Annual Men’s Conference

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Reclaiming soul, deep in the redwoods.

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29th Annual Men’s Conference

The 29th Annual Redwood Men’s Center
Men’s Conference

The Next Step:
Finding Wholeness in a Broken World

Memorial Day Weekend
May 24 – 27, 2019
Mendocino Woodlands, California


Welcome to our 29th annual conference!

These days we hear the word “broken” everywhere – broken hearts, broken promises, broken treaties, broken vows and broken rules. We know what it means to be breaking up, breaking down or breaking out. We commonly lament that the political system, or democracy itself, even the environment is broken and beyond repair. In this wealthy nation many are too broke to afford a roof over their heads. We ask each man, young, middle and older aged:

How are you broken?

How do you hide your brokenness?

How has your brokenness helped you?

How have you broken through?

Each generation is challenged to confront, perhaps facilitate, the breakdown of old systems that no longer serve, to find or create something new and more relevant. In doing so, we speak of breaking through; breaking the curse; breaking the spell; and breaking the silence.

There’s a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.
                                                      – Leonard Cohen

Men are now called to acknowledge that “going it alone” no longer works and that our narratives of heroic isolation have led directly to our broken condition. Indigenous wisdom offers some comfort in realizing that we’ve been here before, Consider the Ojibwey chant:

Grandfathers, Grandmothers: look at our brokenness.

Such an appeal is not only an urge to be seen and held but also a sign of our willingness, as Greg Kimura says, to:

Sit with the pain in your heart.
Hold it there like a sacred wine in a golden cup.

To do this alone often overwhelms one with terror, but in community we are capable of holding the enormity of our condition. This is our work. Our next step may be simply to wake up to an unvarnished understanding of just how painful reality is right now. It is easier and better, we believe, to awaken together. As Wendell Berry reminds us,

What we need is here.


Please join us amidst old growth redwoods for our annual Memorial Day Weekend men’s gathering. Over the past 28 years we have learned how to create and maintain a community, a sacred space that honors our rich diversity, both in depth explorations and exuberant celebrations. We will sing, hear stories and poetry, engage in vibrant ritual, display our talents and beauty and eat wonderful food. We will support and inspire each other. Come! Bring yourself, your gifts, your passions, your struggles – and invite your fathers, brothers, sons and friends who you know would benefit from this conference.

Help us spread the word! We encourage you to print the PDF version of this announcement as a one-sided flier and distribute it on your own. Invite other men to visit this website (www.redwoodmen.org) to learn more about the Conference and our community.

Come gather together with us once again over Memorial Day Weekend as we renew and expand our community of men. We invite you to bring a friend, including young men, fifteen and older, who would benefit from this conference.

The Conference

Welcoming and supportive of men of all ages, the Conference is very interactive and rich with dialogue. Personal stories are told; songs are sung; victories celebrated; grieving shared — all in a safe place full of honest talk and mutual respect. There is time to hear ancient tales, meet in small groups, engage in healing ritual, sing gloriously together, play together, converse over meals, and sit in the silence of the trees.

This conference is particularly helpful for any man wishing to move out of old patterns and wounds which have shaped his life and relationships. Younger as well as older men find safety and energizing freedom in connecting with other men on an emotional level. Men in transition or undergoing significant life-passages often find meaning, strength and comfort here. Many fathers bring their sons (15 and older) to have them welcomed into the community of men. And many men return each year for the ongoing celebration of brotherhood.

For close to thirty years of this Conference, we have been explorers of Soul. We have learned that to find and trust our way in this world we must tolerate uncertainties and fears; and we have found a way to do this together. In fact, the only way to do it is together. Some truths we have learned over the years are:

  • Men have much to offer each other through their differences — be they cultural, racial, sexual, political, spiritual, generational, or personal.
  • Beauty and creativity, art and music, ritual and poetry are sources of inspiration, healing, and deep pleasure.
  • Communication, relationship, and understanding among men form the foundation for a politics of peace and justice.
  • We must continue learning how to creatively deal with conflict.
  • The wounds of our fathers and their fathers have impacted our lives.
  • Entering and grieving our wounds together creates in us a masculinity of tenderness, wisdom, and generativity.
  • Owning our own shadows is an essential step on our journey toward wholeness.

Conference fees:
• Received by May 10: $385
• Received after May 10: $420
• Group rate until May 10 (3 or more): $350 each — We encourage you to take advantage of this option to save money, to limit parking and to share camaraderie.
• Full time student: $260
• Work scholarships available.