First men’s group of the year. It lasted a total of 14 hours. Last night I was so tired after working hard all week and all last weekend, that I had lost some enthusiasm for today’s group. I had just wanted to go to bed and rest but we still had work to do for the newsletter. Karaj was in a similar frame of mind. We were both running on empty and I wondered how I would make it through today, especially with the 9am start. The evening went on longer than I had expected but we managed to finish the newsletter in time for today’s group and this morning I got up at 7am feeling ready for action.
The group meetings are special times for me and I am quite capable of getting excited about them. This time however, I felt different. The hard work of the week had tired me out and slowed me down and, together with my subdued expectations, I felt calmer and more in control of myself. We arrived at the house and the three of us (Karaj, Dev and I) chatted in the garden as we waited for the others to arrive.
Karaj told me to be careful about how I react to the men’s comments with regard to him. There may come a time, he explained, when I need to do something for him, and the men try to dissuade me from doing so. I may be having fun with them and, as a result of the coercion, decide to stay with the fun rather than fulfil my duties. Karaj recalled how this very scenario had occurred with him on three occasions in his life, and each time he had lost out. He warned that if I allowed myself to become cocky and get distracted by the comments of others I would be out.
The men arrived and we divided into pairs to evaluate our goals for the year. I paired with Calvin. He is a very quiet man and I was intent on allowing him the time and space to speak. As we sat in the fresh air of the garden, he talked. I was pleasantly surprised at the contribution he made and, as he worked through his goals, I had the distinct impression he is committed to doing what he can to improve his life. Robert joined us when he arrived (he had been delayed by a broken water pump) and we chatted further before returning to the house. I added to the goals I had recorded in my feedback sheet in December:
- Contribute more to the group
- Develop the relationships within the group
- Create my own safe space
- Maintain and protect that safe space
- Be more creative with my reality – learn to tell people whatever I like. Just so long as I do not cause them harm and I contribute to their lives, it doesn’t matter what I say.
We did a quick survey of who had contacted whom since the last men’s group. Relationships are being forged and it seems that everyone is keen to make more of an effort. Earl explained how hard it is for him to do so because he is a loner. He received support from Sunil, a fellow loner, and from Dev. Explanations were given of the barriers he must go through to effect the changes in his life. His script will kick back every time he makes an effort to contact other men from the group. Initially, nobody will be available, or no-one will have time. Eventually, however, he will break through, make progress and he will see, as will all of us with our respective battles, that things are possible and progress can very definitely be made.
Sunil recounted his example of the time he had an invitation to join Dev, Karaj, Kuldip and me at the house. He declined but later changed his mind. He had felt down and had eventually recognised what was good for him. He reasoned that even if he just left the house and walked to and from the station he would, at least, be moving his arse. He left telephone messages with Karaj, Dev and with me in an attempt to make contact. All were fruitless. He arrived at the house but we had all gone for a meal. He spoke to Karaj’s mum. Michelle, who was sitting in the front room and overheard the conversation, thought he had been a women. As he made his way back home Calvin phoned him and, when I eventually picked up my message, I phoned too. Sunil had made an effort to make contact and, as his loner script dictates, he failed and failed and failed again. Eventually, however, contact was made and that is the lesson. Move your arse and make things happen. Persevere and things will happen
I talked about my desire to simplify my life by inventing stories – such as a fictitious girlfriend – in order to define some boundaries which will help to protect my safe space at the dance evenings. I expressed the problem my conditioning causes with telling lies. Again I received support from Sunil and Dev. What is the truth? What is my truth? My truth is that I don’t want a girlfriend and I want to protect my safe space. I need that space to develop myself. Any stories I tell should be with that goal in mind and then I’ll be okay. And if I’m okay then all those around me will be okay. Keep this in mind. I was very pleased to have raised this and it was a topic we returned to again and again throughout the day. It means I have no choice but to get on with it because next time we meet I will be challenged on whether or not I have been ‘true’ to my word.
The rest of the day was devoted to the blocks we create which prevent us from achieving change and attaining our goals. I paired up with Earl and just as in the morning with Calvin, I allowed him the opportunity to contribute. And he did. He seemed to surprise himself with the material which came out. With Calvin and Earl I have seen how effective it can be when people are allowed to speak, or to think, or just to be. As we talked I quietly made notes about my blocks and summarised them when Earl was finished. They are as follows:
- I worry what others think. This is fantasy. I cannot possibly know what others think so stop it.
- My assumptions of how they feel. Similarly it is of no concern to me how they feel and, besides, who’s to say that the effect I have on them is not the right one for them. Do not assume that I know what is good for other people.
- Not wanting to hurt people or let them down. I don’t hurt people. It is just my perception that I am causing them pain. I am not a violent or vindictive man so therefore I do not hurt people. Again, any effect I have on them could well be just what they need to progress on their path. Reassure yourself with this thought but DO NOT GET COCKY and think that you can use it to justify any action you take.
- Being addicted to the attention of others who could then invade my space. Create and protect my space, this is my priority. As regards attention and respect, seek legitimate attention from my peers – those in the men’s group. Be safe.
- My problem with lies. All social interactions are lies. The only truth which exists lies within. Any attempt to communicate this truth externally negates it immediately. The immense power of language still falls way short of being able to describe the truth which we all hold within. Therefore, any utterance I make is a lie. Relax and have some fun.
- Wanting to be perfect and worrying about doing things wrongly. Firstly, I have done nothing at all wrong during my time with Karaj, and secondly there is no right or wrong. As Dev says, it’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is. Karaj gave me credit for things happening in the house. I resisted. Dev had done the same this morning with his car stereo, telling me that I had shown him how to put the console in properly; I had disagreed. Karaj insisted that if I hadn’t been here, none of this would have happened. Dev added with a smile on his face and a glint in his eye, ‘About giving you credit this morning – would I lie to you?’ This was perfect. It summed up my entire day. I am who I am, and everything else is a lie.
I brought up the subject of the misuse of psychic energy – wasting energy trying to predict things or enhance our material lives or, worst of all, directing negativity into the Universe. Conserve the energy. It’s precious. We all need it for our own personal development. This fascinated and woke everybody up just as it had done with me when Karaj had talked to me about it. We discussed the nature and effects of evil thoughts and the parental advice ‘Be careful what you wish for – you just might get it’. I recalled an incident with Samantha. She was out one night and in her group of friends there was a boy she didn’t like. She expressed her distaste for him and later on in the evening, in a separate incident, somebody punched his front teeth out. Samantha became aware of the connection between her feelings and the event but it remained a strange coincidence for her. I no longer see it as a coincidence. This ties in perfectly with what I have read in my book. It concerns the importance of right thought, right speech and right action. It all served to remind me of the power of thought and the need for right thought.
The day came to an end at 11pm. What a day. I made more of a contribution to the group than I have ever done and I felt balanced throughout. I also noticed that my judgement of situations is becoming more discerning. I know better when to joke and when to be serious. In the past I have tried to be funny all the time which has betrayed my lack of confidence and self worth. Now I feel much more confident with myself and my situation, allied with a calmness which allows me to accept comments and criticisms in the constructive way they are offered, instead of feeling attacked and put down. I am growing and I am growing up. Don’t get cocky.