12.01.2006

Burnt

The blog post below reflects a man's experience with the New Warrior Training Adventure and the ManKind Project.

I share it with you.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

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From Burnt, by Joshua Bailes

I have been burnt. Not by flaming heat or electrical current, but by the presence of God in and among my life. Burnt by watching other men confront their shame and by confronting my own. Burnt by the struggle and adventure that comes with crossing into my own shadow and finding God there.

All of this has taken place within the context of the ManKind Project http://www.mkp.org. This is a group of men from all over the world who choose to take responsibility for their actions and emotions. Men who choose to feel. Men who choose to create their own reality rather than being battered at the mecry of the waves of others emotions and suffering. Men who choose to meet their shadow rather than being controlled by it. These are men.

It began in March 2006 at the New Warrior Training Adventure. There I faced my shame through role play, group visualizations, and reflection. I came away changed. Now, I weekly work in a small group to express my emotions and work through my shadow so that I might hold up the gold that is within.

I invite all men who read this to check out the organization. I invite all of you to come polish your gold and find out what life is like when shame is no longer a boundary to feeling and living. To find out what it is to be free and be man.

Below is my mission and my affirmation. Come and find yours too.

My mission is to create a world of love by accepting.

My shadow mission is to create a world of hate by rejecting and judging.

As a man among men I accept.

11.22.2006

Thanksgiving 2006

I am thankful for:

My family; my three girls & my partner/wife
Being a dad; something I cherish and highly recommend
My home in a safe town
My job
My new hearing aid
Breathing
Time to make change
My MKP New Warrior brothers who support me and grow with me
Four Stone Circle iGroup on Thursday nights
Being alive
MKP men who give of their time and pay to staff NWTAs
Men who choose to live in a conscious way
Blogs
Wolves

I hope you find time to sit with what you are thankful for. I hope you take the time to look at what you have that works, and what you have that doesn't. Maybe one day I will meet you at an NWTA or in an iGroup or at an MKP gathering of men. I look forward to that.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

11.21.2006

Only Men Can Help Other Men Learn How to be a Man



Got 2 1/2 minutes to hear about the ManKind Project? This is a video post from a New Warrior using YouTube.com to get his story out to the world.

Click here to see the video (if you can't see it above).

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

11.16.2006

So Long, Brother, for Now

By brother, Scott Allan Maynard, passed back into Spiritworld on Saturday night. He was 45. His heart failed to support him any longer. His chosen spirituality was Buddhism.

(spoken quietly toward the stars; with reverence)
Scott Allan Maynard
Scott Allan Maynard
Scott Allan Maynard

So long, my brother. May you come back to more peacefulness than I judge you experienced this time around.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

11.15.2006

For Dancing Wolf

Over the last week I have been recovering from nasal surgery. It was very difficult and painful.

I struggle with physical pain in a way that many men do. I get close to and often pass out during medical procedures. I took a lot of heat for this as a child/boy/man. Little did I know that it is very common among men.

Dealing with these kind of struggles are some of the pieces of work I deal with in my iGroup each week. This is my space for looking at my world; holding it up to the light to see what is really there; like men often dealing with pain like I do.

I am blessed in this life's journey to be loved and cared for by a wonderful women. I dedicate this post to her. She is my partner in all that I do. She is my support, my advocate, my friend and lover, my best friend, my challenger, my home "iGroup."

Thank you, Dancing Wolf, for being in my life!

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

11.01.2006

Wikipedia.org and the Mankind Project

I research around the Internet for ManKind Project related material. Rarely do I come across "bad press." When there are 40,000 men who have completed a process like the NWTA, there will be some who didn't get what I got; simple fact of life. But, it is pretty rare.

There's a Web site called Wikipedia.org that looks basically like an Internet encyclopedia. The difference is that anybody can publish to these pages. They have rules regarding verifiability, but it appears to me that anybody can post anything.

Wikipedia.org has about a bazillion pages of pseudo-reference material. One of those pages is on the ManKind Project. I have checked into it a few times and I am continually amazed at reading the parts that claim (with no verifiability) that MKP is somehow a cult or "Large Group Awareness Training" (LGAT) cult type group.

