A man might walk into my therapy office feeling broken, depressed, and detached. His explanation for his bleak emotional state might focus on the usual suspects. I am not really happy in my relationship- I hate my job. I am getting older and I feel like my life is passing me by. No dream I held has come true.
He might go on telling me all the things he did to fix his life, but found nothing worked.
Diagnostically, it may be accurate to conclude this cluster of symptoms as depression, therefore recommending medication and continued psychotherapy. The therapy is often about changing thought and relationship patterns, while the medication is given to prod his neurotransmitters to behave.
If treatment works, you might end up with a rationally thinking chemically balanced Hollowed-Out Man.
What I have come to believe about this familiar scenario is that too many men are without a complete anima, soul – an inner life that breathes meaning into every fiber of his body and mind. A man grounded in real life and possessed by a joyful and fearless way of living it. The Hollowed-Out Man is isolated from himself and is emotionally unavailable. He may not have any male friends. He is a man unable to give or receive full intimacy or surrounded himself with other soulless people, also afraid to live. This is a man who is going through the motions of life but is truly a very angry walking fragment of what he can do, what he can feel, what he can create and what he can contribute. This is a dangerous man.
This man lives in Anytown – San Francisco, London, Bonn, Beirut, Tel Aviv, and Rome. He lives in Africa, Japan, Italy, India, and the good old USA. This is any man who lives in shame and any man who has no idea within himself how to live the fullness of his masculinity. This is any man who never had another man telling him what the best of masculinity is. This is any man who thinks a man is only a warrior. A man like this is easily influenced and led into ideas of better worlds, while destroying this one. Or sees money and the acquisition of objects as purpose.
There is a line in the movie Little Big Man where the Chief tell Dustin Hoffman the difference between the White man and the Human Being. He said the Human Being believes everything is alive the earth, sky, buffalo, the rain. He treats everything with respect and appreciation. Everything is sacred.
The White man believes everything is dead; and so he grabs everything, treating it as if it has no purpose or value and in no need of protection. All is profane. This is not a difference due to race; it is a difference of having or not having a complete soul.
Men Mentoring Men was born out of the belief that this state of affairs had to end and we needed to figure out how to become Human Beings. We believed there must be a way for men to get together and invent a broader vision of masculinity. There must be a way men can feel safe around other men. There must be a place we can encourage appreciation, resolution, intimacy, compassion, sensuality, and strong masculine energy. There must be a place a man can go where the Hollowed-Out Man is transformed. A place where a man will discover the sacred in himself and others.
For almost two decades, M3 has been inventing that place. Men of M3 have transformed. Many men have a deep sense of purpose, a willingness to confront life even though afraid. Men of M3 tell each other they love each other without holding on to some useless and petty homophobia. Men of M3 devoted to God become conduits of compassion for that God; and men who are non-religious, become compassionate conduits for each other.
At our meeting, trips, and events men laugh and sometimes cry. Men tell stories that release years of contained shame only to hear the soothing sound of no-judgment. Men are encouraged to make career changes, deepen relationships with their wives, girlfriends, children, family, or partners. Men are encouraged to create, express, build. But above all else, men are encouraged to be happy. Then, his intention to allow happiness into his life fills the Hollowed-Out Man up by reclaiming his soul-thus becoming The Man Solid.