Category Archives: The truth about the ManKind project

What Is Initiation?

To Be In or Not To Be In

So I’m an initiated man. It’s been ten days since the ManKind Project UK & Ireland’s Adventure weekend (once known as the New Warrior Training Adventure) and a week since the homecoming party.

For me, the weekend was an intense release of some extremely destructive energy I’d held since childhood.

Energy that had prevented me from becoming a man, holding me in a Peter Pan-like place, alternating between a toddler and a raging teenager.

And despite an incredible journey through life prior to the Adventure, a journey that encompassed extremes of near death, insight, intellectual enlightenment, profound love, and loss, my life always seemed like a lie, a long dark night of the soul.

I expect everyone is different; perhaps for some the Adventure is a beginning, for others a point on life’s journey, albeit I suspect a big one. For me it was an ending, a final end to something that had held me in its power for most of my life.

For all of my adult life I’d sensed a lack of access to my manhood – or at least what felt like my manhood: a way of acting in the world as a mature character.

No matter what I did I always felt like the showy teenager, the eager young dog keen to please, wanting acceptance that was never to be found.

Until the ManKind Project Adventure weekend. There I found it.

Videos about The ManKind Project UK & Ireland

And it was nothing like I’d have expected. But what is initiation anyway? An opening of a door into an unknown realm only I could step through, perhaps. But no one could show me; no one could take me there. It was my journey, and mine alone.

In one way, the process itself is simple: give a structure and a story to the deep forces of the psyche, and they can manifest and heal themselves in the ways only they know how.

Modern terms like the Unconscious, the Ego, the Id, don’t really cut it. For me, this was and is primordial. It’s beyond words and reason, primeval in a hardwired, timeless way.

This is how a boy is transformed into a man. It is alchemy at the purest and most real level. A spiritual transformation of the highest order.

To use a modern allegory: it was like I’d had a light sabre since I was young, a magic box transforming all my emotions and experiences, both bad and good, into a brilliant and powerful light. But the lens at the end of the device was blocked from an early age. And so a pressure built up, an infinite amount of pressure. Not knowing the source of this pressure caused confusion and stress….. until some kind men showed me the blockage, showed me that somehow a load of crap had gotten dumped over the lens, that there was a shadow blocking my light.

And when this shadow was recognised and cleared away, the light sabre came alive.

Now its light could be put to good use, warding off the shadow and manifesting the vision for this being (me) with the power of infinite light, infinite love.

Oh, sure, it’s gonna take a little practice to get the parry and thrust up to scratch. Maybe mastering it will take the rest of this lifetime. But at least the damn thing is working now and the interminable pressure is gone.

A New Warrior is born.

Video About the UK ManKind Project

Celebration

I found the celebration to be an affirmation by my family and others who attended. And also by me, confirming my acceptance into the world as this new story unfolds, as this new warrior archetype develops.

Now I had a place in the world, an ancient place, a place held by my ancestors, going back to time immemorial. I can see how valuable this is to those men, both young and old, who just cannot find their place in this world, yet who keep banging on all the doors, never finding what they truly seek, instead finding misadventure, hurt and pain.

Yeah, I like this new story! I hope it continues to grow and spread and does not get lost again in the quagmire of humanity’s shadow. I think we can all see the consequences of that playing out around the world right now.

The Challenge

How symbolic that Nelson Mandela should pass the day after the celebration for Newly Initiated Men.

What his passing signified to me was almost an offer, a request, not just to me alone but to all men and women, the question being: “Can I step up and be like him? Can I rise above the pettiness of the world and lead a life from my true heart? Can I endure hardship and not felt hard done by? Can I rise in the face of inequity and injustice and do the right thing?”

Perhaps, by seeing the shadow in my own heart I can seek to remedy my ways, to eradicate evil and be a servant to love. While Nelson may be gone, the world sorely needs a billion or two like him, so I’m in! Anyone care to join me?

“Sid” – Initiated Dec 2013

New Warrior’s Courage

ManKind Project – The Warrior’s Courage

Facing fear and overcoming it has been and still can be one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever done.

