"Ride the Wave, Go WITH the Flow" __ Dr. J's January Director's Message

“Heading into the New Year with Hope, Faith and Determination

. . . to Ride the Wave and Go WITH the Flow”



January 1, 2019

New Year’s Greetings MCLA/Sacred Path Community,

Personally speaking and from what I’ve heard expressed from many, 2018 was a very challenging year!  It put us on notice to prepare for more changes ahead.  We seem to be in the midst of a new normal.  

The norm historically tends to have us looking forward to the next year and expressing that we hope that it’s better than the one that has just concluded. It’s typical to hope that each new year is smoother and easier than the last. It’s probable, however, that we, en masse, are being prepared and conditioned to deal more intelligently with increasing challenges on many fronts including the environmental, physical and mental health, financial, as well as the multitude of societal issues that we’re facing.

With that in mind, we are called on to level up for the future. Getting in shape and making necessary adjustments seems to be the message for heading into a New Year with hope, faith and determination to ride the wave and go with the flow.  

In our reconnaissance to find a venue to reappoint our retreat to the spring we realized that not only are we dealing with the fact that most venues are booked a year in advance; additionally, if there were any openings, they quickly booked with other organizations who lost their dates with the camps that burned. We also have certain needs that not every camp can accommodate.

We were able to find an open date with another camp for October.  We will be going to the camp within the next week or two to view it and will provide more information in the February newsletter. We’re also in consideration of arranging one or more one-day events in the coming months prior to our rescheduled longer retreat.

In the spirit of the Sacred Path, we at the helm of MCLA on the Wisdom Council wish you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year filled with peace, love and good cheer!

With love and light,

Stephen

Stephen J. Johnson Ph.D., LMFT
Executive Director






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 Dr. Stephen Johnson is founder and executive director of MCLA and leader/wayshower of the Sacred Path men's retreats for the past 33 years. He is a gifted therapist and master facilitator for the experiential journey that unfolds during his counseling sessions and workshops. Dr. J is a skilled and seasoned psychotherapist who has the sensibilities of a wisdom teacher. He provides a safe space for freedom of expression in accessing one’s pain while fostering transformation, personal expansion and spiritual growth. www.DrStephenJohnson.com 

“BRING GOOD MEN TOGETHER
AND BRING OUT THE BEST IN THEM”
Click video link at left to discover the meaning of these words and Dr. J’s incredibly rich 33-year tradition of bringing good men together on the mountain.

Dr. Johnson is author of "THE SACRED PATH: THE WAY OF THE SPIRITUAL WARRIOR," an amazing how-to book for men who want to become better men. The groundbreaking book’s forward written by
Dr. J’s friend, fellow USC football fan and longtime MCLA member Levar Burton.

"SACRED BALANCE" __ Men's Movement Assaulted, Soul Quest on Mount Shasta

“SACRED BALANCE”

Men’s Movement Assaulted, Soul Quest on Mount Shasta

by Bill Arena
MCLA Wisdom Council

The year 2018 has been extremely difficult for the men’s movement in general and has posed many questions and challenges for me personally. I’ve always appreciated and felt so empowered when doing this important work with our Men’s Center Los Angeles. Our very own Dr. Stephen Johnson’s Sacred Path mission to “Bring Good Men Together and Bring Out the Best in Them” strongly resonates within my heart and soul. 

THE TIMES THEY ARE A CHANGING__ It seems like the climate of our country and our world took a dramatic turn for the worst when our current president took office. Racism, sexism, separatism, bullying, building a wall, focusing on differences instead of similarities, demeaning women, cutting funding for arts, education, healthcare, mental health, veterans, women’s rights, minimum wage, putting immigrant children in cages . . . It appears Dr. J’s 33-year mission of raising the consciousness of men appears to be more critically needed right now than ever before. 

MINDFUL MEN__ As I prayed about this situation and asked what an individual mindful man can do, I agonized about a remedy to this situation and how I can personally help level the playing field for women and minorities and immigrants and the lower-income sector of our work force. I know intuitively that men and women are equal, OF COURSE, but our current political landscape clearly favors men, mostly white men, and mostly rich white men. Things are totally out of balance right now. I know this. It’s obvious. 

MEN’S WORK__ In September I began a powerful personal quest and training program with Purpose Guides International  to learn my true purpose for being here, the soul-based reason that I was sent to this planet. I’ve known intuitively for many years that my purpose involves men’s work and our current political situation in this country right now seems like a painful punch in the guts that tells me, oh yeah, there’s serious work to be done RIGHT HERE and RIGHT NOW.

PURPOSE DISCOVERY__ As part of our purpose discovery program I was teamed up with 40 mindful women and men located around the world and we began a personal quest to discover our individual divine purpose together.  We met as a group each week through Zoom, an excellent interactive web-based program that connected each of us by computer and we conducted this important soulful work together. Two big highlights of the program for me personally have been the Circle of Trust and Soul Quest. 

ASK FOR HELP__ The Circle of Trust is a group of 4-5 people that you know personally, people who know you on a soul level and agree to support you on this intimate mission of soul discovery and hold the space for you. When tasked with putting this group together for myself, I immediately discovered a huge character flaw I possess: I DO NOT like to ask for help. I’ve always prided myself on being the guy that people ask for help when they need something and have always taken great personal pride and pleasure when helping others. But for me to ask for HELP FOR MYSELF, OMG, that was extremely difficult for me.  

Well, I went ahead and followed instructions and asked six people to help me. Four of them agreed and it has been absolutely wonderful. I feel so deeply connected to these wonderful friends and have now been personally empowered to take action on the amazing and intimate soul discoveries I have shared with this intimate group. 

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SOUL QUEST__ One of our program resources is Bill Plotkin’s excellent book “Soul Quest: Crossing Into The Mysteries of Nature & Psyche” that explains a Soul Encounter by Vision Quest, a wilderness-based fasting rite. “Since earliest times, people has received profound insights about themselves and their world by means of a vision quest, whose basic, universal elements include: 

* A remote wilderness setting
* Fasting from food and, sometimes, water
* Solitude (no other human companions)
* Direct exposure to the forms and forces of nature (i.e., only enough clothing and shelter necessary for physical survival and basic comfort, and no distractions from ceremonial intention, no items of entertainment, reading materials, etc)
* Attention-Focusing and consciousness-shifting ceremonies, prayers and practices
* A significant period of time – at least a full day, but usually three or four days”

LAKOTA VISION QUEST__ In the Lakota Sioux spiritual tradition of the indigenous people of North America, I experienced my first Vision Quest (Hanblecheyapi) over 15 years ago in the Black Hills of South Dakota in humble preparation to serve as a firetender just before my first Lakota Sundance prayer ceremony on the Rosebud reservation. 

I originally learned about the Hanblecheyapi ceremony when reading one of my very first books about native spirituality, “Mother Earth Spirituality: Native American Paths To Healing Ourselves And Our World”” by Ed “Eagle Man” McGaa. It was incredibly powerful and deeply insightful. Now I was being tasked to do this exact same type of ceremony once again . . . and I just knew intuitively it was definitely the right thing to do and now is the right time to do it. 

MOUNT SHASTA__ Our international group of 40 people scattered around the world planned our personal time to be out in the wilderness for the same weekend in early November. We were told to schedule a minimum of eight hours out in the wild. My intuition very quickly gave me a longer time, three days and two nights, and my destination was instantly obvious to me: Mount Shasta, a huge energetic vortex here in northern California. I have had many powerful spiritual ceremonies at the top of Mount Shasta. It felt like coming home. 

