3.24.2010

What if the question is not...

"What if the question is not:

'Why am I so infrequently the person I really want to be',

but

'Why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am?"

Oriah Mountain Dreamer

I suspect, like many of you, I was taught to conform to standards of good and bad that were not of my choosing. I was taught how to act, behave, conform, be accepted, etc. Sound familiar?

When I went looking for changes in my life, I found the ManKind Project and the NWTA. I needed answers for myself. I needed to learn to be me without all the past baggage and voices.

The NWTA didn’t give me answers to my life; the men that staff the training gave me space to find the answers for myself. I was fearful; sure, who wouldn’t be to some extent. What I found were men who cared not about who I projected outwardly, but about what was in my heart and soul and how they could be there to help me see it, too.

Coming to terms and understanding that I am a unique person didn’t happen because I attended an NWTA. It happened because I found a safe place in the NWTA and MKP to be open to different ideas of me.

I am now one of those men who I saw at the training weekend who stood with me and said, “go ahead, take the leap of faith, we’re here for you.” I am proud and honored to be a man among these men.

When was the last time someone stood with you when you took the leap?

Find it here. Find it with me.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

3.21.2010

Before the Men's Retreat

Men's retreats, including the NWTA, have long been mis-associated with naked men running around drumming in the woods. Such misconceptions have hurt the validity of the message and the soulful work that gets done at many of these retreats.

The NWTA brings great spirited work to many men. Isn't it time you looked past the rhetoric and to see what the NWTA is all about? For that matter, how about dropping the men's movement preconception you may have and take a leap of faith into the pool that is men working to change the world.

I am one of those men and I invite you to continue your journey.

The piece below came to me as an unattributed e-mail. With respect to whoever wrote it, I post it here.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf


Before the Men's Retreat

She asks: "What is it?"

And I say: "100 men naked in the woods."

She wrinkles her nose and says: "No clothes?"

And I say: "Sometimes."

And she says: "What do you do?"

I say: "First we removed the coat of corporate soldier, of worker bee, of boss, of coach, of business owner. Then we pull off the jacket of marriage. Toss aside the shoes of parenthood. The umbrella of son. The backpack of friend. The helmet of hero, savior, tough guy. We pull from our pockets the mantle of lady’s man, lover, slayer of the weaker sex. We check in our charm and toss away the pants of romance. All the roles and expectations we carry about in our lives, we leave behind like a pile of clothes on the floor."

She says: "On the floor? That’s what I thought. Then you’re naked?"

Says I: "Not yet. We promise not to engage in physical violence, then we strip off unnecessary civilization. Toss it in the pile with all the rest."

She: "Then you’re naked."

I: "No. We still hold onto our tattered dysfunctions and threadbare beliefs like a 10 year old pair of bikini briefs. That’s the last thing, but we hold fast, because, you know, those stinking little lies and truths, that stained and shredded pair of underwear held our life together for 10, 20, 40 years. And only when we can toss that old thing away are we truly naked"

She blinks and says: "So it’s 100 men in the woods in tattered underwear."

I say: "Yes. But over the course of the week, it washes away in the realm of ritual. Blown away by the breath of spirit. Cracked open under the scrutiny and support of men. Pried off by the power of story."

She stares at me, silent, and then: "Why? ... Why do you do it?"

I say: "So we can see what’s left. That’s us. Naked. We can hardly recognize ourselves, but that’s who we are. It’s blinding. Dazzling. Beautiful. Very painful, but very real. We walk with it. Work with it. Sing songs to honor and protect it. Wounds are revealed, healed, become our strength and our shield. Internal lands are explored. Monsters are banished. And in the end, we bring some of all this back into life, even as we put our clothes back on."

She shifts and settles, ponders and pads about the room, then smiles and says: "Well, have a good time then."

3.19.2010

Return to the Airwaves

Update: Listen to the MP3 file, here.

Friday, Mar 19th at noon PST, I will be having a live radio conversation about the ManKind Project/NWTA/initiation in the context of a wonderful small men's book entitled The Knight in Rusty Armor.

I invite you to listen in live to KDRT 95.7 FM at http://davismedia.org:8000/kdrt.m3u .

I hope you enjoy the show!

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

3.17.2010

Mend My Life

The Journey, by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice--though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles.

"Mend my life!" each voice cried.

But you didn't stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones.

But little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do--determined to save the only life you could save.

There really is only one you that you can save from the paths that you have taken. The ManKind Project won't do it, nor the New Warrior Training Adventure. You will do it.

The ManKind Project is simply a place to be with other like-minded men who are seeking to change themselves, on an individual basis, for the greater good of themselves and the world around them.

I am one of those men. I choose to write here to pass the story to you; for you to do with as you choose. I hope you here you voice calling you to, despite the "old tug at your ankles."


I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

3.09.2010

This Must Be the Place

"The Wild Man is the protector of the Earth."

Robert Bly

As part of the preparation for the New Warrior Training Adventure a man is asked to read the first chapter of Robert Bly's book Iron John.

There is a line in the first chapter where a young man, a hunter in the story, arrives at a pond to look for the King's warriors who have been lost in the woods. The pond is where the wild man lives in the deep water.

"The young man and his dog wander about in the forest and they go past a pond. Suddenly a hand reaches up from the water, grabs the dog, and pulls it down. The young man doesn't respond by becoming hysterical. He merely says, "This must be the place."

This must be the place; I love that line. For me, it is a set of words that means it is time for action and a time for presence. Sometimes I use the line a bit sarcastically to offer up my view of the obvious in a situation.

But, always I am aware that the line signals that the time is present for action.

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf

3.03.2010

Read All Five Years Here

I was stressing out not long ago about all the time I have put into this blog and wondering how I was going to keep all of it should Blogger just up and go away some day.

Well, I was able to use a service called Blog2Print to print an PDF e-book of this blog for a mere $7.95.

Now if you want to read all the posts in one place without having to keep clicking "older posts." You can download a PDF file the entire first five years here.

Oh and by the way, sign up for the NWTA. You deserve it!

I'm out.
Old-faithful Wolf