Drop-in course Winter 2020

“Best Place for Man Talk” – Georgia Straight, Best of Vancouver

Our theme for winter 2020 is The Life Cycle.  From the root to the fruit to the decay and death, from the inner to the outer, from personal to collective…that’s where we’re going in 2020!  Thanks for the feedback and requests from men on what’s useful for them.  Men’s voices really help shape each 3 month term at Manology.

by Oliver Roos on Unsplash

January 6 – Purpose and Gratitude Facilitators: Neil Ferguson and David Hatfield
Whoa!  It’s the ’20’s’ now!!  We’ll take time to take stock of ourselves.  Each of our lives is a project, a dream, a vision. And like any project, our journey needs course corrections from time to time. Using ‘the new year’ as a frame of intention to refocus and make change is age old.  Our modern minds and leftovers from our adolescence still often aim unrealistically, expecting too much and going too fast in trying to make change. This session will take the approach of small meaningful achievable steps. What changes would you like to see in yourself not in the coming year, but in the coming week!  We’ll use the energies of a circle of men to source out what it is we need to address in ourselves, stand for it, and get clear on how to get started on it.  We’ll balance our session with focus on gratitude for what is already in place in our lives, be it people, purpose, simple pleasures or grand designs.  Let’s start a new good decade on a good foot, together.

January 13 – Breathwork
Facilitator: Neil Ferguson and Eric Bowers
Back by demand, and with some live music!!  Tonight we will provide a group breath session. Breath work is a body-oriented therapy, which was created with the intention of unwinding and unlocking the areas of tension that are held in our bodies. In this process we use breath as a doorway into releasing the belts of tension, which are stored energy and trauma. When we unblock the pathway of movement we free up the muscular constriction and in this process release emotional blockages associated with this muscular tension.  Simple, profound and powerful: come and let go of old patterns and programs that no longer serve you.

January 20 – The Circumcision Movie
With direct permission of the film maker, mid-wife Emily Rumsey, we present, The Circumcision Movie.  In her words: “This documentary explores infant male circumcision from many angles: culture, religion, history, sexuality, and medical recommendations. We are two midwives who help educate families about issues of pregnancy and early infancy, and in our daily work we recognized a need for a thoughtful,

by Oliver Roos on Unsplash

guided discussion on circumcision. Parents tell their own stories, clinicians give medical context, men and women share personal feelings, and academics add a philosophical framework. We believe in evidence-based medicine, and researched the topic for over a year before beginning to construct the movie. We worked hard to listen to parents: what their questions were, what factors were guiding their decision, and what kinds of information would help them make a choice. We very intentionally included a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural array of interviews, always through the lens of respecting the honesty and vulnerability of those speaking.”  We will have lots of time for a thorough discussion and responses to the film as well.

January 27 – Boundaries
Facilitator: Neil Ferguson
Boundaries are essential to healthy relationships and, really, a healthy life. Setting and sustaining boundaries is a skill. Often it’s a skill that many of us don’t learn in early life.  In this session we will have an opportunity, through experiential exercises to come in contact with our ability to recognize and instill our personal boundaries in relation to others.

February 3 – Relationship: self – other – world
Facilitator: David Hatfield
It’s our nature to relate to others.  The nature of the universe is said to be relational, to be based in relationship and connection.  And yet, relationships are complex and challenging, starting with our relationship to ourselves.  In this session we’ll work inside-out: starting by exploring our connection to self, then to other men who are present and finally to the greater community and world.  We’ll use a variety of experiential ways to check in on the state of our connections, which ones are strong and doing well, and find places where we might want more or different and ways to moving towards those goals.

February 10 – What Moves Us? – Session 2 on Clowning
Facilitator: Joe Bickson
Round two of our work with Clown facilitated by Joe Bickson. In our first session, we explored the question of ‘what do we think when we hear the word clown?’. As a practical exploration, we began by bringing our awareness to the present moment to observe, in a variety of ways, the flow of our emotions and embodied memory-in-action on display in the performance of our daily lives. We feel the Clown’s presence in moments of play and release, and in our ability to freely make comment on the sometimes absurd and delightful nature of our existence. In this session, we will continue down the path to explore the nature of our impulses – our inclinations to act without reflection. Bringing awareness to our impulses can be used to discover area’s we may be holding (leading to sleepless nights, chronic body tensions) and find paths to release through the natural charge and discharge of our physical and emotional selves. If possible, please wear comfortable and loose fitting clothing to this session. Looking forward to seeing you there!

February 17 – Family Day – no Manology
Whether it’s biological, ‘chosen’ or a mix of both, family matters!  Invest time this day into those people and those bonds.  Enjoy, connect, challenge, question, work on a conflict, share a meal…it’s a wise, healthy and intelligent invest of time and energy.  See you next Monday!

February 24 – All Gender Session
Session details coming soon.

March 2 – We-Space Meditation
Facilitator – Sequoia Thom
“The eyes are the windows of the soul.”  We-Space Meditation is a simple, deep and soulful form of connection.  Whereas most meditation styles focus being in stillness with one’s self, we-space invites both self-awareness, awareness of a second person and the ‘we-space’ created by both. This method uses breathing and toning, is done in pairs, is eyes-open and invites both men to notice and speak their experience.  The journey is one of deepening our individual and shared consciousness and merging our separate “me” space into a genuine “we” space.  It’s a practice of connecting with the deepest parts of ourselves and one another. From Sequoia:  “I have been a committed meditator for over 40 years. Discovering We Space Meditation 2 years ago has deepened my meditation and opened my heart as never before!”

March 9 – Possibility Spot
Several options cooking here…stay tuned.

March 16 – Group Process Session
Facilitator: David Hatfield
Tonight we’ll gather together, voice our interests and choose a topic to explore together using some processwork tools, including something called the soft shoe shuffle!  This will be a time to look at a community/world issue, something in the world that we care about/are concerned about.  We won’t aim to solve it, (though you never know!), but instead we’ll try to increase our personal and collective awareness of as many layers of the issue as possible.  It will be a space for deep sharing and deep listening.  Climate change, oil pipelines, decolonization, political polarization…who knows what we will explore.  No special knowledge or skills are needed: just bring yourself and together, we’ll make a path of exploration.

March 23 – Sexuality
Facilitators: Sequoia Thom and Ziji
What do you yearn for in deep sexual intimacy? How can we men reclaim our sexuality as sacred and even divine? We’ll create a safe container to explore what “Sacred Sexuality” might feel like.  Men are often told that male sexuality is inherently aggressive or violent. Healing ourselves means understanding that our sexual energy is inherently honorable and sacred. Only then can we learn to bring deep states of intimacy into our sex life, and how to use our sexual energy to further our intimacy. We’ll have a chance to discuss this concept as a group and how it may resonate with our experience. We’ll also do some inner work, to find where this kind of experience lives in our bodies, and look at some partner practices we can take with us out into our lives.

March 30 – Death and gratitude
Facilitators: Neil Ferguson and David Hatfield
Western culture largely continues to resist and avoid the aging and dying process.  Our ranking of youth over aging minimizes the tremendous value of lived experience, including the movement towards the end of life.  Using the lenses of both death and gratitude, we will pause to look at what and who matter most now, and in going ahead in life.

 

April 6 – Possibly the most important session of all!! Evaluation and Visioning – FREE Session
This is a free session – no fees!  We’ll reflect on the winter sessions of Manology we’ve just completed, do an evaluation process, and put some plans in place for things we can do during the spring and summer to keep our circle strong and vibrant. Our process of feedback sessions has been pivotal in making Manology a feedback driven course, continuously reflecting the interests of the men in the circle.   So please come out and share your critical thinking with us.  Even if it is your first session, your opinions and ideas are super welcome!  Our evaluation nights keep Manology relevant, useful and enjoyable for all of us. Please bring along some snacks to share if you can.

Previous Sessions

Fall 2019
Year 11 of Manology begins in September and there some new features.   One is that I’m happy to be welcoming longtime Manology member Neil Ferguson into co-leadership at Manology! Neil has completed his clinical counseling training, and numerous other professional psychological and somatic (body-based) healing modalities and really wants to be sharing his skills with men! Neil will be leading a bunch of sessions this fall and his  his dedication, heart and skills are a welcome addition to the mix!

Our first theme for Fall 2019 is Relationship (in many forms!).  As social animals, us people are relationship based and relationship seeking! Connecting with others give us a great deal of our total sense of purpose, identity, meaning, joy and pain. Like most other deeply important life skills and awarenesses, our formal education never offered much to us in terms of ways of exploring how we are with ourselves and with other people. Many of us have not had much opportunity to stop and look at our patterns, needs, wants and styles of being in relationship. Here is a 5-week theme to do just that.

September 9Staying True to Myself
Facilitator: Neil Ferguson
When we are alone with ourselves there is often a different kind of self-awareness that we experience. What happens to our presence and self-awareness when we are being seen and witnessed by others?   In this session, we’ll use several experiential activities to get an opportunity to experience how we shift and change when being seen by others.   Our goal will be to increase our ability to stay authentically true to ourselves whether we’re all alone, with another person or with a room full of strangers.

September 16 – Attachment and relationships
Facilitator: Neil Ferguson
This is where relationship begins! Attachment theory is a concept that concerns the importance of attachment in regards to personal development. Specifically, it makes the claim that the ability for an individual to form an emotional and physical attachment to another person gives a sense of stability and security necessary to take risks, branch out, and grow and develop as a personality.  In this session we will explore the personal attachment system that was formed in the early part of our lives, specifically with our primary caregivers, and how this attachment system shapes our relationships with others in our adult lives.

 

September 23 – Personal Barriers
Facilitator: Neil Ferguson
What’s holding you back?
Much of who we are in life is formed by the cultural and family conditioning that we experience. Often this conditioning holds us back from stepping into ourselves in a way that is in alignment to who we really are and prevents us from living the life that is possible.   What holds you back from living the life you really desire, from doing the type of work you love, from experiencing life that’s in alignment to your true authentic self?

September 30 – The Haven Communication Model
Facilitator: David Hatfield
From BC’s own Haven personal and professional development centre, through its 35 years of work on relationship comes this session on the Haven Communication Model. Manology men responded very well to the introduction of this model last year. We’ll refresh and expand the use of this model this year. Simple to grasp but a daily practice to integrate and master, the model helps us slow down and nuance our communications, stresses self-responsibility, while increasing our emotional and relationship intelligence. It is especially helpful in scenes of tension or conflict. Let’s work on communication stuff!

October 7 – Sexuality: What’s my agenda?
Facilitator: Krista Nova
Sexuality- What happens when we remove the agenda from our sexual journey? We are often conditioned to direct our sexual energy to a specific destination which creates limitations. This will be an experiential evening to discover your key agendas, how they may be holding you back and.what is possible without them. This evening will be open to what may arise in relation to our fears and desires with sexuality.

 


October 14 – Thanksgiving – No Manology
Let’s take time out to notice what ease, joyfulness and richness we already have, and who we are grateful to know and have connection with.  Let’s take time to appreciate the Earth’s support in it’s innumerable ways!  Life is demanding and challenging.  I’ve come to appreciate the presence of Thanksgiving as a statutory holiday, as it is actually quite a radical contrast in our Western context of individualism, go-go-go and materialism.  I wish all an enjoyable and rejuvenating Thanksgiving holiday!

October 21 – Fatherhood: How is today’s father different from the one of your father’s generation?
Facilitator: David Hatfield
Let’s look at fatherhood together, as sons, fathers, single men, grandfathers, men considering fatherhood, and those who’ve chosen to not have kids.   Each generation of men seem to respond to the idea and reality of fathering in some new ways. Now many fathers have a more active and emotional connected relationship with their kids that their own fathers did. These days more men are taking paternity leave when it is available and are in the playground or taking a program with their kids than in the past. At the same time, some wonder if we have devalued fathers and male role models. Some millennials of all genders are looking at the state of the world and questioning having children.   All the while, fathering itself remains an awesome challenge and an important role in the wellness of family and community. Fathering changes men, relationships, sense of purpose, as it shapes daily life. What is the role of the father/father figure here in 2019? What are the distinct roles for male and female parents, or are they meant to be the same? Let’s take a deep dive into fatherhood!!

