Fierce Support Arising from Resistance
by Jon Levitt
I’m celebrating my 24th year anniversary of my initiation this month.
I volunteer with MKP USA as, among many roles, the Organizational Development Lead, and I’m writing about this extraordinary not-for-profit corporation through which so many New Warriors pour so much love into the world in so many forms.
Somewhere in the history of MKP and in the recent history of man the word corporation has become synonymous with the worst of humanity. That’s certainly understandable; recent history offers horrific examples of what a corporation can be at its worst.
Another possibility is that corporation is a form of organization and its healthful impact can be determined, in part, by the level of conscious awareness, engagement and courage applied by the men and women who energize it. Corporation can be an extraordinary catalyst for mission when energized in a good way.
And here is this extraordinary and imperfect not-for-profit corporation in which so many New Warriors pour so much love into the world in so many forms.
Over the years this corporation, first Inner Resource Development Corporation, then New Warrior Network, then the ManKind Project has been the support around which (in addition to the thousands of trainings and integration groups and offerings provided to men) countless mission projects and parallel organizations have been born that offer so much to humanity. With 57,000 men initiated, it’s reasonable to believe we’ve touched a million, if not millions of men, women and children.
I used to project on this corporation and about men who worked to make it better. I’d ask or say to other men, without much thought, “What are those clowns at national doing?!!!!” When I actually took the time to understand what this corporation was about and what it truly needed, I found that way too few men were doing way too much with way too few resources.
So I got involved at the institutional level. But not easily.
First, my love and fierce protection for the work I loved and the Center I helped build had to be expressed and met by another New Warrior with the courage to “stand in” with me in the presence of my challenges and to allow me to open to my own hard earned willingness.
Six years ago Bruce Maxwell came to Philadelphia to present the Stanford Alumni Consulting Team (ACT) findings about MKP. I stood in the room with my arms crossed and objected passionately. I said, “There’s nothing about the soul of this work that has anything to do with that Power Point presentation. Take that thing home.”
Bruce held the space fiercely. I came to see how properly funding essential infrastructure was the only way that the soul that I care so deeply about would have the chance to grow. I have remained engaged at a deep level ever since.
Often, men’s passionate objections, when met with both appreciation and commitment give way to a great fire that serves beyond what seemed possible before.
Sometimes it hurts to love this organization. But if we’re not going to let it wither, then let’s collectively continue to grow. Perhaps that means growing in the awareness of our projections on corporations and on stewardship toward continued health of this corporation we New Warriors call the ManKind Project.
Growing does not mean denial of our objections or our grief as we lean into the awareness that this work must have resource to thrive, but rather that men expand their own capacity to dance in paradox with their objections and their passionate love for themselves our shared work and the planet.
One of the chapters in Robert Bly’s “The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart” is “Loving the World Anyway.” This world that includes the need to have enough resource can be maddening.
Let’s celebrate that some men resent, resist or even vilify the need to raise or give money to what they love. And let’s celebrate that when challenged with love, appreciation, fierceness and respect, some men remain in objection and for others it is a gateway to greater love.
What it takes for this Project to soulfully and consistently serve men around the country and the globe is beyond reason. Nearly every man that has made a financial contribution to membership or fund development is also giving countless volunteer hours while coming up against personal “gut checks,” resistance and shadow and countless questions about balance, family, self-care and more.
It’s not fair that the world and this Project need more than at times it seems it is possible to give, or inspire. It takes the same wildness and edge that is required for initiation into the masculine to meet inner resistance to projection and wound to transcend limitations, personally, in relationship, in circle, and as an institution.
Let’s continue to lean into that edge. Let’s celebrate men at every degree of resistance and willingness around their relationship with corporation and the wisdom of contributing to that corporation properly so it can continue to provide a framework around which more mission happens more often.
Arising from Love, Fire and Gratitude.
MKP USA Development