Sunday, 30 November 2014

Boys become men-a Rite of Passage

I just got back from a 'Rite of Passage' event where young men are initiated into the circle of men. No 21st yardglass, no meaningless key to the door that's long been opened, no first beer, no car accident and funeral-no 'self initiation' that is commonplace in this country and the 'civilised world' generally. No, we took boys gently through a loving, supported, but difficult experience that acknowledges their transition from the world of the boy to the world of men.
We acknowledge birth, birthdays that are important, marriage and death. We mark these transitions in rituals built up by our group-our culture.But we have forgotten how to bring girls and boys into the world of women and men. We must therefore journey it alone in confusion and 'hunger games' -like sacrifice to the gods of the marketplace. They show the way. For boys that way is the way of the eternal boy-exterior displays of power over others, bravery and machismo that are rarely felt within as true sources of power, Witness these on the internet and the news media. Uninitiated men look to uninitiated older men, who themselves are still boys, for guidance, reassurance and encouragement acknowledgement and acceptance. They find almost nothing and they become the vacuous spirits of today's men.
Contrast this to the full strata of men being present to the boys dreams, struggles and demons. Contrast this to the honest sharing of stories from the elders and the youngers, themselves ceremonied into the men's circle in earlier ceremonues. Men from 16 to their 70's taking them through a major and difficult mental, emotional and physical challenge that will push them to the limit; but not alone. They will be held in the arms of many fathers (usually with a ratio of 4 men to each boy). These men and boys are taken from their homes and families in ceremony and reality; taken to the place of men and mentored and then returned to the family, the community and the world.
This is no secret handshake ra ra ra funny hats stuff.
It was a moving, powerful, exhausting, exhilarating 5 days. it takes everyone to the edge of their comfort zone. I took a young man through with me-I stood in for his father who was not available. When I first wanted to take my son through this transition I sought knowledge from other cultures who still keep these rites alive. A friend was also looking for something for his son. I was relating our journey to a friend, when he said Oh you mean like Tracks? I said Tracks, whats that? That was the beginning of a connection with an organisation that has been doing these rites of passage for girls and boys for over 10 years. It came from the men's movement- groups of men who freely chose to enter into a hallowed space of shared experience, encouragement, belonging. When I first went with my son to his own rite of passage 5 years ago, my experience of meeting with men was limited, like many men, to the pub, the sports dressing room or clubroom-culturally acceptable ways men tried to get together. I had had some experience, through the Catholic church, of groups of men getting together, but it was always filtered through our shared Christianity and so missing some of the grime and reality of our patchy lives. And not fully concious of the value of men getting together.Or able to accept men regardless of beliefs.So it was with great relief, comfort, grief that I was able to be a part of a group who supported the boys through the transition. I felt great sadness both because of my own extremely poor transition and also for letting go of my son,I found other men with similar stories; some much worse and sadder. How we initiated ourselves then.
My life partner has just returned from a similar journey with our daughter
My hope and dream is realizing this vision for all our youth. It is part of my desire to reform the village with it's humanity and it's sanity!
Pink Transformer by Duncan Hill-a painting about aborted rites of passage and the aftermath
Oil on canvas (for sale POA)
Over the week you notice a change in the young man's way of  what I call 'standing in their own presence'-which is the best way I can describe a certain look in the eye which does not hide itself in the grass, a straightening of stature, a confidence in the voice. you notice a joy and peace that you normally associate with older men.
The organisation Tracks is open to applications to take boys through the Rite of Passage for men, as is its sister organisation, Tides. Check out 

Monday, 24 November 2014

God is a blog

Ive had everything lately
Sneaky and full
of events
There's been opportunities
So much more to do
closer I come

The spider sprinting across the log in the fire
Means it can feel pain
I thought it too small for nerve endings
My impending dont say it

Don't start writing about Death
It makes bad reading

I've had everything lately
It keeps getting better, thats my world
Can't unsee what I've seen
they are still there, as ghosts

Maori, awaken

Just wait until Maori (and other subjucated peoples) wake up from their trance and keep their kids at home and on the land. Bring back their health, abscond from failure that dogs them, take charge of their destinies. Hallelujah for that day! I just saw the current homeschool stats and note that only 7% make up Maori. You'd think it was the ones that it doesn't work for that would wag the system. This taniwha (protective monster) will awaken soon.It will be a marvel to witness.
footnote: Not another white guy telling Maori what to do!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Beware the Opportunity Ghouls, lift your head

Beware the Opportunity Ghouls. They wait in unsuspecting emails, they prowl the empty streets saying "the streets are full and here is the key" that turns out to be a fake cardboard key that wilts in the rain of the tears of my sorrowful culture. Beware the Opportunity Ghouls who do not value what you do but gain your confidence and trust-they have no trust in either you or themselves. They have made this world, yet complain about it.
Instead view everything as a gift from the Beloved (substitute your word for this ). Yes, even your suffering. It is this view that has the joy in it. You create your joy with this view.
Value everything you do, say or think. This is a powerful force that creates worlds. Then, when everyone values themselves and others we will have real opportunities which recognise, support, enrich, create a sense of belonging, meaning, capacity, and power,

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

To vote or not to vote

A friend of mine doesn't vote, citing that voting secedes your ability to be free and instead gives others permission to rule you.. Before this election, many years ago, I have also chosen not to vote, wanting to concentrate my energies into real power and real change. I understood this as the world around me; the people I move with, my 'sphere of influence' so to speak.
Low voter turnout is pandemic in the western world. People keep saying that if only the most affected voted they would institute huge changes for their own benefit. If that were so, why don't we see it happen? We are quick to say voter apathy is the cause, without understanding that that state is almost inevitable. Low voter turnout of the poor and disenfranchised reinforces their belief that this world is not made for them. Synonymously it strengthens the status quo or the majority view (who also surprise surprise happen to be very good voters). Minorities don't do well in elections-a representation in Parliament doesn't stop you from being railroaded by the majority into laws and decisions that are alien to you. Democracy can be a cruel joke-one person one vote- if you are not on the receiving end of society's privileges. You just keep voting or not- and keep losing.
Politics is seen as 'not for me' by non voters. I went to hear Hordur Torafson from Iceland, the country that went from prosperity to ruin during the financial meltdown 2009- 2011.If you remember the people threw out the government literally, by surrounding the buildings and calling for resignation of the whole government.One abiding memory from that talk was that post the 'revolution', people are talking politics, everyone is talking politics!And the politicians know they are watching them. 
I really like that story; political involvement; making sure that politicians do not overstay their mandate to govern. I'm still thinking about my friend, who questions our need for governance at all. I may well head down that road myself. Sure we need to work things out together, but that doesn't imply centralised government. I guess most people want someone who will save them, feed them, give them jobs etc. And then when that inevitably fails- someone to blame. And that in a nutshell may be the foundation of our ghastly reality show we call the elections.