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KEEP IT SIMPLE__ I arrived on the mountain around noon on Friday, parked my vehicle, and began my solo, aggressive ascent hiking up to a sacred point that called to me at about 7,500’ elevation. I brought along my Sacred C’anunpa, sage, tobacco, ceremonial items, firewood and water but deliberately decided against bringing my sleeping bag, tent or propane tent heater. Keep it simple I was told. I did bring a plastic tarp and a beautiful Pendleton blanket I had been gifted many years ago by a Lakota elder in South Dakota. You have everything you need I was told. 

The first night was cold and uncomfortable but tolerable. I prayed. I fasted. I meditated. I focused on the intense natural beauty being way up there on the mountain by myself in the big middle of Mother Nature. It was good.

POWER ANIMAL__ My second day on the mountain I was somehow expecting (or, I guess, mentally hoping) to be visited by a sacred medicine animal with a powerful spiritual message for me . . . possibly a panther or jaguar or leopard or mountain lion, you know, big cats are part of my personal medicine. That would be so great. But no. Nothing. OK, I thought, maybe it’s supposed to be an eagle or a condor that will fly in a circle four times over my head and then land in the trees nearby and psychically deliver my purpose to me from a perch high up in the branches. Again. Nada. Nothing. Zippo.

FREEZING COLD__ My second night on the mountain was a much different story. It was extremely cold. I couldn’t sleep. I was tired, hungry, questioning what the heck I was doing way up there on the mountain by myself freezing my butt off. I was miserable. I was freezing. It was terrible. Finally, during the middle of the night, I decided to check the temperature on my phone that happened to be packed away, turned off, hidden deep in the bowels of my backpack. 

I finally fished out my phone, turned it on, the time flashed on the screen . . . 2:22 AM and 22 degrees. Then, boom, my phone instantly shut itself off. OMG! My intellectual brain jumps right into my face. Big time! What the heck are you doing up here? It’s so cold your phone just SHUT ITSELF OFF. What the f*ck do you think you’re doing freezing your cojones off by yourself way up here on top of this mountain? Have you lost your mind? 

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OUT OF OPTIONS__ It’s now the middle of the night. I’ve hit rock bottom. I’m freezing. My fingers are numb. I know I can’t just walk out of here in the darkness and climb down this very steep, rugged, almost vertical slope and trek all the way down the mountain and return to my car and get in and crank up the heater full-blast. NO! This is definitely NOT an option.  Be in the moment dude. This is it.  

SACRED FIRE__ It was at this decidedly low point that I was instructed intuitively to build a fire. Yes, I did drag firewood and tools up the mountain with me two days earlier. And so I respectfully and humbly put down a tobacco offering on the ground and slowly and methodically and prayerfully cleared a spot.  

TRIDENT__ For many years I’ve carried a trident with me and have always included this sacred instrument as part of my spiritual ceremonies. For some reason I was told to place one of my tridents I had with me, a metal one that I had just repainted bright red a couple of weeks earlier, inside the center of the fire pit, then I assembled the firewood around it and respectfully started my fire.

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AXIS MUNDI__ As this glorious fire slowly roars to life, I glance up to the heavens. It was so spectacular. Surrounded by incredibly tall trees that reached skyward, the stars glistening beautifully in the tree tops, I felt as though I was standing in the middle of an Axis Mundi, an energetic vortex connecting Heaven and Earth. It was so beautiful. I sat down right next the fire, wrapped myself in my Pendleton and felt incredibly grateful and humbled and empowered (AND WARM). That’s when the sacred downloads started. 

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DIVINE FEMININE ENERGY__ The fire on the mountain was incredibly warm on multiple levels, not just physically (which was wonderful, of course) but actually energetically. I had this deep inner feeling of the Divine Feminine, of Mother Nature herself, wrapping her arms around me in a warm, sacred, protective, loving embrace. I could feel the innate power of the fire in a healing, loving, supportive, feminine, motherly, nurturing way. It was so beautiful. 

MEANING OF THE TRIDENT__ As I’m savoring the warmth and beauty of the fire and downloading divine guidance and inspiration, a trident of light suddenly appeared hovering right in front of me above the fire. I was then intuitively given the meaning of the trident . . . the middle stem is the connecting link between Heaven and Earth, connecting the Divine and the Physical. And each side stem represents the masculine and the feminine.

SACRED BALANCE__  My intellectual brain immediately jumps into action and demands an answer. OK, great, it’s male and female, fine, but which side is masculine? And which side is feminine? Before this question can even be processed and verbalized in my limited, rational, black-or-white, intellectual mind, the answer blasts down immediately and resoundingly . . . “BOTH.”  The left and right represent BOTH masculine AND feminine. EQUAL. OPPOSITE. Diametrically opposed AND EQUALLY BALANCED IN ALL WAYS.   

This was a huge awakening moment for me. I already knew intuitively that men’s work is part of my purpose for being here but now I’m beginning to realize that my personal, overriding, most important focus is to help BRING BALANCE into this world. I’m here to help return the sacred, energetic BALANCE between divine masculine and divine feminine, young and old, rich and poor, have and have-nots, spiritual and non-spiritual. 

UNCHANGED__ When the sun rose the next morning I felt so empowered and enlightened and wrote down my notes and insights in my journal. By noon with the sun directly overhead I packed up my things and gave thanks for these beautiful insights and cleaned up the area to leave. That’s when I noticed my original metal trident still sticking in the ground in the big middle of the charred wood and ashes. The fresh enamel paint had completely burned off but the trident itself remained virtually unchanged, the left side and the right side exactly the same . . . equal, opposite, unchanged, totally unaffected by fire or water or any other outside force. Sacred divine balance. 

ENERGY WORK__ After completing my Soul Quest on the mountain I slowly drove back down the mountain, then treated myself to a nice diner at the local Black Bear restaurant (the original restaurant of this successful chain), then to a hotel near Mount Shasta to continue to process the amazing insights I was so graciously given. I also had a pre-scheduled follow-up video conference meeting with my Circle of Trust and shared many of these insights with them. It was beautiful. 

AT THE EXACT SAME MOMENT    I was quietly and prayerfully savoring the loving, warming, nurturing, divine feminine energy of my sacred fire at the top of Mount Shasta, 700 miles south of me MCLA’s beloved     Gindling Hilltop Camp     was in the process of simultaneously burning to the ground as the Woolsey fire         roared out of control through the hills above Malibu destroying everything in sight .

AT THE EXACT SAME MOMENT I was quietly and prayerfully savoring the loving, warming, nurturing, divine feminine energy of my sacred fire at the top of Mount Shasta, 700 miles south of me MCLA’s beloved Gindling Hilltop Camp was in the process of simultaneously burning to the ground as the Woolsey fire roared out of control through the hills above Malibu destroying everything in sight.

MALE-FEMALE BALANCE__ Another insight that came during that second night on the mountain was for me to once again be humble and ask for guidance. My original Circle of Trust that continues to be so helpful and so wonderful to me on this personal journey is composed of four men. I was told intuitively to now form a SECOND Circle of Trust, this one ONLY WOMEN. I should move forward on my personal path of purpose discovery with TWO Circles of Trust, one MALE and one FEMALE, equal, opposite, divinely balanced. And so it is. And it’s so beautiful. My two Circles of Trust guiding me today are equally amazing and equally powerful. I feel so blessed to live and learn and move forward in a positive way in the big middle of this sacred male/female divine balance. 

