The Northern California Heartbeat is a place for men to tell their stories,
share their works, their experiences, and keep the community up-to-date.
— In this Issue —
- The Greeting
- San Luis Obispo–MKP Community Excellence
- Enriching Online IGroups
- Daniel Mollner–Man of Mission
- Preparing to Gather Once Again
- Nor Cal Open Circles
- New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA) Enrollment; Next Man
- Elder Distinctions–The Oral Tradition of Elder Energy
- The Leaderbody
- IGroups Update
- Be a Member
Nor Cal Brothers – I feel like, as a community, during COVID times, we have been as a ship stuck in the doldrums – floating on glassy waters with no wind in our sails. And yet our crew, your council, and many many others, have been working mightily to connect and find direction in this windless realm. With the expansion of vaccinations, it feels like the winds may pick up.
You and your brothers have kept the decks clean and reconfigured some sails. Offering online open circles for new men, and brothers who haven’t been able to connect elsewhere (some just love these new groups). This newsletter, The Heartbeat, and online community events are coming. Race & Racism sessions are ongoing every 2nd & 4th Tuesdays, and have evolved. The second Tuesday is more of a working session focused on men of color, and the 4th Tuesday is an organized event. Look for invitations to these events in Nor Cal Talk.
Is Nor Cal Talk in the doldrums too? Perhaps. Anecdotally, we have seen less response than prior years. It’s like we are sending messages-in-a-bottle that aren’t reaching landfall. My belief is that this is part of the pulling in from the pandemic, and while there have been losses, we will be richer for this turning inward and consolidation. So keep throwing those bottles with notes into the water of Nor Cal Talk. The shifting winds will again bring your message in a bottle to the shores of other men. Men are waiting.
Enjoy this issue of the Heartbeat–a virtual six-pack of messages-in-bottles. Read on for inspiration from San Luis Obispo’s award-winning Sustaining Community, and Daniel Molner our 2020 Ron Hering award winner and ecstatic dance facilitator. See how your elder energy can juice up your IGroup, and how some IGroups are meeting in person. And yes. we are still finding our path to staff an NWTA this year, and we have a large waiting list of MEN WHO ARE READY.
Recall your own weekend, that depth of feeling, awakening, and connection. Use that energy in you today. You are that man!
Kelly Doughty, Nor Cal Area Steward; email@example.com
San Luis Obispo–MKP Community Excellence
The San Luis Obispo MKP Community received the 2020 Bill Kauth Community Excellence Award for a Sustaining Community, and we were asked to convey our thoughts and recollections on how our community developed, so as to pass on our success. The resulting report is a compilation of input from Kevin Hauber, Reuel Czach, and Chris Kitts.
The San Luis Obispo (SLO) MKP Community started as an open circle in 2004; one of the first truly open circles in the US. We have always been primarily about open circles and for this we actually endured criticism early on from more “traditional” MKP members. However, the number of initiated men in SLO county was initially so low, this was the best way to make sure a circle of men could grow and thrive. Many of the men who started in the first few years are still involved.
As our original open circle grew too large, we began creating new circles on different nights, but we had men who sat in multiple circles on the same week. A core of four-five men attended more than one circle for multiple years, and this continues into the present. This practice strengthened our community connection and resulted in the sharing of multiple styles of circle leadership. We created an SLO Community Council a few years ago which includes a representative from each IGroup. Many of the early members sit on this Council with newer members and this allows continuity to continue to play a part in our community development.
From the beginning, we’ve been big proponents of supporting leadership development. We rotate circle leadership weekly and invite everyone to join in a regular rotation. This has also been true for leading PITS and other trainings, we invite men to stretch into leadership. The recent Gold Mining Weekend was an ultimate example of this with all participants taking part in leading at least one process. We also encourage men to be creative and contribute in their own way. This resulted in the establishment of a Quarterly Ritual practice where the entire community is invited to join in a meeting with a guided ritual that focuses on an emotion like Grief, Shame, Fear and so on. These provide wonderful whole community bonding experiences and also release many deeply held energies in a supportive group context.
Because five of our seven current circles are open, the weekly open circle leaders will send an invitation out to the entire community. We traditionally include a Sensei Question, which is often a focus for the Lover Round. These invitations serve to attract men to attend circles they may not have visited before and again facilitates more community connections.
