Hi everybody! My name is Dave Klaus, and I initiated with The ManKind Project in June 2010 in Northern California.

It is now my distinct honor and privilege to manage this newsletter, which means I will be broadcasting two times a month, and following in the very large footsteps of Matt Kelly and before him Chris Kyle.

I will do more of an introduction of myself in the coming months, but for now I will cut to the chase.

My mission in this newsletter is to tend an on-going conversation around the ideas of purpose and mission and making a positive difference in this world.

To carry my end of the conversation, I intend to share deeply and honestly and completely. I will always share from my heart, taking risks, and will in turn listen intently to what you all have to say in return.

You can always just hit reply and tell me what you think, and I absolutely hope you do! (When you do, please let me know if I have permission to quote you, and if you want to be named!)

So here goes: my first public trust fall into the arms of 4000 subscribers!

I am feeling joy and fear and my heart is beating fast!

Here I go: FALLING!!!!!

From the Department of Falling

Throughout my life, even in the skeptical cynical years, my two greatest teachers have been the Buddha and Jesus.

They both pointed to the present moment as the big prize, the pearl of great price, but they came at it from different directions.

Buddha urged us to look within, to find the universal commonality that underlies the material-earth plain, and then to look out to see that loving clear present heart mind in all beings: to embrace and love the all: the one.

On the other hand, Jesus exhorted us to look out, to let go of our judgments, our barriers, our separation, to love and forgive our brothers and sisters unconditionally, as God, the “I am” does. And then to bring that same forgiveness and love to ourselves: to heal ourselves.

The outcome is the same: the kingdom of heaven is the unborn is the change of mind (metanoia) that brings peace and expansive joy.

And it is all available right now in this present moment.

For me, loving myself has surely been the greater challenge, for no one has been as intolerant of me as I have.

Last weekend, as I was staffing another extraordinary adventure with The ManKind Project/ ManKind Project – Northern California Community, I managed to dig even deeper in my leadership and my trust by allowing myself to really feel the unconditional love and support of my brothers.

The interesting thing is that while I have “known” this love to be true and present for years, this weekend I really felt it in my body.

What has often held me back in my life is my fear that if I am not perfect, if I make a mistake, or hit an off-note, or just plain blow it, that people won’t love me as much.

This is an old fear, and arises from my youthful “shadow” belief that I am inherently not good enough, and therefore I must earn love and respect by doing Everything and Doing It Well.

(And, to be fair, as well as costing me at times, like all shadow beliefs this one has also been a gift by spurring me to accomplish a lot too… more on that later.)

When I am in this mode of being perfect, I tend to get quiet and play small, relentlessly pre-editing my words sometimes clenching up when there is an opportunity to share my gold.

I have been looking at this tendency closely in recent months, and doing work with my Igroup men’s circle, as well as my mentor and my coach to see what lies underneath.

To my delight, last weekend I allowed myself to really feel how much these men on the weekend loved me and supported me. This embodied feeling made it safe for me to really be me.

In a sense, the whole weekend was a big old Trust Fall into the arms of my brothers (just like this first newsletter post.)

The impact was profound: I felt at ease in the circle and found myself chipping in with useful comments and observations without the fear that can hold me back. I showed up well in all my processes, moving through the nervousness and fear than can come up for me.

I was able to settle into true leadership rather than “leadering”.

And, I was able for the first time to really understand the closing lines from one of my own poems:

“Falling is the beginning of flight”

A few questions for you the readers: Where do you trust in your life? Where are you willing to be caught? Where does the resistance come? And what is on the other side of that resistance?

Thank you all! I am so grateful to have this opportunity!

Dave Klaus

King Bee, Fire-Tender