10.31.2007

Truth and Trust

One day I was awakened to the fact that I did not trust men. It shook me, because I had to admit that I was lacking something I thought I had.

The way it was though was I had no real reason to trust men. Men had screwed me my whole life. I had been cheated to, lied to, been left out to dry alone, abandoned, shamed, and basically shafted by every man or boy I could think of.

The most common was being lied to. What I recalled was every man or boy I had known had lied to me in big ways, not just little, nothing lies, but big ones.

My neighbor cheated on his wife while extolling the virtues of manhood to me. My school friends had no grasp of truthfulness. My friend through my twenties turns out to be lying about his sexual preferences the entire time I knew him. My brother lied to me so many times it still makes my head spin. The list goes on and on....

When I went to my New Warrior Training Adventure, I stood in a space that was safe to say "I do not trust you simply because you are a man." I was able to get clear on who I did not trust. It was me. I had to come to terms with the fact that I was just like them. I had a laundry list of ways I had screwed other men and boys. I could recite a million ways I had lied to them. Well, of course I couldn't trust males.

Nine years later, I feel very clear that I am trustworthy and that there are men who are, as well. I find most of those men in the ManKind Project. I am clear that if a man in the project lies to me, I can go to him and we can work it out. I can find support to deal with whatever comes my way.

Are you looking to get truthful about who and what you are? Are you willing to stand in a space and say what is true for you? Are you ready to be a man who has looked at his ways of living and whether they work or not?

Come on...I'll be there...you can trust me.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

10.26.2007

Awakening the Numb

"When men who have spent their formative years in extroverted action first turn toward the unknown country of the soul, they soon reach a desert -- the vast nothingness. Before rebirth comes the painful awareness that we have long been dead. Before feeling comes the dreadful knowledge that we have been anesthetized and are numb."

Sam Keen

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Ten years ago I noticed the numbness. It enveloped me like a dark blanket. I could fix anything, create anything...but I had no clue who I was.

I walked into the New Warrior Training Adventure in October of 1999. I was afraid of what I might find in me, in other men, in the outside world. Fear is no place to lay your head. It ain't home. The ManKind Project offered me a place to awaken myself; to find a place to lay my head that wasn't cold, empty, and fear-based.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf
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10.22.2007

Oz

"But Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man
That he didn't, didn't already have"

Tin Man, America, Written by Dewey Bunnell, © 1974

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Look, the ManKind Project can't give you anything you don't already have. You have the heart and soul you came here with.

The question is; what will you do with it?

How great are you willing to be? Are you willing to stand in your space and claim it for you?

I am willing to stand with you and support whatever you choose.

The New Warrior Training Adventure can't give you anything you don't already have. You have the heart and soul you came here with.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

10.18.2007

Boys in Their Forties

Today, I am posting a part of an article pertaining to the ManKind Project from The Republican in Springfield, Massachusetts. Go here to read the full text.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

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A few good men; Young, bored and Springfield -- and the men who are trying to help

By Bill Peters

"But when I talked to Springfield resident Boysen Hodgson, the director of the New England Branch of the ManKind project, an internationally-known men's retreat group, it seemed noble, and right, to at least tinker with the code of of guyhood.

"We end up with guys who have been doing men's work for twenty-five years... and guys who are in complete crisis and have hit bottom, for whom this is their last-ditch effort," he says.

But despite differences in background, most men tend to be nervous about success, and fear being reduced by an opportunistic world. Hodgson says that most men "get stuck as adolescents. We end up being eighteen-year-old boys in our forties; we end up being eighteen-year-olds as parents."

Due to proprietary reasons, Hodgson wouldn't describe any activities of ManKind's retreats in detail, beyond "journaling, some physical challenges, and some emotionally challenging activities." But as a men's group, the Hemingway-meets-Yanni rhetoric is all there. The retreat is called the New Warrior Training Adventure. Mission statements contain passages like "The New Warrior is tough and loving, wild and gentle."

