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Warrior Compassion: Unleashing the Healing Power of Men with Sean Harvey

In this episode of the Dads With Daughters podcast, host Christopher Lewis welcomes Sean Harvey, the Chief Compassion Officer and founder of the Warrior Compassion Men’s Studio. Sean is passionate about helping men heal their wounds at a soul level to embrace the truth of who they are. He co-founded Project Compassion, a coalition of culture transformation, masculinity, and compassion experts, focusing on working with police departments and military services. Sean recently released his book, “Warrior Compassion: Unleashing the Healing Power of Men,” which serves as a roadmap for men’s soul healing and systems change.

Sean shares his journey into men’s work, a 10-year transformational path that started when he worked for Eileen Fisher, a women’s fashion company. He discusses the impact of the company’s feminine leadership on men and how it led him to engage in men’s work. He also emphasizes the importance of a soul-level approach to healing and compassion, acknowledging that men need to heal unmet needs, limiting beliefs, and past traumas.

Christopher and Sean talk about breaking down barriers related to words like “vulnerability” and “compassion,” emphasizing the need for an environment where men feel safe to open up. Sean highlights the importance of self-compassion and loving oneself unconditionally as a catalyst for positive change within families.

They discuss Sean’s book and its guided journey, outlining various components of healing and transformation. The book is an on-ramp for men to engage in meaningful conversations and contribute to the transformation of society’s oppressive systems. Sean encourages men to find a community where they can go deep and connect with others to combat loneliness and isolation.

In their conversation, they explore how embracing deeper connections, intimacy, and love can lead to healing and transformation, allowing men to become more patient, reflective, and present fathers. They also stress the significance of having a community of men who check in on each other.

This episode reinforces the importance of community, compassion, and self-discovery as essential steps for men on their journey to becoming the best dads they can be and healing themselves in the process.

If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode of the Dads With Daughters podcast, we invite you to check out the Fatherhood Insider. The Fatherhood Insider is the essential resource for any dad who wants to be the best dad that he can be. We know that no child comes with an instruction manual, and most are figuring it out as they go along. The Fatherhood Insider is full of valuable resources and information that will up your game on fatherhood. Through our extensive course library, an interactive forum, step-by-step roadmaps, and more, you will engage and learn with experts but, more importantly, with dads like you. So check it out today!

TRANSCRIPT

Christopher Lewis [00:00:06]:

Welcome to Dads With Daughters. In this show, we spotlight dads, resources, and more to help you be the best dad you can be.

Christopher Lewis [00:00:16]:

Welcome back to the Dads with Daughters podcast where we bring you guests to be active participants in your daughters’ lives, raising them to be strong independent women. Really excited to have you back again this week. Every week, you and I are on a journey together. We’re figuring this out as we go along. There is no one right way to father, and there’s not one right way to go through life as a man as well. And, You know, every week, we have opportunities to be able to talk about this, to be able to delve a little bit deeper into this, to see what each of us can do to be Engaged, present, and be a part of our family’s lives. And I do that. We do that Through talking with other guests as well.

Christopher Lewis [00:01:01]:

And every week, I have the pleasure of bringing different people on with different Experiences coming from different walks of life that are able to provide you with Tools for your own toolbox that can help you to start thinking about things in different ways and potentially framing things in different ways that will help you To be better in all sense of the word. This week, we’ve got another great guest with us. Shawn Harvey is with us. And Sean is the chief compassion officer and founder of the Warrior Compassion Men’s Studio And Symphonia Facilitator Studio. And he is actively involved in contributing to men’s work communities around the globe And he’s passionate about helping men heal their wounds at a soul level to begin to love the truth of who they are. Sean cofounded the, Project Compassion, a national coalition of culture transformation, masculinity, and compassion experts Developing a compassion centered system change model and consulting approach for police departments and federal law enforcement agencies, Military service security forces and defense. And most recently, he has a brand new book called Warrior Compassion, Unleashing the healing power of men that was just released, and this book really offers a road map for men’s soul healing As a catalyst for systems change. I’m really excited to have him on to talk more about the journey that he’s been on to help men around the world And about this brand new book, and I’m excited to have him here today.

Christopher Lewis [00:02:46]:

Sean, thanks so much for being here.

Sean Harvey [00:02:48]:

Thanks for having me. It’s great to be here.

