By Tom Neher
I have shared that last September, I retired from 30+ years in the corporate world. I worked behind the scenes the previous five years of that career to strengthen my coaching skills. I was taking classes, reading books, listening to podcasts, soaking up knowledge where ever I could find a source. I narrowed my focus to working with men, going through life transitions, and recovering from damaged relationships. I have been working with two different men’s group organizations—one as a facilitator and group leader and the other as a participant and informal leader. They are both similar and yet different.
They have provided tremendous support, growth opportunities, and healing, encouraging men to gift themselves with self-care. I have been writing and publishing on several platforms, sharing my story, in an attempt to reach out and connect with men that need to find me.
I am finding that there are so many men who have experienced and held unhealed trauma in their bodies for decades. The scar tissue runs deep, with jagged edges. Men are suffering from shame and feeling disrespected. Some of these men are starting to understand that these unhealed wounds have passed down from generations past. Only to stand in horror as they realize they have handed it down to the next generation, without even being aware of their impact.
Wounded people, wound people. As an empath, I can feel the pain and suffering of the men I work with on this journey. I can also feel the glimmer of hope that comes from a man as he starts his road to recovery and healing. His work is hard and demands courage to be vulnerable even to himself, let alone others in his life. As spring has arrived in Minnesota, I marvel at the power of creation to heal and find new life. It is out of the cold and darkness of winter that the warm sunshine becomes so welcome.
I ask each man that I work with to never give up on himself because he is worth healing and growing into a new life.
This road is not easy, and the path can be narrow and steep, with dark valleys below the peaks. Yet, each man has the innate strength of reach down within himself to find the courage to look in the mirror and see that little, scared boy within, opening his heart with compassion for his efforts to reach out for help. Life is not easy or for the faint of heart. It takes a man who is willing to participate in the drama of life; to take a risk and invest in himself. Teddy Roosevelt, in 1910 penned a powerful and insightful message that describes such a man.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
May we all dare greatly as we walk with one another on this journey together!