April 12-16th, Men’s Retreat in Southern California

Reclaiming Our Sanctuary and the Seeds of our Community

When a veteran returns home with his soul frayed by war, or when a man survives prison or the meanest streets,  his intense experiences make for an extra-ordinary transformation of his life.  Such a transformation often comes as an “accidental initiation.”  Yet, without the care of elders and mentors “accidental initiations” leave one incomplete, at best; and a few become more violent and destructive.  True rites of passage can only be finished when a living community confirms the value of our wounds and welcomes us home.

photo credit: Owen McGoldrick

For thousands of years, when men felt their souls unraveling, they went with other men into the natural world to find and restore a balance to their lives.  In nature men can re-create balanced relationships with the primal elements– fire, water, earth and air.  Men can renew acquaintances with other living beings.  On mountaintops, beside lakes, and in the deep woods, men can gather to recognize and validate one another’s experience in the presence of elders, wild beings, and other men.  With an exchange of stories, with ceremonies and rituals we can create our sanctuary.   We can remember the veterans who served and fell. We can honor those who served and are still with us.  We can address the grief and sorrows lodged in men’s hearts.   We can re-weave the disparate strands of self and soul in the sanctuary of a living community.   And we can plant seeds that allow this sanctuary and this created community to strengthen and spread its roots and branches into our homes and in the communities where we belong.

Memorial Weekend Men’s Retreat – Upstate New York – May 24th-27th

May 24th-27th, 2012 at YMCA Camp Dudley on Lake Champlain.

When we forget or are forgotten, how do we return home?  How do we recover the vital parts we have lost, left behind or had taken from us?  When we return home as strangers, or watch strangers return to our midst, how do we recover and re-affirm the humanness we share?  Together men may rediscover the ingredients for a full return to home. They may gather the dismembered and forsaken ways and shape them into disciplined practices, which awaken deep longings for our true and rightful home.

For thousands of years, men of cunning and daring have outwitted the societal drive for instant gratification by diving into the long work of rediscovering self and soul.  They dig into the earth for nourishment.  They swim the rivers of sacred memory.  They soar with the winds of renewed purpose.  They remember the flow of living in a whole and purposeful manner.

Please join us on this Memorial Day Weekend on the shores of Lake Champlain in the Adirondack Mountains to restore the meaning of Memorial Day, to grieve and heal our wounds and to reconcile veteran and civilian men. Teachers: Miguel Rivera, Ed Tick, Danny Deardorff, poet Bruce Weigl, Doug Von Koss and Tom Gambell.