Embodying A New Masculine
A Course for Men
Begins Thursday, Feb 22, 7-9pm
14 Weeks and 1 Retreat day, Sat. May 5th
With Carl Rabke
Please join me and a group of courageous, powerful, good-hearted men, as we grow our embodied presence, our capacity to listen deeply, our intimacy with life, and learn together how we can more fully embody the kind of masculine we would like to see in the world.
For as long as humans have existed, men have gathered in sacred circles to speak, listen and connect together around the great mysteries, challenges and joys of life. These circles have become increasingly rare in modern life – and we need them, perhaps more now than at any time in human history. There is so much of the shadow aspect of masculine power alive in the world right now, from #metoo to Harvey Weinstein to our pussy-grabbing President. It is vital for men to have a space to come together in connection and to imagine a different possibility – and to celebrate, stand for, and grow the positive, life-giving aspects of the masculine. Charles Eisenstein has a wonderful title: "The More Beautiful World the Heart Knows is Possible." I think for many men, we sense in our bones and our hearts that there is a more potent, powerful, compassionate masculine that is possible, in ourselves, with each other, in the world. And is it needed.
In this group, we will gather together as a group of men with the intention of learning to more fully inhabit our bodies, to connect with our center, and grow our capacity to listen- to each other, and to our inner lives as we navigate the rich terrain of what it means to be a man living in these times.
“True masculine power happens when courage, integrity, vulnerability, compassion, awareness, and the capacity to take strong action are all functioning together. Such power is potent but not aggressive, challenging but not shaming, grounded but not rigid, forceful but not pushy. Again, it requires head, heart, and guts in full-blooded alignment.” Robert Augustus Masters
Through the course we will explore a series of movement lessons based in Feldenkrais and The Embodied Life that will have several intentions. The lessons help to unwind and release the areas where men tend to hold tension, and have restriction in movement- including the shoulders, chest, jaw, hamstrings, hip joints and low back. Some movement lessons will focus around learning to inhabit, and move from the Hara or Dan tien- the vital center of the lower belly (which can be very different from what we have learned about moving from a tightly held core.) Others will challenge us to find ease and creativity in challenging movements rather than relying on force and willpower. Other lessons will grow our sense of integrity and support of our spine-so we can experience uncontrived uprightness and dignity. These lessons can greatly impact and improve a range of things from low back pain to your hoops game, from lovemaking to how you sit or stand at work, or just an overall sense of ease, grace, and vitality in movement with aging, as well as profoundly reducing anxiety and disconnection that comes from being stuck in the head, with thinking mind run amok.
"Of course, the softness that opens the body to the light of consciousness and enables it to be informed also leaves us exposed; but our choice between exposure or neglect is also the choice between transformation or the stagnations of our "organized inadequacy," As Larry Dossey explains in his book, Space, Time and Medicine, it is the quality of fragility, the capacity for being "shaken up," that paradoxically is the key to growth. Structures that are insulated from disturbance are protected from change. They are stagnant and never evolve towards a more complex form." Philip Shepherd
We will also explore together the qualities of the positive masculine archetype that we wish to grow or experience more fully. We will look at the traditional Jungian masculine archetypes of King, Lover, Magician and Warrior- and how we can know these (or their absence) in a bodily way. As there has been so much suffering caused in the world by the negative masculine- violence against women, warfare, destruction of natural resources… it can often seem like there are few role models for the positive, life-giving aspects of the masculine. We will explore together how we embody, and how we can deepen these qualities of the positive masculine that are so needed in the world today.
The movement lessons and other practices will also support a central theme of the course which is how to become more embodied in our lives. For most of us in our culture, and particularly for men, we tend to be centered in our heads. For many human cultures, however, particularly pre-agricultural humans, the “center” was experienced in the Hara, the lower belly. For many others cultures, where “I” am was experienced in the heart. What we will explore is this question: Is it possible to inhabit, and have access to the intelligence of our heads, our hearts, our bellies simultaneously? Could our thinking life, our feeling life, our sensing and moving life all be experienced together as an integrated wholeness? For many of us (myself included) inhabiting our bodies in this way can be unfamiliar in the beginning, and is like learning a new language, yet it is a language that is inherent, and one we can all remember.
“Simply put, as long as we remain in our heads, we will remain married to the values of our head.
That in a nutshell is our culture’s Achilles’ heel- and by extension, the Achilles’ heel of all of us.”
How Do I Listen?
Listen to others?
As if everyone were my Master
Speaking to me
Another main theme of the group will be growing our capacity to listen. Through partner and group practices based in Focusing and Embodied Life, we will grow our skills in how we listen. (Do you know anyone who couldn't use that?) How we listen to others, how we can listen for what is fresh, unknown and "hot off the press" as we speak, also listening to our life, to what needs our attention, to where our blind spots are. Growing our embodied listening can effect everything- how we are with our families, our work, our friends, the check-out person at the store...One of the challenges I have experienced in traditional men's groups, is that there is a lot of talking, often from thinking mind, about what is already known. When you bring a group of embodied men together, listening for what is not yet known as they speak, it is ripe with potential for discovery and insight.
“The importance of being genuinely seen and heard can’t be overestimated. One of the ways that the soul grows is by being seen and recognized. If a man has never been recognized at the soul level, he won’t know who he is in times of crisis and he will feel inauthentic more often than not. If a man has never been heard, he’ll have great difficulty listening to others... In their responses to the mythic stories and as they tell their personal stories, men say surprising things, but you sometimes have to listen hard to hear them. The first piece of learning in this sudden community of men becomes opening the ears to the stories of others.”
In this course, we will create a safe container that welcomes us showing up in all of our power and potency, all of our grief, vulnerability and self-doubt, as we explore what it is to be a man in these times.
Classes will include:
- Movement Lessons (with recordings provided)
- Guided inquiries, partner practices and meditations around embodiment.
- Inner-listening practices based in Focusing
- Readings from Michael Meade, Philip Shepard, David Deida and others.
- Resource Growing Practices (ways of cultivating the states that we most value)
- Awesome poetry
- Plenty of time for speaking and listening to one another.
Begins Thursday, Feb 21st 7:00-9pm At The Mindful Yoga Collective 223 S. 700 E. Suite 4 for 14 weeks (until May 24th)
Retreat Day Saturday May 5th, location TBA
Looking forward to our journey together,
Carl Rabke is a writer, Embodied Life teacher living in Salt Lake City, Utah.
For the last 20 years he has been joyfully dedicated to the study of meditation, embodiment and human freedom. He has facilitated men's gatherings for over 20 years. In his private practice and teaching he helps support others in getting out of pain, improving their quality of movement and growing their capacity for embodied presence and kindness.