3.31.2005

A Different Journey

OK, so part of my mission in bringing ManKind Project to the world is to grab bits from the Internet and comment or present them to you for your review. My intention is to share my view of the NWTA and MKP. I would not be complete if I did not address the things I find on the Internet that are simply not true about NWTA.

I found this in a description for a Yahoo Group:

ex-mkp
32 Members, Archives: Membership required
"This group is for help and support of men coming out of the ManKind Project and have gone through the NWTA New Warrior Training Adventure. MKP is a neo pagan group that actually performs WICCA witchcraft rituals among other things. Many men have been scared of their NWTA experience and afraid to leave MKP. This group is for their help."

I almost laughed when I read this. But then I got to what is real about this for me. These men did not get what I got from the NWTA . I got something these 32 men did not get. I got a place to be me, not the pretend me that I have shown to the world to be accepted. The real me, who honors others for their differing views. So, I honor that these men did not get what I got. To wish that they had would be to wish their journey was like mine. That would be selfish of me, and maybe a bit ignorant. I can't be the judge of what these men need in their journeys. I do believe that they got what they needed for their soul, in this time and place.

So, I must say, I can attest that there is no wicca witchcraft on the weekend. I can attest that MKP is not a neo-pagan group. MKP is not any one thing. 33,000 men have done the training; I don't see how one could label it as one entity. I see that each man in MKP is an individual working on his own soul and life in his own way. Just like the men in ex-mkp.

I was, at many times, on the weekend, "scared;" it wasn't from any witchcraft or wicca activity. It was from facing my truths about my life that I had not faced before.

One last thing, anyone can leave anytime they want. There's nothing to leave or stay in. Simple.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

3.11.2005

Spiritual Men for the New Millennium

An telling article by Jay Harden, Knowing Hawk.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

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Spiritual Men for the New Millennium
by Jay Harden, Knowing Hawk

The gizmos of technology keep coming at us. These marvelous, magical toys engage our minds with the world, but not our hearts. We men, their creators, reason that these are safe ways of dealing with the unrelenting speed and stress of today. At the same time, our spirits search for another kind of tool, an inner one that we can carry always and use to balance our lives. How do we men, who make the machines, keep in touch with the spirit we drew upon to create them? How do we men stay in touch with each other on a human level in this intensive electronic age? New Warrior is one answer and it has, at last, arrived in Georgia.

I've always admired Henry David Thoreau (Walden), who longed for the simplicity of life. He proclaimed "Men have become the tools of their tools." That was in 1854! How could he have known about cell phones and the Internet?

I do love my toys with all their switches, buttons, sounds, and images, but they pull me toward the machinery of life instead of the living of it. I don't want to misuse them to escape and stay comfortably numb. I want balance for myself and for my children and grandchildren who look to me for guidance."

My toys helped me realize I wanted to change my life. I was seeking a life of passion, with no more regret. I wanted to grow spiritually, become stronger, and stop running from my fears. What I really wanted was a way to heal myself so I could live deliberately in the present as Thoreau apparently did and "not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." I found all of this, plus the gift of brotherhood, in the men's movement known as New Warrior.

New Warrior is an order of men who reclaim the sacred masculine through integrity, accountability, feeling, and action in the world. We are a voice for men's spirits and the natural warrior energy repressed today by stress and its accomplices, like our gizmos.

Robert Bly got it right in 1982 when he said that men can only learn about true manhood from other men. The decline of male mentors in our society and the increasing number of boys raised exclusively by women threaten our families and our future.

New Warrior is an honest brotherhood where we can learn and teach each other the endangered ways of masculine growth, a brotherhood that is not elite, but all inclusive. New Warrior excludes no man and seeks diversity in faith, age, color, class, sexual orientation, ability, ethnicity, and nationality.

New Warrior is unique. We conduct a weekend initiation into sacred masculinity that we call the New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA), then offer weekly meetings (I-Groups) to integrate what was learned.

The New Warrior initiation training is based on the hero's journey of mythology and Jungian archetypes. During the weekend, we also use rituals of manhood from the spiritual traditions of Native Americans. There are no required beliefs and no one is forced to do anything. It is a weekend of adventure, games, challenges, and growth. Bly's best advice was for men to go home and form their own groups. After the weekend, we create local I - Groups where we learn how to communicate, how to act in integrity, how to confront fear, how to be personally accountable, how to connect to our feelings, and how to create healthier choices in our lives.

Because of my New Warrior experience, I am more honest with myself and others. I know how to confront the fears I carry inside. Life is clearer to me. I am able to stand in my own power more than ever and safely reveal the real me, all of me, including my beauty, my shadows, my magical child, my wise sage, and, of course, my internal warrior. For me, it is a great personal victory.

