I would like to address this post to the men. I also ask that the women please read it as well since we cannot be complete men without the women in our lives.
In my life I have been privileged and honored to be around true warriors. Not just Native Americans of various tribes, but Maori, Samoan, Hawaiian, Asian and African as well. When I sit with them we talk. We share stories of old teachings on warriors and men. We talk about what it means to be a man for our loved ones, our communities. I listen as they share their teachings of the passage into manhood and the ceremonies that accompany this passage. I watch they eyes of these men as they share their experiences and how it has affected them forever. I see the peace in the eyes of elders whom are still men to be reckoned with as they settle into the years of life not trying to hold onto something that doesn’t belong to them anymore. They don’t know what mid-life crisis is. I dance with young men who are stepping up to learn the traditional ways. I think to myself, “Who would I be if I had started at that age?”
For the past ten years I have done work with and around many Men’s groups. I am often asked to run Sweat Lodges for them. I feel that it is a good thing for men to sit together and grow. What I have noticed is that there isn’t always growth. I see some patterns of men coming together with wounds. They peel the band-aid off and say, ” look at my owie”, and then the next guy says “ya? Well look at my owie”. Then they put the band-aid back on and come back the next week and say, “now look at my owie”. The next guy does the same thing and this goes on and on. A pattern of complacency occurs and the efficacy of the original intention is lost. This is not a blanket statement and I’m sure some people will get angry at what I am saying. That is not my intention however if you are getting your buttons pushed then I ask you to look at why.
I think it’s time to rip those band-aids off and take a little hair with it! Let it heal! Get a scar! Scars show that a healing has occurred and reminds you that the past was real. Almost every traditional initiation into manhood leaves scars. Without those very real markers in our lives how can we become the men we are meant to be? The old teachings require a man to be at a certain level with his word, actions, integrity, honor and compassion.
I will be 46 years old on my next birthday and am still learning. I have not lead a perfect life and there are people out there who may have issue with me. For that I apologize and welcome any dialog to clear things up. I want to walk with accountability and honor. Over the past few months my friend Dave Casper and I have been putting together a program for men that incorporates the old teachings. This program will not be an easy one. It will require that each man meet certain markers to move up thru the levels. It will challenge the physical body as well as the spirit, heart and mind. This program is to create leaders. There will be no followers. We will remember who we are meant to be and how to conduct ourselves accordingly so that our loved ones can always rely on us.
I will also be looking for a panel of strong women who would be willing to sit in front of this men’s group and field questions throughout the year. I feel that this is an important aspect for men to grasp. In the old ways part of a young mans initiation was to sit with the women for some time. When they were convinced that he learned to listen to the women in his life, they would pierce his left ear to show that he accomplished this.
I believe that in this time of great change and chaos in the world, we will be greatly served as we simplify and go back to the old ways. We need to remember our original set of instructions and walk together in a sacred manner.
If these words speak to your heart and spirit as a man I invite you to join us on May 14th. This will be a day of gathering and to introduce you to more of what this program has to offer.
In closing I want to thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter. For those who were looking at the Kayak trip, I am happy and sad to say that it is sold out however we are taking reservations for the fall trip October 13-16. We still have room on the Bali retreat April 7-17 as well as room for our Ojai retreat May 27-30. Anyone who is seriously considering coming to South Dakota to support the Sun Dance ceremony July 5-9, please let me know as there is much to inform you of in regards to preparation.
I hope and pray that you and your loved ones are all safe and healthy. The circle is strong and full of medicine.
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