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14 August 2013
by Michael K Elser
Chairman, MKP USA

Sometimes it is hard to make sense of all the things happening within MKP USA these days – Unification, membership, I-Group focus, Community building, Stewardship Councils – and on and on. 

Today I am on a plane on my way to sit in circle with the men of MKP Colorado to complete the Unification process there.  Last night I was sitting with the men of MKP Metro who voted overwhelmingly to complete the Unification process in the very near future. As the Chairman of MKP USA, I am deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to sit in these powerful circles of men throughout the United States.  There are now 19 Centers in some phase of unification and several others looking to begin. And the question is still asked, “What is unification, membership and all the rest really all about?  Why are we doing all this?”

It is a great question that deserves an answer.
The SHORT answer …

A year or more ago Rich Tosi, Bill Kauth, David Kaar, Jon Levitt, I and others began searching for a mission statement that would better inform our collective decisions and actions; one that would be worthy of who we are and the good we can manifest in the world.  Over that time scores of men have had input and time to chew on the what that mission might look like.

As in so much of what we do, the answer we found came directly from the NWTA.  Specifically we found what we were looking for in the Context Presentation.  You may remember the part that says, “With our wounds healed and our missions of service in focus, we accept our individual and shared responsibility for the future of humanity.”  That statement grew into this mission:
The mission of MKP USA is to create a world where men act on their individual and shared responsibility for the future of humanity by initiating and supporting men on a path of emotional and spiritual awareness and A deepening sense of community.
In other words, we help men GROW UP and WAKE UP so they can STAND UP for a world badly in need of wide awake, grown up men.  While this has not been “officially” adopted by the MKP USA Board of Directors yet, it has become my personal mission as your Chairman of the Board.
We were told by the men of ACT I and ACT II, back in 2009 and 2010, that we would not survive as an organization much less manifest our mission in the world if we did not Unify, become Membership supported and I Group focused.   
So, there is the short answer to “why.” 
If we are to manifest men’s work in the world in a truly meaningful way we must let ourselves be revealed … gold hair and all … and focus on our mission.  we must organize ourselves in a way that frees the passion of men and the power of the work we do.  We must move together in order to create the world we want.  We must ACT on our individual and shared responsibility for the future of humanity.
The REST of the STORY
That was the short answer.  In order to give you a complete answer I need to tell you the “rest of the story.”
I love stories. Myths and stories provide a rich way of understanding the world. Mythopoesis … the transformation of reality through story … is one root of our work. The cultural contexts of stories change, certainly, the details of the story may not reflect our current reality, but I love the process of interpretation. I love the world of metaphor.

Iron Hans

I am sure that every New Warrior Brother remembers the first half of the story of IRON JOHN – or IRON HANS as it is often called.  The Adventurer who accepts the dangers of a mission from the King to enter the dark forest.  The capture of Iron Hans, the young prince’s loss of his golden ball and the escape of Iron Hans with the help of the young prince.  On the NWTA, the story ends with the young prince riding into the forest on the shoulder of Iron Hans so the prince can avoid the beating he will get if he stays.  
This is a story of initiation.  A transformation – moving from one way of being to another.  It is the story of leaving childhood behind and stepping on the path of a man.  It is the story of the beginning of a hard and often dangerous journey toward manifesting emotional and spiritual maturity and living in the sacred masculine.  AND it is only the beginning of the journey.  
There is more to the IRON HANS story. The rest of the tale tells the story of how the boy who entered the forest on the shoulders of the wild man completes the long and often dangerous journey to mature and wise manhood.
MKP USA has been moving through its own initiation process for several years.  ACT I & II warned us that MKP USA must transform itself – move from one way of being as an organization to another way of being – if we are to truly manifest in the world as an organization that “supports men on a path of spiritual and emotional awareness.”  
The Institution called MKP USA is made up of you and me.  We, collectively, are the institution. Over these years MKP USA, this collective of men, has been doing its collective carpet work; facing its collective shadows around money, power, sex, elitism, inclusivity, trust and many more.  The institution continues to do its shadow work every day.  MKP USA has been initiated.  As an organization, we are now living the second half of the story of IRON HANS.
Today, I believe the path to our collective future will be well lit if we listen to and understand the lessons of the SECOND HALF of the story of IRON HANS.  
Here is the REST of the story
Iron Hans places the boy beside the sacred Golden Stream with orders not to allow anything to fall into the water.  However, the prince does not yet have the discipline, maturity, focus and understanding of the importance of mission he needs.  Instead, over the next three days, his finger hurts so he dips it into the water and it turns to gold; distracted by the flashing gold of the fish and snakes in the water he allows a hair from his head to fall in; and finally, he is so absorbed by his own reflection he leans so close his long hair tumbles in and it also turns to gold.  
Banished from the forest by Iron Hans, the boy is ashamed and covers his golden hair with a cap which he vows never to take off.  In his wanderings he is taken in by the king’s cook to tend the kitchen fire.  Through this “ashes work” he learns to accept the discipline and hard work it takes to feed so many hungry mouths.
Circumstances play out that cause him to be banished from the kitchen but he finds work in the royal gardens.  As a gardener he learns patience and gains the wisdom that all of nature grows in the fullness of time and must change from seed to seedling to maturity and harvest with the weather and with seasons.  He learns that without change there is death. And he learns to especially appreciate the delicacy, color and sweet fragrance of the wild flowers.  The seasons come and go.
One day the castle is threatened by an invading army and the king sends out his own army knowing that, while valiant of heart, it is vastly out numbered.  The boy, now a man, wants to go too but is laughed at, for what possibly could an ordinary gardener do.

