Ugly Hawaiian Shirt

I am reposting this because it touches me to see men talk about men like...well...like they care. May the trail rise up to greet you, Joe.

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf

Joe Cryns and the Ugly Hawaiian Shirt

From RIGHTthoughts

This man shows up at an early San Diego New Warrior Training Adventure in an ugly Hawaiian shirt and he’s reluctant to make the commitment needed to enter the training.  He struggles but participates even though he has doubts.

After the training this man shows up at the “graduation” celebration in Olivenhain again wearing an ugly Hawaiian shirt.  Once more he’s not sure if he wants to participate, especially in the suggested follow-up groups.  After kicking the dirt and jawing for a while he participates in the celebration.

A week later this man shows up at the warehouse in San Diego where we stored the training materials between trainings and where we conducted the post training Integration Groups (I-Groups).  Again, this man shows up in an ugly Hawaiian shirt expressing doubts about this “work” being for him.  At this point I bribe him and he makes the commitment to participate in the eight week I-Group program.

This man was Joe Cryns.

The world is a better place because Joe made those decisions back in the early 90’s however reluctantly and I’m a better man for having had the privileged of knowing him.  Joe’s passing last week is a blessing in that he no longer suffers from the cancer that was attacking his body and a great loss for his family, friends, and those who won’t have the great joy of having their lives “roughed-up” by Joe.

In a recent Blog Posting, “The River Flows Through Me,” I pass along the metaphor, provided by a recent retreat leader, of our dysfunctions being a raging river that is excavating deep emotional grooves in our souls.  In that article I suggest that what is needed to change the course of that river is someone or something to “disturb” the flow and change the course, radically and in a positive direction.  Joe was someone who could “disturb” your life!

Many of the postings since his death talk of Joe’s irreverence, his mischievousness, or how he didn’t follow the “rules.”  They are all correct, Joe was all of that and more.  Once Joe was able to throw off the shackles of his “ugly Hawaiian shirt life” and discover his true self there was no stopping this man from helping others to do the same.  Joe didn’t “color outside the lines” because he wanted to be an anarchist or nonconformance, he did whatever was necessary to “disturb” the person who was struggling, as Joe had, by finding out who they were and what was working and not working in their lives.  And Joe always accomplished this with joy, humor and compassion.

The compassion and sensitivity of Joe is not often discussed but he had a great capacity for both.  You get past the bravado and elfish playfulness and you find a man that cares about life deeply.  Two stories from past New Warrior Training Adventures in Edmonton Canada paint the picture of this side of Joe Cryns:

Trainings in Edmonton always included several members of the local native tribes and this particular training was no different.  Early in the weekend, probably Saturday, a staff member, a native, came running to me and another senior staff member saying that we had a serious problem, the training participants from the tribe wanted to kill Joe!  We tried to calm the man down but he was serious and he began to educate us “guys from the States” that when someone touches a medicine man they must die.  What?  What medicine man?

It turns out that Joe had gone up to the medicine man who was a training participant and gave him a hug, not realizing that the man was considered sacred and should not be touched.    Joe was attracted to his man by his sacredness and not knowing the “rules” authentically expressed his compassion for the man in his own honest way.  Joe was thinking about the man, not the labels or cultural stereotypes and I’m not sure he wouldn’t have still offered the hug even if he knew the “rules.”  Joe wanted to share his love and passion with this man at any cost.  I don’t remember how we resolved this matter other than the obvious – I do remember how Joe owned his actions and stood up as a man.

The other situation I choose not to elaborate on the actual event other than to say that after another training, or it could be the same one in Edmonton (they all run together for me), a group of us where staying at the late Gordon Walinski’s (I apologize for not knowing the correct spelling) house in Edmonton.  We all had flights back to the States on Monday so Sunday night after the training we decided to “party.”  Again, the details about this night are not important in fact I can’t remember who was there except for Gordon, Rich Grahalva and Joe.  What is important was that I experienced a side of Joe that night that I’d never seen before – the speechless, humbled and sensitive Joe Cryns!  That night I discovered that underneath all the bluster, bravado and masculine joking Joe was a humble and sensitive man with depth and caring that most rarely got to see.  For those of you who knew Joe just imaging him speechless and transfixed, incapable of action and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

Thinking back on these and many other treasured experiences with Joe I realize that I don’t think of him as having been irreverent, mischievous or undisciplined.  I don’t remember just  the jokes, the bravado, the teasing, the playfulness – What I see and will always remember about Joe is that he was a Man, no adjectives necessary and no more ugly Hawaiian shirts!


A Thousand Miles Away From Here

"But the only time that seems too short
Is the time that we get to play
People you've got the power over what we do
You can sit there and wait
Or you can pull us through
Come along, sing the song
You know you can't go wrong
'Cause when that morning sun comes beating down
You're going to wake up in your town
But we'll be scheduled to appear
A thousand miles away from here"
Jackson Browne; from the The Load-Out, 1977

Today, I am reminded by this great old tune from my youth that there is only now. I am reminded to get up and sing, because tomorrow it is all new and today will soon enough be the past.

