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Men and Aloneness IV: What Our Mothers Thought of Men
A Workshop for Men of Courage
Making Our Work Space Safe


No one can learn, grow, or heal without connecting. Further, no one can connect in an unsafe space, whether this space is physically unsafe, intellectually unsafe, emotionally unsafe, or spiritually unsafe.

Luckily, we are men. This means we each have within us the ability to make our spaces safe. Please keep this in mind today, and let's together share the responsibility of being each other's "keepers," "guides," "brothers," and "guardians."

How can we do this?

First, we can do this by tapping into the love and strength we each have within us, using this love and strength to remain as connected to each other as we possibly can before, during, and after we each share. In this way, we each consciously witness without judgment each other's struggles.

Second, we can do this by focusing on, and limiting our work to our own, personal experiences and ideas, limiting our sharing to our thoughts and feelings about ourselves as men.

Third, we can do this by simply noticing, without judgment, the times when we ourselves "disconnect" or in Ed's and my words, when we each experience "aloneness." More so, when you do notice these "disconnection's," please be gentle with yourselves and then, as best you can, share about what just happened to you with the group.

Fourth, as we explore today, please try to notice how being connected to each other affects us so much more than hearing the ideas and beliefs we talk about or in other words, being told the "content." What I am suggesting here is to, as best you can, try to be connected to what you share, and to the other men present. And again, when and if you do feel disconnected, please do your best to share this with the group and then ask the men present for help reconnecting.

What I have been trying to say is, ideas are beautiful, and we all have some beautiful ideas. More important, we each have the power to see the beauty in these ideas even at times when we are alone. However, in order to be able to see the beauty in people, we need to be connected to them. This is not a short coming. This is just human nature, the way we each work. Let's try today, then, as best we can, to focus on connecting to each other, as people, and as men, knowing it is only through these connections that we can truly see the beauty in each other.

Finally, as we explore today, please try to be easy on yourselves, and on each other, especially if and when you find that you, or someone else, has not managed to live up to what may seem to be "the obviously better way."

None of us are perfect, but this does not negate the value and courage of our attempts. In fact, it only increases these values. Thus, here again, if you see a shortcoming, in yourself, or in someone else, please do your best to focus on seeing the person rather than the shortcoming; on "connecting" rather than on "correcting."
Today's Focus: Exploring How What Our Mother Thought of Men Keeps Us From Connecting
If we were living two hundred years ago, we would be seeing a lot of our fathers. Why? Because for the most part, fathers, then, worked in and around their homes, close to where their children were being raised. In fact, most fathers worked in home based businesses in and around farms. Others worked in home based businesses as blacksmiths and coopersmiths, as carpenters and wagon makers.

Since the Industrial Revolution, though, most fathers have worked at a distance from their homes and so, as boys, we have had to learn who men are, and what we can expect from them, second hand, from our mothers. This means knowing what our mothers thought of men is one of the keys to knowing what we ourselves believe about men. Which brings me to the focus of today's workshop.

Today, we, Steve and I included, will be exploring what we, as boys, were taught about men. More specifically, we will be looking at what our mothers taught us about who men are, most of which we were never told directly but rather, we absorbed indirectly, through witnessing her attitudes toward men.

What were your mother's attitudes toward men? Did she like men or did she hate men? Did she feel safe around men, or was she scared around men? Was she angry at men or did she nurture men? Did she avoid or cling to men, or did she seek out men and connect to them?

Exploring these and similar questions will be our focus today. Our goal will be to leave with a better sense of how what we learned from our mothers about who men are; who she thought our fathers were, who she thought our grandfathers were, and who she thought we, ourselves were. And as always in these workshops, our main purpose today will be to explore how any negative attitudes present have caused us to suffer from aloneness, by impairing our abilities to connect to others.

This, then, is where we will begin today, by exploring what we remember about the negative things our mothers' thought about men, starting with the main source and focus for these negative attitudes; our fathers.
[Question # 1]
Begin by picturing a time, real or imagined, wherein you overheard your mother discussing with someone other than your father, something she did not like about your father.

