Director's Message November 2018

“The Way of the Spiritual Warrior”
. . . “What Does That Mean?

“BRING GOOD MEN TOGETHER . . .” Click the link above to discover the meaning of these words and MCLA’s incredibly rich 32-year tradition of powerful Ohana men’s work.

November 2018

Greetings Sacred Path Community,

Thirty-two years ago I heard the words, “The Sacred Path”, followed by, “The Way of the Spiritual Warrior.” These words resonated within me unrelentingly.  When I finally queried out loud as to the meaning of this phrase, I heard, “Bring good men together and bring out the best in them.” That became my marching orders, as well as the mission statement for the Sacred Path Retreats that gave birth a year later to the Men’s Center Los Angeles in 1988.

Thousands of men over the years have passed through the portals of our men’s work and have benefited from what they have experienced. Many men have been with us for nearly the full duration of our community.


I recall being on a retreat many years ago with one of my Elder Mentors, Robert Bly, when he said, “It’s important to have enough men in your life.” He went on to say, “As we age we lose our friends. They move away and we lose track. We also lose friends through death.”   

He encouraged us to be plentiful and reload along the way. It’s not uncommon for men to lack male friends as they age. Having a community of men is a hedge against being alone, lonely and becoming depressed. I have lost many close friends over the years. Fortunately, I have many others who are still on the journey with me.


Two men that I met through men’s work have recently published new books. Jed Diamond and I met over 30 years ago when we were initially involved in the “men’s movement” and Frederick Marx and I connected when my book came out in 2012. Both of these men I call my friends and have been guest presenters at our Sacred Path Retreats. Their books deal with loss, acceptance, letting go and moving on.  We’re featuring them in this newsletter. Have a look and consider adding these insightful and informative books to your library. 


I realized that one of the best gifts that comes from being on a men’s retreat is the opportunity to meet new men and to reunite with others. You never know what can come from a chance meeting with another man. For example, I met a man at one of the Mendocino Men’s Retreats that I had attended in the 1980’s.  He and I wound up in the same Tribe and shared a cabin. We hit it off and have become lifelong friends.  In fact, he and I co-facilitated a Sacred Path Retreat that was held at Sky High Ranch in the upper Lucerne Valley in 1989. 

I have been blessed to know many wonderful men and to have created many enriching relationships throughout my life. I have many men whom I call my close friends and several of them are Wisdom Council members and Sacred Path, MCLA, retreat participants.

Two weeks ago some of us got together to tailgate and attend the USC/Colorado football game. Many great friendships have blossomed out of the retreats that we have hosted. Men fly in from all parts of the country to reunite “on the Mountain” with the men who have become members of their spiritual family.  In Hawaii they have a word for that, it’s called OHANA.

(L-R): Captain Rick Brandelli, Levar Burton, Captain Mike Henry, Dr. Stephen Johnson, Clayton Norcross

If you don’t have as many friends now as you used to have and are in need of some fellowship and healthy male companionship, our Fall Sacred Path Men’s Retreat may be just what the doctor ordered. The theme of this retreat is Passion, Purpose and Legacy. I have enjoyed a very personal Passion for men’s work. I have been Graced with a mission that has allowed me to feel a profound sense of Purpose, and I have been gifted with the guidance along the way that is shaping my Legacy. I am truly grateful to have been at the helm of MCLA for the past 32 years. It’s been quite a ride.

I invite you to join a gathering of good men who will bring themselves fully into the village that we will create for 3-½ days together.  You may meet someone who could become a friend for the rest of your life.  You will be touched deeply, your Passion will be awakened, your Purpose empowered, and your Legacy will become clear.

In the spirit of brotherhood.


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 

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.



CLICK HERE TO REGISTER for MCLA’s 32nd annual Sacred Path Men’s Retreat on the Mountain Dec. 6-9. Fantastic opportunity to spend time in the company of other good men. Be part of this incredibly sacred, 32-year tradition of Men’s Ohana on the mountain. Bringing good men together . . . and bringing out the best in them. Come join us.