Happy Grateful Heart Monday everyone! What I find myself most grateful for as we begin yet another week is a spiritually-centered organization I became a part of back in December of 1999 named The ManKind Project (MKP).
Back in 1999, I was truly broken inside over my father’s suicide that had occurred three years earlier. His sudden death had left me extremely angry and lost in life. Therapy, church, sports, work, medications, you name it, I had tried so many things, hoping each would help me let my father go, but none were able to. I had become so depressed and anxious that I was on the verge of taking my own life.
That’s when a co-worker at a company I was employed at suggested I join him on an upcoming retreat, as he could see how mentally and emotionally sick I had become. When I asked him what this retreat was about, he said it was called the New Warrior Training of The Mankind Project and pointed me to another fellow employee who had already been a part of this organization for some time. When I eventually spoke with this other person, I was told that I could find the healing I was desperately seeking if I went on this retreat. I was skeptical at first because of my total lack of success anywhere else, but when I casually mentioned this retreat to one of my closest friends at the time, I ironically discovered that he too was a part of MKP and how it had changed his life for the better as well. That’s when I made the decision to sign up, because I don’t believe in coincidences. A few weeks later I entered the two-day New Warrior Training retreat with my co-worker fully enveloped in a tremendous amount of fear and doubt. 48 hours later though, I was completely free of all that fear and doubt and had found forgiveness with my father that’s still 100% present with me today. While I won’t spoil the processes I went through to get there, I can say that it was the first retreat I ever was on that didn’t force me to believe anything or do anything I didn’t want to. Instead, it allowed me to establish my own safety and boundaries to work through something I never thought I would or could.
Being a part of MKP didn’t end for me once that initial retreat ended either. Shortly thereafter, I joined what was called an IGroup, which is simply a group of men who too went on the New Warrior Training and chose to continue working on themselves after it by utilizing the processes they learned during it. Since December of 1999, I’ve been a part of a number of them in various cities and continued to use that venue to break through many other blockages that kept me a prisoner just like my Dad’s suicide once did. Blockages like the pain I had from being molested when I was a young kid or the abrupt loss of my mother due to her alcoholism.
In fact, MKP has helped me work through so many blockages that my gratitude runs quite deep for those who created this nonprofit organization. Currently, MKP’s presence can be found in 22 countries, with other 900 IGroup’s, and 60,000-plus training graduates. Recently, I helped to expand that number of IGroup’s by adding one more here in Toledo with six other men. We meet every other week and do deep spiritual work on our lives using processes that 12 Step recovery and therapy and other self-help types of guidance aren’t able to provide.
Nevertheless, while I once judged MKP (like I did with AA at one point as well) to be a cult before I ever really knew anything about it, I’ve discovered how far that was from the truth and have gone on to sponsor many other people over the years to take part in the New Warrior Training and Igroup’s too. Seeing these men spiritually heal and grow from that has brought me an immense amount of gratitude and led me to be extremely grateful for an organization whose only mission is to see broken men find healing and begin to lead lives of integrity, authenticity, and service to others.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson
(NOTE: You can find information about The ManKind Project at http://www.mkp.org and if you are a woman seeking a similar type of organization, please check out The Woman Within at http://www.womanwithin.org)