Touching the World

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead


The ManKind Project is men dedicated to changing the world one man at a time. What does that mean in the context of the statement above?

Men in the ManKind Project are dedicated to standing next to every other man in the ManKind Project and holding a space to look at the way they touch the world around them. When you stand with these men, you know you are supported in change; whatever that change is for you. When a man changes, he changes part of the world.

As a group, ManKind Project men change the world. Will you change the world with us?

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf


Man in the Mirror

"I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change"

Glen Ballard, Siedah Garrett, & Michael Jackson (1958-2009)


Make that change.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf


A Man's Experience on the NWTA

From Daily Doings at the Line of Death Bar & Grill:

"I was at a camp near Bedford, Indiana, participating in the New Warrior Training Adventure, a weekend-long training sponsored by the Mankind Project. I had been active in a local mens' group for three years, and had heard about this training through some of the men in the group. I had been thinking about doing this training for a while, and when another man I befriended in the group went through it in August of that year, I knew I was ready to take this next step.

As cliched as it sounds, what I learned and did on this weekend has truly changed my life for the better. It taught me more about myself, and what being a man is about, than I could ever learn from either a college classroom, a textbook, a typical weekend seminar, or from the years I was in a college fraternity.

In a way, I got to take my own "hero's journey" that weekend. This ancient story is told many times in science fiction and fantasy, in different ways and using different characters -- Frodo Baggins, Luke Skywalker, John Sheridan, or Paul Atreides. Many people I know are content to just sit back and read about their adventures (or view them). I had a chance to experience one for myself, and my life is better off because of it.

Thanks to the help and guidance of many other men who had previously been through the training, I was able to take a good, hard look at myself and my life -- what has worked for me in the past, what didn't work for me, why they didn't work, and what I needed to change in order for those things to work. I learned who I am and what I want, in a powerful, lasting way. And I learned how to listen to the voice of my heart again, which had been repressed the past several years.

Each man's experience during the weekend is unique and personal, as it draws on each man's previous experiences in life. If I were to tell you the details, it would be like telling you about a movie that I saw but you haven't seen. Why should I spoil it for you or anyone else? I will also not recommend this training lightly -- in order to get the most out of it, men who are interested should be ready to look deeply within themselves and have a genuine interest in personal growth.

I've also got to meet many other men who have gone through the same weekend, and develop friendships with them.


Look, how many experiences do you look back on and remember it like it was yesterday? I mean with real clarity; like you are standing there right now! This is one of those experiences. Are you ready? Men are waiting...

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf


The Listening

So you found your way here. Chance? Fate? What force brings you here? Call it what you will; here you are reading this.

In my world view, everything is, and has a, purpose. You didn't just stumble in and start reading. Even if you think you did. For me, everything is a part of the great mystery. I can speculate or I can ride the joy of it.

Part of the great mystery is what goes on during an NWTA weekend. I see that men get a chance to look at their lives; what works--what doesn't. Men get to stand in a place that they may have never stood before.

A man asked me once, why did you go the the weekend? I answered as I had so many times before, "Something called to me, and I decided to listen. That listening changed my life."

What calls to you? The NWTA weekend? Will you listen to it?

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf


MKP on Facebook

The ManKind Project has several pages on Facebook. I suggest the page below because it has become a clearing house for men sharing their experiences in MKP; much like I do here. So check in and become a "fan."

See ManKind Project on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-ManKind-Project/95845568627).

And Happy Father's Day to all you men who give the gift of love and light and love to your children and their mothers.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf


Finding Your Man

What does it look like to be an NFL player and a man? Aaron Taylor talks about what it was for him to find his "man" in the ManKind Project.

As men, we all come from differing backgrounds. Our needs are primal and cannot be denied. We need good fathers, uncles, grandfathers, and mentors to model "man" for us in a good way. Be that for a young man. Step into looking like the man you wanted to see when you were a young man.

He needs it; so do you.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf


What If?

I remember the day I walked away from my New Warrior Training Adventure weekend; a sunny Sunday afternoon. I felt exuberant, alive, tested, triumphant, connected, and full of questions.

One question always pops into my mind, and is background for this blog. I asked myself this simple question: what if all the men in the world took the training on the same weekend?

Well, getting past the hypothetical improbabilities of the question, I think the world would be unrecognizable.

