Schedule of Open Men’s Circles

1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month
6:30 – 9:00 PM
262 Union Street, West Springfield MA
(Park across street from Crepe’s Tea House (261 Union Street), & between Charlie’s Diner and A to Z Movers. –Identify A to Z moving building (3 stories) by AtoZ Moving Trucks & Sign. Entrance is on the ground floor, front (NE) corner of the building.)

Contact me directly for more information: boysenhodgson@mkp.org.

I also encourage you to join our www.meetup.com/openmen group to stay up to date with our meetings. See the widget on the right side.

Open Men has now been running for a decade. This is a PROVEN model for self-improvement in any area of your life.

We don’t try to make friendships … we make powerful bonds between men.  We build brotherhood. A ‘regular guy’ can step into this space and be feel empowered to tell the unvarnished truth about his life. We’re not here to put on a show for each other. We’re not here to set ourselves up in opposition to a perceived ‘other’ in the world. We’re not here to offer salvation. We’re here to cut through the bullshit that we’ve been taught are the fundamentals of being a man. We’re here to step through the fear of showing up authentically, warts and all, in our lives and loves. We’re here to find and explore our self-made purpose.

  • If you are a change agent, a man working with others for the good of society – the skills you can learn here are essential to your efforts to create sustainable solutions in the world.
  • If you struggle with commitment, with discipline, with emotional honesty, with feelings of powerlessness or inadequacy, with anger, frustration, depression – this is a kind of bonding that will help you break old patterns and find YOUR PLACE in a community.
  • If you are outwardly successful and looking to become more integrated with other parts of  your life – this is a place to come and explore, refine and express the other parts of yourself that may be hiding out in the shadows.
  • If you have never felt safe or at ease in a group of men – this is a place to figure out why and to change that. Your success depends on your efforts.

Without moving beyond ‘connection by cause’ and into ‘bonded commitment’, efforts to create and sustain community will fail … over and over and over.

Movements fail not because of the lack of good ideas or even good organization, but because of the lack of mature bonding – the kind of connection that allows groups to overcome personal and psychological blocks and resolve interpersonal conflicts in a way that is energizing rather than draining to their efforts.

This is what we’ve been doing for over 30 years in the ManKind Project. This is what we strive for in Open Men.

Is it easy? Hell no. Becoming a mature man isn’t easy. That’s why most men act like immature boys when faced with tough issues – emotional issues.
Is it worth it? Hell yeah. Making this commitment to yourself can change everything in your world.

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.

Groundrules

  • 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.

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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.

 

The Dark Season – Open Men for November

It’s a tricky season eh? There is so much to be grateful for in my life. I see all the ways in which I am blessed and how my blessing can effect others. I rejoice in the renewed connections to family and friends. I celebrate the crisp air … all of this is true.

AND … we are entering the season when there are more suicides than at any other time of the year. A season in which millions of people use food and alcohol and material goods to disconnect from themselves and the people in their lives. A se    ason when the realities of scarcity of resources has lead so many of us to spend more than we have to ‘prove’ our love for our families. A season in which every day the amount of sun light decreases as we head to the winter solstice. A gray, wet, cold season.

Light and Shadow. That is what we deal with at Open Men. We deal with BOTH sides of the coin of life – not denying the reality of a man’s experience in his world. Not trying to push away or destroy the negative aspects of the personality but to MOVE with them, to integrate them so that your CHOICES about how you respond to the world can expand. Nothing is destroyed … only transformed.

The pain and suffering of life is real. We’re not going to deny it. We’re going to expand what we are capable of facing in the world and expand our options for responding with love and compassion in the face of pain – our own pain and the pain of others.

Tonight we will take some time to explore Gratitude – to recognize what we are grateful for – AND we will take some time to be honest about the blocks, the pain and the fear that is facing us on our paths as men in this world.

Show up. Get support. Embrace more of who you are.

Open Men’s Group – Personal Mastery Workgroup

Springfield, MA
264 Men

To be the man you want to be takes diligence and the support of a community. It’s time to Man Up. Time to get honest with yourself. Time to quit bullshitting your way through …

Next Meetup

Open Men’s Group – W.Springfield – Group Support For Growth

Wednesday, Jan 4, 2017, 6:30 PM
9 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

Extra Open Men’s Groups this Month!

How about this – the world needs you. Not a washed out, pale, shadowy version of who you are. Not a stuck, quiet, frustrated, depressed, angry and asleep version of yourself. The world needs the BIG YOU. The fully awake you. The you that is willing to take some risks to make the world, your relationships, and your dreams, shine the way you want them to.  Everything going pretty good these days? Awesome. Then the world needs the you that is ready to be even MORE alive, awake and empowered. The you that knows that growth is a never-ending journey. Are you ready to take the next step in your journey?

In three weeks a group of about 60 men will gather in North Oxford Massachusetts for a weekend training called the New Warrior Training Adventure. In 48 hours these men will have the opportunity to confront the darkest parts of who they are and face their fears. They will have the space to heal parts of their past that have held them back for years. They will have the chance to find within themselves a new kind of power to get the things done in their lives. They will find a connection and trust with other men that they have probably never experienced before.

They will have the opportunity to take a step up the ladder in their own personal evolution – no matter where they are – as a man and as a human being in the world. Every aspect of their lives will be affected.

After this weekend, the New Warrior Training Adventure, these men will be invited to join or form men’s groups. The Springfield Uprising is one such group. We have been meeting weekly for over two years. We help one another through mentoring, exploration, truth telling and building safe spaces to share our lives. This is the continuing work of our circle; to heal, to empower, to trust, to connect, to continue our personal evolution as men and as human beings. You are invited to participate in this evolution – and continue on YOUR path. This open men’s group is for all men.  This open men’s group is FREE. This group is not affiliated with any one spiritual practice, your beliefs are welcome.

We will be holding Open Men’s Circles for the next 3 weeks in a row – October 14th, October 21st, October 28th – from 7pm  to 9pm at 380 Union Street, West Springfield – (at A to Z Movers, look for the big trucks – enter the building on the ground floor under the “Auction Preview Sign”) – more info? Call Boysen 413 883 2462.

Hope to see you there.  You are welcome to bring a friend. I remember that I felt nervous when I attended my first men’s group. I didn’t believe that I would be accepted or welcomed. I didn’t believe that I would fit in. Maybe this is the first fear to confront?

To Learn More about the ManKind Project – the not-for-profit organization that presents the New Warrior Training – CLICK HERE – If you are interested in taking a big step in your life and you want to attend the NWTA happening in 3 weeks – call me – 413 883 2462.

Open Circles – July 15th and 22nd

We’re hosting an additional Circle this month – and hoping to expand to a circle every other week by the end of the summer. So what is this about? It’s about the totally responsible and mature choice to connect to a group of men to offer mentoring and be mentored. The most powerful, successful and brilliant men in the world have circles of advisers – people they trust to share their highs and lows with – people they work with to refine their ideas, make better choices, take risks.

Kings have courts. Presidents have cabinets. CEO’s have boards of advisers. Religious icons have disciples. What we provide is a space to learn deeply about yourself in the company of other men. To challenge yourself, to be recognized for the brilliance that you bring to your world, to get honest about what’s REALLY going on with you, to share in the passages of your life. We are confidants, friends, challengers, sounding boards – we are a band of brothers united by a desire to make ourselves – and the world – a better place. Many men are these days are isolated from one another and from themselves. Many of our relationships are shallow and don’t begin to honestly address the difficulties and triumphs in our lives. Open Men is about getting honest, bravely taking responsibility for your life and helping other men while you help yourself.

You are invited. Bring a friend.

Location

380 Union Street, Ground Floor
West Springfield, MA 01089

This is the business of one of the men in our group.

How to find us
“We park right by the big AtoZ Moving Trucks – look for the parking along the building.”

I’m on a Mission. What’s yours?

Male culture and the ManKind Project are evolving. We are entering another era and another possible tipping point in the culture. This time the energy of expansion is not coming from a reactionary stance about ‘Masculinity’ but rather from a deeply pragmatic understanding that in order to literally save ourselves, men need to deal with their disconnection in a healthy way and learn to get beyond our bullshit with each other – so that we can connect to all people with compassion and work together effectively. It’s about having the skills to sit in circles small and large, to tell the truth, be present and resolve conflicts.

Involvement in the ManKind Project means a few simple things. We share the common experience of a weekend initiation, we sit in men’s circles together and support each other to continue growing and changing, and we work to discover, refine and LIVE a mission in the world. Our missions are our personal responses to our own histories and the reality that we see in the world. Men choose all kinds of missions – with different scopes, strategies and visions.  A few examples happening recently – I have facilitated circles with (and for) all of these men. The energy that they have and the work that they continue to do in circles is inspiring.

  • Bill Baue launches Sea Change Radio – a weekly radio program about corporate responsibility, ecology and sustainability – airing on more than 20 stations and available on line at www.cchange.net – he is connected to another brother and his family who are about to launch a cross country tour exploring and reporting on new developments in green living and sustainability.
  • Mark Morey and a large group of MKP brothers and their families in southern VT and northern MA have connected to create community focused on cross generational mentoring, connecting to indigenous wisdom and caring for one another in and around Montague – looking at all aspects of their lives and the wider societal impacts (ifnaturallearning.com)
  • Chris Martenson’s ‘Crash Course’ about the crisis of money, ecology and society (www.chrismartenson.com) is getting national recognition and his information was presented at the just past international business meeting of MKP by Bill Kauth, one of the founders of MKP, so has now jumped cultural and geographic boundaries to reach the wider world. Chris was on WGBY a couple of weeks ago talking about his work and how community is the key to moving forward.
  • Chris Landry is one of the producers working on a documentary film to explore the work of Joanna Macy (www.thegreatturningfilm.org/) with Kristen Chamberlain – exploring what to do and how to approach our growing problems in the world
  • Steven Spitzer’s work with men in prison is expanding yearly – and is now being explored as a viable programming option for release programs throughout the state (www.jerichocircle.org)

This is just in New England – there are lots of other great examples happening in centers around the world. I am thrilled with this stuff.

The invitation is open for the April NWTA – we have about 10 spots left. You should act fast to become a part of this vibrant and vital community.

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.
Thanks

Boysen Hodgson
877-THE-NWTA

What is Men’s Work?

I have had several men ask me – what this is all about … what do you do?

We sit in a circle on chairs. We talk to each other about ourselves. We listen intently. We do not shame or criticize. We do not spend time giving advice. We use processes to ‘dig in’ to those parts of ourselves that we find confusing, upsetting and STUCK. We resolve conflicts, both internal and external, by taking responsibility for ourselves.

A men’s group is a place to figure out what you want in your life, take steps to making it happen and continually look at what is getting in the way of you being fully alive and empowered.

Do you want better relationships?
Do you want to learn how to better handle situations that stump you over and over?
Do you want to break out of a rut that you have been living in for years?
Do you want to sit with men actively working to make the world a better place?

Here’s an even harder question … do you instinctively NOT trust men (or women or yourself)?  You learned this somewhere. Not only is it bad for your physical health, but it is probably preventing you from living fully. Continue reading “What is Men’s Work?”

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.

MAP HERE

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.

WHY JOIN A MEN’S GROUP?

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.