My friend, George stands 6 feet 4, weighs 230 muscular pounds, played lineman in college, and graduated magna cum laude.

I have never been able to persuade him to come to any kind of men's event despite complete alienation from his family of origin, no friendships with men, several unfulfilling jobs, and a series of epic disasters with women.

Once I thought he was getting close to accepting my suggestion that an upcoming workshop might be of use to him.

But I made a classic mistake. As I saw him hesitate, I put out that I thought it was OK to be wary, maybe afraid. I told him I had been terrified during most of my first Men's Retreat in 1988.

His large body nearly lurched right off the counter stool he was sitting on. "I'm not afraid!" he stated emphatically, "I'm just not sure there's anything there for me!"

That was the end of that. But, George has left me wondering. Why is it so hard to get men to see what's available to them in the Men's Movement?

I'm not sure I see the whole picture. But part of it seems to be how I feel about being afraid. Every cell in my body forbids me to be afraid -- informs me it is absolutely contrary to my sense of myself, my manhood, to be afraid of anything. So don't even think it.

But what else is possible as a man approaches Men's Work? An author recently said "masculine identity development turns out to be...a process of elimination, a successive unfolding of loss."

So, I might be thoroughly sick of the endless rounds of empty talk about business, women, and sports. But changing any of ft implies I'd have to challenge my basic assumptions about what it's like to be a man.

In other words, I'd have to experience ft like an earthquake in the very foundations of my building. I guess I'd be afraid of that. Very afraid.

So, maybe you have a friend who's been "thinking about coming," but somehow never makes ft. Or, maybe you've come to a few meetings, but now "can't seem to make the time." It makes perfect sense.

If masculine identity development is "a successive unfolding of loss," I have a great deal to gain from Men's Work.

I can develop self esteem apart from work, work, work. I can develop my capacity for friendship and love. I can learn what I feel and talk from my heart. I might even be hungering for these things.

BUT, they imply change, growth, difference. They imply entering into an experience that is essentially unknown to me. I'd have to walk into the dark -- without being allowed to whistle.

So will I seriously take up Men's Work. Probably not. After all, I'm not afraid of anything.

John Guarnaschelli


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