Phase 1 - A tidal wave of energy hit Vancouver a few years back, it was men waking up to their issues, and the deep mythic aspects of their masculinity. A group of men woke up, with the help of teachers like Robert Bly and Michael Meade, and started on a journey of self-discovery. They said, 'why don't we bring these guys to town?'; and they did, and they made a bunch of cash, because this was something new and exciting for men, who came along in droves. And they said 'hey let's put a magazine together', and they did, and it won awards. But over time, the men stopped coming to the workshops, and they didn't make any more money, and the money they'd made had all been spent on the magazine, and it all just started to dwindle away.
Phase 2 - In the trough of that wave of energy, a few guys had started to see that there were other important things that Vancouver MEN were doing, and it would be a shame to lose them, and it didn't take much cash, just a whole bunch of effort. So the Wisdom Council found a new leader, and some new guys came along to keep up with the formation of men's groups, and some more said they would put time in on the board, and try to help things along.
Phase 3 - We started to expand, and add new things to what we'd done before, not letting the changes and disappointments get to us too much (some of the older guys still hanker after the good old days - 'bring back old yeller' they say, not realising he's dead and buried). Here are some of the things the current Board of Directors have created.
John O'Sullivan - Past President - has started the Speakers Bureau, and the Speaker Series, where we invite local leaders/counsellors/experts in to an open meeting to inform and guide our members. He's also made appearances on national TV and local radio in Vancouver, promoting our cause and men's work/issues. He also co-founded our first men's and women's talking circle.
Ken Dent - Treasurer - keeping a tight rein on our finances - ably assisting with promotions and soothing our sometimes troubled waters with his doctor's skills, insights and witch-doctor charms.
Tony Smith - Newsletter Editor - created it from scratch to produce an effective and professional looking journal, that helps build our membership and allows us to stay connected. He also created our web-page from scratch, allowing other groups around the world to become aware of us and seek out our 'expertise'.
Ed Gabriel & Godfrey Levy - Phone Line and Group Coordinators - Our front line men, the human face of our organization. Ed has personally liaised with almost all the men who've contacted us, and personally help set up groups, to the extent of combing the local beaches to find an appropriate talking stick, that he began carving for each group, and delivered at the first meeting of each group which he helped to get going.
Felix Markevicius - that's me - I like to write things down, this handbook, another second handbook for men's groups, focusing on men's issues and group dynamics, not to mention our brochures and reams of poetry I sometimes get to read at meetings.
I have an idea this thing is going to be big, it's just about putting the bits and pieces into place. If you are reading this, you may well be part of what it becomes. It all starts with men like those named above, who are willing to make a contribution. Are you? A man does not stand alone when he comes from his heart.
This handbook is dedicated to the dream of what might be, as we reach out our hands, brother to brother.