Men would take themselves and their lives seriously, for one thing. I am in no way implying that men don’t now. I am saying with new and different eyes, though.

Men would care for the planet with new vigor and intensity; recognizing their connection to men and all things.

Men would listen; really listen, to what the voices inside them were saying, and then respond to those voices with clarity and definitive action.

Men would set down arms, and really hear the issues that cause the separation between us, and then work out those issues in clear ways.

My view on the world changed dramatically after the training. Why; because it was time for me to see. I was opened to the possibility that my life could change, that my life was my choice, that my life was mine.

So are you willing to take the leap? Are you the next man to wonder what the world would be like if all men led lives of integrity and accountability?

I am! And I am waiting to meet you on the other side!

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf


Challenge the Voices

Life is full of voices in my head saying I can't do this and I shouldn't do that.

  • I was told I was too skinny and too geeky to have a loving, intelligent, kind, witty, beautiful wife...I am married to a loving, intelligent, kind, witty, beautiful wife.
  • I was told I should not try to look at myself too much because "you don't need to"...going against that voice has changed my life forever.
  • I was told I could not do math...I was a professional fabricator and built race car chassis' and parts and was a crew chief for a major professional race team.
  • I was told I should not aim too high or I might fail...I am a senior editor at a major university and am successfully trading on the foreign exchange market.
  • I was told I would never be taller than 5 foot 6 inches...I am 5 foot 10 inches and much taller than the voice who told me that.

What is your voice? Do you hear it holding you down? What voices have you overcome?

In my life, the ManKind Project has been a voice of "yes, you can," not "no, you can't or shouldn't."

I am asking you to challenge the voices! Now!

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf


A Bit Woo Woo

From the Examiner.com, an article about a man's experience in his weekly MKP Integration Group (I-Group).

Men are changing the world right before your eye.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf


A small group of men weekly speak truth & evolve – It happens in ManKind Project
By L. Steven Sieden; April 24, 2009

A couple years ago, I would not have believed this to be possible. Then, last year I completed the ManKind Project's New Warrior Adventure Training weekend along with 39 other men. What was most important to me was that eight of us new brothers from the Seattle area formed an I (for Integration) Group so that we could really delve into the newfound concepts we had experienced during the weekend.

That group, like so many I Groups worldwide, has continued to flourish as we meet every Thursday night for three hours. We don't shoot the bull, play cards or watch a game. Instead, we expand our awareness and claim our true feeling. We don't have a leader or facilitator. Each night, one man who feels the energy claims the role of "king" and runs the group following a sacred ceremonial protocol.

Our time is divided into four sectors or round – lover, warrior, magician and king. The first two portions bring us together and help us clear anything that will keep us from being fully present for our time together. Then, we move into the magician or work round where we often get "down and dirty" sharing issues and past history that can only be done with the utmost trust and love.

Such was the case last night, when we moved deep into explorations of the incidents and people that had brought us the most pain and shame during our lives. In all my years of workshops, seminars and therapy, I have never experienced such genuine heartfelt telling of the truth and found each man to witness the truth of the man speaking without judgment. No man tried to outdo another or make another man wrong for anything that he shared. Experiences were simply put on the table as something that had happened and had deeply affected the man speaking.

The next step in that process was how we released those issues that have so challenged us for so long. Since we had each written them down before sharing, we had tangible objects to deal with – simple pieces of paper that we could burn, which is what we did as we spoke what we were releasing. Following those words, the man who had burned his paper stated what he was filling that new void with – always a positive affirmation.

If this all sound a bit woo woo, especially for a bunch of guys, I can only say that the proof is in the putting. From processes such as this, I have witnessed men reclaim major portions of their lives including relationship, finances, careers and simply being themselves. This is no small thing for a man living at a time when everyone seems to be attempting to pigeonhole him into a specific role – tough, individual, loner, etc.

Through the ManKind Project programs, I (and thousands of other men) have become more of the man I want to be. These groups and trainings offer the best men's work I have found, and I highly recommend them to all men. They were so profound that I advocated for my teenage sons to attend, and they did so while paying their own tuition.


Vets Journey Home

From FrederickNewsPost.com, a story of ManKind Project men who have taken on the loving task of helping vets bring their journey home in a honoring and open space.

