We all have a need for love and connection. I certainly do. In the last 15 years, one thing that has added richness to my life is my being in informal circles of likeminded friends. When we move beyond raising families and the strive thrive part of our lives, relationships becoming even more important to us. In years past people had extended family nearby. Now, not so much.
I became part of the informal community of the Mankind Project after having gone through a weekend training in 1996. I now belong to three circles of men who are part of this community, and one coed circle.
A group of professional coaches have met monthly for 15 years to share our experience with our respective coaching practices. These men are at top of their game as executive coaches.
Five men have met monthly for 15 years to discuss our spiritual development and to witness each other’s lives. Ages 65-90.
A recent group of 5 senior men who meet at my house twice a month for discussions. We don’t talk about sports or politics and we are too old to talk about woman. We do talk about meaningful subjects and share our life experiences.
The oldest group of 4 men and 4 women meet twice monthly to witness each other’s lives. There are two couples, one who met in the group. Others are in relationships. We have met for 16 years and have shared many life experiences such as health issues, marriages, and deaths of loved ones, including someone in the group. We are all in our 70’s now and are living our lives fully.
All of these groups have one thing in common: love. We come together because we love each other and want to share our lives, wisdom and support with the others. They are my spiritual community. In fact, we have two clergy in the coed group and we are not part of their congregation, so they can be 100% forthright.
I also attend and manage the website for The Saturday Morning Men’s Cafe which has met each month for two hours with 10-20 men for the last three years. Many of the men have known each other for years while some are new. Each meeting someone volunteers to lecture on a personal growth topic of his choosing and then lead a discussion.
This can be an isolating and divisive world. Having the consistency of a beloved community is immeasurably enriching and meaningful to me.
As you look at your life, do you have a sufficient amount of love and connection?
Do you have beloved circles in your life?
What might you do to create one?