2018 : Schedule and Themes

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

Manology –  Year 10

That’s right!  Fall 2018 marks the 10th year of Manology!  Wow.  Time flies.  It’s been an amazing ride and continues to be, fueled by the dynamic people who show up, the synergies that happen during sessions, and the ever-changing world surrounding us.  We’ll have some serious celebration and acknowledgements of this 10th year in our winter 2019 term.  This fall, courtesy of all of the above, we have an overarching theme for the entire term:

Turbulence . Polarity .. Disintegration … What! Is!! HAPPENING?!?!?
Flagrant abuse of power.  The intensifying polarized conversation about free speech. Rising examples of overt racism and terrorism acts. The now annual summer haze of forest fire smoke across BC. Conflicts about immigration policies.   It really looks like the complex, interlocking layers of rapid change we’ve been told to expect are now more fully presenting themselves. It’s an intense time. This theme seeks both to look at some of these layers and learn more about them, then also offering tools and awareness that can help us respond and navigate the flow of these strong and changing currents.

September 10 – A Changing Climate Changing Us
Facilitator: Kevin Millsip
Smoke filled communities. Forest fires. Heat Waves. Drought. Those are some of the local impacts that are being impacted by climate change and that we’re now seeing in BC. There are other impacts as well, some of which are forecast to become more acute over time.  As we see and feel the impacts of climate change in more visceral ways, how are our thoughts and emotions affected?  What is our response: paralyzed, overwhelmed, grief, angry, galvanized to action, or combinations of all of these?  Might what’s happening be a catalyst for deep and profound change in our communities that we as men can support and nurture?

Through large and small group discussion and reflection we’ll explore and share how we’re navigating our feelings and thoughts about our changing living environment, how we navigate at times a sense of grief and loss, and how we might be able to support our selves, and each other, in walking with a sense of hope and possibility as we live large changes around us.

September 17 – Dialogue not debate: Talking about race, gender (and everything else) and moving people forward together.
Facilitator: Ryan Cho
Issues of race and gender are as relevant to our lives as they have ever been.  The US presidential election and resulting administration brought a lot of these issues to the surface.  Now in the USA and Canada, the division is as obvious as ever, accompanied by the growing presences of the “alt right”, tension around multiculturalism historical monuments and the continued work of people advocating for #IdleNoMore, #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo. Although we recognized these topics as relevant and important, many of us feel ill-equipped to explore or work with these themes in our relationships and lives. This workshop will explore frameworks we can use to facilitate dialogue (not debate) on “edgy” issues and move people forward together based on shared values.

September 24 – Anonymous Question/Statement Night 
Facilitators: John Weiss & David Hatfield

Here we will continue our practice of deep exploration and sharing on this theme of Turbulence, Polarization and Disintegration. During this session we’ll use an experiential method we have never used before: being anonymous! Though a simple idea, this should invite unexpected and new learnings about ourselves and our Manology community.  This session by demand through our on-going feedback and evaluation practices. Thanks for voicing up brothers!

October 1 – Group Process – Topic: Responsibility
Facilitator: David Hatfield
In the face of this moment in human culture, with all our internet based knowledge of history and current stories from around the world, what does responsibility look like? Society’s enduring socialization process for males continues to stress protecting, providing and performing. What should we be doing? What are we doing? What aren’t we doing?  We’ll use group process to explore responsibility.  A group process is a technique used to help a group unfold a conversation to a greater and more dynamic depth, with the humble intention of discovering useful insights and learnings.  It’s one part everyday group conversation and one part unusual methods which combine to invites a diversity of voices and keeps the energies literally moving.  It was introduced into Manology in 2011 and has become deeply valued since.

October 8 – Thanksgiving Holiday, No Manology
There is still so much to be thankful and grateful for in our beautiful, imperfect world.  Manology encourages us all to note all we might have, the people in our lives, the memories we’ve made, and may make still.


October 15 – Money $$$$ – What is our relationship to money?
Facilitator: Neil Ferguson

Our early home environment shaped our outlook and relationship to money. During this session we will look at some of the conscious and unconscious patterns, rules and internal messages that were created around money, particularly from the early years of our life. Together, using inquiry, we will explore how this formed relationship to the impacts that money has: the decisions we make in life, our relationship with others, and our ability to feel free.


October 22 – The Truth Mandala 
Facilitator: David Hatfield 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.

October 29 – 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 have asked for a framework on communication and we’ll begin here. Simple to grasp and 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!

November 5 – The Flying Umbrella: Exploring the Creativity that Connects Us
An All-Genders Session
Facilitators: Ashley Rose and David Hatfield
By demand, Manology men again invite women and all genders/non-gendered people to share and learn together. There was a clear request for this session to be focused on being creative together. We’ll use a great experiential activity called The Flying Umbrella to find our collective story that night. Each person’s voice and spontaneity will help us to discover and shape the story we will weave. Expect a mix of laughter, surprise, meaning and discovery. All are welcome.

What does it mean to be a white person?   November 10 – a full day event. 
Facilitator: David Hatfield
This session is a response to intelligent, soulful and exasperated people of color directly asking white people to gather and look deeply at racism and our involvement in perpetuating it.  At this time in culture, this is obviously important work. Acknowledging that racism is a difficult area to explore, we will use a mix of structured activities and open sharing to look at how our experiences, feelings and thoughts about being white and racism. The intentions of this session are to learn more about how racism works, notice common blind spots and patterns of defensiveness white people often have, and skill build on how we can be better allies to people of color. Together, we’ll be unflinching, honest, courageous and work together.  All Manology men who identify as white are welcome.

AT: Green Thumb Theatre, 5560 McKinnon Street, Vancouver
Pay what you can, suggested fee/sliding scale: $25 – $50.
No one will be turned away for lack of funds!
Proceeds will be donated to Black Lives Matter Vancouver.

November 12 – Remembrance Day – No Manology 
This day is to remember the incredible losses and suffering that war produces and the sacrifices of those Canadians, mostly men, who went willingly went to war.
From the Veterans Affairs Office website:
We must remember. If we do not, the sacrifice of those one hundred thousand Canadian lives will be meaningless. They died for us, for their homes and families and friends, for a collection of traditions they cherished and a future they believed in; they died for Canada. The meaning of their sacrifice rests with our collective national consciousness; our future is their monument

November 19 – How to Not Get Stuck in “Right and Wrong”
Facilitator: David Hatfield
When differences appear so many of us slip, often without noticing, into rigid stances and styles that attempt to define right and wrong. Not far behind are concerns about winning and losing the argument. It’s no wonder this happens as we continue to socialize boys and men to respond to confrontation pretty much in exactly these ways. Here we will explore an utterly different approach, one that helps us let go of rigidity and helps us develop a sense of fluidity, increases our ability to see into other people’s experiences as well as our own. Differences and tensions between people are inevitable, getting stuck isn’t!

November 26 – Games Night 
Facilitator: David Hatfield

Why this? Because sustainable living also recognizes that connection, fun and spontaneity are also primary human needs for everyone! And too many of us don’t just play enough anymore. Let’s have a mess o’ fun! What games? I’m lookin’ for ideas….what do you wanna do? Head outside for some Kick the Can, stay inside for board games from our youth, new games we’ve never tried?


December 3 – 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.

Previous Sessions

Winter 2018

January 8 – First Steps of 2018 
Facilitators: Neil Ferguson and John Weiss
First introduced in 2016, this session produced some great outcomes! So it’s back to start us well here in 2018. Each of our lives is a project, a dream, a vision. And like any project, it needs course corrections from time to time. Using the start of a 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 taking small meaningful achievable steps. What changes would you like to see in yourself not in the coming year, but in the coming week!  A good start for 2018 is the intention here. Leave pencil and paper at home…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.

Theme 1: Unsettled times: looking in, looking out  
Like the natural environment, the human culture heated up a lot in 2017. Long-standing social tensions around race, gender, sexuality, economics and power have flared up considerably. Voices on many sides have become sharper, more public and polarities have been more acute than many of us are accustomed. Let’s look at how we are doing, inside and out.

January 15th – Who Is In? -> Awareness Intensive 
Facilitator: Neil Ferguson

During this session we will have an opportunity to inquire into ourselves using a method of repeating questions. The intention is to explore our inner structures and the personality that was formed at an early age.   Bringing awareness to our subconscious patterns acts as a doorway to increased personal choices in how we respond in life and a greater awareness of who we are in our deepest sense of self, beyond our personality patterns.

January 22 – #MeToo
Facilitator: David Hatfield
A dominant event/story/movement in 2017 and into 2018, the #MeToo phenomenonwe will be our focus this night to share our perspectives.   The #MeToo wave has engulfed some of the most powerful men in politics, entertainment, and media. It has also forced a societal reckoning with the realities of sexuality and workplace cultures, and power relations between genders. How do we respond to the ongoing development and revelations of #metoo? What questions should men be asking themselves? How are men responding, individually and collectively? Please come and be a part of this conversation and share your listening.

