L.R. Heartsong, author of THE BONES AND BREATH: A Man’s Guide to Eros, the Sacred Masculine, and the Wild Soul, recounts his experience of the 2014 Men’s Conference deep within the Northern California redwoods:
Standing in [...]
Men in community, restoring wholeness to ourselves and Soul to the world.
We define ourselves in every part of our lives by our gender and our sexuality, often in terms of what we are not. If being a man means to not be feminine, then it requires abandoning our relational capacity, reducing the erotic to the sexual and requiring women and gay men to be the only carriers of beauty. But to the ancient Greeks Eros was a god – a male god – about whom they had mixed feelings. His arrows caused endless trouble, and yet they prayed for that wounding. This god of Love is the glue that pulls the disparate elements in existence together and propagates continuity. He is the foundation of our creativity and our ability to connect to this world.
Men rely on the erotic to fuel our ambition, to inspire and compel our will. But we commonly fear the vulnerability that comes with being fully present. So we must confront the shadow of Eros – power, control and domination. Power is seductive; by dominating others we also repress ourselves. It can cost us the entire realms of receptivity and sensitivity that we were born to fulfill. From this perspective, we understand misogyny as a crude way to hold at bay the intimacy we long for, yet fear. We have all heard complaints from our loved ones that our capacity to love is somehow less fulfilling than they need. Have we as men the courage to examine our programming around the erotic to see how it hinders our quest for wholeness?
This year, within the safety of the ritual container we have carefully developed over the years, we invite all men of good heart to join us in exploring the issues that arise around our own sexuality — power and impotence, fulfillment and failure, shame and fear, seeking and giving pleasure, aggression and receptivity. We know the need to speak from the heart and be witnessed, and we know the importance of grief as a portal into healing.
Please join us amidst old growth redwoods for our annual Memorial Day Weekend men’s gathering. Over the past 24 years we have learned how to create and maintain a community that honors our rich diversity, in both in-depth explorations and exuberant celebrations. In this community we will create sacred space. We will sing, hear stories and poetry, engage in vibrant ritual, display our talents and beauty and eat great food. We will support and inspire each other.
Come! Bring yourself, your gifts, your passions, your struggles – and your friends! Come! It is time for us as men to do this great work together.
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