Daniel Kidner, 41, Cameraman, father, husband
How did you know about MKP’s The New Warrior Training Adventure?
My wife did the women’s equivalent, which is called Woman Within, so she knew about The Adventure and wanted me to do it. At the time, which was about 12 years ago, I was very resistant to the idea of doing it. But after we had our second child, I realised it was time to do it.
What life juncture did you find yourself at?
I was lost. I was a successful cameraman, but it was the only thing in my life at the time, which gave me a sense of validation. It was how I saw myself as a man. If I was doing well, I felt fine, if not, I felt lost and drank as a way of numbing out my feelings. I’d been drinking since I was 16. In a way, the pub was a sanctuary for me. It was what I’d learned that you did as a man. I travelled a lot and I had a ritual, which included getting blind drunk when I arrived as a way of decompressing after a journey. At this time, I had a second baby, and I wasn’t really being present for my wife or children. I didn’t know how to be.
What did you know about The Adventure before you did it?
Very little. I hadn’t been to an open i-group which is the weekly sharing groups that we have. I did know that I had patterns of behaviour that I wanted to look at that were no longer serving me.
What was the significance of the weekend for you?
The most powerful element was being with other men who were sharing their feelings at such a deep level. Before I experienced that, I thought it was only me who wasn’t coping and that everyone else was fine. Much of the time I simply didn’t know what I was feeling, but even if I did, I felt isolated and didn’t feel safe enough to share. It was a huge relief to realise that there was a community of men who are able to share their vulnerability. The level of honesty was inspiring. And it was incredible to learn that in that safe, held space, I too could be open about my feelings.
What did you take away with you?
I learnt that I had choices and that importantly there was hope. I could be the man I knew deep down I always was, but had yet to realise. I found tools on that weekend that supported my life and relationships. And it was the i-group that supported the real change afterwards.
What did you learn about these men?
To trust them. That was radical for me. We grow up with these rules that are all about being in competition with each other. Suddenly I didn’t have to be. I went to boarding school and I learnt to assimilate quickly. I learntout of necessity to shut down most of my feelings in order to stay safe. That’s why the pub became so important.
How was it with your wife when you got home?
I’d say that I found out how to communicate differently. I was able to identify what was her stuff and what was mine. That really helped. Before that, I used to take everything on my shoulders. I thought I was always wrong. Now I can be more healthily accountable. Also I’m better at asking for what I need.
What is an igroup?
MKP has these peer groups all over the country. After you’ve done The Weekend, you can join ani-group. It’s a weekly sharing group. I still travel a lot and so I can check in with my group because we have an online chat service, enabling me to request feedback and support, or to offer support to other men.
How do you feel this i-group has helped you?
I think in one way or another it probably saved my life. I was very lost. Sadly a cameraman I know took his life recently. It was a stark reminder of how important the work of MKP is for men today.
What about you as a father?
I struggled to be present with my children and my wife and the work has enabled me to better understand the reasons for this and help me to make positive changes.
And your father?
I go for walks with my father and I’m getting to know him in a way that I didn’t before. Somehow me being able to be vulnerable means I am more in my power when I’m with him. And he somehow gets to be more vulnerable too.
And your mother?
I’ve been for a couple of walks with her individually as well. But I intend to do more work around this relationship and am going to do Nobleman soon, which is a weekend workshop where men do their work, and the space is held by women.
How do you see your future with MKP?
I am keen to progress onto the leader track. I have staffed eight times now.
Going to boarding school lead me to become very self-serving. In finding MKP, it’s the first time I’ve felt strongly motivated to contribute by giving my time and energy to this fantastic organisation.
And finally how do you envision the future for MKP?
I would like to see an i-group in every town in the UK. I’d like the work to reach more men from a wider demographic, that feels very important to me.