Great Article about Loneliness by Jessica Olien

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lonelinessLast week, I found an extraordinary article on SLATE by Jessica Olien, a writer and illustrator who lives in New York. The article is about a crucial topic in our society: Loneliness.  Two days after I read it, Tim Ferris  re-posted the link on his blog.

“In terms of human interactions, the number of people we know is not the best measure. In order to be socially satisfied, we don’t need all that many people. According to Cacioppo the key is in the quality, not the quantity of those people. We just need several on whom we can depend and who depend on us in return.

As a culture we obsess over strategies to prevent obesity. We provide resources to help people quit smoking. But I have never had a doctor ask me how much meaningful social interaction I am getting. Even if a doctor did ask, it is not as though there is a prescription for meaningful social interaction.”

This is a very relevant topic for us as men. In the ManKind Project men’s work we help men break out of damaging cycles of isolation. Our I-Group men’s groups are places where men find a way out of isolation and into brotherhood.

Read the full article here.

Enjoy it and please leave your comments …

 

Gonzalo photo

Gonzalo Salinas is the MKP Journal assistant Editor for the ManKind Project USA, a nonprofit mentoring and training organization that offers powerful opportunities for men’s personal growth at any stage of life. Salinas studied Literature in Lima, Peru at San Marcos University, and has been living in the United States since 2003.  He lives in Miami, FL, and is committed to his development with the organization and the dissemination of the  message of the Mankind Project.

The Shame in the Journey

Category: Men and Shadow 
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Please help me in welcoming the newest Assistant Editor for the ManKind Project Journal. WELCOME GONZALO! Thank you for your service! ~ Boysen Hodgson, MKP USA Communications & Marketing Director

by Gonzalo Salinas

Before my sister Mariola came to the world, we were three siblings: Victor, Fernando and I.

Victor became an officer of the Peruvian Navy. Fernando became an officer of the Peruvian Air Force. When it came my time to decide, and about to finish high school in Lima, my father asked me:

“What are you going to do with your life?”

“I want to be a writer,” I replied timidly.

He gave me a dry look, and said, “Do you want to be poor?” and then continued,

“If you like books you better be an attorney.”

Then he left the room.

At that moment, I covered my vocation with shame.

Carrying shame about being who we really are is a defect of our culture, a cultural shadow, that leads us to lifes we don’t want to live. If the world around you doesn’t accept who you really are, a normal reaction would be to move away from those people. But what happens when the people who don’t accept you are close friends or even family? Even worse, what happens when you are so young that a message you hear leads you to think something is deeply wrong with you?

We start covering our lives with shame. This is what happened to me.

 Shame

Shame is a very real imaginary illness, which once encysted on your subconscious mind, it will affect every part of your self-image, and without a doubt will have repercussions in your life. According to Dr. Robert Glover (author of the great book No More Mr. Nice Guy) if you don’t work on the little issues that are holding you back on your inner self, then you won’t pass to the next level on your development, no matter how small they are.

Robert Bly, on his book Seven Sources of Shame, explains that we can “practice” living with shame, and at certain point we just tolerate shame in our lives: the consequences will be that we’ll believe that we are not adequate to the society, and our interpretation is that our shames ARE ourselves, and not  circumstances that we can let go out of our lives at any time.

Living our lives with shame is not life.

After a few years since my father rejected my confession of wanting to become a writer, this is the panorama:  He’s now 67 and I’m 33. I know he loves me and I love him. And after a lot of men’s work, I’ve build a routine like this:

Depending on the day I wake up, go to yoga or for a run in South Beach, FL. Then I open a book for my reading of the day, and right after I start my writing time, and then continue with my day.  I love everything related to the writing life: to write, to read, to research, going to conferences, to take notes, book presentations, literary magazines, etc.  Even ordering books on Amazon is a big pleasure.

And all of those activities are the activities of a writer.

That kid who covered his writing vocation in shame is dissolving, and after years of acceptance, working many jobs, learning many lessons and having done serious men’s work. I’m excited that I’ll be writing for the MKP Journal every week. And happily, I celebrate that I’m a writer.

personal-freedom

 

 

Gonzalo photo

Gonzalo Salinas is the MKP Journal assistant Editor for the ManKind Project USA, a nonprofit mentoring and training organization that offers powerful opportunities for men’s personal growth at any stage of life. Salinas studied Literature in Lima, Peru at San Marcos University, and has been living in the United States since 2003.  He lives in Miami, FL, and is committed to his development with the organization and the dissemination of the  message of the Mankind Project.

Diner – by Wentworth Miller

Category: Featured Content, Memoir 
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april 2013

by wentworth miller

i was sitting in a diner on colorado boulevard the other day, enjoying a nice breakfast with a friend (late 40s, a working mother of three), when a homeless man materialized next to us.

i say “materialized” because i had no awareness of him entering the restaurant (even though i was seated facing the door) and no awareness of him approaching our table. yet there he was. tall, thin, white, dressed in a t-shirt and jeans and a filthy trucker’s cap. looking about 50 going on 80. and he wanted money.

“do you have any spare ch-” was all i heard before tuning him out and looking away, making eye-contact with my friend across the table. i felt sure we were both thinking the same thing. “oh boy. here we go.”

before i could launch into my “sorry, buddy” speech our waitress (late 40s, tiny) was standing at our table, telling this guy to take a hike. “you can’t be in here / you shouldn’t be bothering our customers / please leave” etc.

but he didn’t leave.

instead he got into it with our waitress, pointing out the cross on her neck and gearing up for a dressing down on themes of christianity, charity, and the whole shebang. and our waitress was having none of it. “you can’t be in here / you shouldn’t be bothering our customers / please leave” she repeated, this time minus the “please.”

all the while i’m sitting there silently, wondering when it would be over, waiting for whoever was in charge to come over and handle things. i’m not sure who i was envisioning. probably the manager. who would be male. and older. and in charge.

he’d know what to do.

things are heating up now, the homeless guy and our waitress bristling, really starting to go at it, about 30 seconds from taking it to the next level. my friend across the table is very quiet. she, like me, is waiting for it to be over. for order to be restored.

and then, as i sit there witnessing two women in discomfort and a man in distress, it occurs to me – nobody’s coming over. nobody’s going to handle things.

i’m the man. i’m the one in charge.

and suddenly i’m rising from the table. i say, “let’s go outside, buddy. i’ll give you something outside.” and my tone of voice isn’t “hey, asshole” or “listen here.” it’s matterof-fact. like, “this is what’s going to happen.”

and then the homeless guy and i are walking to the door together. and then we’re through the door and out on the street. and then i open my wallet and hand him a 20- dollar bill.

and then he’s holding me.

i don’t know or remember exactly how that came to be, but all at once his arms are around me and i’m getting a full-body hug from a homeless person.

and this hug is textbook MKP. no awkward thumps. no tentative pats. no “let’s keep our groins angled out of this, okay?” he’s just holding me. and, after a beat, i’m holding him.

and this goes on for 20 seconds. 30 seconds. he’s talking into my shoulder too. i hear the words “veteran,” “oklahoma,” and “my birthday.” everything else is muffled. but i also hear “thank you, brother.” he says this three, maybe four times.

and as i watch someone walk past us and do a double-take, as i continue to inhale the scent of a man who’s spent years (decades?) on the street, i think to myself, “yes. this is my brother.”

then it was over and i was waving good-bye. i went inside the restaurant and slid back into the booth, now smelling like the homeless guy. and i wanted to weep.

and while the waitress proceeded to call me “hero” and then scold me for putting myself in “danger,” i thought about masculinity and chivalry and the need to be seen and heard and how i’m a 40-year-old man (going on 41) who’s still waiting for the guy in charge to show up.

i thought about how i would have handled the situation before starting my work with MKP six months ago, which probably would have looked like me not handling it. or like me handling it by making it worse. like me handling it by robbing another man of his dignity and the chance to connect.

and i thought about how we are all brothers. all of us.

then i looked up and noticed a man i knew from MKP, a man i’d seen just the night before while sitting in an i-group, seated with his wife across the restaurant, enjoying a nice breakfast.

brothers everywhere. all around.

Wentworth Miller

Born in England, raised in Brooklyn, New York, and a graduate of Princeton University, Wentworth Miller is a compelling and critically acclaimed young actor whose credits span both television and feature film. Learn more about Wentworth Miller at IMdb. Miller is a member of the ManKind Project USA, Los Angeles Community.

Three reasons for Lance Armstrong to Check In! with the ManKind Project

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by Boysen Hodgson

RAGBRAI Team MKP USA

RAGBRAI Team MKP USA

The ManKind Project USA cycling team recently participated in our second RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa). We brought over 40 men and women from across the country (and Canada) to Iowa for the ride. Lance Armstrong came out to Iowa for a couple days of the ride, so we put out an invitation for Lance to come Check In! with us at the ManKind Project. And though the ride may be over – the invitation stands. We’ve got training opportunities and men’s groups across the country ready for any man. Learn more … NewWarriorTraining.org

3. Because being the ‘best man you can be’ is easier with help.

The era of the lone cowboy is over. The planet can’t take it, our families can’t take it, our society can’t take it. Isolation is literally killing us. Though not all of us will lose millions of dollars in sponsorships, or titles, or political offices, or careers – a man in isolation WILL lose what he values. What we hear over and over is stories of men losing themselves, losing their families, losing their ability to face themselves in the mirror without shame and anger, losing the ability to be with those they love without hiding.

