In 2010 we celebrated our 20th Annual Men’s Conference. In honor of that occasion, Hari Meyers, the Redwood Men’s Center Master Storyteller put together a retrospective of the first twenty years.
A History of the Redwood Men’s Center’s Conference-Gatherings
by Hari Meyers
In our 18th conference we sought Sanctuary: In the Kinship of Men.
We all long for real connection. For men, that urge for relationship often is masked by competition, by fear, by the pressure to be “what a real man is supposed to be.” Beyond these old guises of warrior and hero lie our authentic selves. At this conference, we will gently uncover, look each other in the eyes, rediscover our genuine natures, and celebrate the beauty and truth that we find in the sanctuary of our kinship.
Over the years a basic committee or crew of conference planners has evolved. We have had two others join us each year in the planning, but for the most part of this decade the planning has been consistently taken up by an enthusiastic crew of four. After Robert Johnson retired from the conference, we enlisted Doug von Koss to become an ongoing member of the planning committee, as well as continue his role at the conference as our “ritual elder.” In addition, our core team consists of Gordon Pugh, Richard Naegle, and myself, Hari Meyers. We have our individual strengths and unique pieces we reliably contribute, and we have over the years come to work intuitively and well together.
We have received the benefit of our trust and practice, have experienced what we believe all men wish to experience, and may have experienced, if at all, only in childhood, the joy of hanging together as friends. We know each other’s strengths, count on and defer to them. We brainstorm, feed off of each other, joke outrageously, but do not compete with each other or fall too often into any “upstaging.” We have experienced personally what we invoked generally, a non-guarded, non-competitive, non-judgmental communication amongst men. To turn those “non”s into positive statements, we have experienced what we had dared to hope possible, the open, cooperative, holding in high-regard and unconditional support of brothers.
We are at the edge of our Soul’s evolution. Nothing new or wondrous can happen without our conscious engagement. Could it be that we each already are enough? Could it be that we each already belong? Could it be that this is what our troubled world is waiting for? Come prepared to touch the urgency of your life as a man.
And we know that we must have others join us so that we can all stay fresh and current. And, as we honor rather than hide from the mortal cycle in all things incarnated, we know we must replace ourselves. We have no worry about that, know that the spirit guiding the conference will supply what the conference needs as long as the conference is needed. The camaraderie and genuine brotherhood has grown as we fervently hoped and in directions we couldn’t imagine. We know it is possible for each of us to experience actual live working models of authentic brotherhood.
Men have stepped forward. The community circles, the very heart of our intimacy, the container that holds us all, have been facilitated for several years now by a steady conference attendee. In holding and maintaining the sacred space for the council he, himself, has blossomed into a blessing elder. Our small groups, although remaining “leaderless,” have become more effective as the seasoned men within each group bring their own growth and maturity to assure the safety necessary for their brothers to be seen at whatever level of vulnerability they may wish and to be held in the depth desired.