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Jim James of My Morning Jacket on the ManKind Project - Pitchfork Magazine

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Recently, Jim James, previously from the well known band 'My Morning Jacket' had some bold words to say about modern masculinity and the ManKind Project in an interview with Pitchfork Magazine. Read the full article here.

Pitchfork: What's your take on the overarching presence of masculinity in culture and society?

JJ: I've always struggled with masculinity, because I believe that every living being is part male and part female. Spiritually, you're both. That's why I've always felt uncomfortable as a man on this earth -- I've got male and female energy. This is a world that tells you that's wrong -- "you're a f*cking pussy" -- and a lot of people feel that way, which makes this world hard to walk through. There's this book, [Neale Donald Walsh's] Conversations With God, where this guy writes questions on a piece of paper, and God answers them. He talks about how, long, long ago, women were the rulers, and men gradually took over. A lot of people feel like we're slowly beginning to roll back towards women taking over -- but even when women ruled the earth, it was imbalanced, because the women looked down on the men. The men were just the sex dudes who moved heavy rocks out of the way. They weren't treated equal. I've been thinking about this stuff a lot.

There's this group called ManKind Project, they lead retreats to try and help men feel more OK with all the different sides of being a man. I went on one of those retreats because I was so intrigued. It was f*cking amazing. The experience was about taking accountability for yourself and your actions-- just trying to be a better person. As long as we've been alive, the world has been hugely tilted in favor of masculinity and is totally fucking itself because of it. That's nowhere close to being over, but hopefully, we're turning the spirits back on their axis to make it even.

The ManKind Project is showing up in some powerful ways in the culture these days, to be a part of it, do what Jim James did - come to the New Warrior Training Adventure.

ManKind Project Men on CBS Sunday Morning - Developing Healthy Friendships

This clip from CBS Sunday Morning - "Friendship: Close ties that enhance, extend life" - features men from the ManKind Project South Central area talking about the connections that they experience being part of the ManKind Project. Willie Baronet, Scott Prentis, Ron Nevelow, and John Groll were interviewed for the section on what it means to have powerful and supportive friendships. The segment featuring ManKind Project men starts at 6 minutes.

CBS Sunday took an interest in the ManKind Project because of an article that featured one of the men in the segment, Ron Nevelow, who is a therapist in Dallas. Read the article here.

If you are ready to build your friendships with men, and improve every aspect of your life, you're invited to find a men's group near you. Email us.

Here's an excerpt from the segment:

But things are different just outside of Dallas, where Scott Prentice, John Groll, Ron Nevelow and Willie Baronet may do the usual guy things, like "trash-talking."

"It means making fun of his abilities, 'cause he can't play basketball," said Willie. "John can't play poker. Scott can't out-fish me, those sorts of things."

"I've got pictures to prove otherwise, that's all I can say," Scott retorted.

You get the point, especially when they join other friends for a game of whirlyball -- kind of a mash-up of lacrosse and basketball, played in bumper cars.

But they say that the friendship they've developed over more than 15 years is far different than the stereotypical friendship most people think of between a bunch of sports-loving, poker-playing guys.

"I've never found a group that's so understood me, accepted me, loved me, and honored me as this group does," said Scott.

"We are willing to share deeply with each other what our fears are, what's not working well, and I think most men yearn for that connection, but don't feel comfortable going after it," said Willie.

"You're all married, or in relationships; what do the women in your lives think about these friendships?" asked Braver.

"I guarantee you, without these guys, I wouldn't be married," said Scott. "I had, you know, a fear of commitment. They helped me walk through what it was that was keeping me from being able to have a wife."

Wentworth Miller, the ManKind Project, and 'Men's Work'

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UPDATE: Wentworth Miller talks about the ManKind Project Community at a Human Rights Campaign gala dinner in Seattle WA. See the video below.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 21, 2013

Wentworth Miller III, an actor best known for his role in the popular series “Prison Break,” recently made news on CNN, Entertainment Weekly, the GLAAD website, and beyond when he posted a letter to the St. Petersburg film festival declining an invitation to attend.

In it he states, “As a gay man, I must decline. I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government. The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly.”

Full Content of the letter here.

He signed the letter as a member of GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, and The ManKind Project.

The ManKind Project (MKP) is honored to be named in this short list with two organizations taking a stand for the human rights of LGBT people.

