A ministry of the Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa.
Before The Men's RetreatShe asks: “What is it?”And I say: “100 men naked in the woods.”She wrinkles her nose and says: “No clothes?”And I say: “Sometimes.”And she says: “What do you do?”I say: First we removed the coat of corporate soldier, of workerbee, of boss, of coach, of business owner.Then we pull off the jacket of marriage.Toss aside the shoes of parenthood.The umbrella of son.The backpack of friend.The helmet of hero, savior, tough guy.We pull from our pockets the mantle of lady’s man, lover,slayer of the weaker sex.We check in our charm and toss away the pants of romance.All the roles and expectations we carry about in ourlives, we leave behind like a pile of clothes on the floor.”She says: “On the floor? That’s what I thought. Then you’re naked?”Says I: “Not yet. We promise not to engage in physical violence,then we strip off unnecessary civilization. Toss it in thepile with all the rest.”She: “Then you’re naked.”I: “No. We still hold onto our tattered dysfunctions andthreadbare beliefs like a 10 year old pair of bikini briefs.That’s the last thing, but we hold fast, because, you know,those stinking little lies and truths, that stained andshredded pair of underwear held our life together for 10,20, 40 years. And only when we can toss that old thing awayare we truly naked”She blinks and says: “So it’s 100 men in the woods in tatteredunderwear.”I say: “Yes. But over the course of the week, it washes away inthe realm of ritual. Blown away by the breath of spirit.Cracked open under the scrutiny and support of men. Priedoff by the power of story.”She stares at me, silent, and then: “Why? ... Why do you do it?”I say: “So we can see what’s left. That’s us. Naked. We canhardly recognize ourselves, but that’s who we are. It’sblinding. Dazzling. Beautiful. Very painful, but very real.We walk with it. Work with it. Sing songs to honor andprotect it. Wounds are revealed, healed, become ourstrength and our shield. Internal lands are explored.Monsters are banished. And in the end, we bring someof all this back into life, even as we put our clothes back on.”She shifts and settles, ponders and pads about the room, thensmiles and says: “Well have a good time then.”- Greg Kimura
Exactly! I think this to be so completely true in ways that expand the mind and open the heart to all possibilities. Thank you for writing this Greg, and thank you team for posting.
Fabulous account Greg!
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