Greetings brothers (& others)
One of the obvious patterns I’ve seen in men over the years is our tendency to have almost all our energy centred in the thinking mind; it’s as if our body is still foreign to many of us and any invitation to bring our energy there is met by resistance. When we practice awareness of the moving body, the body responds in an extraordinary way. It comes alive in unfamiliar but palpable ways & a whole new way of being in the world opens up to us. When we practice this in a group setting, we get to experience this aliveness & spontaneity in relationship. Our world changes. Our body reclaims its movement authority and the result is empowerment and freedom.
About a year ago, after teaching 5Rhythms movement meditation for 19 years, I realised that the map of the archetypes of lover, warrior, magician & king, which I learned about through working with the Mankind Project, lend themselves brilliantly to an exploration of movement within a group setting. Moreover I saw that the 5Rhythms themselves, namely flow, staccato, chaos, lyrical & stillness mapped perfectly onto this archetypes map. In the lover realm, we get to know the simple experience of our own fluid movements in the presence of the others. We receive our moving breathing presence within the group. This is a way to get to know our selves and each other, and feel our rightful place in the group, in a way that is more holistic and alive than simply talking. This lays the foundation for the warrior realm of staccato in which we activate our bones and muscles to express whatever the moment demands. We allow our self and each other to be seen and heard through the body (& the embodied voice), a process that provides the foundation for a creative exploration into the transformational topic of accountability. When I circle up with men, I want it to be a transformative experience. I want to leave the circle feeling like I am a better man, and this comes about through an honest questioning of whether we are truly being the men we wish to be in our lives. We all fall short somewhere, so the question is: where are we falling short and how can we support each other into a deeper authenticity? And how can we bring our body into this journey of deepening accountability for our lives?
Witnessing each man take responsibility for his life in this way lays a solid foundation of trust for us to enter the magician’s realm of chaos in which we are invited (yes, just invited) to step out of the way of ourselves and allow whatever healing needs to happen to happen. We allow the tension in our head to relax because our head is where we hold onto our fixed ideas and patterns about our self and the world. Our head is how we make sense of the world but every so often, for a healthy life, this head needs to relinquish itself to the bigger picture, so that it may return renewed. When our computer requires a software update, we switch it off for a time, for it to return renewed & updated. We can facilitate this transformational process by allowing safe body movements of release and surrender. We are not used to this, so we take care & allow this care to soften our edges, perhaps even melt our heart. Or perhaps we need to rage. The moment dictates what needs to happen and the safer we feel, the more we can allow the revelation and transformation of the parts that feel unsafe.
The circle is all important here, for holding each man as he dares to dissolve. As an experienced facilitator I can guide each man into releasing whatever memories and patterns need to be released. These patterns engrained in childhood can be transformed by using the circle of men to role play the scenes that created these patterns, listening to a different outcome that may wish to arise, in which case we invite the man when ready, to embody such an outcome & feel its transformational effect, so that it becomes integrated into his breath, body and relationships. Seeing a man face his shadows in this way is an extraordinary life-affirming honour, and the king’s realm gives us an opportunity to explore this sense of honour. We are invited to honour our selves and each other, and we come to see an extraordinary thing: that love, generosity and kindness are in fact our natural condition. We explore this natural condition in movement in the rhythms of lyrical and stillness. How does it walk? how does it breathe? How does it rest? How does it wish to be integrated into our lives beyond this circle of men?
From November 3rd to 6th I’ll be holding one of these workshops in Glastonbury. I call the workshops ‘Golden Man’ after an experience I had about 25 years ago when I was working with a psychomagic healer who’d give me initiatory tasks to carry out. One of them was to walk the entire length of Oxford Street in London, in slow motion, on a busy Saturday afternoon, wearing a suit, with all exposed skin painted gold, while catching eyes with all those I walked past. I began petrified, my fear manifesting externally through people saying all manner of offensive things to me, but by the time I approached the Tottenham Court Rd end and crossed over to return I literally felt that my aura and heart had grown beyond measure and I was starting to genuinely enjoy myself. I felt like a golden lion!
At the end of this workshop we’ll carry out a ritual in which we will silently honour each other in pairs, painting each other gold & welcoming the Golden Man in our selves and each other.
We’ll explore the questions: how does our inner Golden Man see himself? How does he walk and talk? How does he fit into the world?
I definitely feel, from personal experience, that we humans are far more capable of transformation than we think.