I am, reminded that, as a man, I was taught to keep reaching, striving, moving, and gaining. I was never taught to stop and see what is here now. To enjoy the now.

In the ManKind Project, I learned to stop and be here and now; even if that is only for 2 1/2 hours on a Thursday night during my igroup.

What are you missing, right now, because you aren't conscious of "right now"?

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf



This post shares another man's view of the ManKind Project.

From bibbledy bloggeldy:

"I was attracted to the ManKind Project because their motto is "saving the world one man at a time" which seems to me like a very good focus. I have found that the way to stay focused on this goal is to start each day looking down and begin by saving myself, whick takes only nanoseconds at this point in my understanding, and then focus the love out through the eyes to the shining faces of everyone that crosses your view throughout the day. Those who catch the glance and return it are yours to love. Beware the dangers of enraging demonically posessed individuals, but by not overextending the desire to love, safety should be assured."

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf


Watch the Donut, Not the Hole

"When you walk the streets you'll have no cares
If you walk the lines and not the squares
As you go through life make this your goal
Watch the donut, not the hole." B. Merrill

My littlest daughter has started listening to a great Burl Ives CD of childrens songs. She especially likes the Little White Duck. I am partial to the Donut Song. What I like about it is that it reminds me to stay present...something we men work on in the ManKind Project. Staying present allows me to be with my daughter while she is rockin' out to Little White Duck when I could be thinking about the other three thousand things I need to think about.

So to B. Merrill and Burl Ives, thank you for helping me be present in my busy world.

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf


Tough Mudder & the NWTA

I recently completed the 12 mile, 24 obstacle, Tough Mudder at Patterson, CA.

On October 10th I celebrated 13 years since my New Warrior Training Adventure.

They were both significant for me in that each was a leap of faith.

The NWTA was a leap of faith because I was stepping into a place where I had to trust myself and other men. At the time when that was a huge stretch for me.

Tough Mudder was a leap into a mental and physical place I had never pushed myself to. I stepped into the commitment of doing something completely outside my comfort zone. I trained for nine months.

Today I am stronger than I had ever been; I run far farther, lift more weight, push harder; all of this on the heels of double-bypass, open-heart surgery two years ago. I could run two miles when I started out, but the weekend before the Mudder, I ran eight. I could barely do 20 sit-ups, now I can do 1000. Every day, I looked at myself differently as I gained strength, power, endurance, and self-love; yes, self-love. I found the more I gained the more joy and love I felt for what I, and my body, was capable of achieving.

For me, MKP, the NWTA, and Tough Mudder are tied together as one. Without doing my work in MKP and the NWTA, I know I would not be the man I am today: strong of heart, body, and soul. I developed, and am still developing, into the man I knew was in there but had no idea how to get to.

Would I do Tough Mudder again? You bet! I am already training for next September's event near Tahoe, CA. Maybe I will see you out there!

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf


Letting Go of the Outcome


I got to thinking this morning...thinking about ripples.

I have touched many men with my ripples. I, too, get very motivated by my ripples and share that with many men.

What I wanted to share from these thoughts is the idea of letting go of the outcome. When I talk to a man about ManKind Project or write in my blog about MKP, I do not put any value on whether he will or won't do anything with it. That way I can be honest and come from my feelings and heart. When I used to come from a place of valuing the outcome (gee I really hope he gets this...or I hope he doesn't freak out over the term new warrior), I would not be clear and honest and I would check what I said to try to get the outcome I wanted. I believe every man who I talked with in this way could feel the energy of me needing an outcome and that may have tainted the experience for him.

Right now, I have a friend who is attending my IGroup. I asked him to come and sit out of love for him and his place in the world. I have not mentioned the training except in passing. I am being there for him in a way he needs now. He needs a circle of men to support him in his life right now. Will he attend the training...I do not care nor know.

To me, this used to be very conscious stuff. I had to think about how I could let go of the outcome. But now, with practice, I have come to a place where I speak to men and women about MKP with heart and not with any expectation.

So, just like anything else...I leave you with that and you may do with it as you please. I hope it will help you see that you have the power to be a man who invites men out of love and not out of "what can I get or what if..."

One last thought...the ripples...are you the man who invites the man who invites President Obama? Are you the man who invites the man who says no? Are you that man that invites the man who attends and leaves out of fear? Are you the man who invites the man who later embraces you with love and joy for your stretching out to him?

All I am saying is this...invite a man from your heart and let go.

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf



I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf


Wounded Warrior Project

On September, 29, 2012, I am running a Tough Mudder (toughmudder.com) to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

What does this have to do with the NWTA or MKP? Well, this is about stepping into the "unknown" which is often my work in my MKP igroup. My work is to reach outside myself and reach inside myself; looking at how I show up in the world, just like I did in October 1999 when I did my NWTA weekend.

In Mar 2012, I shaved my head to raise money for children's cancer research and, in Sep 2011, I did a Heart Walk to raise money for heart-related research and outreach.

What are you doing to look at how you show up in the world?

