- Read the below Guidelines and Agreements in full.
- If you agree to abide by them, complete the SMG Membership Application.
- Once your application is submitted, contact Hill-Man to arrange an interview.
Hill-Man at 208-290-5959 or hillmannan [at] gmail.com (replace “[at]” with @ and remove spaces)
- Once interviewed, you may be invited to attend a meeting.
- At the end of the first meeting, you may be invited to attend four more meetings.
- Upon completion of your fifth meeting, you’ll most likely be invited to commit to attend SMG for one year.
These are the tenets that evolved over years of men meeting in the Sandpoint Men’s Group. We provide these to every man as he considers joining our group. They are meant to lay a clear foundation of how we work and the agreement each man makes with and to the group.
Guiding Personal Intentions
- To direct my own life by taking full responsibility for my experience: my thoughts, my emotions, my wants and my behavior.
- To honor what I speak, be it a promise or a feeling.
- To allow my emotions to be present as I act.
- To ask for help when I need it.
Guiding Group Intentions
- To co-create a sanctuary for men to open their hearts to each other.
- To honor vulnerability and support each other fully expressing all of our feelings.
- To journey and grow together in the discovery and practice of a new way of being a man.
- To invite the deep masculine forces of healing and transformation to flow through the group.
- To model what best friends can do for and with each other both inside and outside of our group.
- To celebrate and honor each other’s brilliance, wins, and contributions.
- To dream in and live an amazing, powerful, and unreasonable life.
- To laugh, to play, and to use humor to co-create a joyful brotherhood.
- To commit to do things we have never done before we know how to do them.
Guidelines for Participation in Circle
- Speak directly and openly: Don’t ask for permission to speak, intervene, move around, take care of yourself, or contribute in any fashion. However, it is easier if only one person speaks at a time.
- Speak directly to a man: Rather than say, “Sam looks sad,” speak to Sam and ask him if he is sad.
- You can pass: Participation in all activities of the group is up to each man. If for any reason you don’t want to participate, you can pass.
- Taking space: Any man can ask the group to slow down or a specific man to pause or “hold on” in order to take himself or another man deeper.
- Feelings rule: Always feel and express what you feel. Focus on specific feelings, such as Anger, Sadness, Fear, Joy, Shame/Guilt. Justifying, minimizing, and maximizing only weaken your experience and your power.
- Use “I” statements: Speak about your experience, not another man’s. Rather than using “you” or “we,” use “I.”
- Be here-and-now: Emphasize the present. Describe your present experience as much as possible. Avoid telling stories.
- Start with feelings: Start your questions or statements with what you are currently feeling. The more you are connected to your feelings, the more powerful your interaction and support will be.
- Avoid asking “Why”questions: It is often best to avoid asking “why?” “Why” frequently leads to “Because…” or “I don’t know,” which are both ‘heady’ and lead a man away from his feelings and right back into his head. Why questions may shame him – encourage the man to share his feelings and wants. For example, “Sam why did you shout?” could be, “Sam when you shouted I felt scared.” Instead, consider taking a man deeper by asking him a “What” question, such as: “What need was trying to be met when you shouted?”
- Take yourself and other men to feelings rather than understanding: Rather than trying to figure it out, instruct, or ask intellectual questions, ask questions that have the man go deeper into his feelings. “What are you feeling?” or “Where do you feel that in your body?” is often all that is necessary. These reminders encourage and guide a man to become more aware of his body and emotional feelings, which naturally facilitates the man to find his own wisdom, loving, and healing.
- Describe rather than judge: When you judge you are reacting. Rather than labeling his behavior, try to describe it. Go deeper into what a man’s action caused in you. “You’re out of control” could be “Tom your loud voice frightens me.”
- Go deep: We can encourage each other to reveal what is secret or hidden and to bring it into the light by asking, “What is your behavior saying that you are not saying?”
- Make mistakes: Allow yourself to make mistakes, express beyond your old limit and to lose it. Your mistakes are welcome. You can always go back and own the mistake by taking responsibility for any affect you had.
Agreeing to abide by these agreements is a prerequisite to attending Sandpoint Men’s Group. Training & Cost agreements apply only after a man’s acceptance into SMG at the end of his fifth meeting.
- I agree to take care of myself first as if my life depends on it, because it does.
- I agree to come to group prepared and ready to both give to and receive support from my brothers by being well rested and nourished.
- I agree to check group emails at least twice per week.
- I agree our time together is not counseling or psychotherapy and if I am engaged in counseling or psychotherapy, I will disclose this to the group. I will get approval from my counselor or therapist to attend the group.
Training & Cost
- [$395-$750] Once accepted into the group, I agree to participate in either Free to Win’s Two Day Experience training (offered locally at a discount to SMG members when adequate participants are available) or the Mankind Project’s New Warrior Training within the first year and preferably the first six months of being accepted into group. If money is an issue, please state your request and the group will consider it. This requirement supports each man’s growth and the group’s ability to serve men who are committed and trained.
- [$120/yr or $10/mo] I agree to contribute towards the cost of snacks and other expenses $10 per month at least 3 months in advance. If money is an issue, please state you’re request and the group will consider it.
Attendance (Very Important: please read carefully)
- I agree that once I am accepted into the group at the end of my fifth meeting, I will attend group for a minimum of one year, barring any unforeseen circumstances. I understand membership in the group is public knowledge.
- I agree to document any planned family, travel, or other absence(s) in the group calendar ahead of time.
- I agree to attend ALL weekly meetings for which I have not prearranged an absence, OR I agree to call and speak to two men before group if I am unable to attend due to illness, family emergency, or unanticipated circumstance. I agree that if for any reason I am unable to speak with two men from the contact list, I will leave messages for two men from my group explaining my absence.
- I understand that if I am physically able to attend group and choose not to for four or more consecutive meetings, I will forfeit my place in the circle. To join the group once more I must reapply for membership in SMG, following the established protocols for any new man.
- If I decide to leave the group, or even drop out for any duration of time, I agree to attend group and process myself out with the group. I will come to a meeting to state my needs.
- I agree to do regular work outside of group, including stretches. A stretch is usually one or more specific measurable actions towards physical, relationship, spiritual, financial, or mental health objectives. Powerful stretches include doing something new or different that would be outside of my comfort zone.
- I agree to listen respectfully and include all my brothers in conversations. (i.e., not dominating). I agree to not be violent.
- (Very Important) I agree to not use any mood altering recreational substance including drugs or alcohol on the day we meet for group. By abstaining, I honor myself and the group with my full presence. If I do use any of the above mentioned substances on the day of group, I agree to follow attendance protocol for unplanned absences and not attend group.
- (Very Important) I agree to disclose to the group any prescription drugs or substances that affect my presence in group.
- I agree to honor group commitments and decisions made by the group when I am not present. When I am absent from group I will check the minutes kept by group scribes to review any agreement made in my absence. I agree to either confirm my participation or raise any concern or objection to any agreement made as soon as I learn about the new agreement during a business round. The group agrees to have a scribe document our agreements and revise this document as needed.
- I agree to keep everything (except business items) discussed or revealed in the group completely confidential. I understand that anything said between members of our group outside a meeting can be shared in the group.
- I agree not to ask anyone in the group to keep secrets from any other member of the group. If I engage in a private conversation about a member of the group who is not present for the conversation, I agree to reveal and share what has been said with the person as soon as possible.
All men and attendees of our events agree to what is covered on our Legal Page.