At their deepest level, most men yearn to participate in the creation of a better world, and so serve their families, loved ones and community. How to fulfil this yearning in these complex times is a conundrum that leaves some part of just about every man struggling for clear direction within himself about what it means to be an authentic, healthy man in our society.
Being a man in the 21st century is no easy task. In just one generation, the expectations on men have changed dramatically. Our roles as fathers, lovers, workers, community members, brothers and friends have all changed from what was expected of our fathers, in some cases almost beyond recognition. This rapid rate of change has left many men without adequate role models and in a state of confusion about what it means to be a man in the modern era.
Mens Wellbeing exists in response to this state of affairs. Our origins go back 15 years to the passion and conviction of a few good men who saw the need for men everywhere to simply spend quality time in the presence of other men in a healthy, affirming, respectful way, without alcohol or competition of any kind. They began with small regular mens groups, then expanded into annual gatherings which soon attracted over 100 men. In 1998, their activities had grown to the point where it was necessary to create an incorporated not-for-profit association. To this day we are self-funded and our mens gatherings are still run entirely by volunteers.
The Association strives to serve the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellbeing of men. We create opportunities for men to reacquaint themselves with their essentially masculine nature, and to express what they find in a safe and non-judgemental environment. Our experience tells us that by hearing the stories of other men, we often discover that we face common questions even as we navigate our different journeys. We come away from our encounters with other men enriched by the experience, enjoying a deeper clarity within ourselves about who we really are beneath the hustle and chaos of modern life.
Mens Wellbeing activities are focused around men’s gatherings of various shapes and sizes. They are described in detail through the links on the menu at left.
Many of the men who attend or organise our Mens Wellbeing events have found their own unique answers to the puzzle of modern manhood, and enjoy a sense of empowerment and freedom in their relationships, their work and their lives in general. These men continue to attend our events because they provide the rare opportunity to mingle with other like-minded men who refuse to accept the hand-me-down stereotypes of masculinity portrayed in the media and by our culture. As one man put it, “I make sure to maintain my relationship, my career, my car and my house. Manshine is maintenance for my masculinity.”
Our philosophies are not prescriptive or promoting one model of masculinity over another. We happily welcome all shapes and sizes of men, regardless of race, creed or sexual persuasion. We discourage advice-giving unless it is asked for. We encourage respect, active listening and the freedom to choose your own path to your full potential. We insist on non-violence in our interactions with each other while encouraging heart-felt passion and the strength of firm conviction for what you believe to be true and righteous. We invite each man, on his own terms, to explore for themselves their own answers to questions around their masculinity.
The importance of men coming together in community is a central pillar of the success of Mens Wellbeing events. Through our ground-rules, we create a community space that is inherently healing in its nature. In the words of M. Scott Peck:
“Paradoxically, a group of humans becomes healing and converting only after its members have learned to stop trying to heal and convert. Community is a safe place precisely because no one is attempting to heal or convert you, to fix you, to change you. Instead, the members accept you as you are. You are free to be you. And being so free, you are free to discard defenses, masks, disguises; free to seek your own psychological and spiritual health; free to become your whole and holy self.”M. Scott Peck
What we would like you to know…
If you feel comfortable within your masculine skin; if you feel empowered to speak your truth and follow your heart; if you can respect differences while focusing your thoughts, speech and actions on the common good, then the men of Mens Wellbeing honour you as an elder in the community of men.
If you feel unsure of what it means to be a man in these rapidly changing times, then we want you to know that you are not alone. We acknowledge that many men struggle to find a quality relationship with their father and/or mother, while harbouring concerns about the way they are fathering their own sons and daughters. We recognise that our primary relationships are often confusing and frustrating, and that finding comfort with our sexuality is no simple matter. We share with you the quest to find meaning and purpose in our work and our day-to-day lives, and we lament how so many of our brothers no longer find answers from our society or from the old among us.
We see the pain of so many men around us… the alcoholics, the gamblers, the violent, the drug addicts, the sex addicts, and those obsessed with any one of a thousand different diversions that we use to avoid facing the unanswerable. We are not counsellors. We cannot offer therapy, but we can offer a firm handshake without judgement or condemnation, and the company of a few good men who might just remind you of who you are as a man.
Through our gatherings, the men of Mens Wellbeing offer you an opportunity to explore what it means to be a man in the company of other men in search of deeper clarity.