is present for me and I can only be sad. If I am feeling joyful, it is a product of things in my life that are making my human parts happy and all parts of me must then be in the place of joy even if they are not. There are parts of me that think that in order to be grateful, I have to be experiencing abundance and if I am feeling hopelessness it must be tied to some level of scarcity. So many parts, so many feelings!

In season three, episode #70 of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, which I have watched many times with my six year old daughter Emma, Daniel and his friend Katerina Kitty Cat are excited to be at the park flying a kite. The joy of being outdoors and engaging in the energy of flight is the predominant emotion in the moment, but Daniel starts to get frustrated that they can’t keep the kite in the air. Daniel gets confused because of the warring emotions inside him until his mother comes and explains to him that it is perfectly normal to feel two feelings at the same time. They even come up with a little jingle as they sing, “Sometimes, you feel two feelings at the same time, and that’s okay.”

Leave it to Mr. Rogers and the extension of his work through shows like Daniel Tiger to make a difficult thing to understand feel like simple child’s play.

The other night after that men’s circle in mentioned, I sat in a moment of stillness in my bedroom after Emma had finally gone to bed. I was feeling all the feels after a full day that included the morning circle along with a trip to the Irish American Heritage Center. My father who has been out of his body for 27 years now used to go to the IAHC all the time, so anytime I visit that place I feel a wave of emotions and his spirit is strong with me.

As I sat in my room, I was feeling a lot of sadness about the men who checked in with heavy emotions in our circle. I was feeling a bit hopeless about the state of affairs in our world right now where it can at times feel like conflict is a millisecond away at any given moment in time. I was also feeling a lot of joy as it related to my connection to my father, a lot of gratitude for the men in my life who continue to show up to work on their own stuff in order to help others find their own healing. I was also feeling a lot of contentment about the work that I had facilitated earlier in the day.

There were parts of me that wanted to shame myself for feeling any level of joy, gratitude or contentment because so many others out there are struggling so mightily. The truth is, that it is perfectly normal for me to be feeling emotions that are opposite ends of the emotional spectrum at the same time. The lie that I occasionally tell myself, is that it is abnormal or perhaps even inappropriate for me to feel gratitude or joy in a moment of sadness or grief. Today I am going to take a lesson from Mr. Rogers and Daniel Tiger and lean further into the truth that sometimes I feel two feelings at the same time, and that’s okay.

Creating space for difficult topics is one of the most important things we do here at MenLiving. By continually showing up to take space when I need it and make space for others when they need it is the root of the work. That root connects me to all the support I will ever need and it also creates a ripple of change in men that I believe will continue to change the world. I feel that change in every fiber of my being. Sometimes it feels like joy and at other times it feels like sadness.

The whole thing makes me recognize that maybe we do have an adult version of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe after all. It happens right here at MenLiving with over 30 in person meetings, virtual Full Houses and other special gatherings each month. I’m grateful for the work we do and I’m grateful to each and every one of you who are brave enough to show up and feel all your feelings. By doing so, together we can change the world.


Jim Herbert is a MenLiving facilitator. You can reach him at

Learn more about Jim.

One Comment

  • Joel says:

    Hey Jim, another nice piece. Thanks for putting it out there. I totally agree and understand what you are saying.
    I had a tear in my eye as i was reading.
    Thanks, Joel Sanders

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