Is New Warrior for you? Only you can decide. Yet, I do know what kind of man seeks us out. He is a man who is looking for something important and is ready to find it. He is there to find a better way of being a man. He is there for himself, not someone else.

Three men founded New Warrior in 1985, training eighteen initiates. Today, there are over 15,000 New Warriors and twenty - three training centers in the United States,Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. Some New Warrior I - Groups have been meeting continuously for ten years.

Here is the best news of all. The first ever New Warrior Training Adventure in Georgia will be held the weekend of November 10 - 12, 2000 at Camp Allatoona, north of Atlanta. Enrollment is limited to thirty men for this historic weekend.

We men need to care for ourselves so we can care for the world. We need to be connected, balance our joy of toys, and love ourselves more. New Warrior does that, one man at a time. The time is now and the place is Georgia.

3.08.2005

Rites of Passage

Martin Brossman writes about initiation and the NWTA.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

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Rites of Passage: an excerpt from Martin Brossman's upcoming book, 'Finding Our Fire'

After reading Robert Bly’s Iron John in the early ’90’s, I wondered if our American society contained any meaningful rite of passage from boyhood to manhood. I started my search at about the same time I began my career as a Personal Coach because I knew that if we could identify a meaningful rite of passage the results would surely be useful for my clients. I began to realize the lack of evidence of this “element” and to understand the trouble it was causing in the lives of male clients and their partners.

Finding natural and constructive rites of passage was as important to me then as it is now. I believe that men today would greatly benefit from reconnecting to the noble initiation into manhood that was once a natural stage of growth which is present in Native American and other cultures. Drawing upon the fairy tale that describes the archetypal issues of men, Bly says only older men in a society effectively initiate younger men into manhood, and that both the older and younger need this process for their own personal development. According to Bly, a father is too emotionally close to his son to do the job. The assistance of other men in the community is necessary.

Our society has accepted initiation by peers: whether into college fraternities, athletic teams, or the dangerous and destructive initiation into street gangs. These often cruel affairs are not true rites of passage. True rites of passage can occur only when “elders” interact appropriately with the young men who are to be brought into the mature association with older men. The little-known essence of the process is that the men who participate in an initiation enter into a kind of initiation themselves. When the older men bless the younger men, something grows as well within those who give the blessing. Initiation is also mentoring in a special way.

In my years in men’s work, I have learned that initiation takes many forms. Although there is no one right way or right time, only masculinity can grant masculinity. Too long we men have turned to women to initiate us into masculine maturity. In truth, it is really up to us as men. Meanwhile many women are tired of trying to do a job that should be that of a man—introducing a boy into manhood. One of my clients, a single mother of a teenage boy, told me she felt great relief when she admitted she could not effectively mentor her son by herself. She happily worked with me when I found responsible men in the community to provide the mentoring role missing in her son’s life.

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Dr. SETI's New Warrior Page

Dr. H. Paul Shuch's experience on the NWTA.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

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"Like many men of the Alan Alda generation, I was an early feminist and ardent supporter of women's causes, who endeavored to nurture my own feminine side. I prided myself in becoming more compassionate, soft, caring and giving, and inevitably lost something of my own masculinity along the way. I had become what psychologist, author and lecturer Terrance Real (seen at left, addressing a men's retreat) calls a SNAG (Sensitive New-Age Guy). My wife said that if my feminine side were any more fully developed, I'd lactate.

In a sense that was good; I had excised the violent and aggressive instincts which I believed responsible for the worst our society has to offer. But something positive was missing as well: the drive to use my own masculine power for the good of the community. I, who had once worked alongside Martin Luther King, ridden the freedom buses to Montgomery and marched on Washington, who had fought a war in the far east and raced sports cars to glory, was becoming passive. In middle age I discovered I was no longer a doer, but a watcher.

I first became aware of the Men's Movement through Bill Moyers' 1989 PBS special 'A Gathering of Men.' That program emphasized the poetry of Robert Bly (seen here at a recent Men's Gathering), the mythopoetic literature of Joseph Campbell, Grimm's Iron John fairy tale and the exuberance of Native American drumming and dance. And the men's movement is indeed these, but far more. I learned how much more by surviving the New Warrior Training Adventure.

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3.04.2005

One Man at a Time, by Barbara Marlowe and Jeffrey Goldwasser

I find this to be an excellent article on what the New Warrior Training Adventure looks like from a female perspective.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

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One Man at a Time

by Barbara Marlowe and Jeffrey Goldwasser


What woman hasn’t wished that men would just go off somewhere and fix themselves? Take care of their own business and learn how to feel? Become better husbands, fathers, brothers or lovers? Grow up and at long last, nurture that hurt little boy inside?