January 29 – #MeToo, an all-gender session  
Facilitators: Julie Peters and David Hatfield
By request, Manology again invites women and all-genders/non-genders to join our circle to reflect on the #MeToo movement. We’ll continue our explorations on this topic through a wider diversity of viewpoints.



February 5 – Rank and Power
Facilitators: David Hatfield and John Weiss
Ideas of power and its expression are central to the way boys and men are socialized about gender roles. Generally, males are rewarded for attaining power and punished for not having it. Having a conscious relationship with power is a core aspect of a health male identity. However, like many other aspects of daily life, males have not been given space and encouragement to critically examine power. We’ll use both thought and creativity to examine social, contextual, spiritual and psychological power. We’ll also look at the dynamics of high and low power: the privilege that comes with high power, and how high power can be used for the benefit of others.

February 12 – Family Day
No Manology session.  Enjoy time with family!!!

Theme 2: BAM! Breath, Awareness, Movement 
Manology recognizes that we all have diverse ways of sensing and understanding ourselves and the world around us. Modern life tends to focus on the mind and rational thought. This is useful, but also limited, leaving out the wisdom of the physical body, of intuition, spontaneity and creativity. So this theme offers space and different approaches to help us access different aspects of ourselves, for health, for learning, for healing. We have some very skillful guest facilitators for this theme series. Enjoy!!

February 19 – Breathwork for Stress and Trauma Release 
Facilitators: Prema McKeever and Neil Ferguson
Most of us have experienced emotional or physical trauma on some level, which can restrict our breathing and capacity to feel. The resulting body armoring and muscular tension can endure for years. In this session we will experience Biodynamic Breath & Trauma Release group breathwork session meant to support you to consciously release stress and trauma from your nervous system and live with greater aliveness, freedom and connection to others.

February 26 – Muscle, Bones & Energy 
Facilitator: John Weiss
As men, we are very aware of the energy that goes into getting through life and all its circumstances.  When we overdo it, we suffer and/or we muddle through to complete the task at hand.  This can drain the energy reserves to a point of exhaustion. It doesn’t have to be that way.  Come learn techniques to rejuvenate, revitalize and enhance your energy so that you can do all that you want to do and more!

March 5 – Wisdom of Our Body 
Facilitator: Marlies Dahler
Recently, I heard of someone refer to them-self as “a head on a stick”.  So often we inform our lives with our heads, forgetting the wisdom of our body.  In this session, we will focus on our bodies with movement, awareness and breathe by grounding and centre-ing, coming home to you.




March 12 – Energy, Ideas and Fun Through Clown  
Facilitator: Joe Bickson
What do we think when we hear the word ‘Clown’? In this session we have the opportunity to explore Clown together, as a frame of mind and body that can allow us greater access to – and a more fluid cooperation between – our mental, physical, and emotional selves. Inside of our theme BAM! Breath, Awareness and Movement, this session brings deeper awareness to our perceptions of ourselves, the world and those around us and how those perceptions shape the various ‘masks’ we wear. The session is designed for us to engage in a spirit of play to promote the flow of energy, ideas, and fun!

March 19 – No Mind  
Instructor: Neil Ferguson
Gentlemen, let’s get out of our minds!!  During this session we will have an opportunity to drop out of the habitual patterns of thought and drop into a deeper experience of ourselves. For this process we will use an active, dynamic, movement meditation to connect from active thought into the wisdom of our bodies. This will be done as a 4 stage dynamic meditation rooted in the body.  You will experience a range between very active and very still, where the active stages allow for internal movement of energy and the stillness allows us to feel and experience the unblocking of energy.  It is a highly effective way to unwind and let go.

March 26 – Bring It!! 
Facilitators: Neil Ferguson and John Weiss
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, 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. 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!!

April 9 – Evaluation and Where Do We Go From Here?
Facilitators: John Weiss, Neil Ferguson, David Hatfield
FREE Session
We’ll reflect on the Manology term we’ve just completed, do an evaluation process, and look at where we want to go next!  This process of feedback sessions has been pivotal in making Manology a feedback driven course, continuously reflecting the interests of those involved.  So please come out and share your critical thinking with us, even if you’ve only been once!  It keeps Manology relevant, useful and enjoyable for all of us.










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