FIRE ENERGY__ The following day after completing my Soul Quest on Mount Shasta I made the five-hour drive back to my home in the east bay San Francisco. I remained in a very sacred and contemplative state of mind throughout the day and maintained my three-month abstinence from television and radio and news and social media, totally focused on processing these spiritual downloads in a good and respectful way. 

DEADLIEST FIRES IN CALIFORNIA HISTORY __ It was approximately 48-hours AFTER my very sacred and very insightful second night at the top of Mount Shasta that I learned the reality of the ferocious, deadly, apocalyptic wildfires that had been rampaging uncontrollably across both ends of California. 

DIVINE TIMING __ I was shocked to discover that the exact same moment I was sitting quietly and respectfully at the top of Mount Shasta experiencing spiritual insights and guidance and savoring the beautiful divine feminine healing energy of the sacred fire, exactly 722 miles south of me MCLA’s beloved and sacred Gindling Hilltop Camp was being totally and completely burned to the ground as the Woolsey fire roared through the hills overlooking Malibu and the Pacific Ocean destroying everything in sight.

“Balance”

This journey for me is clearly about BALANCE. I have now experienced both sides of fire in a most visceral and meaningful way. When I shared this story with a new friend I met in Oakland just last week, a woman who appears to have some pretty good psychic abilities, she just smiled at me knowingly and softly asked, “Oh! Are you a Libra?” Hmm, why yes, I am. 

This journey has begun. My commitments moving forward: 
* Continue this sacred journey of PURPOSE discovery
* Increase heart-to-heart, face-to-face CONNECTIONS 
* Focus on “BALANCE” in ALL areas of my life
* Use my WRITING to inform, educate, motivate
* Ask for help from BOTH WOMEN AND MEN
* Be open and receptive to DIVINE INSPIRATION
* Continue to support Dr. J’s evolving SACRED PATH
* Maintain supreme GRATEFULNESS in ALL areas of my life

And so it is. Aho. Mitakuye oyasin (Lakota) / All my relations. We are ALL related.


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BILL ARENA lives in the east bay San Francisco. He's a Lightworker/Spiritual 🙏 activist, MCLA Wisdom Council ❤️ agitator, Men's Work facilitator 🕺 guide, Sundancer 🔥 Pipe Carrier Lakota Sioux spiritual tradition, Jin Shin Jyutsu hands-on 🙌 energy healer, Animal 🦅 Bird wrangler, Black Belt 🥊 martial arts instructor, Guided Group 🔔 Meditation leader, Olympic-style 🇱🇷 Discus thrower, Alcatraz Invitational 🔱 open ocean endurance swimmer, and head writer editor Arena Creative Group.  


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OTHER ARTICLES BY BILL ARENA __ LAKOTA SUNDANCE Prayer Ceremony
Sacred Path FLASH FLOOD BAPTISM on the Colorado River
Indigenous Prophecy of THE CONDOR & THE EAGLE
Mni Wiconi: Sacred Stand at STANDING ROCK
My Crazy ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ

Our Rise To Gindling Hilltop Camp (Part I)

MCLA Executive Director Dr. Stephen Johnson (above left) showing his son Derek how to prepare willow branches for the sacred Inipi Sweat Lodge prayer ceremony on the mountain. Derek turns 38 in March. At far left is actor Barry Bostwick who graciously gifted MCLA a large teepee that was trucked in from Montana.

“Our Rise To Gindling Hilltop Camp”


History of MCLA’s
Sacred Path
Men’s Retreats
On The Mountain

(Part I) 

by Stephen J. Johnson
Executive Director

Following our sacred C’anunpa honoring and healing ceremony on the mountain last weekend, Bill Arena asked me to provide some background on how the Men’s Center Los Angeles eventually made its way up the mountain to Gindling Hilltop Camp.  There are so many stories and details, I couldn’t possibly cover all of them with brevity. So, the following is a brief history of how we made our way to Hilltop Camp, one of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple Camps north of Malibu.

In 1987 I held the first Sacred Path Men’s one-day retreat in Topanga Canyon. A group of us convened at the residence of Jerry Weinerth, an aluminum covered geodesic dome home poised high above the Pacific Ocean, a magnificent structure sporting stunning views of the canyon and coastline far below.  The acoustics were remarkable which allowed for our drumming, facilitated by Paulo Mattioli, to resonate dramatically in the sound chamber. I contracted with Jerry to hold men’s gatherings approximately every other month.

Levar Burton (upper left) talking with MCLA men’s retreat property host Jerry Weinerth on the mountain

BARRY BOSTWICK

In the initial phase of our work we would have on average 35 men come together. In the second year I decided to hold an overnight event there that allowed us to put up a large teepee that had been gifted to us by actor Barry Bostwick. It was trucked in from Montana, its original home.  

We also built our first Inipi Sweat Lodge adjacent to the teepee. The teepee and frame of our Sweat Lodge later burned in a fire that swept through the canyon. All of our water pourers, C’anunpa Pipe Carrying Sun Dancers, conducted the Inipi prayer ceremonies in true Lakota fashion from that first ceremony forward. Dagara Shaman Malidoma Some’ joined us for the consecration of our first lodge.  He had recently arrived in the US from his home in Burkina Faso West Africa.

MALIDOMA SOME'

Malidoma, who had himself been initiated into manhood during a 6-week ceremonial ordeal when he was a teenager, facilitated the initiation ceremony for a handful of fathers and our 13-year-old sons.  This was conducted on Eric Wright’s land on Piuma Road, overlooking the ocean.  Eric, a long time men’s work devotee, and member of the Lost Dog Men’s Council formed out of the Mendocino Men’s Conference, is also the grandson of famed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.

STEVE BRANKER

In 1988, The Men’s Center of Los Angeles was founded as a 501c3 Not-For-Profit Organization. Mitch Roth provided the legal work to make it official. Initially, men such as Sam Sloneker, Steve Branker, Zoran Windrich, Jay Berger, Al Ross, Robert Herstek, Ken Bellini, B. J. Jakala and Dan Franklin, to name a few, stepped forward to assist me.  

As the size of our retreats headed upwards toward 45, I considered that it might be time to expand the event to 3 days and 2 nights and to look for a larger venue. I surveyed a map of retreat sites and there was one that stood out, a camp perched on a hill high above the ocean situated at Ventura County line.  The requirement was a minimum of 50 or more participants.  I had a powerful feeling about that site on the map, and 10 years later that feeling came to fruition in real time and form.

MARTIN PRECHTEL

MARTIN PRECHTEL

We initially contracted with Camp Shalom in Malibu Canyon for a couple of retreats. Their minimum and fee structure was affordable.  Over the first 10 years of retreats we also used Camp Griffo in Griffith Park once (the food was sub par) before locking in on Camp Cottontail off of Las Virgenes Road for a number of retreats. Paulo, my drummer, and dancer Ricardo Morrison were at my side to get the men grounded in their bodies and moving.

ROBERT BLY

In 1997, esteemed poet, author and elder, Robert Bly (author of the groundbreaking book about men, “Iron John”) said yes to my invitation to be our guest presenter for a retreat.  In turn, he invited Martin Prechtel (author of “Secrets of the Talking Jaguar”), a Guatemalan Shaman, to co-lead. I knew that our numbers would be higher than normal and looked for a camp that would accommodate our needs.  I found Camp Hess Kramer (a Wilshire Boulevard Temple Camp).  
We had 85 participants on board for what was a remarkable retreat that we commenced on Thursday through Sunday.  I wrote about it in my book that featured Dan Stanton’s extraordinary blessing into manhood from Robert Bly. At the conclusion of the retreat, Executive Chef John Bard approached me and said, “You might like our upper camp.” 