Christopher Lewis [00:02:50]:

It is my pleasure having you here today. Love what you’re doing. Love the the the concept. Like, I wanna turn the clock back in time because You’ve done a lot of different things that have led you to where you are today. You and I you and I were talking about all the different degrees and all the different aspects and all the things you’ve done in your career. But I guess first and foremost, as I talked about the fact that that you are the chief compassion officer and founder of Warrior Compassion Men’s studio. So talk to me about Warrior Compassion Men’s Studio and this work that you’ve been doing over many years to Work with men at this, maybe I could even say visceral level of being able to talk to men About things that not every man wants to talk about. What led you to that, and what led you into working with men at this level?

Sean Harvey [00:03:39]:

Well, I, I appreciate the years you’ve added to the experience. This has really been a 10 year journey. So on my 40th birthday, I was I was As a college professor, I was working on Wall Street. And on my 40th birthday, I gave it all up because I lost my heart and soul in the job, and I resigned. And within 2 weeks, I went to work for a fashion company, Eileen Fisher. And it was there that my whole life turned upside down. It was like it basically Saying yes to that role changed the trajectory of my life and brought me to men’s work. So actually working in a women’s fashion company brought me to men, which Hey.

Sean Harvey [00:04:16]:

Hey. I think there were 3 pivotal moments in my experience at Eileen Fisher. 1, I just to get the job, I had gone through an 8 month interview process. And on my 1st day I started the job, my 2 bosses sat me down, and they said they said to me, Sean, we we wanna acknowledge that You have proven yourself in the interview process. We now want you to stop proving yourself and learn how to be who you actually are. When you interviewed with us, you showed us your heart, and you showed us your polish. We hired you for your heart, and we wanna see less of your polish. We don’t care about your accomplishments.

Sean Harvey [00:04:49]:

We wanna see who you are. And so that really, I think, was permission to be able to start going on my own journey. Then they the company sent me to an art for 5 months in Canada To learn how to incorporate the arts in a creative facilitation, and so it’s part of my work. And it was the 1st weekend that I was there that I really heard the call to work with men. And and I and I had gone to work for Eileen Fisher to not have to work with men ever again. So knowing that I was being called to work with men. I knew this was above my pay grade, and I knew this was on some sort of spiritual path, and it was more of a calling. And so I just started following the spiritual breadcrumbs.

Sean Harvey [00:05:30]:

And the third, I became the head of personal transformation and well-being for the company. And I started noticing in the company how men were being transformed by being in an organization, in a company that was 83% women, That was really built on feminine leadership and and the business model was based on feminine energy. And the men would say to me now we would talk about the ways we were changing, It would often start with either my wife said or my girlfriend said that I listen differently. I’m more patient. I stopped needing to do right all the time, and I started to be more curious. I started to express my emotions more freely. And they the men started noticing that they were tapping into their creativity differently, and they were solving problems in new ways. And last, and I think most important, they would tell me they felt more comfortable in their own skin because I think there’s a freedom that was allowing men to just kinda come into who they really were.

Sean Harvey [00:06:22]:

And I said, you know, we need to kinda bottle this and take this out to more men as opposed to the 200 men that work in this company we only accounted for 17% of the organization. And so with that and and there were also a lot of spiritual teachers and guides, and there was A lot of spirituality at work. I knew if we’re gonna do real work with men, that’s gonna be healing work. It had to be done at the soul level, and that’s what led me to seminary. And I went to seminary for the sole purpose of working with men and really creating a men’s ministry of sorts, which is essentially what I’m doing. And 2 days after I said my vows, I received the next call, which was to work with police. So I was moving from New York to Asheville, North Carolina, From East Harlem, New York to West Asheville, North Carolina. And it was the chief of police of the Asheville Police Department.

Sean Harvey [00:07:09]:

There’s a video that I received, and then it was Post George Floyd, there was a there was a Black Lives Matter protest. Police were called in. They destroyed a medic tent. They made national news, and this was a Call to reform the department and if if members of the community wanted to be part of police reform efforts. I emailed the next day because in seminar, they say when you hear the call, you say yes no matter what, even if you don’t think you’re qualified. But because of my credentials and my background, that led to a 1 on 1 with the chief of police. And In our conversation, he asked me 2 things. He had 2 asks.