What would it be like to love such a man? To watch him grow and change and define new ways of being a man? To watch him become fierce and strong, loving and open? What challenges would women face if men really changed?

The Mankind Project (MKP) and New Warrior Training Adventure is an international men’s networking group that offers men a unique opportunity to focus on deep self-examination with integrity, accountability and connection to feeling. The mission of the Mankind Project is to change the world one man at a time.

We asked New Warriors in the Asheville area and the women who love them to speak about the challenges and rewards of MKP. For the men: What led you to men’s work? Are you different as a man because of the work? How did changing as a man affect your relationships? For the women: What feelings have you had about MKP? What changes have you observed in your loved one? Have their changes as men challenged your notion of how to be a woman?

Background

The Mankind Project and New Warrior Training Adventure started in Milwaukee in the mid-eighties and grew directly out of the feminist movement. Jeffrey Goldwasser initiated the Asheville group in 1999. Having been active in a strong New Warrior community in New England for six years, Jeffrey felt a void when he moved to Asheville and found no MKP. It was after his brother died and he felt depleted and needing men that Jeffrey decided to reach out. He found three other New Warriors and together they started an Asheville MKP. The group has since grown into a vibrant and active community with over 30 men whose age ranges from the late twenties to early seventies.

Participation in MKP begins with the New Warrior Training Adventure, a weekend for men that draws upon Joseph Campbell’s cross cultural research regarding initiation rights of men in indigenous cultures. Using the stages of separation, descent, ordeal and welcoming back into a community, the New Warrior training focuses on deep self examination, and asks the questions: What is it to be a man in today’s world? What is your mission in life? Do you live a life of integrity and accountability? Does your life work?

Veterans of war have eloquently described the powerful bonds that form between men as they fight together against a common enemy. However, bonding experiences that occur during such destruction are at the same time wounding and can cause “a man’s heart to close as soon as it opens.” By contrast, Steve - an Asheville Warrior of seven-years, states, “something different happens when a man’s heart is cracked open in a container like New Warriors Training that is just beautiful”. Claire remembers seeing her husband right after he completed the New Warrior’s weekend: “ The minute I saw him, I knew how good it was for him. He looked like he was in love with himself.” This common initiation experience founded both in challenge and healing helps men to form a bond that most often leads to continued growth and opening. The initiation is what attracts many men to MKP.

After a man completes the weekend he is welcomed back to the MKP community and invited to participate in an on-going men’s circle called an Integration Group. It is here that men can continue their inner work, be supported, support others and keep their hearts open. The MKP has initiated more than 27,000 men. What started out as a weekend in Milwaukee is now an international organization with centers in the U.S.,
Canada, London, Australia, South Africa and Germany.

Why New Warrior

There are common themes as to why each man who is now an Asheville New Warrior sought out “men’s work”: lack of close male friends, the opportunity to find new models of being a man and the desire to find a place where “fierceness is welcomed”. Men often feel isolated, knowing that their lives aren’t working and not knowing where to turn. For some men, MKP is the first self-help they have ever sought out other than a program like AA. For others, MKP was the next step in an ongoing process of personal and spiritual growth. Still others approached the work with a political consciousness as part of a broader world-centric healing.

The commitment to heal with other men is at the core of MKP’s strength and a large part of its draw. Not having to explain themselves and not having to censor strong displays of emotion are important aspects of a male-only healing space. Yet for men with abusive fathers, initially learning to be with men as equals is challenging. “I was scared to death of men,” says Jim, a New Warrior of eight years. Without exception, the New Warriors we spoke to highly value their strong and intimate connections with men. Christopher, a New Warrior of eight years, sums it up by saying that he “used to, in a time of stress or depression, reach out predominately to women. Now I reach out to men.”

While women may wish for men to go off and fix themselves, the reality may also be threatening. Initial concerns many women held in common centered on what their spouses would say about them in group meetings, the confidentiality of that information, and what the other men would think of them. In reality, all the women we spoke with agreed that the men of MKP have only treated them with the “utmost respect”. “The men’s group is pretty cool,” sums up one woman.

Changes

MKP emphasizes ‘shadow work’, a process that recognizes the parts of one’s self that are repressed or denied. New Warriors are encouraged to look deeper and to explore their truth without blame, judgment or shame. At the same time, each man is held accountable for his judgments and projections by a loving band of brothers, each having committed himself to becoming whole. “New Warriors is a path of commitment to change, serious but wonderful.”

