I'm aware of how little online publishing I've done in the past couple of years (relative to previous years). It's not that nothing is happening; more that I have no need to report it externally.

The inner journey makes it very clear to me that what-I-do is unimportant - assuming that the 'doing' is primarily right-action - and does not define me in any way. Yet the 'doing' is often a way in which others categorise and label a person. No, what is important is 'who-I-am' and 'how-I-live-in-this-world', neither of which are captured in words nor require description.

This awareness continues to grow more strongly. In the evocative words from the men's rites of passage, "I am not that important". I have no need to draw attention to myself or to what I do. The most important work that I'm engaged in continues in my contemplation practice and in my inner work journalling. Meanwhile, I've disconnected from social media, blogging and routine publishing, as being unnecessary. 

What matters is how I manifest - in presence, in loving, in consciousness, in silence, in simply being. 

A week ago, we completed the purchase of our new, second, home in Chiang Mai. It's been surprisingly quick. We came out to Thailand in December expecting to continue our general seach for a base in the country. We came to stay with Aod's family before new year, and first saw this property in early January. Three weeks later, the property is finished and we have paid for it.The original preference was for a condo apartment - easy to look afer and secure when we are away. But the costs are relatively high and you don't get much space for your money. So we started looking at the new village developments which are multiplying around Chiang Mai as there is a housing boom underway, by people wanting a second-home outside flood-prone Bangkok, and as an investment property. Many of these village developments are lego-like and boxy with very little interesting design.

Ploenchit Collina feels quite different. It's a one-off development with it's own security and unique layout. Instead of the usual street grid, the roads are broad and curved. There is very extensive communal planting in the form of water-based public park areas, and a distinctive grass and tree area in private lanes and pathways behind each house. The houses are well spaced and remarkably modern in design. In our house the front and back walls of the living area are almost entirely glass from floor to ceiling, with wide-opening doors opening directly to the garden and ornamental pond and decking. It's this aspect that really attracted us: so much glass and light. The main bedroom is huge, with a private balcony, and a closet. In total, there are three bedrooms and three bathrooms. 

front view  living room  buddhist house blessing

We are now in the midst of furnishing and fitting the house whilst living in it to enjoy the space and the privacy. It's fun to keep ordering new stuff and having it delivered. There is a big job to complete in the next few weeks with an interior designer creating the kitchen area, closet, pantry, wardrobe and main bed. Hopefully, we can get all this complete before returning to the UK in another month.

A redesigned and rebuilt website is launched today for The Male Journey. This is the network of men throughout the UK who are committed to their own spiritual growth through rediscovery of the ancient processes of male initiation and the subsequent journey of illumination.

Each year, the Men's Rites of Passage are offered to more and more men over a five-day period. This is a life-changing and life-affirming process that engages men physically, emotionally and spiritually, rather than mentally. It involves separation from the pressures of the everyday world and immersion in a process of contemplation, ritual, teaching, small groups, solo time, wilderness and ceremony. In 2015, the Rites will be held near Perth from 8-12 July.

The new website offers a simplicity of design suitable for phone and tablet applications, greater functionality, more information, and an easy-to-use feel.

I am inspired by a wonderful children’s book, Old Turtle and the Broken Truth, written by Douglas Wood with watercolor illustrations by Jon J. Muth, which tells an imaginary story of how the world came to be so fragmented when it is meant to be whole and how we might put it back together again. Here is a short synopsis of part of the story:

In a far-away land that “is somehow not so far away,” one night a truth falls from the stars. And as it falls, it breaks into two pieces—one piece blazes off through the sky and the other falls straight to the ground. One day a man stumbles upon the gravity-drawn truth and finds carved on it the words, “You are loved.” It makes him feel good, so he keeps it and shares it with the people in his tribe. The thing sparkles and makes the people who have it feel warm and happy. It becomes their most prized possession, and they call it “The Truth.” Those who have the truth grow afraid of those who don’t have it, who are different than they are. And those who don’t have it covet it. Soon people are fighting wars over the small truth, trying to capture it for themselves.