I have read what an LGAT is and MKP most definitely is not a commonly-defined LGAT. Why not? Because MKP supports the training with follow up groups, called Integration Groups. These groups are populated with men who have been through the New Warrior Training Adventure and are working on making changes in their own individual lives.

The interesting part is that, as a men's organization, MKP is about men finding their connection to heart and service in the world. From my seat, MKP is not about what commonly goes for an LGAT or a cult.

See here for my take on MKP as a cult.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

10.23.2006

One Man's Staffing Adventure

A man's share on staffing a New Warrior Training Adventure. Enjoy.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

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From Richard J. Fairchild blog

The New Warriors Training Adventure at Rock Lake was simply awesome, exhausting, energizing, draining, and fulfilling. For four days the sun shone - each day brighter - as men came together and journeyed deeper into themselves and the world the creator has made. It was my first staffing and I have an appetite for others despite the low level anxiety that accompanied me through the weekend. I am hopeful that over the next few months that I will regain some of the energy, the confidence and the ability to concentrate and articulate my thoughts simply that I have lost over the last few years. One thing is sure, and that is that The Mankind Project has helped me to change me for the better in the midst of the troubles that have distinguished my emotional and mental health since March 2003.

I had a wonderful homecoming on Sunday night and managed to not take on the load of care dealt out to us both while I was at the NWTA. Monday and Tuesday however, proved to be days of hard work as we had to deal with a flurry of legal and emotional matters and prepare to depart for Golden early Wednesday morning..... in just a few hours actually. The work has been long and difficult indeed! But the fruit of doing the work is that there is always good fruit produced. Hashem is in charge. We can simply do what we believe we are called to do and leave the rest - be it joy or sorrow, gain or loss - in His hands and leave them there with confidence.

Be talking to you all soon I hope. We will not be able to return from Golden till Thursday evening. Your prayers for Ann and I, for Charlene and Jim, and most of all for Nikk, Dawson, and Felicia will be much appreciated.

Shalom, Richard

10.18.2006

What Jon Got From It

This is a blog post from Jon Patch. The training he speaks of has passed, but, I enjoy his piece on how the New Warrior Training Adventure is for him.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

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Training coming to Vancouver Island
Filed under: Recommendations/Reviews — jonpatch @ 1:19 pm

The New Warrior Training Adventure is coming again to Vancouver Island on March 31-April 2, 2006 weekend. I found this intense training for men to be transformative, and the follow-on trainings and groups excellent. Created by three men in the mid-80’s, something like 33,000 men have now gone through it. There’s more info at www.mkp.org/vancouver and a registration link at www.mkp.org/canwest.

What I got out of it:

  • a mission/sense of purpose, and how to take action in the world
  • the fundamental power of accountability (both modeling it and holding others accountable
  • a better understanding of integrity and how to live in integrity
  • how to balance compassion, action, mystery, leadership, self and beliefs

The training is recommended for men who are ready to let go of preconceptions and take a hard look at themselves, and push themselves to their limits. The number of staff exceeds the number of participants, so safety is paramount. The training is run by the ManKind Project, a not-for-profit organization. For men who are interested but can’t make it to Vancouver Island, this training is held 125 times per year around the world. See www.mkp.org for local trainings.

10.13.2006

The Pain and What We are Capable Of

A bit different post today. A more personal note.

I work at a large university and there is a large concert hall on campus. I picked up the schedule thinking I might find something to go see.

One of the speakers that will be coming in the next year is Kim Phuc.

The name meant nothing to me...until I read down further and remembered the photo. Kim Phuc is the burned, naked, little girl running for her life when her villiage was napalmed in the Vietnam war (see story and link below).

Tears filled my eyes and I felt the pain of knowing what men are capable of doing. I felt the hurt and pain of seeing into that little girls eyes. I have three girls and I cannot imagine what it would be like to live in a town that was napalmed; to see my children running in terror for their lives.

Men are capable of so much. We build things. We create ideas and inventions. We create life with our women. We send people into outer space. We tell stories in all kinds of media.

We protect and love. We kill and mame.

I am asking you to look at your life and see where you can make change. Can it be that today you step up to make change in yourself? Are you the man to do that today?

I am different now than when I started writing this. The ManKind Project didn't make this happen for me. I did. But having MKP in my life, by my choice, has allowed me to see and feel and grow.

I offer that to you.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

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From the Kim Foundation

"Phan Thi Kim Phuc was born and raised in the village of Trang Bang, 30 minutes north of Saigon. During the Vietnam War, the strategic Route 1 that runs through the village became the main supply road between Saigon and Phnom Penh. On June 8, 1972, an American military advisor coordinated the napalm bombing of Kim's village by the South Vietnamese. Nine-year-old Kim fled from a pagoda, where she and her family had been hiding. Two of her infant cousins did not survive the attack, and Kim was badly burned.

Kim was photographed running down the road, screaming from the burns to her skin. Nick Ut, the Associated Press photographer who was there to cover the siege, took the photograph of young Kim. Moved by her pain, he rushed her to a South Vietnamese hospital. She then spent 14 months recovering in Barsky Hospital, the American hospital in Saigon, where her care was paid for by a private Foundation. Ut's photograph of Kim remains one of the most unforgettable images of the Vietnam War.

Kim Phuc was not expected to live. Third degree burns covered half of her body, and she would require many operations and years of therapy. After two years, against all odds and with the help of doctors who were committed to her care, she was able to return to her village, where she and her family began to rebuild their lives."

10.10.2006

Seven Years On

10.10.1999

I attended my New Warrior Training Adventure seven years ago, today.

How has my life changed? More accurately; what changes have I made in my life? Just that simple correction somewhat tells the story. I am more able to take my life into my hands and take ownership of my choices.

Did the NWTA give me that? No, I did. But I found a space in ManKind Project to do the work to make those changes legitmate and long lasting.

I do men's work, soul work, work of the heart, and healing work. This is work that changes me and could change you.

Are you ready? I will be there in spirit to stand with you. Take the leap!

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

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10.03.2006

One Man at a Time

I find this to be an excellent article on what New Warrior Training Adventure looks like from a female perspective. I have posted this before, but I think it's time to repost it.

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.

10.02.2006

Shadow in the Light

"The shadow is the greatest teacher for how to come to the light." Ram Dass

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Looking at my shadow is one of my main pieces of work in my ManKind Project iGroup and in my life.

A shadow is a part of me I hide, repress, or deny. When I am in touch with those parts of me, my shadows, I no longer allow them to control me by being fully "in shadow."

My work is not yours, but it could look very similar.

What are you repressing or hiding that if you brought it forward you would live a better life?

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

9.26.2006

How MKP Works for One Man, After NWTA

Below is a snippet of a long interview. I cut out the part that pertains to this man and his experience with the NWTA.

I hope it's helpful to you to see how the ManKind Project works in a man's life.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

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Robert Powell: A Valuable Asset to Both SRA and the Mankind Project

Robert Powell's Managerial and Community Involvement is Shaped by His Work with Two Progressive Organizations

By Roy Barnes

Q: How did you get involved with MKP, and what was the first major career change, if any, that you undertook after completing your first ManKind Project ("The Weekend")?

A: I did the NWTA in November 1992 at the suggestion of a fellow volunteer in a community mental health center where we facilitated group work for male batterers. The NWTA experience intensified my interest in personal work, which had originally led me to volunteer at the center. I actually began moving toward a second career in counseling. I completed both my masters and postmasters training, with an emphasis in family and marriage therapy between 1993 and 1998. I had every intention of switch careers until events in my personal life made it financially impossible to make the switch.

Q: What distinguishes the New Warrior Training Adventure from other self-discovery retreats?

A: First of all, it's far more intensive and transformational than anything I've encountered. Therapists, for instance, frequently equate it with six to eighteen months of individual sessions. Second of all, it's not an end in itself, but only the beginning of a process of self-discovery and growth. Central to the MKP curriculum is the on-going Integration Groups (I-Groups) that most men join after "The Weekend". This is a facilitated ten-week program, but for the most part, the groups are self-led and men can go as deep as they wish. Some men stay for a year or two, [but] many have been in an I-Group for ten years or more. I've been in my I-Group since my "Weekend" in 1992.

