What is emerging within me is the lost little boy. An eight year old version of me was playful, talkative, creative, loud and fun. A ten year old version of me began taking on the characteristics of manhood. Only recently have I returned to living from an open heart. I see many men and women around me who stumble around with a repressed inner child.
Still now it feels awkward moving from an open heart. Much of my adult life was a study in keeping it closed and protected. Even before the teenage years, maintaining a closed heart seemed to be the route toward becoming a man. I saw other men without feeling, with limited self-expression, being tough and macho. To this day, the single most potent vision of manhood to me is the cowboy movie character played by Clint Eastwood during the late 1960’s. His lone gunslinger manhood was of the lone individual, only self reliant, never feeling any pain or true happiness, and always willing to drink a few shots of whiskey before moving on out of town, alone. He might have a quick tussle with a woman in bed but not if it meant slowing down, getting connected or feeling anything much at all.
I managed to live in California for a couple of decades as a hollow man disconnected from his own feelings. But lately, more and more, a new definition of manhood is beginning to emerge. I can, now, feel my feelings. At times I even find myself deeply connected, emotionally, to other men. I am part of a growing movement of men who now expand, broaden and evolve the definition of what it means to be a man.
There is something new emerging. We have arrived at a new time of an expanded, evolved definition for manhood and masculinity. A critical mass of men are stepping into a profound depth of feeling their feelings and of beginning to express those feelings as they are felt. A hollow definition of manhood from previous generations has given way to this new playfulness and self-expression. Men are now free to express themselves fully. Men are free to express themselves in service to the community. Fully evolved men create a safe environment for the emergence of the fully evolved woman.