MAY WE INTRODUCE OURSELVES?
ON THE COMMON GROUND is a non-organization for men in New York City. It is dedicated to the work about men and for men inspired by Robert Bly and other leaders of the Men's Movement. All of our activities focus on that purpose.
We understand the Men's Movement to center on three fundamental conceptions. First, it is a call to individual authenticity, asking me to face the questions of my own male identity with uncompromising honesty. At bottom, I am the only definition of my own manhood. And I must discover who I am.
Second, the Men's Movement maintains that I may best work on the life-long quest to discover who I am, by being in the closest possible touch with my brothers. I am not a man alone. I am a man with others. In and of itself, the process of discovering my relationship to other men contributes to my becoming myself.
Finally, the discovery of my authentic self leads me to a richer, fuller relationship with women, children, the animals, and the good, old earth itself. I do not heal alone. I heal by healing. I am my most self-ish when I live out my bond with you.
After that, all else is variable detail (despite the arrant nonsense foisted on us by the media). Men's Groups, drumming, sweat lodges, poetry circles, wilderness retreats, running naked, therapy, or anything else -- all are tools to serve the basic goals.
If it works for me, I use it. If it doesn't, I don't. If, for example, there is great bodily wisdom buried for me in the ancient stories from humanity's past, I'm well advised to pay heed. No way to be dogmatic about that, however. And certainly, there is no dogmatic prescription about how manhood can be defined.
PATHWAYS FOR A MAN
THE PATHWAY MEETING
ON THE COMMON GROUND'S PATHWAY MEETING is designed to meet several very important needs in the area of Men's Work.
At one time or another, many of us may have benefited from a five or ten day retreat, or a week-end workshop. These are often powerful. But they also require a fair outlay of money, a schedule that can be accommodated to them, and the presence of special leaders. In effect, relying on them alone severely limits access to Men's Work for many men.
The Pathway Booklet created for the PATHWAY MEETING aims to provide a gentle guide to in depth Men's Work by suggesting specific areas men may look into for themselves. It is based on Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey of every soul. It offers a series of specific CHALLENGES we men may meet in order to find our own authentic responses to them in our own lives. We believe it's an answer to the question: "What do I do after I've read Iron John?"
The PATHWAY MEETING lasts two hours. It provides a safe, receptive format for men to meet together to respond to the CHALLENGE presented. Above all, it's accessible at home, right here in town. It's constantly available (right now, every other week -- but tomorrow, the world!). It requires no special leader. It's cheap -- and can be afforded by all men.
ON THE COMMON GROUND believes these Meetings provide a steady heart beat of accessible Men's Work that we men can continuously work on together. We believe this personal work, done individually and together, is what calls to our souls. It is the white hot center from which men may first of all nurture themselves. And while doing that, we will be filled enough to nurture our brothers, our sisters, the animals, and all the earth.
We would be delighted to respond to any questions you might have concerning THE PATHWAYS. We would be delighted to have you, or anyone you recommend, join us on THE PATHWAYS!
© copyright 2002 Men On The Common