This man's journey into and out of the ManKind Project NWTA speaks for itself. I honor a man that shares his experiences, his story, with the world. I believe it enriches the world.
ManKind Project New Warrior Training
By Mickey Elias
The Mankind Project - changing the world one man at a time
Three years ago, at the tender age of 38, it hit me that it was time for me to grow into a man. I'd outgrown who I used to be and I was not willing to continue with the blag.
With no real role models, my childhood wounds (un)comfortably tucked up in my shadow, coming from a nice Catholic family ruled by secrets, lies and what people will think, there was only one box left for me. Yup, it had brass handles on it. The only option was to play dead, as all good men ‘should'. But compromising my own integrity, beliefs, values and potential was simply not an option. So I did my ironing.
With my hot sole calmly smoothing out all life's creases I blissfully, obsessively, compulsively got my outer world in order, leaving the inner secretly in tatters. But then, there's ironing - and there's ironing with a Dictaphone, allowing for other men and even for women to eavesdrop on conversations between two men as they purge their dark sides, eventually allowing the light to shine through. "MEN Speak the Unspeakable" was the result. Transcription of fourteen months of talking and taping between Edward Seeker and myself as we slowly, painfully, hilariously and embarrassingly transformed from helpless boys in pain, to healthily men living in our power, with passion.
Am I thus insinuating that the modern rites of passage for a man involve doing the ironing and talking a book? Maybe the way forward for some men is the Mankind Project's ‘New Warrior Training Adventure'. An incredibly well designed weekend set up to provide the experiences that will allow a man to get clear about who he is inside, who he shows on the outside and who is ready to emerge into the world.
I would love to spill the beans on the whole thing and gush about the set-up, the exercises, the processes the whole caboodle... but that would be theft! If you are a man, or want to be your own man, for your own good as well as the good of everyone in your life, do the training. You know what it's like when you witness something hilarious and try to share it with someone - and it doesn't quite come over? One of those ‘you really had to be there' situations? Man... you really had to be there!
From beginning to end, the programme was slick, safe, professional, personal and an absolutely amazing place to transform as a man, amongst men. There's a different energy when men are amongst men; and having taken part in, marketed and reported on personal development programmes since the 1980's, all over the world, I can't say that MKP is ‘better' than any of the others - I can actually, but that's another story! - but I can say that it's up there with the best of them and a ‘must do' to claim the part of a man's self that simply can't be claimed in a mixed group. And that part doesn't have to be missing; but which man in his right mind would say ‘no' to more?
On the whole, the men who attended were your typically middle class, middle aged, white Anglo-Saxon ‘nice' guys - at least on the surface. A group that I don't fit in to, but it really wasn't a problem for me. There were gay men, straight men, stray men, great men. The rough, the smooth and even the soppy. The different parts of myself were adequately represented and all that was left for me to do was step aside, take part and trust.
Modern day madness can make trust a real and justifiable issue, there's no doubt about that. MKP grabbed the bull of mistrust by the horn(s) from the outset with in-depth questionnaires on everything from health to hopes, attitudes to aspirations, past, present and future. These were supported by volunteers - of which there were many. The number of volunteer staff actually outnumbered participants. An excellent guy telephoned me to support me in every way, before the training even started. (Poor guy, I really bit his ear off! Slowly chewed it off, actually...) It would be rare to find such a high quality of ‘staff' in the commercial workplace, but then to find out that the staff actually paid to support us on our journeys brought yet another lump to my throat! Hats off to them all for their focus, selflessness and depth of heart. Hats off to them for achieving the ability to operate from such a high level in their lives.
Talking about money, MKP is a non-profit making organisation with accounts open for inspection. Integrity, purely for the good of mankind. The weekend costs £500 inclusive. For some, that's a lot of money. For others, it's a splash in the pan. For all, it comes with a money back guarantee, for those who have not gained anything from the weekend, if they stay until the end. If it's your time to do it, work something out, whether it's a payment plan, a discount, putting ten pounds aside a week, whatever. Don't hide behind money, or anything else as an excuse. Step aside from comfortable control of an outgrown life and step into the passionate, powerful man that you truly are.
My experience was, at times, intense, joyous, painful, peaceful, enlightening, fearful, fulfilling, loving, humbling; a gift that I deserved to make me a better man in my life, in my relationships, in the world and for the future of mankind. Sure it reminded me of ‘Lord Of The Flies' at times; 1980's Californian hippie-stuff, ‘It's A Knockout', Druids & Indians, Iron John and the rest. But then I also had an Adam Ant medley running through my head for the first couple of days, so you've got to remember that every man's experience - and tunes - will be different!
The good news is, unlike a lot of these transformational workshoppie things, there is what seems to be a magnificent, grounded follow up programme and community of which all graduates are welcome to take part. Brotherhood. For me, more important than that, good guys, honest blokes, men that I can look up to and want to be like. My book is priceless (£12.99 actually!) and made a man out of me. The Mankind Project has given me company. Mutual support and inspiration on our individual pathways, towards a better future for us all.
How strange, to write about something without actually letting on what that ‘something' actually is. But then I wouldn't want to steal the fire from your belly, or take the beat from your drum.
Thirty six thousand men around the world can't be wrong. So my advice to you, or the man in your life, is don't think - just do it...
The Mankind Project runs New Warrior Training Adventures four times a year, with introductory evenings on a regular basis. Contact MKP at http://www.mkp.org.uk/ or call 0870 787 9784.
Michael Elias, co-author of "MEN Speak the Unspeakable" http://www.menspeak.co.uk/