That loss, shame, anger, grief, and hiding has profound impacts on the world. From families in silent crisis, to mass killings, to epidemic levels of obesity and suicide. The deeply personal emotional realities of our lives have direct links to the interpersonal, institutional, political, and cultural decisions we participate in.

What I heard you say, Mr. Armstrong, in your interview on Oprah, is that one of the most powerful motivating factors for your coming back into integrity was the pain of lying to your children. Those we love as men are hurt by our absence. And many men — and women — are truly leading lives ‘of quiet desperation.’

The good news — and there is A LOT of good news — is that the culture is waking up to this reality, and men and women are taking action to do something about it. The ManKind Project is one such effort. We are committed to being there when men hear the call in their lives to WAKE UP and begin the difficult work of creating a new reality. When a man is ready to do whatever it takes to heal the parts of his soul that have been hidden away … we’re there as a community to challenge and support him in that journey.

Lance Armstrong, you’ve proven again and again that you are capable of doing whatever it takes. You pretty obviously have gotten a wake up call. What’s next?

2. Because there are more adventures waiting.

You have done some INCREDIBLE things. Beyond comprehension. I honor all that you’ve done.

And there are other kinds of adventures. You’ve been doing the exploration of human possibility as an athlete and cancer survivor, and you’ve done extremely well. If you’re like every other man I’ve ever met, my guess is that there are some dark hallways and paths into the woods of your psyche that you’ve avoided on the road you’ve been traveling. As the old maps said ‘beyond here, there be dragons.’

In the work we do with men at the ManKind Project, we offer an opportunity to take some of those dark paths and see what treasures lie within. Our Native American brothers call the work we do ‘exploring inner space,’ our hunting and tracking friends call it ‘inner tracking.’ There are many ways to describe what we do, and at the core it’s about taking a hero’s journey into your soul, and facing the ordeal that lurks there. It’s different for each man, and universal.

It’s about healing, discovering purpose, taking responsibility, embodying a new kind of power, embracing vulnerability as strength. (read a great blog post from ManKind Project man Chris Kyle on this topic here.)

It’s about becoming fully human. We work with men because we know what it feels like to be in the skin of a man in 2013. We work with men because we are recreating the culture from the inside.

It’s an adventure! Scary, challenging, ALIVE. We’d love to have you join us for the adventure.

1. Because it’s a relief to take off the mask, if only for a little while.

Being a public figure is a game of masks. From scene to scene – the play is going, and whether you’re winning the Tour de France, or getting in the car to go to work, most men learn to put on a ‘game face.’

Along the way men learn what is ok to express and what isn’t, what is ok to share, and what isn’t. This is certainly true for women as well. Men are taught to hide weakness, vulnerability, pain, sadness, joy, tenderness … and more. Women are taught to hide their fierceness, anger, power, ambition, intensity … and more. Thankfully, for some this isn’t as true today as it was in the past, but it’s still the norm. Though we live in a culture that loves the illusion of heroes, celebrities and fame, we see over and over what the masks do to real people. Cory Monteith dies alone in a hotel room.

It starts early. Recently I was at the ice-cream stand with my wife. There was a little boy, probably three years old, running around, bouncing, laughing, enjoying himself. After a couple minutes he took a misstep and went down onto the asphalt with a thud. It wasn’t a hard landing, but it shocked him. Before the surprise on his face had even begun to shift into the pain of the shock, his big sister swept him off the ground saying … ‘You’re a BIG MAN. BIG MAN. No crying. Be a BIG MAN.’ His mother and father watched from the bench and reinforced the message … ‘Ain’t nothin’, you’re a BIG MAN.’

The boy wasn’t hurt. But there was no acknowledgement of the fall. Not even a 15 second window to say … ‘Wow. You fell! Hit the ground pretty hard, eh buddy? Kinda scary! That probably hurt some, huh?’ And then to move on … having witnessed and acknowledged what happened. There is no reason to INDULGE the pain – but acknowledging it is healthy and demonstrates EMPATHY – one of the most important and life-enhancing taits a human being is born with — and tragically — trained out of.

We are taught to deny and repress our pain, and to punish those who express it. Even the pain of those we love most. I have met hundreds of men who punish themselves for not being able to shut off the pain of being alive. It’s a vicious cycle. The denial leads to choices that hurt us all; fatherlessness, domestic violence, gang violence, mass killings, common disregard for others, for our health, for the health of our society, and the health and vitality of our planet.

Rather than co-creating a culture of empathy, we co-create a culture of sociopathy.

How would the world be different if boys and girls were taught healthy habits of empathy, acknowledgment and self-responsibility from the age of 1 or 2 instead of the instant and immediate denial and repression of the bumps, bruises, and pains that we all experience every day?

It may take different forms for men and women, but it’s the same game. We teach each other to lie. And we punish each other for breaking the silent rules of the game.

And we all lose.

I know you care about people. I know you deeply care. You got trapped in a game, and made a choice that many of us make in small and large ways every day. You lied. That doesn’t make you bad. It tells me that you’re well-trained.

And as a public figure … you’ve paid a heavy price. And your actions have impacted a lot of people. There’s nothing we love more than a fallen-hero. On a subconscious level it gives us a glimpse of the game … the game of denial … and let’s us keep it ‘out there’ at arms length rather than owning it for ourselves.

What if you (what if we all!?) had a safe place to start undoing the training? We don’t have to over-indulge in the pain of our experiences, but it is essential that we learn to acknowledge and witness the pain of life, in ourselves and in each other.

Lance Armstrong – you’re invited to come sit with us. And if you want to, you can take off the mask and set it aside for a while. I’m inviting you to come check in – I’ve offered three reasons, and there are lots more.

I know with certainty that I won’t be catching up to you on a bike, but maybe there’s another kind of journey I can ride with you on.

With respect and admiration – Boysen Hodgson
413-883-2462, Text me, call me, stop by.

PS. The day the Lance Armstrong interview aired on Oprah, January 17, over 100 supporters of the ManKind Project were in Chicago in the audience for the filming of Oprah’s Lifeclass with Iyanla Vanzant on “Fatherless Sons,” parts I and II. “Fatherless Sons – the Reaction” aired two weeks ago. Men from the ManKind Project were there again. These are Oprah’s highest rated Lifeclass shows ever.

Boysen Hodgson

Boysen Hodgson is the Communications and Marketing Director for the ManKind Project USA, a nonprofit mentoring and training organization that offers powerful opportunities for men’s personal growth at any stage of life. Boysen received his BA with Honors from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, after completing 2 years of Design coursework at Cornell University. He has been helping companies and individuals design the change they wish to see in the world for 15 years. He’s a dedicated husband.

Three Hidden Powers of Vulnerability

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By Chris Kyle

When I was a kid, I can’t tell you how many times I heard phrases like these: “just suck it up, Kyle”; “don’t cry – the strongest don’t cry”; “what are you, a pussy?”; “don’t get too excited”; “tone it down…”; “I don’t want to hear how you feel about it, just do it”; and “don’t get angry with me young man.” These came from my friends, my teachers, my coaches, and my family too.

I know many men who can relate to these words and far worse including a lot more swearing — “f*cking” this and “goddamn” that.

As a boy and then a young man I was told constantly to stay in a zone of feeling and behavior that essentially felt like being a block of granite — solid, unmoving, rational, toned-down, and generally unfeeling. Sharing my feelings, my deep fears, expressing sadness, crying were all seen as weakness for a young, maturing man.

What I came to believe was: Vulnerability = Weakness

I recall one key event in my early teens when some friends at school were instigating a fight between me and a kid named Evan. I didn’t want to fight him, but it somehow became a matter of honor, or an issue of shame, if I DIDN’T fight him.

I remember facing Evan, with a small crowd circled around us, and thinking “why am I here”. I literally couldn’t remember what we fought about or what was the issue that had us squaring off against each other with fists raised. We finally dove into it, trading a few punches, and then found ourselves wrestling on the ground. He got me in a head-lock and all I could do was say ‘uncle’ — to tap out. I’d lost the fight.

As I stood up, facing the others gathered around, I could feel the shame welling up in me, and the tears started to come. And of course, you know what’s coming… one of the boys says to me: “f*ck Kyle, are you crying?” It was said with such disdain and disbelief. I dropped into a deeper level of shame for having these feelings and showing the tears. This moment shut me down and locked me out from my tears, and slammed the door on my vulnerability.

Our culture continues to indoctrinate boys and men in this way — through old socializing patterns that are deeply ingrained in our cultural DNA. It’s this: Be tough, don’t cry, don’t share your fear, win at all costs, prove you’re a man.

