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Newsletter Vol. 2
Have you ever had something on the back of your head that just bothered you, itched you or was painful to you? Have you ever tried to see what it was in the mirror? I have and it is impossible with one mirror. I have even gotten a handheld mirror and stood next to 2 stationary mirrors hoping to get a clear view of what my irritation was with little success. For all practical purposes this is a “blind spot” to me.
Well as it happens, a few years ago I went to a Da Vinci exhibit in San Francisco. At this exhibit were replicas of Da Vinci’s many inventions. Most of the inventions were geared towards war craft and weaponry. There were also a great many tools for making work easier. There were also some weird things that I did not expect like underwater breathing apparatuses and many things that seemed far ahead of their time. One of these was called the “Room of Mirrors”.
I entered the room not knowing what to expect. It was a circular room about 12 to 15 feet in diameter. There were 9 mirrors all facing the center of room, so as long as you were not pressed right up against 1 mirror you could see reflections of yourself from 360 degrees. Standing still and without moving my head, every angle of me was reflected back to me. At that moment I realized this was a symbol and God was using this to reveal a deeper truth. For Da Vinci was revealing to me my “blind spot” and those sides of me that I just don’t see clearly or even bother to look at.
I think one of the great paradoxes of life is this: A person should know themselves better than anyone else knows them. And while this is probably true for any normal, self-aware person. There remains area’s with the majority of people I know, where they just don’t see certain things about themselves, even though it is plane as day to those around them. When you try to discuss some of these area’s with a person they become very uncomfortable too. It’s as if they are standing on ice or in a fog.
In our mens group we call these the “blind spots”. These are the areas we may never see about ourselves unless we get into a “Room of Mirrors”. Not Da Vincis room but a place where people can listen to us and “mirror” back things we are saying and doing. These are the areas of life where I believe we need help from others. We can’t do it alone. Life is meant to be lived with the help and support from others. Scriptures are full of “one another’s”. Love one another, encourage one another, support one another, share with one another etc.. We all need help from others. In Alcoholics Anonymous every member is strongly encouraged to get a sponsor. Preferably someone older who has experienced life because the tendency of our ego is to deceive us and keep us believing we are what we are not. The true self vs false self. In Men as Learners and Elders we are encouraged to step into the Journey of Illumination. The JOI has a list of suggested practices with getting into a small groups and going to see a spiritual director being 2. Talking to people who are outside of us and our circumstances and who can see us with a clear eye and listen to us with fresh ears is an essential part of the JOI. Even professional athletes get coaches or personal trainers because being on the outside they can see things the athlete can not see from the inside.
But as I said, the “Room of Mirror’s” to me seemed quite symbolic to me. Seeing every angle even in the “blind spot”. As a participant of men’s small groups and church small groups for about 30 years now I believe that this is where the rubber meets the road for me and my beliefs. It’s easy to hide in church or at large meetings or formal speaking engagements but it is quite difficult to hide in a small group. So at first it is scary to share and expose ourselves. Then it is liberating to realize that you don’t have to hide. Then after a time it may get difficult again. Looking at “blind spots’, standing on the slippery surface and maneuvering in the fog is hard work. But again this for me has lead to more liberation.
So what constitutes a small group? Again for me the symbolism of 9 mirrors is significant because from my experience if a small group gets bigger than 9 then it becomes counterproductive. A group of 2 is small but that only offers a mirroring from one angle. I have found group of 5-8 to be very dynamic at times. What works for you might be different. Small groups are usually less than perfect and vary in size. Only once in my life have I ever stepped into Da Vinci’s room of mirrors which offered the perfect reflections at just the right angles.
by Gary Kalus
There once was a man who had a great fear of the Monterey Bay. To overcome his fear of not only was the size and depth but also the unknowable mysteries of the deep, he decided to move to Monterey Bay to study the bay. He went every day for months and collected the water and specimens at different depths and locations to get a complete composite of the bay and everything that was in the water. He stored the water he collected in massive tanks aboard a large ship. On shore at his laboratory he began his in-depth studied of the water with all levels of scientific disciplines. After 20 years of study and with the certainty of his knowledge and empirical proof of what the Bay contained he went swimming and was consumed by a whale.
Sometimes the pragmatic empirical certainties we believe in cannot hold the complete mystery that seems to be out there.
Could it be that the collected water is like the Word of God, the Bible, and the mysterious whale is like God, not will to be caught by any of our knowledge but only to consume us when we go swimming in the Living Water of the Bay?
Get out of your laboratory and swim.
Events in Northern California
Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011
Men’s Community Building Workshop
9:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Location: CityTeam Recovery Center
Street: 580 Charles Street
City/State/Zip: San Jose, CA 95112
Lunch included Donation: $15 at the Door
Regional Meeting will be from 9:00AM - 11:30AM. The afernoon will be for the Community Building Workshop.
Hermie Smit will present the principles of building men’s communities. He will go over how he has started his own network of churches and has grown to over 300 churches. Our goal for this workshop is to introduce a concept of how to planting men's communities in our local communities even if you are the only man in your community that is interested in starting a men's group.
Please Register if you plan to be at this Training (Click Here)
Aug 17, 2012 - Aug 19, 2012
FIRMing Aug 17 - 19, 2012 in Northern California
The FIRMing sponsored by Nor Cal MALE’s will be held at Camp Tamarack which is located at an elevation of 7,500 feet in the Sierra National Forest, it is conveniently located between the Kaiser and Dinkey Lakes Wilderness Areas. Camp Tamarack, a rustic and beautiful site situated on Forest Service land, has a meadow and creek running beside camp. Near Shaver Lake, Camp Tamarack is 60 miles northeast of Fresno and is completely remote. There is no electricity - However, there is gas refrigeration, the centrally located restrooms have hot showers, and the lodge has solar lighting.
Jim Taylor from Texas will be the weaver for this event. Because of the size of the camp there is limited space for 50 men who will be doing the FIRMing.
If you have any desire of going to this event we want to encourage you to register early to ensure you have reserve a place. Please provide the information below to being the registration process. Upon completion of registration you will begin to receive information to prepare you for this next Right of Passage.
This FIRMing is sponsored by Nor Cal MALE's
May 09, 2012 - May 13, 2012
MROP, Julian, CA - May 9 – 13, 2012
Jim Taylor from Texas will be leading Southern California’s to be held at Camp Cedar Glen in Julian. The Camp Cedar Glen is located in the Cleveland National Forest area near the historical town of Julian, For detailed information about this site go to www.campcedarglen.org.
This MROP is sponsored by So Cal MALE's
Spanish Speaking MROP - Oct 2012
More details to come when the exact dates and facility is selected. This event will be sponored by So Cal MALE's
Please forward this newsletter alone to anyone who might fine interest in it
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The men at Nor Cal MALEs and So Cal MALEs wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
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