Meeting 2-4
Focus: Noticing the Energy

The basic structure of this meeting is the same as Meeting 1.1 - refer back for more information.

Some issues may have come up during check-in that the group may wish to spend more time on rather than moving straight into the 'focus'; or perhaps some issue is still to be dealt with from the previous week. When it is appropriate the leader moves the group into the main focus for this meeting.

5) The Big Bit in the middle - the leader announces the focus of the meeting

Focus: Noticing the Energy

"Part of good group process is to notice what's happening right now - where the energy or the issue is - what's happening to it."

"This typically will be up to one man, who happens to be in that 'space' where he can notice and 'call' what's going on - everyone else may be so into it as to not notice until its pointed out to them."

"The idea here is to bring it into consciousness, or give another perspective that may be insightful, helpful, fruitful - adding clarity and fresh energy to group process. The group may go with it - or choose to stay where it was."

"The idea is not to necessarily stop/divert/avoid what's happening in the moment - that energy may need to be followed and played out - but to give new energy at an opportune moment. And if you don't do it - the moment may be lost."

Exercises

  1. Where is the energy in the group - right now? Compare to last week; or weeks ago; or months ago; or earlier, ie Where were/are we? - Where have we moved to?
  2. Why does energy change in the group?
  3. Have you noticed what happens to the energy level when the group avoids dealing with an issue?
    What other symptoms of avoidance are there?
  4. What do you notice about your own energy level?
    How does your energy level relate to what's going on in your life?
    What eats your energy up? What gives you energy? Can you relate this to the group context?
    Do you have any ideas about how to raise the group energy level?
    What do you want? What does your intuition say?
    Don't be afraid to say it.
  5. This is your group and your experience!
    What effort are you willing to make?
    What energy are you willing to bring?
    Now - next week - next month?
  6. Do you 'work smarter, not harder'? - to create the group you want?

Notes for Meeting 2-4

Sometimes your energy may not be enough… You may need to be very smart to set-up and establish a healthy foundation within your group to get your needs met. Likewise you may need to be very smart to set-up and establish a healthy foundation within your group to confront and overcome a dysfunctional situation - you may need to go back to square 1, more than once - to defeat dysfunctional patterns that may have been established over a lifetime… One simple idea may need to be made prominent and reiterated on an ongoing basis, until all men finally/consciously/intentionally buy into it.

Of course the energy of group changes as men bring the energy of their issues into play. It may get 'hot' because one man has energy intensely invested in a particular issue, or a perspective of that issue; other men may see it differently and opposing perspectives can raise the 'heat' considerably - if the men choose to take those positions and get into conflict. This is all played out against the backdrop of the groups intent, its mission statement, its rules and guidelines - of course we're not supposed to drop them (or our gloves!) when it does get hot - the very opposite in fact - they're the safety net that allows this process to happen - that allows/sets up the possibility of it getting hot.

Coldness or Low Energy in the Group

  1. Have you established supportive/healthy rules and guidelines? If not, men may be reluctant to share (bring their heat) for fear of being ridiculed, shamed or otherwise abused.
  2. Men may still be being 'abused' despite those rules - are they being 'enforced'? What our rules say and how we treat each other may be very different things-make it conscious.
  3. Some men may not have reached a comfortable space within themselves to allow sharing their issues - they may open-up as they see others modelling this way of being. It would be very unusual for all the men in a group to be in this space.
  4. At some point you will be ready to leave group and move on and take on other challenges - and maybe the first indication of that is that your energy becomes low - or you may have had those thoughts but been reluctant to leave behind a comfortable supportive routine in your life.


IF IT'S GETTING VERY COLD - ASK YOURSELF:- 'AM I READY TO LEAVE GROUP?' or

  1. 'WHAT AM I / ARE WE AVOIDING AND WHY?'
  2. 'WHOSE RULES ARE WE USING AND WHY?'
  3. 'ARE THEY THE GROUP RULES?'
  4. 'HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?'
  5. 'CAN I/WE CHANGE IT? - HOW?'

Confronting 'coldness' or low energy in the group may be a very difficult thing to do. It may have evolved over a long period of time - you may have to dive deep to bring it into consciousness - there may be strong resistance from others who are comfortable as is and who may not wish to confront a new reality and change. The 'way things are' may not be a conscious group decision - it may not have been debated and decided consciously - if it were, then perhaps to change would simply mean changing that decision… That may still be difficult, if one man is strongly and consciously invested in the status quo for his needs and his process. Work will need to be done to find the middle path. It will be much more difficult if that man is covert and/or unconscious in this process. Covert? - Yes; to hide and avoid confronting an issue he may manipulate group process. Unconscious? - Yes; he may not be aware that he's doing it - and he may not welcome you showing him (or the group) this truth!

Why do we want it to get hot?

The energy of passion is hot; the energy of pain is hot; our wounds bum us deep inside; imposed barriers enclose and cage us - tell us to 'be cool' and freeze our hearts…
Good group is about bringing our heat, our passion - creating a 'cooking pot' strong enough to contain what has been hidden away for perhaps too many years - and feasting at our hearts banquet.
Yet paradoxically it may seem to some - we need rules to 'make it cook' - ideas that the outside world may value little - ideas like 'honour'; 'respect'; 'allow'; 'support'; 'speak from the heart'; 'not to shame or violate' etc. These ideas break down the barriers between us, break our freezing isolation, and let the heat begin to flow…