A 5 Day retreat for men 22nd – 26th June 2022
It’s so easy as men to live in our comfort zones. Even within increasingly hectic lifestyles that cram in too much, there is no time to slow down. Men often neglect creating free time in exchange for the “to do list” aspirationally busy lifestyle, when what they are yearning for is some solitude and space for free thinking and reflection. Our work may challenge us intellectually, but how often as men do we take risks, explore our edge, step outside of what we know, and challenge ourselves emotionally and physically?
During this programme we will support each other to explore where our edges lie and ask ourselves what challenges us about being men, and what do we love about being men. Through inquiry, movement-based work and time in solitude in the wilderness, we can return to our daily lives more centred, with a greater capacity to be confident and relaxed, within ourselves, in every situation.
Join us for an extended 4 month programme that will inspire the courage to tell the truth and dig into how we show up as men. Where we will explore cultivating stillness, reawakening a sense of aliveness, delve into purpose and enjoy the support of community.
Summer 2022: A Retreat About Outer Adventure and Inner Safari Our journey begins with a revitalising soak (traditionally done as a purification ritual) in a natural thermal hot spring. We then begin a 5 day hiking retreat in a sacred valley in Tuscany, well known for it’s stillness, stunning landscapes and abundance of wildlife. Each morning we will begin with a mixture of Qi Gong, an awakening wild workout and Wim Hof breathing. Our days will be filled with scrambling, wild swimming, dialogues around defining our purpose and exploring our shadow. The retreat will focus on developing our sense and embodiment of presence, in preparation for a 24 hour ‘solo’ – time alone camping in the wilderness inspired by the Vision Quest tradition. Spending prolonged time in solitude in nature has been practiced by men for more than 10,000 years as a Rite of Passage or Initiation ritual, where men returned to their communities with a defined sense of meaning and of their role within the tribe.
Autumn 2022: Growing Together Over the following four months each participant will belong to an inquiry group that will meet monthly online via Zoom, to explore themes of meaning, communication, polarity, relationship and more. As a group we will circle up once a month between June and September, to take part in a men’s group together via an online platform. This will be a time to check in and share our challenges and things we want to celebrate with each other. Men’s groups offer participants accountability, clarity, challenge, support and a unique environment to really tell the truth about yourself – something which is often lacking in conversations down the pub or with long-term male friends.
Winter 2021: Harvesting our Insights We will conclude our journeying together with a final Zoom meeting by reviewing and sharing insights we have gained, offer each other honest feedback, discuss the themes of purpose in community or career, and support each other to carry these lessons out into the world.
Please note that the calls are optional concerning attendance.
– Nick (2019 participant)
Please note: This journey will be physically challenging. Expect to learn new practices for living in the wild, and to carry some of the food and the shelter you will need over the expedition.
Why Men’s Work
Men’s work is about intentionally moving beyond the ‘macho’ culture that has been pervasive in western culture for so long. It’s about exploring our own vulnerability, shadow, shame and brotherhood that extends beyond pub chat or watching sports together (which is often superficial). Men aren’t taught to ‘share’ their inner world, something that women are more inclined to do. In a consumer culture of greed and power, it’s important that men don’t feel alone with their feelings and their pain. At present men are 8 times more likely than women to take their own lives, rates of depression and mental health are all sharply increasing and 1 in 4 men claim they don’t have anyone to turn to in times of need. Men’s work offers safe environments for men to share what’s really going on for them below the surface and an opportunity to be seen and supported by other men, many of whom can relate with their own similar experiences.
Adrian Kowal – Adrian is the co-founder of Way of Nature UK and is regularly mind-blown by the alchemical reaction of combining men’s work with Rites of Passage nature connection practices. He has trained and assisted in facilitating programmes with John P. Milton, and has been leading and taking part in regular men’s groups for 6 years. Adrian has also been running Evolve, a centre for growth and wellbeing in London, for 11 years and has recently merged that business with The Life Centre. He has working knowledge of both urban and nature-based wellness practices.
The first retreat is scheduled 22nd – 26th June. The calls will be scheduled over the the following 4 months.
The retreat will take place in a sacred valley in Tuscany, Italy. The closest large transport hub is Pisa. Participants will be picked up from Grosseto.
*We are able to offer two reduced price bursary places on this retreat. To apply, please email us at [email protected] with a short description of who you are and why you would like to come and be part of the journey.