Next year, I hope you will take the time to look at where you can be of service; to you, your family, the world, whatever and wherever.
The New Warrior Training Adventure will change your life and it will change how you see yourself in the world. That alone would be a great place to be of service to yourself and others.
Hope to see you next year and maybe one day you and I can meet.
Find more videos like this on Passion For Psychological Poetry
Find more videos like this on Passion For Psychological Poetry
After you've gone through the hurt
After you've gone through the pain
After you've gone through the storm
After you've gone through the rain
Prayed and cried, you've prayed and cried
Prayed and cried, prayed and cried
After you've done all you can, you just stand."
From Donnie McClurkin, Stand, 1996
There are times in my day when I stand in my pain. I just stand because there is nothing else. I choose to stand in it.
There was a time, before my New Warrior Training Adventure initiation, that I would try every means possible to run from my pain. I would work or talk or watch way too much TV or eat.
Now, I stand in it. It is part of my past. It is part of my cells. It is what brought me here, in this place and time.
Come stand in it with me and the other men who wait to see you in your truth.
I asked this question in my reader survey over the last week. Here's some unedited responses:
¬ For me, to be in integrity with my word means to keep, and be true to the intent of, my committments and agreements with others and with myself.
¬ I do what I say I'm going to do, or I consciously choose to re-negotiate my agreement. The consequence of this is that others see me as reliable and trustworthy, and can count on me to model consistency and congruity.
¬ I can live with myself.
¬ It means I do what I say...or I come back to you and change what I need before I can't make my commitment.
¬ I follow throught with what I say I will do. And I renegotiate when nessasary.
Integrity, for me, means that my actions align with what I say I am going to do. To be in integrity with myself, the men in my circle, and everyone else in the rest of my world, means that I have done what I said or agreed to do.
The ManKind Project is not here to police your integrity. The ManKind Project is about men taking notice of where they live their lives out of integrity. Other men may help you see where that is, if you aren't seeing it yourself.
Today, I found a great news/informational video from the United Kingdom MKP center and it speaks to how the NWTA works within the context of the ManKind Project.
Watch the piece here.
I hope you will take a short seven minutes to change your world.
Are you the starfish I will throw in the ocean, today?
The Starfish Story
I am making the world a better place, one man at a time. I’m part of an international organization called The ManKind Project. More locally, I’m an active member in ManKind Project New England. We held a New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA) this weekend. We initiated men.
What does this mean? We create a safe place for men to be themselves (maybe for the first time) and to work with some of the “stuff” that doesn’t truly work in their lives. We give men an opportunity to live from a place of integrity and accountability. We give men an opportunity to become empowered in their lives.
Simply stated, we all (men and women) have baggage. Some have more than others. Often and many times, this baggage gets in our way in our lives. Going through a NWTA weekend gives men the opportunity to look at this baggage in a new light. Whatever a man brings, it is welcome here.
Many men haven’t acknowledged a feeling for a very long time. We help them see this and offer them some skills to work with those feelings. Again, this can be a first for men. It’s wonderful to watch men peel back the layers, tear down the walls and get to the true beauty that lies within each of them.
This is the short course on what happens at an NWTA weekend. There’s much more to it. It’s beautiful and brilliant and transformative. I am passionate about this work. It makes a difference. I make a difference.
Most everyone has heard the story about a young man on a beach throwing starfish back into the ocean. If he doesn’t throw the starfish back in the ocean, the starfish will die. An older man tells the young man that he can’t possibly make a difference when there are miles and miles of beach with starfish all along it. In response, the young man throws another starfish in the ocean and says, “I made a difference to that one.”
I initiate men. I sit in a circle of men every Thursday night. I share my feelings. I model vulnerability. I model leadership. I help men see their blind spots. I help men see their shadows. I help men see their gold. I help men transcend their old beliefs to be more effective in their lives. I help men. I can’t reach all of them, but I can and do make a difference “to that one.”
With inspiration, humility and great love,
Jump in and sign up for the New Warrior Training Adventure. Just jump in.
by Carl Sandburg
There is a wolf in me...fangs pointed for tearing gashes...a red tongue for raw meat...and the hot lapping of blood--I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me and the wilderness will not let it go.
