I used to have a recording of one of my old bands and I performing this, but I can't find it, so you'll have to suffer the original.  Always fabulous irony that Stevie Winwood looks like he's 11 years old in this.  Still a stunning musician, but to think he was (literally) 18 or so when this was filmed.  The Finnish (I believe) subtitles are simply icing on this YouTube kakusta.

I'm currently in the process of writing up a plan to form a men's dharma cohort for my sangha.  We have had a very active women's cohort for well over a year.  When I heard of it, way back when, I immediately felt something rise up inside me.

Hey.  What about me?

An experience I had yesterday was very validating to me, or at least to my idea of this cohort.  I was grabbing some things at my local grocery mondo-box ("mondo" is an interesting choice of words here).  Anyway, I was there in line at the check-out, and I heard a low voice say "Zen Trixter" (yes, seriously that was said: some people do jokingly refer to me by my internet nom de keyboard.)  It was a good friend from sangha, and we started chatting about sanghaish goings-on.  I'd mentioned that I was working on this men's cohort idea.  As we finished checking out, we continued to chat outside, and he mentioned a moment recently at a hosan (essentially a "group interview") where one woman in the sangha who was a member of the woman's cohort vocally validated another woman from that group, essentially saying "right on, sister!"  He immediately felt something click in him; something they could do that he apparently could not.  "I felt that I was being shown something that's missing.  Something I can't do.  Something I don't have access to."

Right on, brother.

And this brings me to what I've been working on.  I have been doing reading in a number of different areas, including psychology, sociology, spirituality and religious investigations, on male roles and archtypes.  The conclusion I have come to, at least for now, is this:

I have absolutely no idea whatsoever what it means to be a man--let alone a male dharma practitioner--in the early 21st Century.

There are a number of things that I do know.  I do know that it's HARD being a man now.  Probably harder than it's ever been.  We suffer from a sh!tpile of bad press, terrible public relations and a history that is hard to live down.  As many women rightly shout (or wear quietly on t-shirts) "The Patriarchy's The Problem", and to a great degree that's true.  Whether or not that should be in the past tense, I don't know, but we as men are still bearing the karmic load brought on by--essentially--the sins of our fathers; the men that have built our cultural paradigm, designed our political machine, and insisted upon the institutionalization of a heteronormative operational model.  Almost all men find themselves under this umbrella, at least in the modern west.  We don't have much of a choice.

Or do we?

I believe that we do.  But at the same time, how does a man in 2010 celebrate being a man without looking like he's reveling in the oppressive patriarchy of the last three millenia or so?  Forgive me for being blunt (and awfully punny) here, but the nut of it is: how does he safely identify with the core of his manhood without coming off as a complete dick?

I don't know.

I'd like to.

I'm going to try...

But not like this...

And now, to close this very special episode of "Shaking Off The Weirdness":

Girls on Trampolines!

Thanks to Ludo for the outro. You can read the silly lyrics to this silly song here.