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 —
A smaller issue this time around, but no less wonderful. Enjoy!
The melody came first. Then the words. The latter speaks to the sense of innocence that we often seek as an adult, but associate with a child. The innocence to just live life without the inevitable adult struggle. And yet the need to wake up the sleepy child and let him know we’re there for him while also tackling life’s challenges head-on without losing the child.
I am a warrior brother currently residing part-time in Nevada City, having spent 25 years in Boulder, CO. I’ve enjoyed sitting in several local Nevada City IGroups and loving the dense forests of northern California. Besides songwriting and nature, my other passion is my work as a men’s relationship coach; you can learn more at Stuart Motola.
The (Real) Dating Game
My name is Tom Lorish. I am a 60-year-old white man. I am part of the San Luis Obispo (SLO) community and regularly sit in the coastal circle. This art was inspired by the ‘gender’ week of the Unpacking Power, Privilege, and Difference (UPPD) MKP training. I was surprised by my ignorance (lack of knowledge) around female AND male sexual abuse. The invitation here is to take in the art. Notice any sensations, feelings coming up. Stay with those feelings and sensations even if it is uncomfortable. Let your body, your somatic wisdom inform your mind what you might be experiencing, what the message is you need to hear. And if it is nothing, that is worth noting as well. Doing this artwork as part of the UPPD training was a way for me to really integrate what I was learning into my experiences in life. I’m grateful for the UPPD training.
One Man at a Time
I initiated at Camp Royaneh Cazadero, CA in 2018. My initiation into the Mankind Project brotherhood changed my life forever. Before I committed to the New Warrior Training Adventure, I joined an IGroup in my area called “Brothers of Other Mothers.” Recently some of us split off and created a new group called “Journeymen.” Back in the BOOM IGroup, I learned something new about myself every week and it set the groundwork for building a better me. But if I want to be honest with myself the work really started in the hospital recovering from a brain injury brought on by out-of-control blood pressure, which now I am wondering if this condition was the catalyst to get me out of my head. My real suffering came from a condition of the mind called “A life not truly lived.” At the time, while working through the physical condition of my injury, it was difficult to see trees from the forest of my life. After being released from ICU, I wandered the streets of my new hometown in Sebastopol searching for a way out of that forest. In a chance encounter, I found this brotherhood in my favorite bagel shop. A flyer on a community board wall reached out reminding me that something about my life didn’t feel quite right. Before the injury, I blamed the world for my circumstances that lead up to my broken life. I had nobody to blame by myself. But that was then, and this is now.
In my two years with MKP, I have come to realize that changing the world, “one man at a time” is the only true way of improving the conditions around me. Changing the world “one man at a time” is not much different than the impact Nikola Tesla or Jesus of Nazareth had on the minds and hearts of their followers. Individuals do change the world, not by tearing down the old to make room for the new, but by influencing future generations to be better individuals in mind and heart. But this “changing the world” work takes a lot of time, I know. A lifetime and many lifetimes will pass before I am able to see the new world we all are building together.
I wish to point out though, that on this journey, that spans lifetimes. I lend a hand in tearing down the world, or building it up, solely by the choices I make. Life is affected by my kindness or my carelessness. The impact of my actions are real, they exist outside of myself, and I have to contend with them daily. Suffering in the world is not caused by those others, those evil people out there, but by how I chose to show up in the world, for good or ill. That choice starts with the value I place on myself and how I see myself is how I see others. If the world is going to change for the better, blaming others needs to stop. Every time I avoid my own work or refuse to show up in a healthy and supportive way, or hide behind some unconscious belief that I need to passively/aggressively project onto others, I sow the seeds of the world’s destruction.
Real change for humanity is coming. In fact, it’s already here. Actually, it’s been here all this time, but I couldn’t see it until I changed the man within. No matter where we are, or how far each individual is in this work, the sun’s rays of change shine on us all. As the heat of the sun gives us warmth and encourages life to grow, radiating kindness and peace towards others creates the world I want to live in.
My mission is to create a world of conscience through free will and a good-natured spirit for the wellbeing of the planet.
