You were lied to!

Jim Neill Uncategorized


Robert Bly is quoted as saying, “By the time a man is 35 he knows that the images of the right man, the tough man, the true man which he received in high school do not work in life.”

Most of us were taught by our family, peers and community that there were some attributes of being male that we needed to adopt to be seen as a “real man”.  By high school all of us could tick off the list if asked. Don’t express your feelings – you might be seen as weak.  You don’t need friends – you can do it yourself.  Be responsible, be a good earner, be successful, be powerful and win when you compete.  And my favorite is “man up”. Pretty limiting stuff if you really reflect on it.  How many of us caught some real heat for not measuring up at times?  And what if we rebelled and rejected some of these rules.  What would others think if you chose to ignore some of these male roles?

What is it that really defines maleness for us?   Besides being hairy and having male anatomy.  Is that it? .  Are the roles we learned too limiting?  Is it OK to show caring?  What about needing help – is that OK in your world?  What about appearing weak when we have experienced a loss?  If these limits cause you problems or pain, how do you change it?  Where do you get support for that change?  Would your partner, fellow workers, parents support you stepping outside those roles?

That is the conversation of our web site.   What would that new broadened role look like?  We are not proposing answers that would just be another box for your maleness and likely would not be a very good fit.  We acknowledge we are all a bit different and my roles that I am OK with would probably never be a great fit for another man.  Our plan is to discuss and share choices and ideas.  Our hope is to encourage you to evaluate, and choose what makes sense in your life, for your goal of being the best and happiest man you can be.   It’s a journey – we invite you to take the first step.

JNeill 8/15

David Whyte said it best in his poem “Start Close In”.

(From David Whyte, River Flow: New and Selected Poems)


“Start Close In”
by David Whyte


Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.

Start with
the ground
you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own
way of starting
the conversation.

Start with your own
give up on other
people’s questions,
don’t let them
smother something

To find
another’s voice,
your own voice,
wait until
that voice
becomes a
private ear
to another.

Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own
don’t follow
someone else’s
heroics, be humble
and focused,
start close in,
don’t mistake
that other
for your own.

Start close in,
don’t take
the second step
or the third,
start with the first
close in,
the step
you don’t want to take.”