As an organization that welcomes all kinds of men, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religious affiliation, or other difference, MKP strives to be increasingly diverse and culturally aware. The ManKind Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and is not affiliated with any religious practice or political party.

MKP creates intensive opportunities for men to learn about themselves and become the partners, husbands, fathers, sons, and change agents they dream of being in a diverse and supportive community of men. Our training programs and men’s groups (called Integration Groups, or I-Groups) exist to build and support awake, accountable, purpose driven, emotionally mature, powerful, and compassionate male leaders and role models.

Miller had this to say about his participation in the ManKind Project, “MKP has quickly become one of the cornerstones of who I am and how I move through the world today.”

Recently, Miller shared a story about the change in himself as a result of his work with the ManKind Project. Read the story on the ManKind Project Journal.

'Men's Work,' like that being done by the ManKind Project, is now spreading quickly among younger generations of men looking for healthy and powerful ways of expressing modern masculinity in a culture where messages about what it means to be a man are often contradictory, self-serving, and ineffective. This flexible 'New Macho' sensibility is one that embraces multiple expressions of masculinity, and focuses on self-awareness, collaboration, and purposeful action over domination and destructive competition.

MKP’s flagship training, “The New Warrior Training Adventure” is regarded by many as one of the most powerful and transformative experiences available for men today. If you’re a man inspired to do whatever it takes to reach your next level of success, consider the New Warrior Training Adventure. As follow-up for the training program, the ManKind Project USA ( mkpusa.org), along with MKP's 8 global regions, also have a wide network of free, confidential men’s peer mentoring groups meeting weekly or biweekly around the globe. Many of these groups are open to visitors.

Find a men’s group by emailing outreach@mkp.org.
Learn more by signing up for the Voices of New Warriors Interview Series.
Find a New Warrior Training Adventure in over 40 locations across the USA and around the world by visiting NewWarriorTraining.org

What does Greatness ask of you? #mkpragbrai

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How will you change the world?

Men’s Nonprofit Organization brings over 40 riders to RAGBRAI XLI, and they’re asking what we’re committed to do to make a difference.

The ManKind Project USA (MKP USA) and Vets Journey Home are bringing men and women from across the United States and Canada to RAGBRAI XLI. This is their second year at RAGBRAI, and they’ve doubled the size of the team from RAGBRAI XL. Last year, a lot of RAGBRAI riders noticed their bright gold jerseys with the phrase “Changing the world, one man at a time” on the back, and struck up great conversations. The jerseys will be new this year, but the tag-line will be the same, and this time they hope to have even more conversations with interested riders from across the world.

“What we’ve seen over nearly 30 years, is that each man has passion and purposeful action to offer the world, and often what he needs is support to push through whatever is holding him back from sharing those gifts,” says Mike Elser, Chairman for the ManKind Project USA, who will be riding for the second time, “We’re dedicated to supporting men to become the powerful, emotionally mature, awake, accountable and compassionate leaders and role models we need for today. Men willing to take individual and shared responsibility for creating a better future.” MKP USA has over 700 men’s groups meeting every week in locations across the country, and conducts weekend training programs for men some 70 times a year.

Elser, with his wife, Donna, celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary on July 17 - on the way to Iowa. They credit much of the joy and success of their marriage in recent years to the ‘heart-work’ they have done together with the ManKind Project and its sister organization, Woman Within. Says Donna, “I wish we had found this work earlier, there’s so much trouble we could have avoided if we had the skills we both have today.” (Look for Donna holding the big ManKind Project flag toward the end of each day.) The ManKind Project USA is bringing some notable riders with them this year, including Scott Stoll, who spent 4 years riding around the world on a bike. He published “Falling Uphill; 25,742 miles, 1461 days, 50 countries, 6 continents & 4 moments of enlightenment on a bicycle,” which has received international recognition as a teaching tool and exploration of what’s possible when a person follows their dreams. Scott now works with youth to help them visualize their wildest dreams and start pursuing them! (theargonauts.com)

Another notable joining the team this year is Terri Strodoff of the Alma Center of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (almacenter.org). The Alma Center’s mission is to “motivate peaceful change through education in intimate relationships, family and community.” The Center is a leading provider of services and education to end relationship abuse and violence. They do this by offering gender specific training to look at the root causes of violence and helping male perpetrators take responsibility for changing them.

