Honouring an other – just telling them something that you value about them. It costs nothing and creates such a glow. Its a seed that you can sow. stick it in your intention garden. It was an honouring by Paul that kick started this blog, that little extra grain of sand that tipped the balance. I was giving a meditation at the beginning of a meeting and my friend John was playing soft guitar. Paul came up to me afterwards and said ‘that was gold, can we do that some more’. It was for me an indication to get on with my focus on the spiritual work and to create some resources and inspiration around that. I knew it was a blog, the intention had sat there. Walking in the forest, the name bush spirit came to me and it was born. So thanks Paul. And I need to remember that an honouring is a great blessing and we never know when it is the grain that swings the scale towards the light.
We know iPhone and iPad but what about iCoffin?
Steve Jobs says it, in his speech to Stanford students after his cancer surgery in 2005.
‘Remembering I will be dead soon is the most important tool I have ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.’ Where do you get an iCoffin, you make one or get Paddy to make one for you.
Walking with death enables us to get closer to walking fully with life. To take the mask off between us and life. So sleeping in a coffin is a start to casting off fears of death and bringing us closer to life.
Paddy builds simple pine coffins and uses them as coffin tables in his lounge room, storage boxes and off course coffins to sleep in, especially for those attending his courses around soul journey or dancing with the angel of death.
Paddy and many other men have slept for one or two nights in the coffins. He left his coffin at the local Buddhist monastery and his friend Chandra slept in it for six months.
Some of the feedback from men about the benefits of engaging with death are:
‘Confronting death – I began the sometimes difficult process of letting go; not only of my fear of death, but emotions and attachments that interfere with my living now. I felt lighter, happier and infinitely more aware of life as I drove home.’
‘ I have generally been in denial about the inevitability of my own death. I have read about it but never done any real work confronting it. The dancing with death workshop, confronted me with the preciousness of life and the need to make the most of every moment that I am alive. It opened my heart, and helped me more deeply feel the grief of all those who have lost loved ones. As others will confirm, it has also helped me to be more courageous in expressing my wants and needs, my hopes and fears. Very unexpected benefits from coffin work. ‘
Dates: July 26 -28, Starts Friday evening, 7pm dinner. Finishes Sunday mid-afternoon.All welcome to stay longer from Thursday to Monday nights.
Cost: $230 per person includes all accommodation and meals and facilitation. No Alcohol and cigarettes allowed.
Location: Bundanoon NSW 2 hours south of Sydney on main Sydney Melbourne and Canberra rail line. Train station at Sydney airport
7pm – 8pm Dinner
8am – 10am sitting in circle, welcome, meditation, check in for all. Expectations for the weekend
7am to 8pm Walk to cemetery. Meditation in cemetery connecting with ancestors and our own mortality to aid in dissolving boundaries to the spirit world.
8am – 9am Breakfast
9am – 9.30pm break
9.30pm to 3.30pm. Journey to local forest (Morton National Park). Carry out a range of meditation exercises in forest and caves. Aiming to dissolve barriers between self and the wider world and connect with natures and the universes energies. Discussion experiences in circle, between meditations, by a fire in a cave. Picnic lunch provided.
6pm -7pm dinner
7pm till 10.30pm. Dancing with the angel of death time. Doing a death ritual involving a coffin, to symbolise dying and being reborn. This is a ritual developed by myself and other men over the last six years. It is quite powerful and men ask for more of it not less. Discussion in circle and finishing meditation.
7am – 8am optional morning walk.
8am – 9pm breakfast
9am – 10am sitting in circle, Meditation, check in, what is arising?
10.15pm to 12. Hands on healing sessions for all who wish to receive one.
12.30pm to 1.30pm lunch
1.30pm – 2.00pm Pairing off and discussing goals and any plans to enhance spiritual journey.
2pm to 3pm. In circle check in, sharing plans, closing rituals and finish.
Men welcome to stay over one or two nights and stay on Thursday night before if that suits.
Use form below to contact me about booking or more information?
Come and explore nurturing the Spirit Body at a workshop on ‘Soul Food Men’s Spirit Journey’ conducted by Paddy at his place in Bundanoon. July 26 to 28. Workshop Programme and details
Our connectedness to the universe, our sense of meaning in the world our spirit body is an important aspect of our lives, yet we don’t have a lot of opportunity to own it or explore and develop it. As men we know the power of working in circle. This is men working together on exploring and developing our sense of spirit. Soul food is the main dish here not an entrée or side order. See soul food article
The weekend creates a sacred space of men working exploring spirit in their lives. We will spend time in the nearby forest and caves using meditation and contemplation to dissolve the barriers between self, nature and each other. Traditional meditation techniques are explained for use on the journey.