And yet, now what I’m seeing are adult men who are willing to work on themselves and take a deep look at these beliefs and patterns. They are consciously unwinding this shame and belief of ‘vulnerability is weakness’, and bringing a new understanding and self-compassion to their childhood wounds and traumas.

This truth-telling about myself and the willingness to be more open, transparent, revealing… to be more vulnerable, is freeing and empowering.
Now the vulnerability starts to look and feel different. It becomes a hidden source of power for me.

And what vulnerability is at it’s core is allowing ourselves to really be SEEN, warts and all, so we can feel more connected. The researcher and author, Brene Brown, says that it’s this vulnerability that helps heal our shame and opens us up to deeper connection and a greater sense of worthiness.

So as I investigated deeper into masculine vulnerability, I became aware of what I call the 3 Hidden Powers of Vulnerability.

1. Vulnerability opens us to an increased capacity for Courage
Being vulnerable, sharing more of myself, taking the risk to say with needs to be said, to speak the truth in my heart — all of it takes courage. As we practice being more vulnerable (open, transparent, being seen) then we foster a new level of courage that we can apply in many areas of our lives. This courage-building also garners respect and appreciation from others. And it builds a resilience in us to face the many challenges that life will bring.

2. Being vulnerable brings forth greater Compassion for ourselves and others
When we are vulnerable, when we truly open ourselves to be seen by others, we are sharing more parts of ourselves with the world. And in that awareness of the hurt, raw or broken parts of ourselves we are able to see our own humanity and have greater compassion for ourselves. As this capacity builds inside us we have more empathy and compassion for others. This growing power of compassion provides us with a greater ability to accept and let go of beliefs and judgements that don’t serve us. More presence and peace is found in this compassion.

3. Vulnerability creates deeper, more authentic Connections
What I see as the greatest gift of vulnerability is the ability to actively cultivate deeper, more real connections with everyone in my life. When we practice being more open and vulnerable we are able to pierce the veil of shame and fear and experience deeper connection and relatedness. More honest dialog emerges, more healing between friends and loved ones occur. And this is counter-intuitive to our minds — where we equate vulnerability with fear, hurt and weakness. When in fact it creates more support, more freedom, more joy, more release and more appreciation. These authentic connections serve our success and happiness in every area of life — relationships, work, parenting, community and well-being.

So, I invite you to choose more opportunities to share yourself, to express your fears, to let your tears be seen. Cultivate this openness, this vulnerability and watch these hidden powers blossom and grow so that they infuse your life with more meaning, passion and care for yourself and others.

Chris Kyle

Chris has trained and coached hundreds of individuals to achieve greater success in their businesses and their lives. In partnership with The ManKind Project®, he recently created The Power of Purpose Summit and the Man On Purpose online course. He is also the co-creator, with Amy Ahlers, of the ongoing tele-series, New Man, New Woman, New Life.

Chris is the former Chief Development Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at Evolving Wisdom LLC, an online learning company that produces virtual courses with leading luminaries in the personal development arena. At Evolving Wisdom he co-developed The Way of the Evolutionary Man tele-summit with host Craig Hamilton. Chris was an invited speaker for The Shift Network’s Ultimate Men’s Summit in 2011.

In addition to his leadership development work, Chris has spent over 24 years as an executive, entrepreneur, consultant and business coach, working in Fortune 500 companies and owning his own eco-adventure travel company. Chris graduated from Stanford University where he studied Political Science. He lives with his wife in Northern California.

To all my MKP Brothers, Especially the Straight Ones

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2708625432_89e070ee37by Edmond Manning

To All My MKP Brothers, Especially The Straight Ones

I had a tooth brush in my mouth and was contemplating sleep when my overnight guest, a straight man, said to me, “I have a real problem with gay men.”

As a gay man, hearing this statement from a guest in my own home was not exactly comforting. Was this the beginning of an ugly conflict? What hard words might come out next?

I should back up.

Eight years ago, Minnesota MKP produced the familiar BSDT (Basic Staff Development Training) weekend training.  Locals and out-of-staters showed up to sit around the metaphorical campfire and discuss our New Warrior Training Adventure weekend and the raw guts of who we are as men. Those of us with spare rooms offered weekend housing. I agreed to host a fellow Minnesotan named Joe who lived outside the twin cities area.

Over multiple staffings, Joe and I gradually grew a guarded respect for each other. We liked each other well enough but he kept me at a distance and I respected it. (I love that I no longer have to be friends with every single man and fake pleasantries. We can respect each other’s manhood and simply not hang out.) Between assigned processes and wandering around camp, Joe and I would nod affably when our paths crossed.

But after a few staffings where we collaborated well, Joe and I decided to expand on our mutual trust by stepping out together on the carpet to help facilitate some emotional work.

You know what that means.

You don’t step out on the carpet with a man unless you trust that man has your back. Doesn’t matter if it’s his first staffing or thirtieth – it’s not always about experience. It’s about the man. You don’t step out unless can you look that man in the eyes and communicate, ‘Together, we can handle this. We can go there.’

It’s an unusual honor we initiated men are blessed to share during this lifetime, the ability to look a man in the eyes and silently agree, ‘Together, we can go there.’

After Friday night’s BSDT training, Joe volunteered to stay at my house. I set him up in his guest bedroom, gave him towels and offered up the contents of my fridge. Host stuff. We were tired and Saturday promised to be a long day. I was brushing my teeth and I think I was simultaneously watering plants because I never just brush my teeth. I multitask. As we said our goodnights, I still had my tooth brush dangling from my mouth.

Joe stood up from the living room couch and asked me to wait, please wait. He was quiet for a moment, uncomfortable.

Finally, he said, “I have a real problem with gay men.”

I froze.

An older version of me would have already knifed an angry retort. But New Warriors frequently smash into each other at that amazing intersection of testosterone and vulnerability and we often come out better for the collision. So, I waited. Joe continued to speak.

He said, “I would like to understand more about this. I think you’re the man to help me.”

We looked each other in the eyes and silently communicated, ‘Together, we can go there.”

We sat.

We talked.

I won’t pretend it wasn’t awkward or tense. It was. It was hard for me to be the warrior he needed while he did his work; I tried not getting triggered by my own shit. We followed those basic but effective communication MKP guidelines regarding I-statements and owning shadowy statements as they emerged. Gently, we called bullshit on each other as needed. Gently.

Joe asked questions. He didn’t understand why gay men did certain things.

We talked cautiously and late into the night sharing our hearts, hearing each other’s story with the listening that is reserved for men you want to know better. Men you might love in your deepest heart of hearts if you first navigate some tricky terrain.

In the end, I wasn’t very good representative of Gaydom because in a mournful voice Joe concluded, “I still don’t get it. I don’t get gay dudes. How can you not want to have sex with a woman? I mean, how is that possible you aren’t totally turned on by women? I don’t understand.”

“That’s okay,” I said, “Who said you had to totally understand being gay? It’s enough that you tried. Joe, you may never understand being gay on that level. You’re into women. End of story. ”

He was shocked, relieved and delighted. While he contemplated my answer, I confessed I didn’t understand the attraction to women, the physical part. I’m all over the emotional attraction and I love the women in my life. But I simply do not get the sex part. It’s not me.

As we talked deeper, turns out that Joe, who is a handsome guy, was hit on multiple times over the years by aggressive gay men who saw him as a tasty treat and decided to go for it. Gay men had tried to seduce him with the upsetting logic that ‘if you really were open-minded about gays, you’d try the sex, just experiment with the sex to better understand gays…’

In short, gay men disrespected him. Repeatedly. They did not honor his sexuality by leaving him alone.

And he felt like shit for not trying harder to ‘understand gays’ but there was no way he wanted to try that. I had given him permission to not understand gay men and it was a revelation for him.

This late-night conversation is a perfect representation of MKP magic – we untangle shit together, the ugly marriage of hurt and negativity, of stereotyping and raging. We men untangle knots. Turns out, only a gay man could untangle that mess for Joe and quite frankly, he had had enough of the gays. Until his NWTA experience, Joe had little interest in befriending another gay man.

But MKP made him reconsider.

After that night, Joe and I staffed as close friends, loving each other in the way male friends can. One weekend, after one particularly grueling piece of carpet work involving a shitty, shitty father, Joe and I took each other outside and wept together. Another staffing, I told everyone Joe and I were biological brothers. Whenever someone called out his last name, we both stood and I said, “Which brother did you want – him or me?” Joe loved it. And for that weekend, we were truly brothers.

When Joe became a father, he beamed light from the inside out, showing off pictures of his newborn son. Whenever his love for his young family shone through him, Joe was the most handsome father and woman-loving man who ever walked the earth.

We’re mostly Facebook buddies these days, but every now and then we connect in a meaningful way and I suspect we will always be ‘go to’ men for each other – a man you can call for wisdom and support.

I am a better man for my friendship with Joe.

I don’t know what I would do without the straight men in my life.

It’s hard to believe I was once so afraid of straight men: the enemy. Enemy might be too strong, but let’s say potential adversary. Sure, I had met and befriended exceptions to the rule (rare exceptions, I believed), cool straight men who accepted me for who I was. I knew it was possible.