Blessings to them for their work. Blessing to the vets for their work.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf


Separating the warrior from the war
Vets Journey Home program offers emotional healing, support

By Susan Guynn; May 24, 2009

Vietnam veteran Don Jestes of Ellicott City is comforted by Gene McMahon, founder of Vets Journey Home during a ceremony concluding the weekend program. Photo by Graham Cullen

Don Jestes looked at the black-and-white photo of himself at 19 — A U.S. soldier in Vietnam; drafted. Rebel, a German shepherd, is with him.

They were a team, scouting the jungles for booby traps. You can feel Jestes' intensity, the stress of days without sleep. You can see it etched in his face, in his eyes.

He knew the risks. When he deployed to Vietnam in 1968, he didn't tell his parents what his assignment was.

He knew it was best to not get too friendly with any other soldiers. But he did. They were buddies and fellow dog handlers. "He watched my back and I watched his."

Jestes came back home. His friend was killed. "Life was ripped out of him. It was May 13, 1968."

He now realizes that's when the intense anger began; an anger he's lived with for 40 years. "At 19, I thought I could control that emotionally. I didn't know how to let it go when I came home," he said. "I don't want to deal with the anger anymore.

"My family suffered from it ... everyone around me," said Jestes, now 60 and living in Ellicott City. "It wasn't until 10 o'clock today I realized what happened to me on May 13, 1968, changed my life, and not for the better."

Jestes spoke these words following the graduation ceremony for the participants in the Vets Journey Home program, a weekend of emotional healing held earlier this month at Gaia Healing Center, near Mount Airy, for combat veterans and others who have experienced the trauma of war. The program was founded by Vietnam veteran Gene McMahon.

Jestes' experience is common among veterans, said McMahon, an acupuncturist. "All vets know this -- you don't get too close to anyone (in war), you only get so close and no closer. Losing someone is too painful," he said. "But that carries out into after the war. A lot of vets have difficulty with intimate relationships -- you'll only get so close. It helped in war," but not in marriage or family relationships.

McMahon served two tours of duty in the late 1960s; both were on river patrol boats. "I didn't get welcomed home (from the war). I kind of hid that I was a Vietnam veteran.

"I was expecting my dad, who was a World War II veteran, to ask about my experience, but he didn't," McMahon said. "I learned to shut up and not talk about it."

A safe weekend

Twenty years ago, he attended a similar emotional healing program for Vietnam veterans, called the Bamboo Bridge, and became involved with that program until 2004 when he took it over and rewrote it as Vets Journey Home, for veterans of any war.

"We feel that it's a safe weekend for them to express their emotions," said McMahon. "That starts Saturday morning with the volunteer staff explaining why they are there.

There's usually a lot of tears. The vets get to see that the staff are there for the vets' healing, but (the staff) also experience healing." Some are veterans themselves or have a loved one who is, or have lost a loved one to war. All are volunteers and paid $50 to cover the expenses for themselves and the participating veterans.

Co-instructor Teresita Fawcett was there because of a desire to support the vets. Her father was a World War II veteran, but he never talked about it. Two of her brothers, her ex-husband and her fianc? were veterans. "We never talked about it," said Fawcett, who is a grief counselor in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

"I never had the opportunity to connect with them on this level," Fawcett said. "That's when I realized vets don't typically talk about it. That's the biggest gift we give them (at Vets Journey Home). They can talk about it. We listen to the vets and vets listen to vets."

She said, in combat, veterans were put in traumatic situations they didn't want to be in and "sometimes, these traumas, they caused them." Once back home, they may feel shame or guilt because they've lost people they had bonded with ... "multiple losses in a condensed version; trauma after trauma after trauma. They lived it 24/7," Fawcett said.

"They have to separate the war from the warrior. That was one of my personal journeys as someone who is against war," Fawcett said. She would also like to see programs like this for significant others of veterans because "they are dealing with it, too."

Helping someone else

Billy Sims, 80, of Middletown, retired from the U.S. Army in 1973, after 36 years of service, including in Korea, Vietnam and Germany. Sims said he didn't have any issues following his return from war, but then again he stayed in service with people who shared his experiences; understood. He said that helped.

"I came to see if I could help someone else. It's always interesting and educational to hear some of the other people's stories," he said.

One activity was for each of the five participating veterans to write two letters of forgiveness -- one to himself and one to people he thought he had let down or "owed an apology to for things you had done or not done," Sims said.