TIMOTHY WHISPERING EAGLE

TIMOTHY WHISPERING EAGLE

A few of us piled into his truck and drove the two-mile journey to the top of the hill to cast our eyes on the camp that I had initially seen on the map when I had that special feeling 10 years earlier.

For the next 22 years, our home became Camp Hilltop, aka “the mountain.”  Our adventure took off big time.  I’ll write about this in more detail in the next installment including when Ray Bunch and Timothy Whispering Eagle joined me to take the retreats to the next level.

“History of MCLA’s Sacred Path Men’s Retreats on the Mountain” Part I
(to be continued)


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 Dr. Stephen Johnson is founder and executive director of MCLA and leader/wayshower of the Sacred Path men's retreats for the past 32 years. He is a gifted therapist and master facilitator for the experiential journey that unfolds during his counseling sessions and workshops. Dr. J is a skilled and seasoned psychotherapist who has the sensibilities of a wisdom teacher. He provides a safe space for freedom of expression in accessing one’s pain while fostering transformation, personal expansion and spiritual growth. www.DrStephenJohnson.com 

“BRING GOOD MEN TOGETHER
AND BRING OUT THE BEST IN THEM”
Click video link at left to discover the meaning of these words and Dr. J’s incredibly rich 32-year tradition of bringing good men together on the mountain.

Dr. Johnson is author of "THE SACRED PATH: THE WAY OF THE SPIRITUAL WARRIOR," an amazing how-to book for men who want to become better men. The groundbreaking book’s forward written by
Dr. J’s friend, fellow USC football fan and longtime MCLA member Levar Burton.

Sacred Healing Ceremony on the Mountain

PROTECTION & REBIRTH    __ Sacred (Lakota)    Waluta    containing our seven directional prayer flags and the prayers of everyone in attendance, both physically and energetically, respectfully installed in the still-pristine soccer field grass turf of Hess Kramer, continues to stand guard today protecting the energy of the camps and welcoming the rebirth and rebuilding of all living beings in this sacred place.

PROTECTION & REBIRTH __ Sacred (Lakota) Waluta containing our seven directional prayer flags and the prayers of everyone in attendance, both physically and energetically, respectfully installed in the still-pristine soccer field grass turf of Hess Kramer, continues to stand guard today protecting the energy of the camps and welcoming the rebirth and rebuilding of all living beings in this sacred place.

RESPECT. REJUVENATION.
RISING FROM
THE ASHES.
REBIRTH.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8

by Bill Arena
MCLA Wisdom Council

November’s catastrophic and calamitous fires, the deadliest and most destructive in California history, destroyed our beloved Gindling Hilltop Camp. Click here for Dr. Johnson’s powerful and soulful reflection of this terrible tragedy that has affected ALL of us: ”Gindling: Phoenix Rising From the Ashes.” On Saturday, Dec. 8th, a core group of MCLA Brothers & Sisters and Fathers & Sons conducted a sacred and respectful healing ceremony honoring the Ancestors and the Rebirth and Rising from the ashes of our Men’s Center retreat home.

MCLA MOUNTAIN MEDICINE: Male & Female, Fathers & Sons __ (front row) Ross Avery, Leo & Ralph Cavallaro; (back row) Paul Stanton, Christo Pellani, Gordon Fierman, Dr. Stephen Johnson, Anthony DiMaggio, Ron Lynn, Hannah & Dan Stanton, Bill Arena

Our group met in Malibu at the Hess Kramer camp entrance next to     Neptune’s Net, 42505 Pacific Coast Highway,     for hugging, smudging, reconnection and respectful remembrance of MCLA’s 20-plus years of powerful men’s work conducted on this majestic mountain.

Our group met in Malibu at the Hess Kramer camp entrance next to Neptune’s Net, 42505 Pacific Coast Highway, for hugging, smudging, reconnection and respectful remembrance of MCLA’s 20-plus years of powerful men’s work conducted on this majestic mountain.

RESPECT & REJUVENATION

ANCESTORS OF THE LAND __ A Sacred Pipe/C’anunpa ceremony was conducted on the soccer field at the camp base level followed by installation of a protective Waluta including seven directional prayer flags and the prayers of everyone in attendance and everyone connecting with us energetically from a distance. It was a good ceremony. The ancestors were with us.

MALE & FEMALE / FATHER & SON __ Special thanks to everyone who participated with us on the mountain in person: Ross Avery, Ralph Cavallaro & his son Leo; Paul Stanton & his son Dan, Christo Pellani, Gordon Fierman, Dr. Stephen Johnson, Anthony DiMaggio, Bill Arena, Ron Lynn and the beautiful divine feminine energy so nicely delivered to our group by Dan’s wife Hannah. Wopila tanka to everyone who participated in person OR from a distance.


AXIS MUNDI HEALING VORTEX

For many members and friends of our MCLA community across California and across the United States unable to join us in person, a powerful Axis Mundi healing energy vortex opened up at 12 o’clock noon as we ALL held the energy, perfectly balanced, Male & Female, Father & Son, Birth & Rebirth, and visualized the Phoenix rising from these mountain ashes connecting ALL of us. Mitakuye oyasin / We are ALL connected.


FIRE DEVASTATION __ The devastation we witnessed at our lower camp Hess Kramer is indescribable and we were told the damage and carnage on the upper mountain at the center’s sister Gindling Hilltop Camp is even worse. Our prayers and thoughts and healing energies go out to everyone affected by these terrible fires.

WARRIORS ON THE MOUNTAIN __ Timothy Whispering Eagle & Dr. Stephen Johnson, MCLA Sacred Path Men’s Retreat, Gindling Hilltop Camp

CROW MEDICINE __ Dr. Johnson graciously shared some of our amazing MCLA background on the mountain and the strong energy of Timothy Whispering Eagle who today often appears outside his Woodland Hills office in the form of crows who land in the trees and hold the energy there.

On Saturday just after we concluded our C’anunpa / Sacred Pipe ceremony I was intuitively called to stay behind in the sacred space by myself to complete a respectful fire ceremony on the sacred grounds.

Just after Dan Stanton and Anthony DiMaggio left the grounds, I was out there by myself singing my Lakota Sundance songs, drumming, connecting with the amazing energy of this place, connecting with the ancestors, dancing clockwise around the sacred fire, my feet sinking into the mud up to my ankles. It was so beautiful and empowering . . . when suddenly four crows swooped in and landed in the tree right above the fire. They stayed there the entire time until the fire finally went out and I was packing up to leave. Definitely felt the energy and healing presence of the ancestors there with all of us in a good way on this day. So grateful to hold that space and be in the powerful healing energy.

