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
- Space of Yesterday
- Descensus ad Inferos
- Gaia’s Voice
- Ocean of Light
- Growing Into
- Mantra Song 1
- Mantra Song 2
- The Great American Experiment
- Be a Member
Submit your article & story ideas!
This issue is dedicated to men in the Nor Cal MKP community and the art they create. Enjoy!
I wrote this song at the beginning of the pandemic. I had just come from ten days in Death Valley participating in a fasting ceremony with a small circle of men. The prayers I sang in the desert and the teachings I received from the land followed me back to the chaos of the unknown and the collective fear of the pandemic. This song came through me and is very much at the center of my journey of soul and spirit. Learning how to let it all unravel step by step and leaning into the fall.
Watch/listen to Unravel.
Joshua Lowe, Laughing Mutt Twin Heart
space of yesterday
it was that space of yesterday and the day before that i wanted to record even if it disappeared last night of not having anybody to hug and tom and i did not hug literally but our bodies are both very physical and they hug through the air that they stir if you we he and i are perceptive-receptive which we are and so was dad and when we laugh it is very very old and deep beyond bone or earth or sperm or blood so if you know someone like that you can be periodically saved. let me go back if i can (i keep retreating) to that time before salvation. i knew no one i could call on who would satisfy me. some might but to try them was too unsure and thus shaky even in idea enough to be too complicated-in-its-potential-for-complication for the occasion. there was no one. i scanned, as we campbells are made to do, and found none. in other places yes. but even they seem complicated to me now. those who i used to lean on have ragged edges untouched by spoken or unspoken agreement and those edges appear now in a way i want to write all of them a form letter stating i no longer agree. i want no edges. the edge of my life has gone. my agreement with it. i have become unreasonable with the prospect of reasonableness. out of loss comes greater loss. out of simpleness in the face of complexness i have become complex in the face of nothingness, which is pretty basic simplicity i guess yes?
i remember picturing myself bracing for the presence of my mother. eternally for the eternal presence which is now gone. picturing myself falling flat on my face from the force of my brace and nothing there.
so here i was yesterday and the day before. flat on my face. alone (in my imagined reality). trying to walk through. and actually walking through (even literally because the car wouldn’t start which was nothing in the context). successfully somehow, though my face was rubbing. to meet my brother.
Marty Campbell, Bristlecone
Descensus ad Inferos
The title refers to the descent component of the New Warrior’s initiation, although I’ve lifted it from the Christian scriptural and liturgical account of Christ’s descent into hell/death after the crucifixion and before the resurrection. Everywhere I look, I see evidence of the monomyth.
My music is almost always instrumental. I create it that way consciously because I have a shadowy drive to talk excessively. My hope is that people hear in my music something they’ve never heard before: a phrase, an interval, a tone, an effect, an emotion. There’s a lot of mischief and a lot of purposeful dissonance. It’s not always meant to sound nice, or pleasant, but to jar, or to unnerve. Perhaps warrior brothers will hear something that reminds them of their initiation, or their work in general.
Maybe a brother musician, poet, or lyricist will hear an inspiration, reach out, and I’ll find someone to collaborate with.
Listen to Descensus ad Inferos.
Danny Muth, Purposeful Puma
This tune is a Noah Project inspiration. For me, it has a
groovin’ lope-along feel to it. It expresses my connection
to Spirit via Nature.
One evening, Doug introduced a new song in the singing circle
that became the seed for a song I later titled, Gaia’s Voice.
I am a small green plant, I am a lake on the plain, I am alive, I am alive
I am a flying bird, I am a diving fish, I am alive, I am alive
I was so inspired by this short piece that I was compelled to flesh it out.
So, I wound up making it the chorus for a larger song that included verses
and a bridge. I’ve had this experience before. When I hear a great short
song, it just begs to be expanded on. I like to give it more elbow room in
this big musical universe. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to Doug and the
men of the Noah Project. “I have had singing!”
Gaia’s Voice; written by Marshal McKitrick & Doug von Koss
Marshal Jon McKitrick, Sacred Fierce Phoenix
I was born and raised on the central coast of California in the relatively small town of San Luis Obispo. I have experimented with living in other locations but the beauty, weather, people, art, music, food and wine culture keeps me here on the coast where Big Sur is my backyard. I was first inspired by art and architecture at a very young age (1968-ish) and I have been playing with mostly wood and other materials ever since. My shop is HeartWoodArt where I like to design (StandingStoneDesigns) and create functional art with reclaimed materials. I love to do custom stuff that fits the environment of my client.
