I hear hundreds of stories from men, stories of being raped or abused and how they had to keep their terrible secrets.  Secrets make you sick and unhappy, ruining your pursuit of happiness, guaranteed by our Constitution.  Often men haven’t been given equal access to pursue happiness in our society. Many men are expected to sacrifice their own happiness for the happiness of others.  This is because men are unfairly held to a different standard, a double standard. Unfortunately, the standard for men does not promote empathy of men’s feelings so consequently, we stuff our heartbreak, our pain and neglect our right to the pursuit of our happiness in order to avoid ridicule.  Sexual abuse makes a male child feel shame just as much or possibly more than it might a female child in my opinion because a young man or male child does not have the same reaction of sympathy from our society that we have afforded female victims of rape.  Consequently, these young people do not feel safe enough to get the help they need to recover from abuse and “stuff” the hurt, self blame and anger, not healing, growing up into broken men.  It’s not too late for these men to heal.  A man’s trauma, whether it is from rape, being forced into a marriage that doesn’t fit their sexual orientation, the loss of a loved one, divorce or personal illness such as dealing with prostate cancer can cause PTSD.  That’s why we are here. We are a hub to direct men to the professionals they might need and we are a venue for safe discussion groups with topics such as:

“Surviving childhood rape, not carrying guilt or self hate”

“How to be a better father”

“Life after Divorce”

“Living with a Terminal Illness”

CCR holds Empowerment Events to help men get in touch with their feelings such as our “Drum Circles” and our “Symbols” events.  All men over 21 years old are welcome to all events.

I am convinced we can evolve into a society where men may openly bond and show our true relationships, regardless of whether it is platonic or not.  Each man’s sexual orientation or personal beliefs should not be the meter on his right to happiness. Love is the most durable power in the world and isn’t an expression of impractical idealism.  It is a practical realism, in our grasp, only needing a safe place to be nurtured. I’m not expecting a Utopian civilization overnight, maybe never. I just want to know I tried my best in my lifetime to provide a venue to this needed change, a place that is safe for men to be free of the “hate for hate” or “fear of fear” existence most of us battle in some way every day.  I dream of a world where morality is not defined by hate groups, a world where safe places like CCR are the norm and not the rarity.

Martin Luther King said, “Without love, there is no reason to know anyone, for love will in the end connect us to our neighbors, our children and our hearts”.  We men must gather the power to forgive so that we truly have our full power to love.

In order to bridge the gap between men of all races, religions, socioeconomic status and sexual orientations, each man should work toward forgiving the men in their lives who have hurt them in the past, the bullies, that family member, teacher, the straight friend you fell in love with in high school and any other man who hurt you in the past, even the bigots, as hard as that may be.  Forgive the society that shamed men and recognize that this society was merely ignorant and can become better. I know this can be extremely hard to do. The attitude of forgiveness can help you heal your burden of resentments. If you can forgive, the barriers to your own peace will melt away and the brotherhoods you have been needing will present themselves.

If we men can evolve to check our own resentments, need for revenge, aggression or retaliation, then there is hope for a better world.  The man who loves his own hate and resentments perpetuates the problem. That man is always on guard, always defensive, always seeing other men as the enemy.  That man doesn’t feel safe. He is filled with burdens, not realizing he is actually cooperating with the forces that keep him isolated. He needs a safe place for camaraderie, to be himself and bond with men no matter what his religion, status or sexual orientation is.

Hate is actually fear and is as injurious to the hater as it is the hated.  We have the power to fix ourselves, correcting everything that stands against us.

I want you all to know that YOUR happiness matters!  You have the right to pursue what makes you whole. And all men deserve their right to feel their feelings without being labeled and prejudged.  If you feel like you are in a world that doesn’t make it easy to be yourself, you are right. I want you to know someone cares and wants you to find joy, whatever that means to you.  No one has the right to take your future. If you have given most of your life to satisfy others who may not even realize or appreciate all you have given up… then, don’t you think it’s time for you to have a portion of your life that is yours?  

My partner, Rich Homan and I have put everything into a dream, our mission, a “retreat” for men. Why? Men need this safe place without fear of ridicule, in the company of other men, a place where core values like respect for others, owning your feelings and being kind are encouraged.  

We want Copper Cactus Ranch to be a fun place and at the same time propagate new, kinder and healthier memes to pass down the generations. This is a place where a man can become a better man, find his own truth or learn how to pass on tolerance and compassion all while enjoying a comfortable, safe, fun environment.

We will reach out to you!

Bobby Cook PhD