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REBIRTH. REJUVENATION. RESPECT. RISING FROM THE ASHES:    We had originally hoped to stage this ceremony on the same Gindling Hilltop Camp upper hill soccer field where we celebrated Inipi Sweatlodge prayer ceremonies at our last MCLA men’s retreat on the mountain in October, 2017. Go with the flow we were told. And so our ceremony was held in a good way on the pristine grass soccer field at the lower level camp, Hess Kramer. All in divine order.    “Pheta kin ileya han cha waste’ ”    / “It is good to keep the fire burning” __    “Mitakuye oyasin”    / “We are all related”

REBIRTH. REJUVENATION. RESPECT. RISING FROM THE ASHES: We had originally hoped to stage this ceremony on the same Gindling Hilltop Camp upper hill soccer field where we celebrated Inipi Sweatlodge prayer ceremonies at our last MCLA men’s retreat on the mountain in October, 2017. Go with the flow we were told. And so our ceremony was held in a good way on the pristine grass soccer field at the lower level camp, Hess Kramer. All in divine order. “Pheta kin ileya han cha waste’ ” / “It is good to keep the fire burning” __ “Mitakuye oyasin” / “We are all related”

THE HEALING & PROTECTION HAS BEGUN

SS-Christo.jpg

We extend special thanks to our very own, long-time Wisdom Council member and international sound healing maestro Christo Pellani who has also undergone severe stress and energetic attacks over the past several months as he was forced to relocate his home and sacred healing center and recording studio and musical instrument sanctuary after 19 years in the same location. With the help of his many friends he was finally able to move the last items on Friday and then graciously made the big drive up to the mountain on Saturday in his van packed with ceremonial drums to join us for our sacred ceremony. The next night Christo was involved in a major accident in this same drum delivery van. Luckily the air bag activated and Christo was spared serious injury. We send up prayers of thanks for our brother Christo and rapid and complete healing in all areas of his life. This man is a warrior and a healer. Wopila tanka Christo for ALL you do for the people.

32 YEARS OF POWERFUL MEN’S WORK
For those of you reading this article and savoring the amazing energetic ceremony we held on the mountain, please set aside 21 minutes of your personal time to relax and slowly, slowly savor this amazing video tribute to our very own Dr. Stephen Johnson and the incredible work achieved over the past 32 years by Men’s Center Los Angeles. Yes, we ARE moving forward. This men’s work started by Dr. J over 32 years ago is more important RIGHT NOW than ever before. The Phoenix WILL rise from the ashes. Mitakuye oyasin / We are ALL connected.

🙏
o - ❤️ - o
o - o - 🔱 - o - o
o - o - o - 🌎 - o - o – o

===============================================================
BILL ARENA is MCLA Editor and Wisdom Council 🔥 Agitator.
Other articles include:
”My Crazy Escape from Alcatraz”
”Indigenous Prophecy of the Condor & Eagle”
”The Sacred Lakota Sundance Prayer Ceremony”
”Sacred Path Flash Flood Baptism on the Colorado River”





Gindling C'Anunpa Ceremony December 8th

MCLA’s beloved    Gindling Hilltop Camp    overlooking Malibu and the Pacific Ocean burned to the ground as the    Woolsey fire          roared through our sacred hills destroying everything in sight .

MCLA’s beloved Gindling Hilltop Camp overlooking Malibu and the Pacific Ocean burned to the ground as the Woolsey fire roared through our sacred hills destroying everything in sight.

Gindling
Sacred Ceremony
on the Mountain

COME JOIN US SATURDAY, DEC 8

by Bill Arena & Dan Stanton

Last month’s catastrophic and calamitous fires, the most destructive in California history, included the Woolsey fire that literally exploded through the hills above Malibu destroying MCLA’s long-time men’s retreat and sacred sanctuary spot on the mountain, our beloved Gindling Hilltop Camp. Click here for Dr. Johnson’s powerful and soulful reflection of this terrible tragedy that has affected ALL of us: ”Gindling: Phoenix Rising From the Ashes.”

RESPECT. REJUVENATION.
RISING FROM THE ASHES. REBIRTH.
A core group of us will go up to the Gindling Hilltop Camp this Saturday to perform a private C’anunpa/Sacred Pipe ceremony and place Prayer Flags in honor of our retreat home for the past 20+ years. We will meet in Malibu at 9:30 am at Neptune’s Net, 42505 Pacific Coast Highway, and hug, smudge, reconnect and savor our 20-plus years of powerful men’s work on this majestic mountain . . . and then carpool together up the hill. ANYONE who feels called to join us for this private ceremony is encouraged to attend. Please note: this special ceremony is for MEN AND WOMEN: EVERYONE is welcome. Beautiful, Sacred & Divine Balance in ALL ways. Please email Bill Arena (bill.arena@mac.com) with your name/mobile number to be added to list. Come join us on the mountain. Powerful, balanced, sacred healing energy for everyone.   

REBIRTH. REJUVENATION. RESPECT. RISING FROM THE ASHES: We hope to stage this ceremony on the same Gindling Hilltop Camp upper hill soccer field where we celebrated Inipi prayer ceremonies at our last MCLA men’s retreat on the mountain in October, 2017. If you cannot be with us IN PERSON, then please honor this sacred ceremony by joining us ENERGETICALLY at 12:00 noon - 12:15 pm Pacific time. “Pheta kin ileya han cha waste’ ” / “It is good to keep the fire burning” __ “Mitakuye oyasin” / “We are all related”


WHAT TO BRING

* Tobacco/Water/Sage
* Open Heart/Warrior Spirit
* Personal/Sacred Item for the Altar
* Instrument: Drum/Rattle/Bell/Whistle
* Joy & Appreciation/Gindling’s Rebirth
* Energetic Connection/All Living Things
* Heartfelt Passion/MCLA’s Powerful History

AXIS MUNDI ENERGY CONNECTION
12 O’CLOCK HIGH NOON PACIFIC TIME

For those of you who cannot join us in person, we humbly and respectfully request that you join us on the mountain ENERGETICALLY. At exactly 12 O’Clock Noon Pacific Time our ceremonial group will be holding hands, holding the energy, and visualizing the Phoenix rising from the ashes, 12:00-12:15 pm, perfectly balanced, Male & Female, 15-minute axis mundi energetic healing vortex on the mountain connecting ALL of us. Come join us wherever you are. Mitakuye oyasin / We are ALL connected.

CEREMONY PREPARATION
Prior to our sacred gathering on the mountain this Saturday, either
IN-PERSON or ENERGETICALLY, please set aside 21 minutes of your personal time to relax and slowly, slowly savor this amazing video tribute to our very own Dr. Stephen Johnson and the incredible work achieved over the past 32 years by Men’s Center Los Angeles. Yes, we ARE moving forward. This men’s work started by Dr. J over 32 years ago is more important RIGHT NOW than ever before. The Phoenix WILL rise from the ashes. Mitakuye oyasin / We are ALL connected.

🙏
o - ❤️ - o
o - o - 🔱 - o - o
o - o - o - 🌎 - o - o – o

===============================================================
BILL ARENA is MCLA Newsletter Editor and Wisdom Council 🔥 Agitator.
Other articles include:
”My Crazy Escape from Alcatraz”
”Indigenous Prophecy of the Condor & Eagle”
”The Sacred Lakota Sundance Prayer Ceremony”
”Sacred Path Flash Flood Baptism on the Colorado River”





December Director's Message

“BLESSINGS OF THE SEASON”

December 1, 2018

Greetings MCLA/Sacred Path Community,

We are all focused on the passing of President George H. W. Bush, our 41st American President and a great man who left us on Friday night at the age of 94. He was a man on a mission, a man with a purpose. He was a man who exuded immense passion and love for his family and for his country. He was a man whose legacy will live on as history unfolds and tells the story about this statesman who walked in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH was a man who had a light-hearted sense of humor and could tell a joke and take a joke when directed toward him as was witnessed via Dana Carvey’s delightful impersonation of him. He laughed along with him and allowed the joy to spread as he donned his colorful socks and shared his good natured spirit with humanity. He self admittedly made mistakes and apologized when he was wrong. He was a modest and humble man who accomplished extraordinary acts of leadership displayed by way of a remarkable demeanor of decency.