Finally they give him a crippled old nag which he rides – not into battle but out to the forest for Iron Hans promised his help if the prince called. There he calls on Iron Hans for help.  Iron Hans, seeing new disciple, awareness and maturity in the prince, brings him an Iron stead, an iron suit of armor and a score of iron soldiers. The story of the battle is told:

“When he reached the battlefield, he saw that many of the king’s men had been killed, and it was clear that the rest would soon have to surrender. The prince galloped up with his iron warriors, fell on the enemy like a thunderstorm, and struck down everyone who opposed him.  The enemy troops ran away, but the prince rode after them and pursued them until not a single man was left.  All during the battle, he was filled with a feeling of great calm and satisfaction.  Everything he did was effortless.  His sword seemed light as a twig, and he felt that nothing could touch him.  It was if he was in a sweet dream.”
The king, of course, wants to know who this valiant but unknown warrior was so he decreed that there be a great celebration.  On successive days, Iron Hans gave the  prince a white stead and suite of armor to wear, then a red one and finally a black one however never does the prince reveal himself.   In frustration on the third day the king sends his troops to capture him.  The prince, in an effort to escape, loses his helmet and his golden hair flies free for all too see.  One of the king’s men gets close enough to inflict a wound to his thigh.  
Though he escapes his golden hair has betrayed his identity, for the princess knows that THIS MAN is the man she knows as the royal gardener.  The gardener has now been revealed has the prince that he has truly become.  After years of doing ashes work, more years doing growth work he has shown himself ready to act on his individual and shared responsibility for future of the realm. He is, at last, worthy to take his rightful place as a prince of the kingdom.
The story of IRON HANS can be interpreted as much a story of the journey to mature and responsible organization as it is a journey to mature and responsible manhood.  How could it be otherwise for an organization of New Warrior Brothers.
The time is NOW.  We have done and continue to do our individual and shared ashes work.  It is my belief that our collective growth work is represented in the work of Unification; it is the transformation of MKP USA into a new way of being.  It is my belief that membership is the way each of us declares our intention and commitment to building Communities of men in I-groups doing work of individual and shared mission.
So, let’s build an organization that manifests and supports mature and awake masculinity.  Lets build a united organization that supports every man in doing his personal work and creating the reality of his individual mission.  Lets build an organization that transcends and includes all if its parts and provides the vehicle for all of us to act on our shared responsibility for the future of humanity.  If we move together; if we are united in our work; if we understand and act on our individual and shared responsibility, we will succeed.
I believe that we, the men of MKP USA, are ready to collectively be revealed; that it is time to grow up and accept the responsibility of building a mature and capable organization worthy of our mission; and that it is time to wake up to the opportunity to manifest men’s work in the world. Many have been seeing our “golden hair,” as we have been out in the world doing our work. We’ve been revealed, maybe it’s time to breathe in, and keep showing up.  
THAT, my brothers, is “the rest of the story”. It can be the story of the NEXT 25 years.  It can be the story of an organization of New Warrior Brothers that dares to dream of a million men sitting together in powerful circles; it can be the story of me initiating and supporting men on a path of spiritual and emotional awareness and deepening sense of community. It can be our collective story of transformation to a new way of being.
That is the context that makes sense of all the different things happening in MKP USA these days.  I am deeply grateful to be a part of such an adventure and it brings me joy to see it happen.  
Blessings on our journey together.
Soaring Eagle


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