Our second theme for Fall 2019 is Getting Real.  Our socialization as males has incessantly pushed us away from our own authenticity and being real since we were old enough to grasp the idea of different genders. Here is a month long series of sessions designed to help us hold steady in knowing ourselves, what we really want, dropping masks and half-truths, and being encouraged and supported by each other in this work.
Men getting more real = us.

October 28 – Breathwork 
Facilitators: Neil Ferguson and Vince Gowmon
Breath work is a body-oriented therapy, which was created with the intention of unwinding and unlocking the areas of tension that are held in our bodies. In this process we use breath as a doorway into releasing the belts of tension, which are stored energy and trauma. When we unblock the pathway of movement we free up the muscular constriction and in this process release emotional blockages associated with this muscular tension.  Simple, profound and powerful: come and let go of old patterns and programs that no longer serve you.


November 4 – Inner Critic Shakedown
Facilitator: David Hatfield

Most everyone has doubts, inner criticism, and internal negativity. Such internal voices can be useful, for example, in slowing us down from making impulsive decisions. However, too often these voices hold us back from going for what we want, putting us into endless waiting patterns, doubting our ability or vision, or procrastination. At their worst, they can be abusive and harsh, interfering with self-acceptance, growth and following our authentic life path.  This session will offer dynamic and real-time ways to shift our relationship with our inner critics, to both get the out of our way, and in some cases, to shift them into our supporters!   Bring an inner critic with you!

November 18 – The Truth Mandala 
Facilitator: David Hatfield and Neil Ferguson with acknowledgement to Joanna Macy
Back by demand. We’ll use a ceremony created by author and teacher Joanna Macy as a simple, respect structure to acknowledge our deep concerns and feelings about our world.  Macy says truth-telling is like oxygen – it enlivens us.  Without it we grow confused and numb.  It is also a homecoming, bringing us back to powerful connection and solidarity.   We first experienced the Truth Mandala ceremony in 2012 together. A lot is the same since then, and a lot is very different.   Many men make for a strong and vibrant ceremonial container – please join us.

 

November 25 – Kundalini Meditation
Facilitator: Neil Ferguson
Men! Let’s get out of our minds and into our bodies. So much of our lives are spent living in the left part of our brain – logical thinking, planning and strategizing, this often prevents us from connecting to the creativeness, intuition and felt sense that’s available in the right side of our brains.  During this session we will be doing an active meditation to feel ourselves, come more into our bodies and more into connection with our whole selves.

 

 

December 2 – Bring It! 
Facilitators: David Hatfield and Neil Ferguson
This session has become a really great tradition, full of surprises and tons of variety!  This night is of our own design and offerings! Men are invited to bring an experience of any kind to share. An activity we can do together, a story, game, song, a thought/wish/hope for the world, cookies you made, a poem, image or photo, a recording that you love…any offering that helps us, even in the smallest way, to share an experience together. Men can bring it together – no need to go it alone. This session is a great reason to get together with others and work up something to offer.   Yes, offering something is a kind of risk-taking. It’s a way to feel alive and to be in service. Know that the Manology community is a kind and appreciative one, and all offers will be appreciated!!  This session says “We don’t need to consume culture to entertain and enjoy ourselves – we can use a culture of our own creativity!”   Expect fun, surprise and the unexpected!!

 

December 9 – Evaluation, Visioning and Re-gifting – FREE Session
This is a free session – no fees!  We’ll reflect on the fall sessions of Manology we’ve just completed, do an evaluation process, and put some plans in place for things we can do during the spring and summer to keep our circle strong and vibrant. Our process of feedback sessions has been pivotal in making Manology a feedback driven course, continuously reflecting the interests of the men in the circle.   So please come out and share your critical thinking with us.  Even if it is your first session, your opinions and ideas are super welcome!  Our evaluation nights keep Manology relevant, useful and enjoyable for all of us. Please bring along some snacks to share.  AND, please bring along an item or two you no longer need or want that could be useful or enjoyable to other men.  We’ll continue our practice of recycling items we no longer want.

 

 

 

 

 

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