Following up on my post about "legacy-thinking" in your worklife, I reviewed what I wrote in my ethical will about my own work legacy and participated in an interview last week that focused on a significant part of my life's work experience.
Reflecting on my legacy, the work I did with men in our community during the "men's movement" was the most satisfying and creative time of my life (so far!). I suspect that if I were to die today, what people would remember about my work is the impact it had on the lives of hundreds of men (and the women and children who love them) over an eight-year period in the 1990's.
For a story in advance of a poetry reading by Robert Bly tonight in Eugene, I was interviewed by a local newspaper columnist about my experiences with men and my view of the legacy of the men's movement. Here's a link to the story:
"Whatever Happened to the Men's Movement?" by Bob Welch - (The Register-Guard, October 15, 2006)
I appreciate Bob Welch (www.bobwelch.net) for his heart-centered, openness to sharing his life experience during an interview. And I admire his writing and engaging style in speeches I've seen him give. Bob's love of his community, his family, and his life in Oregon "shines bright" in his columns each week and in the books he has authored including Where Roots Grow Deep: Stories of Family, Love, and Legacy, A Father for All Seasons, and The Things That Matter Most: Choosing Family, Faith, and the Simple Life.
During the '90's, I was deeply inspired by the poetry and men's work done by Robert Bly (www.robertbly.com) -- as were thousands of other men across the country. Attending men's conferences with Robert and participating in men's groups locally led to my work in facilitating men's support groups, leading weekend gatherings at Heceta House on the Oregon coast, creating several "healing the hearts of men" workshops, and teaching "Understanding Men: For Women & Men" at our community college. It was a challenging and life-enhancing time for me -- helping men deal with their anger and grief (mostly about their "missing" fathers), awaken to their full range of emotions, and become conscious, loving men in their relationships with women, children, and other men.
I loved seeing the transformation of men during an eight-week support group or men's weekend as they began to trust other men with their feelings -- to see men yell, cry, dance, drum, sing, share haiku poems (often their first poems ever written), laugh, and hold one another -- celebrating their manhood in the company of other men.
In those gatherings, men received (and have continued to receive to this day) the blessing of authentic male friendships in their lives. Such friendships are one of the most soul-satisfying experiences of a man's life. How different life on this planet Earth would be if every man (woman and child) had friends they could talk with about anything, be with through all of their life's ups and downs, and count on to "show up and be present" no matter what.
My hope for future generations is that the work done by men involved in the men's movement -- and by every man who "shows up" emotionally, physically, and spiritually for himself, for other men, and for woman and children -- makes a lasting contribution to peace and harmony in the lives of people throughout the world.