1.25.2011

Radio Free Warrior

Update: Listen to the MP3 file, here.

Friday, Jan 28th at noon PST, I will be having a live radio conversation about the ManKind Project/NWTA/initiation in the context of how men are making a positive difference as husbands, fathers, and models for growing boys.

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.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf

1.23.2011

Questions About the ManKind Project New Warrior Training Adventure

This post is from a New Warrior Training Adventure brochure that I worked on for the Carolinas Center. Good reading.

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf



Over the years, men have asked many questions about the New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA). We have collected some of those questions and added responses to better explain who we are and what we do.

What is the New Warrior Training Adventure?

The NWTA is weekend training sponsored by the ManKind Project (MKP), an international, non-profit organization dedicated to helping men live meaningful lives. The purpose of the training is to take men on a journey to connect head and heart, examine their lives, and create deeper, more powerful, and more joyful ways of living. The training is an initiatory experience relevant to our times that honors the sacred masculine and empowers men to action in the world.

Initiation

Joseph Campbell described initiation as a transformational experience involving separation, descent, ordeal, and return. Many of us have experienced "pseudo initiation" through divorce, death of a loved one, puberty, induction into the military, or incarceration. These are often transformative experiences, but they are usually incomplete and wounding and do not connect us to our authentic selves or to healthy ways of living. The NWTA provides a complete and healthy initiation relevant to our times where a man is separated from his known world, taken into a descent to face his limitations, challenged to grapple with his destructive as well as generative aspects, and then welcomed into a new community of authentic men committed to service to the world.

The Sacred Masculine

In our culture, so called "masculine" traits have been viewed differently at different times. In earlier times, such traits as aggression, fighting, strategic maneuvering, conquering, and destroying were valued in the battlefield warrior who was called on to defend the tribe and conquer other tribes. Later, many of these same traits were valued in the athletic, corporate, and military arenas in service to team, company, and nation. These warrior traits became synonymous with what it meant to be a man. We assert that this definition of manhood is incomplete and no longer serves us, humankind, or the planet, well. We affirm the need for a "new warrior" energy channeled into service of the betterment of humankind and the planet. And we claim a "sacred masculine" energy that embraces all aspects of our nature and that we believe is essential to healing ourselves and our world.

Action in the World

The NWTA model calls for men to live lives of service guided by vision and action. “Integration Groups" are available around the world to help men integrate their learnings from the weekend experience. Called I-Groups, these ongoing gatherings provide a place for men to support and challenge each other in their ongoing growth and healing and in living lives of service. I-Groups often have their own external missions of service such as working with men who have been abusive, mentoring youth, or other work in their communities. Other trainings are available to help men continue to grow, heal, and reach their full potential as mature men.

My life is working fine, so why should I do this training?

The NWTA opens a window that will allow you to expand your life regardless of where you are right now. Men who take the training come from all walks of life and are succeeding at many levels. Regardless of where you are in life, you should do this training if you are ready to look deeply at your life and begin a journey with other men who will support and challenge you to claim your full potential.

Will this training help me with work, family, and other relationships?

Being more in touch with your gifts, focused on your purpose in life, able to access your deepest feelings, aware of your shadows, working on healing your wounds, and being supported by authentic men should help you in all areas of your life; work as well as family, relationships, and your communities.

Many men have been betrayed and hurt by other men. Why should I trust that this will be any different?

Many men have good reason to distrust and be angry at the men who have broken agreements with them, betrayed them, and sold them out for personal gain. The hard truth is that if we have been wounded by men, most often men will be required to be part of our healing. The NWTA places men in ritual time and space where profound transformation happens. This experience creates a common bond of identity and shared purpose. New Warrior men are not naïve--we see men as they are. We do not put them on pedestals nor do we demonize all men. We understand the shadow side of men, have developed effective ways of embracing the shadow, and are discerning about dealing with the destructive aspects of men.

How does New Warrior view women and women's work?

We support all work aimed at healing people and the planet. We support women in their work to heal and reclaim the sacred feminine. We support Women Within, a women's initiation designed and run by women for women. In the NWTA, you will have an opportunity to look at your reliance on women throughout your life, including the positives and negatives of how you relate to women. You will get to look at how both parents shaped your development and how your relationship with your mother when you were young may be impacting your relationships with women today.

