Masculinity-Movies blog

Morten Hake summit 2010

posted by Eivind on September 19, 2010, at 11:24 pm

The young and brave Morten

A few days ago, my friend Patrick Timmermans contacted me and asked me if I could help a tantra teacher called Sasha Cobra Tantra get connected in Norway. It turns out that Sasha works specifically with men and on the front of Sasha’s webpage, I read the words “resurrecting men as initiators, protectors and warriors of truth”. I was immediately drawn to that because it’s so closely aligned with my own personal process right now and the process I see that we need so desperately as a culture.

I put the words in context, through my own personal journey, with the image that Robert Bly paints of the boy who has to steal the key to the Wild Man’s cage from under his mother’s pillow in the fairy tale Iron John. That metaphor from the fairy tales has taken on new relevance for me personally lately. I thought I had stolen all of that key, but it appears I have not. That’s becoming painfully clear now. And while I think that a man ultimately needs another man for true initiation (a woman cannot teach us to steal the key from under our mother’s pillow), I’m very curious to learn more about her ideas.

Sasha and I exchanged some words on Facebook and it turned out she was here in Oslo for some kind of self help conference for guys. I was surprised to hear that because I thought I was fairly well connected in the networks where information of events like this is spread. The conference was called the Morten Hake summit 2010 at which I went “Huh?” But when the opportunity to experience a conference in a community which to me is unknown where men (and indeed women) go to better themselves, I simply had to go check it out.

I ended up at a seminar hosted by the 23-year old Morten Hake. That he has the balls to pull together something like this at such an early age is very impressive indeed. He is way ahead of where I was at that age. And in hosting a seminar this size, he is way ahead of me at my current age in the seminar production arena. He is a brave young man this Morten Hake. Ambitious too and with a vision, as I understood it, of restoring healthy relations between men and women in our society. I can’t argue with him on that one – it’s important work and I’m just thrilled that such a young guy decides to take charge, power up his King archetype and gather momentum in this socio-cultural transition into an era where we can thrive as man and woman in a world gone beyond gender wars and pettiness.

It was real interesting to me to see how young the audience was. Most of the guys were 20-somethings. There were some women/girls in attendance as well, but by and large this was an event for guys. I realize now that the subculture/community I just had a brief encounter with is a totally different group of people to the circles I normally move in and that getting good with women is the one thing that can get these young guys to gather in the spirit of self-improvement. I was really glad I was there to have that experience. And to boot, I found all the presenters to be sympathetic and thoughtful individuals, though I did sense a little bit of posturing with a couple of them (we all have our insecurities, it makes us human). There were some truly evolved dudes there too though, from which I had much to learn. In conversations with many of them, I discovered they were genuine guys who wanted to better themselves. And also in conversations with audience members, several of my preconceptions of what I would have previousy labelled the PUA subculture were dispelled.

Turns out you can’t really call it that anymore though. At least not this seminar. This was not so much about pickup as it was about success in life as a whole. And dare I say it, at least with some of the guys, about spirituality and love. That resonates really strongly with me. And I must admit it was fun to meet some of the guys whose names I keep seeing on newsletters that arrive in my inbox: Scott McKay, Orlando Owen, Rob Brinded and Alex May to name but a few. I also met some good guys from the Norwegian dating and relationship coaching community. Gathered around a table with all these guys who were working enthusiastically on self-improvement at the end of the night was something I thoroughly enjoyed. Everyone who wants to better themselves and become a force of service in the world is a friend of mine.

So all in all, this day widened my horizon considerably. I was heartened to see all the men who wanted to better themselves and feel hopeful that this community can produce some genuinely positive results in the time to come. I will definitely keep an eye on them. Who knows, maybe I’ll even study with one of these guys eventually. They have a lot of expertise in their respective fields and some if it – if not most of it – is really good stuff. Stuff I should learn.

