Dan Knowlson, 42, runs a raw chocolate business with his wife, Paula in Wiltshire.
How did you know about MKP?
A shiatsu practitioner and also MKP man in Bristol was giving me a session, and he gave me a leaflet. He also said that he thought I might like it. It came at exactly the right time.
Why what sort of life juncture were you at?
I’d been with my wife for six years and we were and still are very much on a healing, self-development, health and nutrition journey together. And we very much supported each other. I wasn’t aware of issues that I needed to sort out, it was more that I wanted to continue on this journey and saw the NWTA weekend as a way of doing that.
Had you done a lot of personal development work at the time?
Not a huge amount. I’d had some counseling before I met my wife, and I had begun to explore my non-scientific, non-logical side. I was in the process of finding myself.
How were you as a man at that time?
One who didn’t realize how off track their life was. A man who wasn’t really in touch with his feelings although I had started to become more aware.
How was the NWTA weekend for you?
One of the most amazing, challenging experiences I’ve ever had in my life. It still stands out. One in which I got the most incredible support from men, in a way that I could not have imagined before. It opened my eyes to how men can be together in a totally different way to what we are taught.
What were you challenged by?
How much unresolved stuff I was carrying mainly around my father. He wasn’t around when I was growing up, and I’d created a story around this, that made it alright. I soon discovered how much this really was not okay for me and how many feelings I had around it all. I got to express a lot of these feelings of anger and grief for the first time. It was liberating.
How is your relationship with your father now?
Well, strangely I was contacted by chance by my half sister soon after the weekend and that led to contact with him. We hadn’t been in contact for a decade. And we’re still in contact. It’s a long slow process but we’re re-building a relationship that has been neglected for 30 years. I’m now at a point where I understand that he thought he was doing the best by me. He’s 82 and we’re in good contact.
How was the support of other men for you on the weekend?
It was the first time I’d see men show emotions in this way. Usually it is men putting on a brave face but here they are encouraged to open up. And the other men gave incredible support. It gave me hope for a new way of being for myself and in the bigger picture as a society.
How important is your i-group?
I go to one in Bath these days. For me, my life is like a pressure cooker, it keeps growing in pressure so my i-group is a place where I can express all that energy whether it is grief, pain or laughter. It is a precious safe space where we are supported and challenged. It has a huge impact on my life. My wife says she can always tell when I need to go! I’d trust these men with my life, soul and spirit, that’s how important it is.
How do you feel now 10 years into MKP?
I feel more grounded and centred. I don’t react in the way I used to. I don’t apologise for myself any more. I’m comfortable and confident in my own skin. I don’t feel that I have anything to prove.