There is a fox in me...a silver-gray fox...I sniff and guess...I pick things out of the wind and air...I nose in the dark night and take sleepers and eat them and hide the feathers...I circle and loop and double-cross.
There is a hog in me...a snout and a belly...a machinery for eating and grunting...a machinery for sleeping satisfied in the sun--I got this too from the wilderness and the wilderness will not let it go.
There is a fish in me...I know I came from saltblue water-gates...I scurried with shoals of herring...I blew waterspouts with porpoises...before land was...before the water went down...before Noah...before the first chapter of Genesis.
There is a baboon in me...clambering-clawed...dog-faced...yawping a galoot's hunger...hairy under the armpits...here are the hawk-eyed hankering men...here are the blond and blue-eyed women...here they hide curled asleep waiting...ready to snarl and kill...ready to sing and give milk...waiting--I keep the baboon because the wilderness says so.
There is an eagle in me and a mockingbird...and the eagle flies among the Rocky Mountains of my dreams and fights among the Sierra crags of what I want...and the mockingbird warbles in the early forenoon before the dew is gone, warbles in the underbrush of my Chattanoogas of hope, gushes over the blue Ozark foothills of my wishes--And I got the eagle and the mockingbird from the wilderness.
O, I got a zoo, I got a menagerie, inside my ribs, under my bony head, under my red-valve heart--and I got something else: it is a man-child heart, a woman-child heart: it is a father and mother and lover: it came from God-Knows-Where: it is going to God-Knows-Where--For I am the keeper of the zoo: I say yes and no: I sing and kill and work: I am a pal of the world: I came from the wilderness.
This is a post that describes the ManKind Project pretty well. Read on and sign up for the New Warrior Training Adventure.
When you look in the mirror, really look hard, do you see the man you really want to be?
-- Feel stuck, trapped, jammed up?
-- Want to improve your relationship with your wife or your children?
-- Feel like you need support with what's going on in your life, but don't know where to find it?
-- Plenty of opportunities for beer with the boys, but trouble making real friends?
-- Looking for opportunities to take on leadership?
-- Life on an upswing and looking for a way to "give back"?
I invite you to the 'New Warrior Training' (NWTA) - take a good, hard look at your life – transcend your limitations -start a journey towards becoming more empowered and centered in your family, work and community.
Be welcomed into a community of men governed by honesty, integrity and a level of trust that most men never know.
Our values are:
Accountability & Integrity: A warrior
* Is fully accountable for his actions and their consequences
* stands up and takes full responsibility for his life
* steps forward as a man without apologizing for who he is
* has an open heart and compassionate mindfulness
Connection To Feelings: A warrior
* connects with his feelings with his feet on the ground
* can clarify his feelings and express those feelings directly and authentically
* balances the depth of his heart with the wisdom of his mind
* is authentic
Leadership: A warrior
* steps up to lead or mentor
* puts himself on the line and takes risks, with the courage to be vulnerable
* is fully alive and present
* gives his gifts to the world with a sense of purpose and clarity, with neither
apology nor arrogance
* steps into his relationships fully - he is
-- able to commit
-- able to be intimate
-- able to listen with his heart
-- able to speak his deepest truth
-- The Blessing of Elders
Elder men are
* valued as repositories of wisdom, strength and unconditional love.
* honored for the "grandfather energy" that only an elder can provide.
* bless, counsel and gift younger men with the experience and learning they
have gathered though the years.
MKP (the organization behind the New Warrior Training Adventure) is a non-profit organization promoting men's support groups. MKP is in 9 countries worldwide. We have trained more than 40,000 men. It's all about helping men find purpose and directions in their lives.
The Wellington NWTA is September 26-28, at Camp Wainui, Coast Road, Wainuiomata. Here is some reference material about the weekend, about MKP, the non-profit organization behind the NWTA, and what other men have to say about the weekend:
About the training weekend:
Some writing and some videos from men that have been to the training:
About MKP NZ, and our community
We are all over the world:
"Introducing the New Man. Beyond the Macho Jerk and the New Age Wimp. The New Man lives a life where his actions in the world line up with his deepest values and convictions. He's aware that there's more to life than just earning a living, having six pack abs and finding someone with whom to spend the night. In other words, The New Man lives a life of meaning, finds integrity in every moment and always looks for his truest expression. Listen in as we have fun, entertaining discussions with extraordinary men and women exploring what it means to be a New Man."
