Jon Kinsella, 65, retired architect, now singer/songwriter, graphic artist, poet, near Cork.
How did you know about MKP?
I grew up in the US but I’m 100 percent Irish right through my bones, brought up in an all-Irish family. It was 1993, right at the beginning of MKP in Houston, Texas. I was already involved in men’s circles and then a friend did the NWTA weekend and told me about it.
What life stage were you at?
I was a successful architect, but I had been leading a very confusing, chaotic life, which involved all sorts of addictions from sex to drugs and drink. At this point, I was just embarking on my recovery. I ‘d started the 12 Step program which supported me as well as MKP. My first marriage was over, and I didn’t want to pass on my behavior to my sons. That’s what was motivating me.
How was the NWTA Weekend?
Life-changing. It gave me a future, for which I will always be grateful. I could never have predicted the impact beforehand. It was a series of significant personal moments for me, moments where I could look into the ghosts and shadows of my life. Great questions asked in the middle of a wood. I was challenged but also immersed in the mystery. I was asked – are you committed? I’d never heard language like this with regards to my life. It was scary shit and so what I needed to hear.
I also had the opportunity to work with the family chaos that I’d grown up in. The sexual abuse and the violence. All the stuff that had set up my addictions. This was an important moment of truth for me. It’s was a key part of my own hero’s journey.
I loved it because these men wouldn’t let me sell myself short. I realised, and it was a profound realisation, that they men loved me and they weren’t going to let me kill myself.
After that, there was the renewal and rebirth moment in a sweat lodge. There I truly felt the way out of the dark tunnel of my life so far.
How was the i-group for you?
We call them Men’s Circles. Yes, these weekly circles provided the groundwork, structure and agreements for my new life. I learnt some good tools there. This is where the real work happens. I’ve been in a circle ever since 1993. They are a powerful way to keep in touch with yourself on that feelings level, and also to be challenged when you need it.
Did you get more deeply involved with MKP?
Yes, I lead Primary Integration Processes, which give structure and tools when you’ve just done the weekend. I also became a NWTA Co-Leader and Community Director so I’m still pretty involved!
Where do you find yourself as a man these days?
My father gave me less than nothing as a role model, and now manhood makes sense to me in my body. I had ‘abuser beliefs’ because that’s what I’d taken in during my childhood. It was in my core. MKP was able to change that. I imbibed from men who had courage, generosity, compassion and wisdom, and that was such a privilege. I learnt integrity and accountability. I’m able to express how I feel. I have so much more clarity. My relationships are much better.
How is MKP going in Ireland?
We had the first Irish NWTA in 2004 but MKP has really been growing over here since 2010 as Irish men working towards becoming Co-Leaders and Community leaders. We’re having three NWTAs here every year now. We have a community of new men. We have long lived in a world with very deep wounds. MKP takes men through a deep journey to embrace both the light and dark within themselves and then encourages them to take this journey out into the world as a healing gift. And we certainly live in a world that needs that healing.