I don't mean, though, to diminish the contribution I was able to make. Learning and teaching often happen at precisely the same moment, and I believe strongly in that old adage, that we only teach what it is we need to learn. Because there is so much potential for chaos when more than sixty men come together, each with their own beliefs and needs, their own power and their own magnificent potential, there is huge risk and huge possibility, both of which are needed to create the opportunity for transformation. The magic for me personally was the realization that confusion transforms into clarity.
What I have come to understand is that these weekends, magical as they are, offer each participant the opportunity for true transformation, and that virtually every man finds it in his own way. I have been privileged, these past fifteen years since my initial involvement, to watch men of all professions, all ages, all religions, all sexual orientations and all races come to their own moment of transformation, and each one of them has been my teacher. I feel enormous gratitude for having found the path to a place where I am always able to take a good look at where I stand at this moment in my life, and to help make it possible for others to do the same.
One of the recurring motifs I heard this past weekend was the injunction to wake up. And, yes, it's all about consciousness. It's about being conscious of those reactive patterns and emotions (shadows!) that can control our lives when we are not aware of them and how they work, it's about being conscious in our relationships with those we love; it's about being conscious in our actions, and conscious of their results; it's about being conscious of our sense of purpose, of what--as I like to say--we were "given to do" with our lives.
I don't know about you, but I slip up all the time. I drop easily into the grip of unconscious reaction, even though I have the tools and the knowledge to avoid it. I guess--I hope!--that makes me human. Perhaps what I learned will help prevent me in the future from taking on too much and creating confusion. Or perhaps it will simply help me recognize it sooner!