In our opinion, these practices have created a broad array of leaders in the SLO MKP Community, each with different, complementary skills and focuses, who know each other and collaborate well together. When the virus brought such hardship last year, we had a lot of talent available to work with, providing support and ideas for dealing with a unique crisis.
We appreciate the recognition of this award and we would also like to thank MKP-USA for this honor because of the self-refection it’s brought us. Now we too have a better understanding of what makes SLO MKP such a wonderful community.
Chris Kitts, Community King Chair
Kevin Hauber, Community Magician Chair
Reuel Czach, Community Elder
Enriching Online IGroups
When the shutdown happened a year ago, I wasn’t thrilled about having an IGroup meeting on Zoom. That’s for corporate meetings, not for heart-based connection, right? I quickly discovered that, although they’re not perfect, video meetings can offer the same kind of connection and healing that in-person meetings provide.
I then accepted an invitation from MKPUSA to lead teams to convert our IGroup Facilitation Training (IGFT) and Primary Integration Training (PIT) to online formats. What we quickly discovered was that our core processes (Accountability, Bucketing, Clearing, Look Who’s Talking, etc.) required little, if any, modifications to work online! I’ve witnessed deep work many times in my IGroup and in our trainings.
I also discovered that there are lots of resources to help enliven your online IGroups and deepen your facilitation skills:
Take a Class
Schedules & registration links for all of these are here.
- PIT 2020 Online explains the nature of the four rounds, asks you to recall and bring forward insights from your NWTA, defines commonly used terms like shadow and gold and provides facilitation instruction for Warrior round processes – Self-Accountability and Clearings.
- IGFT Online is about facilitating, mostly Magician round processes but also a new version of Clearing. It really helps boost men’s confidence in themselves to facilitate.
- IGroup Leadership Skills Training teaches men how to lead an IGroup, online or in person, effectively with instruction on a core format, safety, agreements and ways to handle IGroup dynamics. The course offers lots of experiential practice so a man can gain confidence and tools that he can take back to make his IGroup more effective or create his own group.
Facilitator Cards for Online Processes
- Magician Round Processes. This is a link to a page with five processes that can be used to facilitate a man online.
- Warrior Round Processes. This is a link to the newest online version of Accountability and this is a link for the new online version of Clearing.
Ask for a Visiting King
We have a longstanding tradition in the Project of having experienced men visit IGroups to share their wisdom and insights. This is something that’s much easier done online, since geography isn’t a constraint. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can contact your community IGroup rep on this page. That role is vacant is some communities; in that case you can contact Bob Johnson, Nor Cal Area IGroup Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although I’ll be thrilled to see my IGroup brothers once we return to in-person, I’m grateful that I can stay connected to them electronically.
Ken Shultz, Core Training Series Lead (PIT/IGFT/IGLST); email@example.com
Daniel Mollner–Man of Mission
Each year, MKP acknowledges a man in each area who has exemplified living a life of mission. The 2021 Nor Cal Bruce Herring Award winner is Daniel Mollner.
Daniel’s mission is “to evolve, explore, and express consciousness in human form by engaging and serving Life on this Planet through art, education, community building. love, and the power of embodied presence.”
Filmmaker, school teacher, entrepreneur, DJ, dancer, traveler, and ultimately a facilitator of transformative experiences, Daniel’s 5.7 decades have been defined by his search for meaning, healing, play, and right livelihood. He resides in Santa Cruz, California with his partner Ya Mei, and their 2-year-old daughter, Novana.
For over 20 years, Daniel has been devoted to facilitating conscious embodiment and expressive movement, asking essentially one ongoing question…how do we achieve the optimal blend of freedom and belonging?
Daniel’s unique approach to education and community-building harnesses the unifying power of dance. He creates inclusive, ongoing opportunities and experiences for people to practice accountability, creativity, caring, compassion, and wellness through conscious embodiment. In doing so, Daniel’s work helps us break the chronic patterns of isolation that exist in our global culture. He believes most of our suffering and conflict stems from a lack of authentic connection. On the dance floor, however, we can express and be witnessed in our personal truth while moving to a common rhythm and honoring a shared experience. Daniel holds this to be a potent and transformative opportunity to experience diversity within a larger field of unity. He sees it as a powerful teacher and practice space for the larger dance of Life itself. Daniel is therefore deeply devoted to facilitating conscious embodiment and expressive movement for groups and individuals both locally and across the planet.
