I lost a dear friend to suicide last week. It is the first time that such a “bomb” hits me right at the heart of my own village. I grieve this loss with sadness, fear, and anger.
Dan was a strong man. He was fierce in his love for life and his passion to bring “Living Design” into the world, to create sustainable and regenerative systems for Beings to thrive in.
From the outside, Dan’s life looked perfect: He had fire for his projects, he created an abundance of websites and offerings, he lived with his beautiful loving wife and his wonderful two children in a community on a piece of land near the ocean here in New Zealand. His parents’ property was only a kilometre away and he had helped transform their land into a permaculture oasis. Dan hosted our “Possibility Village Gathering” there only in February this year.
There was another side to Dan. He was a very gentle man. When I close my eyes, I see his face, eyelids gently closed, looking down. There was so much gentleness in him. So much softness and vulnerability.
I don’t think he knew how precious this side of him was to me, and the world.
It is too easy to brush aside this gentle side. Out there in the world, it is violently squashed. Be strong, be fast, jump high, know how it goes, have a plan, save the world! More, more, more, higher, further, faster.
Devastatingly these outer push-voices become internalised, to the extent that we start to believe they’re real. I write that because I have them, too.
When these voices seem so real, the gentle part has to be squashed. There seems no other way. Especially for a man who is well known for always having a plan – such as Dan.
I don’t know why Dan decided to end his life. It hit me hard because, as I said, it happened in the heart of my own village.
Dan was part of my village. He was a pillar of the people active in Possibility Management New Zealand. I visited him and his family last year. I co-created the Village Gathering with him in February this year. He joined my Gremlin Transformation – a training to transform the unconscious irresponsible part into a conscious responsible ally. We held space for emotional healing processes for each other for the first time this year. I took a stand for him to come to the Possibility Laboratory in May this year – and he did. He left early to support his wife, taking a strong stand for his love for her and his family. He called me up only about 6 weeks ago to ask how I was, and to hear why I wasn’t making use of the team that I had created for myself and that he was a part of.
So, why then? When there was such a strong commitment to his family, his friends, and to life, why did he choose to go? The only way I can make sense of Dan’s decision is that he couldn’t make peace with his shadow; with his insecurities, with his not knowing. That he must have thought that, despite all the communities he was involved in, he had to do it alone, and that he had to have a plan.
Dan is just one example of men dying. It is a wake-up call because he had all the tools. He had so many tools. He knew how to unmix emotions in depression. He knew of his Gremlin Splodge, and he was demeshing him from his adult ego state.
A man with all these tools leaving prematurely is not just “his business”. It speaks to the whole village. My village.
Where did I want to see that he had it together so I could live in my fantasy that all was fine? Where did I not acknowledge his shadow? Where did I not call forth his gentle part? Where did I give him the impression he had to know how it goes?
It is a bomb because it speaks of the dysfunctionality of a Village, in my perception, that someone like Dan could come to conclude there was only one possibility: to kill himself.
We need to stop thinking in singularity. It’s time to look at the bigger picture. And the bigger picture is clear and right in our face: Men are dying.
Some of them, scaringly many of them, are killing themselves. Others are still alive but their souls are withered. There is no life in them and they don’t even notice. For others yet their bodies give up, and so they die of cancer or other uncurable diseases.
Men are dying because Patriarchal systems are designed to suppress their life force just as much as they are designed to suppress women’s life force. It’s overall a life-negating system, and we’re seeing the results of that. It’s just so much more obvious for women. That makes it perfidious.
When I first wrote this text a few days ago, my father was ill. A couple of days ago, he passed away. For almost one year he had been continuously losing weight and energy, and doctors couldn’t figure out why. I don’t know why, either. But I know that my father, just like every other man in Patriarchy, until recently was not supported to feel his fear or any other feeling consciously. There were many fears clogged up in his system. Towards the end, his whole body shook continuously. My father, just like Dan, was a gentle man. I don’t think he was really allowed to be that; and so he did not learn to allow himself to be that, either.
We need the gentle men. We need to support them.
How that goes? Let them Be. Encourage them to be a mess, to show up exactly as they are. Teach them from day one that it is OK to feel everything, and to not have an answer. Hold your own, go through your own healing and transformation. Call forth their gentleness. Appreciate the hell out of them, especially their vulnerability. Love them fiercely.
The Men are dying. It concerns us all.