Mythopoetic Perspectives of Men's Healing Work: An Anthology for Therapists and Others

By Edward Read Barton | Go to book overview

Chapter 13
Heuristic and Ethnographic Study of the ManKind Project: Initiating Men into a "New Masculinity" or a Repackaging of Dominant Controlling Patriarchy?

Marty Pentz

At the opening staff meeting on Thursday of the New Warrior Training Adventure, each man was to share what he needed to learn for himself on this weekend. He was then to ask for a mentor to come forward to be his teacher. Some of the knowledge these thirty-six men asked for was on fathering, bringing this New Warrior energy home, leadership, and how to be connected with their children. Some wanted mentoring or were learning how to release and experience joy, openly dealing with grief, and learning to be of more service to the world. At the point where each man came forward with a need, another man would come forward with his willingness to teach what he has of this knowledge.

One man came forward asking for a mentor to teach him about living and grieving. With his arms out and palms upward, as if to accept something, this man tearfully said, "I need to learn how to truly live within my grief." The man who came forward (who had lung cancer and died a month and a half after this weekend) stated, "I would be honored to teach you what I know about living in joy while you grieve."

Many of the men expressed fear in being vulnerable in this way, and many were tearful. In a world where men are often taught that it is not manly to show tears or ask for help and where they are disconnected from themselves and others and the consequences of their actions ( Gilbert, 1992; Gutmann, 1987), it was a unique occurrence for me to watch myself and thirty-five other staff men being this vulnerable with each other. Among other things, the detailed experience illustrates men making emotional connections with other men.

This chapter presents two qualitative examinations of The ManKind Project

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