Let’s honor David for his life of mission, and be inspired to live our own.
Preparing to Gather Once Again
Let’s focus on our community of Nor Cal Warrior Brothers, and be honest about the impacts of social distancing and shelter-in-place. There is gold to find in this hero’s journey of a pandemic. Many IGroups have successfully adapted to Zoom meetings, or developed innovative approaches to connecting. Kudos to all the men who helped establish and support at least four new region-wide Nor Cal Open Circles, and those who have helped make Zoom meetings more powerful.
And yet there have been real losses.
Some IGroups have totally suspended meeting, and face the uncertainty of re-establishment. Other IGroups have shrunk in participation, or meet less frequently. How many men who would be served by IGroup participation have been suffering the consequences of not doing so? What are the consequences to their families and communities? I ask you to take a moment to really think about it, and feel whatever arises.
I feel grief and fear. Grief for the losses to men and communities not served by IGroups and Trainings. Fear that we may not be able to rebuild quickly or completely. Located above my gut, I sense the boundary with which I can either deny my true experience or release into sadness. Along my back, I sense my vulnerability of collapse.
Over the first several challenging months of the pandemic, I was frustrated to not get what I want and then I discovered something golden: For what I really want, limitations provide the opportunity for new forms of creativity. But what if what I want is to gather with men so that I can fully experience shared presence?
I attend a group that now meets again in person. We are blessed with an open-aired gazebo and the seasonal warming trend. We take many precautions for safety, of course. We have started every meeting thus far talking through masks about safety.
We could not presently qualify as an MKP IGroup, however, because we are not up to every item on the necessarily detailed list of Required Mitigation Strategies and our county has had too high of a case rate. Honestly, we incur the risk that men transmit a virus, and I am relieved that we have not seen any such thing happen. And I am glad that we gather. I witness men who had spurned Zoom meetings but show up to do their work and support other men that they would not even know.
Power and praise to the IGroups on Zoom, and may the virtual medium continue to serve men in greater ways, but this is my voice to brothers who have been waiting to gather. The wait is ending. Take notice, and shake off whatever has gotten comfortable about staying home and unengaged. Are you ready to re-create? You may not yet know how and when your IGroup, possibly a new IGroup, is going to gather. What an opportunity! Envision it. Prepare for it. Talk to a brother about what you want to create.
Be safe, be connected.
Gary Reedy, Transformative Cat; Warrior Brother Community Circle Chair
Nor Cal Open Circles
Nor Cal has been running Open Circle groups for a full year, ever since the pandemic started. We run three nights every week: Monday, Wednesday, & Thursday at 7 p.m. These are mostly for uninitiated men, but many initiated men attend as well. Since we started, nearly 150 men have registered for these groups.
Here is what one man shared: “The Men’s Open Circles have helped me immensely. They are places where I can work on my shadows and the areas that need work in my life. I’ve also found that I benefit from other men doing their work. ‘Your work is my work.’ I am grateful and passionate about supporting them.”
Three ways you can get involved:
- If you know an uninitiated man who is looking to make connection, send him the registration link; registration for non-initiated men.
- If you have experience and talent in leading this kind of group, let us know, we are looking for new leaders.
- If you need a place to make connection, you are welcome to attend, although understand that these groups are primarily for the benefit of uninitiated men; see Open Circle Zoom for initiated men.
Bill Zabor, Dancing Bear
New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA) Enrollment; Next Man
So, the next person that says to me, Is it really that hard to put on an NWTA…Oh, man!
We had to cancel the NWTA scheduled for Apr 30-May 2, 2021 at Heartland Collective. It took the group that made the decision about two weeks of weighing the restrictive National protocols, pre-testing initiates & staff, vaccine variables, training outcomes, reading & understanding trending data, and common sense.