The aim for each of us to own and explore our sense of spirit and to more fully develop that aspect of our life. There is no particular spiritual philosophy being pushed and it is accepted that each mans journey needs to be of his own creation. Good company and good food are all part of workshop. Soul Food – Workshop Programme and details.
Use form below to request information
‘Roasted chicken and vege’s with lots of gravy is my favourite food!’
You understand that because you have experienced it. So what is Soul Food. Sure, it is still an experience but subjective , often personal and unique. Let me describe five experiences of Soul Food or spirit journey work, which reflects my understanding of the concept.
1. Feeling spaced out and a sense of oneness with the blokes in my men’s group. Just done a meditation and called in love and kindness to be present and hold our space. No one feels like breaking the silence. We invite the ancient ones to be present share their wisdom.
2. Sitting in the men’s gathering tent, feeling connected to an awesome of togetherness in a sacred space, with a profound sense of love.
3. On a cliffs edge overlooking vast forested gullies. Birds are singing, the wind is caressing. Feeling a part of it all: on my own yet not alone. Looking up to the clouds picturing the ancients and mates now gone. Saying “g’day, send us some love and wisdom brothers.” An eagle is soaring above and buzzes the sound of his wings as if to say: get on with it.
4. Feeling nervous and vulnerable, sitting among a bunch of Vietnam Vets about to do a meditation. – I called it relaxation, to avoid the reaction to meditation as ‘hippy shit’. After finishing, the men sit in silence with a sense of peace and awe. “What happened?” I thought. “The meditation was not that good. Maybe it was the sense of love and kindness, being nurtured and tapping into something bigger.” It doesn’t really matter why it worked. It just did.
5. After starting a workshop with some meditation, my friend is playing the guitar gently, along with some aum chanting. A man approaches and says “that was gold, can we do that again tomorrow.” The next day a didge player turns up and joins us. The men’s work over that two days was good – we were held.
Men come to men’s groups and gatherings in search of something different. They find that the job, relationships, media frenzy, acquisition of more material things and the general razzmatazz of life are not doing it for them. What am I looking for? Where is my tribe, can I share who I am and be accepted, can I get support and guidance on my journey? Soul Food in men’s groups is part of fulfilling those needs and assists men in becoming softer on the outside yet stronger in the soul’s engine room.
How do we recognise the Soul Food in men’s work?
The Soul Food and spirit journey in men’s work is part of our tradition. It is about shedding the barriers between ourselves and the universal life forces around us. Melting the protective armour built up as a coping mechanism on our journey. It requires leadership, practice and confidence to bring it in and there is often a sense of love and kindness, truth, wisdom and humility when it happens. Having said that, it is not all serious and there is also a great deal of enjoyment and laughter.
A soul food cook or mentor is most likely present. They will have done some walking on their own spirit journey and had experience with facilitating groups, meditation, chanting and other activities that support men’s growth in groups. It’s about doing it: walking the walk.
As a men’s group facilitator, I have seen how the depth and quality of spirit practice can ground our work. Soul Food is essential and we need to be clear and confident, to honour it and invite into our spaces. Like all good nourishing food, we need the cooks and the right ingredients otherwise we might as well order takeaway Of course, it is often daunting for me invoking the spirit work, amongst a new group of men. In the same way it can be daunting for those participating. Maybe the group will not want to open up and allow the bonding to happen? Maybe they will not like me or even feel I am a wanker? Of course there are always these tricks of the mind but it is taking part in a men’s group that really matters.
I will be running a workshop, ‘Soul food, men’s journey with Spirit’ as a contribution to the development of this work. It will be a practical workshop, involving meditation and chanting, exploring the spiritual energies of the local forests, men’s circle work, poetry and a trip to the underground meditation cave at the local Buddhist forest monastery. It will be on the July weekend of the evening of Friday the 26th to afternoon of Sunday the 28th. Men are invited to come a bit early if they can or stay over for a few days afterwards. I have a 5-bedroom house and a flat and outhouse that can accommodate 12, in all. Email me at email@example.com for details.
Paddy has a long experience of working with men. From construction sites to shearing sheds, setting up and running a large homeless men’s village, and being a Buddhist prison chaplain in a maximum security prison. He is a trained counsellor and has run a variety of programmes for men both one on one, and in a group. His journey with spirit started with Yoga and Buddhist practice over 30 years ago and he respects the practice and philosophies of all spirit traditions, including the way of the Shaman. He has run workshops at the first three Man Alive Berry gatherings involving meditation and shaman work and recently wrote a resource manual for affinity or tribal groups at men’s gatherings.