the ‘RULES’ of Open Men

I’m sick of rules. Life seems to be full of them. I think men like to break the rules, but it’s hard to find a safe place to do it. See if some of these might sound familiar.

  • Don’t trust anyone, especially men
  • Don’t trust anyone, especially women
  • Go it alone, you’re safer that way
  • Don’t show weakness or vulnerability
  • Don’t show power or mastery
  • Don’t feel sad, angry, ashamed or guilty
  • Don’t look too happy, people will worry
  • Don’t admit when you’re wrong
  • Don’t take the blame
  • Take ALL the blame
  • Always say you’re wrong, even when you’re not
  • Don’t say NO, people might not like you
  • Don’t say YES, people will take advantage of you
  • Keep it to yourself, nobody cares anyway
  • Don’t share what has hurt you, people will use it against you
  • Take care of everyone else before you take care of yourself
  • Don’t get support. Only wimps get support
  • Don’t let down your guard
  • Don’t let the rage out, you might hurt someone
  • Don’t let the grief out, you might never come back
  • Don’t let the power out, people might expect big things from you
  • Don’t let the brilliance show, people will hate you
  • Be better
  • Stop doing that
  • Keep it together
  • Put her before you
  • Don’t ask for what you want
  • Don’t risk looking like a fool
  • Don’t forgive them
  • Don’t ever forgive you

I can say with confidence that I have broken every one of these ‘Rules’ that I have had in my head for most of my life. I have done this by attending a men’s group.

You can too. You will be surprised by how powerful and courageous you really are.

Now the ‘other’ Rules:

These are the ‘Rules’ we use in Open Men and the commitment we make to you.


  • Confidentiality – What I say here is confidential. I will not share another man’s words or actions. I will only speak of my own experience and personal learnings. This goes a step beyond medical or legal confidentiality, to create a sense of safety for each man. There may be mandated reporters in attendance.
  • Punctuality – The group will begin on time and end on time. If I arrive late, I will not interrupt the flow of the group.
  • Ethical Relationships – This is not a business group. No Solicitations. If I need something, I can ask for it before or after the meeting. I can leave literature on the table.
  • Non-Violence – Violence can be physical, verbal or emotional. I acknowledge that my words and actions have an impact on those around me. I am responsible for my words and actions.
  • No Drugs or Alcohol – If I am high or have been drinking, I will tell the group. I accept the choice of the group in handling this.

Guidelines for Participation

  • Speak openly and truthfully, speak for yourself. Speak in “I” statements, not “we” or “you” statements.
  • Any man may pass at any time. Any man may STOP a process.
  • I am not here to give advice. If I want advice, I will ask for it specifically. I will ask permission before offering feedback.
  • I am responsible for taking care of myself. If I need something, I will ask for it.

Our Ethical Commitment

This Open Men’s Group is facilitated by members of the ManKind Project, or “MKP,” a 25 year old international not for profit education and training organization. Neither MKP nor this Open Men’s Group are affiliated with any religious practice or political party. We strive to be increasingly inclusive and culturally aware. Open Men’s Circle is not here to sell you anything; attendance is free and there are no obligations nor expectations, financial or otherwise, beyond the groundrules we’ve just mentioned.

The men of MKP have attended a 48 hour primary training called the New Warrior Training Adventure, or “the Training.” To attend the Training, a man needs to pay a fee to cover MKP’s costs to put on the Training. Some scholarship money is available, and a flexible payment process is used to help men of limited means. This Open Men’s Group and the men of MKP receive no financial benefit from you being here now, nor if you someday choose to attend the Training.

The members of MKP who offer this open men’s group do so because we believe in men and we care about our families, our communities and our planet. Every man in this Open Men’s Group is invited to participate fully in the group – to challenge himself. This group is intended to help men grow and meet the challenges of their lives with strength, skill, and peer support. This group is not a substitute for professional mental health services. If you are currently in the care of a Mental Health Professional, ask them if a peer support group could be beneficial for your treatment.

If you are interested in learning more about MKP or the Training after tonight’s group ends, you are invited to take the literature on the table or talk to MKP members. MKP members who are available to talk about these topics, please raise your hands now.


That’s it. We’re not here to sell you anything, we’re not here to replace therapy.

We help men grow, because we believe the world needs grown up, mature, and powerful men.
Your family, your community, and the world benefits when you take an active role in your personal growth.

Our goal is to help you learn more about who you are and what you’re passionate about, and help you get more of it. And we want you to help us learn more about who we are as well. It’s always a two way street.

Open Men’s Group meets on the first and third Wednesday of every month from 6:30 – 9:00 PM in West Springfield, MA.


Next Open Men’s Circle – March 25th, 2009

Hey All – The next OPEN MEN’S Circle will be held on March 25th, 2009 from 7-9pm  in West Springfield, MA at the first floor offices of A to Z Movers – 380 Union Street, West Springfield, MA (right next to Charlies Diner, look for the Auction Preview sign above the door). Call 413 883 2462 for more information. If you have already attended the New Warrior Training Adventure – you are welcome to join us on any Wednesday evening!

What is a Men’s Group?

What is a Men’s Group? We are a group of men that share our experiences, our wisdom and our presence with one another to support self-awareness, positive change and transformation. We challenge the destructive aspects of masculinity and our own personalities that hurt us, our families, our communities and our world. We form a community of peers who take risks for ourselves to improve our lives and help others. All kinds of men are involved. We are non-religious and non-profit. Any man ready to follow some simple ground rules and take responsibility for himself is welcome.
read more …

Why Men’s Work?
Because the way we see it, the world really needs men who have courage (heart) enough to get real with one another. Dominating, chest pounding, ‘tough it up’ or ‘laugh it off’ masculinity is a facade that often covers up the truly effective, powerful, compassionate, nurturing, mature man. Men supporting men by fostering a greater sense of self-awareness and personal responsibility has profound impacts on families, friendships and communities. Remaining in denial about the harmful effects of being ‘disconnected’ from ourselves and each other, whether through machismo, addictive behaviors, cynicism or isolation is bad for our health, dangerous to society and bad for the planet.
read more …

What is the New Warrior Training Adventure?
The NWTA is an intense 48 hour experience that challenges a man to look at himself honestly and deeply while being supported by a non-shaming group of highly skilled facilitators and volunteers. It is an opportunity for a man to truly examine himself in a way that few men do in our world. It is an initiation made for the modern man – we call you into community with yourself. Parts of it will rock your foundations, parts of it may seem ridiculous to you. You will have fun, you will be challenged, you will enter altered space and return safely. read more …
To read and watch testimonials about MKP CLICK HERE.

What’s in it for me? Many men experience profound shifts in their lives as a result of the work that they do in our circles and at our trainings. Greater emotional intelligence can bring you stronger more intimate relationships with your family, your spouse or partner, your children, your friends, your co-workers. Personal satisfaction, a greater sense of internal peace, more successful business ventures, more happiness, the courage to make the changes that you have been scared to make. Men leave our training empowered with a sense of personal purpose for their lives that often translates into service in the world – a mission that they create for themselves and a renewed sense of agency to make it happen. read more …

What are you trying to sell me?
We are selling a new way of seeing men and of being a man. The values we hold are timeless. Compassion, Awareness, Integrity, Accountability … to name a few.

  • If you are looking for a community of men to collaboratively make a difference in the lives of others – to awaken yourself and serve the world – we’ll see you there.
  • If you are feeling stuck, depressed, full of anxiety and fear, dissatisfied with your situation … if you are standing at the crossroads,
    you might find a second chance.
  • If you feel you’re on the right path in your life, feeling ready for the next step, feeling a calling to fully express yourself … we are offering you a community of like-minded and empowered men to help you overcome your internal obstacles and challenge your self-limiting beliefs and behaviors.
  • If you feel happy with who you are and satisfied with your life … we are offering you a deepened connection to your own brilliance and a community to share it with.

