"WHAT ABOUT MYSELF
ON THE COMMON
It’s sometimes difficult to realize the amount of fear we have been raised with. Harsh words, physical punishments, threats are not always remembered. Sometimes, we even need a merciful forgetfulness to dodge them and survive to adulthood. But when they are remembered, they are usually easy to recognize.
Much more difficult to discern are the subtle abandonments, the quiet discouragements, the frowns that go on unrecognized. Parts of ourselves may be entirely lost as a result of these treatments without our so much as noticing. And this is often reinforced by the direct discouragements that our family might also inflict: “Who do you think you are?” “You’ll never amount to anything!” “You’re getting too big for your britches, young man!” “Oh sure, Mr. bigshot!”
And all of this is repeated in the schoolyard. “Don’t be conceited.” …egotistical.” …arrogant.” …selfish.” We are surrounded by these assaults. And by the time we become adult men, we often live according to their messages without so much as realizing we do so. And we are left with life-long questions: …exactly what are we allowed to feel? …exactly what are we allowed to be? …exactly what are we allowed to want?
ON THE COMMON GROUND’S VILLAGE OF BROTHERS Spring Retreat this May will gather at Camp Hi Rock to focus on these questions. What feelings have we been taught to disown? What parts of ourselves do we habitually reject? What special abilities are we forbidden to own? What excellences have we been taught to hide? What feelings arise whenever we try to affirm the good qualities in ourselves? Why do we have to bury the “bad” things?
And what about the men, women, or children in our lives? If we have been taught to disown feelings or qualities in ourselves, how good are we at recognizing them in others? …at allowing others to have them? In what ways do the qualities we have been taught to disown complicate our relations with the people in our lives?Please join us on the 18, 19, and 20 May to explore these issues. Our hope is that by the time we depart Camp Hi Rock on Sunday, each of us will be ready to live life more fully, with a greater sense of relationship to ourselves and to the precious people we hold dear.
© copyright 2002 Men On The Common