Who is lurking in the shadows of our psyche? Best friends? Bad influences? Role models? Siblings? Children? Parents? Those we love, loathe and lust after the most? What about partners and primary relationships?
We do slick rounds of questions, listen to ourselves and one another, get real, hang out and have a laugh. The funniest, most embarrassing stories can provide the most valuable insights, though humiliation is not an option.
The name of the game is self awareness. No one tells anyone else what to do, or what not to do. We share our thoughts, feelings and experiences and respectfully challenge one another as we get to know who we really are in the present moment.
The middle name (of the game) is hanging out with other blokes. Clean male company, comparing notes and having a laugh. Not a therapy group, our space is more a quick, slick check-in, providing invaluable insights for daily life.
The surname is Bond (no, not James!) With the depth and same-sidedness we naturally slip into, it would be weird not to. This is where a load of blokes can get together and be on the same side with what we have in common.
OPEN GROUPS: (open to whoever wants to come, pay as you go - a good taster without commitment) 2nd Monday of the month - 6.45pm for a 7pm start. Doors close 7.10pm. 9.30pm ends. £20 (£15 conc)
CLOSED GROUPS: (sit with the same men for a six month term, paid in advance - this is where it's at!) Please ask for details if you are interested and have attended at least one Open Group.
13+ years & going strong!
OUR CURRENT GROUND RULES
Traditionally ‘what is said in this room stays in this room’, though we usually agree that we may discuss our own process and even refer to something that may be helpful to someone out of the group as ‘something I saw on TV’, or ‘my friend said’, etc. The important thing is that no one can be identified!
Respect in this group means to listen to others when they speak, and be aware of how you are behaving. Treat others in a way you would expect to be treated by them. Respect of other people naturally follows on from self-respect, as lack of self-respect will reflect in lack of respect for others. Respect our own truth, boundaries, feelings, instincts and intuition.
(iii) TAKE PART
It would be better to authentically and honestly say “Pass” than to lie, perform, get into automatic-pilot banter, go into our heads and out of touch with ourselves. Telling the truth and sharing our selves gives everyone else in the room safety and permission to do the same.
(iv) BE HONEST
Be honest to ourselves - about our feelings as well as our words – because that way we can own our feelings and work things through, rather than quietly internalise and carry it until we find an opportunity to dump it on someone else, within / outside the group.
(v) OWN IT
Use “I” statements, rather than “you”, “one” or “we”. What is being said by you may not be true for all present. Depersonalising is often a way of avoiding ownership of a feeling, an experience, opinion, or issue.
(vi) DON’T BULLY
Neither aggressive, nor passive-aggressive bullying is an option here. No one’s safety is to be compromised. This is a space where people can learn how to challenge, or disagree with another person, clearly, honestly, honourably and with respect.
(vii) DON’T VAMP OR STEAL
When someone is telling their story, give them the space to express it from their experience, without projecting how good, bad or ugly it is; without jumping into / steering / boosting their drama; without upstaging them with a more dramatic story, so they can listen to their own words and choose how to work it through.
(viii) EXPERIMENT WITH WHO YOU ARE
You may be known as a joker, peacemaker, shy, confident, introvert, extrovert, whatever personalities your circles are used to. This space encourages us to experiment with allowing some of the quiet parts inside to come out and see how authentic they feel; with the option of asking for feedback.
(ix) STAY UNTIL THE END
If something said by another, or something comes up that may feel uncomfortable, bring up anger, sadness, etc. it would probably be better to work this through with the group – or at least name it, instead of quietly holding on to it – rather than taking it away with you and allowing its power to overshadow you for however long it may take hold.
(x) LIVE BEYOND THE RULES
Playing small to ‘be good’ in the group would be less valuable than playing big and growing within the group. That’s not to say ‘break the rules’ but it is to say play big enough that you may be challenged and we may all grow in awareness and life choices from our time together.
Disclaimer: All activities are undertaken entirely at the participant risk and no responsibility can be taken for any physical, mental or emotional injury suffered by any participant. By taking part each participant accepts full responsibility for his safety and well-being. If in doubt, please seek professional advice before participating.
by Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, 'Yes.'
It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
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I started the group because there wasn't any other type of group like this. I've met some great folks in the group who have become close friends and have also met some amazing business owners.
— Bill, started New York City Gay Craft Beer Lovers