… Tomorrow I return to Grade 7. That’s what they used to say about Bar Mitzvahs. That’s about as close to a rite of passage or induction into manhood that we seem to have in our contemporary culture.

This weekend I attended the ManKind Project’s New Warrior Training Adventure, a sort of hero’s journey into joining a community of men. During my past 14 years of many transformational and personal growth courses, this is one of only a couple that has been just for men. Like many of the courses, it included work on personal mission (“I create a joyful and playful world by loving and inspiring”), affirmation (“As a man among men, I inspire and exhilarate”) and goals (I completed one today: I hugged Joe before his candidacy exam and brought chocolate chip cookies for the examining committee). The difference was the rituals and processes that were much like what men have done for thousands of years. One of the outstanding bonuses of the experiences is that I have a local community of men with whom I can meet regularly. My wonderful friends from courses going back to 1998 are scattered across the world, with few closer than Vancouver. Apparently Edmonton is the hub for Western Canada for MKP. I eagerly await spending time with these men. I am very grateful to all the men who shared the weekend –  new participants and staff, and to all the families and friends who supported us, especially mothers on Mothers Day.

One of the truths I’ve learned from all the work I’ve done is that one’s issues never disappear. The best we can do is to shed light on our shadow. By definition we can’t see our own blind spots and the ongoing connection to others in the conversation is what it takes to maintain and build on what comes out of the intense experiences.

It’s quite timely to step into a “rebirth” as tomorrow is the celebration of my natal day festivities. So just to show me that people actually read this blog, please send me a one-line message of Happy Birthday. Your other gift to me is go out and share laughter and play with your friends and loved ones. Be exhilarated.

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