But as a gay man, I also endured some verbal abuse and witnessed the disgust in straight men’s eyes for seeing me as I am. Under the guise of new friendship one straight man invited me to one of those conversion weekends designed to overcome the ‘gay curse.’ So yeah, I owned some shit around straight men. I needed to do my own work.

I didn’t know that I would do my work with straight men, that they were the only ones to love and heal wounds inside me that years ago, I vowed I would never, ever let a straight man see. I could never expose that vulnerability.

But they saw me.

And they loved me.

I just published my second novel, titled King Mai. Takes place on a Midwestern farm. One theme is the friendships between gay and straight men.

I sometimes think I have written these two books exclusively for my MKP brothers. Beneath the plot, the outdoor sex, the kidnapping of baby ducks (not in a sexy way, just a normal two-men-kidnapping-water-fowl kind of way), beneath all that lies the familiar struggle of gold and shadow, and if there’s one story both straight and gay MKP brothers love to discuss, it’s the struggle of gold and shadow.

Get this: both novels invite the title character to experience a 40-hour warrior’s journey, during which his internal defenses are lovingly stripped and he delves deep into his grief, his anger, his fear –whatever–until he remembers something amazing – that he himself is amazing – and he rises to meet his golden, glowing kingship on Sunday morning, remembering the man he was always meant to be.

Sound familiar?

I thought it might.

Roughly ten years ago, on a New Warrior Training Adventure, I remembered that I am amazing and I also discovered I was missing half the love in the world by not loving my straight brothers.

On the day I finished writing a first draft of King Mai, my buddy Snake Bloomstrand happened to stop over at my house. At that moment, I was writing about the two main characters saying goodbye and as sad as they were, I felt worse. I had loved these characters for hundreds of pages and I had to say goodbye, too. I cried while sharing with Snake what this book meant to me.

Snake listened thoughtfully. Quietly. I described a final scene I was writing where Vin Vanbly and Mai Kearns explore the family farm, holding hands.

He said, “You should have them tour the machine barn and look at all the rusted equipment. They recognize those broken tills and old combines might be how farmers show love each to other. Through all those machines they intend to fix one day.”

“Yes,” I said, eager to reinforce a theme in the book. I was excited by this idea. “It’s how straight farmers say, ‘I love this guy.’”

“Maybe,” Snake said. “Maybe not just straight men. Might be that all men love each other through machines and equipment.”

Right.

I had assumed something –not particularly negative, but still, assumed –because of an old sore spot in me that used to be jagged and angry. Having deep friendships with straight men is no longer a novelty, but sometimes old programming surfaces. I will always need straight male friends to point out my basis and blind assumptions.

Vin Vanbly, the narrator of my stories, at one point thinks to himself:

We’re so busy defining ourselves as gay men and straight men, we forget we share a whole word in common. We are men. Despite one rather substantial difference, we should remain curious to see what we learn from each other. What’s it like over on your side of manhood? Oh yeah? We don’t do anything like that over here. But then again…maybe we do.

.

Snake earned the right to make plot suggestions because he read my first book, King Perry, and after finishing told me, “I loved it. I did. But it definitely confirms I am 100% straight. Holy shit did it confirm that.”

I would be a different man without Snake in my life.

My life would be less without Joe.

And Harry. And Matt. And Kyle, Chad, Ron, Eric, Kai, Kirt, Mike, Roger, Daniel, Hunter, Kevin, Tim, David, and let me tell you a story about the friendship between me and Brett. Wait, wait…there are too many fucking men to list.

That’s why I had to expand the circle to ensure I didn’t miss any names.  If you flip to the dedication page in King Mai, it reads:

To all my MKP brothers, especially the straight ones.

Edmond Manning

Edmond Manning is the author of King Mai and King Perry. He was initiated through the New Warrior Training Adventure in May 2003, Camp Eagle Lake, Minnesota.

The Power of Going Deep

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by Owen Marcus

Back in my high school days, being popular meant being liked and respected by many. Being popular was having a lot of friends and a lot of girlfriends.  The more friends and girlfriends you had, the more successful you were.

As I moved through my early adulthood, the “more” was anything material: more or better cars, more or bigger houses, more or more beautiful women.

In spite of the simplicity of my behavior, I do see it as a necessary stage in growing up. I had to experience the benefits and the disadvantages to look for something more. I gradually outgrew of my need to conquer women and acquire more friends. I began to realize my hunger for more would never be met.

Unfortunately, I had no one suggesting any alternatives. I struggled, hoping to find that perfect woman and friend thinking that would satiate my hunger.

I tried going it alone. Telling myself I didn’t need anyone. That didn’t work.

I read books, took workshops, and traveled, looking for something more. Eventually I settled down to realize it wasn’t about getting more, doing more or having more. It was about being more. Yes, I know that sounds trite. But as an action it was something no one in my youth ever suggested.

I came to realize being more wasn’t about meditating more. It was about engaging more with life. In doing that, I realized part of my drive for more things was my fear of being with myself. With that understanding, I knew I needed to slow down and go deep. Going after many things always kept me moving. Slowing down allowed many of those things I was unconsciously running from to catch up to me.

When they did catch up to me, I eventually learned to surrender and relax. For a moment the fear intensified – then there was release into a simple pleasure. After several of these experiences (I never said I was a quick learner) I began to appreciate the power of going deep.

Shifting from broad to deep

As I slowed down and went deeper into my own experiences, much like slowing down to savor a good meal, I began to see patterns. The first pattern was exciting: it took less stimuli to please me. Before I was like an extreme athlete looking for that next edge for that next rush. I began to look in the opposite direction. I saw slowing down required fewer stimuli to produce a relatively same level of pleasure.

I also looked to a different form of support and friendship. Hanging with others who were driven for more only made me anxious. Not wanting to live a life of solitude I began looking for others who would nurture my drive to go deep. When I started forming men’s groups I felt I was coming home, albeit a new home.

Particularly with my last incarnation of a men’s group, the Sandpoint Men’s Group, I felt fulfilled. We have a micro-community of men and consequently their families who savor deep connections.

What deep connections give you

Here is a list of incredible benefits deep connections will provide. For many of us men learning, these qualities are best learned with other men. Once learned with men, they naturally generalize with our partners. Attempting to master them first with women is an uphill ordeal.

  • Going deep into self – experiencing a deeper sense of who you are
  • Letting go of masks – stop pretending to be someone you aren’t
  • Taking risks from a place of authenticity – not “faking it to you make it”, being vulnerable as you risk
  • Feeling AS you perform – not using performance as an escape, but as a way to feel more and be more present
    • It’s a man thing to use action as way to deepen our authenticity
  • Speaking the truth – saying what is true for you in the face of others denying their own truths
  • Expressing wants – asking for what you want, knowing you may not get it
  • Developing new skills – as you develop deeper connections you naturally develop betters skills of communication and connection
  • Falling in love – the depth and vulnerability opens you up to love more
    • Self acceptance and Love of others – you can’t love others more than you accept/love yourself
  • Holding space – creating an emotionally safe space for others to feel and express their emotions
  • Leading through example – when you risk to connect deeper, you show others that’s is safe to do the same and how to do it
  • Fun – deep connections brings new joy
    • You relax – easier than you thought possible

It takes a community

You could sit in a cave for years meditating to deepen your connection. But who has the time—or desire—to escape life completely? We live with thousands—sometimes millions—of other people. Yet we are rarely close to a group of people.

To develop the skill of going deep, it works best to practice it with others who are doing the same. For men I’ve never seen a quicker, more powerful, or more fun way to develop depth than in a men’s group. You get to model other men, experiment connecting with other men and receive feedback on your communication as all of you experience the joys of a deep community.

As powerful as a men’s group can be, it’s a foreign phenomenon for most men. Just hanging out with a group of men will not do it. You will get bored and choose not to continue. You need a tight set of agreements to create a container for your group. Then you need the commitment to hang in through the rough stages of forming a group. Having instruction and support will help, but it’s not necessary.

Along with MKP, we are committed to supporting men in learning the forgotten art of going deep. Free to Win offers Two Day Men’s Groups as an immersion into a deep men’s group. We are also offering a one-day workshop for men who are looking at joining or forming a men’s group, or men who want to take their group deeper. This workshop is in N.Y.C. June 30th.

Marcus Owen

Owen Marcus is the founder of Sandpoint Men’s Group. The group is subject of the film About Men. He is also founder of Free to Win, a company committed to men winning as men.

The Evolution of Mission

Category: Men and Mission 
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by Stephen Simmer

The ManKind Project teaches mission as a powerful access point to living a vibrant, connected, and empowered life.

1. NEED is the child-position: I need love, and no matter what relationship I have, I am reaching out to be loved (or reaching out for peace, justice,whatever value).  I feel helpless to get love without someone giving it to me.  All I can do is plead and complain, with the hope that someone responds with compassion or pity.

2. DEMAND is the slightly older child, who uses anger to try to get the value: I insist that you love me, or damn it, you better give me justice, or peace. Many parents operate out of this demand-position, which is no longer just passively whining.  It’s in your face, producing the value by coercion. “Damn it, you better show me some respect!”

