Paul Hawkes, 58, forensic investigator
How did you know about MKP?
It was in the early days, from a good friend. He said it was something I might like, he knew I hadn’t had the best of relationships with my old dad and I trusted his opinion. I did the NWTA weekend in 1995 and have been involved ever since. I am now a co-leader and also facilitate Primary Integration trainings, which support men literally to integrate their experience after the initial weekend with their changes. I’ve led over 120 of them.
What life stage were you at when you did it?
My dad had died a few years before and it’s fair to say I had had a difficult relationship with him. He wasn’t very available. So there were issues around his death. Also when I was 14, I was taken abroad and had a significantly traumatic experience that caused major trust issues and behavioural difficulties. These issues eventually seeped into my marriage, which eventually broke down (I have since remarried). I had a young daughter at the time of my MKP training and initially struggled with being a new dad – this has fundamentally changed in ways I could never have imagined at the time.
How was the NWTA weekend for you?
Well, it became clear I had to decide whether to stay closed up and wary, or to dive in, be more transparent and ‘do my work’. At one point in the training I decided to really go for it and as a result, something inside me genuinely opened up. I experienced a deeper connection with others, in some ways for the first time. I also started realising that vulnerability is strength, which I hadn’t realised before. I came out at the other end wanting more and knowing that I had more of this personal men’s work to do. I didn’t want it to be a ‘mantle piece experience’. I wanted to be more like the opened-up self I experienced on this weekend. I have since become increasingly aware of my potential as a man and how to step into that potential.
What is the Primary Integration Training
It is designed for men who have already completed a weekend training and serves to integrate their experience and to improve ‘emotive literacy’. The training lasts for 3 hours, once a week for 8 weeks. The initial weekend experience is relatively compressed so the Primary Integration Training provides a way of really getting to grips with how best to address angers, grief, fears, projection, as well as providing a straightforward conflict resolution model. It is a really healthy way of integrating the work. It means men learn how to be with sadness, their own and other, for instance. We also learn to feel our fear but also our power at the same time. I believe there is no such thing as ‘fearlessness’ but when I know my fear, I am more able to be courageous and get things addressed in my life.
How is your i-group?
Invaluable. A bunch of men who are willing to deeply support me but also hold me accountable for what I say I want to do in my life. That is a brilliant combination.
What has the effect been of having MKP in your life?
My values and principles as a man have certainly changed and I now know a lot more about how men positively interact with each other. I have been robustly cared for by men and in some ways have been loved into a healthier, more vital version of myself. There were men who saw that I had value as a man and at one stage of my life had never really been able to see that for myself. My heart has been touched in a thousand ways by men that I might have written-off before being involved in MKP.
And there are always things to learn. I’ve been really touched be the younger generation of men who are coming through, they are so much more open emotionally available and courageous than how I perceived men to be a couple of decades ago. So different to me at that age.
I was more self-involved before and now I tend to be more outward-looking. I’m more able to be supportive and be supported, I’m more able to love and am willing to risk feeling uncomfortable feelings to be true to the principles I live by.