On today’s solo episode of Expansive Intimacy, I take some time to read from the ancient Chinese philosophical text the Tao Te Ching, which I was introduced to by the leader of the first men’s group I ever attended.
There's a passage in the book that explains that, much like a house has four walls but its usefulness lies in the space inside it, the value of a person is measured by the soul. That metaphor speaks strongly to my experience of working in men's groups, as both a participant and a leader, over the past 12 years.
Like so many of you, I have often attempted to quantify my value using numbers and metrics and other tangible measures of worth. Because of that I was eager to prove my worth in the first men’s group meeting I ever attended. I felt like I needed to be ready to show what I could do.
It didn't take long for me to realize that it was my ability to be open to listening and learning, to stay present, to be open--that's what mattered most. Said differently, it is when I was ready to be empty that I had the most to offer.
A dozen years later, I'm no longer reluctant to take the first step to connect with other men in ways that create profound meaning for each of us.
And while I almost never offer advice to strangers, I encourage any man reading this to join a men's group of your own. I am pretty sure that it will fill you up, just like it's done for me.
"I think one of the things that I tend to get stuck on is measuring myself by some number, by some measure of worth that I think can be quantified and recognized." (5:22 | Jim)
“I wanted to show up and let people know what I was and what I could do in order to prove myself. And it ended up not mattering. What really mattered was that I was just myself, and that I was able to be open and willing to learn, willing to share, and willing to listen.” (6:09 | Jim)
"It's not even a nice-to-have. I think it's crucial for men to be in conversations with other men where they get to show their cards and they get to do that in a way where they're not going to be judged, where they're going to be supported, where they're going to be seen for the struggles that they have." (13:25 | Jim)
"Expansive intimacy is a tool set for men to navigate this modern world in a way that they can thrive and their relationships can thrive and all the people around them can thrive and their organizations can thrive." (13:49 | Jim)
"This is where men get resourced and supported and can come out of the counting type of self worth stories that we tell ourselves." (14:45 | Jim)
If you are ready to join a men's group, but don't know where to start, here are a few great resources to check out:
If you like what we're talking about on the show, would you consider sharing it with someone important in your life who might also appreciate it?
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The views expressed are that of the individual and do not represent the opinions of any companies past, present or future.
Intro Music: Catch It by Coma- Media
Outro Music: Upbeat Funky Retro by QubeSounds