“We know that human beings do not enter this world intent upon doing harm and hurting each other. Violence is a learned behavior,” says Strodoff. She is joining the ManKind Project USA’s effort this year to continue raising awareness about the devastating impacts of domestic violence, and to keep showing that for many abusers and victims, there is a way past violence.

Part of this year’s effort for RAGBRAI is a collaboration with another nonprofit called Vets Journey Home, an organization that works with combat veterans, men and women, to support healing and reintegration in the wake of trauma that many combat soldiers face while deployed. Vets Journey Home has grown since 1889 from a program serving primarily Vietnam era veterans to a program that brings veterans from any conflict, and from any nation, together for a free weekend retreat in which they can share their stories and get the soul’s homecoming they may never have had. (vetsjourneyhome.org)

Says Gene McMahon, co-founder of the program, “A lot of vets come back and they’re carrying wounds deep in their heart and deep in their soul. They’re having a hard time when they come back. They’re in turmoil.” Vets Journey Home now offers programs in multiple locations across the United States.

And of course, RAGBRAI is about pedaling, right? So the ManKind Project USA is putting their pedals where their mouths are with two promotions this year. Last year they raffled off a classic TREK recumbent … this year they went for something with some swagger. They’re giving away a FELT Burner 29” in a free sweepstakes.

They’re also building a pedal-powered smoothie maker. Eric Bourgault, originally from Quebec, Canada, is bringing the experiential component to the show, after having played with the machines in Canada as part of a clean energy campaign. The smoothie maker will be part of the ManKind Project USA Expo booth in Council Bluffs, to highlight the impact that consciously created experiences have in helping men and women move through obstacles.

Bourgault, who worked with a circus for a number of years and now creates “Velomotion Concept” conscious cycling tours (find it on Google) is excited about being a promoter for this year’s RAGBRAI team. “I want to make sure we connect the people to WHY we are here, and WHY we are doing this work. How are you going to change the world? What will be possible if you turn your old hardships and troubles into something sweet and nourishing that you can share with the world?”

Look for Eric on the FELT cruiser as the team moves across the state. With support from Bike Masters in Omaha, the bike will be on display at the Expo and in ending towns along the way, and raffled off in Fairfield on day 6. The live raffle will be held at Fairfield Nutrition on the west side of the square in the evening on Friday.

And when you see “Changing the world, one man at a time,” on the back of a jersey, strike up a conversation!

For more information on the ManKind Project USA at RAGBRAI, visit ragbrai.mkp.org. Follow the team by searching for hashtag #mkpragbrai on Facebook or Twitter.

CONTACT:

Boysen Hodgson
Communications & Marketing Director
ManKind Project USA
EMAIL: communications@mkpusa.org
@boysenh / @mankindproject
CELL: 413-883-2462

ALSO A RIDER at RAGBRAI XLI!!

I will be on hand every day - live tweeting and facebooking from the road - happy to make connections and be interviewed for the ManKind Project USA.

Long-time MKP Supporter Dean Cycon (Dean's Beans) awarded ‘Nobel Prize’ for Business.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

June 28, 2013

 

Dean's Beans Founder Dean Cycon Receives a 2013 Business for Peace Award

From the Dean’s Beans Web site: (http://www.deansbeans.com)


“In May 2013, the Business for Peace Foundation, based in Oslo, Norway, announced its 2013 Business for Peace Honorees. Eighty nominations from fifty countries, five Honorees and Dean was the only American. The award, commonly known as the “Nobel Prize for Business”, is chosen by a panel of Nobel Laureates, including Dr. Muhammed Yunus, creator of the Grameen Bank microloan system.”


Dean Cycon is a local hero in western Massachusetts, where he lives and works and is commonly on hand to support a range of local efforts to bring justice, safety and peace to communities.


About his connection to the ManKind Project and the New Warrior Training Adventure, Cycon says, “My men’s training and association with MKP helped me develop the sensitivity and awareness to turn anger at injustice into positive, compassionate action.”


He attended one of the early ManKind Project events held in New England in the late 1990’s, and maintains connections in the community to a number of other change agents who have had ManKind Project men’s groups as a place to develop evolutionary ideas and take action to make them real.


Cycon was also recently awarded the first ever “United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles Leadership Award for Community Engagement” at the 5th Annual United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles Event for his work in multiple nations supporting (mostly women) farmers to build sustainable business and community.