Why don't you give more details about the training--like an outline or a syllabus?

The weekend is meant to be experiential and transforming. If you know lots of details, your mind will form lots of preconceptions about what might happen. You would miss a lot of the mystery, beauty, and surprise of the weekend and it would be less transforming for you. We want you to have your own experience as it is happening.

Can I get a cheaper version of the same kind of experience?

The NWTA has been carefully developed and tested since 1986. It has been validated by more than 40,000 men. Over 30 men are involved in delivering each training. It is priced to cover expenses. The MKP is a non-profit organization. Scholarships are available for men who need financial help to attend. If paying the tuition is a problem, talk to the contact man at the end of this flyer.

Are there age limitations for attending?

You must be at least 18 to attend. The majority of men are between 30 and 50 but men older and younger attend and get great benefit.

How do I know this training is right for me?

Look at the web site at http://www.mkp.org/, read the material about the weekend, talk to men who have competed the training and joined an I-group, and attend an open house. Then ask yourself: "Does this feel right for me?" If you feel anxious about doing the weekend, or if issues arise, talk to someone who's been through the training. This training is not for everyone--men who are not ready to look deeply at and take responsibility for their lives should not attend.

Can I do it later?

You get to choose when and if you do this training. But ask yourself this: "Do I often put off things I need or want to do because of fear, procrastination, etc.? How has this pattern caused me to miss out on life?" A door is open to you right now while you're reading this. We encourage you to step through the door and claim a life that you may have only dreamed about.

1.21.2011

Awakening

"If the prince had not kissed Snow White—if instead he had sniped at her, 'What the hell are you doing still sleeping!?!'— then she would not have awoken. It is not those who judge and condemn us, but rather those who bless and forgive us, who awaken us from our lower nature and return us to our better selves."

Marianne Williamson, from The Gift of Change; ISBN 978-0060585341



Waking up is what men's work is about; waking up from the voices, the spells and messages, that have kept you down and small, whether those voices are yours or from others.

At the New Warrior Training Adventure, men will hold a safe space for you while you look at those voices; while you awaken and cast off the spell.

The ManKind Project is filled with good men willing to bless you with their hearts and knowledge of the awakening.

Is it time for you to awaken?

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf

1.19.2011

Wandering Soul



"In this magic hour between the dark and the dawn
In the space between the silence and the song
Suddenly the mystery is clear
That love is only letting go of fear"

I believe the hunger lives in all of us to achieve love and honor; a life unencumbered by hate and fear.

I believe one person can and does change the world.

I believe in you and me....we can do this.

Join me today in that wish.

For my MKP brothers who give of themselves in service to changing the world, one beautiful man at a time.

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf

If you can't see the video above, click here.



The Wandering Soul

John Denver at the Windstar Symposium; 1995

In this magic hour of softening light
The moments in between the day and the night
The instant when all shadows disappear
The distance in between the love and the fear

There's a longing deep within the wandering soul
It's like the half that understands it once was whole
Like the two who only dream of being one
Like the moon whose only light is in the sun

There's a danger in forever looking outside
You start to believe that all your prayers have been denied
And you forget the sound of your own name
And thus begins the suffering and the pain

I wanted an answer, I wanted a way
I wanted to know just what to do and what to say
I wanted a reason, I want(ed) to know why
Can there never be heaven right here on Earth and peace inside

Inside my heart
Deep in my soul
Within each part
And in the whole

There's a promise in the journeys of the mind
You begin to believe that there are miracles you will find
And that someday you'll remember who you are
The seed within a bright and shining star

That's like the flame that lives within a hungering heart
That only awaits a gift of love for it to spark
Into a fire that burns forever, endlessly
Like the river that can't help but meet the sea

In this magic hour between the dark and the dawn
In the space between the silence and the song
Suddenly the mystery is clear
That love is only letting go of fear

Love is the answer and love is the way
Love is in knowing just what to do and what to say
And love is the reason, love is the why
And love is in heaven right here on Earth and peace inside

Inside your heart
Deep in your soul
Within each part
And in the whole

Love is the answer and love is the way
Love is in knowing just what to do and what to say
Love is the reason, love is the why
And love is in heaven right here on Earth and peace inside

1.14.2011

Change Starts With Me

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

Gandhi




This is my wish for change...