3. MANIPULATE is the trickster position.  I deny I need love, or respect, etc.  I lie to others.  I lie to myself.  “I’m fine.  I’m good.”  I don’t take the risk of asking or demanding what I need, so I can hide behind the delusion of being ok as I am, invulnerable.  I leave it to others to decipher what my needs really are.  When they figure it out and give me what I need, I can deny that it was really important to me.

4. WANT is the adult position: Like in our clearings: my want is that you love me, but that doesn’t mean I’ll get it. If you won’t love me, I’ll still work to get love (or peace, or justice) elsewhere.  But there is power in stating simply and honestly what it is that I want.  My life achieves clarity and focus when I do so.  In stating my wants I am giving my goals a name, but it is my job–not yours or his or hers–to make these goals real.

5. MISSION is beyond the ego.  It is at the level of the large self, or theuniverse. When I step into mission, it is no longer about me getting love any more. I am working to create love (or peace, or justice) in the universe. I am no longer focused on treating my wounds. I am working in the wounded world. A by-product of this action may be that my own wounds are healed.  But I am not the point:  I am serving a larger purpose.  There’s something wrong about calling it my mission, like it’s a possession that belongs to me—like my car, my I-phone, my job.  My mission is greater than me.  I belong to it.  It grabs me by the throat and sweeps me away with its power.

Stephen Simmer

Steve Simmer, for those of us privileged to know him, lives his life in the midst of the constant stream and theme of mission. Appropriately enough, one of his formal mission statements is that he “creates a world of freedom by encouraging men with my courage to do all that they can be and to be all that they can do.” By profession a psychotherapist, he works continuously to inspire men to actively find and engage in their own mission in this world. Dr. Simmer completed the New Warrior Training Adventure back in 2001, and has never been the same man since.
To learn more about Steve and his work you can visit his website

“Men’s Work” is Mainstream – Free Telesummit May 7-9

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Editor’s Note: Lewis Denbaum is launching a free to listen Telesummit bringing together a wide array of experts on multiple topics impacting men’s lives. Men like tools. And there are some experts on this telesummit with some great tools. The Summit features a number of ManKind Project men including Bill Kauth, David Kaar, Michael Taylor, and Denbaum himself.


Here is what Lewis has to offer about the Men’s Telesummit 2013 – and the world.

What has inspired you to put together the Men’s Telesummit 2013 (www.menstelesummit.com) ?

The Men’s Telesummit is a symposium of leading experts in a variety of fields addressing issues specific to men in three categories: spirituality, work and relationships. I was inspired to start putting this all together–about a year ago–when I realized that men’s problems and more enlightened perspectives on them were seriously underrepresented.  This is the Age of the Woman and there seems to be a flood of resources available for their empowerment at this time.  While I am joyful that many of the old systems are breaking down and allowing for more equality and reciprocity; there is also a cultural displacement occurring as a result of the decline of male social dominance — bringing with it dark and dangerous undertides. There is that magical point of unity when many can become one however — when a large number of peaceful warriors come together and fight as a unit.  That’s what this Telesummit really represents — we have raised a mighty army but we have to show up if we want to win.  So I’m telling people to show up because it is going to be an amazing group of speakers and the potential for really transformative information is available here.

What the ManKind Project‘s Men’s Work means to me.  

The 24-hour news cycles have been awash with tragedy after tragedy–from the “Batman Shooter” to the Newtown tragedy, and now most recently the bombing in Boston–all of these horrific events perpetrated against the innocent by young men.  The media mouths can pontificate; the politicians can legislate but I believe the cause and the solution to this type of violence lies deep in the heart of each and every man.  I also believe that the most important tool to ensure the security of society is that its men are trained as new warriors– warriors trained to protect, comfort, and heal the people they are accountable. That is why I have been devoting so much of my time recently to staffing The Mankind Project: New Warrior Training Adventurs–4 in the last 7 months.  I want to try to reach as many men as I can with this message of hope–you are not alone; other men are here to help.  This training has real power to change men’s lives for the better; it helps them uncover and return to their manhood.

Here’s part of my vision for the future of our culture.

I see us moving forward into a better heart space and achieving a state of equilibrium within.  Right now, there is an imbalance causing these disturbances in “force” that are hard to ignore but I see that correcting itself before long as men seek healing and integration.  The possibilities for service are endless in the world and my vision is that every day, in every way, men will come forward and serve one another more fervently.  Compassion and nurturing should not belong solely to women nor courage and strength to men: these are universal qualities which must be applied universally if we hope to make our way out of the tunnel.  I see men learning to accept and cultivate the “feminine” qualities of caring and connectedness that have been neglected in our culture especially since women have started tapping into the “masculine” for their own socio-economic advancement.  The future is now and I see a revolution in the making as all people connect with the missing parts of their hearts and face the problems of today in completeness.


from the Editor … There’s no doubt – men’s work is going mainstream. There are powerful currents moving in the culture to help ALL of us, men and women alike to evolve the solutions we need to thrive. The ManKind Project is one of these offerings.

Why you might want a men’s group

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by Boysen Hodgson

You’re invited to sit in a men’s group. Feel free to bring a friend.

When you’re done with the initial raised eye-brow … you might ask … Why would I want to do that?

You might want to keep building on the success that you are having right now! And you know that the people who are the best at what they do are always looking for another edge … another way to practice and get stronger.

You might want to figure some shit out. You might want to learn to trust men, or women, or yourself. You might want to wake up from the sleep-walk you’ve been doing for the last how many months? You might want a better relationship with your wife, your partner, your kids, your boss, the stranger behind the counter, and the guy who cut you off in traffic this morning.

You might have some obstacles in your way that seem insurmountable. You might have some events in your past that you want to take a look at. More likely, you have some events in your past that you REALLY don’t want to take a look at.

You might be looking to deepen your spiritual practice, increase you energy, learn how to experience the full range of your emotions, get some support for the hard choices you need to make, have some fun and laughter.

You might want to learn more about what it means to be a ‘real’ man in this rapidly changing world. You, like many men, may have had some hard knocks in the past couple of years … and now you’re trying to figure out what’s next.

You might want to feel your own sense of power and know that you are fully in control of it. You may want to scream. You may want to cry. You might want to stop taking your anger out on the people you love, or on strangers or on YOURSELF.

You might want deeper self-acceptance. You might want deeper self-awareness. You might be scared out of your mind and just trying to hold it together. You might think you’re beyond hope.

You might be curious.

You might want … to be seen and accepted for who you are, to be heard, to be witnessed, to be wise, to be small, to be big, to let down your guard, to learn how to have a guard. You might be depressed, anxious, fed-up, run down, walked on, out of your depth, in over your head, sinking fast.

You might be looking to give back, to reach out, to finally come around, to stay on the good path. You’ might be excited, joyful jubilant jazzed to be alive and you want to share it.

You might think that the world needs more good men. You might have a sense in your gut that YOU have a role to play in supporting the male role models we so desperately need in the world. Men who are emotionally mature, compassionate, powerful, wise, and gentle. Men who are truthful, accountable and just. Men who follow through. Men who learn and think and act with integrity.

You might want to be part of the solution to the epidemics of depression, violence, and isolation that impact men, women, and children. Joining a men’s group is a commitment to your success – and to the vision of a transformed culture.

The ManKind Project supports men’s groups in nine regions around the world, supporting more than 10,000 men every week. www.mankindproject.org MKP is an international not for profit, non-religious organization. If you want help finding a men’s group, email: outreach@mkp.org.

Boysen Hodgson

Boysen Hodgson is the Communications and Marketing Director for the ManKind Project USA, a nonprofit mentoring and training organization that offers powerful opportunities for men’s personal growth at any stage of life. Boysen received his BA with Honors from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, after completing 2 years of Design coursework at Cornell University. He has been helping companies and individuals design the change they wish to see in the world for 15 years. He’s a dedicated husband.

Conflagration – a poem

Category: Men and Health, Poetry 
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CONFLAGRATION
by Two Crows Calling
DEDICATION — For the Dream of the Earth — held by Father Thomas Berry.

Tree people roots in mother Amazon, burned alive
crucified with whirling blades of steel
whipped with chains
Blood sap oozes onto the face
of the crying mother of us all.
Tree people dragged by massive caterpillars
shamed with no explanation

Caterpillars crawl across sacred ground, hungry,
relentless, bright electric eyes burn through the night
devouring, addicted to wood
their steel scoops could eat your entire house
in a single bite!
“Why is mother earth being burned alive?” The tree people ask
each other, weeping.

Deer people huddle in council with raccoon and squirrel.
Bird people forget their ancient prejudices and circle up,
crow with eagle and owl.
Now earth mother is burning … conflagration
Conflagration! Have the two legged ones gone mad?
Messages coming to us from the other world.
Messages of earth and heart. Shift the letters. Same word.
Earth. Heart. Heart-Earth.
As heart dies, mother earth dies.
Wake up sisters and brothers.
Go to the Lodge of the heart.
Ten thousand ancestors stand in a circle of hearts on fire.
Drumming, chanting, invoking.
The ancient ones call us back to full heart.
Back to loving our mother
Spirit and blood of sun dancers mingles with grief of pipe carriers.
Grandfathers and grandmothers in lodges across the stomach
of Mother Earth pour spirit water into the flesh and bones
on ancestors soon to be.

