What’s Up With Men And Wholeness?

Happy New Year!
Don’t know about you, but after the last few years, I’m looking forward to 2023 being a great one.  I invite you to join me!
I toss the word “wholeness” around a lot, particularly in the men’s work I do.  I write about it, teach about it, coach about it, think about it.
A lot.
I figured it might be a good idea to sketch out – for the benefit of my readers (and myself) – what I’m really talking about.
For starters, wholeness relates to an ever-larger picture beyond a collection of important parts.
Yeah, there’s the integration of body, mind, emotions and, depending on which way you swing, the spiritual and/or humanistic bits.
There’s also the richness of one’s inner world and its many realms, including the imaginal, intellectual, fantasy, light, shadow and more.  (Remember this is a sketch!)
One’s outer world gets included, too: relationships, place, work, creative expression, family and community – many interconnected ecosystems.
My last article of 2022 was about responsibility, and that’s a key piece of the wholeness formula.
If you’re thinking this is rubbing up against overwhelming, I get it.  It’s a tall order practicing awareness of all the moving parts.  I’d be lying if I suggested wholeness is anything less than a complex equation.
Navigating and expanding into wholeness needn’t be hard, though.
Here are some suggestions and invitations to make the going easier:
Avoid the temptation of over-simplification, specifically when it comes to thinking in either/or terms.  Do your best to call on the cardinal rule of improv: “Yes, and…”
Look for, create, and take advantage of opportunities to slow down.  If speed is attractive, more speed is downright seductive, and we live in a culture that’s all but addicted to more-faster-better-sooner-now.  As a starting tactic, learn to say “no” and “let me think about that and get back to you.”
One more tip for slowing down: practice noticing your breath.  If it’s shallow and quick, deepen it by focusing on breathing from your belly.
To expand your ability to see a bigger picture, begin to look for the touch points of interconnected ecosystems.  Call on your curiosity and check into them.  For instance, how might your creativity influence your work, family, and community relationships?
My last suggestion is this: Don’t just learn to ask for help.  Ask for help.  Whether that help comes in the form of a class, a men’s group, or 1:1 work with a trusted coach or therapist, make the ask.
In the spirit of keeping this a sketch, I’ll wrap up with some quick observations on the state of men:

  • Focus is useful, but hyper fixation can lead to an experience of separation and loneliness…

  • The culture elevates independence to a fierce extreme.  Nothing wrong with self-reliance – until it becomes the only acceptable path…

  • Working hard is great – seeking motivation through self-punishment isn’t.  When you beat yourself up, winning is hard.  Again, separation…

  • No single man – or even group of men – holds the Universal Key to what it means to be a man…

If this wholeness stuff speaks to you, operators are standing by.  I invite you to reach out this way.
Happy 2023.  Let’s rock it!