By L. Steven Sieden; April 24, 2009
A couple years ago, I would not have believed this to be possible. Then, last year I completed the ManKind Project’s New Warrior Adventure Training weekend along with 39 other men. What was most important to me was that eight of us new brothers from the Seattle area formed an I (for Integration) Group so that we could really delve into the newfound concepts we had experienced during the weekend.
That group, like so many I Groups worldwide, has continued to flourish as we meet every Thursday night for three hours. We don’t shoot the bull, play cards or watch a game. Instead, we expand our awareness and claim our true feeling. We don’t have a leader or facilitator. Each night, one man who feels the energy claims the role of “king” and runs the group following a sacred ceremonial protocol.
Our time is divided into four sectors or round – lover, warrior, magician and king. The first two portions bring us together and help us clear anything that will keep us from being fully present for our time together. Then, we move into the magician or work round where we often get “down and dirty” sharing issues and past history that can only be done with the utmost trust and love.
Such was the case last night, when we moved deep into explorations of the incidents and people that had brought us the most pain and shame during our lives. In all my years of workshops, seminars and therapy, I have never experienced such genuine heartfelt telling of the truth and found each man to witness the truth of the man speaking without judgment. No man tried to outdo another or make another man wrong for anything that he shared. Experiences were simply put on the table as something that had happened and had deeply affected the man speaking.
The next step in that process was how we released those issues that have so challenged us for so long. Since we had each written them down before sharing, we had tangible objects to deal with – simple pieces of paper that we could burn, which is what we did as we spoke what we were releasing. Following those words, the man who had burned his paper stated what he was filling that new void with – always a positive affirmation.
If this all sound a bit woo woo, especially for a bunch of guys, I can only say that the proof is in the putting. From processes such as this, I have witnessed men reclaim major portions of their lives including relationship, finances, careers and simply being themselves. This is no small thing for a man living at a time when everyone seems to be attempting to pigeonhole him into a specific role – tough, individual, loner, etc.
Through the ManKind Project programs, I (and thousands of other men) have become more of the man I want to be. These groups and trainings offer the best men’s work I have found, and I highly recommend them to all men. They were so profound that I advocated for my teenage sons to attend, and they did so while paying their own tuition.