Q: How does "The Weekend" change a lifetime of ineffective living and/or add more to someone who is pretty much, for lack of a better term, "all together"?

A: Each man's journey is his own path to discovery. Our goal is to activate his personal mission in life and to support him in pursuing it. Men who judge themselves to have been ineffectual before "The Weekend" often report a major change in their life after their New Warrior Training Adventure. Men who come to the training with awareness of their mission usually deepen their commitment and find their energies and drive magnified.

Q: Does MKP offer programs and retreats for corporations?

A: ManKind Project (MKP) has often discussed the possibility of bringing the training into the corporate setting. Nothing official has developed, though many individual NWTA graduates work in the Organizational Development (OD) and corporate training fields. The lessons taught in the NWTA have found their way into such programs. And, of course, as individuals, many men, including me, have incorporated its basic teachings of personal integrity and direct communications in our management practices.

Q: How does the corporate philosophy of SRA complement what you have done with MKP; that is, are you able to apply the things you've learned through MKP into the way you manage your staff and approach your projects?

A: SRA International has proven to be an ideal culture for what I've learned and teach in MKP. It is a company whose motto is "Honesty in Service" and whose corporate culture is built on the axiom that caring for its clients, its personnel, and (since going public) its shareholders are its core business, and that everything else will follow. Every new employee attends a half-day training on culture and ethics, and every performance evaluation includes explicit ratings on ethics and caring for others. While the terms of our contracts set the parameters for what we are expected to do and what we must and can do, there is an ethos that we do whatever it takes to support our clients and our staffs in their professional and relevant personal goals.

9.21.2006

Living Life

"To enable men to live lives of integrity, accountability, and connection to feeling."

That is one of the purposes of the ManKind Project. I, as a man who particpates in the ManKind Project, finds this to be a core issue with men.

I see men are trained to be disconnected to feeling; disconnected to being and living in integrity with thier agreements and statements; and shown a million ways to not be accountable for one's behavior.

So what does that have to do with MKP?

I create a space in MKP for what I want, for who I am, and for guidance about my life. No man tells another who or what to be. We guide and help each other to see what does and doesn't work for us, as men.

Is what I say congruent with what I do? My MKP men reflect that to me.

Is what I want in my world possible with how it is setup right now? MKP men will guide me to find my way of getting what I want.

Is this something you could use in your world?

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

9.14.2006

My Mind’s Eye

I wrote this piece about seven years ago. I find it is still strong in my heart. I was inspired to write it just after I went through my New Warrior Training Adventure some seven years ago.

I wonder what the training will inspire in you...

My Mind’s Eye
By Old-faithful Wolf

In my child mind’s eye
It’s always dark, cloudy, raining, black and white
Mud and noise
The sloshing of wet boots and canvas
Explosions, tears, popping sounds

In my child mind’s eye
I am not a listener in 4th grade math
Sliding smoothly the pencil on the surface, gray on blonde veneer
I mark the years on the desk
5,10,15 and 3 makes 18
Time to fight

In my child mind’s eye
Gi-joe comes incomplete
Fatigues, canteen, crew-cut, and beard
One too many legs
I tear one off at the knee
Now I can “play”

In my child mind’s eye
Always it’s those commies
Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Laos
Always the war
Always the TV news
Walter tells me the body count each day

In my teen mind’s eye
Always aware of the time
15,16,17,18
Time to fight the cold war
Ford, Carter, Reagan and Russian leaders I cannot pronounce
ICBMs, B52s, nuclear warheads
Always aware of the time

In my teen mind’s eye
I walk to the post office
I pick the form
I register to fight
I am now alone
And now I wait
19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27
I wait

In my young-adult mind’s eye
I turn away from the Falklands and Iran
I can’t bear the thought
My fear is an ally to pain
Struggling with terror to soothe the wounds
That hatred has festered

In my young-adult mind’s eye
I see the remnants of war
Battered souls, torn hearts
Veterans like my Gi-joe
Missing parts and sanity

