Throughout this handbook we've talked about ideas such as - taking ownership - speaking your truth -taking back your projections - respecting another man's process and so on. If your group has been working with these ideas, then it is probably experiencing the best of what a men's group can be, although it may not feel that way! Why? - because we're going into an unknown place, resurrecting parts of ourselves that have been cut off perhaps for many years; we don't know what it is going to look like when it comes out - and that sure scares me when I do it! , and it may scare you too.
A normal part of the 'socialisation' process is to 'fit in' with what's going on around us, ie conforming to others expectations. Except that to do this we have to hide ourselves away, our real selves, what we're really thinking or feeling. There will be pressures on us to conform from our parents, teachers, peer group; there will be rewards if we do, and punishments when we don't. Over the years we may have a realisation that we are wearing a social mask of acceptability, but gradually that mask can become more and more uncomfortable as we realise that there is an inner life that isn't being expressed authentically in the outside world.
'Taking a dive' is about taking off that mask and 'diving into' our authentic inner selves - going deeper and deeper into what is really going on for us, and finding the courage to express that.
Throughout the journey that this group has taken, it too has learned a 'set of behaviours' - and undergone its own socialisation process, in order to do its work. Sometimes part of 'stuckness' (see Level 6) is about the reluctance to take off that mask. That is the mask of wanting to fit in, not upset the apple-cart, and be accepted as one of the guys. 'Taking a dive' is also about taking off that mask too.
It may well be that guys have been doing this inner work, diving into their 'stuff in the moment, and taking off those masks. In the next few meetings we'll explore what that looks like and how it can be further supported. If we can reach a place of comfortably working at that level, men will be creating a new authenticity in their lives that just has to be experienced to be believed.
Previously we've talked about making our cooking pot (rules & guidelines) strong enough to hold our ingredients/energy. This is the level where its strength will be tested the most. It may crack under the heat and we may have to go (a long way) back to fix it. That's part of the process too… Taking off the mask
IS NOT ABOUT GOING BACK TO PROJECTING, DUMPING, JUDGING OR BLAMING; ie we're still aiming to 'speak our truth' as it pertains to us, not what we think is going on for another man. We're still out to respect another mans process - especially here as he reveals his deepest darkest cut off parts - we should not dump, judge, blame him at his most vulnerable. On the other hand he shouldn't be doing that to any other man either! There still needs to be a group requirement/follow-up process of 'taking ownership'; ie what I'm expressing is about me, and if I have judged/projected etc I should own it and take that back.
The above note is written from the point of view of protecting group process; the one exception, at this level, to taking ownership, is if a man has to get into all of the energy OF HIS OWN INNER ISSUE ie it doesn't pertain to anyone else in group, and just let fly with all the stuff buried there, without owning it in the moment, just so as to be able to move it. This may give him a sense of 'release' and only later on may he want to come back and consider ownership. This is something the group may want to support as a man is ready to do his release work and asks for that opportunity.