Reflections on Being a Man Around the Holidays

Eric Louie 

Eric Louie of the San Diego Men’s Division did the Sterling Men’s Weekend in March 1995. Ever since he has been a proponent of the initiation event. Though the Men’s Weekend is not a sanctioned MDI event, many of the MDI men had their start in men’s work at that weekend and still support men to attend. To keep the spirit of the Men’s Weekend alive, Louie offers this monthly column, maintaining confidentiality as necessary.


Reflections on being a man around the holidays.

First of all, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I hope you had a meaningful holiday season, where your Spirit adds to the spirit of the season.

I have a difficult task – to write this for men of MDI, the general public, as well as Sterling Men’s Weekend graduates. That’s a challenge, but there are certain principles that, if I refer to them, will possibly trigger a memory for men who are Men’s Weekend graduates and MDI members. And, that memory trigger may bring the Weekend back to a man who otherwise has not had it present for them recently.

We recently went through the holiday season. A time period when we want to be generous, maybe even extravagant, with those we love. Having the circles of men around us, we have discovered some important aspects of this giving.

One thing I’ve learned is that those generous material gifts do not equate to showing more love, even though I was raised with that belief and principle. It has been very difficult for me to overcome that very deep belief of spending equaling care. Instead, what I’ve learned, from the men and from other places, is that when I give of myself I have provided what others really want – me. And this shows up in various ways:

  • Volunteering
  • Participating in others’ lives
  • Selfless non-monetary giving
  • Sharing my men’s team with another man
  • Emotional connection
  • Physical and mental 100% presence at family and friend and other events
  • Committing to, spending the money to travel to, and showing up at long-distance family events

There’s no substitute for “Just being there” and “full presence” at this, and other times in the year. It’s about some very simple principles, prioritizing our time and schedules, making other people and their events important.

What is the payoff for this? Well, the first result is how others perceive us. We become seen as men who care, men who show up, men who are reliable, men with a purpose. The second result is a change in our own context and importance. Where we may initially come from ego and self-importance, our being is transformed to one of humility and realizing how powerful our presence is to other people. We become purposeful and understand the value of others. You can certainly add your own results to this payoff, as I’m sure you’ve experienced other cool payoffs in your life.

Are you asking how this relates to what we do as men in MDI?

I propose this:  that our weekly commitment to a team meeting or circle-up, our asking for help from other men, our volunteering to lead, our learning from other men, our getting what we need from the circle, our full participation and 100% presence when we are in the circle – all of this helps us practice the principles as we become more selfless and understand how our contribution to the bigger picture makes a positive difference on our teams, tribes and circles. I propose we realize that our individual contribution makes an impact on the greater and larger circle, group and organization.

To the men I share the circle with – men of MDI, graduates of the Men’s Weekend, Legacy Discovery graduates – I say I hope you had a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and take the spirit of what have given and received into a great New Year.

Make a difference in the lives of your families and others.

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