Eric Louie 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 column, maintaining confidentiality as necessary.
Great word, isn’t it? Conjures up visions for most men. Visions of doing whatever you want whenever you want to. Not enslaved. No prisoner. Unvictimized. Able to be free. Unrestrained. Uninhibited. You can add your visions of freedom to the list.
Sounds good, right? Every man should yearn for this freedom, right? Every man should support every other man to achieve this freedom, right?
Janis Joplin sang: “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”
What is freedom as a man?
It’s a saying that MDI men have used for years. It is part of a larger saying from the purpose of the Sterling Men’s Weekend, which goes in part, “…so you experience freedom as only a man can, and with that freedom, be the man you always wanted to be.”
How can a man in a short-term relationship experience “freedom as a man?”
He can maintain himself with integrity and be prepared to end the relationship when certain conditions are met.
How can a man in no relationship experience “freedom as a man?”
Hopefully, he is doing his highest purpose work in lieu of being in a relationship.
How can a married man, a man in a long-term committed relationship, experience “freedom as a man?”
I have observed and experienced that men who have no fear, who do whatever they want he knows he needs to do, without any consideration of being wrong, unafraid of being ridiculed, without having to answer to anyone. He knows the path he needs to take, and has no doubt that it’s the right path. He doesn’t do these things with disregard to any people around him, with the intent to harm them. He practices that freedom in a respectful manner so that the people around him benefit from his actions, not get hurt by the actions.
What are the true qualities of a man who can be free?
- Belief in self
- Faith and hope
All men have these qualities in varying degrees. And when it is all added up, all men have enough to practice this “freedom as a man” in small parts. When men practice this freedom, they are amazed at how important it is to be an example for ourselves and for other men to continue to practice it.
Men are encouraged on our teams to practice freedom. If men get hurt, and fall down, then their men pick them up, they pull the arrows out of us, and they get the strength to try it again, to practice that freedom. Some men, after lots of practice, grasp that the way to live life is with that freedom.
Look at those qualities above. Look as the ones you have, and the ones that are not listed that contribute to you having “freedom as a man.” Let the men on your team know what those qualities are for you, what those qualities are that you see in the men on your team, and which qualities you want to develop further.
Thank you for working on developing “freedom as a man” by being a man in MDI.