Craig Stone, FearlessHummingbird
I am a Tribal
My heart soars in sync when all our hearts move together
I was not told this truth by anyone
I learned it by listening, and watching these brilliant men
The brilliance of these men made room for me, Built a place where:
I felt safe
I could be angry
I was emboldened
My heart was lifted
And in this place of wonder, with all our sacred attention, I have:
Found my love
Discovered my spine
Built new boundaries
Torn old walls down
And with this sacrament in our lives, we have each grown into who we are, As Men :
With open hearts
Free to express ourselves
Successful beyond cash
With Solid Brothers
And as this brilliant tribe of men, We:
Change our world
Create peace around us
Live in Joy
Christopher Kitts, Shining Bear with Spotted Skunk dancing a jig
Mantra Song 1
The concept is simple: To make “I AM” statements about feelings that I know are within me but felt like they were greatly lacking. At the time I was NOT feeling particularly kind, grateful, fun, smart or sexy. I was bored, doing boring jobs, feeling road rage, feeling undesirable, far from living up to my potential.
I just created this a couple of months ago and it has been profound for me. I’ve gone from work that I only did for the money to TWO jobs that I absolutely love. I am the person I want to be. Happy, being of service and creating.
I have created Mantra Songs for some of my MKP brothers using the same music but helping them form their own mantras to be spoken or sung in their own voices. I played all instruments on this but drums which are pre-recorded parts that I edited. I can’t speak on what it has done for them but it has been pure joy for me!
Michael Souza, Fire Dancing Elephant
Mantra Song 2
When I heard my Brother Michael Souza had built his own mantra song and the joys and personal progress it brought him I thought that was pretty cool. I’ve been searching for a practice to fill out the full spectrum health regimen I’ve been constructing to recover from a metastatic prostate cancer diagnosis two years ago. So, when Michael offered to build mantras for his brothers I jumped at the chance. I put together a list of words that reinforce feelings about myself I know I want to have to resonate throughout my body on a regular basis. Just one session in front of the mic with Michael, and I’ve got this fantastic, danceable, catchy, ear-worm mantra IN MY OWN VOICE! I hear ME saying words I came up with, not someone else’s mantra, MINE. Every time I listen I can feel the JOY, Health, Vibrance, that I want flooding my body. I’m waiting on the results as I’m getting my next PSA blood test in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I’m feeling stronger, more focused, and so much more positive about life possibilities. Thank you, Brother Souza!
I’m sharing my personal mantra, as presented in short form because I think it shows the simple beauty of what Michael designed.
Christopher Kitts, Shining Bear with Spotted Skunk dancing a jig
Ocean of Light
This particular piece “Oceans of Light” is the final track on a rock opera that I co-composed, produced and engineered called “Illumine”. It is a story of the human condition from the dawn of civilization and finishing with this track a millennia into the future of what might be possible. The basic story is mankind was given a gift in the form of music once every 1000 years and those with “ears to hear” would be able to hear it and bring it out into the world. There are many guest artists on this project including in addition to the ones mentioned below. Those would be:
- Jon Anderson (YES)
- Mike Pinder (Moody Blues); he does all the narration as he did with Nights in White Satin
- Kalan Nishimoto (Taiko & Shakuhachi master)
- Deby Benton-Grosjian (world renowned Celtic Violinist)
- Jimmy Nakagawa (Taiko master, playing the big 8-ft Taiko)
For more info & read the full libretto, go to http://www.nonationmusic.com.
I have been playing drums since the age of 12 and have appeared on many albums over the years by Suzanne Ciani/Neal Schon and others. I am also an audio engineer and producer and this album was recorded in my studio except for the Taikos which were remote recorded at the Taiko Dojo. I play all types of hand drums and Taiko as can be head on this album. Currently, I am recording and producing a Christmas project, and yes, it will be grandiose as well.
The Great American Experiment
I went through my NWTA in November of 2018, although, I’ve been consistently sitting in an open circle since February of 2016. In January of 2021, I started getting on the NorCal Race & Racism Zoom calls. These calls activated me, and I began to find more ways to educate myself and to take action in the small ways I am able to do; you can read the full story of my experience in the August 2021 Heartbeat: “My Experience Bringing the Topic of Racism to My Local MKP Community.”
One of the ways I was able to educate myself was by taking the MKP trainings, “Waking Up to Whiteness” and “Unpacking Power, Privilege, and Difference” (UPPD). It was the UPPD training in particular that inspired the drawing. These thoughts and feelings had been inside of me for a long time, although it wasn’t until the UPPD training that they became so clear and distilled in me. One of the optional homework ‘invites’ is to express yourself via artwork following each session. The artwork flowed out of me immediately. I began submitting artwork weekly. The Frankenstein piece was created following week five’s Racism session.
Be a Member
Be a part of the action by being an MKP member with Nor Cal
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