Being responsible to knowing one’s truth and communicating that responsibly is a cornerstone of the principles of MKP. Learning to express anger cleanly and directly, becoming comfortable with setting boundaries and saying no when you mean no are important lessons. In weekly Integration groups, men learn to recognize behaviors that are controlling and critical, encouraging not the suppression of these parts but rather their integration so men are free to make choices and to not act out in hurtful ways. David W., a New Warrior of almost three years, is clear now: “it’s not the other person's responsibility if I’m angry.”

Calm strength. Tender masculinity. “Owning my balls”. Responsible fierceness. New Warrior. MKP helps each man to take responsibility for their personal power and become the man he was meant to be had he not been wounded or indoctrinated by family and society. “MKP enabled me to step into my power and to appreciate that vulnerability is part of power.” “MKP has enabled me to show up more as a man and integrate traditional male energies that I had previously rebelled against as destructive.”

The proof is in the pudding and there was remarkable consistency in the women’s observations of the men’s stories. Everyone we interviewed said they had witnessed the men they love open up emotionally and come from the heart more instead of the head. Accountability and integrity? New Warriors appear to walk their talk. Jillian witnesses her husband becoming more honest with himself. Tirell sees her husband become more able to speak his truth vs. people pleasing. Claire continues to see her husband grow and become more balanced with an open heart and integrity.

Relationships

Everyone, men and women alike, agree that becoming a New Warrior changes how men relate to themselves and others both at home and in the world. Several men attribute MKP to helping them to be ready for and to attract a new partner. The men already in relationships—and their partners—agreed that while sometimes the changes have been challenging, they also have served to ultimately strengthen the relationships. For a few, the changes may have contributed to a shaky relationship ending.

David N., a Warrior of over three years, gained self-confidence and the clarity of what in life was important to him; that in turn enabled him to attract his new wife. Barbara is clear that part of her attraction to David was his involvement with a men’s group that examined new ways of being a man.

Change is often messy. Couples in relationship agree that even positive growth brings its challenges. Peeling off ‘nice’ patterns of relating can rock the boat. As much as women may want their men to come more from the heart or to show up more as men, it can be hard not to guide the process. “While there have been times the support he gets from the men feels adversarial, they have also provided us an opportunity to push further and reach even better understandings,” says Di, who also wishes she had a group of her own that was so committed to change. Although not officially affiliated, Woman Within shares a similar mission to the Mankind Project. (womanwithin.org) Couples may find they need to learn new paradigms of relating and to trust where continued growth will take them. Integrity and accountability enhance a relationship and allow each partner to live more fully in the truth of who they are.

Some New Warriors have become separated and divorced. We asked two men and one soon to be ex-wife what, if any, connections there were between the changes made through MKP and the ending of the relationship. No one attributed the ending to MKP; in fact all spoke positively of how MKP provided support and skills to cope with the loss.

Fathers

Without question, New Warriors become better fathers by being more willing and able to open the door to their children and listen without jumping to judgment or action. Mark, a New Warrior of one and one half years, asked his 15-year-old daughter what changes she had seen in him since MKP. She replied that there was more space now between incident and action. Her father was taking more time to think and reflect before jumping in to be the leader. Jim echoed themes from other men who were abused as children and now are parents when he says that he brings his wounds to MKP to re-parent himself versus acting out the abuse with his children.

Challenges for Women
On the whole, women feel very positive about MKP. Initially for some women, there had been fear that MKP would be disempowering for them as women or take too much time away from the family. There were a few rocky starts but these issues seemed to dissipate over time. Indeed, it appears that women appreciate men greatly as they change and become more open, more authentic and more accountable. “Women tend to come from more of an emotional heart space and as men change towards that direction, we have more in common to share.” One woman confided: “as I trust his maleness and how he expresses it, it enables me to be more feminine.”

We end with an interesting paradox. Is it possible that as New Warriors help to heal the world one man at a time, women too will be challenged? Imagine new paradigms where with integrity and accountability, men and women together can let go of righteous reactive emotions, old wounds and assumptions? Embrace and explore new ways of being a man and what that means? What it means to be a woman? And with abandon, shall femininity and masculinity finally learn to dance the divine?

Barbara Marlowe recently announced the opening of InbodyMe: Explorations on the Healing’s Edge. [ 828-298-6579 bmarlowe@atlascare.net ]

Jeffrey Goldwasser is a Chiropractor in Sylva. The Asheville Mankind Project is hosting open Men’s Groups in October. The next New Warriors Training is scheduled in December. For more information contact Jeffrey at 828-627-8494.