I have just returned from an outstanding workshop called Men’s Rites Of Passage (MROP), provided by a men’s organization (Illuman) committed to becoming better men; it is based on spiritual traditions, but totally ecumenical and welcoming to all men regardless of personal characteristics. Over my years of therapy, I have likely attended more than 100 major workshops, and this one has clearly been one of the best, both in its organization and its clarity of work. For myself, the impact was somewhat diffuse (as noted, having done much work before); its impact on other men appears to have been profound, consistent with the quality of the workshop.
The workshop is based on the work of Richard Rohr, founder of the Center For Action And Contemplation, a Franciscian based spiritual center. Based on Richard’s book Adam’s Return: The Five Promises Of Male Initiation, the premise is that throughout the past, men have needed initiation rites so as to move them into community; otherwise men tend to be highly orientated to power dynamics. The premise makes sense to me, not that it is exclusive to men, but certainly it has been a factor in the basic power dynamics of our Western civilization.
Essentially, the workshop normalizes the pain of life journey. It is based on spiritual teachings, although non-religious and very ecumenical. It poses a variety of non-challenging interventions, yet is very powerful.
Various studies (I forget the sources) have suggested a range of life stages for men and women, the most common of which (if successfully completed) are:
- early adult transition, usually in the early 20s, wherein mastery is learned,
- mid-life transition, approximately age 40, wherein maturity is begun, and
- eldership transition, approximately age 65, wherein wisdom predominates
- this could also be called old age transition, but I dislike the connotations of this designation.
The current MROP is orientated to mid-life transition; workshops to emphasize the characteristics of the other statges are currently being developed.
From my perspective and as indicated in previous posts (my series on Mature Community, such as here), if we are to survive and thrive as a species, such work is essential to the maturing of our species. I cannot emphasize this enough, and I believe that Illuman has a major role to play in this process.
Other issues of the week:
Global Warming continues to worsen (are you surprised?).
Increased awareness is key to resolving the climate crisis (20170518). A friend suggested that maybe they have been reading my blog.
Thanks to global warming, Antarctica is beginning to turn green (20170518). Wow! I never conceived of the antarctic as being green.
Scientists say the pace of sea level rise has nearly tripled since 1990 (20170522). The rate of change is still very small, but the impact is cummulative. As well, the rate of rise does not take into account sudden shifts due to increased glacial calving, or loss of entire ice shelves.
The cultural status also continues to worsen (again, surprise!)
It’s tougher than it should be to impeach Donald Trump (20170517). It actually takes a huge effort (“only if the vice-president, over half the cabinet, and two-thirds of both houses agree to do so”).
There’s No Way Republicans Will Truly Confront Trump on His Scandals. It Would Destroy Their Party. (20170518). A dangerous situation
The Disappearing Data Project (20170522). As the Trump administation closes down various agencies, access to their data input becmes much more difficult.
Such is life!
 Rohr, R. (2004). Adam’s return: The five promises of male initiation. New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing.