Welcome to today’s Grateful Heart Monday, which for today I wanted to share my gratitude for the Mankind Project (MKP) men’s group I remain a part of here in Toledo, The Brothers Of The Black Swamp, a group that continues to both bring positive challenges and great blessings upon my spiritual journey in life.
When I joined MKP well over 20 years ago now after going through the New Warrior Training weekend, I delved into the group work that came afterwards, where a man had the option to continue going deeper into their life’s work by becoming involved in something called an I-Group. Ever since, I’ve had the pleasure of sitting amongst men in a number of these groups in each of the areas I’ve lived in, developing closer bonds to men, breaking through blockages within me, and rising to higher levels of strength, leadership, and loving connection in my life.
Presently, I am an active member of The Brothers Of The Black Swamp I-Group, which presently consists of eight individuals. We began this group almost four years ago now in Toledo because there weren’t any active I-Groups in this area for MKP brothers to be a part of. Our group has evolved quite a bit ever since, having several original members leave and some new ones arrive, having gone on two bonding retreats together, and having spent every other Tuesday utilizing the tools MKP taught us to better ourselves in life.
What I truly treasure the most about my present I-Group is the willingness of each man there to continue showing up, no matter what struggles they are facing within themselves and their lives. Far too often in life, I’ve seen people often make excuses to not show up for the I-groups they were a part of, which only ended up hurting both themselves, for the potential work they could have done on themselves, and the group itself, for any benefit they may have brought the group. While our group may be small compared to some others I’ve been a part of, we sure do have a big strength, like I witnessed in a recent Saturday occurrence of our meeting.
While tensions flared at times during that meeting, all of us worked together on some difficult issues we were facing, including cancelling what would have been our third annual retreat and re-declaring our commitment to the group itself. I’m so grateful to say that by the time the meeting ended, I felt nothing but love for each of the men there, something I haven’t always felt in many of the I-groups I’ve been a part of since I began my journey with MKP.
Indeed, each of the men in The Brothers Of The Black Swamp are uniquely different from each other, with varying belief systems, ideals, and the like. Yet the one thing I am thankful to say we all have in common, that I’ve witnessed time and time again, is our desire to deeper our brotherhood with each other, to work through our differences, and grow in connection as a result.
The fact is, every I-Group I’ve ever been a part of has become a blessings upon my life on some level, usually after working through a number of challenges to my ego in many of those meetings. The Brothers Of The Black Swamp continues to prove that to be true as well and is the very reason why I not only remain a part of this amazing group of men, but also with MKP in general.
Thank you, The Brothers Of The Black Swamp for continuing to work on not only your own journeys of spiritual growth, but help me with mine as well. I love you all for that and dedicate today’s Grateful Heart Monday entry to our amazing group of men! Aho!
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson