A circle of gentlemen: sitting in a circle of men I anxiously sit down on my cushion looking into space.

I ASK MYSELF, WHY AM I HERE?

As I pluck up the courage to lift my head up and look around, I instantly know the answer. As I move my head slowly in a clockwise direction, looking into the eyes of my fellow brothers I quickly realize that everyone here is an equal, no hierarchy, no leaders and followers, and somehow we all seem to be connected by an indescribable force, a deep energetic force that somehow runs through each and every man around the circle, tightening the grip of the circle, and creating a strong and safe space for sharing.

After a period of deep stillness and deadly silence the sharing begins with each man individually expressing different aspects of their lives. Some of them discuss problems, past traumas, some men celebrate victories, some men choose just to listen, some men offer words of general support, and others simply check in with their feelings in the moment. Each man speaks in such a way as not to put any blame on anyone or anything for his life’s journey. Instead each man is in ownership of his behavior in the now and the choices he can make.

When the time came for me to speak as I share my story I quickly realize in this space that I am absolutely free to express myself knowing that I am not alone, I feel supported, I am not judged by anyone, I am listened to unconditionally, acknowledged, accepted, and my feelings towards my story are no different to the feelings experienced by all the other men in the circle and their stories. I feel a unique connection to everyman in the circle, a team of men, a brotherhood of men. I don’t know any of these men and yet I trust each and everyone of them. At the end of the circle I realize that something has changed on the inside, a shift has occurred, a healing has taken place, and I am excited to go out into the world, excited for the next time this circle of men will meet.

Human beings have been sitting in circles in all cultures from ancient times. Each of us has ancestors who sat in circles together, perhaps in a hut or around a fire, drumming, singing, dancing, telling stories, telling jokes, proposing ideas, teaching, and sharing their lives with each other. In those circles people found solutions to their problems, managed conflict, made conscious decisions, they laughed and played, celebrated and grieved together, and learned to love. Many topics were discussed such as parenting, sexual intimacy, relationships, community living, sustainability, health and recreation, business, life purpose, mission finding, manhood, life, death, and much more.

I couldn’t believe it had taken me this long in my life to realize that as men in the world we are much more powerful, not in isolation, not in competition with each other, but in collaboration with each other, in support of each other. I have since sat in numerous men’s circles and it is fast becoming an integral part my life as I feel the shift from independence to codependence happening at a rapid pace. Unfortunately, there are not too many men in the world aware of such a practice. Therefore, I encourage you as men to create your own circle.

Learn how to do this in part 2 of this article