Director's Message, August 2018

Greetings Sacred Path Community,

Some of you may have noticed that we didn’t send out an August newsletter.  That may be a first.  Perhaps we missed a month at some point after we began sending the newsletter out nearly 30 years ago, but I have no recollection of that.  Well, there’s a first for everything.

Speaking of which, I had been dealing with a back issue for months that was not responding to three rounds of injections, so I scheduled a surgery a few weeks ago.  I’m happy to say that I’m now essentially pain free, upright and functional.  Therefore, I’m back in the saddle and here’s our September communication and December 6-9th retreat update.

Many people have expressed that 2018 has been difficult for them on many levels.  Yes, the jobs report has been positive and we’re experiencing the longest Bull run in the stock market (10 years at this point) that we’ve ever had; however, the stress level seems to be on the rise as well. 

We sense that the upcoming retreat is going to be a vital opportunity for men to come together for support and camaraderie.  We know that men often have no one that they’re talking to about what ails them.  We tend to be the ones who carry others and we put on our John Wayne masks when it comes to our own issues.  Too often we learn about someone's issues and depression when it’s too late.  Health concerns are more prevalent as we age and find ourselves confronted with our own mortality. 

Homelessness is rampant.  Addictions are soaring and suicide is surging.  Overwhelm and anxiety are the watchwords that many people express.  Relief is what most want more of but find in short supply. 

Community is crucial to provide a safe place for men to be heard and to heal.  Let’s all join together to build the community of men who will gather for our Fall/Winter Sacred Path Retreat.  Consider who you know that can really use this opportunity now.  Maybe it’s you.  Bring a friend.

Currently we have a dozen men registered for the retreat.  On September 6th we will be 90 days from the retreat.  We are committed to Hilltop Camp to pay for 50 participants.  I have faith that we’ll have the numbers and exceed them by December 6th; however, it would put a bit more wind in our sails right now to have at least half of the minimum number registered by September 6th.  I would like to at least double the number of participants who are presently signed up, from 12 to 25 by September 6th.

Those of you who have mentioned to me that you will be at the retreat, please sign up now.  Many men tend to wait until a couple of weeks prior to the retreat to register.  Not only does that assign more work to our staff in the 11th hour, but it also doesn’t help with maintaining the momentum of building the village during the weeks prior. 

These retreats are community events and it does take a village to put them on.  Those of you who have participated in the past know that everyone is called on to contribute in many ways, so that each individual can feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment in the evolution and completion of the result.  We’re appreciative of those who have been the first to register.  We welcome the next group of men who will let us know that they will be with us by signing up now.

 Photo: Rob Bruce

Photo: Rob Bruce

Captain Mike Henry of LA County Fire Department and Founder and CEO of FireFighters Down Organization (FFD) informed me that Colonial Life Insurance has come on board as a partner and will be sponsoring from 5 - 10 Firefighters to attend the December Sacred Path Retreat.  These are men who have been on the front lines and who have sustained some form of injury as a result. FFD has other partners so we’re hoping to have more than 10 Firefighters sponsored for the event.

Some of the injuries that they sustain are physical while the mental and emotional strain can take a heavy toll as well. Post Traumatic Stress is a common result affecting many first responders, even as a consequence of collateral damage as in witnessing the horrific scenes that they have to deal with daily.  Those who responded to Sandy Hook and 911 for example may have survived, but their lives rarely are ever the same.  MCLA in partnership with FFD is here to do our part in helping Firefighters and other First Responders find solutions to the problems that they face.  We will have Firefighters present in December who have put their lives on the line for us.  Let’s show up for them.

It seems that this summer has whisked by and is now in our rear view mirror.  We tend to look forward to summer and feel disappointed when it’s over.  As an antidote, let’s look forward to the retreat as a great opportunity to get ourselves cleaned out and tuned up for the holidays.

 

In the spirit of brotherhood,

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Stephen