Greetings Sacred Path Community,
At the culmination of our 30th Anniversary Fall Sacred Path Retreat in October of 2017, I expressed in my closing community gathering that I was planning to take a hiatus.
However, I was on such a high from that retreat that I couldn’t resist riding it into the next year. I continued to provide monthly Director’s Messages for our newsletters and planned for our 31st annual retreat a year later, which turned out to be a wonderful event. I’m not sure what my vision of a hiatus looked like, but it certainly didn’t approach what most do when they are supposed to take it easy for a year.
Ray Bunch, one of my key Sacred Path co-facilitators in past years, looked me squarely in the eyes and said, “Just let it go…release it,” while making a cutting gesture with his hands. I heard him, but I must admit that I continued to hold on.
As we started to look forward to a 32nd Annual Fall retreat, we got word from the administrators of Wilshire Blvd Temple Camps that we had lost our October date after over 20 years on “the mountain.” It was a matter of bringing in higher revenues for WBTC with groups of 150 participants or more. We were averaging 50-60. I was not deterred and renegotiated a date in December that was at the close of Chanukah week. I held on.
Then our Gindling Hilltop Camp burned in the Woolsey fires just two weeks prior to our scheduled retreat. We grieved the loss. And then I began to look for an alternative venue and date for the spring, only to learn that nothing was available. And, I still held on.
We found another camp, Bob Waldorf, that had a date open in early October. I visited the camp, finding it suitable for our needs and negotiated the contract. Then I was told that we would have to share the camp with another group. I would have little say on who might comprise that group.
I discussed this news with Associate Directors, Michael Lewis and Rob Bruce. I also started to realize, after speaking with other Wisdom Council brothers, that many were going through a lot of personal challenges.
In 1997, when Robert Bly was our guest presenter and at age 72 he spoke to me about what it felt like to be in his 70’s and that he wanted not to do as much. I’m now the same age that he was and I feel that it’s about time to experience more “being-ness” than “doing-ness”. Frankly, I don’t have as much pizazz as I did in my 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and even through my 60’s.
For years I just pushed on. But, now it seems more apparent that it is time to not only let go, but also relinquish the tendency to push. Michael, Rob and I made the decision to not go forward with the retreat at Camp Bob Waldorf.
In the past year I have had two surgeries and my wife has had two needed surgeries within 6 months. One of the two was two weeks ago and then she was rushed into the hospital last week for an emergency surgery that was unexpected and quite serious. Her recovery will be very demanding over at least the next 6 months, or so.
Therefore, I am suspending any extraneous activities to focus on my wife’s health, my family and supporting those within my private practice.
Rob and Michael will forward news about any upcoming events; however, we won’t be sending out the style of monthly newsletter that has gone out for decades. Rob and Christo are currently aligned with a retreat site in Costa Rica and are very enthusiastic about the possibilities for men’s work in the jungle. You can read that information in this newsletter.
Bravo to any of you who have chosen to read this message. I’m grateful to the men over the years who have shepherded the editorship of our newsletters. Rich Manners, Bill Arena and Michael Lewis have been at the helm of that vehicle. I’m very grateful to all of my Wisdom Council brothers who have been at my side for the past 32 years. With gratitude for your selfless service to our community. And, to all of the men who have attended our events over the years, it’s been a great ride!
In the Spirit of Brotherhood,
In the spirit of brotherhood.
Stephen J. Johnson Ph.D., LMFT