Every day we have the opportunity to embark on a hero's journey; often we do and don't realize it. Sometimes that journey can occur in a matter of hours, sometimes it spans the years. If you ever find yourself in dark places, confused and afraid, unsure if you are worthy, know that you have been gifted with your own journey; look for the signs, accept the help, embrace the ordeal because upon your rebirth, upon your transformation and atonement you will have a gift for yourself, and through you, a gift for the world.
When I consider deeply the process of my imagination as a child I get a feeling of digging deep in to its physicality, injecting it with my creation and being bounced back out in the blink of an eye. Little ugly doll wrestlers are all of a sudden in a battle royale. The stick is now a rifle. The undercover agents are going to pull off a coup. The secret spy cave base is only navigable by its operatives. My feet as they land underwater and throw up clouds of sand are the feet of a giant tramping over an alien world. The currents of the river are the currents of the wind and I am flying through a vast canyon.
These worlds were beautiful and precious and timeless and my windows in to them seemed so short. This piece reminds me.... of the essence and simplicity of the creative act. How everything gets so complicated but at its root it is just the flow. Dive in, jump out. Play.
This is truly one of the most evocative, scathing, humourous articles I've had the pleasure of reading:
"So where you see a world in which males dominate the boards of the Fortune 500, and own Congress, and sit at the head of all but a handful of the world's nations, men see themselves as utterly helpless. Because all of those powerful people only became powerful because they heard that women like power.
This is really the heart of it, right here. This is why no amount of male domination will ever be enough, why no level of control or privilege or female submission will ever satisfy us. We can put you under a burqa, we can force you out of the workplace -- it won't matter. You're still all we think about, and that gives you power over us. And we resent you for it."
I am a member and huge believer in the Mankind Project and its initiation experience, the New Warrior Training Adventure. The processes and understandings I gained during my weekend showed me how to plant my feet firmly on the ground as a man among men and every day since then I sit more in my power. The following is an email that was passed through the MKP community in regards to getting men on board for the next NWTA in our area. Camp Pringle, Shawnigan Lake, BC in April of 2012. With Boyson Hodgson's permission I am offering this as an excellent window in to the MKP process:
Someone asked me the other day what I needed around marketing in the project ...
My answer to him was that I needed more men willing to drop the shame and take a stand for the work we do.
Here is what that means to me:
You CAN'T understand the NWTA until you attend it.
You CAN'T compare your other experiences, because there isn't another one like it.
There are many imitations. There are many organization that try to do what we do without going as far as we are willing to go.
The power of the NWTA is that we took a stand ---- that we would be the ones to push the boundaries and challenge a man's comfort zones ---- even KNOWING that we would piss him off. We ask a man to go to the edge and often beyond it and STAY THERE until he gets what he came to get. We ask a man to do whatever it takes in a culture that only asks for what a man 'is comfortable with'. That is the gift. As uncomfortable, ridiculous and sometimes cheesy as I may think it is, the gift of the NWTA is that it takes men to a place where every lesson can be relearned, where wounds can be healed, and where a man can find his voice after unpacking all the bullshit he keeps in his life to cover it up.
And the NWTA is NOT the 'end-all, be-all' of personal growth. [we shouldn't pretend it is!] There are lots of experiences that will help a man grow and deepen his wisdom, abilities and tools. But I would submit that the NWTA is Emotional Manhood 101, it is the PREREQUISITE training that will help a man access his own personal store of power, power that will take him anywhere he wants to go. The NWTA is a foundation for personal growth. Its intensity means a whole lot less time wasted down the road doing remedial work. When you learn how far you can actually push yourself - surrounded by other men - when you learn what you are capable of feeling through your entire being - and can share it with other men - then you are in the best position possible for YOUR next step.
I was doing 400 level reading before I did the NWTA. I had done other workshops, been in therapy, been in groups, I had 'gotten it' a dozen times. And yet I still hadn't learned some absolute fundamentals to growing into mature manhood ... because the 400 level courses can't teach them.
Because they CAN'T be taught without the kind of cauldron that we build for the NWTA. No Guru can match it. Tony Robbins can't touch it. And G*d can't answer our prayers for it. It takes a community of men. It take A LOT of men. Messed up, beautiful, wounded, brilliant, mature, childish, growing men willing to stand firm and assist other men. It takes men willing to look one another in the eye when it is REALLY hard to do so, men who have heard everything shameful and hidden that a man tries to hide. Men who have seen other men collapse and be reborn.
That is the NWTA. We are not perfected beings. We're not a church, a club. or a 'secret' cult.
We're the container that will hold any putrid, bubbling, poisonous potion of manhood and help it to transform into something sustaining and nurturing.
We're the container that will hold any golden elixir of empowered and compassionate humanity and help it shine and be shared with the world.
And if a man is willing to complete his initiation ... which means coming BACK from the experience and taking a place in a community of men with continuing commitment to his own self-discovery and responsibility ... then we DO change the world.
As one of our pioneers in this work has said often ... it's time to grow the fuck up.
Time to stop pampering ourselves and each other.
Time to stop letting our culture of toxic masculinity off the hook.
Time to stop expecting that someone else is going to step up and teach the next generations of boys what it means to be mature men.
Time to stop letting ourselves off the hook in our own immaturity, denial and ignorance.
Time to stop hiding out ashamed of what we ourselves needed in order to heal and grow.
Growing up means going beyond what I'm comfortable with.
Like a first bike crash, a first fight, a first fall, a first broken bone - it's painful, sometimes it's bloody, and it leaves a scar.
New Warriors are willing to be wounded - knowing that their lessons come from their wounds.
My scars teach me and remind me, remind me what I am capable of.
So when will we stop hiding out in shame about what we experienced from Friday to Sunday?
Love and Service,
Here's a picture of the men who were part of my NWTA. I count every one of them as a brother who I can get real with right now.
Photo by Cyrene Hokanson
"'the father is the first human being in a child’s life who either chooses them, or not …’ and this single archetypal crossroads has deep impacts over the course of a person’s life, for men and women"