Dear Guys,

With this letter may I introduce The Common Ground to the interested men in the New York Metropolitan area. The Common Ground is a Non-Organization for men. It hopes to respectfully help us men find and stay in the common ground of our hearts as the way to find and stay with one another. I hope it will never become a bureaucratic organization. I hope it will remain an energy flowing always from what is deepest in each one of us.

To speak practically, The Common Ground aims to function as a focus for bringing men and men-centered activities together. So please consider this an invitation to imagine what kinds of events you would like for yourself, and to get in touch with The Common Ground about them. Guest speakers? workshops? a regular drum/dance day? a newsletter focusing on men's feelings and experiences? retreat days? wilderness days? support groups? -- you name it.

To speak theoretically, The Common Ground's guiding objectives are clearly defined. On the one hand, The Common Ground is open to every variety of metaphor: that is, every sort of activity will be considered, no form of exercise or presentation will be excluded a priori. Yet, on the other hand, The Common Ground is expressly inspired from the work for men started by Robert Bly and Michael Meade. That means it understands the major work for each of us men is finding our real feelings -- about our self, and about every one and everything. That means it understands the route to real feeling's knowingly embraces shadow, grief, and the wound as well as passion and hope -- all of who each one of us is. It means The Common Ground acknowledges men as men -- needing very much to redefine the roles of our gender, but very definitely entitled to occupy our own gender ground as we relate to ourselves, other people, animals, and things. Finally, it means that as we men search for our feelings, The Common Ground employs no prescription, no shaming generalizations, about what real manly behavior is. Whatever the activity, its energizing center must always be the quest for 'WHO AM I -- WHO I AM' -- what is truly in my heart?

Right now, The Common Ground is just getting started. And I really need to hear your support to gauge whether or not the effort should continue. There are already several things you can participate in, if you are interested. Joseph Jastrab's Day For Men, described in the accompanying letter, is the first event sponsored by The Common Ground in New York. So, you could attend and/or spread the word about, it. I frankly believe it will stir some new energy for men's activities in this area and hope you want to be part of it.

John Guarnaschelli


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