If you are going to do men’s work you absolutely need to have some foundational guiding ideas and ideals.
In SMG 2.0 we all began with Mankind Project as a model for doing the transformational work in our meetings and at least initially for the form of the meetings themselves, following their model for an I group.
Later we adopted and incorporated David Deida’s work principally by requiring the reading of Way of the Superior Man. Deida’s work has given us more guidance or direction to our understanding of what masculinity is.
Recently I have come upon another source for inspiration in our work as men, Dr. Robert Glover. Glover is a psychiatrist that gravitated to men’s work. He spent 6 years writing his book No More Mr. Nice Guy. It is the culmination of work he has done personally and in his No Mr. Nice Guy men’s groups.
He has been leading these groups for many years, often 3 nights a week and clearly has vast experience with the work. From my reading I find what he has to say foundational to the work we need to do as American or Westernized men. Much of the book I found as familiar, the work I have been doing for the last 2 years and in many ways took me further.
The metaphor I have for reading the book is like reading the travel guide after the trip and realizing 1. how much easier it could have been if I had the guide book and 2. I want to go back and catch the sites I missed. I am recommending this book to all of the men in SMG 2.0. It talks to many of the concepts that we already use, and some ground we already cover and I believe that it will clarify and focus the work we have to do, particularly for the men who are joining the group and new to the work.
One particular awareness I received from the book was the idea of monogamy with mother. I became aware of my essence in my childhood being married with my mother. No masculine influence ever came in to sever this connection, the purpose of traditional rite-of-passage experiences. As a result I can see how I have looked to women for my affirmations. This has showed up in all my relationships with women, and of course women would tend to affirm my feminine qualities and values. By severing this connection with mother and being in the presence of men I am now receiving my encouragement and affirmations from men and expressing my masculine with the women in my life. I am more confident, expressive and powerful.