Click here to listen a no advertisement MP3 format file of the latest podcast featuring Ed Fell of the ManKind Project. Here's the teaser for the podcast:
"Episode 35: Ed Fell: The ManKind Project
How much bullshit are you tolerating?
Are there things you wish you could do before you die, but are not getting around to them? Are you tolerating a life that you never thought you would have, feeling that there is no way to change things?
Ed Fell wants to help us out. As a longtime member of The ManKind Project, Ed points to the fact that men have no initiation ceremonies in American culture and often drift through life, unsure of themselves as a result.
We have heard several times on the New Man about the importance of initiation ceremony. The ManKind Project is dedicated to giving men a healthy initiation to manhood and giving us an experience of who we truly are and what it feels like to be our authentic selves. From that experience of initiation, The ManKind Project offers a close network of support and challenge, to help men live their lives to the fullest.
The last item on that "bucket list" might just be the journey inward, to really get to know ourselves."
If it speaks to you, maybe the ManKind Project and the New Warrior Training Adventure will, too.
From The Teachings of Don Juan, by Carlos Castaneda, 1999
A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war: wide-awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. Going to knowledge or going to war in any other manner is a mistake, and whoever makes it might never live to regret it.
A warrior chooses a path with heart, any path with heart, and follows it; and then he rejoices and laughs. He knows because he sees that his life will be over altogether too soon. He sees that nothing is more important than anything else.
A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That’s control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go. That’s abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind. No one can push him; no one can make him do things against himself or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive, and he survives in the best of all possible fashions.
A warrior must cultivate the feeling that he has everything
needed for the extravagant journey that is his life. What counts for a warrior is being alive. Life in itself is sufficient, self-explanatory and complete. Therefore, one may say without being presumptuous that the experience of experiences is being alive.
A warrior lives by acting, not by thinking about acting, nor by thinking about what he will think when he has finished acting.
A warrior must learn to make every act count, since he is going to be here in this world for only a short while, in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it.
Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore, a warrior must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if he feels that he should not follow it, he must not stay with it under any conditions. His decision to keep on that path or to leave it must be free of fear or ambition. He must look at every path closely and deliberately. There is a question that a warrior has to ask, mandatorily: ‘Does this path have a heart?’
Feeling important makes one heavy, clumsy and vain. To be a warrior one needs to be light and fluid.
If a warrior is to succeed at anything, the success must come gently, with a great deal of effort but with no stress or obsession.
Intent is not a thought, or an object, or a wish. Intent is what can make a man succeed when his thoughts tell him that he is defeated. It operates in spite of the warrior’s indulgence. Intent is what makes him invulnerable. Intent is what sends a shaman through a wall, through space, to infinity.
Only as a warrior can one withstand the path of knowledge. A warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless challenge, and challenges cannot possibly be good or bad. Challenges are simply challenges. The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse.
The humbleness of a warrior is not the humbleness of the beggar. The warrior lowers his head to no one, but at the same time, he doesn’t permit anyone to lower his head to him. The beggar, on the other hand, falls to his knees at the drop of a hat and scrapes the floor to anyone he deems to be higher; but at the same time, he demands that someone lower than him scrape the floor for him.
The most effective way to live is as a warrior. A warrior may worry and think before making any decision, but once he makes it, he goes his way, free from worries or thoughts; there will be a million other decisions still awaiting him. That’s the warrior’s way.
All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. However, a path without a heart is never enjoyable. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy—it does not make a warrior work at liking it; it makes for a joyful journey; as long as a man follows it, he is one with it.
Whenever a warrior decides to do something, he must go all the way, but he must take responsibility for what he does. No matter what he does, he must know first why he is doing it, and then he must proceed with his actions without having doubts or remorse about them.
An average man is too concerned with liking people or with being liked himself. A warrior likes, that’s all. He likes whatever or whomever he wants, for the hell of it.
The self-confidence of the warrior is not the self-confidence of the average man. The average man seeks certainty in the eyes of the onlooker and calls that self-confidence. The warrior seeks impeccability in his own eyes and calls that humbleness.
The warrior: silent in his struggle, undetainable because he has nothing to lose, functional and efficacious because he has everything to gain.
Warriors do not win victories by beating their heads against walls, but by overtaking the walls. Warriors jump over walls; they don’t demolish them.
If his spirit is distorted he should simply fix it—purge it, make it perfect —- because there is no other task in our entire lives which is more worthwhile… To seek the perfection of the warrior’s spirit is the only task worthy of our temporariness, our manhood.
I am often taken back by other men's experiences with the NWTA. Each man gets something only he can get. That's part of the magic of the ManKind Project. Each man shows up to the training with his own world of experiences that shapes his NWTA.
You can get that, too. You can get an experience that is unique to you. Sign up and take the risk of getting your own experience.
Will you be one of those men who takes the risk?
I've just returned from Hawaii, where eleven of us NorCal Warriors staffed (and MOS-ed) the state's first-ever NWTA at Camp Honokaia, a boy scout camp in the northern end of the Big Island.
It was one of the best weekends of my life. Thursday afternoon before we started, two native kahus (spiritual men) arrived to bless the land and welcome the elements of water, sun, land, and wind, singing traditional songs and braiding a long rope of ti leaves energized by each staff man.
Since this was the first MKP Hawaii training ever, the local brothers had done a HUGE amount of site prep assembling the training. We set up the rest of the greeting, and by Friday afternoon we were ready.
I can tell you that not a single initiate was late! They all arrived by 5:20, something I've never seen before. The first man arrived almost two hours early. These men were eager!
Without revealing anything confidential, the staff and leaders were thrown a number of curves throughout the weekend, some of which were the result of a first NWTA on a new site, and some due to the initiates' particular needs and challenges. Our leaders were brilliant, however, improvising and going with the flow, with everyone on staff generally trusting that even if it was off the map, what was happening needed to happen. It was beautiful to behold.
One of my favorite moments was a ceremony held outside. The moon was out, and the air was warm, and I felt like a part of something thousands of years old.
Besides a few mosquito bites, the main thing I took away from this first Island training was the absolute commitment of the Hawaiian men. Many of us have met Hawaiian brothers when they've come to NorCal to staff or attend PITs, but to see them in their element -- building their community, serving selflessly, supporting not only the initiates but each other through the weekend -- was absolutely inspiring. These are some of the hardest-working men I've met in a long time. Many of them have only staffed once or twice, but you'd have never known that from their dedication and skills. I was in awe.
For me, there is nothing like an NWTA to remind me that I am doing the work I want to do and making a difference in the world. To witness one in a new community with as much juice as Hawaii had was very powerful. I judge that the New Brothers I met on the way out were changed forever. Some of them got out of their cars to hug me. Some were crying. All were blown open by the experience, and I was too.
Kudos to the Hawaiian men for the job they did; kudos to us for supporting and fostering a strong new arm to our organization. Aloha and mahalo!
Camp Augusta, September 04
The New Warrior Training Adventure costs about $650.00 US dollars and 48 hours. I would ask you to look at how much it costs you to live your life like it is now?
Will you get your money's worth from the New Warrior Training Adventure? I offer no guarantees. Yet, I have never had a man mention the money after the training, except to say, somewhat in passing, it was worth "a lot more than what I paid."
In case you care where the money goes, the Arizona MKP community shows a breakdown here.
This is a question we ask ourselves in the ManKind Project.
So I am asking you...are you satisfied with what you see? How does it feel to look into your own eyes and hold the gaze. What is there? What is not there?
I'll tell you from my experience, many men cannot and do not look at themselves in the mirror. Oh they may give themselves a glance here or there, but to stand with intention to look into your own eyes is pretty tough for most men.
Gonna try it? Look in the mirror and see what is there.
To tell me which way I should go to find the answer,
And all the time I know,
Plant your love and let it grow."
From Let It Grow, by Eric Clapton, off the Crossroads CD, 1998
I am pretty sure there comes a time in every man's life when he stands at the crossroad and wonders what may be ahead. He must stand and face his fears and anxious heart; either let go to the fear of the unknown or stay rooted in the past where the known exists.
This is the thing, though. You will have to stand there again another time. Maybe not tomorrow or even next week. But you will stand again at the crossroad. You will face that same fear over and over until you get in there and find the love.
The ManKind Project does not tell you which road to take. But when you decide to take the crossroad of the unknown, me and other ManKind Project men will be there to walk next to you and hold a space for you.
We have walked the into the unknown; taken the unknown crossroad.
A man asked me what the graphic at left was all about. So here goes.
I am in an I-Group in a California small town. A couple years back, when the group was created, I needed a graphic to sort of launch the group.
In the ManKind Project, we use the four male archetypes of the Lover, Warrior, Magician, and King
as part of our processes. So I started there.
The IGroup is called the Four Stone Circle and that gave me a point of reference. I created the stones of the archetype initials from a round stone graphic I found on the Internet. From there I used a stick-figure drawing I created in Photoshop. The graphic just started to have a life of its own.
The gold coloring is the gold we men all have in us. The circle represents the circle of men that meet every Thursday night in my small town and the greater circle of all men. The lettered stones are the four archetypes. He wears a talisman from his New Warrior Training Adventure weekend. The petroglyph-like man carries an object. It is up to you to interpret its meaning. I have found men really get involved in what the object is and what it means. I'd love to hear what you think.
Also, I must confess that the man is not wearing a loin cloth, except on this blog. More for you to ponder.
I love this video. Men...ManKind Project men...reaching out to invite you!
I love it. I invite you! Listen for 3 minutes and see if this speaks to you.
Come on...take the risk.
So, I am asking you to reach out and take a risk. Take the New Warrior Training Adventure. It's a step in the right direction...to feeling your feelings, knowing them, and living in them.
I think that's a good thing.
Mad, Sad, Glad, Fear, Shame
By Peter Putnam
I had read thousands of books. I had written a novel, a screenplay, hundreds of poems, a master's thesis on Melville.
But I was emotionally illiterate.
"What are you feeling?"
When I was asked that, usually by a woman, words, usually my best friends in the world, would flee. A great abyss of silence would open up. Vast grayness.
"I don't know. OK, I guess."
Then, at 42, I went on the Mankind Project's New Warrior Training Adventure weekend.
"What are you feeling?" asked this guy wearing sweats and built like a linebacker. Looking at him, I would have expected a different kind of question — maybe, "How much can you bench press?"
"I don't know. I'm feeling good."
"'Good' isn't a feeling," he said. "Mad, sad, glad, fear or shame?" he asked, ticking each one off on a thick finger. "Pick one."
I couldn't, at first. It took me a minute. I ran through each one on my own fingers — mad, sad, glad, fear, shame — trying them out. I was getting a little frustrated — was "frustrated" a feeling? I looked at the guy, expecting him to be showing signs of one of the many impatient coaches I had played for, the impatient father I had grown up with: Will you hurry up already, for chrissake? Men who didn't have time for feelings. But he was just standing there calmly, arms behind his back, giving me the time to get out of my head and feel whatever it was I was feeling. I ticked them off on my fingers again, slowly this time: mad? sad? glad? fear? shame?
"Sad," I finally said. "I'm feeling sad." And I suddenly felt the tears forming in my eyes, my body telling me I had picked correctly.
"Good," he said. "Your sadness is welcome here."
Hearing that for the first time in my life — your sadness is welcome here — released the tears. I felt them rush down my face without feeling a drop of shame.
—From The Song of Father-Son
A simple statement, right?
Think about where you are in your life...are you who you present to the world? Are you able to live in both worlds; the terror and the wonder? Are you able to live in the tension of these opposites? Where are you?
I am here; here to support your terror and your wonder; here, with more than 43,000 other men. Here.
The text below is By Rick Ross, "Expert Consultant and Intervention Specialist." I am not familiar with Rick Ross and the The Ross Institute, but these seem like good, sensible questions to test up against ManKind Project and cult activity.
So here we go. My responses are in blue text.
Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.
1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.
MKP is all about accountability; not a problem here.
2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.
MKP men tolerate and encourage both; not a problem here.
3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.
MKP's books are open and not-for-profit; not a problem here.
4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.
MKP men do not preach anything, let alone impending doom such as the end of the world; not a problem here.
5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
MKP men encourage men to take responsibilty for their actions, wanna leave...go ahead; not a problem here.
6. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.
Men who leave have their reasons and, as I stated above, are encouraged to take care of themselves. If a man feels abused in any place in his life then I hope he will get away from it; not a problem here.
7. There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.
I have seen very little of this, and I look for it; not a problem here.
8. Followers feel they can never be "good enough".
Men are encouraged to find their strength and self in a world full of the opposite. If a man feels he is not good enough, he surely has a space with MKP men to work with that feeling; not a problem here.
9. The group/leader is always right.
MKP men are often the first to admit they are wrong or not in integrity with their words; not a problem here.
10. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.
MKP simply doesn't teach or support this idea; not a problem here.
Ten warning signs regarding people involved in/with a potentially unsafe group/leader.
1. Extreme obsessiveness regarding the group/leader resulting in the exclusion of almost every practical consideration.
MKP men have their issues they bring with them. There are men who could be judged as obsessive and others not. Certainly this is not a feature of MKP men; not a problem here.
2. Individual identity, the group, the leader and/or God as distinct and separate categories of existence become increasingly blurred. Instead, in the follower's mind these identities become substantially and increasingly fused--as that person's involvement with the group/leader continues and deepens.
Again, MKP men have their issues they bring with them. There are men who could be judged as obsessive and others not. Certainly this is not the predomiante feature of MKP men; not a problem here.
3. Whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned it is characterized as "persecution".
I know hundreds of MKP men and not one has ever said they felt persecuted because someone had something bad to say about MKP, I know I never have; not a problem here.
4. Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms, cloning of the group/leader in personal behavior.
I don't see this in MKP men; not a problem here.
5. Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability to think independently or analyze situations without group/leader involvement.
I don't see this in MKP men; not a problem here.
6. Hyperactivity centered on the group/leader agenda, which seems to supercede any personal goals or individual interests.
I don't see this in MKP men, however, like any activity, some will get more into it than others; not a problem here.
7. A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor.
Quite the opposite; MKP men are increasingly more spontaneous and joyful. It comes from lifting off all the garbage we carry as men; not a problem here.
8. Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.
Quite the opposite; MKP men are increasingly more connected. This also comes from lifting off all the garbage we carry as men; not a problem here.
9. Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.
MKP has its ways and not all of them are for every man; not a problem here.
10. Former followers are at best-considered negative or worse evil and under bad influences. They can not be trusted and personal contact is avoided.
I honor any man who walks from something that doesn't work for him, it's my experience that this is the common thinking in MKP men; not a problem here.
Ten signs of a safe group/leader.
1. A safe group/leader will answer your questions without becoming judgmental and punitive.
This is common in MKP; not a problem here.
2. A safe group/leader will disclose information such as finances and often offer an independently audited financial statement regarding budget and expenses. Safe groups and leaders will tell you more than you want to know.
This is common in MKP; not a problem here.
3. A safe group/leader is often democratic, sharing decision making and encouraging accountability and oversight.
This is common in MKP; not a problem here.
4. A safe group/leader may have disgruntled former followers, but will not vilify, excommunicate and forbid others from associating with them.
This is common in MKP and men are honored for their choice to leave; not a problem here.
5. A safe group/leader will not have a paper trail of overwhelmingly negative records, books, articles and statements about them.
This is common in MKP; not a problem here.
6. A safe group/leader will encourage family communication, community interaction and existing friendships and not feel threatened.
This is common in MKP; not a problem here.
7. A safe group/leader will recognize reasonable boundaries and limitations when dealing with others.
This is common in MKP, in fact, MKP encourages reestablishing boundaries where they are missing; not a problem here.
8. A safe group/leader will encourage critical thinking, individual autonomy and feelings of self-esteem.
This is common in MKP; not a problem here.
9. A safe group/leader will admit failings and mistakes and accept constructive criticism and advice.
This is so common in MKP that it makes me smile to know these men; not a problem here.
10. A safe group/leader will not be the only source of knowledge and learning excluding everyone else, but value dialogue and the free exchange of ideas. This is common in MKP. MKP strives to be inclusive and cutting edge in developing programs for all men; not a problem here.
You can protect yourself from unsafe groups and leaders by developing a good BS detector. Check things out, know the facts and examine the evidence. A safe group will be patient with your decision making process. If a group or leader grows angry and anxious just because you want to make an informed and careful decision before joining; beware. This is great advise. MKP men want you to do what is best for you, check it out, go to an iGroup before you do the NWTA, keep in touch with your BS detector; not a problem here.
