The Future of New Mexico Men’s Wellness is in Your Hands

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We just completed yet another successful NMMW event–the Spring Retreat at Hummingbird Music Camp outside of Jemez Springs–over the weekend of May 15th to 17th. If you were unable to attend, keep an eye out for a blog on the retreat–to be posted on the nmmw.org website in the near future–thanks to the website administration skills of Jim Connolly, the journaling of Manuel Tafoya, and the photography of Uwe Schroeter, Joseph Woods and others.

I, Christopher King, have benefited from each and everyone of the 19 gatherings I have attended, starting with the Summer of 1999–held on our old summer stomping grounds–on US Forest land outside of Cuba,NM, and capably led by Mr. David Robertson.

I can fairly say I have achieved NMMW frequent flier status over the course of the last five year period–15 gatherings, twice the designated leader (Summer of 2007 and Spring of 2011) and five other gatherings where I attended planning sessions and took on various tasks and leadership roles.

The benefits I accrued from those 19 gatherings easily outstrips the investments of my time, energy, dollars and creative juices.

The most recent Spring Retreat was a robust success–based on multiple markers–29 men and one guest visitor for Friday night made it the largest of the Spring Gatherings to date. Six of the men were either newcomers to NMMW or to the Spring Gathering. Three came to the gathering thanks to the
single-handed recruiting efforts of Mr. Joseph Woods. Two men in attendance benefited from  partial/full scholarships. Finally, on Sunday mid-day during the closing talking circle, four men  picked up the talking stick, guaranteeing us an 11th Spring Gathering Retreat next April at Hummingbird.  Financially speaking, we covered all of our expenses, and added $500 to the NMMW coffers. In addition we passed the hat for Young Fathers of Santa Fe and raised $234 on their behalf.

The most significant statistic in my mind is that, of the 29 members present, all 29 contributed their labor over the course of the weekend. Fully 15 of 29 took on a leadership role or two—for example leading one of the small groups that met for 5 hours over the weekend, or offering a Saturday afternoon discussion on Conscious Dying, playing Haydn sonatas on the piano or teaching a lovingkindness or a zen meditation session, writing a journal of the weekend’s events, or facilitating a meadowlot baseball game.

The take home message for me is this. Despite some  indicators of decline within our organization over the past 8 to 10 years (smaller gatherings, fewer younger men in attendance, declining bank account balance), there’s plenty of growth potential within our NMMW organization.

Now whether it gets actualized, or not, depends completely on the choices that YOU make (the  individual YOU reading this blog–as well as the 100 or so of your comrades with solidly beating hearts). I am speaking of the choices YOU make this month–and in the months to come. When my 17yo daughter fails to complete a designated task, and offers up a spontaneously derived and well-presented excuse, her silver haired Dad is quick to respond: That’s all well and good, my dear Eliana, but Actions, will always speak louder than words.

At a loss for an action step on behalf of the NMMW Cause? Here are six ideas that leap into my mind.

  1. Contact Jim Mischke and Doug Booth, and volunteer your time and talents to assist with planning and execution of the 2011 Summer Gathering.
  2. Contact Shel Goldman and Kurt Faust and volunteer your time and talents to assist with the planning and execution of the 2011 Fall Conference.
  3. Commit to attending either or both of said gatherings, and plan to drive up with a new guy riding shotgun (bound and gagged and safely stashed in the trunk is an acceptable alternative).
  4. Start a mens group–and post a request for new members on the website (www.nmmw.org)
  5. Contact Barry Macintosh–and volunteer to assist Young Fathers of Santa Fe over the upcoming Father’s Day Weekend.
  6. Got computer tech skills? Contact Jim Connolly and ask how you can assist him with maintaining the website.
  7. Write a check to the NMMW Scholarship fund, and mail it to our treasurer in Santa Fe, Mr. David Pease.

Note: contact info for the above NMMW-active men can be readily found on the website, or contact me and I will provide it for you (for a small fee of course).

Carpe Diem,
your NMMW Brother,
Christopher King

April 30, 2011

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