EMBRACING VULNERABILITY: THE TRANSFORMATIVE POWER OF MENS CIRCLES AMIDST NATURE

ROB TAGELL - MENS CIRCLE JANUARY 2023

First of all let me explain why we decided to hold a mens circle.  The truth is that non of the men in our life really “speak” to anyone about the “stuff” that is going on for them.  We also know that many men try and shield their nearest and dearest from what is going on for them.  Often those nearest and dearest to them are a part of the challenge, so you see it seems that there isn’t really a safe space to let some of this stuff out.

 

Decision made. Let’s offer a Mens Circle.  Claire and I are both responders and knew we wanted to offer something to support these guys.

 

It was a Saturday morning in the extremely long (felt like it lasted 2 years!) January, freezing cold and wet, yet a group of guys decided that it was time to embrace something new.

 

Not a New Years resolution to add to the pile of tried and failed, but something brand new and just for them.

Sitting in the middle of a 14 acre woods, stepping in to the unknown of a mens circle.  

We greeted each fella at the gate and walked down to the space in the woods with them as we chatted about how their journey was and how they were feeling.  The feeling of nervousness was palpable with a touch of “what the hell am I doing here” look on their faces, but once they had a hot drink and said hello to the others, the shoulders and the nerves started to drop.

 

 

When I had been there for 10 minutes and the other guys were arriving, I really did wonder why I was so nervous as I realised we were all there to develop ourselves and get out of the day what we needed” said Rob.

 

We opened up with asking each person why they had decided to come along and what did they hope to get from the time with us. 

The responses were varied, yet the underlying message was clear.  As Rob said “when I saw the advert I knew that this was not something I necessarily wanted but something that I needed to do for myself. After fighting my demons and not making all the right decisions I was ready to make a change and improve myself for myself and those around me.”

 

All of the guys had said that they were really proud to have actually made it to the event as in the morning there had been some serious wobbles.  A resounding sense of pride ensued because merely rocking up was a huge achievement.  One gent didn’t come having booked for the same reason.  He wasn’t ready and he couldn’t bring himself to do it. 

 

I asked Rob why he was so nervous before we started? I literally felt his heart beating through his chest. ” It was strange that I felt nervous and I was confused as to why I can get up on a stage and perform in front of hundreds of people but yet sitting around a fire talking in the middle of the forest intimidated me so much. I think the nerves came due to knowing that I was ready to open up about things that have been dragging me down for so many years and this is scary!”. 

 

Having opened up, he then felt so much better. 

” I wasn’t the first person to open up and I’m so glad I wasn’t as I wonder now if maybe I wouldn’t have done and not been honest with myself, the other men that were there were so brave and gave me the courage to speak and know that it’s okay to be open about your emotions and what is going on for you.”

 

Not knowing what was ahead of them other than they were to bring a blanket and a pillow, our expectation was that maybe they thought they would be doing some meditation, and we did.  The power of the Phytoncides within the woodland coupled with the fresh air and the nature we were sat in lends itself perfectly to a holistic wellbeing session.  We started with some powerful breath work lead by Claire.  Again it was an experience that was new to most of the guys and Rob fed back to us that it triggered emotions to be released. 

 

“The Trinity Breath work we did felt very strange to begin with as this is not something I have done before, but during this I felt myself becoming very emotional, to the point where I actually cried, I wondered what this meant and was advised that I was releasing what I needed to that no longer served me. So thank you to Jules and Claire for the reassurance on that!”

 

Hot soup and a sharing circle around the fire was a real eye opener for each of the men in the circle.  They were not alone.  Others felt the same way that they did. There is life outside of the every day norms.  Not everyone will get it and that is absolutely perfect.  Nourising your mind and body beyond the gym and opening up and releasings feelings and thoughts is a liberating experience.  A beautiful thing that everyone said was that when they took the walk in to the woods, they instantly felt safe.

 

 

We closed with Nidra Yoga and a beautiful mindful meditation to close the session to bring calm and clarity and the feedback of the power of the energy of the circle was something that we absolutely expected but was unexpected by the men in circle. 

 

 

IN THE HEART OF THE FOREST, MEN DISCOVER THE STRENGTH IN VULNERABILITY, SHARING THEIR JOURNEY OF OPENING UP IN THE UNLIKELY EMBRACE OF A MEN’S CIRCLE

 

 

THE 5 MAIN BENEFITS TO “OPENING UP” 

 

1. Emotional Release: Opening up allows for the release of pent-up emotions, reducing stress and promoting mental clarity.

2. Enhanced Self-awareness: Sharing personal experiences can lead to greater self-understanding and personal growth.

 

3. Strengthened Relationships: Vulnerability fosters trust and deeper connections with others, enhancing social support networks.

4.Reduced Isolation: Discussing personal challenges helps individuals realise they are not alone in their struggles, combating feelings of isolation.

5. Empowerment: Taking the brave step to open up can lead to a sense of empowerment and increased confidence in handling life’s challenges.

 

 

THE 5 MAIN BENEFITS TO BEING IN WOODLAND FOR HOLISTIC WELLBEING 

 

 

1. Stress Reduction: The serene environment of the woods can significantly lower cortisol levels, leading to reduced stress and anxiety.

2. Improved Mood: Exposure to nature has been shown to improve mood and increase feelings of happiness and contentment.

3. Enhanced Creativity: The tranquility of a woodland setting can clear the mind, allowing for heightened creativity and problem-solving abilities.

4. Physical Health: Spending time in nature can encourage physical activity, which is beneficial for overall health and wellbeing.

5. Spiritual Connection: Being in the woods can foster a deeper spiritual connection to the earth and a sense of belonging in the natural world.

 

Our next Mens Circles in the Heart of the Cheshire Countryside are on

SAT 2ND MARCH 2024
SAT 30TH MARCH 2024
SAT 27TH APRIL 2024

 

You can check the details out here  

https://spaceandfreedom.com/mens-monthly-woodland-circle/

Jules Kelly & Claire Morton
Global Holistic Life and Business Strategists
Space and Freedom Limited

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