What have I learned from my #MenMeetMeToo Forum?
I have learned that some men are ready to do the work of self-examination. Where have we exploited women? Where have we hurt them? Dishonored them? Where have we dishonored ourselves? How can we change old patterns? As men, with men – and together with our sisters?
I have also seen once again what keeps people (men, in this case) stuck, defensive, guarded and separate. It’s fear. Resentment over past injuries. Self-righteousness. Separation.
My path in life is to do my best to deepen my understanding, expand my heart and empathy beyond my personal limits, to try to see past the noise and surface-ego of both men and women to the GOOD HEARTS of people and where they have been hurt.
And then to try to coax out that good heart so that we may spin the straw of our collective pain into gold.
In some ways, you could simply call this the Path of Love.
There is plenty of pain in this world. Are we going to stew in it? Or heal it?
Coleridge wrote a poem most of us forgot about – except for the title – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – about a grizzled, haunted man who survived a horrific sea event…
“Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.”
And now he shows up at wedding after wedding to bum people out about what happened to him – as he tells his tragic story over and over again – ruining weddings.
Troll culture has become like this ancient mariner.
With one major difference…
The Mariner KNEW his guilt.
He caused his ship’s tragedy by killing the albatross of hope that came to show his ship the way toward better seas.
He knew guilt. He knew self-responsibility. And he came to weddings not for the purpose of increasing hate and resentment, despair, but to create understanding and a vision of healing.
Sadly, we live in a culture now that takes glee in trolling love, trolling kindness, trolling passion, trolling joy, trolling healing, trolling human evolution into something better – just so people can have their loud victim voice be heard over the voices of other people’s pain.
So they don’t have to deal with other people’s pain.
Yes, is so important to speak your pain.
And it is equally important not to get snagged on the pleasure of that speaking. Especially from the safety of digital sidelines.
It is important to begin doing.
Doing the work of connecting, conversing, taking actions that heal separation.
Mary Oliver writes in her poem, Wild Geese…
“Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers…”
We must return home.
To the context of our embeddedness in this world.
With each other as humans, and with all of life itself.
Maybe it’s me, but staying stuck in one’s personal victimhood and even pain feels insanely boring.
Let’s get to work spinning straw into gold.
Heal yourself. Heal others. Heal this world.
Expand your empathy.
Seek that which is hiding just beyond separation.
Anything less, to me, is just ruining weddings.
Coleridge’s Mariner, who turns from the Bridegroom’s door, his “eye bright” leaves the wedding, “a sadder and a wiser man,” with these words…
“Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.
He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small…”
Hope all you want.
Pray all you want.
Cry out your pain all you want.
But then lets get to work.
Loving as best we can.
To your Best and Boldest Life,
p.s. If this struck a chord for you – come talk to me about this and to read more here in our new FB community group.