Tuesday, September 13, 2016

How I Got Over My Allergy to Men's Work: An Ode to the Mankind Project

I have a confession to make - through my first 12 years of being a psychotherapist in Seattle, I had assiduously avoided "men's work". I'd say I had an allergy to it.

See I figured men's work either meant a bunch of guys with ponytails and Birkenstocks banging drums in the woods and integrating being all soft with each other, or it meant a bunch of muy-macho guys yelling at me and trying to make me tough.

Neither prospect was appealing. In fact both bothered the heck out of me.

I knew already that I had aspects of both. I could be loving, kind, sensitive and compassionate. I could also be angry, competitive, sarcastic and lustful too. I couldn't fathom a place that would understand both.

But a few men I respected mentioned this group called the Mankind Project and I was like "nope, nuh-uh, not for me, thanks."

Then, well, I got desperate. After two years in what I would describe as a swamp (emotional, physically, financially, professionally), and trying all sorts of things I never thought I would try (to no avail) - the universe got its message across to me. I signed up for the Mankind Project's initial training, the New Warrior Training Adventure (or NWTA for short).

So this is where the story will get a bit mysterious - because it has to be. The training is experiential, and is an initiation of sorts - so what actually goes on there is meant to stay secret, and I am going to respect that.

But I can and will tell you this. It worked. It brought me back to life. It re-filled my energy and got me back on my mission and purpose.

I, a guy who had usually been more comfortable around women, came back feeling more connected to men than I ever had in my life. And more assured that I am a full-fledged man, equal to any man I meet (if different in our own ways), and confident in the contrast I am to the divine feminine.

I came back more integrated, finally feeling "grown up" at 49 years old.

That was in November of last year (2015). I've waited a while to write this, wanting to do my due diligence about the group (they're good), see if the effects lasted (they have), and to let my passion settle in so as not to sell, proselytize, or sound like I drank some testosterone-laced Kool Aid.

But having just come back from staffing my first NWTA, and seeing once again the healing, energizing, freeing effects on the men who came there, I had to finally write and share this with you all.

See, I am a psychotherapist. Healing emotional wounds is my calling and mission and passion. I love what I do and love continuing to learn. And I have to admit there are limits to what I can do in a therapy hour in a professional office setting.

Some wounds need more time and space and dedicated focus to heal. Some need a group of strong, diverse men holding the container and ready to help. Some need the distance from family and work and to-do's of the house.

Some need the NWTA.

Sincerely, Peter Hannah


Unknown said...

Thank you for this Peter!
I did the NWTA in 2012 and the work has been transformative for me and still is.
I struggle with how to explain it, and I find many folks who have a lot of the same projections you had before you did it.
What I see is that it gives each man enough tools to not be the victim of their story, and enough tools to heal and to help others as they choose.
James in Portland.
PS - thanks to Harvey Brenneise for sharing this!

Jim Bernardo said...

Beautiful, Peter...nicely written.

Noble Dragon

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your MKP story, Peter. And thanks for taking a chance and trusting the container.

After 12-plus years, I re-learn that lesson all the time. So, I show up with my joy and fear and everything else I have (including skepticism) and am almost always amazed by the results.

I'm also often reminded that MKP and the NWTA is not for every man. The paradox is that you and I won't know unless you and I take a risk.


Hawk inside the belly of a beast
Bedford October 2004