4.23.2008

NWTA Los Angeles Men Speak

This is an awesome video by the Los Angeles ManKind Project center!

I am so impressed and proud of these men!

Click here for the video.

Are you ready?

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

4.15.2008

Unrecognizable

"Every man who completes the New Warrior Training Adventure weekend remembers what he did on that particular weekend of that particular year...for the rest of his life."

This quote used to appear on the Louisville ManKind Project Center's Web site. Because it doesn't anymore, I choose to publish it here; I think it has merit.

I remember so many things about my weekend, almost nine years ago. I remember my fear and my commitment to change.

I remember thinking that if every man took that NWTA on the same weekend, Monday morning the world would be unrecognizable. The change would be at once both fantastic and peaceful and powerful.

I challenge you to be one of these men; to step up; to change the way you see you and the world; to make the world different on Monday morning and every Monday morning after.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

4.04.2008

Why Didn’t You Invite Me?

Today, I wanted to share a really great post about men coming to the ManKind Project and how that can happen; about how a ManKind Project man sees and processes the world around him; about the value of the ManKind Project.

The post is from a ManKind Project man who shares his thoughts at edmondmanning.com.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

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Why Didn’t You Invite Me?

By Edmond Manning, March 11th, 2008

A week ago or so, I met an interesting gent online.

We started an email discussion and immediately the conversation went to the richest places: gilded insights, masculine archetypes, and personal growth. One of those fascinating, cool connections with a wonderful someone in a far away place. He’s retired, mentor and advocate for teenagers’ rights, and he takes night walks to speak with owls and skunks.

After discussing fiction, I sent him a link from my website and he returned an email or two later with the news that he poked around, read everything, and was now planning to attend a NWTA.

The question he posed to me was, “Why didn’t you invite me?”

I froze.

Sitting at the computer, staring at the email from a man I had not known a week ago Tuesday, and…his gentle curiosity pierced a rusted dimple in my heart armor. Something stuck me deep and my outside body froze solid while inside I melted memories into sticky little judgments.

Why didn’t I invite him?

After all, New Warriors has been a focal part of my life the past four years. (Five?) It’s the most powerful mens’ movement I’ve witnessed. Flawed? Absolutely. It only works with each man committed to his own personal integrity. And we’re men, so we’re all fucked with all the ego armor each of us has already accrued.

And yet I’ve watched New Warrior energy bulldoze shitty lives and leave behind strong green growth. I’ve witnessed victims shed that skin, bullies melt with vulnerability, cowards command courage, and poor of spirit men elevated to instant kingship.

Men reach out to transform their own and their brothers’ lives in subtle, really big, and massive ways. I remember during the last moments of a 2006 staffing, a twenty-something man tried to tell me what I had done for him personally, how he thought I transformed his relationship with his children. But he couldn’t speak. He just stood there with his hand clenched on my shoulder and these streamlined tears stealing down his cheeks as his eyes burned into me with unflinching love.

I understand this man now reads to his sons almost every night.

Massive.

So why wouldn’t I invite this new friend - a man already a warrior in a hundred ways in his life?

Shadow.

Yeah, shadow. Projections, acquired ego or armor to protect from shitty stuff that happens in the world. That which we hide, repress, or deny.

I talk about Shadow a lot on this blog because it’s like March’s salty brine, that slosh accumulating on the windshield that messes up my view of the world. Instead of Spring, I am still staring at grimy residue of childhood wounds, accumulated mental garbage, miscellaneous eight-legged emotional shit that buzzed and crashed, smearing its guts in my view.

No wonder why it sometimes seems like winter in June.

I didn’t invite this man because…

The first obvious layer of shadow is my craptastic history with religion. And despite the amazing nudge New Warriors gives my life, inviting a guy to the NWTA feels like saying, “Come to my church.” (Words that make me cringe as I type.)

One of the reasons I love New Warriors is because they don’t order me what to think, how to believe, who to love. (Uh…like that would ever work with me.)

My first I-group got together weekly for three-years after the NWTA. We had a conservative Christian and a Ganesha-worshipping body worker, an IT guru and a cab driver. And me, corporate guy/artist soul. And we managed to love each other pretty damn well. So not only is diversity of background respected, it’s actually celebrated.

And yet I still resisted inviting this new friend because I was afraid of secreting the smell of church. Huh. I had better look at that again. I know there are plenty of decent churches out there, so this must just be my crud.

Anything else?

(That’s the thing with shadow. There’s often another layer.)

Shadow: If I invite a guy to the weekend and he doesn’t love it, it’s my fault.
Reality: I don’t control everything. If he has a crappy time, that’s his experience. We can still be friends.

Shadow: If I invite a guy to the weekend, I’ll look like a dork.
Reality: Holy crap, I wallpapered my bathroom with comic books and there’s a Mageneto sticker on the front door glass threatening would-be burglars. I’m already a huge dork!

Shadow: If I invite a guy to the weekend he’ll assume I’m totally gay for him.
Reality: Oh please. If that happens, that’s his projection. I don’t have to carry that possible scenario like a wool sweater on a hot day.

Enough swipes with the wiper fluid and the shadowy windshield smears start becoming translucent. Turns out it’s not so impossible, so measly gray out there. Could even be the sun’s out and I never knew it.

This new friend’s question gave me a bit to ponder.

And ponder doesn’t mean twist my hands over who wronged me most, nor does it mean purchasing an action planner for 2009 goals. It’s right now in this moment, this breath, this strange and wonderful place: present tense. What if I breathed a little bit and let go?

Beyond this cleaner windshield the world sparkles with billowing green trees and silver/red dragonflies zing by. I didn’t realize the sky was quite that richly blue. I ponder how I’ll handle the opportunity when it comes up again and I express some dragonfly gratitude for the gift this new friend inspired by just asking his question.

Have I changed? Am I a better man?

Maybe.

But I’m not measuring my life using inches anymore.

I’m measuring by miles.

Inside, I have this deep seated spark of confidence that next time I’ll be more willing to say something like, “Hey bud. You may be interested in checking out this amazing mens’ weekend. It could change your life. Add more richly blue.”

4.01.2008

A New Masculinity

Susan Williams writes about a discussion with Marty Pentz about masculinity, archetypes, and NWTA.

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A New Masculinity
By Susan Williams

Moving away from achetypes to a 'more inclusive societal framework'

As life changed dramatically for women during the late 1900s, it also changed for men. So, on the heels of "feminism" comes "new masculinity."

Marty Pentz, an assistant professor of social work at Indiana University East, researches men's issues, among other topics.

What is "new masculinity?"

"It is basically an attempt to leave dominant patriarchy and move to a more inclusive societal framework," said Pentz. He refers to Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette's book, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine, in discussing archetypes, new masculinity and the mature male, but emphasizes there are other archetypal patterns as well.

"An archetype, according to Webster's, is an original pattern or model from which other things of the same kind are made," said Pentz. "In individual people, the archetypes are derived from the experience of the human race and are present in the unconscious of the individual.

"The mature male is one who has integrated Moore and Gillette's four archetypes--the king, warrior, magician, lover--and continues to confront the destructive shadow side of each. The mature masculine of each archetype is toward the center of two opposite and destructive poles, one active and one passive," Pentz explained.

"For example, the mature king energy integrates the tyrant and the weakling and the mature warrior integrates the sadist and the masochist."

Pentz has researched and participated in the New Warrior Network, now called the ManKind Project Network (MKPN). The program features an introductory workshop--New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA)--which refers to these four archetypes.

"The New Warriors grew out of a discussion of three men over ten years ago--Ron Herring, a therapist; Bill Kauth, a therapist and member of the mythopoetic men's movement; and Rich Tosi, a former Marine captain. They believed that men needed more masculine ways of dealing with feelings and that they needed to do this together."

According to Pentz, New Warriors attempts to help participants integrate the archetypal polar extremes by using techniques such as Jungian psychology, visualizations and aspects of gestalt therapy during the introductory weekend and in an ongoing training group. The weekend also uses rituals and rites of passage."The rite of passage has been historically an important cultural and individual developmental milestone and is mostly absent in modern culture," said Pentz. "Rites of passage provide recognized paths across the boundary separating childhood and adulthood, and when completed, the participant is recognized as an adult by his or her culture.

"The confirmation in the Christian religion, and the bar and bat mitzvahs of Judaism are currently active rites of passage," he continued. "They are done in the early teens, however, an age that is not recognized as adult in our society.

"The discontinuation of rites of passage results in a lack of connection between our youth and the rest of society."

In The Power of Myth, the late Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers discussed this issue, writing about "the news of the day, including destructive and violent acts by young people who don't know how to behave in a civilized society." They go on to write, said Pentz, that often inner city youth "have their own gangs and their own initiations and their own morality, and they're doing the best they can. But they're dangerous because their own laws are not those of the city."

"This reflects an issue social workers see on a daily basis--men who have no connection to an ethic or morality other than 'what I want is right' and an ethic that says, 'I can get what I want any way I want it,'" said Pentz, who believes there are social policy and practical implications to be found in programs such as New Warriors.

"We need to study the possibility of programs to initiate young men into a 'mature masculinity' that is nurturing and loving and encompasses Smurl's five aspects of ethics and morality theory--self-cultivation, truth telling, promise keeping, beneficence or love and justice."