What is The ManKind project? Online newsletter of the ManKind Project in the UK.

Autumn 2016 Articles

Here are the articles which we couldn’t fit in the published version of Spearhead. Enjoy!

Round as a Square in a Circle

As a boy I grew into the world
A boy set up against genders

In the beginning, all human beings – Female
Through unseen alchemy in the Great Mystery
I become male within my Mother

Giver of all life, Sacred Mother
My body comes from you and shall return to you
You give me everything, ask for nothing
Self-less Gifting –  Divine Feminine

As a man I stand in Your world
My roots anchored deep within you
My thoughts fly to the central Son,
And return through Your moon time

In my heart we meet,
In Gratitude and Service
I am to You

J.S. 20 Aug 2016


With the wild spirit of Sabre Toothed Tiger

What would you do
If you knew how to ask
The answer to the question you seek

Would you sit on a throne
And proclaim to the world
Your visions of being chosen

With words from your lips
Would you say that you knew
The nature of life in this sea

Or would you eat at the hand 
Of a god with no name
And surrender with nothing to be

Would you welcome the light
Would you know how to ask
Would you see that love is unbroken

And at the alter of truth 
Would you know how to risk
Completing your boundless devotion?

K.C. September 2016


The Journey Continues

On a Wednesday evening back in 2004, I was having a conversation with someone I’d recently met. I spoke to him of the emptiness, dissatisfaction and lack of connection in my life. “Wouldn’t it be just great,” I asked, “to make contact with a group of like-minded men who regularly shared what was going on in their lives, and to be able to plug into some kind of camaraderie network.”

“Well,” said David, “I probably know exactly what you are looking for.”

David was the guy in charge of signing up people for something called The Adventure run by the Mankind Project, and there was an event coming up that very weekend.

“But it starts this Friday evening,” he said, “in the mountains outside San Bernardino. Can you arrange to be there?”

Something in my antennae told me that this event would be super-important in my life and I had to make it a priority. So on Friday afternoon I drove out of Los Angeles – about 120 miles – and arrived at the campsite in the early evening.

I won’t give away the details of what happened during those two and a half days, but I admit that by about mid-morning of the Saturday, I was beginning to wonder whether I’d made a wrong decision. Things changed dramatically in the early afternoon when things began to loosen and I was ever so gently thrown into an abyss!

During the next few hours, I can only say that my mind, psyche and emotions underwent an experiential sea change. What happened during that weekend affected me at the deepest level.

David had advised me to keep a couple of days following the event – Monday and Tuesday – free from work or obligations.

I am glad I did because, back in LA, sitting in my apartment, I was stunned, overwhelmed, almost in a state of shock, trying to process what I had been through during the previous two days.

It was as if I had been lifted on to a plateau which enabled me to see things from a new perspective, an expanded consciousness. I couldn’t put into words or describe what was going on inside me.

The Adventure is an ingenious mix of group exercises and initiation rites run by a very dedicated team who know exactly what they doing. The love and support and camaraderie I experienced at that weekend was utterly wonderful.

For me, there was a kind of magical alchemy at work which can only happen, if it’s allowed to, in a group setting. This group was made up of about 30 or so participants and an equal number of staff – men who had already been through the weekend themselves, plus the leader and co-leaders.

Afterwards, I was put in touch with an iGroup in my LA neighbourhood which met every week to continue what we’d started on the weekend. There I met a group of men who became friends and gained a support network for any problems or conflicts I was going through. And I, in turn, was able in turn to give support and offer empathy.

So I had indeed found the camaraderie and friendship I’d been searching for. We had a lot of fun too, mixed in with the personal work done. And when I left America in 2009, I was given a send-off by them that I will never forget. Only in America!

This MKP initiation later led me to come into contact with other groups doing similar work.

Celebration of Being USA was run by two remarkable women – Britta Johnson and Rajyo Markman. One of their workshops, Nobleman, staffed by women, had a profound effect on me and opened me up in ways I could never have imagined.

There were other workshops run by COB, like Power of Love for women, staffed by men. Amazing and wonderful things happen in these workshops where men and women interact in an extraordinary environment which is safe and open.

It is no accident that these gatherings are part of what is called the human potential movement.

I now live in Spain and I miss my MKP and COB lifeline – though every now and then I go to England to do one of the trainings. I am so very grateful that I was able to make that first contact with MKP back in 2004 – my life has been immeasurably enriched because of it!

P.W. September 2016   


Masculinity and Mission

There was a moment I was sitting in a circle on a ManKind weekend, maybe my PIT training, where one of the teachers said something that was to change my thoughts ­– not only in that moment, but for many moments to follow.

It was something along the lines of: “If a man doesn’t have a mission he is redundant, he has no power, his basic sense of being a man is not being fulfilled.”

In that moment I had a sense of this as true for my life.

I had been drifting for many years from place to place in search of something or something more. Literally, through people, through places, through jobs, through books, more.

On one level this could be considered as life and exploring life; people told me this as much as I told myself. But the truth was I didn’t have any plan.

In that moment, I realised I didn’t have a mission statement for what I wanted in my life. In circles I would say “I do not have a mission statement” and be OK with it, but not necessarily challenge myself to ask why.

And in that moment I realised a bigger dimension to all of this for me.

To have a mission is to be tapping into a deeper aspect of my nature as a man and of my masculine energy.

To have a mission is not a “created” idea; it is part of the basic masculine energy of moving in life; a mission becomes the quiet underlying hum of our every movement and thought.

Now that I could relate to! It had a strong powerful sense of purposefully attaining goals, but most importantly for me, it came from a sense of my basic human nature, of living a life which I chose and not one where I drifted from one moment to another.

So I set about designing elaborate statements of changing the world, making an impact, being a joyful, considerate, compassionate man.

And here’s the problem!

While I aspire to all of those on some level, I find it difficult to commit to them, because I feel that my mission is different from moment to moment.

My mission on a Sunday may be to lie in bed all day and drift between the worlds of consciousness, my mission on a Tuesday may be to climb Slemish mountain, my mission on Wednesday may be to buy a spade and dig the garden. So how do I create a mission that stands the test of time, that isn’t just a momentary whim? I find this difficult.

This is likely one of those ongoing challenges, for only after considering this for a year and exploring what it means to have a mission statement have I gained a little clarity.

For now I believe that we know what our mission is in any moment, and that is actually why we get out of bed.

But it’s almost like we don’t hear this, or somehow society tells us, or the media tells us, or our fears of fellow men sitting in a circle tells us, that we should have a grandiose sense of achievement in our missions.

Or that they should be altrusitic, compassionate, loving, fun.

But I wonder in the silence of staying with our own mission and in the privacy of never having to utter it to anyone, would this mission be the same?

Is our real, true mission something simpler: to stay away from alcohol, to not shout at our kids, to not berate ourselves when we do something wrong? That kind of thing. Would these missions actually serve us more, in leading us to be greater men then we already are?

An insight came for me when I kept misspelling “love” on my Facebook messages as “live”. I realised life is potentially telling us our missions all the time, and that we know our missions deep inside, in the sense that we know the things on a daily basis that will make us better men, if only we drop the grandiosity.

And so in my stating to my message recipients “live” at the end of a message and I realised that that is what I wanted for myself: to live. And so I understood and adopted this quiet, internal mission of “everyday I live my life”.

Missions: maybe they are not as simple nor as complex as we think.

Niall, September 2016


Ruminations

The charcoal is cold
Meat pulled from the bones
Connective tissue, now disbursed
Sinew, ruminated, faces gurning

Purse-lipped and silent
The bones each sit there
Ready to be boxed and buried
Just the waste to deal with
The shit

My poor boy, not given the time, the gaze
Not seen
I pick you up, feel your sadness
And see you now, hold you now
Joy in ever-bigger circles
With me, like a rock, an actual rock, at the core

With all things pulled apart
The spider has to move
And weave a new web
A new car to drive
Where I want to go
And how I want to get there

Let’s put these bones to ground
And cover them to earth
And mark them still with flowers and a tree
And lift up the boy
To become the man

Time to irrigate these dry pastures
And release the fish
Get down from the chair
And pull up a bench for the crowd

To come, learn, eat, be together
All the while I can breathe
In comfort and connection
Listening, entrusted
To rock at the centre
The stone from which the bench is carved
The bone from which the sacred object emerges

And to the shadow – to us
Walking in each other’s footsteps
Never too close, never too far
Let’s be together – you and me
In service, and protection
To make the ground bloom and the water flow
I will be honest, and see you

There will be a deep sleep, from which dawn will call
Like the drums of men across time

It will call back joy, and safety, and time spent
Here, now, with no anxiety of the other
And with the rock at the centre
The play can commence
The harvest will be great!
Enough to share
And around two banquet tables
We will learn, and understand
Ourselves and each other

For these blessing we give thanks
In service and integrity
And we will be seen
Across all space and time
Ah, men
I am a man like you
The same, accepted, respected, trusted, safe
My own man. Behold me.
And we shall all prosper.

R. B. September 2016


Grown Up Boys and Real Men

As I sit in a café, I am distracted by the loud, verbal jousting of several grown up boys at the table next to me. My mind wonders to the time I discovered the difference between grown up boys and real men.

Several years ago, when I was finding life rather challenging, my best friend N. told me I needed to get out more (!) and meet new people. He took me along to an MKP celebration evening. The door was opened by a glorious looking man in a purple jacket; I was welcomed with warmth.

The evening transformed my life. I witnessed 50 men, enthusiastically content in their masculinity, enjoying the company of the other men in the room. In fact it was the first time I experienced a room full of men who were not interested in seducing women but were instead happily talking to other men.

And how did I feel? Well. I stood back against the wall and soaked in the energy. I felt safe, alive with the energy in the room. I also felt very attractive. I realised that evening that when a man is comfortable in his masculinity, he makes me feel safe and attractive.

As I sat and listened to the men talk about their experiences of the Adventure, I felt envy because as a woman I wouldn’t be able to attend such a weekend. But what was there for women?

As I looked around the room, I saw all the men shining. And then my eyes rested on three women who were also shining. Their energy seemed to make them the most beautiful women in the room. What did they have to make them shine?

At the end of the talk, I made a beeline to these women and asked them outright what they’d been doing to shine so much. The answer? Celebration of Being. I signed up instantly.

The years passed and I became part of the Celebration of Being community. I attended Nobleman and discovered my purple jacketed Nobleman sitting opposite me. Hello!

I discovered a magnificent man who was comfortable in his masculinity but also in his femininity. He was able to articulate his feelings, cry, roar like a dragon, lead men and serve the community.

Sometime later my friend N. took both me and A. aside and told us separately that as we both liked each other we should “just ring each other and meet up”. We did and we do meet up, everyday. And I enjoy being met fully by my Nobleman Warrior and this enables me to meet him fully, everyday.

E. R. P. September 2016


 

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