Diarmaid Fitzpatrick, 70, semi-retired, Life Coach and training to be Shadow Work facilitator
How did you get introduced to MKP?
I was giving a talk at a conference, I ended up sitting next to someone who talked about the personal development work he had done which was very powerful. He wouldn’t tell me what happened which piqued my interest but he did say it was MKP so I looked up information about the NWTA weekend afterwards.
What attracted you to this weekend?
The intrigue of not knowing and that it was specifically for men. I wasn’t struggling in my life at the time, there was just something remarkable about this man’s tone, the authenticity of it, that drew me in.
Where were you in your life when you did it?
I’d done quite a bit of personal development work. I’d been shy when I was younger in Ireland. I’d worked through that. I’d done quite a lot of work around my mother stuff and messages in my family around tears and anger ie don’t express them. So I had shut down but I understood that. I was a pleaser and a rescuer, I knew that and I wanted to expand into different parts of myself.
How was the NWTA weekend for you?
It really became obvious to me how distrustful I was around men. I was also aware how much love there was in the room. So I had to decide whether to let go of this distrust. That was huge for me. But I decided to go there and see what it was like. I felt as though I reached a new stage as a man.
Also I think I closed down on the grief when my first wife died . It was a way of surviving for me.
The weekend was an opportunity to open up the long black bag that Robert Bly talks about in Iron John, there was a choice to make, either live half a life or go for the full one. I’d locked a lot away. It was as if I had no feelings. So I made a decision to let go into my feelings. It opened up a new portal into life for me.
How was the i-group for you afterwards?
Very important. The i-groups are an ongoing way that men get the emotional support they need. Now I know if I have an issue I can take it to this small group of men. We know each other deeply. It is so healing to have other men listen without judgement. It makes it the i-group a very safe place which supports ongoing change.
What about the effect on relationships?
There is always the fear if one person in the relationship changes, that the other won’t be able to cope with the change.
If you’re in an intimate relationship, it’s much easier if you’re both doing this kind of personal work otherwise you can get out of sync. I think it’s important to talk through whatever is happening in terms of change.
And your present relationship?
I am now in a Conscious Relationship where we are both working on ourselves and we share difficult feelings as well as easier ones. This is the first time I’ve had a relationship like this.
What do you see as the future for MKP?
I feel as though MKP is in transition, that it is becoming more accessible to a wider group of men. I hope it expands into the mental health world too. It’s exciting in the scope of potential that is possible.