In my adult mind’s eye
26, 27, no fighting
Desert Storm and I turn away
I can’t bear the thought
More body counts, more pain
Cluster bombs and stealth bombers
Oil fires that blacken the sky

In my adult mind’s eye
I hear the names
One by one
The tears fall from my heart
Rivers of pain held back by the dam of time
The torment of 35 years
Trampling the weak boy soul
Crushing the little boy soul to room the adult soul

In my adult mind’s eye
Bosnia and Yugoslavia
I cannot turn away
Ethnic cleansing and rape
It stares me in the face
With its evil eyes and hateful breath
People destroying people, land, homes, lives

In my adult mind’s eye
The losses are too great
I cannot bear to hear, one more time, the news of the fighting
But I cannot turn away
It is in my blood and flesh
The wars of my elder-fathers course through me

In my adult mind’s eye
It’s always dark, cloudy, raining, black and white
Mud and noise
The sloshing of wet boots and canvas
Explosions, tears, popping sounds

In my mind’s eye
My chin falls to my chest and
I cry.

9.11.2006

Nine Eleven

I remember.

3057 and all their relatives and relations.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

9.08.2006

Winds of Change

Today, two men from my town are going into the New Warrior Training Adventure in Northern California.

I have come to know one man very well as he has sat in my iGroup, Four Stone Circle, since the middle of May. I have heard him speak of his fear and joy and anticipation of this weekend.

The other man I have a bit of time with as we have sat and talked and he came to Four Stone Circle last week.

Both these men are just like you; men in their lives looking for whatever they are looking for. They are very different men; they are very similar men. They are like you; they are men.

Men come to attend the New Warrior Training Adventure for an infinite variety of reasons. You will have yours, if you choose the winds of change. Really that is what this is about, change.

Is it time for your change; your particular, unique, honorable change?

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

9.05.2006

Farewell, Andre!

"The pride I take in everything I've experienced has to do with what I've poured into it, not necessarily what that experience was. I mean, I think tennis is one vehicle. I think we can find excuses in life or we can find inspirations. I've always tried to find inspirations."

Andre Agassi, 9.4.2006

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There was a time when I thought Andre Agassi was nothing more than a good tennis player. I had a whole bag full of crap to throw his way and was not shy about putting it out there.

In the work I do in the ManKind Project I have found that so much of what I think about anybody has nothing to do with them and everything to do with me.

I watched Andre's final match the other night. I was torn between the feeling of honor to watch a man do what his passion is and my feelings of shame that I put so much of my stuff on him. Such is the clarity in this work I do now.

I revelled in his honesty of emotion, his tribute to the fans he felt close to, and the clarity with which he walked away with his head held high.

Andre went out a King, as I see it. I saw him stand in his glory and feel the feeling of it.

Farewell, Andre!

I'm out.

Old-faithful Wolf
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9.01.2006

Intergration Group -- Four Stone Circle

The ManKind Project iGroup I sit in is called Four Stone Circle. We meet every Thursday night in a small Quaker chaple in Northern California.

I am blessed to have this in my world.

The group gives me the space to look at where my life works and doesn't work; a place to be seen as who I am not. I give myself that in my world

Maybe it's naive for me to think you get as much from this as I do. Maybe it's my dream and you will.

Four Stone Circle is my iGroup.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

7.06.2006

The Living Years

The Living Years, Mike and the Mechanics

Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door

I know that I'm a prisoner
To all my father held so dear
I know that I'm a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I'm afraid thats all weve got

You say you just dont see it
He says its perfect sense
You just cant get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defence

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It's too late when we die
To admit we dont see eye to eye

So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It's the bitterness that lasts

So don't yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different day
And if you don't give up, and don't give in
You may just be o.k.

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
Its too late when we die
To admit we dont see eye to eye

I wasnt there that morning
When my father passed away
I didnt get to tell him
All the things I had to say

I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I'm sure I heard his echo
In my babys new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
Its too late when we die
To admit we don't see eye to eye

Mike and The Mechanics, from The Living Years album (1988)

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I was estranged from my Dad for ten years. I fought the battles between the present and the past. I sacrificed the future for the pain of the past. I blamed the generation before.

