If you've ever staffed a ManKind Project New Warrior Adventure Training weekend (or NWTA for short), I am sure you’ll agree that it’s an amazing experience. If you haven’t, then I hope that reading this might inspire you to do it! Since I did my weekend last summer at the Comb, I have got so much from MKP and from the men I have met through MKP. Through staffing myself for the first time, I wanted to help other men to have this same opportunity.
My mission starts that “I create a more conscious, loving and joyful world…..”. What better way to deliver this that than holding space for 30+ men being initiated into Manhood? From staffing in other organisations that I am involved with, I also knew that I would get some great insight into myself – and that certainly happened!
In the preparation conference call and emails in the run up to the weekend, so many feelings were expressed by other men - excitement, commitment, joy, service, fear and anxiety being a few. While I resonated with some, I felt no fear or anxiety - was there something wrong with me?! My lovely friend Azul often calls me naïve. I used to hate this and see it as a negative; yet I now realise that it's me, it's fine, it's OK and it means I often don’t feel fearful when others do; actually it’s quite a relief!
The staffing had a wider significance for me. I have previously written about The Nobleman Workshop run by Celebration Of Being (search online for more information). It’s a beautifully complementary community and I set out with the dual intention of staffing and getting as many Noblemen involved in the Warrior weekend as I could. In the end four of us staffed and three men were initiated. Great for a first concerted effort in this direction. Working the other way, there were seven warriors involved in the recent Nobleman training, so cross-pollination has really started!
My journey up north started very well with a lovely catch up coffee with my Noble Warrior friend Ed, connecting with Nicolas at the station and then William on the train.... so the four of us had our own little community on the train!
What is truly amazing is that at 5 pm on Thursday, 40+ men, many of whom had never met each other, got together for the first time; and less than 24 hours later, the site was fully set up, everything was planned and we’d formed the most amazing container. This, I feel, was the most amazing part; 40+ men, 40+ egos, 40+ heads full of "my way" - yet, pretty much seamlessly, we worked like a perfectly developed living organism.
Any niggles or tensions were instantly cleared; people who f***ed up (me included) took responsibility, owned up and made amends - without anyone needing to be asked to do so! Yes! It was truly amazing - imagine if every company, government, school and other organisation in the world was run this way? How profound would that be?
And then the men arrived…and the adventure began. Many experienced staffers said they’d never seen a group quite like it. Ready and willing to work, taking responsibility and not being defensive.
I wasn’t in the least bit surprised by this. For me, 2012 is a real turning point; not the "end of the world" as some have prophesised, but a "tipping point" towards a world where more and more people want to be more conscious, are more and more prepared to take responsibility and grow up.
Every group I have seen this year or heard feedback on is the same. It is happening - slowly, person-by-person, we are becoming more conscious as a race. That is certainly worth celebrating!
So what did I learn about myself? I thought I was really reliable, always there; yet I realised that sometimes by shutting down (my childhood protection mechanism), I don’t show up, even when I am physically there. The "how" part of my mission starts with "by being true to myself" and I realised that I am so often not; doing things I don’t want, not stating my needs ….. and then resenting it.
For me such learnings make me so much more aware of myself; from that place, I can be more conscious, more loving, more joyful – and, yes, of course, that’s my mission!
And as well as hard work (which it was!), a great learning experience and a chance to be in service, the weekend was great fun too! My highlight was strumming in an impromptu band till 2 am on Sunday morning in the staff quarters - ending up with that wonderful Bill Withers song “Ain’t no Sunshine”. This is not something I’ve ever really done before; my serious sensible self was telling me to go to bed, and I usually would have listened. Yet my higher, more joyful self saw how much more this would feed me more than a bit more sleep. So thanks Nico, David and Sean for that!
I returned home shattered yet very fed and nourished. For a while, a young 20-year man old I know was curious about this "warrior stuff" I have talked about a lot, yet it was an inactive curiosity. Something in my energy after that weekend shifted him, and he’s signed up for December….. now that is real progress!
For me, every man who joins the ManKind Project community, every man who becomes a Nobleman, every woman who does her work; indeed for every person who says “I will take responsibility” we get closer and closer to how this world could be; more conscious, more caring, more loving….. no, not how the world could be, how the world is becoming…. And for me the circle was completed last night when a newly initiated man attended my iGroup - one of the 30+ men from the weekend who is helping the world become whatever we want it to be.