I worked on the railway for 4 years.
It was hard graft long hours in the middle of nowhere.
On my first shift I discovered you had to use the railway bank as a toilet. Being in the middle of nowhere with crows and rabbits for company.
I had just pulled my trousers down and was doing my bit for the roses.
When out of nowhere track ballast (the rocks under the tracks) starts landing round my ears.
I pulled my trousers up and was up the bank like a raging bull.
There was a big Irish fella named John Cahill (dead now god rest his soul) chucking these rocks, making himself look big in front of the gang.
And I was the new boy – much like school bullying.
I was up in front of his face raging – he wasn’t sure what to do.
We ended up best mates after that.

The fear I’m talking about is greater than that. That was a physical action that had an outcome.

The fear I’m talking about lives in my own head and is not even real.
Facing the fear “I’m not good enough” was my Hero’s journey.
My thanks go to The ManKind Project for helping me face it. My Adventure Weekend was empowering and emotionally freeing.

 

The ManKind Project and Me!

What does it mean to be a part of the ManKind Project’s community of men?

At the time of writing, I am 7 days away from travelling to South America for 6 months. At 25 years old, this feels like a profound journey towards mature manhood and stepping into my power; lovingly separating from my soul mate, quitting a secure, meaningful and fulfilling job, and leaving my comfortable life in Bristol behind (that’s where I’ve spent my entire life) – to discover what the big wide world has to teach me.

Before my weekend Adventure, I’d hoped that taking part in it would prepare me for this journey.

So, some weeks on from my initiation into this world of men, what has changed? Here are the things that made my ManKind Project Adventure weekend so profound. Of course, each man’s experience is completely unique. (The Adventure is also known as the NWTA – New Warrior Training Adventure.)

During my teenage years, I smoked a lot of cannabis and became very self-conscious, which developed into a paralysing paranoia. For years I felt nervous in social situations and had little experience with women, not losing my virginity until I was 19. This was a big contrast to my young teenage self, who was fun, confident, outgoing (and a hit with the ladies).

Largely because of the effect marijuana had on me, I lost touch with my emotions and became consumed by my whirlwinding, self-conscious mind. I wanted to change how I interacted with the world. After a few lonely years, I spent 6 months in India and South East Asia, where I found a Buddhist path. This gave me a sense of how to find peace of mind and regain some of that lost self-belief.

Ever since then, I’ve been hooked on various kinds of personal development and careers aspirations, searching for a sense of wholeness in life that I felt I’d lost.

During the ManKind Project ( MKP ) Adventure Weekend

I was reminded me how important a balanced life is: a life that includes a light hearted, child-like view of life to balance out the drive towards success. Since then I’ve valued and developed my relationships with my friends and family more highly, with a greater sense of fulfilment as a result.

Another life-changing experience on the ManKind Project Adventure was to be given the freedom and direction to get in touch with our wild energies, our free spirit of potential. This is something I’ve locked away so deep, so long, that no amount of meditation would ever tap into it. I had an opportunity to release this suppressed anger, and I felt overwhelmingly primal and instinctive.

This gut-level anger is something I’m exploring further, to accept it as a part of myself, embrace it and live through it – not to be an angry person, but to live a life without suppressing my emotions….. which until recently have been pushed down so far as to resurface in unhealthy disfigurations of what the original energy was intended for.

The ManKind Project also encourages men to explore our life’s mission.

For men, this is not so much the things we want to do or achieve in our lives, but the men that we want to be. This was a fresh perspective on a question I’d repeatedly asked myself: and, for the men who are considering doing the New Warrior Training Adventure, I hope you find your own.

So these were the main elements that I went through on my personal journey, but what of the group dynamic, the effect it had on the men present, and my opinions of the ManKind Project itself?

On the Friday night we were all strangers to each other, each with our own complex and unique issues, history and methods of coping with them in our lives. At first, there was a sense of wariness amongst the group around sharing our own experiences; however, over the next 2 days, I felt able to share even my most personal shame with what had been, such a short time before, a group of unknown men.

I can’t begin to say how empowering this was for me, and from what I sensed, the others around me. I have fond memories of the final celebration and farewell with the staff and other New Warrior Brothers. I felt a unique, life-changing event had occurred, that we would do anything for each other, that we could trust each other entirely.

As a result of the weekend and the continued support from the ManKind Project community, I feel I have someone I can turn to, almost anywhere in the world. I can share myself wholly and completely without fear of being judged or exposed.

This community is something so strong I have never felt anywhere else, with such easy and non-judgemental support from unique, amazing men.

I think that one of the greatest successes of MKP is that every facilitator works in his own way. They give up their time to support the growth of other men, despite some of the successful careers with large responsibilities they already inhabit. There is no sense of a pyramid structure, simply men each on their individual journey to make the world a better, more loving place for themselves and the people around them, by selflessly sharing their wisdom.

Joss 

What The ManKind Project Did For Me After The NWTA

Among Such Honourable Men

It is 12 months since I first heard of the ManKind Project, and just over 10 months since I did the Adventure Weekend in England. I did the follow up Primary Integration Training (PIT) in Edinburgh in March 2012 and have participated in the Edinburgh MKP men’s Group every fortnight during 2012 except a couple of occasions when I was overseas. I’ll be returning to live in Melbourne this November with my wife.

What have I got from this process with MKP Scotland:

  • Deep peace inside myself, knowing every day that I am a good man.
  • Lasting freedom from the weight I used to feel regarding my father’s absence in my life, since his separation from my mother and his relocation to Asia in my teens.
  • Unburdened myself from my futile struggle to fix other men including my father. Before, I blamed my father for not completing me and I felt it was my responsibility to fix the pain and problems he caused. Now, I have a feeling of completeness and wholeness, and I am released from blaming another man. My anger was given a sacred space during my Adventure weekend, now I feel peaceful towards my father.
  • Experiencing the bliss of being surrounded by honourable, kind, courageous strong men, regularly.
  • Being seen and honoured by men who celebrate me.
  • Being able to drink deep from this spring of acceptance of me as a man, knowing that it is an infinite source which I can rely on.
  • Ability to stop hiding behind modesty and fear and accept my greatness with lightness and enjoyment. I greatly enjoy leading igroups when my turn comes around.
  • Experiencing my desire to lead as a gift not a burden.
  • Given a series of public talks on a subject I am passionate about and on a mission about, after bursting through my fear at my PIT.
  • Crystallising my mission in life. My mission is to create a world of energy and harmony by listening, learning, teaching and enlivening.
  • Finding out what my shadow mission is – the part of me which denies, hides and suppresses, and seeks to do the same to others. Realising my shadow actually wants to make the world manifest its dark ways. Being able to name my shadow and to hold it where it is not in control of me.
  • Absolute certainty that my new growth into healthy manhood will last the rest of my life, and that with the door open to iGroups for the rest of my life, this gold is mine to keep and enjoy and grow for the rest of my life.
  • Before, I used to go to counselling occasionally when things got tough. Since I started participating regularly in an MKP iGroup, I have not felt any need to see a counsellor.
  • In my life before my Adventure weekend, I could trust women but men were responsible for the worst things in the world and in my life. I could not trust men as a community, only individual men who were my close friends. Now, I have a whole community of men in my life who I deeply trust and I see men as inherently trustworthy and good.
  • I have the opportunity to hold space for men to find their greatest gold, and I am held to find mine. I see that I can make a difference to men’s lives and in the way they live their lives as men.

I depart the UK in November 2012 with great gratitude to all men I have met in MKP in this country. I AM GRATEFUL FOR ALL OF YOU. I go to Australia with an open heart. I am ready to get to meet the Melbourne iGroup and to rock and roll in the Australian MKP community. With the backing of the awesome community of UK men I go to the next stage of my life, proud and happy to be a man amongst men. I WILL MISS YOU. I look forward to visiting the UK community next year and in future years.

D N

The Power Of The Adventure (NWTA from MKP)

I was at the Adventure weekend at the Comb in September 2012. It was certainly one of the most unusual things I have ever done!

The Adventure weekend was indeed quite an experience for me, positively challenging in some ways, empowering in others, and generally a place to learn quite a few things about life and others. I don’t know if it was a milestone that will give me the power and courage to take life in my hands and decide and risk and do so many other things that I need to do, but it certainly gave me an insight into men’s struggles in general, and it gave me courage and the sense that I am not alone.

What have I personally gained by participating in the weekend? Overcoming my fear of meeting new people and of being amongst men. A better general understanding of myself, especially regarding the issues that are keeping me from living my life freely and more empowered. Realising that, while I can seek advice and insight from other people, in the end the duty and responsibility of making a choice belongs to me. Acknowledging that I cannot undo the past, my background, but I can own the shadow and use it in a positive and motivating way. Striving to discover a mission, a purpose for my life, and a way to live in integrity regarding it, rather than in denial and evasion.

Two aspects have especially touched me over the weekend. First, the courage and determination of so many participants in knowing and also sharing themselves so as to develop themselves to be better men who live in accordance with their expectations and dreams. Second, the dedication of the staff who were facilitating the whole weekend in service for us. They were an inspiration for me through their knowledge of humanity in general, their strength of character and integrity. My sincere thanks and deep appreciation goes towards all the men who have staffed the September weekend! I am truly grateful for their effort and dedication!

Especially, at the end of the Adventure, on Sunday afternoon, there was the good-bye ceremony which involved all the members of staff and weekend participants. As we were doing this, I noticed so much kindness, encouragement and love in men’s eyes, and many of them had tears in their eyes. Their images, their faces, have deeply touched me, and for some reason this saddens me (perhaps realising once again, both the greatness and transience of human beings).

To conclude, there aren’t many environments nowadays in which men are encouraged to communicate and share deep and profound experiences, to be true to themselves, to discover themselves, to show their emotions and to strive to live in integrity. I think ManKind Project’s relevance resides precisely in encouraging this work and offering this space for men.

Best wishes,

Alex M

The Adventure at The Comb, Northumberland June 2011

Hungry for initiation

I have felt a deep, ferocious hunger for that elusive sense of maturity for years now – never having been able to shake the unpleasant feeling that I am still but a boy in the body of a man. And I knew I needed help to get past a masochistic, pervasive undercurrent in life which always made every action feel not quite right, not exactly authentic. In many ways, my life was great – and improving. Yet, my suffering was undeniable. And so I was ready. In the evening of June 4 2011, at The Comb in Northumberland, I finally embarked on my life’s first Hero’s journey.

It was an intense experience; over in a flash. Yet contained within those brief moments was a journey through grief into rebirth. That is more than literary symbolism – I was reborn, surrounded by initiated men, losing my masochistic beliefs on the way. It was a surreal, yet deeply impacting experience – and one I had not prepared for. All the visions of a hero’s journey that I’ve entertained myself with, looked very different to mine.

As the facilitators circled us on the last day – bidding us farewell in silence – I felt my heart so strongly. Rare are the moments in life when I have felt so alive. Tears flowed down my face. I stood there an initiated man – having been through a ritual for which my entire soul had hungered for years. The look on the faces of these men – each featuring a unique mixture of love and acceptance – confirmed that I had indeed received what I longed for. Some missing part of me was starting to pour back in. I was happy.

Journey to The Comb

I run a webpage called Masculinity Movies. It emerged out of my own search for maturity and manhood and running it has brought me much learning and satisfaction. As my exploration of movies, spirituality and psychology deepened, the book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover – Archetypes of the Mature Masculine showed up on my radar. The authors are Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, men of some familiarity to you, I suspect.

As my understanding of these archetypes grew, I started applying them to my movie reviews – with outstanding results. People loved what they read – and I learned so much.

The Mankind Project was mentioned with increasing frequency and eventually my reviews became featured content on both the Mankind Project’s Facebook page and their journal on www.mankindprojectjournal.org It was clear that I had found an organization full of men who shared my thoughts and passions, and I felt excited by the growing possibility of global brotherhood.

I connected with MKP men such as KDC, BH and MG and my participation in the weekend was inevitable. Speaking with BH on Skype one day pretty much cemented it. There was nothing more to think about – I took a leap of faith and I don’t regret it.

I was afraid when I knocked on the door and entered the darkness behind it, but boy am I happy that I did!

Back to Normal?

I returned home with a slight concern that the experience would just be a workshop high, my freedom slowly dwindling with every passing day after returning home. But I do feel different. Something has remained. In fact, some hard-to-describe feeling of being a man and not a boy has strengthened and I feel more confident overall. Most importantly, I feel freer to express myself. In fact, my voice has changed. It has opened and become deeper. Several people have commented on it.

I want to write briefly about my shadow, identified on my weekend as I create a more alienated world by being judgmental about others. The number one inner conflict in my life is my desire to connect, combined with the fear of rejection. My need to connect is tremendous. I love going to deep and rich places with people. Yet for many years, my spiritual practice was a solitary affair which served to strengthen this shadow.

Before I move to criticize it, I want to honor my many years of sitting meditation practice and my deep inroads into worlds such as Buddhism, integral theory and tantra. They served me well for many years. Yet, I remained divorced from life itself. So in my feelings of unfulfillment, I learned that I could protect myself from the fear of rejection by condemning people who I might otherwise wish to connect with as unworthy, less spiritual. Absolutely wonderful. Served me well. And I’m so fucking done with it.

The new openness that is unfolding in my life allows me to go deeper with others. The key for me is the ability to share impact combined with a deeper realization of my ability to be self-sufficient in the love department. Now, when someone impacts me in a way I like or don’t like, I can simply share my experience of it. It’s not a defense, and yet it’s the best defense of all. Shared humanity. What a concept!

My relationships have deepened considerably this year, yet the experience of intimacy in the interpersonal spaces of my life has dropped to an even deeper and richer level since the weekend at The Comb. I feel nourished.

The path ahead

In two weeks’ time, I go to Edinburgh for my PIT. I feel inspired to facilitate at a training adventure not too long from now. To experience it from the other angle. To give it. My mission statement involves curiosity and blessing and so, the path is lit.

I have gathered four MKP men and three other good men who live in the Oslo area and our first real gathering is planned for August. I am moving in three weeks, to the first flat I could ever call truly mine, and will be happy to host them there. This is deeply significant for me, contributing to a general feeling of increased groundedness and embodiment. I feel pleased with myself. My heart opens when I write that.

I’m also feeling big openings in my quest for my true mission in the world. So many good things are happening. I feel stronger and more peaceful and I’m even sensing that a woman is going to come into my life again soon. I realize that I have held the belief that if I get to be with a woman, I somehow automatically get the better end of the deal. And having seen it, I realize how bullshit it is. I can now own how lucky the woman who gets to have me will be. We will both be lucky, gifts to each other.

Would these things have happened if I didn’t do my NWTA? Hard to say. I think it probably would have eventually considering the intensity of my yearning for ever-increasing maturity and insight. But it’s not important. It is what it is and I’m happy with the way I arrived here. I have worn my talisman almost every day since returning.

Eivind S

www.masculinity-movies.com

Meet the men of the community – Matt G

I heard about the ManKind Project from a fellow brother who knew I was in a rut and feeling unfulfilled. He rang me up and said: “I’ve just been on this fantastic weekend where I learnt a lot about myself….I think it might be good for you …. take a look at their website… if you think it’s right for you at this time…register!”

After looking at the website and having a think for a week or so, I signed up. And I have to say when I received the registration paperwork I thought “What have I let myself in for!” But I put that doubt behind me and looked forward to the weekend with an open mind.

When the weekend arrived I was getting apprehensive about what to expect. The paperwork hadn’t made it very clear (though now I understand why). Another man going on the training collected me and he too didn’t know what to expect, so between us we had lots to talk about on the way.

Now, three years after my training, I can honestly say I’m so glad I didn’t chicken out because it has had a major impact on my life.

I have a disability which stops me getting around and doing every day tasks as able-bodied people do. I hadn’t had a full time paid job until the year following my training (I’m now 34). The training gave me the determination to go “out there” and fight to get myself a job.

After many job applications I now work for my local council, mainly as admin for the community occupational therapy service. I am responsible for ordering and monitoring installations and modifications specified by occupational therapists to benefit people in their own homes and help them maintain their independence. I also monitor the users’ satisfaction levels and the council’s performance indicators, all of which I enjoy immensely.

The training also gave me the ability to appreciate my friends and family. I am able to put my point across to the people I love and care for the most and still listen to their point of view without losing my temper, which in the past I was very prone to do. I have learned how to appreciate life and encourage others to do the same.

I find myself putting things I learnt on the training into practice and tackling difficult people and situations without getting flustered.

So thank you “ManKind” for your help in realising my own potential!

Matt G

Meet the men of the community – Mark J

I went through the Adventure at Sopley in 2001. In 1993 I had been ordained an Anglican priest.  But believe me – Sopley was a more powerful experience. The weekend was like standing under an ice-cold shower then being wrapped in a warm blanket. I was truly exposed for the first time.

I was a gay man amongst many straight men and this scared me. I had never been shy about my sexuality; after all I had always known I was gay, but before this time I had been comfortably contained within a gay social network. I was actually estranged from other men. It was as if straight men were a different species, and a slightly menacing one at that.

Sopley also freed me from a religious world view. It was the antithesis of theDamascusroad experience and from the Saturday night I no longer believed in a traditional god. Coming from a very religious, anti-gay heritage, and believing in a god who would ultimately punish me for being me, this was a life changing moment, a rebirth.

I realised I was just a man among other men and we all had our stories. I had been just as blind to other men as I thought they had been to me. Now, from a place of pain and exposure, we could grow new skins with new sensitivities.

Within one year I had left the Church, which I had both loved and loathed, and was working with refugees. I then took a Masters degree and a PGCE, and became a teacher. I am now head of the psychology department in a lovely school where I teach full time.

The last ten years have been a journey. I have not been active in MKP. I believe that you can only be initiated once and then the hero’s journey continues elsewhere. But I have worked and meditated and laughed and built fires with many initiated men in various men’s groups since then.

Last year at 50 I took the final step and wore to school a small badge on my lapel which said GAY ICON. This was a scary moment. But I decided that if I didn’t say who I was, how could I ever expect anyone else to do so? 

All went well. The students thought it was mildly interesting for about ten minutes, which was the ideal response, the head-teacher shook my hand and said “Well done”, and so we all moved on.

Sopley came at the right time for me. It kicked me out of my comfort zone and gave me a starter kit to help re-engage with the world I had left. That’s what initiations should be about; they are liminal events, and once I had crossed that threshold I could never go back. The future lay ahead with all its uncertainties, but I realised after the dance that I was no longer alone.

Mark J

Masculine empowerment

Being a man amongst men

The men had been initiated. I stood, eye to eye, man to man with a “new brother”. Then the drum sounded and I moved to the next man. The same vision. Eye to eye, man to man. Some of the new brothers had welled up and were crying. “This is awesome,” I thought to myself…then I dropped the thought and returned to presence.

It was the closing ceremony of the March 2011 NWTA in the United Kingdom, and my first staffing with the global men’s organisation called The Mankind Project. I was honouring these men as new brothers at the end of their “New Warrior Adventure Weekend” (NWTA), otherwise called their initiation weekend.

For some of these initiates this might just have been the first time that they had ever felt truly honoured for all that they are by a group of fellow men. And as I did this, I realized that this was a life changing experience for me too. I was being entrusted, along with all the other 39 staff members, to honour and initiate fellow men for everything they are. And in doing so I feel I have received a transmission of masculine empowerment that will serve me, and the communities I engage in, for the rest of my life.

The container

I understood why several brothers over the years since my own initiation weekend had told me that their experience of staffing the weekend was even more powerful than the original weekend itself. Being entrusted to initiate other men having attended nothing more than a single MKP NWTA weekend might make people question the strength and integrity that this “initiation” into manhood holds. However in this organisation I am struck by how fantastically well it works.

This is because the “container” is so strong. In order to staff we must commit to being truly of service, to honour our commitments we make when signing up, to respect and respond responsibly to any emotional charge we have with another staff member so that the flow of respectful heart-full communication remains open, and to hold ourselves accountable if we feel out of integrity for any reason, e.g. if we have not walked our talk.

As staff we must commit to taking full responsibility for our actions, both wholesome and unwholesome, and there are reflective processes readily available and encouraged when we step out of integrity. And what I love is that within this container are the most wonderful heart-warming honouring rituals. These allowed me to truly serve in the knowledge that this service was being valued by my fellow brothers.

Home

As I serve in the world outside the MKP, this feeling of being supported is within me as a consequence of witnessing and being a part of these rituals. I know that things are not always easy for men and it feels damn good to know that I have support.

So, as I looked into these men’s eyes, my life was changing, my ground was forming. It is time for me to do my work, to live my joyful mission, to revel in this warm, heart-full and wonderful community, with joy and satisfaction that I have found my community of brothers.

Just before we stood eye to eye with these men, we staff were lined up and then invited to turn to the man beside us to talk for a minute about what “gold” we had received from the weekend. I was honoured to turn to one of the leaders of the weekend, and without knowing what was going to be spoken, in complete trust that my truth would be delivered, I spoke.

I heard myself speak of my strong sense that I had found a community which exemplifies so many qualities that I value in the world…integrity, service, responsibility, honouring, humour…I told this leader that I was feeling deeply satisfied, truly happy in knowing that I had finally found my community of brothers that I had silently longed for – for a very long time.

Francis E
Francis is a healer, life-coach and 5 Rhythms teacher. You can read his blog at returntoinnocence.org.uk

What can I possibly gain that I don’t already have?

The e-mail said an article of around 1000 words was wanted from a man who could write with passion about his recent completion of the NWTA and the benefits he’d gained. I immediately responded saying I would attempt to get something down in the next few days. The prompt response stated the deadline was Monday mid-day – it was now Friday. A full weekend approached. I replied “I’d do my best”.

Finding myself roused from a deep sleep at 4 am on Tuesday morning, I recall my commitment to send an article to a man I don’t know, who compiles a publication I have never read. Now wide awake, I realize what day it is and that I have failed to deliver on a commitment to a man. That is NOT “my best”!

Now, at this point I could have snuggled down making excuses to keep me in my comfort, explaining the difficulty to find the time. I was so busy in the garden all Saturday, and that night was spent around a Halloween bonfire in warm connection with the men in my life. I was sharing deep inner truth and vulnerability, helping each to realize their unique gifts and our imperative to share them with the world. Feeling heard in a way I’ve never known from these men, I was able to take time to really listen.

And after that, I was sitting on the kitchen floor looking into the eyes of a 20 year old woman, for the first time really hearing her pain. She shared with me her deep hatred of men for the abuse and disrespect shown to her all her life, in the home, at school and out in the wider world. I have always found it difficult to relate to this woman since we first met, when she was 12 years old.

She has always been very defensive, aggressive and masculine. She revealed how she is intoxicated by the smell of men and deeply desires connection and union, but it will have to be with a man who has green or blue energy emanating from him – colours that she associates with love and heating. Most men are red, she explained, dangerous, she despises them. Finally, she told me that she had only shared these truths with 2 people: her best girl friend and now me.

Now other reasons for not making the deadline flood in. Very jet tagged from a long haul flight and having only 4 hours’ sleep in 24 hour periods over the previous 6 days, I found myself sleeping right through Sunday, waking up at I0pm, and going back to bed a few hours later.

I was up at 7am to clean and prepare for one of my best friends and his new girlfriend to arrive later that day. It was important to me to prepare a beautiful space for them: ironed sheets, hoovered carpets, tidy living room and clean kitchen – not to impress, but because I value this man in my life for the friendship, humour, support and guidance we share and so I wish to treat him with the respect he deserves.

Then I was off to see a new tenant in an apartment I rent out. He’d written to say there were some minor repairs that needed attending to. I’d arranged the earliest time available to attend to his problems. Not because I worry about the rent or losing face, but because I wish to honour this man I’ve never met, wanting him to be comfortable in his new home. After a firm handshake and eye contact, I apologized he’d encountered any problems at all: despite the property becoming vacant while I was away, there was no excuse. Reassuring him that his happiness was my main priority, I swiftly carried out the repairs and arranged a plumber to replace a leaking tap by next week.

On the way home I popped in to see a friend who was also on the NWTA with me. We were both busy and we respected each other’s time constraints, keeping our conversation focused; he lent me some equipment I had been considering buying and I gave him a contact around some work for him.

My partner and I shared a wonderful evening with my friend and his new girlfriend and left them to continue their night undisturbed with candles and romance in the hot tub.

Now where in all that could I have found the time to write a thousand words?! Are these valid excuses for not honouring a commitment? No, these are descriptions of some of the many changes that have happened in my life since I attended the New Warrior Training. There is no excuse for letting another man down, so I complete this piece at 6.30 am with deep apology and hope that the deadline contains flexibility.

Whispers of the ManKind Project were first heard when I encountered various men who were focused, loving and very present with strong eye contact. Commenting that I found it refreshing to meet a “man” as apposed to a “boy in a man’s body”, I was informed that these men had attended the training.

Just before I set off to attend the same training last June I spouted to my partner “Why am I, of all people, doing this?! What can I possibly gain that I don’t already have?!” Half way through the weekend I thought I’d wasted my money and would only stay to support my friend. A day later I was shocked to see a man I have never known looking back out at me from my bathroom mirror.

For the first time I really liked what I saw. A 41 year old man looked back at me who was confident, loving and free to dance with life. My partner said I smelt different, my muscle tone was different, my voice deeper, my energy contained, and my focus intense. Although these qualities are not as pronounced now, they remain with me, and the changes I have found in my life in the months since the training have been profound.

I have recommended dozens of men to attend the training and am looking forward to future work with MKP. This organisation is changing men, and those men in turn are changing our world for the better.

Simon