Men will wake up and see their true power and strengths.
Men will see that they are responsible for everything around them.
Men will be accountable for what they do; how they do it; why they do it; the consequences of doing or not doing it.
Men will see the gifts they bring to the world.
Men will live in the now; stay present.
Men will answer, with integrity, the tough questions of their lives.
Men will be generous with the wonderful gifts they have to give.

In my MKP IGroup this is called projecting. I am projecting what I want onto other men. I am giving away my power to change by wishing it on other men.

I would be challenged by the men in my iGroup to restate this in simple I statements.

I sound like this…

I will wake up and see my true power and strengths.
I will see that I am responsible for everything around me.
I will be accountable for what I do; how I do it; why I do it; the consequences of doing or not doing it.
I will see the gifts I bring to the world.
I will live in the now; stay present.
I will answer, with integrity, the tough questions of my life.
I will be generous with the wonderful gifts I have to give.

In MKP, I am supported in making change in my life. Men (I) hold a space for me to change and look at what that change would mean to me and those around me. Men (I) support my struggles, my fears, my pain, my joy, my ambivalence, my mistrust.

I create the change I want to see in the world.

Will you take the steps toward change? Will you challenge yourself to speak for yourself and stand in it? Will you walk with me while I change me?

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf

1.12.2011

I Know the Way Out



Wherever you are in your life, I do know the way out.

You will need to risk:
  • Being vulnerable to your own stuff
  • Protection from your well-worn armor
  • Winding up all your courage
  • Change
  • Living in your heart
  • Trusting other men to support you and hear you
  • 48 hours of your precious time
  • It all
Come on....how many times have you tried to find the way out of your hole by yourself?

Let men from the ManKind Project get in the hole with you....cause we know the way out.

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf

1.07.2011

Men on a Mission

The following article is reprinted here to avoid losing it to the cyberspace abyss.

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf






Inside the Mankind Project
By Tyler Blue, July 6, 2006, From the Santa Barbara Independent

We put a lot of pressure on ourselves as men; it’s easy to get caught up in society’s lofty expectations and lose sight of who we really are. We tend to isolate ourselves and process emotions alone, or not at all. But some things in life can’t be explained, they must be experienced. In the case of the Mankind Project (MKP), that means taking one weekend out of our busy lives to try a fresh approach to dealing with the issues we — as men — face. MKP is an international organization dedicated to male empowerment that offers a unique opportunity to reconnect with our core masculinity. Blending practical knowledge and sacred spirituality, the group gives men the tools to shape their lives based on an ideal vision.

The Mankind Project was developed in 1985 by Ron Hering, Bill Kauth, and Rich Tosi. According to its Web site (www.mkp.org), “The New Warrior is a man who has confronted his destructive ‘shadow’ and achieved hard-won ownership of the highly focused, aggressive energy that empowers and shapes the inner masculine self.” (Apparently, we all have a shadow acting as an opposing force to our goals, preventing us from achieving balance.) New Warrior Training Adventures are the focal point of the group’s work, with training weekends held throughout the year at 27 centers across the country, and others around the globe. Each weekend consists of approximately 30 initiates who go through a rite of passage along with 40 staffers. Nothing can be shared regarding the actual content in order not to create expectations for future initiates. Secrecy is so important that men are required to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Interestingly, the content of each training weekend is identical — it’s the energy and camaraderie of the participants that provide a different flavor. Certainly no group-therapy powwow, everything about the New Warrior Training is experiential. In order to apply the knowledge drawn from the training, men are encouraged to participate in weekly “integration groups.” These groups, which meet at different locations around town, provide a supportive forum to confront personal issues head on.

The local MKP community has grown exponentially over the last several years, jumping from roughly 10 to 100 initiated men, and they got a big boost recently with the establishment of an official training site at Lake Cachuma. (Previously, the closest location was in San Bernardino; diehard Warriors often travel thousands of miles just to participate.) Something must be pretty special to keep these guys coming back again and again. The mystery surrounding what the heck goes on during these weekends is enough to make a curious fellow plunk down $650 and see what the fuss is all about.