He wrote a letter of apology to a young warrant officer who was with him on a mission and was killed in Vietnam. "He was going to go home in a month," Sims recalled. "He was killed instantly" in an aviation accident. "I felt I should have taken the plane myself."

Vietnam veteran Jack Graff is 78 now. From 1966 to '67, he was based in Thailand and flew over North Vietnam. He retired from the Air Force 34 years ago. He said there are not enough programs like this. "There's so many people who need it."

Graff came from his home in San Diego to participate. The first time he came was as a veteran in need of emotional healing. Now he's on staff.

"We all have memories; some of which are not positive, that cause us to react in certain ways to certain stimulus that we don't quite understand," Graff said. "Here, we can get to the root of our 'shadows,' recognize them, but they don't go away.

"The effects of war and seeing your friends die and the enemy die; it changes people. Nobody's the same when we come back from war," Graff said. "It makes us less than we could be with our family, marriage and relationships. Understanding why we do that can be useful."

He said the program helps veterans deal with the "bugaboo" of guilt about why you survived and others didn't and second-guessing decisions made in combat. "That guilt shouldn't be there," he said.

"We don't try to psychoanalyze. We try to give veterans a forum to talk about anything that happened and to listen to themselves talk." Sometimes, he said, saying it and hearing it can bring understanding.

A veteran's welcome home

Rows of folding chairs filled the room at Gaia Healing Center. Family and friends came to honor their husband, father or friend who participated in the program. On the walls were hand-printed posters: "Welcome Home." "God Bless You." "Welcome Home: I Honor You. I Honor Your Service."

"No veteran should have to feel he's done something wrong," said McMahon during the opening of the graduation ceremony that closed the Vets Journey Home weekend. "He has to separate the warrior from the war."

Each vetaran received a "welcome home" hug and a "Proud Service" pin designed by a former Marine. It's design included a black onyx bar representing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.

Trent Coyle, 26, of Colorado, served in the Army for six years and was deployed to Iraq for 15 months and Afghanistan for about a year.

"I feel compelled to mention my inherent cynicism and skepticism about these events," Coyle spoke after receiving his pin. "I felt I could handle things that happened to me on my own. But at the suggestion of some people, I came," he said. "I think real progress was made in the company of other veterans."

Jestes told how his search for a tailgate led him to the program. The man he bought it from was also a Vietnam veteran and told him about the program.

"I have spent a pretty rough 40 years trying to find out what happened and why. Probably in 21Ú2 days here, they showed me how to find the answer. This is a hidden treasure. There are so many people out there suffering ..." he said as tears welled up in his eyes.

"Tears are OK here," McMahon told him.

"We came in here as strangers but we're leaving as friends," Jestes said.

The ceremony ended as every veteran present was invited to participate in folding the U.S. flag into which the participants had placed their letters of forgiveness.

Those letters, with the veterans' permission, will be placed at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and become part of its archives.

Jestes said his problem wasn't "fixed" in the weekend, "but I know I can fix it. It wasn't a revelation of a religious sort; it was a sigh of relief. Hopefully, I can pull my life together and make my life easier," he said, adding he plans to return as a staff member.

"What happened, happened. I'm not walking point in Vietnam anymore,"Jestes said. "I don't have to be in total control.

Vets Journey Home

A homecoming of honor is what Gene McMahon wants to give veterans through the Vets Journey Home program. McMahon, a Vietnam veteran, knows the struggles veterans face when they return home from war. He founded Vets Journey Home to give emotional healing to veterans or anyone who has experienced the trauma of war.

Vets Journey Home is held in cities around the country and at Gaia Healing Center, near Mount Airy, where McMahon and his wife, Dr. Marianne Rothschild, are “stewards” of the land. There is no cost for veterans to attend the program here, but volunteer staff are asked, but not required, to pay $50 each to participate, to help cover costs and make it possible for veterans to attend at no cost.

In other cities, Vets Journey Home programs are underwritten by veterans organizations and individual donors. McMahon would like to make that possible for the weekend programs held here. The next will be in October.

For information on the program, to register or make a donation, contact Gene McMahon at 301-829-2808 or e-mail ottervision@wildblue.net, or visit www.vetsjourneyhome.org.

— Susan Guynn