Back in October, I started showing up to meetings of the Asheville chapter of The ManKind Project. Almost every Wednesday night since then, I have gathered with a room full of over 40 men committed to the work of becoming better men.
One week ago now, I embarked on a weekend journey with men from all over the Carolinas and beyond. MKP calls this weekend the New Warrior Training Adventure. It is designed to be an initiation into authentic, mature manhood - modeled on ancient rites of passage we have largely forgotten in our modern culture.
The two photos above were taken at the beginning & the end of the weekend.
In the first photo, you can see all the emotions I had carried for way too long… fear, doubt, grief, uncertainty. This weekend held the promise of transformation, of being reborn into a new man, but I knew the path to that rebirth would take me through dark, difficult terrain. And I was scared.
The second photo might be one of the most joyous photos of me every taken. I was brimming with light, glowing with the gold I had discovered inside me. I had crossed to the other side, reborn.
What happened in between those two photos was utterly life-changing. We embarked on a hero’s journey - individually and as a group of men - full of calls to adventure, trials & tribulations, a descent into the darkness, and a rising back into the light. I’m not going to speak in much detail about the weekend itself in such a public space, out of respect for my experience and the experiences of the men I shared it with. Instead, I’d like to speak to the many lessons I learned over those powerful three days.
I learned to clarify & proclaim my mission in this life: to create a meaningful world through guiding others to their heart path. I learned to honor & love my own masculinity, which I had struggled to embrace for so many years. I learned to name & transform the deep wounds that kept me stuck in feelings of unworthiness for too long. I learned that I was capable of more courage, more vulnerability, more honesty, more wildness, more wholeness than I ever thought possible. I learned to see my inner gold, the treasure of talents and skills within me that can create so much good in the world. I learned that I am worthy of love. I learned that I am capable of giving so much love. I learned to trust men. I learned to trust myself as a man.
I learned that men are beautiful, inside and out. I learned that so many men are wounded beyond measure. I learned that men can be healers beyond measure. I learned that men can be vulnerable together, strong together, honest together, wild together. I learned that men can hold and be held by each other. I learned that there is a goodness in men that the world desperately needs. I learned that real men bring forth that goodness within themselves to serve others. I learned that there is a deep shadow in men that we must learn to see, learn to name, learn to bring out into the light. I learned that the sacred masculine is rising, alongside the sacred feminine, to create a more loving, just, and joyous world.
If you are a man looking discover a new relationship with yourself & your own masculinity, I absolutely invite you to reach out. I would love to connect you with the local chapter of MKP and tell you about my experiences on the New Warrior weekend. I also feel a deep calling to mentor men (especially younger men) through my life coaching work.
I bow deeply to all the men of MKP Asheville and all the men on my NWTA weekend who have supported me & allowed me to support them. I love you, my brothers.
The journey continues…