The sun rises. Water pourers open the door to the East,
to the creator.
Ten thousand shamans light their sage, cedar and sweet grass.
Invoking, praying, doing give away.
A spiritual war is coming.
Fire must yield to water.
Tears of the Grandfathers and Grandmothers
Sweat of the Creator.
Soul waters come pouring in.
A mighty storm is coming to heal the conflagration.

Two Crows Calling
From This Well Has No Bottom: A little book of spiritual poetry

I am a man – a poem

Category: Men and Shadow, Poetry 
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I am alone
No one cares about me, but me
I must do it on my own,
I am a man

You don’t get me,
and never will
There’s a pain inside that you will never know,
I am a man

I am by myself,
alone without support
If I don’t do it, no one will,
I am a man

I don’t need help,
I don’t want help
Can’t ask for help,
I am a man

Hiding from the world,
living in shadow
Don’t see me,
I am a man

If I wanted help,
you wouldn’t give it
Don’t know how to ask,
I am a man

I am deeper than you will ever know,
My feelings run wild,
powerful, passionate
I am a man

As I tell you I don’t want or need it,
I am longing for you to reach out,
Touch my heart,
I am a man

It is time to break my isolation
I don’t want to be alone,
I want connection
I am a man

 Copyright 2013
Trusting Eagle

The 3 Purpose Myths – Myth #3

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by Chris Kyle

Let’s do a quick review of the first two purpose myths.

Purpose Myth #1: “I can discover my purpose simply by thinking about it.” (read full Myth #1 here)

This first myth is about how our thinking minds can be a trap for us in opening fully to our purpose, which then requires us to access other parts of ourselves to tap a deeper knowledge.

Purpose Myth #2: “Once my purpose is clear, I will naturally overcome every hurdle and all obstacles without effort.” (read full Myth #2 here)

The second myth points to our ‘quick-fix’ culture and the importance of continually doing our work, both internally and externally, to keep on our purpose path.

And now to the third myth about men and purpose…

PURPOSE MYTH #3: “I need to bring my purpose work into the world by myself because I’m the only one who can drive it and make it happen.

This myth goes right to the heart of what I believe most challenges men around fully living their purpose boldly in the world… and it boils down to this statement: I HAVE TO DO IT ALONE.

And here are some more variations of this limiting belief: I have to figure it out on my own. I don’t want to look incompetent or stupid here. No one can help me on this one, it’s MY frickin’ purpose after all. I just need to start this on my own first, and then I can get help later. Hey, I got this. 

One of the most difficult things for men to do is to ask for help. And at one level it’s not our fault because so much of this “Do-it-Alone” attitude and behavior comes from our culture and how we are socialized as boys and then as men.

Be tough, don’t show your emotions, you’re weak if you need help, be strong and self-reliant, be independent not dependent. These are the messages we’ve received as men in nearly all modern cultures around the world.

And it’s a problem.

These beliefs and internalized cultural messages keep us isolated and limited as men. This is especially true when it comes to the riskier aspect of listening to our own inner Call to a purpose that may not fit the norm of success.

Busting Through Myth #3

The test for men who are committed to living a powerful, engaged life of purpose is to first recognize that these internal messages exist, and then do the necessary inner exploration to see what your unique versions of these messages are and where they come from.

Then from this awareness you can make new choices in your life to consciously create what you want through the help and support of others. This also opens you up to receive unexpected gifts and opportunities that you may not have allowed in while locked in theLone Wolf (an Inner Bully Archetype) mindset.

So one of the keys to activating your purpose in the world is to consciously seek the support, mentorship, knowledge and help from others early on in your purpose discovery process to build the healthy container of support where you can flourish.

Building the muscle of asking is what shifts the old pattern of ‘going solo’ to having a new set of resources available.

Key Purpose Tool: The Practice of Asking for Help 

This tool may be simple, but it’s not necessarily easy.

Take a look at the projects or major tasks you have on your plate right now either at work or at home. Identify one that’s new to you, or one you think you can do on your own but might need your own research.

Once you have the project in mind, then think about whom you could ask for mentorship, advice or support about that project BEFORE you get started on it. Ideally it’s someone who might have experience with your project/task area, although they don’t have to be experts for you to get good mentoring.

And now go ASK that person for their mentoring and/or support on the project you’re about to start. It’s important that you set the space and the time (15-20 minutes) to ask without being distracted. It’s not something you should just do in passing.

I encourage you to do this more than once. Get in the practice of it—just to see what interesting ideas and possibilities might emerge.

To supporting your purpose,

Chris

P.S.  The Man on Purpose 7-Week Courselaunches Tuesday March 19, 2013. The course will provide a high level of support for helping you navigate your limiting patterns so you can play a bigger game in your life and really come alive. It has a unique component in that each participant will receive live 1-on-1 mentoring throughout the course. Go to the course information page for more info and to register.

Chris Kyle

Chris has trained and coached hundreds of individuals to achieve greater success in their businesses and their lives. In partnership with The ManKind Project®, he recently created The Power of Purpose Summit and the Man On Purpose online course. He is also the co-creator, with Amy Ahlers, of the ongoing tele-series, New Man, New Woman, New Life.

Chris is the former Chief Development Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at Evolving Wisdom LLC, an online learning company that produces virtual courses with leading luminaries in the personal development arena. At Evolving Wisdom he co-developed The Way of the Evolutionary Man tele-summit with host Craig Hamilton. Chris was an invited speaker for The Shift Network’s Ultimate Men’s Summit in 2011.

In addition to his leadership development work, Chris has spent over 24 years as an executive, entrepreneur, consultant and business coach, working in Fortune 500 companies and owning his own eco-adventure travel company. Chris graduated from Stanford University where he studied Political Science. He lives with his wife in Northern California.

The 3 Purpose Myths – Myth #2

Category: Men and Mission 
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by Chris Kyle

A few days ago I wrote about the 3 Purpose Myths and shared with you the first Myth and how to bust through it.

If you missed Purpose Myth #1, go here to read it on our blog: Myth #1

The first myth is this: You can discover your purpose simply by thinking about it.

Now as we move a little further along the “purpose development” path we run into the second purpose myth.

Purpose Myth #2: Once your purpose is clear, you will naturally (and magically) overcome every hurdle and all obstacles without effort.

Let’s stretch the myth’s logic out a bit: the moment you get crystal clear on your purpose everything in your life immediately gets better and there are no more significant challenges, doubts or strife in your life. The clarity will bust through all of that.

That may seem way exaggerated, but it’s not far from the common belief in our modern western culture of the "quick fix" and/or the "magic pill."

So, finding your purpose from a personal development perspective could be seen as thatmagic elixir — “I’ve got my purpose in hand, now where are my just rewards… thank you very much”

The irony is that clarity of purpose helps you move through the challenges and obstacles and take the risks toward what really brings you alive. But at the heart of this myth is that part of us that really doesn’t want to (or doesn’t feel the need to) do the necessary work, internally and externally, to stay committed to our purpose path.

You may already know what that sabotaging, play-it-safe voice inside is saying: “It should just come to me naturally and without much effort; and if it’s too much work or risk then it’s probably not my purpose or my path.” That message, and the many variations of it, will pull you off course fast.

Busting Through Myth #2

The key to moving through this myth is understanding and activating a new kind of personal power in you to bring forth the necessary energy, conviction and creativity that helps you stay the course when the inevitable storms and problems come.

Tapping into this hidden power within you is the activating force of your purpose. It is your natural response system that helps you move through life’s unexpected challenges.

Being able to access this power source more fully requires you to go into the deepest fears, doubts and negative beliefs in your own heart and mind. Into the places that you don’t really want to look at — the vulnerable, messy or “ugly” places that are in the shadows.

So, it means becoming the hero of your own Hero’s Journey. Going into those dark places inside you, slaying the dragon (your own worst beliefs about yourself), and coming back into the world with new wisdom, clarity and confidence. It’s not easy, but it’s necessary.

Purpose Tool: The Hero’s Walk

This tool is simple, yet profound. Get out on the trail, in a park or on a sidewalk for a walk ALONE.

  • Let your thoughts come to your body and it’s movement, to your breath and to the environment around you.
  • Feel your feet in contact with the ground, notice the swing of your arms. Play with your stride and gait to bring your full attention to the sole purpose of walking.  
  • Your purpose in this moment is simply to WALK. That’s it.
  • Now after a bit of this fully-present walking notice what thoughts arise from this place. Your thoughts will eventually intrude on your presence in the walk — what are you saying to yourself?
  • The messages might be: “this is stupid, it’s just walkin,” or “If I go faster then I can catch the guy ahead of me,” or “I’m so out of shape; my body sucks.” And you may have positive, affirming thoughts too. 
  • Particularly pay attention to the negative beliefs or the self-criticisms about yourself, your Inner Bullies. These are the ones that do damage to your authentic power source.