Says Mike Elser, Chairman of the ManKind Project USA, “One of the core values of our work at the ManKind Project is service. In our trainings and men’s groups we support and encourage men to develop and live from a deep sense of sacred purpose in the world -- a personal mission. We offer tools to overcome internal and external obstacles so that men can create a positive legacy. Dean is a powerful example of how living with purpose can lead to world-changing impacts.”


Congratulations to Dean Cycon and Dean’s Beans!


Learn more about Dean’s Beans philosophy and business in a short video here:

http://www.kontentfilms.com/blog/2013/06/03/dean-receives-nobel-prize-for-business/


See local news coverage for the award here:

http://www.wggb.com/2013/06/26/local-man-wins-nobel-peace-prize-for-his-coffee-business-in-orange/?app=1


 

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CONTACT:

Boysen Hodgson

Communications & Marketing Director

ManKind Project USA

communications@mkpusa.org

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ABOUT THE MANKIND PROJECT: MKP USA is nonprofit 501(c)(3), non-partisan, and not affiliated with any religious practice. We strive to be diverse and inclusive for all kinds of men. We support and partner with several organizations for women, including Woman Within International.

ManKind Project USA grieves the tragedy in Newtown, CT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
CLICK FOR FRENCH TRANSLATION

Real Men Cry

In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, men of the ManKind Project are here to support those affected by this traumatic event.

The Northeast Area of the ManKind Project has an active community close to Newtown, and men in that area, from New England and New York Metro Communities, are reaching out to their friends and neighbors.

Robert Werme, of the Sage Center for Wholeness in Woodbury, CT, writes:

“We're still in shock down here. We're finding ways to huddle together and shake in the trauma. There will be circles to shape and healing to facilitate ... Many "one men" were wounded today. Many men and women are feeling feelings they never imagined they'd feel. MKP was built for this.”

Men are prepared to be on hand in the community in the coming days and weeks. Professional Service providers are stepping forward to offer assistance for the deep grieving work that is already happening.

The three websites below provide guidance and advice as to how to talk to children about tragedies involving other children, such as the victims in the Connecticut elementary school shootings.

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/aftermath.aspx
http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/terror_general.aspx
http://www.nasponline.org/resources/crisis_safety/specpop_general.aspx

From the ManKind Project USA Chairman, Mike Elser (Portsmouth, NH):

“We envision a world where this kind of senseless violence no longer occurs ... where there is a culture of healthy masculinity that is nurturing, supportive, and accountable. When men and boys have emotional tools and an engaged community to process and share the inevitable pain, confusion … and feelings of powerlessness ... that come with modern life, tragedies like the ones in Newtown, Virginia Tech, and Aurora won’t be such a regular part of our news.”

The ManKind Project is helping create a safer world by empowering the emotionally intelligent, compassionate, and accountable male role models that our communities need to thrive.

What you, as a man, can do to help:

Do the hard work. It’s difficult to break out of a lifetime of habits and beliefs that may keep you from fully expressing yourself, healing old hurts, and being there as the man you want to be. Seek out resources to become a healing influence in your community. This is not work that gets done alone - it’s community work - and it takes a community to do it. The ManKind Project is one such resource.

Deepen every conversation. Expand your personal inventory of tools to process difficult emotions, and help others learn to do the same. The skills of ‘holding space’ for the tough emotions, in yourself and others, are learnable.

From Mike Elser,

“It may be tempting to ask why - to engage in the ‘head work’ of reasons and justifications. Today, may we simply be present and extend our love. Let us do the ‘heart work’, together as a community. Tomorrow, we can begin to ask ourselves what, when, and how to take effective action - with our heads and hearts together - for our children’s future.

Today, I ask each of you at 7p ET / 6p CT / 5p MT/ 4p PT to stop and send your love to Connecticut, to call the names of those you know and hold the hearts of those you don’t in our community’s consciousness.”

The men of MKP are here to help. We have been building a conscious men’s community for nearly 30 years. We have the power to make a difference, to heal ourselves, and to nurture a more aware and accountable culture for all of us.

Though we are from many different beliefs and faiths, we hold a common intention for healing and peace in this difficult time.

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CONTACT:
Boysen Hodgson
Communications & Marketing Director
ManKind Project USA
communications@mkpusa.org

Michael Elser
Chairman of the Board
ManKind Project USA
chair@mkpusa.org

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ABOUT THE MANKIND PROJECT: MKP USA is nonprofit 501(c)(3), non-partisan, and not affiliated with any religious practice. We strive to be diverse and inclusive for all kinds of men. We support and partner with several organizations for women, including Woman Within International.

