Back when I established my first “men’s group” in 2008, I personally invited a handful of men to join me in forming a thing I had little knowledge about, much less a plan for. Because they trusted me (I suppose) a lesser handful agreed to partake alongside of me. The purpose was simple, really: To challenge AND support one another in and through this life. I had recently gone through a very difficult period in my life and while having a close family and several friends “around me”, I felt virtually alone in navigating these turbulent waters. I knew there had to be a better way. I realize it now (though didn’t back then) that it also gave my life greater purpose.
Since these guys were “hand-picked” and my vision for what this was to become was limited, I chose men whom I respected, appreciated and was attracted to. Not necessarily close friends but rather those like-minded enough to take an interest in such a thing. This group was called, The Tribe. We were committed. If you were in, you had to be IN. Meaning, we met monthly and you were expected to be there every month. This not only helped to build trust and cohesion within but it fortified our group. There was no primary leader, rather the leadership rotated monthly and the location was also purposefully inconsistent – we moved from place to place and venue to venue, often finding ourselves in nature or immersed in the downtown area of our city. We had some great adventures back then (remember our train excursion Todd)!?!
As I think back on that first Tribe I started and the subsequent Tribe I was invited into and co-founded with Todd, I am often humbled by the genesis and evolution of this community we have brought together.
Since deciding to change our name I’ve felt waves of sadness wash over me as I ponder leaving behind The Tribe name and logo I’ve come to cherish. However, overall, it feels like the next important step forward. Since 2012 (when Tribe 2.0 was conceived by Todd) we’ve become more intentional not only on growing our community and expanding our offerings but also by grappling with and inviting in more difficult topics and conversations – Privilege, Racism, Gender Equity, Politics, Sex. We’ve been willing to (and often have) messed it up. At times, royally. And, we’ve tried to learn and grow from our mistakes.
The new name, MenLiving, is a representation of that learning and growth, while The Tribe remains embedded in what we do moving forward and will continue to hold deep ties and meaningful memories.
It has meant so many things to me over the last several years – connection, collectivity, unity. Inspired in part by ancient gatherings of wisdom teachers and seekers of both our own AND OTHERS ancestors. The “ring of fire” will remain honoring not only those ancestors but also the significance and symbolism of holding space in circle around a fire.
Our new name also addresses a few important details we care or are concerned about:
- The staggering number of deaths by suicide of middle aged men
- The cultural appropriation of the name The Tribe
- The common thread woven through literally anyone attending our events
Simply put, the name MenLiving, our new logo and most importantly our organization has greater depth, awareness and intentionality. We hope you find this to be the case and are excited to join us or continue on this journey of exploration and understanding. Men need it, their families and communities need it, and the world needs it.
Let’s keep Living,