The 28th Annual Redwood Men’s Center
Memorial Day Weekend
May 25 – 28, 2018
Mendocino Woodlands, California
Walls everywhere. In 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell, there were fifteen border walls in the world. Now seventy walls divide rich countries from poor ones, major polluters from the victims of deep ecological crises. At America’s southern border. Palestine. Korea. Northern Ireland. Gated communities with security patrols. San Quentin. Auschwitz. Wall Street.
Often, we believe we know who we are because we know who we are not – the marginalized “others” of the world. We maintain these divisions with walls – between countries, against one another, and around our hearts. Some we can see; many are invisible.
Forgetting that we are all One, we have believed in the dream of separation: from each other, and ultimately from our own essence. Men particularly are subject to black / white thinking that offers a poverty of options to life’s big questions. So when others appear menacing and engulfing we build even larger walls to protect our shame, our terror of being undefined, our fear of being unformed.
This is a very old legacy. Robin Morgan writes:
“If I had to name one quality as the genius of patriarchy, it would be compartmentalization, the capacity for institutionalizing disconnection. For millennia the dominator models of society have broken our humanity into steadily smaller pieces. Sewing them back together is the essential, hard work of democracy-building.”
Not all walls are negative. Some, like Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall or Washington’s Viet Nam Veteran’s wall, offer sites for communal grieving and healing. Some, like our immune systems, are intelligent boundaries that recognize what we need and what we don’t, allowing in food and water and defending against toxins and microbes.
Before we can open to the “other” we must feel safe in our own skin. This requires becoming flexible, not rigid; present, not aloof; and engaged but not overly porous. When we can relax our armoring and feel secure with who we are, then our walls can become permeable boundaries which support true exchanges of the I and the Thou.
“Walls protect and walls limit. It is in the nature of walls that they should fall. That walls should fall is the consequence of blowing your own trumpet.”
― Jeanette Winterson
What is the difference between beneficial and harmful walls? What is trust? Can we dismantle the dysfunctional ones but respect the helpful ones? How could this help us in the grand project of healing the soul of the world?
Please join us amidst old growth redwoods for our annual Memorial Day Weekend men’s gathering. Over the past 27 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 two-sided flier and distribute it on your own. Invite other men to visit the 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 also invite you to share this year’s Conference information with other men by downloading the pdf version of this year’s brochure.