Scott Larson, Purple Flower Turtle
Recognizing Our Own
Late last year, Nor Cal had shirts made to honor men who have been creating community, inside & outside MKP. Men offered up a deserving man to be recognized for their efforts. To honor these men, we post the comments that prompted a shirt gift:
Chris Conyers by Marshall McKitrick
Chris (Cape Mountain Zebra) has been doing give-away for a number of years in our NorCal community. His mission is to create sacred space for open hearts to flourish in the world. He is a long-standing member of LKS and has served as water pourer in the lodge for NWTA’s and Boys to Men. Chris is an active and passionate IGroup member and he was part the now legendary South Sac IGroup. He is also a master auto mechanic and has repaired a number of vehicles driven by MKP men over the years, including several of mine. Chris is a true Warrior-King-Lover-Magician and I am proud to call him my warrior brother. Aho!
Kurt Reinkens by Gary Reedy
Kurt has responded with a quick “yes, I am in” and added encouraging words to almost every email that I have sent out to the Sierra alligroups list. Then, he shows up to these volunteer opportunities with joy. This is extraordinary because of the 20 or more volunteer calls that I have put out, most receive only 2-3 replies and some none but Kurt’s. Kurt runs a mid-size business and has a wife battling cancer, yet he volunteers for MKP in a variety of ways (e.g. Elder Council, Stewardship Council, Warrior Brother Circle) and then says “Yes” to my periodic calls for service. His mission is in his animal name. He is the spirit of service to the community.
As a building inspector, I drive around a retired police SUV. A lot of the time people will think I’m the police because of this. One day while eating lunch in my car, a woman parked next to me asking for assistance. She had her 2 young kids with her. She was on the run from her abusive husband (kids confirmed this later) and she didn’t want to involve the police. As an ex-addict, I could easily tell she was on the nod (heroin). When I told her my story she completely broke down and asked me to take her somewhere. I immediately called a friend and brought her to a safe place. After talking to the right people, we got the kids to her grandparents and her checked into a facility. She’s still sober to this day and will call me every now and then. This happened around 2019.
Kevin Hauber by Craig Stone
Kevin offers his services and gold, as gifts, including (not limited too) Watsu, yoga, core training, leading MKP trainings and circles, I believe Kevin is also very active in his church and I have witnessed his compassion for others and big support to others.
All men are my brothers and I often mentor and speak to men about the ups and downs of this journey of living when the opportunity arises. I have found even one loving and supportive conversation with someone where they feel seen and heard can make a huge difference and even be life-changing for that man. Next man! And Rick was a personal friend and special brother. I miss him and am heart warmed to see this initiative that was inspired by him. Manhawk! Manhawk! Manhawk! Aho!
My daily ritual of welcoming in the 7 directions and setting my intention for the day to do the best I can with the available resources. I volunteer for NWTA trainings, Hearth Keepers, Lodge Keepers, local trash clean-up days, SLO Gleen, SLO food bank, and other various programs that pop up. Most of my income streams are acts of service. I offer help when asked and when I see an opportunity.
Andrew L. by Howard Rothstein
Andrew’s girlfriend contacted me looking for a men’s group to have him connect with. They just had a child and seemed to be growing apart thinking he need to connect with other men he may be able to talk with. After making contact with Andrew I suggested he may want to participate in an NWTA weekend and he signed up. I went to his Homecoming to support him going through the weekend and this made him happy. Although my efforts have not been so good in getting him to connect with an IGroup on a regular basis, Andrew and I have stayed in touch and enjoy long conversations about past & current events in each other’s lives. It is my hope Andrew will re-engage with Nor Cal MKP at some time in the near future. It was one of many blessings I have received in being involved in the Nor Cal MKP Community.
Reuel Czach by Craig Stone
I see Reuel leading circles, MKP counsels, MKP training events, active in his church community, very active in MKP community, volunteers with coaching school sports and other events throughout the year.
I have been the NorCal IGroup Coordinator for 4 years and on the Nor Cal Council, also the Sonoma County IGroup rep. I am a founding member of my IGroup and a founding member of JAM Circles bringing our work to schoolboys here in Sonoma County.
Bill Elbring by Stan Anderson
He is the rock of the Sonoma County IGroups and has been so since I first met him 5 years ago.
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. 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?
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