Being present in the ManKind Project and my Integration Group (iGroup) gave me the space to sort what was mine to own and my Dad's to leave for him. It took two years to sort this stuff out. Such is the depth of a Dad's influence on his son.

A couple years back, I asked my Dad to sit in my igroup. He willingly sat with me and the other men, not knowing what was to come. I asked him to stand with me in the circle. I told him I loved him and wanted to know him, for I did not. I told him that I needed to know him. We cried and held each other. We had a place to start from again.

I worked the issues that were mine. That was my task to take on. To do so makes me a better Dad and husband. I am clearer where I come from and where I can go from here. I am clear that I am not the boy I was and he is not just a Dad, but a man with all his hopes and fears. I am clear that I have changed. My Dad may struggle to understand the differences between me as a boy and me as a man. But, that is his journey, not mine.

This work heals wounds and hearts. Are you willing to heal so that you can be here now and not be a prisoner to the past?

I love you, Dad!

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf
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7.03.2006

The Four Agreements

From the book "The Four Agreements" by don Miguel Ruiz:

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don't Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don't Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

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This seems simple enough...four steps to a better life, right?

I have been reading this little book with great interest. I see it parallels my work in the ManKind Project in many ways.

Will change occur when you step into a place of responsibility and integrity? You bet your ass it can?

The question is do you want to change or stay in a place of "victim" or "I can't because...." or "I am too small to make a difference"?

Walk with me and the other men in the ManKind Project and see what it looks like to be in a place of responsibility and integrity.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

6.21.2006

Long Time

It's been nearly a month since my last post. I normally post while at work; during a break. I have been swamped at work and I have had to choose that this blog would have to wait for a while.

I hope to be regularly posting again in the next few weeks.

Until then, remember that you are the change you seek, you are the world, you are the universe, and you can make change in the world one man at a time.

Oh, and take the NWTA. It's good for you.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf
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5.17.2006

What's Happening to Men's Work?

What's Happening to Men's Work?

"More 'Women Respond to the Men's Movement' than men. Our continued portrayal that any man in a men's group or doing personal work, runs around nude in the woods beating drums keeps men from risking. Let's find ways to get men out of their caves rather than pushing them further into it. Only people can give warmth to a cold, lost, angry heart. And, a challenge to those who criticism men's work: don't stand on the outside reading inaccurate information written primarily by men who are not willing to experience the work. Find out from the inside. Feel it first. Won't you take my hand. We'll help each other stand."

From Gordon Clay, Webmaster of Menstuff.org

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I think it says it all. I will stand with you?

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

5.15.2006

Honorable Support

"The time and place for a man to fight his battles, whatever those battles may be, is not in the home or with his family. The time and place is with other men - men who know how to hold the space for another man's battle. In that place a man may bring his anger and humiliation for transformation, so that he might return home the man he has always dreamed to be, the one that is capable of the deep love that his partner and family so hope to hear and feel."

From Beyond the Blame Game: Creating Compassion and Ending the Sex War in Your Life by Dmitri Bilgere
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I believe holding space for a man, sacred space, is what allows a man to deal with all his emotions in a clean and clear way. Look, a man has anger, fear, rage, joy, love, sadness, and shame -- all of it. I think what makes it tough is that we as men have been taught we can have anger and rage and certainly shame (just don't show it); that's it. It's out of balance.

I was at a festival this weekend where MKP had an educational booth and were talking to men about the program. A man and woman came to the booth and a friend of mine engaged the man in a conversation about how men need a space with other men to have safety and time to deal with all that they feel. My friend got no further than it's a men organization and the man took several large steps back and almost ran from the booth. The women just stood there for a moment, stunned a bit, and then started to explain that the man believed that all groups should be inclusive.

To make a long story shorter, the man believed MKP was against inclusion and that no organization that was just for men could be inclusive.

I am here to tell you I strongly disagree. Men who want to be inclusive need to learn it from their fathers and brothers in a clean way. They need to learn to honor the men and women and children in a space that allows them to be angry and rage and feel joy and sorrow in a honoring and safe space; so then they can have a clear heart to be inclusive.