Bringing these messages to your awareness is an important first step in reducing the power that they have over you and allowing new possibilities to arise. It opens the space to eventually invite potent affirming messages back into you as an antidote to the negativity bias in our brains.

In the Man On Purpose Course we go more deeply into the Inner Bully Archetypes and teach specific techniques for flipping the switch on the Inner Bullies to integrate them into a playful and harmless part of your personality that will aid in releasing more personal power. From there we focus on ‘taking in the good’ more consistently.

To your purpose,

Chris

P.S.   George and I are holding a special Live Q&A Call on Thursday March 14th at 5:30 pm Pacific Time to answer all your questions about the upcoming 7-Week online course, which starts on March 19th. Mark you calendars now and we’ll be sending out dial-in and webcast info tomorrow. 

Chris Kyle

Chris has trained and coached hundreds of individuals to achieve greater success in their businesses and their lives. In partnership with The ManKind Project®, he recently created The Power of Purpose Summit and the Man On Purpose online course. He is also the co-creator, with Amy Ahlers, of the ongoing tele-series, New Man, New Woman, New Life.

Chris is the former Chief Development Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at Evolving Wisdom LLC, an online learning company that produces virtual courses with leading luminaries in the personal development arena. At Evolving Wisdom he co-developed The Way of the Evolutionary Man tele-summit with host Craig Hamilton. Chris was an invited speaker for The Shift Network’s Ultimate Men’s Summit in 2011.

In addition to his leadership development work, Chris has spent over 24 years as an executive, entrepreneur, consultant and business coach, working in Fortune 500 companies and owning his own eco-adventure travel company. Chris graduated from Stanford University where he studied Political Science. He lives with his wife in Northern California.

The 3 Purpose Myths – Myth #1

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by Chris Kyle

Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of men around their purpose and every time we would dig deeper into the question of finding and living purpose we’d usually come across what I call a Purpose Myth.

After bumping into these myths (defined as ‘an unfounded or false notion’) about purpose over and over again, I began to see a pattern and discovered that there are 3 Core Myths that consistently come up across a broad range of men — from different backgrounds, age groups and cultures.

I’m going to share with you in this email about Myth #1.

PURPOSE MYTH #1: You can discover your purpose simply by thinking about it.

So, here’s the deal, a man doesn’t discover his purpose by simply thinking his way to it.

He doesn’t find it by plopping himself down on the sofa or desk chair, and then just sitting there until it comes to him. It doesn’t happen that way. Engaging just your rational thinking apparatus, your ‘ego-mind’, will not be enough to bring you to full clarity around your purpose.

Trying to think yourself into your purpose is a bit like using a hammer to paint a house — basically the wrong tool for the job.

purposeMyth#1Of course you need your thinking process to help you investigate ideas or problems, but your mind is also really good at keeping you “safe” and telling you past-stories that prevent you from taking the risks that open you to new possibilities.

Living a life of purpose is more than an intellectual exercise; it requires something that comes from a deeper place in you and then moving that wisdom into choices and action in the world.

Moving Through Myth #1

So, if you can’t just think your way into your purpose, then what is the path?

The key understanding that nearly everyone comes to in finding and living their purpose is this: It’s a process that requires you to access ALL parts of yourself, not just your mind.

The best purpose tools are intended to take you out of your head — to find answers beyond the rational thought-process — and into different parts of you that have clarity and knowing.

This means investigating your old beliefs, looking at your emotional terrain and learning to trust your ‘gut instincts’ to become more familiar with where your deeper knowledge comes from.

Key Purpose Tool: Accessing Your Inner Wise Man

This process is a simple one: grab a notebook, sit in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, and then write down a question that is important to you on a blank page.

Then take a moment to close your eyes, breathe deeply and relax your body. When you open your eyes after a couple of minutes, let your hand write whatever it wants to write below your question. Don’t “think” about it, just let it flow out of your hand and into the pen. Let whatever comes come, and don’t judge it. Just keep writing. It may follow it’s own thread and might not even answer the question.

Once you’re complete (say 10-15 mins), you’ll notice that new ideas and other resources emerged that you likely wouldn’t have “thought of” or even imagined. See what you can take from this information to make a new or different choice around your question. This is just one simple way of learning how to use your own inner guidance system.

In our Man On Purpose 7-week online course we utilize several other tools and approaches that help you tap more directly into your creativity and inner wisdom that bypass the traps of the thinking-mind. You can learn more by going to our course information page. The Course launches on March 19, 2013.

To living your purpose,
Chris Kyle

p.s. Don’t forget that the Early Registration Bonus for the Man On Purpose course ends in just 2 days (March 9th). This special bonus is a 1-hour, one-on-one facilitated Passion Test coaching session that will help you reveal your top 5 passions and then create the “markers” to live into these passions, bringing you alive into your purpose. Go here to register and lock in this bonus coaching session.

Chris Kyle

Chris has trained and coached hundreds of individuals to achieve greater success in their businesses and their lives. In partnership with The ManKind Project®, he recently created The Power of Purpose Summit and the Man On Purpose online course. He is also the co-creator, with Amy Ahlers, of the ongoing tele-series, New Man, New Woman, New Life.

Chris is the former Chief Development Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at Evolving Wisdom LLC, an online learning company that produces virtual courses with leading luminaries in the personal development arena. At Evolving Wisdom he co-developed The Way of the Evolutionary Man tele-summit with host Craig Hamilton. Chris was an invited speaker for The Shift Network’s Ultimate Men’s Summit in 2011.

In addition to his leadership development work, Chris has spent over 24 years as an executive, entrepreneur, consultant and business coach, working in Fortune 500 companies and owning his own eco-adventure travel company. Chris graduated from Stanford University where he studied Political Science. He lives with his wife in Northern California.

Tap Your True Power to Live Your Purpose Fully

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The ManKind Project USA recently launched a 4 day FREE Summit called “The Power of Purpose Summit,” bringing together top experts on purpose from the past 30 years, including Neale Donald Walsch, Dan Millman, Jack Canfield, Tim Kelley, Greg Levoy, and nine others. You can still sign up for the Summit and listen to the spectacular audio. The summit was a powerful success … but it was only the beginning.

At the end of the Summit, the hosts, George Daranyi and Chris Kyle, announced the launch of a 7-week online course on purpose.

You’re invited to engage — and take advantage of this powerful opportunity. This course will help you clearly define and truly LIVE in alignment with your purpose — where you’re waking up each day fully engaged, tapped into a new source of power, and making a difference.

This course is based on the deep work that Chris and George have done with men for over 35 years collectively; and includes 7 powerful live course sessions, a unique 1-on-1 mentoring program, live Q&A sessions and your own Purpose Project.

It’s called: Man On Purpose: The Essential 7-Week Online Course for Men

Below is a note from Chris Kyle —

Chris Kyle

Chris Kyle

What we’ve noticed among the thousands of men we’ve worked with is this: men who are “ON purpose” have lives that work — at all levels.

They are more passionate and engaged in their work and creativity. More connected and happy in their relationships. And more vibrant, grounded and healthy in their lives.

They are alive and fired up to make a difference!

Like many men, you’ve probably had moments in your life where you feel connected to your creativity, to your personal power and your gifts in a way that has you sense that you’re “on purpose” with what you’re doing in your life.

Unfortunately, we see it all too often, that these moments are far too fleeting. And to maintain that level of authentic power and LIVE consistently from your purpose and passions can be very challenging. And for you, that may mean that life feels like a struggle, a burden or simply uninspiring.

Over the 7 weeks of the course, you’ll receive the teaching and support to guide you through a unique 3-step process, which will enable you to maintain the focus, commitment and energy for living your purpose in the world. The steps are:

STEP 1: Clear away the false beliefs that block you

STEP 2: Open to your hidden source of power

STEP 3: Claim your purpose fully and begin living it every day with your Purpose Project.

Imagine truly being yourself standing in the power of your purpose — clear, confident, fulfilled and connected.

If you sense that there’s more to life than what you’re experiencing now, and if you want the tools and knowledge to begin living into your fullest authentic power as a man with a clear purpose as your north star, then please join us for this 7-week course.

Read the details and register here: Man On Purpose Online Course

Finding and learning how to live your purpose is the single greatest investment you’ll ever make in yourself as a man. So join us and other like-minded men in this course who want to create a meaningful and potent life and make a difference in the world.

To your purpose,

Chris Kyle
Facilitator,
Man On Purpose Course

p.s. Make sure to check out the inspiring supplemental content that we have for you in this course including a live 1-on-1 facilitated Passion Test session, a 260-page eBook on navigating your wake-up call as a man, and an audio workshop on purpose and relationships.

What’s getting in the way of your Leadersh*t?

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Mike Brown interviews Foster Mobley about his book “Leadersh*t: Rethinking the True Path to Great Leading

For over 40 years, gurus of all stripes have been promoting the “competency model” of leadership, insisting that mastering skill sets such as motivation and vision-setting is the key to effective leading. But if that’s true, where are all the great leaders? In reality, the corporate world and the world at large suffer from a dearth of effective leaders equipped to perform a great leader’s primary duty: building the capacity of followers to deliver breakthrough results.