But does the very packaging of the ManKind Project risk alienating the men who most need the help? I asked Hodgson if the delicate way we talk about gender allowed any room for humor -- often a man's only raft in a lake of PC conversation.

"I'll answer with a joke: We're totally humorless," he deadpanned. But he went on with a smile: "But being aware of something doesn't mean that it's not funny anymore."

Sentimentality happens during the retreats, but ManKind's mission is anything but. Hodgson talks about self-ownership, admitting to failed ambition -- often the tender core of any man gone wrong. A ManKind bumper sticker says "Know Fear."

10.08.2007

This is For Him

I did some grieving work around my brother's passing in my MKP iGroup last week.

I remembered that I wrote this piece for him after he passed last Oct 16th, 2006.

So this is for him.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

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For my brother, Scott

It saddens me deeply to not be at the service today; to read these words in person; to see him spread to the ocean where he told me he loved to play.

I knew Scott most as a boy. I knew the pure Scott. I think I was closest to the pure Scott than any other person. My brother was my best buddy growing up. We were pretty much inseparable until Scott went off the junior high and I was in 6th grade, in a different school. We moved often as kids and we often had only each other to play with. No matter; we found plenty to do.

I knew the Scott who loved to:
  • skateboard and BMX
  • play baseball, football, hockey and ice skate
  • build forts in the woods
  • sit with me for hours and play with our toys
  • throw snowballs and build snowmen
  • fish for bluegills and small mouth bass with my grandpa Jess
  • eat huge thanksgiving dinners with both our grandparents
  • play with our hot wheels cars and pretend we are both race car drivers
  • backpack and hike with me
  • play in the Kelley’s barn

I knew the Scott that:
  • feared heights and told almost no one
  • hated his glasses and told anyone who would listen
  • was afraid to tell my parents he was afraid
  • fought with me over the things brothers fight over
  • called me Randy Pandy with great joy in his voice, even though he knew it hurt my feelings and let me call him Scotty Potty, because I was littler than him
  • I had to bite, and hard, to get him off me
I miss that pure Scott that I knew as a boy. I miss him so much.

And now as I live in this life, without him, I remember him. Our relationship was what it was. I feel deep sadness, yet, there is nothing to be done but accept the way it was.

In my spiritual beliefs, Scott has already returned to this time and space as another person; maybe this time a little girl in Iowa or a little boy New Zealand, or perhaps he is right here. Look around, he may be near. He has moved on to another journey filled with lessons to learn.

To honor him in my spiritual beliefs, I ask you face west, to lift your voices and three times speak his name as I knew him; toward the setting sun, to the oncoming night, to the magician, to the hibernating Bear that seeks within the darkness the gift of renewal:

Scott Allan Maynard
Scott Allan Maynard
Scott Allan Maynard

Aho!

I wish my brother love and peace in his next journey.

10.03.2007

Stretching and Yoga

In ManKind Project iGroups, men are encouraged to make stretches.

A stretch is a place or thing I have wanted to go, but something has held me back. Usually my unfounded fear! The beauty of the stretch process is that it makes no difference if I make the stretch or not. What matters is what it was like to try and what I experienced in making it or not. There is no shame in not making a stretch; just the chance to look at what came up and why.

So, a while back I was getting ready to attend an ManKind Project gathering/celebration of the 10th anniversary of the first Northern California New Warrior Training Adventure. I have wanted to try yoga for many years but my fear of doing it "right" and looking ridiculous stood in my way.

I made a stretch in my iGroup to attend the Saturday morning yoga class taught by another ManKind Project man. My fear was up pretty high when I made the stretch but subsided quite a bit just stepping into the idea of doing it.

To make a long story short, I went to that class and the one the next morning (taught by a different ManKind Project man). I really enjoyed it. There was still some fear around doing it right and I was not able to do it like some of the men who do it all the time. But I stayed with it and really got a lot out if it.

Now, I am looking at adding yoga to my day. Maybe in the morning with my six-year-old girl and my fourteen month old girl.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf