My involvement with Mankind Project (MKP): 21 months later

Back in February of 2013 I wrote about my experience with the New Warrior Training Adventure:  https://triptopine.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/mankind-project-new-warrior-training-adventure-2/

How’s my life now? I’m glad you asked! Life for me has gotten better and better each day; not so much because I’m not dealing with struggle (wife’s cancer diagnosis 11 months ago, chemo for 6 months, doing well now); but rather, because now I am part of a larger community… not just a ‘lone wolf’ out there surviving a ‘cruel world’. (That’s how I used to see things.)

Since I wrote that initial MKP article, I have quit a job that had become a bad fit; spent a year doing part-time work and learning more about who I am; and then found my dream job. I’ve been there a little over a year now.

In addition, I’ve done something I would NEVER have done before MKP: I’ve begun volunteering, in a leadership capacity, for a local conference for preparing 8th grade boys for high school (character development… what does it mean to be a man…). In the past, I have avoided opportunities like this, because I believed that being a leader meant 1) having all of the answers; 2) telling people what to do; and 3) giving up all of one’s time. I thought it would lead to misery, because that’s what I saw all around me.

But the fact is, I feel more alive and energized than ever. I don’t need to have all the answers; I invite brilliant people onto our team. I don’t tell people what to do; I ask questions and offer invitations. 3) I don’t give up all my time; I invest in building relationships with people I admire and respect. It feels amazing.

Sitting in my weekly MKP circle has helped me to build strong relationships with other men in my community, and around the country. Before, I felt isolated, like no one could POSSIBLY understand my pain or sadness. Now I can pick up the phone and easily call 100 men and ask for what I need (knowing I might not get it). And there are MKP men I haven’t even MET yet whom I trust with my truth and my heart. I know they will be real with me, and I can be real with them.

This is the hero’s journey. This is YOUR hero’s journey. You are the hero of your own life. For thousands of years, men like you and me have heard the call of the hero’s journey, and for a time, we resist. That’s what EVERY hero does, initially. I can tell you I was invited to do the NWTA for 3 1/2 years before I decided I was ready to answer the call. And what IS the New Warrior Training Adventure? Simply put, it’s an initiation into the mature masculine.

A few times, I came close to losing out on life. Now I’m so much happier, even when it feels like things are not going my way.

For more information, contact me directly: timbirchard@gmail.com

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