Oscar Wilde said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world”. William Wallace agreed when he said, “Every man dies, not every man really lives”. Really living is one of the greatest challenges a man will face.
In many ways this was the sole motivation behind last weekend’s INTENSIVE that I attended at Stanwell Tops. The pamphlet introducing the INTENSIVE put it well:
Most men set off to change the world and then life comes barrelling in like a raging river. Young kids, young marriages, young careers and the margins evaporate, it then takes everything just to hold on for the ride!
What are the points we must have on our road map in order to find our bearings and move toward our destination?
These questions have been taken to wiser and matured men of character and a treasure chest of counsel and insight has been discovered, and so this platform has been created to share some of those treasures with other men on the masculine journey.
Some time ago David Tolman asked me to be part of the INTENSIVE weekend as a mentor/trainer. When I arrived I found I was one of over 15 mentor/facilitators who were tasked with leading group work with 30 young men of significance between the ages of 25-40 years of age. Morgan Snyder, from Ransomed Heart in Colorado Spring USA, had developed the weekend for men who had attended a previous ‘Wild at Heart’ Bootcamp and wanted to go deeper into the masculine journey. Check out Morgan’s blog.
Morgan shared in several sessions the wisdom he has gleaned for men who want to go deeper and live life to the full. His sessions were interspersed with group work in which the primary role of the mentor/facilitator was to listen to each of the younger men in his group tell their story. The ratio in the group was two mentor/facilitators to four participants.
Each man’s story was profound and more often than not deeply moving. There is something almost holy about the moments when we give a man a chance to share his story without interruption or judgement. It is a chance that too few men ever receive. The very act of telling his story often brings healing to a man’s heart along with those who listen to him.
One of the young men in my group was a successful man in his career with a father who loved him but could never really say it. Such was the power of his story that he began to weep as he told it. It was the third time in his life that he had ever cried.
It was hard not to be moved to tears myself with the story of his bravery. I am glad to tell you that I did not resist the temptation. Tears bring healing to our soul and hope to our hearts. Just as we have the ability to laugh, we should also nurture the ability to cry. As Washington Irving said, “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love”.
I could see that the young men who came to the four day INTENSIVE walked away more whole than when they came. The laughter, the hugs and handshakes. It’s hard to quantify something like that but you know it when you see it. As Solomon said in Proverbs, “As iron sharpens iron so does the face of a man’s friends”. For that matter every man who attended the INTENSIVE walked away more whole than when he came. There is something inspirational about being with a band of brothers, knowing that you are loved and accepted, not for what you can do, but for who you are. Morgan calls it becoming ‘the beloved son’. It is tremendously releasing.
As fathers, that is what we are meant to give to our children, but we cannot give it unless we have received it first. The gift of unspeakable love can only come from the Father of Lights. That is why it is so important to talk to Him.
So what did you learn at the INTENSIVE Warwick?
I thought you would never ask!
1. I am loved with an unspeakable love and I must share that love with my children.
2. If I don’t deal with my pain I will pass that pain on to my children.
3. “Life is a long lesson in humility” (Thank you James M Barrie).
4. I must discover the ability to play again and not be in such a rush.
Yours for living life to the full