When Meaning Rests With Us

With so many things CoVid related, circumstances can change multiple times within a half day’s time. So much is fast, yet slow too, as people adapt. I’m home. I’m reaching out to both clients and family with support. I’m writing. “We don’t need to figure it all out; just be with it.” I remind myself.

I’m glad for this poem below by Lionel Philippe, a friend from the Soultime Men’s group gathering Fall 2019. With his permission, I post it below. He wrote it after the three days spent together at Soultime as a group of eleven, among trees.

Because in these days of CoVid change, we should speak of intimacies, and of things that move our hearts, and of meaning that congeals, and rests with us, right?


A Circle of Men
by Lionel Philippe

Eleven men, meeting in a circle, on an island, in the middle of a hut
Brothers, companions, fathers and sons
Story tellers and shamans
Leaders without followers, followers without leaders
Stories of men, shared and held in the presence and silence of men
Delicate tenderness and strength between men
Men at heart and men with heart
Men that love and men that cry
Men that laugh and men that dance
Men that celebrate and men that honor
No first, no last, just a circle of men
The sum of the whole is not equal to the sum of each individual; it is much more
There is an invisible and powerful synergy within this circle that unifies and connect each man
There is something real, special, something magic here
The fuck, the shit, the tears and laughters, the deep and the shallow, everything is there
The silence of men holding the presence of each man
The talking stick holding with reverence our stories, thousands of them
Strong and delicate to our touch, it is moving from one man to the other, being just a witness
It supports each of us in being able to unwrap our stories, our hopes, fears, shames, struggles, anger, laughs, wonders and all the rest.


Utterly Good

There are moments in life, I’m glad, that are mostly beyond words, when the feeling in the belly and heart, is utterly simple and clear and powerful. It is the landscape beyond, as Rumi says, “right-doing and wrong-doing.” I’ve been in this these last several days with the men of Soultime, and with the friendship that is the Comox Valley. I wish that for all of us.


It is
utterly good
to be

the company
of each other.

These friendships
and brothering


There is
an integration
of me
I feel

In Gratitude for Men in Community

I’m coming up from four days in circle with men. It is a retreat called Soultime. Held in the woods of Bowen Island, in a yurt. It is a time to lose ourselves, this time eleven of us, in a mythic story, exploring our learning that connects to that story. It is a time to listen well together, welcoming the unique connecting that men both can do, and need to do. It is a time to be communal, to share the cooking and the cleaning. It is a time to create ritual, to help internalize some of this deep space and invitation of this time together.

Each time I come to Soultime, I feel as though I remember something very important. “Ah, there it is, there is that unique space that so many men crave, that I crave.” Each time I come to Soultime, I remember that men are meant to be together to support each other in some of the basics, and to heal, and to move with a bit more wholeness, and to welcome a transformational way of being. Each time I remember, that men have gifts to be found, some of them, that can only be found in the gratitude of men in community.



On Being Better Humans — With Eric Bowers


Last week I got quite a gift. My friend and colleague Eric Bowers, shown above left on the zoom screen, invited me to an interview for his podcast on The Golden Repair.

Eric is an interesting guy. He’s an artist. A musician. A farmer. A group leader. An author. He plays a mean didgeridoo and guitar. I know Eric primarily through our connection at Soultime, a regular gathering for men’s work and men in community.

Eric recorded the program. The video is a bit wifi-challenged, but is here. If you prefer the audio only, you can download it here.

It’s a gift to be invited to reflect, which is what Eric did with me. I didn’t know the questions in advance, which is really how I prefer it. He surprised me with a few. It’s exciting to me to feel the improv-ness, the in-the-moment-ness of the encounter, the unscriptedness.

This is a long one (54 minutes). With slow-speaking. It covers a lot of territory, including some threads from my growing up years in Edmonton as a sports kid, my years in faith community when I was practicing Mormon. It carries forward to the work I do with groups and some of what I would call the fundamental issues of our times — being better humans, reclaiming an ability to live in the tensions, dislocating certainties, acknowledging the fears of our times, becoming adaptive, recognizing the medicine that men need from men, and sense-making that only comes with community.

It was fun to do, to reflect on these threads of life and work over the years. It’s some of my story, listened out of me in the moment, thanks to Eric.

I hope it might open some of your own reflecting.