Heroes of the Blue Sky Rebellion

posted by Eivind on September 13, 2010, at 7:43 pm

About a month ago, a man named Jack Kammer contacted me through this website. Turns out that Rick Belden had told him about Masculinity Movies and since Rick figured we’d have a thing or two to talk about, he put us in touch. Jack and I exchanged some words which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was delighted by his subsequent eagerness to send me his book for free (this is one of the perks of running a website like this – people send me free stuff).

Heroes of the Blue Sky Rebellion by Jack Kammer (click to buy)

His book is based on the premise that boys today are in serious trouble and that they are off to a bad start in life due to inhospitable socio-cultural conditions. Since very few mature men are stepping forward to deal with the situation, Jack suggests that the boys need to start their own rebellion. Heroes of the Blue Sky Rebellion is a guidebook for those boys.

I must admit to having been somewhat leery of this concept, for it reminds me of what Robert Moore refers to as pseudo-initiation. The idea behind this concept is that boys can not initiate their peers into manhood. Such a boy merely ends up as an adolescent, a pseudo-initiated male with more aggression and less self-love than we would expect from a mature man. Robert Moore suggests that for a boy to become a man, he needs the presence of a true elder. I communicated with Jack about this and he relayed his experience from doing men’s work for some 30 years from which I understood that the men of society simply aren’t showing up to rectify the situation. So this was his answer.

Having read through it, I realize that the book will actually help. Jack keeps reminding the reader, hopefully a passionate boy, that he is one of the good guys and that his task is to take the situation into his own hands by finding allies, be they peers, girls or older men, to foster a positive change. He gives the reader a field manual on how to defend himself from all the small-minded, ill-willed nonsense that many boys who stand up for their own rights are faced with. There is an army of people prepared to shame, ridicule and vilify these young individuals were they to go public with these controversial ideas. Jack has some answers for these boys.

All in all, Jack’s work is well researched (with 150 of footnotes) and presents a picture that is hard to argue with. Reading the book, I was reminded of the work of my friend Pelle Billing. It describes a tragic situation, one that I hope will soon change through the work of passionate men across the globe. Are you prepared to be one of those men?

Jack told me that the book has sadly not reached its audience. Here’s to hoping that this review will help rectify that situation somewhat.

Buy Heroes of the Blue Sky Rebellion

More about the book

Enjoying the Feminine

posted by Eivind on September 10, 2010, at 11:00 pm

I realized something today: The deeper I touch down in my own mature masculinity, the more awestruck and mystified I am by the Feminine. I have moved from thinking I could figure women out to realizing I don’t want to. In all their infinite complexity, chaos and delight, I’d rather just enjoy the mystery they represent. I found this quite liberating.

MM LIVE #3: A Gathering of Men

posted by Eivind on September 9, 2010, at 1:59 pm

Participants at Masculinity Movies LIVE #3

When hosting Masculinity Movies LIVE #3 on Friday September 3, I had just returned from a really intensive one week taiji retreat in an Italian monastery. I was beat and very happy that I had invited my close friend Pål Christian Buntz to hold the space with me (I may not have managed to do it on my own). The smallest group yet, it also turned into perhaps the most intimate group yet, with – as far as I can tell – all six of us being very inspired and nourished by the compassion and wisdom of the ever-brilliant Robert Bly.

A Gathering of Men is a truly amazing glance into the life, work and world of this beacon of the men’s movement. The golden nuggets abound and virtually everything Robert Bly says is like nectar to me. After watching the movie and letting it sink in a little, we re-opened the circle where we focused mainly on the father-son relationship.

I personally got the insight that I want to ask my father how he wanted to father me when I was little. It’s so easy to get stuck on how we wanted our fathers to be there for us us. But when we get to a certain age and we are looking to find our peace with the past, present and future of relating to dad, we may find increased compassion for him by realizing that in growing into an individual with our own hopes and dreams, we may have turned into a different person than the one he dreamed of when he held our infant body in his arms. Maybe some of his dreams were shattered along the way? And then we spend the rest of our lives being mad at him for not being the father we wanted him to be? Turning into a truly mature man may involve having to forgive our father and to meet him where he is – with all his flaws.