GREATEST GENERATION __ I hope and pray that as the remaining members of the “greatest generation” leave this world, the lessons that they taught will not be forgotten. That their legacy will serve as a Sacred Path for other men of consequence to follow.  And, that the elegance, social graces and well-mannered measures of manhood will continue to flourish and stand out as emboldened examples of what it means to be a mindful man. Thank you President Bush, for the example you provided of conscious masculinity. You were a true gentleman and a model of grace and civility. You are one of those thousand points of light, a shining star above that city on the hill.

SATURDAY CEREMONY ON THE MOUNTAIN__ As most of you know, we had to postpone our December retreat due to the raging fires that completely destroyed our beloved Gindling Hilltop Camp. We are now in the process of looking for another venue and a date in the spring so that we can reschedule our retreat. We’ll update you as soon as we have new information. A core group of us will go up to Hilltop to perform a private C’anunpa/Sacred Pipe ceremony and place prayer flags in honor of our retreat home for the past 20+ years next Saturday. We will meet in the morning in Malibu at Neptune’s Net, 42505 Pacific Coast Highway, and carpool up the mountain. Anyone who feels called to join us for this private ceremony is most welcome. Please email Bill Arena (bill.arena@mac.com) to add your name to the list and receive details later this week.   

“DO YOU LOVE TO BE NEEDED, OR NEED TO BE LOVED?” __ I’m so pleased to include in this newsletter a link to a new book recently published by my friend and colleague Shari Schreiber, M.A.  Shari was one of my interns whom I had the pleasure of supervising for six years commencing 25 years ago. She was one of my most accomplished interns who went on to become a very successful guide helping people come to terms with their core wounds. She has a unique way of looking at and addressing the issues that many seem to have difficulty resolving. We’ve included information herewith. 

CHRISTO’S MOVING TEAM __ Right now we are supporting two very important fundraisers and I ask your help in whatever manner Spirit may call you to participate. Our beloved brother and international music/sound healing maestro, Christo Pellani, is being forced to relocate his home Healing Sanctuary and Recording and Rehearsal Studios of 19 years right now in the midst of this holiday season. Click here to join Christo’s Sacred Moving Team.   

FIREFIGHTERS HEALING FUND __ In the midst of the recent fire tragedies that totally destroyed our beloved Gindling Hilltop Camp and the most deadly wildfires in California history, please take a moment to visit the Firefighters Down GoFundMe page and help these real-life heroes.   

As we close out 2018 this month, a year that has brought its share of challenges, we look forward to more holidays and opportunities to express our love to those near and dear to us.  When you light your candles on your Menorah and string your lights on your Christmas tree think of what it means to be a light unto the world.  We are called forth to be one of those points of light shining brightly through the dark times lighting the way on the Sacred Path.

Wishing you and your family a very blessed and joyous Holiday season!

Namaste,

Stephen

Stephen J. Johnson Ph.D., LMFT
Executive Director





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 Dr. Stephen Johnson is founder and executive director of MCLA and leader/wayshower of the Sacred Path men's retreats for the past 32 years. He is a gifted therapist and master facilitator for the experiential journey that unfolds during his counseling sessions and workshops. Dr. J is a skilled and seasoned psychotherapist who has the sensibilities of a wisdom teacher. He provides a safe space for freedom of expression in accessing one’s pain while fostering transformation, personal expansion and spiritual growth. www.DrStephenJohnson.com 

“BRING GOOD MEN TOGETHER
AND BRING OUT THE BEST IN THEM”
Click video link at left to discover the meaning of these words and Dr. J’s incredibly rich 32-year tradition of bringing good men together on the mountain.

Dr. Johnson is author of "THE SACRED PATH: THE WAY OF THE SPIRITUAL WARRIOR," an amazing how-to book for men who want to become better men. The groundbreaking book’s forward written by
Dr. J’s friend, fellow USC football fan and longtime MCLA member Levar Burton.

Christo's Sacred Moving Team

MINDFULNESS IN NATURE: International Master Music Maestro Christo Pellani with Men’s Center Los Angeles Executive Director Dr. Stephen Johnson and LA County Fire Department Captain Mike Henry facilitating special FireFighters Down therapeutic healing group event on the mountain in June.

Moving Our Beloved Friend and Muse,
Christo Pellani

by Karene Cargill

Dear Friends,

Our beloved friend and muse, Christo Pellani, is being forced to relocate his home Healing Sanctuary and recording and rehearsal studios of 19 years in the midst of this holiday season. This unexpected and involuntary move is going to literally shake the foundations of his residence which housed both his life’s work and his creative space.

The move itself is massive; it includes 3 huge installations. (Hellooo…have you seen and experienced his percussion and sound healing tools collection!?) Aside from the general expenses of moving personal belongings, he has costs associated with dismantling a rehearsal space and office, demolishing 2 studios, cartage and storage of instruments and healing tools, and deposit on a new space. Simply stated, he needs the support of our community to make this a smooth transition and secure a new residence over this holiday season.

Christo has touched so many lives with his work as a gifted Expressive and Therapeutic Arts Counselor, Sound Healer, Master Drummer, and Life Coach in various communities, and asked so little in return. Please do what you can as a return gift to support Christo in this transition and continuing this important work. If you can contribute in any amount, it would be enormously appreciated; all contributions go directly to Christo, and will assist in defraying this costly endeavor, and will be utilized to make this huge relocation go as smoothly as possible.

If you are unable to offer anything financially, please do lift him in prayer and send well-wishes that this moving process goes with ease and grace into wherever he is being led. Deep pranams and gratitude . . . Namaste.

Click here for Christo’s GoFundMe page. Thank you MCLA family and friends for your prayers and support and good energy.


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Click here for Karene Cargill’s GoFundMe page for Christo Pellani
MCLA
is proud to support and endorse our brother Christo.
Thank you for your prayers and good energy.

“DO YOU LOVE TO BE NEEDED, OR NEED TO BE LOVED?"

“DO YOU LOVE TO BE NEEDED,
OR NEED TO BE LOVED?”

By Shari Schreiber, M.A.
www.GettinBetter.com

In this piercingly honest and insightful new book, Shari Schreiber reveals the answers to lifelong mysteries we've all struggled to understand: 

❤️ Why haven't my love relationships worked out the way I'd hoped they would? 

❤️ Why haven't I attained success, no matter how hard I've worked? 

❤️ How is it I'm facing struggle again, when I thought I'd finally figured out how to live happily? 

“DO YOU LOVE TO BE NEEDED, OR NEED TO BE LOVED?” is an exceptionally unique, groundbreaking book about codependency, how it begins during infancy, how it derails us in countless ways, and what's necessary to untangle and free ourselves from the compulsive vice-grip it's had on us, which has derailed our goals and dreams. 

Shari Schreiber learned about healing people by having to surmount her own painful life experiences. Tenacious about her pursuit of wholeness and wellness, she invented tools in her mid-twenties to help her grow beyond mere survival and learn to thrive. She imparted these tools and methods to her clients for 18 of the 25 years she was passionately dedicated to helping others repair themselves. Returning to school at age 41, she’d hoped to legitimize the talents she’d always had, but found that experience lacking. Ms. Schreiber has not worked as a state-licensed professional, because in her view, “psychotherapy” or mind work never seemed to resolve or remedy human pain. Her own approach was extremely unconventional, unique and effective in contrast to other forms of intervention, even within the realm of addiction recovery. 

Click here for more information “Do You Love To Be Needed, Or Need To Be Loved?”