One of the deciding factors was answering the simple question: Is this the NWTA we want these particular men to have? There are so many layers to just that one item on the list. How would we give these men a valuable experience when we can’t be within 6 feet, we can’t feed them directly, we can’t let them hold a log? Many parts of the weekend involve really close contact. Would everyone be masked? Would they all be able to hear through the masks and the distance? Should we require every man be vaccinated and, if so, how do we tell a man who has every right to choose not to, that he cannot attend? Bottom line is, an NWTA relies on many of the things we simply cannot or choose not to, right now.
For an 18-man weekend we need 23 staff. So what, right? That means only one rookie, if at all. Every staff man will be involved in most every process; exhausting. Will we have enough men with experience to pull that off? MOS? That on its own was filled with pitfalls.
I sat in on several meetings where I just felt gut-punched after each one. I sat with my expectations; my stories of need and want. In the end, what it came down to was this just isn’t over, yet; may not be for the rest of this year! It’s been a year and no one has been through an NWTA; no one. Man, I feel that so deeply.
Right this minute, we have no NWTAs planned for 2021. Maaaaayyyyybeeee, September or October.
If you have a man that is ready, still have him contact me. I can register him into the waiting area and, at least, get him in the queue for when we get going. Which, we will!
For scholarship, payment, and registration information, see New Warrior Training Adventure.
Randall Maynard, Enrollment Coordinator; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elder Distinctions–The Oral Tradition of Elder Energy
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Nor Cal Elder Council has started several outreach projects to nourish elder energy and address the needs of individuals and IGroups. Sign up to Nor Cal Elder list or contact Gurudarshan Khalsa at email@example.com.
During my tenure on NorCal’s Elder Council, we transformed from two leaders to seven-member Elder Council. The idea came from my co-chair Richard Winters, and soon we had an elder representing the Leader-body, LKS, Ritual Elders, Stewardship Council, and now Emeritus Lead Elders. Then we focused on nourishing elder energy by identifying our roles and functions, and recalling the stories of our shared experiences. This is our oral tradition.
We had reflected on the following list of elder functions: model curious and compassionate listening and vulnerability, inquiring of the light in darkness, holding the ancestral perspective, protecting safety, connection and the long-term view of group wellness. Elders also imagine unknowables, hold space for spirit, offer blessings and mentors others. See What Elders Do.
Consider creating a dialogue among your brothers. When you convene your own dialogue on elder energy, you will discover your own version of the magic that happens when men share their experiences with elder energy.
Such conversations can happen in your IGroup, and men of any age can hold elder energy for their group. Compassionate listening, vulnerability, seeking the light in darkness are fundamental MKP values and of interest to all men.
We may soon see courses and written curricula on how to be an elder. Written resources and online courses risk replacing embodied experience with cerebral comprehension, a left-brain challenge that may not well serve men wanting to re-claim their feelings. In my opinion, elder trainings feed men’s reluctance to embrace elder energy by offering expertise that sets elders apart from the experts. Online activity gives us access to the wisdom of a much larger elder community. The in-person oral tradition can give a fuller mind-body-soul connection.
Elder roles remain unclear unless they are visible and accessible to the community or IGroup. The cornerstone of elder visibility is the Elder Declaration, where among peers, man identifies the personal attributes or attitudes he is leaving behind, and those he will take forward; a powerful transformation even for witnesses.
IGroup elder presence is enhanced by meeting separately to reflect on matters of group wellness, which can occur with only one elder and a young elder or one interested in elder energy. This further empowers unspoken elder presence in support of group health and potential.
Jerry Green, Playful Otter; Lead Elder Emeritus
One of the biggest values of MKP for me has been helping me to develop my sovereign so that I can more effectively, more fluidly leverage the power of the different energies of the archetypes. When I came to my first warrior weekend, I was what I would consider a mess. I was CEO of a venture-funded software company, it seemed like every relationship in my life was falling apart and I was unable to get or even ask for what I really needed. I didn’t even know what I needed. What I knew was I never felt enough. In action I was either too strong or too weak and it was becoming glaringly obvious. It felt as if I was wired with a flip switch inside: I was either fully in my head where my warrior was using the knife-sharp intellect to protect and battle, keeping me emotionally distance and feeding my ego with ever more success, or I was in so far down in my wounded lover, where I’d so negated my child-self that when down there I was disoriented.