Robert Bly talks in the movie about how he didn’t include his father in his poems before he was about 46 or so. And that until that time, other men didn’t trust him. There seems to be something important here – that in getting closer to our fathers, we become more trustworthy, powerful, loving and integrated men. Says Robert Bly in one of the poems that he reads in the movie:

When you light the lamp you will see him.
he sits there behind the door….
the eyebrows so heavy,
the forehead so light….
lonely in his whole body,
waiting for you.

Our fathers waiting for us, having been victims of shattered dreams and the conspiracy that we start with our mothers against him. There is so much gold to be mined from the work of Bly and the consensus was that the movie was pretty amazing. I also want to point out that Robert Bly is not a man that makes men ascend on some lovey-dovey new age trip. No, he takes us into the dark corners of our psyche where demons and orphaned boys linger in shadows. If you are willing to go there with him – as we did this evening – you will come back a more integrated and powerful man. For as Robert Bly emphasizes in the movie – fully mature manhood comes on the other side of grief. We got to walk the path of ashes. And I’m glad we have Brothers on the path to make that journey survivable.

Thanks for coming guys, it was a great evening.

Watch A Gathering of Men

Five awesome days in Prague

posted by Eivind on September 4, 2010, at 3:56 pm

Eivind, Peter and Pelle in front of the Charles Bridge

I spent five days in Prague in the latter parts of August. Every three months, I meet up with my friends Peter Kessels and Pelle Billing somewhere in Europe. We support each other in going deeper with our own personal life processes,  actively build brotherhood, challenge each other to greater consciousness and generally have a good time.

None of us had been to Prague before and we all bloody loved the place. Amazing city. So much culture and history. It is a felt sense, quite unlike anything I can feel here in Oslo. The place was full of beautiful women too. I don’t know if they were tourists or Czech, but the ones we did go deeper with were natives. There was this lovely blonde in a slick book bar one night that I was very attracted to (and the feeling appeared to be deeply mutual), though I decided to stay committed to the brotherhood-building. I only half regret it… I really enjoyed feeling her open up with me and start playing with her hair as she looked into my eyes with increasing surrender. Women are a blessing..!

Two main challenges (these are the ones I’m currently present to at least) crystallized over these days for all three of us: Our relating with women and maintaining consciousness. I had some great experiences just pushing my edge on how I communicate with women and I feel very inspired about my future relations with women now. I’m only starting to realize what is possible. And I also realize how great it is to have Brothers around me when doing this sort of work. It’s easy to chicken out when I go it alone.

With regards to the consciousness…it was slipping at times. Here are these three deeply committed and resourceful guys and when not even we can maintain full consciousness, how can we expect your average Joe to do it? I realized that for me, when consciousness is dropping, I just start getting really frustrated. I feel it happening, but don’t always know how to course correct. I have realized lately that one way of addressing lapses in consciousness is to say something a bit “out there” to jolt myself back into it. My experience tells me it normally jolts people around me back into consciousness as well, provided they are reasonably mature human beings (guys who haven’t done the work can get defensive). One day we were walking along one of the main roads along the Vltava river and I felt incredibly frustrated. I expressed with some force “so guys, are we going to have fun tonight or are we going to keep having a shit time like we are now?”. That worked. From there on out, it was anything but shit.

We established a “War Room” in the flat where we did all the deep processing stuff. I also got to do a live presentation of the KWML archetypes there, further developing my platform for presenting them to you in the time to come. It was powerful to dedicate a room to inner work like that. It became our ritual space. And if it is true that men only grow in ritual space as Robert Moore suggests, it was a great boon to have that space so readily available.

I’m so grateful for the brotherhood I share with Peter and Pelle and realize that any kind of real progress would be almost impossible for me at this point in my life were I not to have these sorts of potent relationships with men. The difference between having committed and inspired friends and having distracted, apathetic and confused friends is like night and day.

If there is only one thing I could advice men who wish to grow to look at, it’s their relationships with their closest male friends. Without these potent friendships, we will never even come close to our potential.

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