 

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SHARI SCHREIBER is passionately dedicated to your empowerment, expansion and success. She is, at heart, an educator ~ so a lot of the material you'll read in this book or her website, GettinBetter.com is very candid, straightforward and controversial. Her sincere hope is that you'll have an "Aha!" experience while you're reading, and gain brand new insights and some headway with the challenges you've found to be most troubling. Her new book, “Do You Love To Be Needed, Or Need To Be Loved?” details how she helps clients heal. Think of it as a primer on Codependency and the core trauma wounds that drive our compulsions to place the needs of others far ahead of our own. This addictive reflex prevents us from forming nourishing, healthy and reciprocal attachment bonds! Learn more at Shari Schreiber.com

Thanksgiving Director's Message

“THANKSGIVING BLESSINGS”


November 22, 2108

Greetings MCLA Sacred Path Community,

It’s been a tough few weeks for many.  It’s tempting to think that gratitude is in short supply when your life has been turned upside down due to a tragedy, disaster or other challenging event.  

You may know someone whose life was cut short as a result of the Borderline Club shooting, or as a result of the Woolsey Canyon or Camp fires.  Perhaps you know someone who has lost his or her home.  Maybe you have been directly impacted and are searching for meaning to get you through the crisis.

As you know, we made the difficult decision last week to postpone our December men’s retreat because our camps, Hess Kramer and Gindling Hilltop, where we have held our retreats for the past 21 years, burned to the ground.  Yet, like the Phoenix rising out of the ashes, Wilshire Boulevard Temple Camps will be rebuilt and we, as a united community for the past 32 years, will persevere and thrive.

We are looking for an alternative venue to host our retreat at some point in the Spring. We have also discussed holding a one day event probably in February.  We’ll update you as soon as we know more.  We will be reaching out to those who had registered for the retreat to offer full refunds or determine if you’d like your fees to be rolled over to the next event.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we on the Wisdom Council want to extend our gratitude to all of the First Responders, Firefighters and Law Enforcement Personnel who put their lives on the line to protect our lives and our homes.  

As we sit down today and join hands and give thanks for our many blessings, please include in your thoughts and prayers the critically important healing work of Firefighters Down led by our very own Captain Mike Henry and Captain Rick Brandelli. We as an organization are so grateful to assist these good men with this valuable healing work . . . and visit the Woolsey and Paradise Firefighters Healing Fund to make a donation.

We also want to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. May you find the strength, solace and comfort in reflecting on what you are grateful for as you take account of your blessings.  

I also wish to personally express my gratitude to Dr. Michael Lewis and Rob Bruce, my Associate Directors for their support and leadership, and to Bill Arena, the editor of our newsletter, as well as to all of the men who comprise the Wisdom Council who have selflessly given of themselves over the years to make our events such important pillars in the foundation of the good work that we provide in our community.

To you and yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Stephen

Stephen J. Johnson Ph.D., LMFT
Executive Director




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 Dr. Stephen Johnson is founder and executive director of the Men's Center Los Angeles and leader/wayshower of the Sacred Path men's retreats for the past 32 years. He is a gifted therapist and master facilitator for the experiential journey that unfolds during his counseling sessions and workshops. Dr. J is a skilled and seasoned psychotherapist who has the sensibilities of a wisdom teacher. He provides a safe space for freedom of expression in accessing one’s pain while fostering transformation, personal expansion and spiritual growth. Click here to visit www.DrStephenJohnson.com 

“BRING GOOD MEN TOGETHER AND BRING OUT THE BEST IN THEM”
Click video link at left to discover the meaning of these words and Dr. J’s incredibly rich 32-year tradition of bringing good men together on the mountain.

Thank You Firefighters


HAPPY HOLIDAY BLESSINGS to all of our MCLA family & friends. Please help us celebrate our amazing firefighters who have done such an incredible job for all of us. Click here for the Woolsey & Paradise Firefighters Healing Fund. We are ALL so grateful and have so many blessings to appreciate and be thankful for during this special season. Please help us honor and support the Firefighters Healing Fund.

PARADISE, California (AP) — A powerful wildfire in Northern California incinerated most of a town of about 30,000 people with flames that moved so fast there was nothing firefighters could do, authorities said Friday. Nine people died, including five who were found in their burned-out vehicles. Only a day after it began, the blaze near Paradise, CA., had grown to nearly 110 square miles and was burning completely out of control.

MCLA’s beloved and sacred Gindling Hilltop Camp was totally and completely burned to the ground as the Woolsey fire roared through the hills over Malibu and the Pacific Ocean destroying everything in sight.



Deadliest Wildfires in California History

by Bill Arena
MCLA Wisdom Council



THANK YOU FIREFIGHTERS

For those of us fortunate enough to settle down and relax with family and friends and loved ones and watch football and eat sumptuously and joyously celebrate Thanksgiving in the warmth, safety and comfort of our homes, we must remember that virtually hundreds of people are still missing right now in the wake of ferocious, deadly, apocalyptic wildfires that have been rampaging uncontrollably across both ends of California.

This month’s catastrophic and calamitous fires, the most destructive in our state’s history, include the Woolsey fire that literally exploded through the hills above Malibu completely destroying MCLA’s long-time men’s retreat and sacred sanctuary spot on the mountain, our beloved Gindling Hilltop Camp. Click here for Dr. Johnson’s powerful and soulful reflection of this terrible tragedy that has affected all of us: ”Gindling: Phoenix Rising From the Ashes”

The monstrous blazes that ignited earlier this month have claimed a total of 82 lives while laying waste to an area of nearly 400 square miles, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Officials said that only 64 of the remains have been positively identified so far.

The vast majority of the deaths -- 79 total -- were due to the Camp Fire in Northern California's Butte County, making it the deadliest and most destructive wildland fire in the California history. The number of people missing or unaccounted for in Butte County was up to 1,202 on Sunday but decreased to 699 on Monday night as the list of accounted individuals increased, according to Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea.

LA County Fire Captains and FIREFIGHTERS DOWN co-founders Rick Brandelli (left) and Mike Henry (right) gather with local Malibu resident and actor Lou Gossett Jr., who spoke at the organization’s special event at Pepperdine University on Sept. 11th . . . (Photo by Suzy Demeter/22nd Century Media)

FIREFIGHTERS DOWN

“Our firefighters do their jobs so well and we take them for granted,” said Malibu resident and famed actor Lou Gossett Jr., honored guest speaker at a special September 11 event benefiting Firefighters Down.

“We are unaware of the atrocities that they see. They only ask us to get out of the way so they can do their jobs. Every single person in America is protected by them.”

The event featured a touching and beautifully shot film depicting the horrors that firefighters encounter each day, as well as the unique challenges firefighters encountered on Sept. 11, 2001. In the film, Captain Henry converses with everyday citizens eliciting their thoughts on the emotional challenges that firefighters encounter and the ripple effects their sometimes haunting, stressful experiences have on those they love as well as their colleagues.

“When there is a collapse, a crush, an injury, a death or an illness, Firefighters Down wants to be able to respond and support the firefighters and their families,” Captain Henry explained. “We want to bring them to Malibu and provide them support consisting of multiple therapies for them and their family members.” 

MCLA Teams With FIREFIGHTERS DOWN
To Deliver Healing & Hope

  • There are over 2 million emergency calls to firefighters each year in the U.S.

  • Even in the face of personal danger, firefighters rescue victims of fire, accident or violence, provide first aide and ultimately risk their own lives to save the lives of others on a daily basis.

  • Sadly, there are few resources in place to assist firefighters with the necessary healing processes. Physical and emotional scars continue to amass until they become debilitating. 

  • The primary goal is to provide services to physically and emotionally injured or ill firefighters from departments across the United States. 

Firefighters Down Director of Therapy, Dr. Stephen Johnson, is chief designer and manager of the FFD therapeutic program. Customizing each session to meet the specific needs of the injured Firefighters served. Stephen J. Johnson, Ph.D., holds three advanced degrees and was awarded a Fellowship in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Southern California. He has been a licensed psychotherapist, consultant, and educator for over 40 years. He is the founder and director of the Men’s Center of Los Angeles, formed in 1988, and has conducted workshops and retreats for men and women for over 30 years.

The process created is called 
“HERO CONSCIOUSNESS”
*
Individual & Group Counseling
* Meditation
* Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Therapy
* Immediate Explosive Disorder Therapy
* Mental & Physical therapies
* Sweat Lodges
* Higher Consciousness Practices
* Yoga
* Professional Fitness training
* Family Counseling
* Online Follow up program
* Contracting and collaborating with the
Firefighter’s Local therapeutic resources

The program not only supports the healing of Firefighters after injuries but also the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that haunts firefighters and their families for months and even years following the occurrence of the trauma.  

This powerful therapeutic process is designed to restore the spirit of the injured Firefighter.  With support from corporations, celebrities, a caring community and firefighters from across the nation, the injured Firefighters will quickly understand the value of their sacrifice as well as how many people admire and support the service Firefighters provide to the community. 

FIREFIGHTERS DOWN HEALING TEAM: Mojghan Henry, Captain Rick Brandelli, Douglas Sutton, Captain Mike Henry, Karen Fuentes.

Dr. Stephen Johnson and Men's Center Los Angeles are proud to support and endorse our very own Captain Mike Henry and Captain Rick Brandelli and this powerful wounded warrior program designed to assist Firefighters. The program offers a four-day intensive therapeutic and rehabilitation program for firefighters. 

Screen Shot 2018-11-21 at 9.35.46 PM.png

A film previewed at the 9/11 event at Pepperdine revealed that most Americans are unaware that more than 30,000 firefighters are injured each year on the job and rates of PTSD, suicide, divorce, depression and addiction – consequences of firefighters dealing with the stressors inherent in their job – take serious tolls on firefighters, those who love and work with them, and in turn, on the greater community.

Dr. Johnson, psychotherapist for the organization, discussed the effect of stress on first responders, explaining the lengthy process of healing. “Acute trauma can take three to four months to heal,” he said. “PTSD can take months or years.”

Captain Henry emphasized that one of the most healing things for those affected by these challenging conditions and emotions is so very simple: showing appreciation to the firefighters for what they have done for all of us. “We want to take the firefighters down to the Pier, to dinner, to help them relax and know that we are all thankful for all that they have done,” he said. 

MINDFULNESS IN NATURE RETREAT

MINDFULNESS IN NATURE: (L-R) Babbette Rothschild; Captain Mike Henry; Christiana Wolf; Deputy Fire Chief Angel Montoya, LA County Fire Department; Dr. Stephen Johnson, Firefighters Down Director of Therapy

LOCATION: Beverly Hills Benedict Canyon on 17 acres, Firefighters Down in partnership with InsightLA and Men’s Center Los Angeles.

GOAL: Two-Day (9am-7pm) Retreat goal is to save our precious families and marriages

  • The lowering of Firefighters’ Three Times the General population Divorce rate

  • Combating the increasing suicide/depression rates

  • Responding to Firefighters suffering from PTSD

  • Dissipating the cumulative effects of the Day to Day pressures and stresses on Firefighters and their Families 

MINDFULNESS IN NATURE: International Master Music Maestro Christo Pellani, Men’s Center Los Angeles Executive Director Dr. Stephen Johnson and LA County Fire Department Captain Mike Henry

Retreat guests receive Tools & Practices to transform:

  1. The Day to Day Pressures of being a Firefighter

  2. The stresses arising from on the job injuries.

  3. The struggles of Life after retirement

  4. The accumulation of Traumatic rescues on themselves and loved ones. A healing at the soul level, daily practices that enrich themselves and their families are our gifts.

  5. Powerful therapeutic tools:
    Mindfulness training
    Therapeutic practices
    Native American wisdom
    Nature’s healers:
    The Horse, Red Tail Hawks, Native American Drumming & Wolves  

“I wish my head could forget what my eyes have seen.”  

  • Mental trauma is NOT a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of compassion for your fellow man.
    * Line of duty deaths have continued to decline yet suicide is rising exponentially among First Responders
    * It’s time we looked out for each other and made it OK to talk about the pain. 
    * Trauma affects the mind in the same way as it does the body. 
    * First Responders see more tragedy in a day than most will see in a lifetime. 
    * The effects are cumulative with the burden becoming heavier by the day. 
    * Each person will cope in a different way but everyone has their breaking point. 
    * The ability to cope depends on overall health and sleep debt. 
    * Sleep deprivation mirrors traumatic brain injury, resulting in the same symptoms. 
    * Many turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain.
    * The effects bleed out into our family life as well.
    * The First step is admitting that you are affected by the things you see.
    * PTSD is more than an acronym. It’s claiming the lives of our brothers and sisters. 
    * “They tried to bury us. They didn’t know that we were seeds.”  - Mexican Proverb
    * The next step is to talk. Talk as a crew, talk as a family. Find your Tribe and reach out.
    * The final step is to take control of every element of your life. 
    * Find something bigger than yourself and pour every ounce of who you are into it . . . 
    * “If you’re a cop, firefighter or trash man, be the BEST!” ~ Tim Kennedy, Green Beret

Firefighters Down “Mindfulness in Nature” relationship retreat group in June.

 

Thank You Firefighters

THANKSGIVING 2018 __ As we all reflect upon our many blessings on this very special day, let us be especially grateful and honor the wonderful work done by all of our country’s First Responders and Firefighters. Our entire Men’s Center Los Angeles community is so grateful for your service and extend our deepest appreciation for all you do.

 



HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all of our MCLA family & friends. Please help us celebrate these amazing heroes. Click here for the Woolsey & Paradise Firefighters Healing Fund. We are ALL so grateful and have so many blessings to appreciate and be thankful for on this very special day. Please help us honor and support the Firefighters Healing Fund.


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o - ❤️ - o
o - o - 🔱 - o - o
o - o - o - 🌎 - o - o – o

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Click here for Dr. Stephen Johnson’s Thanksgiving Director’s Message
Click here for “Gindling Hilltop: Phoenix Rising From the Ashes”
Click here for FireFighters Down.org

 

MCLA is proud to support and endorse our very own Captain Mike Henry and Captain Rick Brandelli in this excellent wounded warriors program designed to assist Firefighters and ALL the people who love and support and care about them and their important work. Your support of this intensive healing work is greatly appreciated, right now more than ever. THANK YOU FIREFIGHTERS.
Email: captainhenry@firefightersdown.org
Web: FirefightersDown.org; Facebook: FirefightersDown
Go-Fund-Me: Woolsey & Paradise Firefighter Healing Fund

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BILL ARENA is MCLA newsletter editor and Wisdom Council 🔥 agitator.
Other MCLA articles include:
”My Crazy Escape from Alcatraz”
”Indigenous Prophecy of the Condor & Eagle”
”The Sacred Lakota Sundance Prayer Ceremony”
”Sacred Path Flash Flood Baptism on the Colorado River”