We are not selling Perfection, Salvation or a Weekend Fix-it All. The work of being authentic, connected, emotionally intelligent and self-aware is ongoing and not something that ANYONE can promise you on a weekend. We are not out to save you, we are only here to hold up a mirror to your life. You get to choose whether you look in that mirror.

The NWTA costs $650 for the full weekend. The deposit is $150 and is transferable for 2 years. In New England we use a payment process that is based on the value received & the ability to pay for the weekend. Call to learn more. There is limited scholarship money available.

Put simply, how much is a better life worth to you? How much is a better world for your children worth? To read and watch testimonials about MKP CLICK HERE.

To register call 1-877-THE-NWTA.

Involvement with a ManKind Project Men’s Group is FREE unless there is an agreement to pay for a rented space or an agreement to support the New England Center with a donation. You can visit a men’s group in your area, call 877-THE-NWTA for more information.

Risk Free? Nope. There is always a risk in opening up. There is always a risk in being honest with yourself and with those around you. We won’t be hard selling you on attending a training. What we will be inviting you to do is to take a chance and look at your life in a new way.

If you would like to talk to someone about MKP and can’t make this open circle … give me a call.

Boysen Hodgson

What do you want?

Do you want more out of life?
Do you want better relationships?
Do you often feel isolated from the people around you, even those closest to you?
Do you struggle with anxiety, depression or anger?
Do you want to know other men dedicated to self-improvement and the improvement of the world for all human beings?

Are you ready to do something about it?

On the Fourth Thursday of every month, there is an open men’s group held for any man to come and experience what connection, support and camaraderie feel like.

Open Men is sponsored by a local ManKind Project men’s circle. This is a safe, facilitated, deeply connected group of men who get together weekly to build self-awareness and explore a new kind of masculinity. The mature man takes full responsibility for himself and his actions in the world. He is connected to his feelings, has compassion, respect and deep wisdom. He tells the truth and lives with integrity. He is focused on the present. He gets things done and lives with a strong sense of self-worth and purpose.

Men who have deep, supportive friendships; beyond the bar, the game, and the office, are more satisfied with their lives, have fewer addictive habits and live longer. They are better fathers, partners and workers.

Are you tired of feeling alone?
Are you looking for a community to help you gain success in your life?
Are you looking for other men dedicated to making the world better for everyone?

Come join us at 380 Union Street, West Springfield at A to Z Movers on Thursday night at 6:30pm. Call 413 883 2462 for more information or email

Looking for a few good men.

Open Men is a supportive and safe place to experience community with men. This is a non-religious group. Your personal beliefs are yours, and they are welcome. This is a circle that welcomes any man willing to agree to some simple ground-rules and ready to look honestly at himself. 

A to Z Movers! Ground level, look for the big trucks.
THE MEETING IS BACK AT 380 UNION STREET – 6:45pm – arrive early to have a bit of social time.
OUT FRONT by Charlie’s Diner and AtoZ Movers – Several men meet at the VICTORY MARKET right down the street from A to Z Movers for some dinner before group.


We enter the building under the AUCTION PREVIEW SIGN.
Call Rob at 413 374 6526 for more information.
Boysen Hodgson – 413 883 2462
for more information.


Because you’re ready to take a look in the mirror and IMPROVE your life! There is always room for growth and change, no matter how good things are going. Being with men in an open supportive space is, at a very deep level, a REVOLUTIONARY act. Imagine knowing that you have a group of men out there ready to ask you to BE THE VERY BEST MAN YOU CAN BE. To embrace a new kind of success – to challenge yourself – to become a better FATHER, PARTNER, FRIEND, CO-WORKER.

GET HONEST. Start answering the questions that keep you up at night. Stop blaming others for your choices. Start taking responsibility for yourself. Start sharing the GIFTS that you have to offer the world. Help other men, help your family, help yourself – become the man you have always wanted to be – strong, gentle, confident, loving, powerful, successful, passionate.

YOU have important business in this world – and we are inviting you to step up to the challenge.