About True Masculine and the Two of US
The idea for True Masculine has grown out of the deep friendship shared by Patrick and Thomas.
Since first meeting in 1996, we have spent countless hours exploring life and friendship – hiking, on road trips, studying and working together. One day, we realized we had co-created something extraordinary: a male friendship of the depth and intimacy that most people only experience in their primary romantic relationships (if ever).
This friendship has enabled us to dive deeply into what it means for each of us to be a man and how we want to engage with our bodies, our minds, our emotions, our intellects, our spirits, our sexuality, and our deepest desires and longings.
It also prompted us to investigate how we want to engage with others and with our work in the world. We came to understand – as more and more studies, books and articles are showing – that men need the love, companionship and guidance of other men. Without it we can become depressed or destructive, obsessive or isolated. And yet, our lives as men have the potential to be so much richer, more embodied, more playful, more connected, more meaningful, more focused, more joyful.
And so in 2016 we offered out first True Masculine workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We now offer workshops throughout the USA and in Europe, working with individual men and communities of men, as well as in organizations.
Quite simply, I was born to do this work.
I grew up in Derby, England, and had an unremarkable childhood, in a stable home with the steady love of my parents and wider family. But as a teenager, my sensitivity and my sense of justice and integrity set me apart, and for two years I was the victim of extreme emotional and physical bullying. That experience sent me inward on a journey that would last many years, as I struggled to accept and incorporate into my life my sensitivity and vulnerability, and at the same time to live into my strength. I struggled both to accept myself as I am, and to acknowledge and be able to express the skills and gifts I have, and on the other hand to avoid falling into judgement and arrogance.
Most of my adult life has been spent in the pursuit of spiritual learning, through various embodied practices, meditation techniques, and study. In my early 40s I embarked upon a period of intense study and practice of qigong, yoga, martial arts, meditation, Daoist sexual practices, and the study of philosophy, psychology, and poetry. This study continues to this day, and I am forever grateful for the wonders it has brought into my life.
I found that this study and these practices have enabled me to grow into the man I have always wanted to be. A man who is strong and vital, sexy and confident, but equally tender and loving of both men and women, sensitive and vulnerable. A man who is unafraid to express the full erotic nature of my being, sexually and non-sexually, and who is equally respectful and honoring of all others.
I make my living as a mediator and facilitator, but my passion and my lifework is working with men to help them lead more beautiful, more embodied, more sensitive, more vulnerable, stronger lives.
Among all the experiences I have had in my life, nothing is quite as moving as being part of a group of men connecting to each other with open hearts and minds.
As a boy growing up in Australia in the 1970s, I experienced first-hand the violence and homophobia that were prevalent at that time. To be a “real man” basically meant to be good at sports, to express as little emotion as possible, and to bully anyone who was different. It was painful for me to try to fit into such a rigid, loveless expression of masculinity (and to be on the receiving end when I didn’t); but even more painful was sensing how trapped we all were, knowing that many of us were longing to break the mould but had no idea how to even start.
As I grew older, I began to realise that not only was this fear-based, violent norm of masculinity a tragedy for men, it was also toxic and dangerous for women, children, our communities and our planet. I started to think consciously about what it would take to help men be strong enough to express our sensitivity and vulnerability, without fearing that that would somehow make us not “real men”. How could we change ourselves and our culture so that we could experience more love and less hatred, be more open and generous and perpetrate less harm?
These questions have been a constant thread through my adult life. After graduating college in Australia, I travelled extensively: studying and working in Japan; living and working in community in Italy and France; running a business in Switzerland; graduate school in Spain; consulting and facilitating in the USA; volunteering in Ethiopia. And everywhere I have been, I have seen the same thing: outdated notions of masculinity that hold men back from leading more love-filled, peaceful lives.
The work with men that we offer at True Masculine is the fulfilment of a lifelong dream. It is humbling and joyful for me to be able to support men in this way; and through that to make my small contribution to a brighter future.