Words from Men
an excerpt from Martin Brossman’s upcoming book, "Finding Our Fire"
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The following is a representative sample from a group of responses to illustrate the variety of questions addressed in the book Finding Our Fire. The actual names of the men that contributed are not used, to protect their confidentiality. The book consists of chapters on different topics that men have brought up as issues in their lives during the 10 years that the Men’s Inquiry Meeting has existed. Over 100 men are expressing their personal responses to questions, giving a unique insight into the inner world of men.
commitment to our mission and core values give us freedom?
you awake to the beauty and passion of life?
What is the
human soul? What happens when you ignore your soul?
accept your mother’s interpretation of your father, or really see him
for his true blessing and shortcomings on your own?
The following is are excerpts of what men gained from being involved in contributing to the book:
What are the
main insights you gained out of answering the questions (in the book
Finding Our Fire)
and what actions have you committed to, or will commit to, doing based
on the insights?
For example, I found myself writing about my experiences with my father. He may not have been as cruel or violent as I wrote. Maybe I portrayed him unfairly. He didn't know how to express love, and yet I know he loved. His intentions were good. His work ethic was strong. He came from a life of hardship and cruelty in the old country and here in the US also in the early 1900s. Several of his brothers died in prison. And his family was broken, with young children put out on their own or in his reckless care.
He had bursts of meanness and violence. But, at the tenacious and caring hands of my mother I saw him reform and soften as he aged, with his desire to be responsible to his own family of six. My mother got the $96 weekly paycheck and she gave him $10 for all his expenses. He often worked dangerous jobs for extra money. He always came to watch me in sports. He was not educated. I was ashamed of him. He wasn't afraid of anyone. He seemed stingy but was generous to his family.
I am hurt that I only got brief dialogues with him, and none when I was older. I feel he had a lot to tell me about and I want to know now... but can't. Yes, as a boy he hurt me physically and it was a struggle psychologically too. But, I see now I was strong enough that it didn't harm me in any meaningful way. Perhaps it even inspired me to be not like him... and it is taking me a long time to be Not like him. He was unpredictable, often hypocritical in raising me, and he was prejudiced against ‘Negros’ being in the neighborhood. This bothered me a great deal, even as a small boy and it has turned into my being my own lifelong watchdog for my prejudices. And prejudices creep into everything, interfering with my seeing the 'real' thing. And this has turned into my greatest aspiration-- to listen fully.
So, when I first wrote about all this in answering the questions for the book, my memories were vague. But, as I wrote they became vivid. And my story was created.
This process and joining the Inquiry group has been a way of identifying the gold in my life. Thank you so much for reminding me that I am capable of being who I am and being proud of it. Where do men get this today?
"Finding Our Fire" is based on the Men’s Inquiry Group which has been meeting monthly in person and on-line for over 10 years. In the Inquiry meetings, men explore questions about their lives that give new insights and new actions to take. The meetings have inspired men to enhance their relationships with their families, improve their jobs, and resolve old issues in their lives that previously held them back.
The book is a multi-purpose tool: it can simply enhance the individual reader's life, or it can serve to facilitate the formation of a men's group to support ongoing growth on a broader scale. It also provides a much-needed impartial window into the inner world of men that seems to improve women's understanding of men and men's understanding of themselves. The compelling questions have had a powerful impact on the men whose responses are included in the book, and many of those who have seen preview chapters are looking forward to enthusiastically using the questions in their men's workshops and seminars across the country.
"Finding Our Fire" speaks in the authentic voice of men helping men by simply contributing their own life experiences. It is a true showcase of the emotional courage of men--something you do not hear much about in society today! A portion of the proceeds from the book will go to support The Triangle Men's Center in NC and The Men's & Women's Inquiry
Martin Brossman is the co-VP of Raleigh Men's Center and leads the Triangle Men's Inquiry meeting. For more info go to: www.toinquire.com., call him at (919) 847-4757 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Email Martin to be on the notification list of the up-coming book, “Finding our Fire” in 2006.
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