In this scene, she could be complaining about his work hours, upset about the way he looked at other women, turned off by his appearance, or angry at his not talking to her. Or she could be tired of picking up after him, sad that they have had no time together, afraid he would be angry, or hurt by his indifference.

Now allow this scene to fully play out, watching it as if it were an unfolding movie playing on the screen in your mind. As you watch, try to remember the whole script of what you see and feel, including the words she uses and the expressions on her face.
Finally, write below what this experience was like AND how you felt as you heard her complaining about him.

(Think quietly about this experience for a few moments, then please write what you saw below.)

 

 

(Share our answers with each other)

[Question #2]
This time, try picturing a scene, real or imagined, in which you overheard your mother discussing with someone other than your father, something she did like about your father.

In this scene, she could be acknowledging he is a hard worker, feeling flattered by how he looks at her, admiring his appearance, or appreciating his strength. Or she could be grateful for his having helped her around the house, happy for their having spent time together, been comforted by his having listened to her, or feeling relieved by his having assisted her with something important.

Now allow this scene to fully play out, noting the whole script of what you see and feel.
Finally, write below what this experience was like AND how you felt as you heard her speak positively about your father.

(Think quietly about this experience for a few moments, then please write what you saw below.)

 

 

(Share our answers with each other)

[Question #3]
Now try picturing a time, either real or imagined, wherein your mother is talking to someone about either of your grandfathers, about what she saw in them, either positive or negative.

In this scene, she could be saying pretty much anything at all, from what a burden they are to how much she loves them.
Now allow this scene to fully play out, noting the whole script of what you see and feel.
Finally, write below what this experience was like AND how you felt as you heard her speak positively about your grandfathers.

(Think quietly about this experience for a few moments, then please write what you saw below.)

 

 

(Share our answers with each other)

[Question #4]
Now try picturing a time, real or imagined, wherein your mother is talking about you to someone, about what she sees in you, either positive or negative.

In this scene, she could be saying how well, or how badly, you've been doing in school, how much or little you've been listening to her, how helpful or how unhelpful you have been to her, or any other thing she is feeling about you.
Now allow this scene to fully play out, noting the whole script of what you see and feel.

Finally, write below what this experience was like AND how you felt as you heard her speak positively or negatively about you.

(Please think quietly about this experience for a few moments, then please write what you saw below.)

 

 

(Share our answers with each other)

[Question #5]
Finally, take a few moments to briefly describe what you have recognized, learned, realized, or revisited today about what your mother thought of men.

(Picture quietly this question for a few moments, then please write what you imagined below.)









(Share our answers with each other)

On Taking What You've Learned Out Into The World
I have been to many workshops. Always, the leader ends by suggesting something like that we make an effort to carry out into the world what we have learned. However, and I know this may shock many men, what I have found to be true is that no man can do this. Why? Because we access what we learn only when we are connected to another.

What does this mean? It means that when you find yourself struggling to put into words what happened today, don't blame yourself. Just know that in order to carry what you discovered today out into the world, you need do nothing more than picture what we did while at the same time, connecting to another. This, after all, is what we explored today.

Please be gentle with yourselves when you again forget this lesson. We all do. After all, our Creator designed learning to connect to be a life long journey.

And good luck to each of you as you continue your journeys.



Books by Steven Paglierani

Solving the
Mind-Body
Mystery

Finding Personal Truth Book I: Solving the Mind-Body Mystery

Buy Now Online

download free Book I - Solving the Mind Body Mystery excerpt

Hardcover ($29.95)
Also in eBook ($9.99) at:

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Unraveling
Human
Nature

Finding Personal Truth Book II: Unraveling Human Nature

Order Now Online

download free Book II - Unraveling Human Nature excerpt

Hardcover ($29.95)
Also in eBook ($9.99) at:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Amazon UK

The Science
of
Discovery

Finding Personal Truth Book III: The Science of Discovery: the Birth of a New Scientific Method

Coming
December 2015


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July 27 , 2003
Men and Aloneness IV: What Our Mothers Thought of Men
© 2003, Steven Paglierani. All rights reserved

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