Often men's anger and shame come out in aggressive and passive ways. If a man has no place to let it out and be who he is and feel what he feels, it will be damaging in some way. Men hold that space with the fierceness and trust needed for men to do that work. Men do that. Men in the ManKind Project do that for each other; week in, week out.

Are you ready to stand in a sacred place and be you? I will stand with you.


I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf
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4.10.2006

No Foolin' - The Shadow Fades

This post reflects a man's (Doug) experience in his I-Group (integration group).

I honor men who create a better self and therefore a better world.

Are you ready to create a better you?

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf
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From:
Doug in Brookfield, Illinois, USA

Every Thursday evening I attend a men's group that's associated with The ManKind Project, sponsors of the New Warrior Training Adventure, a weekend re-initiation experience. My Integration Group (I-group) consists of ten men who form a support and accountability team for one another. When we participate in the various processes each week, we call it "doing our work." We are very fortunate to have one member who is quite knowledgeable about the principles of the Project and experienced in doing them himself as well as guiding others as they do them.

The past few weeks I've been doing some work around ways in which I relate unhealthily to other people. Having been trained as a pastor as well as having processed a lot of my own past through contact with various counselors and spiritual directors over the years, as well as my own devotional practices, I have tended to respond quickly, compassionately, and often effectively to people in need. This can and does often turn out well for the other people, and yet there is also what the group and I have identified as a "shadow piece" to much of what I do in this regard.

"Shadow" is a term that was developed by the great psychoanalyst Carl Jung to identify aspects of the human psyche that are often "out of sight" of the person him- or herself but that just as often are quite influential in the way the person lives his or her life. The "shadow" tends to get what is called a "payoff" from actions the person performs that end up not being healthy or helpful for the person and can often also hurt the people with whom the person is involved. One goal of the "work" we do in the group is to become aware of these "shadows" and how they are working and what kind of payoff they get from our behavior, and through that awareness to bring the harmful behaviors to an end and to allow what we call our "gold" to gain the upper hand in guiding our behavior.

My experience in group these few weeks has been very difficult. As we worked through the identification of my shadow behavior, I felt my defensiveness rise up in a powerful way. This, I knew, was my shadow, which had theretofore operated unchallenged, trying to assert and maintain its control over my behavior. It enlisted the aid of many parts of me, including The Theologian, who created an excellent justification for my doing what I was doing from the perspective of my service to Christ. (As we remember from the stories of Jesus' temptations by Satan after his 40 days in the wilderness, even the devil can quote the Bible!)

However, even as I knew I could defend myself against the challenges my warrior brothers were making against my shadow behavior, the part of me that was not under the influence of my shadow, which is not yet strong enough to counter the shadow by itself, was determined not to give in to the tyranny of the shadow; and it held onto the truth that it was hearing, and even affirmed it by speaking it back to the group, until I felt some progress had been made in weakening the power of the shadow and opening the possibility of my ceasing the harmful relational patterns.

At this point I have taken some very difficult steps to make some healthy changes in the ways I relate to others. I know some of the things to look for in my relationships, such as whether I do things for others expecting something in return (a definite sign that my shadow is involved) or whether I do things at some sacrifice to myself and expecting nothing in return – and further accepting nothing in return (which would be signs that my shadow is not active, nor is it getting some kind of ego-stroking payoff in the deal).

This has been some of the hardest work I have ever done in such a short time, because it has gotten closer to the core of who I am and the root of how I have operated for, literally, decades, than much of what I have done in the past. Yet I know that the ultimate payoff for my "gold" is that I will be relating to people in healthy ways, which will benefit both me and them, and I will not be expecting them to stroke my ego as a "thank you" for whatever benefit I may bring to them. I will come to the point at which my having done what I have done is that which brings me joy and nothing else.

I still have a long way to go, and yet I am glad I have a group that takes my welfare seriously enough that they aren't willing to let me slide when they see me doing things that are going to bring harm to me and others with whom I'm in relationship. I wish everyone could have such relationships of support and accountability as I have with that group. If anyone reading this gets the chance, I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity when it is offered.

Blessings.