I have also provided an audio-only link, in the right sidebar under Informational FAQ Posts; in case you want to download and listen later.
How the ManKind Project Survived the End of “the Men’s Movement”
From Men on the Moon; A Blog for Men’s Studies
Historians, if they remember the mythopoetic men’s movement at all, place it roughly between 1990 and 1993. Everyone seemed to be talking about men. Robert Bly’s Iron John and Sam Keen’s Fire in the Belly were each bestsellers. And then off the media radar. The men’s movement was dead. Or was it? One organization survived, even thrived, through it all: the New Warrior Network (NWN), later renamed ManKind Project (MKP).
The New Warrior Network had benefited from the boom years of the movement, certainly, but it also saw uninterrupted growth through the 1990s. Where five regional centers existed in 1991 and nine in 1992, a full 23 cities had Training Adventure weekends established by 1996. Some 10,000 men had been initiated by summer of the following year; by summer 2006, 32,000 had been through the weekend training. The NWN renamed itself “ManKind Project” in 1996 for publicity purposes, but the mission remained relatively steady. Despite high costs for new initiates ($500-$600 for a weekend) and demanding schedules for the volunteers, the organization has expanded well beyond its initial scope.
How has the ManKind Project (MKP) sustained itself? At first glance, it may have seemed the least likely to survive. New Warrior weekends received some of the most disparaging media coverage. The organization had even caught flack from Bly himself, calling it a quick-fix and a caricature of the warrior archetype. In a devastating turn of events, Ron Hering, one of the founders, was murdered in 1993. How did it manage to press on, even thrive? Four things appear to have set it apart: 1) simplification of principles, 2) an outline for progress, 3) federated centralization, and 4) an evangelistic temperament. These factors made it possible to outlast the boom.
First, MKP managed to boil its beliefs down to a minimum. Other expressions in the movement were so open-ended as to appear either muddled or dismissed as “New Agey.” The New Warrior Training Adventure weekends were able to focus on several key issues: getting men comfortable with each other, affirmation of male worth, grappling with family wounds, and formulation of a life mission. A modest set of wisdom could be imparted over the three-day event, enough to feel like true initiation had occurred. This initiation was understood to be a starting point, an entrance into male maturity. Moreover, the ManKind Project felt no need to multiply endless archetypes. Stories and images could be helpful, but the important thing was having a workable theory. This fell into place for them with Robert Moore’s work on the four-fold king, warrior, magician, lover. Moore became the unofficial theorist of the masculine soul, speaking at MKP conferences and expositing his anthropology in print. The organization also loosely appropriated Joseph Campbell’s stages of the hero journey as a paradigm for men’s lives. It was a manageable system in which to work.
Secondly, MKP offered a blueprint for masculine progress. After the initiation, having been introduced to the male mysteries, a man is given the next step. The microcosm of the “I-groups” allows men to process the weekend, bond with each other, and work on personal issues. Starting shortly after the weekend experience, these groups might last anywhere from eight weeks to several years, two to three hours a session. From there participants are encouraged to oversee other initiation weekends, or perhaps seek further training, as in Bill Kauth’s “Warrior Monk” program. Men have responded well to having some manner of structure, instead of having to invent their own way forward. Where other mythopoetic strands preferred a laissez faire model, the ManKind Project provides a plan for masculine growth. In the same vein, MKP’s activities have appealed to a spirit of “manly” proactivity that has usually already been inculcated in its participants. In my own experience, the most frequently used phrase in MKP is “Good work, men.” The training materials and suggested readings reinforce this approach, emphasizing self-determination, while giving practical steps to make that happen.
Third, naturally, MKP’s growth was made possible by centralization of the organization. From the outset its founders desired to maximize the program. Kauth was clearly the most important presence within MKP, but he believed strongly that the programs would only grow if managed under local leadership. While he, Tosi, and Hering had disproportionate control in the early years, they found ways to flatten the hierarchy as the organization expanded. What resulted was a presbyterian polity, something analogous to the United States government’s balance of powers. In 1991 the organization established a board consisting of one voting representative from each center. In 1993 an “executive training director” was appointed to ease the burden on local leaders, and after that numerous “chairs” were added as an executive branch. Certification of leaders was established, as was the writing of the “Governance and Council” guidelines. As one leader of the movement conceded, “To become bureaucratic is inevitable.” By creating a federation that governed both locally and nationally, the MKP adopted polity that had shown itself viable in America.