Supporting Victims of Hurricane Sandy

Red Cross Relief Efforts

from Mike Elser, MKP USA Chairman. 
We encourage our MKP USA Members and New Warriors across the ManKind Project to make a donation, give blood, and volunteer with the Red Cross in this critical time in the northeast United States.

 Your donation now can make a huge difference for those in need.

Our hearts go out to the millions of people impacted by the by the devastation created by Hurricane Sandy.

There are hundreds of New Warriors in communities affected by the storm working to get back on their feet, and there are many others helping their neighbors begin the difficult work of clean-up. We also know that men across the country are already doing what New Warriors do so well, holding space and offering emotional support when it is needed most.

What does it mean to be a New Warrior in these times? I believe it means taking a fierce and clear-eyed look at what we face as human beings on this planet. One of the things I learned as a New Warrior is that we don’t succeed alone. We stand with ‘one foot on the carpet’ to support one another.

Part of the gift I receive in this work is the realization that standing in my individual brilliance, bonded with my brothers (and sisters), we become a bridge to help others - to build institutions and change cultures for the good of our children and our children’s children.

I’m reminded of the wisdom from the Iroquois people of the northeastern part of North America, who counseled that decisions be made based on how it would affect the seven generations to come.

Let me get personal - here is where I am:

I feel fear. As I write this hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are still at risk as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

I feel sadness. More than 400,000 people were evacuated from New York city alone; more than 100 homes burned to the ground in Breezy Point, NY. In the Caribbean, more than 70 people died and over 15,000 homes were destroyed.

I want to rage, to blame, to run away.
Then I remember again, keep one foot on the carpet.

I recognize my fear as a message; pay attention! Stay awake!  I recognize my sadness as a message; this is important! Don’t miss this opportunity!  I want to turn my impulse to rage into the energy that can help accomplish what must be done - on behalf of the seventh generation.

New Warriors are fierce in protecting and nurturing what we value and love. And because we have recognized our innate human connection across the miles and across our differences, what we value and love can feel overwhelming. Right now, I feel the enormity of this bridge of connection between all my relations. I will stand to support people as they face their ordeal. And when it is my turn to step into the circle, I want you to stand for me.

Web banner to support the Red Cross

Right now. Please take action in your community by making a donation and volunteering for the Red Cross.

 

I invite each of us to stay awake! Let’s continue to help each other. We are a community. My heart and my thoughts are with all those in need. Together we can change the world.

Blessings on our journey together.

Mike Elser
Soaring Eagle
MKP USA Chairman

From Boys to Men - How Mentoring is Smoothing the Road to Adulthood

From the Guardian, UK by Mary O'Hara about the work of Band of Brothers, founded in the UK by ManKind Project Leader Michael Boyle. Michael received the Ron Hering Mission of Service Award for his groundbreaking work with teens in London in 2010. One of the other collaborators for Band of Brothers, Caspar Walsh, received the 2011 Ron Hering Mission of Service award for his work with young men in the "Write to Freedom" Program. Caspar is also a regular contributor to the Guardian's Blog.

Band of Brothers is continuing to have an incredible impact, and the work is gaining wider recognition in the culture. Visit Band of Brothers here: http://www.abandofbrothers.org.uk/

Find the article on the Guardian UK web site here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/mar/27/band-brothers-mentoring-boys-adulthood

You can also download a print version of the article: Click Here.

Many of the Mentors in the Band of Brothers program are also ManKind Project men. These men make excellent mentors because they are doing the hard work of examining their own lives with deep self-awareness, personal responsibility, and emotional intelligence. In turn, they show up for a young man in a way that is transparent and authentic. MKP mentors are not 'patriarchs'. They are partners in helping a teen find his voice, power, confidence, and vulnerability in a way that doesn't reproduce outmoded male stereotypes, but creates a generation of men with the resilience and flexibility to help build a better world for everyone.

Thank you to Michael Boyle and the many men of the UK who are helping create a better future for our society by helping to raise a healthy generation of young men, one teenager at a time.

Man Training - "Homme-Training" - Psychologies Magazine, France

This story was published in the Magazine "Psychologies" in France for a special issue on men. [http://www.psychologies.com/] Special thanks to Bill Shea of the New England ManKind Project community for generously donating translation services.

Click on the image below to view the original article in french.

View the summary for the original special edition on the Psychologies web site, here: CLICK HERE

Stéphane, Renaud, and Gilles are "New Warriors," men who, in the course of a weekend, followed the rites of passage to explore the territories of their masculinity. Up close with these conquerors of the intimate.

Homme-Training PhotoMAN-TRAINING
by Christian Krumb

When Renaud registered, he knew nothing about what awaited him. And with good reason: the brotherhood of the New Warriors, the European offshoot of the Mankind Project, turns out to have a gift for secrecy. It coopts its members and its initiation rituals are modeled after those which allowed boys to move to manhood in certain Amerindian tribes. These trainings respect the traditional structure in three phases: separation, transmission, and integration. In the primitive tribes, initiation went along with the need to form warriors capable of ensuring the survival of the clan.

Today it responds to other stakes, among which is the creation of bonds of brotherhood among men in an individualistic and standardized world.
"A few days before the Big Day," recalls Renaud, 36, an accountant originally from Annecy, "I'd received a roadmap with some instructions concerning what to bring, meals to expect, clothing... Nothing more." After several hours of travel through the forest and mountains, he arrives "in the middle of nowhere, in a place absolutely unknown on my GPS. I felt thrown off and I wondered if I were making a huge mistake. I didn't know just yet, but the adventure had already begun."

ACT I: losing his reference points

Like any traditional rite of passage, the process begins with a phase called "separation." Before getting to the actual initiation space, the participants go through a type of airlock where they are asked to let go of all ties to their customary universe (papers, jewelry, watch, money, cell phone) in order to keep only what is strictly necessary. Accepting the loss of one's point of reference and submitting to the framework imposed by the process constitutes for certain men the first challenge. "Letting go of my cigarettes, ok. My license, my debit card, again fine. But my phone, well, that was too much, " continues Renaud.

"I tried to bargain, like I always do when I'm confronted with the law, story of giving myself the illusion that I'm still in charge of the situation. Nothing doing. I went into a terrible rage. I was ready to smash everything!" So much anger over a phone? "For certain men, finding themselves up against limits imposed by other males very determined to make them respect them is a test in itself. It is notably to pacify themselves that they come here..." replies Olivier, a regular at the New Warrior trainings. Without any reference point of time or space, the second phase of initiation, called "the hero's quest," can now begin. "It was like embarking on a great voyage without knowing the destination," recalls Pascal, musician, age 49.

ACT II: The Hero's Quest

The activities take place at a steady pace, sometimes inside, sometimes outside, from dawn until late at night, each time with a new challenge to accept. "Any process of transformation asks us to surpass ourselves," says Christophe, 50, stringed-instrument maker, spokesman for the French-speaking center of the Mankind Project. "But nothing is forced and especially no violence is practiced, neither on the psychic level nor on the physical. It's nothing like the paramilitary training like one would see in the American Marine Corps where, for example, they would exhort soldiers to kill the child and the woman in them. Here, we ask men to respect their own limits," continues Christophe. As the process advances, the varnishes crack, the masks fall. The most beautiful moment was when I was finally able to let go of the control," recalls Stéphane, 38 year old coach from Paris. "It was in an exercise where one is supposed to get in contact with the "wild man" inside. At the beginning, I smiled to myself to see others shout. And then, little by little, I let myself join the game. For the first time in my life, I truly got down into my body, in my gut, in my balls. I felt all the raw, primal, animal energy that was in me and that I was holding back by clenching my teeth. To be able to express my repressed strength without fear of ridicule was very liberating for me. Ever since, my relationships with women have not been the same."

ACT III: to challenge oneself

If it takes place in a group, the voyage is above all personal and internal, the meeting of one's shadow side and the light. The challenge is sometimes physical but it is especially of an emotional nature. "I was expecting them to ask me to splash around in the mud, to go across some cliffs. Nothing like that made me afraid," recalls Renaud, tall, sturdy, and adept at high mountain sports. "But when I had to hold in silence the gaze of a man seated across from me, then that's when I fell apart. I felt exposed: unbearable."