Sean Harvey [00:07:42]:

Can I help him deepen the level of compassion for his officers? And can I create conversations between community members and officers that humanize each other for a new relationship going forward? And I said yes It’s what I do. And that ask led to a group of us finding each other. And the, you know, members of the FBI, Someone on our team is the former head of the FBI National Academy at Quantico, military officers, culture experts, masculinity folks, And we all came together and formed this national initiative. And as I had started coming into the men’s work and started to see that this was My area, you know, working with police, military, defense, and working with really, when I left Asheville moved to DC, and everyone that was reaching out to me, they were they were operating they were working in hypermasculine systems. So police, military, the NFL, all of these places that you could consider male dominated, traditionally masculine or hypermasculine, And really bringing this message of compassion into the fold. And I think at the at the root of of the healing, you call it soul healing, you call it compassionate healing, What is how to help men deepen their level of compassion?

Christopher Lewis [00:08:59]:

Let’s talk about that a little bit because sometimes for men, words can be triggering When you talk about being vulnerable, being compassionate, using some words can throw up roadblocks in front of us As men. And some of that comes from the way that we grew up. Some of it’s society. There’s lots of different pieces. So Talk to me about in the work that you do, either 1 on 1 or with groups. How do you start to break down those barriers that those words potentially Can build so that you get to the inner core and the inner person underneath.

Sean Harvey [00:09:43]:

So I would agree that these words can be triggering, and I’m very intentional about the language I use. And because I believe Language can be used to reclaim and reframe. And so if it is trigger triggering or activating, I get curious about what that’s about. But at the same time, I I think part of it, For me, that allows me to come into the spaces is is is a combination of energy, the energy I bring in, the invitation I offer, The approach that I take and my story. And I’ve been able to go to some of the Craziest communities or or or wildest communities where I would not expect to be received, and I’m able to be Dave, I’m able to be heard. In the probably 7 years 7 or 8 years I’ve been doing this, not 1 person has ever objected to what I’m saying. I’ve never gotten feed pushback on the message. And I think part of that is my approach.

Sean Harvey [00:10:41]:

I think part of that is that I speak to the yearning of men that they can’t articulate. And I think it’s something that men are often craving yearning yearning for. And then when given the right that they can hear, there’s a receptivity. I found early on, it’s not about the head on collision. It’s the drive by. When I’ve gone to the direct jugular of the issue, That doesn’t usually bring bring folks in. But if there’s an opening that guys can see themselves in and I think where we are, especially because I I am a I am a queer, progressive New Yorker who works with conservatives and then the right wing echo chamber. And I work with From conservatives to white nationalists and far right extremists on their healing work.

Sean Harvey [00:11:26]:

And the common thing I hear is that they find me nonthreatening, and they feel safe opening up. So that becomes less about the words I use and more the environment I create For them to be able to feel safe enough to be able to start to explore. And I and I think the other pieces and I I think a lot of a lot of what I’ve seen And a lot of this type of work is someone showing you the way, which I think can we’re like a man to constrict. This is the way to be a man. This is what manhood is. This is the definition of masculinity, and I don’t do any of that. I come from a place of I mean, as a professor, I was always using Socratic method. I’m just Always asking the questions.

Sean Harvey [00:12:07]:

And I believe this is more of an inquiry that for each man to define The definitions for himself based on his own experience, and, also, this is really the work of helping him find his own truth, Not for him to acquiesce to a narrative or a truth that defines sin, where we’ve had enough folks Giving us in a society, giving us definitions of the should, of how we should be. And I am always saying, let’s just break the script and say, alright. So Who are you? And those sorts of things, I think, just create openings for the conversation and also is has to do a lot of bridge building across the conservative and progressive divides. And coming in without an agenda has opened a lot of doors to be able to have those types of conversations.

Christopher Lewis [00:12:56]:

So one of the things I probably should have asked at the beginning is that you work on healing. Define for me what your definition of healing is and why the men that you’re working with or many men may need some healing in their life.

Sean Harvey [00:13:14]:

When I was writing the book and we were coming up with the title, the book was written out of out of a program at Georgetown. And we talked about this, that For a lot of men, they’re hearing the message that they have to change because something’s broken. They’re broken. Something’s broken. And we, you know, we said, no. That’s not what it is. Many men are wounded because we’re human. The challenge is a lot of us are wounded, but we don’t have access to the healing.

Sean Harvey [00:13:40]:

We don’t have access to the ways of connecting, reaching out for self care. When we look at the rates of suicide addiction, violence, Depression, trauma. The numbers for men are are continue to rise and are typically Double or triple more than women. And at the same time, when we start to look at them for police and and military and vets, Those numbers even go higher. And so I think it’s that the healing is and what I I define it in the book, healing our our unmet needs, Our limiting beliefs and our shadow. And the traumas we’ve experienced, the wounds that we faced from early in in our lives as well as Things that happen or the experiences we’ve had in our lives that we just keep going and and don’t deal with it, don’t dwell on it, And don’t give attention to it and think that everything will be fine. And the reality is it carries with us. So my book really reflects my healing journey, and then I really dissected all the different components from my healing journey That I can be think could be helpful for men could be anything from connecting to nature, finding community with men, Learn relearning how to play to, you know, ex exploring psychedelics, healing the inner child wounds, healing the You know, the list goes on and on of what I incorporate into the book, but it’s really just offering a road map of these are different ways you can think about Healing, and you can really be in an inquiry for yourself of what’s gonna help you discover your own truth beyond the protective layers that you’ve created From conditioning and life in general.

Christopher Lewis [00:15:20]:

I know you work with all types of men. Some are fathers, some are not. For the men that you work with that Our fathers, how do you find that this work helps them to be Either more engaged or more present or more themselves within that family dynamic.

Sean Harvey [00:15:40]:

I think it’s the first thing I said about How what men say how they were transformed Ryan Fisher. They become more patient. They’re more patient with their kids. They’re more patient with their wives or or partners. They listen differently with with a different level of of understanding. They have an ability to self manage their anger. They’re more reflective. And, Ultimately, I believe this work is about deepening your own.

Sean Harvey [00:16:03]:

When we talk about deepening compassion, what what I’m really talking about 1st, starting with your own self compassion. And, ultimately, what this book is about is helping men learn to love in a new way from and, I just gave a sermon last week. It was called From Love With Conditions to Unconditional Love. And when you can move from an intellectualized version of love with conditions To a visceral experience of unconditional love, that’s gonna have a ripple effect in your family and for everyone in your family.

Christopher Lewis [00:16:31]:

We’ve been talking about the the book that is out now, Warrior Compassion unleashing the healing power of men. And I know in that book, it is a guided journey. It’s It’s talking about your own experience, but also the work that you’ve been doing. As you are putting this book out in the world, I know how much time and effort it takes to write a book. I’ve I am an author. I know that it is a passion project for many, many hours and many, many weeks and months and sometimes years. So as you put this out into the world, what is your biggest hope in regard to those that are reading this and what you want them to take out of the book.

Sean Harvey [00:17:13]:

I see this as an on ramp for men to come into the bigger picture of How we’re transforming society and that an organization development practitioner by training systems thinker. When I look at when I see the world that is crumbling before us and the systems that are crumbling around us, the oppressive systems, that this is an on ramp for more men to be part of the conversation. This is an on ramp For men and women and those beyond the binary to be able to come together in new ways and solve problems deeper and Solve problems in a new way from a level of deeper consciousness and collective wisdom. To get to that place of deeper consciousness and where love is at the root of How we reframe systems, being able to have more men engaged in that by doing their own work, doing their healing work. Because I think right now what we have is society of a lot of men in power who are holding on to power from a place of wounding, not a place of healing. And so, ultimately, that has been my driver for all of us and for us to be able to get to a place of moving from fear based control to love based liberation in the ways that our systems Some institutions operate in the world.

Christopher Lewis [00:18:20]:

One of the things that comes to mind as I think about this work is that for many men, it may be that They don’t know where to start, and they know that something needs to change. And in the book, I’m sure that there are some specific steps. But If there’s one thing that you would want men to start doing right now as they look at their own life, As they look at the lives that they have with people around them, what’s one thing that they should start doing today or that they can Start implementing today within their own life that can help move them and move the needle in that positive direction.

Sean Harvey [00:19:02]:

Yeah. I always say that the 1st step, and it’s the 1st step I outlined in the book, find a community of men where you feel safe going deep and that the the group of men can hold each other and Ugly crying in front of each other. Because I think the biggest you know, when we talked earlier, what’s one of the the big healing needs? And I think One of the biggest epidemics in our society, in in Western culture in the US, specifically, is isolation and loneliness for men in general. You know, certain general’s reports just came out. We have epidemic of loneliness in our country. And what I find is We’re this is really moving from disconnection, isolation, loneliness to deeper connection, intimacy, and love. And one of the first places we can start is by coming into community with other men and breaking down these ideas that we are the only ones Suffering or struggling with x and giving voice to the suffering that men are experiencing in silence. And so by just Coming into community and having the deeper types of conversations, either joining a men’s group or there’s a lot up here.

Sean Harvey [00:20:07]:

Philadelphia, a lot of guys I know, we go hiking on a regular basis, and it’s just an opportunity to connect, to share. And then everything else kind of can start to come in when you just start to name what’s been unspoken in your own life and hear from others who are doing the same and realizing that You have more in common with more men than maybe you’ve imagined.