A little girl who is troubled by the growing violence, greed, and destruction in her once peaceful world goes on a journey—through the Mountains of Imagining, the River of Wondering Why, and the Forest of Finding Out—to speak with Old Turtle, the wise counselor. Old Turtle tells her that the Truth is broken and missing a piece, a piece that shot off in the night sky so long ago. Together they search for it, and when they find it the little girl puts the jagged piece in her pocket and returns to her people. She tries to explain, but no one will listen or understand. Finally a raven flies the broken truth to the top of a tower where the other piece has been ensconced for safety, and the rejoined pieces shine their full message: “You are loved / and so are they.” And the people begin to comprehend. And the earth begins to heal.

 

The Male Journey affirms and supports men seeking a life-long journey of spiritual consciousness in order to transform themselves, and through these journeys, their relationships, families, workplaces, communities and our environment.

Our programmes, events and resources provide men with opportunities to do their 'inner work' in the company of other men. We use ritual, teaching and ways of communicating to create safe environments where men can explore and discover their deeper selves and the true purpose of their lives. We provide spaces where:

  • men can be vulnerable without being judged or shamed
  • men can share their emotions openly
  • men can let go of those patterns and beliefs that no longer serve them
  • men can rediscover and reconnect with the power of nature, mystery and the universe 
  • men can establish true relationships with authenticity and integrity

We seek to engender a generation of men who will be leaders and elders in their diverse roles as sons, partners, fathers, grandfathers, colleagues, stewards and servers.  To borrow the visionary statement of our US Brothers at Illuman:

  • We are men transforming men through a power greater than ourselves
  • We are seeking a life changing spirituality
  • Our primary concern is inner work that makes a difference in the world
  • We are fed by the wisdom traditions of forgiveness and radical inclusivity
  • Our work recovers traditional patterns of male initiation, affirms a masculine path to healing, reveals the true and false self and honors the path of descent
  • We do this through the power of ritual, image, story and council.

We welcome all men without regard to your age, ethnicity, background, sexual orientation, status, or creed. We aim to be inclusive. We support men of all faiths, and none.

The roots of our approach lie in the Judeo-Christian traditions, and draw upon the perennial wisdom teachings of many spiritual traditions from the ancient, eastern and western worlds.

We are a company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales. We are applying for charitable status.

The background to our approach

Male spirituality has an ancient lineage. Throughout history, communities around the world have devised ceremonies and rituals to honour the transition from boyhood to manhood. The purpose of most of these rituals was to help young men 'die' to their younger sense of self, and 'find' the mature, deeply rooted and integrous sense of their true manhood. In today's cultures we have lost almost all these rituals; instead we are increasingly addicted to consumption, acquisition, status, and material success as badges of our worth. We are in danger of losing sight of the deeper purposes of our lives, of our connections with the natural world and with mystery, and of our place in the universe.

During the 1990s, this work of male initiation was reinvigorated by Richard Rohr at the Centre for Action and Contemplation in Alberqueque, New Mexico, and through Richard's extensive writing and publishing; this became the MALESs - Men as Leaders and Elders - programme. More recently, Illuman, a not-for-profit organisation has been established in the US to take forward this important work. Here in Britain, The Male Journey is the network of men that promotes this work, organises events, and coordinates other activities and resources. Males Ireland is our brother network in Ireland.

Our events

The primary event that we offer each year is the Men's Rites of Passage - a powerful, experiential programme of male initiation and self-discovery.

The Male Journey helps men to experience their male spirtuality through a number local groups throughout the country. We aim to deliver the Men's Rites of Passage every year, and to walk alongside initiated men as they continue their Journey of Illumination.

The Rites of Passage (MROP) 2015

The MROP 2015 will be taking place in Perth, Scotland from 8-12 July. Click here to find out more.  If you want to tell someone about the Rites then give them the easy-to-remember web address www.mrop.org.uk which will take them to the correct page on this website.

Local Groups

Meeting in local groups and sitting in a circle of men as brothers is a key part of menswork. Groups meet at many locations around the UK. Most meet monthly on a weekday evening and often use some form of sharing circle as the main way of being. Most groups welcome men exploring their spirituality for the first time. 

The Journey of Illumination

 

The Journey of Illumination (JoI) is there to support and gently challenge Initiated Men to take their journey further. Often, after the Rites there is a feeling that a man wants to put this experience into action, or needs some support. The JoI is a program of mentoring and accompaniment in our continuing journey, together with support resources and other events.