In our Men’s groups we have often reminded each other to “lean into the tension”. This means that when we are in a safe environment, with trusted men, we have an opportunity to go into the trouble spots in our lives and work with them. Talk them out. Bring them to the surface.
It is clearly not fun. Uncomfortable, awkward, embarrassing, and shameful are more likely at first. This is because our experience of showing our vulnerability in the past has usually been met with judgment and even ridicule. But within the safe container of a circle of trusted and compassionate people for support, amazing healing happens.
In time, the trusted environment of a circle has many participants looking forward to leaning into the tension. Looking forward to the uncomfortable work because they know that they will feel more relaxed and peaceful on the other side of the work. This seems counter-intuitive that anyone would willingly drag themselves through the proverbial mud like this. But it’s like the old axiom about turning into the skid in the snow. It goes against everything that seems right or logical, but it is what you have to do to get on the right path and not crash.
We all experience this in a small way every time we avoid a prickly issue. We avoid it and it grows into a bigger issue. If we had turned to face it; walked toward it and addressed it right then and there, it probably would have resolved more easily. This goes for everything from watering the plants to Watergate.