In my journeys I meet many men.
Sometimes I have the great fortune to meet men who deeply inspire me in some way. More often than not I know almost instantly when I meet such a man. At the very least, it doesn’t take much time to know.
These men are always badass and living embodied examples of attributes and qualities that I value immensely and my initial response is to end up with a shy sort of man-crush.
As I think about what happens next I smile fondly and bashfully. It is vulnerable to write these words describing the trepidatious nervousness I experience. Tentatively I will reach out to this man investing energy into creating those first tenuous tendrils of connection between us. Some childlike aspect of me is activated as I wonder “am I cool enough to be friends with him?” and “will he like me too?”
Then there is the slightly awkward getting to know each other, where we retain our ‘manliness’ and contain our enthusiasm for what is usually a reciprocal draw towards the possibility of a genuine, intimate and mutually inspirational friendship to develop. Most of the time things are a little clunky at first as we check each other out. Even though we might already know that this is the beginning of something beautiful we still need to test the waters and so we talk and in our gruff kind of pretending of aloofness (it’s just our way of pacing the revealing of vulnerability) we interject our most important passions into the conversation.
It may look like general conversation to a casual observer yet there is so much more happening. Each little interjection is a test, dropped casually yet with slightly held breath we watch and listen… how does he respond? Does he share this passion? Can we bond over this interest which is so important to the way, as conscious men, that we live our lives? Little by little the pieces align until somehow, at least for me, I know, I really know that I have found yet another brother. My heart lights up and I feel a rush of happiness and I guess I could even say giddiness.
I can only describe it as bromantic.
Male bonding is so important to us men. For those of us men who are more conscious and spiritually oriented I think the degree of importance gets even more critical. We are not just looking for a buddy to drink beer and watch sports with, rather we are looking for men who will inspire and challenge us to be ever greater versions of ourselves. Men who will share the path with us, who we can explore new ideas with, who we can relate vulnerably to about our difficulties and feel steadfast knowing that there are those in our life who truly have our backs. Having solid, dependable and integrous men in my life empowers me. I have a tribe, I am part of a tribe. We are warriors and we fight for what is right. Always.
For you men out there I want to say don’t be afraid to love other men deeply, fiercely, passionately. These are your brothers and there is nothing weak about loving them with all your heart.
For you women out there I want to say support your men to find their brothers. If you see men bonding, support it quietly by letting it run it’s awkward course. Encourage your partners to invest time into their empowered male relationships, it will absolutely create benefits all around.
This is for all my brothers out there, including those I haven’t met yet. I love you. The world is a better place for having you in it. Thank you.
Author: Damien Bohler
Editor: Renee Picard
Photo by Hieke Qualitz (via the author, used with permission)