The ManKind Project (MKP) is a global nonprofit organization focused on modern male initiation, self-awareness, and personal growth. It exists in Australia, the US and a dozen other countries and they run paid weekend workshops and free Integration Groups (I-Groups) in many states over the United States.
Ironically it was a couple of wonderful ex-girlfriends who recommended MPK to me. Obviously they didn't have first hand experience, but they knew men who had told them that of all the personal/spiritual workshops they had done, MPK's New Warrior Training Adventure was one of the most powerful. Finally I decided to try it for myself.
New Warrior Training Adventure - My Experience
I did the New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA) over Sep 13-15 in 2019 at Camp Royaneh in California - a Boy Scout camp up in the redwood forests about 2 hours north of San Francisco. It was a great experience. Not cheap at ~750, but they will at least feed you. About 40 men, and to my surprise probably at least 50 staff - all former graduates of NWTA who had paid ~180 to come back and help new people through their journey whether by cooking or active roles in the various spiritual/physical exercises.
The MPK group is very good about non-disclosure, meaning I'm allowed to talk about some of my own experiences, and whatever is already public on the official website, but definitely not talk about who said what - especially since a lot of men there were opening up about issues of family relationships and issues around sexuality.
One thing I really loved is that MPK was very open to all sexualities, indeed at least two of the leaders (from about seven) were gay, and my ride-share (they are great about try to get people to carpool) was a wonderful gay man who I think got even more from the experience than I did.
What to Expect
Maybe I didn't read very well what they sent over - I knew I needed a sleeping bag and had a vague concept we would be sleeping in bunks, but what was kind of cool was the ritual when you arrived... to be processed through, gifting a food offering "for 6 men", then all other food, electronics and even reading material was taken off us. We were not allowed to return to our cars. I liked that. We were sorted into teams and I felt especially connected to my team of five men, although most of the expertises were either all 40 men, or broken in half or quarters.
Make sure you arrive exactly when told to, else everyone will have to wait in the dark. I somehow missed the fact that we were supposed to read a chapter of a book (pretty short) about a wildman, which is a pivotal theme and symbolism to the course.
Cold showers were interesting, but actually helped me wake up. I'd also never done a sweat-lodge... for me that was the most physically challenging part, but we all supported each other. The age demographic there was on the older side... I think we ranged from 18 to 68 in age, with the median probably around 50. Yet we could all relate to each other wonderfully.
My Personal Take-Home Notes
Here I wanted to take some of my notes.... Some of this I actually want to print and put on my door as a reminder that what I came into the course wanting to achieve.
A lot of people had anger or sadness towards their fathers / mothers or partners... either holding them back, or something they wanted to forgive to strengthen relationships. Fortunately I think I've already done all the "work" on family issues, and I don't have anything sexually I feel I need to work on... so for me it was more about needing to be more courageous on taking risks. I've been unhappy at Google for quite a while, and always felt like I "missed out" - not investing money early enough, still not brave enough to buy a house, and my "shadow" self procrastinates and gets distracted by stupid things like Netflix instead of taking huge bounds. It prevents me from being extraordinary. Even so, the staff were good at digging into that, and I loved some of their core concepts like a "life mission statement" and awareness of our "shadow" which often tells us we are not good enough to reach our goals.
Without context, this won't make any sense, but this is my online notepad for my own notes, so I'll put it here and shift it to a private area if necessary. Anyone else who finds this page should skip this section.
My Life Mission Statement
I create a world of: joyful, deep, juicy relationships
by: deep presence and radiant confidence
As a man among men I am a magnificent man.
My shadow creates a world of: dull, mediocre relationships
by: distractions and playing everything safe
... other words: "cold indifference", "passive aggressive", "nice guy".
"You'll be 60 one day and nobody will really know you - just your persona"
Smart Goals Exercise
S - simple, M - measurable, A - achievable, R - relevant, T - time-based
... when asked to create something I decided I wanted to:
- Write one loving message per day (friend or family) over 5 days... but then make a 66 Day Habit Challenge out of it.
- ... and by doing this I hope it will inspire myself to move towards my own goals - to find more meaning where I work, and by doing projects which can get me ahead through investment or otherwise.
Through the Cave Exercise
I think it was great they did some visualization excercises.... For me what I saw was a mossy stone owl, and thus my name became "solid owl", then eventually changed to "magnificent owl". I imagined a village of playful, friendly, deeply present people.
The notes I took in the section above won't make any sense unless you do the warrior weekend. Would I recommends it? Not for everyone... but if you feel like you'd love a new experience, to challenge yourself a little... to (hopefully) be vulnerable and cry and to connect with a group of men, without the need to try impressing each other, then I hope you reach out, because probably I'll recommend it to you.
- ManKind Project Official Website - will have links to the New Warrior Training Adventure nearest to you.