Honing Our Integral Edges
by Boysen Hodgson
In the ManKind Project, we’re voracious integrators. Our trainings and groups are a tightly mixed alchemical combination of exercises, modalities and practices from across the spectrum of personal growth, psychology, spiritual, ritual and physical practices. Men from different traditions and multiple generations have brought their unique gifts to the ManKind Project and our men’s circles, and men show up around them to learn and integrate new ways of thinking and new skills to use in the work that we do.
We’re a learning organization, at every level. Here’s one of the ways I’ve learned.
For nearly 2 years, Rich Tosi, David Kaar, Tom Pittner, George Daranyi, Carl Griesser, John Gaughn, Bill Kauth, myself and a up to 5 other ManKind Project leaders and community members met on the phone every two weeks to talk about the intersection and integration of Spiral Dynamics and Integral thinking into the DNA of the ManKind Project.
The call was commonly called the ‘Spiral Call’. It started as a court of support for our past Chairman, George Daranyi. It evolved into a platform for a close knit tribe of men to discuss cultural change on a micro and a macro level.
We explored how to fully embody the kind of leadership we want to model in MKP – an Integral style that deeply honors and values the differences and stages that men who come to us are in, and invites them to push their edges. A style of leadership that seeks to transcend attachment to any one way of seeing the world … and embraces and honors them all for the gifts they bring and the ways they have helped all of us evolve. (to transcend AND include)
We weren’t holding theoretical discussions. We were looking on every phone call at specific issues, challenges and evolutionary steps that the ManKind Project was facing. We were using the wisdom of the group and the framework of Integral thinking to explore ways to broaden our understanding, increase our effectiveness, and shift the culture of MKP to an organization ready for second tier leadership and operating from that space to the extent that any of us were capable. These calls were some of the most lively, challenging and vital conversations that I have experienced in MKP.
My way of seeing the world, the way I facilitate groups and individuals, the way I manage my business and my relationships, the way I do Yoga and work out … it all shifted as a result of these calls. My level of acceptance … for myself and others … has steadily increased.
Right now David Kaar (one of the participants on that phone call) has teamed up with Doshin Michael Nelson in Colorado to offer an introductory course on Integral Theory and Practice (Starts Wednesday August 17, 2011). To me, this is a no-brainer. It is primarily focused on helping communities connected with the ManKind Project begin to explore the integration of Integral Theory into their own leadership and organizational frames.
Integral theory and practice is another set of tools that can be an effective way to augment the effectiveness of anything else that you may be practicing. It’s another lens through which to view the world. For me, the more different sets of ‘specs’ that I have at my disposal, the more easily I will be able to have a set of shades for any situation.
Keep on integrating. It’s FUN!
– is a deeply personal issue that everyone decides for himself. Sometimes the price is high, sometimes low. But this is not very important for life. Life is an interesting thing. And the price on Viagra – too.