A blog from MenSpeak founder, Kenny Mammarella-D'Cruz...
Since the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, MenSpeak has gone totally online and held MenCheck-In mini-men's groups every weekday lunchtime, to give men space to hang out, speak it out, be heard and get real.
Men have often relied on more familiar fixes of work, travel, sports, casual non-relationships, surface-level life, drink, drugs and sex to take the edge off core issues and feelings of unease.
These coping mechanisms have all fallen by the wayside for most people.
Pandemic lockdown has stripped many men back to the core of who they are, challenging old needs, habits, ideas and attitudes.
Issues and needs brought to our online, mini-men’s groups are often triggered by the present, pandemic-imposed incarceration, though they are sometimes fuelled by energy from past trauma.
At the MenCheck-Ins, we share many tools for daily lockdown life.
One of the most reoccurring and needed has been following current feelings back to their source. This helps an individual gain self-awareness and deal with the root of the issues, rather than taking this triggered, pent up energy out on others or themselves - the latter often causing isolation, addiction, depression, suicidal thoughts and feelings.
As the men MenSpeak and I have worked with have rediscovered their essence, their purpose and their authentic selves, they have found that life has brought them the coincidences, opportunities and tools enabling them to live more fulfilling lives.
The core of the work turns survivors, often (unconsciously) stuck in their pasts, into passionate people who are present and connected and able to dance with life, taking the lead with passion, purpose, perfect timing and personal power. They've changed their perspectives from “am I?” to "I am" and set themselves free.
I believe that the difference between boys and men is that boys need to prove their masculinity, where men have nothing to prove.
Boys come from survival, so they react rather than respond. Boys don't know how to embody their sexual, creative energy and manage their testosterone and often act out as hyper-masculine, having to prove their place in the pecking-order.
Men are in touch with their feminine side, so they can respond to life with love, keeping the fearful, reactive boys inside of them safe. Men can listen, respond, they can collaborate and enjoy healthy relationships with other men and women, caring, sharing and learning from each other's experiences.
The coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns have not been easy for anyone.
Stripped of distractions, we’re left with the bare facts and the raw material, aching for expression with purpose and passion.
As I have experienced running MenCheck-Ins and in one-to-one work over the last five months, COVID-19 and lockdown has enabled so many to find out who they really are and what they are here to do. So many others are still in the thick of it. I believe that the only way out, is through.