Christopher Lewis [00:20:28]:

Yeah. That’s what one of the reasons that we have the fathering together communities that we have is to bring men together to allow for them to be vulnerable, to allow for them to make community. But I will say that there are many other groups that are out there that you can join that will give you that small group mentality where you don’t won’t get that in a Dads With Daughters by Father and Together Facebook community that has a 130,000 members. Right? But For some people, you know, being in a large group is a step 2. So finding your tribe, finding that group, finding the people around you that you’re Comfortable with that you are willing to go deeper with is important because I think I know even personally that many Of the things that we talk about, many of the people that we we surround ourselves with are very surface level. Even as you get into being a father, That tends to be the case. You talk about the positive things. It’s that Facebook effect, and you don’t always go Deep and really talk about the things that you’re struggling with. But if you have even 1 person, 2 people that you can rely on, that you can go to and and check yourself. It’s so important. And it is such a Release for yourself to have someone outside of your family that you can talk to and say, you know, I don’t know if I’m doing this right or not Because we don’t have to. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. As a father, as a man, you don’t have to do this alone. You can surround yourself with other people. That’ll help you.

Sean Harvey [00:22:07]:

I wanna add to what you just said though, when you said for you as the man to check. I think the other part of it is when you find that other men are checking in on you. You I find that that’s one of the most powerful things when you realize someone else is looking out for you and someone else is checking in and you’re on someone else’s radar when It can be very easy to feel like you’re all alone.

Christopher Lewis [00:22:28]:

Such a true thing. I have done that with with people around me, and it’s not people that specifically that I’ve said, hey. I’m gonna check-in on you, but it’s just calling out and saying, hey. What’s going on? How are you doing? And Every time I do it, I mean, it seems like it’s appreciated, and you never know where the conversation’s gonna go. But But I think that it’s, it’s a powerful thing that and it’s a gift that you really give to others when you get when you do ask that and you Give them the opportunity to unload a little bit in that way. Well, Sean, I just wanna say thank you. Thank you for this, for what you’re doing, for this Project that you’re putting that you have started and this book that you’ve put out there. If people wanna find out more about you, about the book, Where’s the best place for them to go?

Sean Harvey [00:23:16]:

I think the the easiest is go to my website, warrior compassion.com. If you wanna get the book, it’s easy to find it on Amazon. So we’re compassion, unleashing the healing power of men, and then you can you can find me through the website. You can you can get the book on Amazon, and everything that you’ll need is there.

Christopher Lewis [00:23:33]:

Oh, Sean, thank you. Thank you for the work that you’re doing, for engaging all of us men in these conversations, pushing us Out of our comfort zone a little bit here to think about things in different ways, to challenge us in many different ways, and I wish you all the best.

Sean Harvey [00:23:49]:

Alright. Thank you so much. It’s great to be here.

Christopher Lewis [00:23:51]:

If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode of the Dads with Daughters podcast, we invite you to check out the Fatherhood Insider. The fatherhood insider is the essential resource for any dad that wants to be the best dad that he can be. We know that no child Comes with an instruction manual, and most dads are figuring it out as they go along. And the fatherhood insider is full of resources and information That will up your game on fatherhood. Through our extensive course library, interactive forum, step by step road maps, And more. You will engage and learn with experts, but more importantly, dads like you. So check it out at fathering together …org. If you are a father of a daughter and have not yet joined the Dads with Daughters Facebook community, there’s a link in the notes today.

Christopher Lewis [00:24:37]:

Dads with Daughters is a program of fathering together. We look forward to having you back for another great guest next week, all geared to helping you raise strong, empowered daughters And be the best dad that you can be.

Christopher Lewis [00:24:49]:

We’re all in the same boat, And it’s full of tiny screaming passengers. We spend the time. We give the lessons. We make the meals. We buy them presents. Bring your AK because those kids are growing fast. The Time goes by just like a dynamite blast calling astronauts and firemen, carpenters,

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Christopher Lewis


Christopher is the co-founder of Fathering Together and the Chief Information Officer. He is the father of 2 daughters that are now in their tweens and teens. He started Dad of Divas, a blog to share his own personal experiences in being a father in 2007 and in 2018 started the Dads With Daughters Facebook Group to allow dads to connect, learn and grow together. He works in Digital Media on a daily basis, but also has over 20 years of experience in higher education administration.

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