Later this week I will participate in a men’s retreat, Soultime. It is Friday evening through Monday afternoon, this time with nine men, including myself. This is the fourth time that I have participated.
Soultime works from the simple premise that contemporary men are largely without initiation. I’m not talking refiner’s fire now. There is plenty of challenge in life to be met with various levels of tenacity and endurance. I am talking deliberateness in ceremony and the kinds of together that are about resonance and remembering who we are. Less doing. More being.
There will be food that we prepare together. There will be drumming. There will be singing. There will be story-telling. There will be sharing dreams, both those experienced over the nights and those present in waking life. There will be spontaneous rounds of conversation in circle, moving the inner worlds of each of us to the outer worlds of shared witness.
There is much that I love about Soultime. Foremost among those is that there is something uniquely beautiful and important about men tending to each other. Calling out the experiences that are most sacred, tender, or even unknown. I experience this with many people, men and women, yet, over the last 15 years, this has been particularly valuable with men.
Soultime is, well, for the soul. In the story I tell myself, it isn’t just about us as individuals retreating. There is that. But I like to also believe that in the work we are doing together at Soultime, it is also for a broader group. I don’t make that my focus — I choose to stay in the simple presence of the moment, not thinking it too much. But I’m aware that maybe Soultime is also for men in general, not present for the singing.
Maybe it is an evolving that reclaims what we, both at Soultime and not, need for the next phases of development and maturing in these rather involved and rapidly times.