Greetings Sacred Path Community,
By all accounts our 28th Annual Fall Sacred Path Men’s Retreat was a huge success. We had 48 in attendance, which included a staff of 17 and 31 participants. In terms of numbers, that is below our average of 65, though it was an increase over our last April retreat in which we had 43 in attendance. In past years we’ve had over 80 for some retreats with a high of 120. Our minimum should be 50 and we’d actually like to host at least 50 participants with a staff of 20 so that our attendance is upwards of 70-80. That’s a good range to support our revenues, to enhance the energy and sustain our overall results while still maintaining intimacy. Plus, it makes the Gindling Hilltop Camp staff happy. Many thanks to the Wisdom Council men who stepped up to take on greater leadership roles in facilitating the processes on retreat. It provided a sense of community with all of the men participating together to create the outcome that afforded a unified feeling of pride.
The lifeblood of our community is dependent on bringing new younger men into it. With the Elders, those comprised the men's movement in the mid 1980's, in retirement mode, we can't rely as much on the same guys who have been with us for over 25 years continuing to be the mainstay of our community, though we certainly welcome and have relied on the core members of our community for years.
It is indeed important to have Elders present to be there for the younger men; and, it’s equally important to bring freshmen on board to mix with the seniors. There is a real need to provide retreats and between-retreat Tribe meetings as support for those who know the value and for others who are learning the value of having good men in their lives. If you're interested in being involved in a weekly therapeutic support group or a monthly men's Tribe meeting, please let us know. We're arranging monthly Tribe meetings in geographically convenient areas for men to gather. Email Steve Branker (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name, where you live, and contact info. More details will be provided.
We launched a social media outreach campaign. It wasn’t as helpful for this retreat but we are on a learning curve and I believe we worked through the kinks with this trial and should have better results going into April.
We didn’t have an Inipi Sweat Lodge Ceremony this time. We took a poll during the retreat to see how many men felt that their experience of the entire event was lacking due to not having a Sweat and virtually no one felt short shrifted. We will likely have a Sweat in April, however. Our program was so full and the quality and depth of the work was profound. We ran the gamut from dealing with wounds and the anger and pain associated with them to the frivolity of the Saturday night “displays” and other plentiful good natured irreverence that elicited bellows of stress-relieving laughter. Speaking of a good laugh, check out the “talking dog” video that we’ve included herewith just to give you a few moments of reconnecting to the lighter side of the mountain.
Many men asked for a retreat to deal with their relationships with significant others. In fact, one of the men offered that his wife quipped, “Maybe you guys need a retreat to deal with the ‘wife wound.’” We’ll take up the theme of our April retreat when the Wisdom Council meets in November; however, I wouldn’t be surprised if the consensus is that a retreat to deal with relationship issues in general makes sense and is timely. And, we are most grateful to the good women in the lives of their men who support the work we do through the Men’s Center sponsored events. We know that without the faith and encouragement of our women we would not be able to create the safe container to allow for the level of vulnerability that men afford themselves on retreat.
Enough said for now, so I want to extend a hearty Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families. When you offer your expressions of gratitude around the table, do remember that you are held in the hearts of all of the men that you engage with on and off of “The Mountain.”
In the Spirit of Brotherhood,
Stephen J. Johnson Ph.D., LMFT
o - o - o - O - o - o - o
Dr. Stephen Johnson is founder and executive director
of the Men's Center Los Angeles. He is also the author of
"THE SACRED PATH: THE WAY OF THE SPIRITUAL WARRIOR,"
an amazing how-to book for men who want to become better
men . . . AND for the women who care about them.
Click here for additional info.