Clay BoykinAuthor - Speaker - Mentor
Author – Speaker – Mentor
Circles of Men synthesizes, in an easy and down to earth way, what we have learned over a period of six years and more than 20,000 collective man-hours spent connecting with one another in a non-judgmental, safe, and contemplative environment. We draw from the life experiences of academics and tradesmen, gay and straight, married and divorced, men in their eighties and men in their twenties, men of all colors and nationalities, and men from all religious, non-religious and spiritual traditions.
In Circles of Men, you will find insights on how we have come together—what we refer to as the Twelve Secrets—practical suggestions, thoughts on leadership, a robust list of unique topics, and much more, all so that you will be able to start a circle of your own.
What is in a man’s heart? As a man, you are the only person who truly knows, and the likelihood is that you protect what’s at your very core from other men and perhaps the woman or partner in your life. But it is within your heart where your deepest questions are left unanswered. Fear of being vulnerable or shame keeps us from connecting with another man, yet it is only when we open our heart that these questions get answered.
“Circles of Men is a wake-up call to men
who believe they can go it alone”
– Don Frick
About the author: Clay Boykin’s work in the area of male spiritual development is his calling. He has dedicated his next twenty years to empowering men to come together to help one another unveil and cultivate their spiritual male essence and raise male consciousness in the world. Clay is a former United States Marine Corps artillery officer from a small Texas town who climbed the corporate ladder and one day found himself working on Park Avenue.
His life took a radical turn at age 53 while on vacation when chest pains led to a mystical experience and emergency quintuple bypass surgery. Other life challenges ensued and several years later Clay emerged from his dark night of the soul a spirit-centered man.
Using his 38 years of business experience and a deeply entrenched servant leadership approach, Clay founded the Men’s Fellowship Network in 2012. He has facilitated hundreds of weekly circles and made long lasting friendships through the network which has invested over 20,000 man-hours in the overarching theme of male spirituality.
Clay recently published his first book, Circles of Men, which quickly made it into the Amazon top 100 list in the category of Self Help/Spirituality. Circles of Men examines the lessons he and his fellow male seekers have learned from gathering in their trusting and supportive network and weekly circle. The book offers insights into men and vulnerability, servant leadership and the counter-intuitive approach he took in building a network of almost 500 men and a website that has frequent visitors from over 140 countries, almost half of whom are women seeking a resource for their male partner, friend or are seeking to understand the divine male essence within themselves.
Clay and his wife Laurie Bell are longtime residents of Austin, Texas. They have been members of Unity Church of the Hills since 2010. In addition to leading the Men’s Fellowship Network, Clay has been a prayer chaplain and currently serves on the Board of Trustees.
Available on Amazon: Circles of Men
Book Review by Don Frick – Official Biographer for the late Robert Greenleaf
A few years before he wrote Circles of Men, I sat down with Clay Boykin for a conversation about men’s groups, life challenges, servant leadership, and a dozen other topics. Periodically, he took a minute or so to sketch a mind map that summarized the dynamics of what we had just covered. I was astounded at his ability to succinctly summarize complicated ideas, and kept those drawings for their wisdom and models of clear thinking. You will find numerous examples of his mind maps in this book, as well as ideas that will often stop your world as you absorb the learnings of how Clay and the Men’s Fellowship Network (MFN) have created a safe space for men to speak from the heart, to listen, support and celebrate each other, and seek male spirituality.
Don’t expect a rigid model of how to work this magic; as the subtitle says, this is a “counter-intuitive approach.” The network operates within a framework but with very little hard-and-fast structure (reminiscent of the physicists’ assertion that the universe is “bounded but infinite”); efforts to “fix” each other are not allowed, nor are attempts to dominate or compete; the MFN holds “gatherings,” not “meetings” (men choose when to come and new participants are always welcome). This is a place to have heart-centric “conversations” based on trust rather than head-centric “discussions” based on ideas.
The first line of the book is, “The world needs more spiritual men.” By that, the author does not mean men who follow a certain religious doctrine, but brave souls who have courageously taken the hero’s journey of dissembling, experiencing the dark night of the soul, and withdrawing to the dark side of the moon to return transformed. It all begins with honesty and humility. Mr. Boykin shares how he has taken that—and other—journeys, so he fulfills Robert Greenleaf’s definition of a leader as one who “goes out ahead and shows the way,” even though he freely admits his own mistakes and missteps. Clay Boykin is a congruent friend and guide, not a flawless guru.
In a short, readable book, the author addresses a man’s fear, pain, shame, vulnerability, “father wound,” and other topics that will cause a shock of recognition in men and perhaps open a window of understanding in women. A list of topics of MFN meetings will give an idea of the breadth and scope of conversations. Better yet, visit the MFN website for videos and more details on each topic. Interestingly, fifty percent of website visitors are women. Circles of Men is a tested, invaluable guide for anyone who wishes to start a men’s group, but also a wake-up call to men who believe they can go it alone.
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