The Warriors

I met with three members of Santa Barbara’s Mankind Project community who reflect the life-altering potential of the New Warrior Training. James Wapotich, 40, is a lone wolf who has staffed the weekend 14 times. Six months after his initiation, he drummed up the courage to leave a stagnant job without another one lined up. In the past he would have worried but this time he knew it would work out. “I’m having a lot more fun stepping into the unknown and really relishing it,” he said.

Every MKP initiate chooses a unique mission stating their purest intention in life. “I create a world of expanding wholeness by letting love flow through me,” said Wapotich of his mission, which reflects his desire to shape reality based on a willingness to share love and other emotions. The New Warrior Training has also instilled in him a strong sense of leadership by forcing him to transcend self-imposed limitations. “A lot of what you learn there can be applied to various forms of business,” Wapotich said. “People seem to have more respect for me now.”

Stefan Hermann has staffed the New Warrior Training 46 times and clearly embodies his leadership role. The 47-year-old German is a former tennis pro who played Wimbledon twice before a career-ending injury. Prior to the weekend, he was unaware that his competitive persona dominated every male relationship in his life. “I always had to be better than the other guy,” he has since realized. MKP helped him establish a spiritual connection with himself and others. (Two of his four sons also participate in MKP.)

These days Hermann is not content to stand back and let things run their course. “I inspire the rewriting of the future by modeling, teaching, and coaching on the sacred path,” he said of his mission. After four years looking within, he reached out and has since made a big impact on local youth, representing programs like Share the Word, which entails speaking in schools about dating-violence prevention, and MASK (Managing Anger with Skill and Knowledge), an outreach program that addresses the devastating effects of repressed anger. “Domestic violence is a male issue because we don’t find healthy ways of expressing our negative emotions,” Hermann said. “Underneath the tough-guy layer is someone with lots of grief and anger. You can take that energy and use it in a healthy, constructive way.”

One of the main things MKP addresses is the lack of initiation rituals in our society. In indigenous cultures, boys in their early teens are guided through an intense, primal experience ushering them into manhood. MKP feels the absence of this in present times is a major cause for male shortcomings. Boys to Men (boystomen.org) is an offshoot of MKP that takes boys through an initiation process and offers them mentorship. Hermann hopes to bring the program to Santa Barbara next year.

Anthony Johnson, 56, has “always been on some spiritual path or another.” A firecracker of a guy, he has staffed 13 trainings over the last decade; he’s quick to clarify that “MKP is not some magic aspirin you’re going to take and presto change-o, become something new.” An African-American, Johnson was inclined to speak up during a training weekend about MKP’s lack of racial and ethnic balance. In typical fashion the group’s response was, “So what are you going to do about it?” Johnson’s answer was the Multi-Cultural Project, a movement he takes around the country offering weekends for warriors and their spouses. Through his mission he aspires to break down the barriers inhibiting deep human connection: “I co-create a world where all people experience profound relatedness.”

To that end, Johnson is currently living and breathing Initiation, the screenplay he co-wrote based on the book Of Water and the Spirit by Malidoma Some. LeVar Burton (Roots) is expected to star and direct. The story shows what happens in an African initiation from boyhood to manhood. Johnson shares Some’s belief that lack of initiation, avoidance of grief, and disrespect for elders are the greatest troubles facing men in our society. “For thousands of years in all indigenous cultures, boys have been taken on an ordeal and faced their demons,” Johnson said. The fact that most men don’t experience those ordeals “is why men in this society are so screwed up. … They never learned what it means to be a man."

1.03.2011

Men Are Gray

"Life has meaning only in the struggle.
Triumph or defeat is in the hands of the Gods.
So let us celebrate the struggle!"

Swahili Warrior Song



How many times have you looked at the world in terms of winning and losing? I know I do quite often.

Really, winning and losing is a point of view more than any reality. My win may be a loss for you or your loss may look like a win to me.

The world is filled with gray; while winning and losing is mostly black or white. A baseball team wins a game one day and losses one another. Pretty black and white.

The world of men is gray. We are not any one color; or two opposite colors. We are all colors and all ways of living and all ways of seeing.

In the ManKind Project, I have found that there is support for the grays in my world. I find men who challenge my grayness when it isn't serving me. I find men who support my grayness when it is serving me.

So come be gray with men who support you; whatever gray you may be.

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf