Last night I had the privilege of attending a men's group in Melbourne. There is something happening with men that I think is important and special. It has been going on for quite some time thanks to conversations encouraged by people like Robert Bly, Joseph Campbell, Steve Biddulph, and Brene Brown. Men are tapping into different parts of themselves, the full range of their experience, from vulnerability to wildness, and learning how to express this.
Over the past few days I have been in listening mode. I have interviewed some people for my podcast. I have caught up with friends. And each interaction has somehow led to me doing more listening than talking.
I am okay with this. I like listening and think I am reasonably skilled at it. However sometimes I know I need to talk. And last night, after listening to some of the other men, I knew I needed to talk.
So I talked. About grief and pain and what I had been feeling over the past week and the past 18 months.
And to my joy and soothing, they held space for me. They listened. Allowed me to cry and curse and splutter my torrent of emotions. They did not try to offer suggestions. They did not try to take the pain away. They did not try to fix anything.
Sometimes that is all that is needed. To give somebody the gift of talking themselves out. Talking without logic or coherence or request. I like offering that to others. I like receiving that for myself.