Over time and within the container of the MKP community I came to understand that my King was under-developed, was simply not at the helm and thus my entire presence was ineffectual. Seeing what it looked like when men operated from their sovereign was amazing, beautiful, and daunting. What I did know is that I wanted to grow like that. I am still on that journey, but I now know the power of having my King on duty. I know that rich and centered feeling when my king is pulling on the magician, the warrior, and the lover to work in coordination to keep my kingdom safe, aid me in reaching dreams, and keep me living a Mission bigger than me. My mission is: I create a world safe for connection and personal growth by speaking my truth and connecting deeply. In my new role, I am here to serve each of you by helping the Leader body through our next stage of growth.
As for much of the world, this is a challenging time for the Nor Cal Leader body. As I step into this role the Leaderbody has been in a pause mode, on sabbatical now for more than six months, and has been unable to support men on NWTAs, as is our mission, for more than a year now. And even now, as things are changing, beginning to “open up” in various areas, there are still no NWTAs formally scheduled for this year…not yet. So the question I’ve been sitting with is, “What can we be doing now? or “What should we be doing?”
I am feeling that this time calls for thinking differently, for looking for opportunities, not just disaster. So, one of my first activities in this role is to work with the men of this body to see if we can jointly uncover a set of goals that we can rally around that are in line with our larger purpose and inspire us to continue supporting growth and connection of our new men, our community and ourselves. Is this a time to reinvent, or to hold steady?
I know the passion of men that commit to the Leader body is to support other men. There is depth and love abound. I have started this exploration along with some men of the Leader body and I’ll share what emerges in future postings. Until that time, my heart is with each of you as we all navigate our way to a new way of being in this world.
Rod Bacon, Loving Buffalo; Nor Cal Leader Body Chair
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” Carl Jung
Hello Nor Cal, I am Bob Johnson, your Nor Cal IGroup Coordinator. The above quote comes from one of a series of cards I was exposed to during a Leadership Training LT2 opportunity in the Oakland Hills. Craig Lane from Santa Cruz shared how he uses the cards in his spiritual practice and I now use them during I Groups. Thank you, Craig. Tolerance is the card theme where the Jung quote is cited. I find it amazing when I randomly pick a card from a stack of 100 how meaningful it is for me at that moment.
The Practice of Tolerance
I appreciate differences.
I free myself from prejudice.
I refrain from judging myself or others.
I forgive mistakes.
I accept what I cannot change.
I balance acceptance with justice.
The Virtues Project
I invite all to send into Heartbeat a quote, saying or words of inspiration. We are all in this together. Your words inspire me and others.
Did you know we have 68 IGroups listed on the MKP Connect website? I have an ask. Please review your IGroup roster and correct the list. If you cannot make the changes send to me and I will complete the task. It is important we keep our rosters accurate to receive communication from MKP Nor Cal and MKPUSA. It also is essential for insurance coverage for your IGroup.
It has been a long year as this pandemic moves across the globe and the impact on all of us varies. I miss giving and receiving those bear hugs from my brothers when we met in person. I hope you all are safe and well and are able to receive the vaccination as it comes to your community.
Take care & blessings to all,
Bob Johnson, Nor Cal Area IGroup Coordinator, Sacramento/Davis IGroup Coordinator; firstname.lastname@example.org
Be a Member
We are more than a weekend, an IGroup, an Area, or a Society. We empower men to lives of mission for the sake of humanity and a better world. In 2020, we expanded our offerings through a new curriculum for men at any stage in their journey. We’ve rolled out new men’s groups and new ways to connect in the community. In 2021, we will resume NWTAs for waiting and next men, as well as expand other trainings and community events. Many men and families will benefit. Your support makes the difference!
When joining with your automatic payment (any amount welcome), be sure to select Northern California for sharing. You get direct benefits of membership, and the 50/50 split is the perfect way for us to advance our work together.
Is now your time? Are you ready to take the next step in your life? Do you know a man who is ready?
Enroll in an NWTA!
A man may need our help to attend an NWTA; you can be that man for him.
Donate to the NCal Next Man Fund.
Northern California ManKind Project © 2021