Wishing my COMEGA brothers a Happy New Year.
For me, doing men’s work means living my life with as much intention and consciousness as possible, learning from my past, while committing to confront uncomfortable truths about myself.
This is the time of year I set aside to reflect on what worked for me and what didn’t during the past year.
I usually I like to pose questions to myself as a way of stimulating the process. I write these questions down as part of a ritual for the work I’m about to delve into. I ask each question to myself individually and enter into my meditation, sometimes with a candle burning, to fully explore the implications of the question. Over the next week or two I continue to let the question unfold within me. When I’m comfortable that I’ve received what I needed it’s time to present it to my mentor or brothers for feedback, support, and inquiries.
This year I have three questions to myself that feel important. The first is:
“What have I accomplished this past year that I’m proud of and may have had to push an edge to get too?”
I start with this question for a couple of reasons. If I have accomplishments, it helps me feel that I’m not remaining stagnant and that I may be making a difference in the world. This also helps me to feel good about myself and my life choices while challenging me to question the value of my accomplishments and who they serve.
Question two is:
“What mistakes did I make this past year, how did they affect me and others, and what can I learn from them?”
It takes a shitload of wisdom not to make mistakes, but it takes a lot of mistakes to gain wisdom. I have to embrace my mistakes with compassion, when my inner “victimizer” voice wants to “kill” or shame me.
There’s nothing more destructive to my well-being than letting the “Victimizer” take control. This is where the compassion has to come in.
Mistakes are just lessons to be learned on my journey to gaining wisdom and self-empowerment; so avoiding exploration of them is not an option. Learning from my mistakes is the most powerful tool I have, so it’s never a question of, “if I make a mistake but when I make a mistake”, and how will I embrace it?
Question three is:
“What hurts, shame, or small stories do I still carry that I need to let go of?”
This, for me, is probably the most significant of the three questions. If I don’t deal with this then I’m destined to continually relive my past unconsciously. This is a question that drops me deep within my shadow and forces me to re-experience places I want to avoid. It takes courage, commitment and support to live into the wounds and there’s the hidden danger of disassociation if I’m not fully committed to entering the process and breathing through it.
For those of you who are in twelve steps groups there is a statement in the literature that reads, “If I am experiencing any difficulty, what so ever, in my life, the problem is within me!”
This statement takes away any excuse I may have to play victim and places the responsibility back on me. I may have come by my wounds honestly, but it’s my responsibility to heal them so I don’t bleed on those who had nothing to do with my wounds.
As we enter into this New Year I encourage my brothers to take a well-deserved opportunity to spend time with yourself. I find a daily morning practice of meditation, yoga, and spiritual readings helps me to live with intention.
For those of you with a sustainable morning practice, keep on keeping on! For those of you without a practice I would suggest that even 15 minutes of some form of daily practice that is meaningful to you, would help you to live with more intention.
In the Spirit of Brotherhood,
Paul Gemme and the COMEGA OC
Reminder!! Let’s hold the vision for 115 men at the COMEGA Spring gathering and 50 men for the Pre-gathering workshop. You can add the vision to your daily morning practice. ☺