Finally, ManKind Project was evangelistic. By this one should not hear “Evangelical,” “doctrinaire,” or even “proselytizing.” Spirituality, being attached only to humanistic principles, allowed the organization to claim, “[W]e don’t invest any of the rituals we use with religious significance.” MKP, nonetheless, was built on a fairly aggressive word-of-mouth network. They understood themselves as having a mission to redeem men, and this mission meant initiating and training others. In language reminiscent of Christian revivalism, Robert Moore once said at rally, “The ManKind Project, I believe, represents a sincere effort to try and create for the first time in the history of our species a vessel of masculine initiation that strives truly to be inclusive . . . . This is a new thing on this planet – a grandiose undertaking, but a worthy undertaking that we have decided to work on.” He finished by saying, “These are the words I want to leave with you – Keep love alive, keep love alive! And if we keep love alive, my personal judgment is, nothing is going to stop us.” In such a way, the MKP retained the belief that men, if truly initiated and transformed, could become the impetus to heal the world. This gospel was used to recruit men for weekends and plug them into the leadership structures. Unlike individualistic men’s groups, MKP anchored men within the fraternal system, actively generating a network of “warrior brothers.”
ManKind Project presses on today. It faces new organizational struggles, but the content of the programs and the charisma of the participants remain. In all likelihood MKP will not initiate a new public phase of a men’s movement – but if it stays the course it should darn well survive the next.
I just love this picture from www.erikari.info/blog! I love it so much I didn't compress it like I normally would for a post! Click on it to see the larger version and really get a sense of the photo.
Men in their joy! I love the diversity and the flavor!
I occasionally get e-mails asking me if the New Warrior Training Adventure is worth the money, worth spending 48 hours with a bunch of other men, worth the risk, etc.
Look at these men. What do you see? I see men living. And that is what ManKind Project is all about.
Bring it on, I say!
In support of men changing themselves, and the world, one man at a time, join us at:
The 2008 ManKind Project Davis, CA Open House
Thursday, June 19, 2008; 7.00 pm sharp — 10.00 pm
All men welcome
Learn more about the ManKind Project, New Warrior Training Adventure, and Integration Groups from men in the ManKind Project
Bring your open mind and heart
For more information, contact DavisWarrior for the location.
For more information about the ManKind Project, see mkp.org
When I came around to doing my New Warrior Training Adventure, it was because I knew a man who had done the training. After his NWTA, I could see how he held himself differently, how purposeful he had become, and how much more of "him" I could see.
A ManKind Project man has put together a set of testimonials from men in the project. You can read them at http://mkptestimonials.blogspot.com/.
And can you guess which testimonial is mine?
With no involvement
So he chased the wind
That's all his silly life required
And the days of vanity
Went on forever
And he saw his days burn up
Like paper in fire"
John Mellencamp; from Paper in Fire off The Lonesome Jubilee (1987)
In this blog I ask you "are you the man you thought you would become."
What does that mean to me? Well, it means that there must have been a time when you had dreams of being someone or something. Maybe a great father, an renowned explorer, a preacher, a tycoon, maybe the president. Nobody dreams of being a homeless man or a drug addict or an alcoholic. Did you dream big dreams?
I did...and I let many of them go...like paper in fire.
I had to let go of being a Formula 1 driver. That was a tough one.
I had to let go of being the brother to my brother that I wanted to be. I couldn't do that dance alone.
I watched many dreams be just that, dreams. I didn't know where to go to nurture them.
Am I the man I thought I would become? Yes and no. I am more in many ways. I am more of a father and friend than I ever thought or imagined. I am a mentor to many and that never crossed my mind.
In my ManKind Project work, I stretch past my perceived limitations to find new dreams. I went back a couple years ago and tried karting to see if there was anything there for me. I tried to patch the wounds of my brother.
It's a journey...that's all. I invite you to take it with me. I wonder what kind of man you thought you would become.