Into this dysfunctional paradigm comes Leadersh*t: Rethinking the True Path to Great Leading with a shocking, refreshing wake-up call of unconventional wisdom. From his 30+ years of experience coaching and developing some of the finest leaders in business and sports, Dr. Foster Mobley has distilled this simple, game changing revelation: leading well is not about what you do but who you are. His revolutionary approach to developing breakthrough leaders, Wisdom Leading™, fills the pages of this extraordinary book.

Leadersh*t: Rethinking the True Path to Great Leading takes you on a three-part journey into the heart of what makes great leaders great. First, join Foster and a mysterious wise man on an allegorical journey, confronting environments that take the theoretical basis of Wisdom Leading™ and make it real and tangible. Next, Foster speaks directly about seven access points of breakthrough leading. Finally, answer some tough and revealing questions about your own leadership journey.

There have been hundreds of thousands of books on leading. There has never been a book like “Leadersh*t: Rethinking the True Path to Great Leading.”

Foster Mobley is a recognized thought leader, author and keynote speaker in the areas of high performance leadership and teamwork. As founder and CEO of The Foster Mobley Group since 1984, he has advised hundreds of companies on large scale change and transformational leading to enhance their human capital and competitiveness.
His practice includes some of the most respected business organizations in the world: Citicorp, DaVita, Disney, Nokia, and United Technologies. In addition to his work with business organizations, Foster enjoys a decade of unique success advising collegiate athletic teams and coaches on achieving full presence and power in their most critical performance moments.

Mike Brown has worked as a Personal Spiritual Life Coach for the past nine years. He has extensive training in Crisis Intervention, Behavioral Modification, and Conflict Resolution. Mike completed One Year of Master’s Level work in Spiritual Psychology at The University of Santa Monica. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from George Washington University. Mike Brown was initiated as a New Warrior in 2005

Cross Cultural Male Friendships

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Building and maintaining a cross cultural friendship

Michael (Miguel) Rath and Darryl Moment have built a powerful relationship based in conscious interaction. Here’s how they did it.

Listen to internet radio with MyNDTALK with Dr Pamela Brewer on Blog Talk Radio

From strangers, to competitors, to allies and friends, this is the story of two men and their journey toward comfortable self awareness. Through their membership in the ManKind Project and a commitment to continue using the tools they found in a conscious community of men, Michael and Darryl have learned how to relate to each other, and to themselves, with a level of honesty that many men are looking for these days.

And it wasn’t always easy. In order to build their relationship to one another, they had to be willing to look at the truth about themselves, and take responsibility for their choices.

Boysen Hodgson

Boysen Hodgson is the Communications and Marketing Director for the ManKind Project USA, a nonprofit mentoring and training organization that offers powerful opportunities for men’s personal growth at any stage of life. Boysen received his BA with Honors from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, after completing 2 years of Design coursework at Cornell University. He has been helping companies and individuals design the change they wish to see in the world for 15 years. He’s a dedicated husband.

Want More Willpower? Decide Less.

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chocolate chip cookies

by Alain Hunkins

Want to kick a habit?  Study more?  Spend less time on Facebook?   Ever feel like you have a hard time controlling these (or other) urges?

If so, you’re not alone.

For example, take the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress in America Survey. The survey asks about participants’ abilities to make healthy lifestyle changes. Survey participants regularly cite lack of willpower as the No. 1 reason for not following through with such changes.

What exactly is this magic elixir, willpower, that is in such short supply?

Willpower is the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.

It your oomph that gets you through the tough times.   Keeps you on track.  Keeps you from giving over to indulgence.

In a famous early  study on Willpower, psychologist Roy Baumeister (author of Willpower), tested people’s willpower with some interesting variables: cookies and radishes.

Baumeister brought subjects into a room filled with the aroma of fresh-baked cookies. The table before them held a plate of the cookies and a bowl of radishes. Some subjects were asked to sample the cookies, while others were asked to eat the radishes. Afterward, they were given 30 minutes to complete a difficult geometric puzzle. Baumeister and his colleagues found that people who ate radishes (and therefore resisted the enticing cookies) gave up on the puzzle after about eight minutes, while the lucky cookie-eaters persevered for nearly 19 minutes, on average. Drawing on willpower to resist the cookies, it seemed, drained the subjects’ self-control for subsequent situations.

Willpower is a limited resource.  It consumes mental energy.  Baumeister says that “willpower needs to be preserved for the decisions that really matter.”

If you use it up on stupid stuff, you won’t have much left over for the important things.

Willpower gets depleted when you use it.   That’s why when you go to buy a car, the salesperson has a field day with all of the little decisions regarding options after you’ve already decided on the make and model you want.  At that point in the process, your willpower is worn down, you’re mentally exhausted, and you’ll say yes to just about anything.  (Of course you need that moon roof!)

So, given how important willpower is, one thing to consider doing is to automate your decisions.

In the same way that you might having an automatic savings plan that deducts money from your paycheck and deposits it into a retirement account, you can automate your decisions.

For example, do you know you want to exercise more often?  Do you recreate the wheel every week, thinking about what you’ll do and when you’ll do it?  How you’ll squeeze exercise in between food shopping and your dentist appointment?

Don’t wait…automate! Sign up for the 3 nights a week Boot Camp fitness class that meets Monday/Wednesday/Friday at 6:30-7:45  pm.    Guess where you’ll be three nights of the week? When you automate things, you turn conscious decisions into unconscious habits.

How much thinking did it take to decide to brush your teeth last night?   Not so much.

Flossing?  More.

One keen student of the importance of willpower is President Barack Obama.  He explains his approach to willpower and decision making in an interview with Michael Lewis in Vanity Fair.  Obama discusses that, as president, he consciously has to avoid what most people spend a lot of their daily energy and focus on.  He says,

 “You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits.  I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make. You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.”  

If it’s good enough for the President, it’s good enough for me.  Besides, he cites the research.  Willpower is a terrible thing to waste.

Where could you stand to routinize yourself, to automate some decisions, so that you can focus on what matters most?

Alain Hunkins leads personal and professional development trainings for individuals, teams and organizations. Over the last two decades, Alain has facilitated for over a thousand groups, ranging from at-risk youth to Fortune 500 executives. He moves between the educational, artistic, not-for-profit, government and corporate worlds. Alain sharpened his facilitation skills as an Educational Consultant in New York City, developing programs on many subjects, including Conflict Resolution, Networking, Customer Service, Communication, and Leadership.

Alain earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Amherst College and his Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee Professional Theater Training Program. He is a certified Leadership Challenge & MBTI facilitator, as well as a certified co-leader for ManKind Project International, whose mission is to help men lead missions of service in their families, communities, and workplaces. Alain completed the New Warrior Training Adventure in 1995.

Power of Purpose Summit for Men

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Listen to internet radio with Coach Michael Taylor on Blog Talk Radio

Michael Taylor, of a New Conversation with Men interviews Chris Kyle, one of the hosts of the Power of Purpose Summit for men. Michael Taylor will be one of the featured speakers on the Power of Purpose Summit, starting February 27 to March 2, 2013. It’s a FREE summit with 14 featured speakers. You can listen live to the summit or download the audio and listen later.

FROM THE EDITOR:

The four-day Power of Purpose Summit will run from February 27 to March 2.

Finding MY sense of purpose has been one of the biggest gifts of my MKP work.

When I’m living in clarity of purpose, I come alive. I feel inspired, passionate, ready to tackle the BIG stuff in my life. I think a lot of men are like me – and there’s good evidence to back that up.

This four-day online interactive summit will help men discover the keys to ignite a new source of power, creativity, and clarity by living their purpose in the world.

Go to PowerofPurposeSummit.com to check it out and register for F*R*E*E.

14 top purpose experts including Dan Millman, Jack Canfield, Neale Donald Walsch, Chris Attwood and Richard Leider, along with some powerful New Warrior Brothers including Bill Kauth, Rich Tosi, Gregg Levoy, Mike Robbins, and Michael Taylor will be sharing their insights, tools, and techniques that guide men towards finding their purpose. The summit will be co-hosted by our own Chris Kyle (Co-Leader, Norcal Community) and George Daranyi (Full Leader, Past MKP Chairman, Arizona Community).

Please share this powerful opportunity with men in your life as a doorway into the work that MKP has been doing for almost 30 years. Great for men with years of work under their belts, and for men who are just starting to wake up!

And for you men reading this now… join us!

Sign-up for the PowerofPurposeSummit.com — and invite all your friends!

The more we support one another in fully claiming our purpose, the more our gifts will positively impact the world.

Get inspired, get tools, and help MKP USA fulfill our purpose in the world, building the emotionally mature, accountable and compassionate role models that our communities so desperately need.

After the Power of Purpose Summit we will be offering a 7-week live online interactive course called “Man On Purpose.” More info about this course will be shared during the Summit.

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