If the process could be compared to psychotherapy, it's a space of possible healing. The true valorous warrior whom we honor here is the one who knows how to confront his fear. During the first few hours, Gilles recalls that his [fear] was so strong that he was physically ill, to the point of thinking of leaving. "But for once, I held on," he tells, "and at some point, during a sharing, when everyone was looking at me, something tipped. I, who never show my emotions, burst into tears. My stomachache disappeared right away. Having been able to disclose my wounds to other men brought me immense relief." The initiation process does not end Sunday evening, when each man goes back to his daily life. Indeed he enters its final phase: "integration." If certain individuals decide to stop there, thinking that they've had enough, others decide to extend the experience by working on themselves. Because there is no miracle, any process of transformation demands a long-term commitment.

ACT IV: living with one's choices

"The temptation after a weekend like that is to want to turn everything upside down," explains Christophe. "The men are advised to wait several weeks before making any radical decisions." Julien remembers that in the days following his return, everything came unjammed. "Life wasn't easier, but I was finally able to live with my choices. Three months after the training, I had moved. I had settled at the seashore (my dream.) I had created my own independent job. And, above all, my relationship with my wife had calmed down. I became the proud happy dad of a second child." Gilles, found once again the serenity he feared he'd lost forever: "I was able to start the work of forgiving those who had harmed me in the past, in particular the man who had given me AIDS." For him, as for those it has moved deeply, the New Warrior Training Adventure is from now on the adventure of a lifetime.

"In Tune and Out There" - Destiny Man Magazine - South Africa Nov/Dec 2010

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written by FIONA DAVERN
RURIK McKAISER, ATTORNEY: RURIK McKAISER ASSOCIATES, CEO: THE PHOENIX GROUP AND CERTIFIED LEADER OF THE MANKIND PROJECT (MKP)

In a world where BlackBerries are like appendages, stepping out of your comfort zone can be a major challenge. These four men have removed
themselves from the “normal” world for periods of time – and traded in technology for spiritual and life-changing experiences

What helps you relieve the stress of modern life?

On Saturday mornings I do Hatha yoga and I enjoy cycling along the Spruit, from the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens all the way to Republic Road and back.
I also have an amazing woman, Vera, who’s a key part of my life.

What’s the MKP all about?

It centres on redefining mature masculinity for the 21st century. The MKP (http://mkp.org.za)(http://mkp.org)is a network of 50 000 men who’ve done the flagship training – the New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA). It began 25 years ago in the USA and it’s about developing emotional literacy and personal leadership in men. The NWTA is about journeying men back to a place of reclaiming the essence of who they are. The men have to disengage from their identities and relinquish all technology and communication with the outside world. It’s based on process technology and psychodrama, which helps to create an emotionally, spiritually and physically safe environment for a man to access parts of himself which were previously blocked off due to, for example, traumatic events.

What happens during the flagship training?

We get a group of 40-odd men together, normally in a rural setting, and three to five certified leaders. We then create an emotionally, spiritually and physically safe environment so that each one of them can embark on a “hero’s journey”. Essentially, they grapple with an ordeal using mythology and archetypes involving psychodrama and some of the principles of psychotherapy. Seeing 40-odd men unmasked is profound.

How has it changed you?

As someone who grew up on the “wrong side” of the train lines during apartheid, I’m now able to have strong differences of opinion without wanting to physically fight someone. That’s hugely powerful. I used to carry a firearm everywhere – I was never in a place of comfort without my gun. When I realised that I was attracting bad energy, I stopped. I haven’t carried a gun since.
I have very strong warrior energy – I never want to walk away from a good argument. I’m crystal-clear about not starting fights, but I’ll finish them – on my terms!

What does being part of a brotherhood add to your life?

It’s not some starry-eyed situation – it involves men with deep wounds and shallow scars, and facing your demons isn’t easy; it’s very real and very raw. Some of my best friends today are from MKP and I wouldn’t have been able to be in my past two relationships without it. The universality of our humanity is what brings me back again and again.




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Dan W

The weekend began as a group of somewhat cynical strangers and ended as a band of brothers. I left the weekend with a ...

Missions of Service

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Personal Mission:

This photo shows men from the Truth Project as well as from the Jericho Circle Project, another program working with incarcerated men.

THE TRUTH PROJECT

Byran Bartow "Ecstatic Fox", Bill Lauer  "Mountain Lion"     
Bill Fracckelton, Doug Szper  "Laughing Coyote", Sean Niland  "Great Heart Owl

"Together we empower men to share their Truth and restore community."