Support me, while I support the men and women who need our support. Donate at https://www.facebook.com/events/242893309121783/ or https://www.raceit.com/fundraising/donate.aspx?event=8896&fundraiser=r2429615.

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf


One Small Step For a Man

Very few men stand as large as this quiet icon of exploration. Farewell, on your next small step, Neil Armstrong (1930-2012). Let the dream continue.

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf


Alive in the World

I listened to Jackson Brown when I was in high school. I haven't listened much since then. I guess his music brought back too much of the painful part of school; the bullying and the loneliness.

I stumbled across this song today and thought for a moment about Brown, his music, and my thoughts.I wondered about how much I wanted to be alive in the world back then. And that now that I am alive in the world, how sad it was to not be.

When I engage a man about the ManKind Project, I feel an aliveness that comes from knowing this is good work and I am making a difference in the world around me.

How are you making a difference? How are you alive in the world?

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf


Cry for the Child

 I Am a Man and I Cry, I Cry for Many ThingsThe ManKind Project is about men being real and true the their hearts and soul's callings.

Below is a poem that touched my heart. As a father of three, I can see the heart this man carries.

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf

I Am a Man and I Cry, I Cry for Many Things

July 27, 2012  By Danny Feltwell, father to Danny, St. Baldrick’s Honored Kid.

I cry for my son, I cry because he is fighting cancer, for not knowing what will happen, for giving him chemotherapy that I know will make him hurt, because it will save his life.

I cry for my son, I cry when I see him sick, sick from chemotherapy, sick from infection, sick from being away from home, because I cannot explain well enough.

I cry for my son, I cry when I see side effects of chemotherapy, when I see him in pain, when we give him medicine for his side effects and for his pain, because he does not understand.child with cancer

I cry for my son, I cry when he takes medication as a result of taking medication, when he does not want to take his medication, when I have to hold him while his medication is given, because my son takes his medication.

I cry for my son, I cry when I watch him go under anesthesia, when he needs a surgical procedure, when he needs tests and scans, while I wait, when he wakes up, because he realizes what has happened.

I cry for my son, I cry when he cannot fight off infection, when we give him antibiotics, when we give him blood products, because we will need to do it again.

I cry for my son, I cry when he wants me to put a Band-Aid on a boo-boo I cannot see, when he cannot explain what hurts, when he wants me to kiss his boo-boo, because I kiss his boo-boo.

I cry for my son, I cry when he wants to leave his hospital room, when he wants to go to the playroom, when he wants to go outside, when he wants to play with other children, when he cannot, because he is confused.

I cry for my son, I cry when today is over, when I go to sleep, when I wake up, before my day begins, when I think about all of this, when I am alone and not in front of my son, because he does not know.

I cry for my son, I cry for my son who is 3 years old and because my son is fighting cancer.

I cry because tomorrow and every day there after another father and mother will cry for their child fighting cancer, because they will cry for all of this, and for the next child and for his and her parents, and then they will cry also.

I am a man and I cry.


Denial & Heart Attacks & Men's Health

The ManKind Project of Hawaii has produced this video about the denial that so many men face in looking honestly at their risks for heart attack.

In June, 2012, the ManKind Project will once again join with the Men's Health Network to promote Men's Health Month. This year's focus for MKP will be heart health. Getting out of denial about the damaging effects of stress can be the first step in creating a new relationship to your heart's health.

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf


George Says IT!

I just like this...that's all. MKP men are all about intergrity.

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf


Save a Life

I think it is imperative that we learn to be better men; men who take action when needed. Take a few minutes and learn how to save a life with three simple steps. You may be the man that someone needs.

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf


Splitting Hairs

"Michael Phelps," my seven-year-old says, "there's that man, again" as we pass a box with his likeness printed on it in the local Safeway.

I watched this swim when it happened and was blown away. Not because he is simply an amazing swimmer, but, because he is simply the most determined to win.

He looked solidly defeated when the race appeared over...and yet he was still crankin' away.

So I had to ask myself, where do I give my all and where do I give up three feet from the end. I am not out to win a gold medal, but I do want to be the best man, papa, husband, and friend I can be.

That's the work I do in the ManKind Project. It's not gold-medal producing, yet it does allow me the space to be better than I ever thought I could be.

Are you ready to be better than you thought you could be?

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf


When Will We Stop?

"Men are inherently gentle, intimate, responsible, enthusiastic, sensual, tolerant, courageous, honest, vulnerable, affectionate, proud, spiritual, committed, wild, nurturing, peaceful, helpful, intense, compassionate, happy and to fully and safely express all emotions.

When will we stop training him to be otherwise?"

From Gordon Clay, Webmaster of Menstuff.org

Men are so many things. But first we are men.

In my mind everything else is from this basis. It makes no difference to me if you are not the color I am, nor the sexual orientation I am, nor the politics that that I lean toward, nor the spiritual beliefs I believe.

It only matters that you are a man. That much we have in common. Our lives are in that basis.

I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf



Hear the call. Take the risk. Face the ordeal. Get the reward. Transform your life.
I'm out.
Bravehearted Old-faithful Wolf