MEND Rites of Passage Program

"The Mother is waiting to heal us." - Dave Courchene (Nii Gaani Aki Inini)

AIM: To support men's healing through community and solo time in nature. MEND began with the conviction that intentional solo and group time in nature can be transformative and foster connection with self, one another and the land.


Stand for who you serve, for what you love, for who and what needs you.


IS THIS FOR YOU?: A solo fast in nature is a powerful means to initiate* new growth or to acknowledge the end of a cycle, to ask: Who am I? Who do I serve? Where do I come from? To whom and to what am I responsible? What does it mean for me to be a human? What is being born in me? What is dying in me? 


We leave our former lives behind and return renewed, aware of new capacities and potentialities. This process is often referred to as a 'rite of passage' (ROP).


Our role as men-tors and facilitators is to support you in this process - to assist in preparing you, so that nature can act as teacher. It is a significant decision and as such, it has consequences. 


When you sit silently in a forest with the most basic elements, when you unplug from food, email and entertainment, you invite other forces to influence you. 


We started MEND because we know the power and efficacy of this process. Perhaps the most important consideration - you do this not for yourself alone, but for your family, community, society and home territory.

* “…every initiation causes a funeral and a birth; a mourning appropriate to death and a joyous celebration for the restoration of full life.” 

 

- Michael Meade, 'Rites of Passage at The End of the Millenium'

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Stand for who you serve, for what you love, for who and what needs you.

RELATIONSHIPS

When nature speaks with us, we are provided with insights into our lives and given an opportunity to cultivate a respectful relationship with the beings who live in our home territory (relatives). We come to know ourselves and the ones who came before us (ancestors) thereby fulfilling our responsibilities to those beings, human and more than human* upon whom we depend and to those who depend on us. *David Abram


"We are not passive recipients of her (earth's) gifts, but active participants in her well-being. We are honoured by the request. It lets us know we belong." Robin Kimmerer

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OFFERINGS

We offer a nature-based rite of passage program for small groups of men (10-12). The program consists of solo and group processes to prepare you for your solo fast on the land. Some of the preparations include exercises to clarify core values, identity and relationships.


MEND weekends deepen your work prior to the MEND ROP. We work in group council to clarify and refine your intentions so you are optimally available for your solo fast. We encourage men to fully participate in all of the retreats leading up to the solo fast in order to receive the fullest experience.

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WORKING TOGETHER

As a small group of men we commit to learn, grow and support one another. A portion of our time is in community, exploring the challenges of being a man in these times. What is it to be a son, brother, father, husband, friend or leader? 


The work encourages us to listen and tend to the wounds of this life and to heal the inherited wounds caused by dis-placement and cultural amnesia. In council, we learn from each other's stories and explore what is important to cultivate and embody in our lives, as we prepare for solo time in nature. 

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THE LAND

In your family lineage, you may have living relatives or ancestors who had reverence for the place where they live(d). We gather at a revered place in rural Ontario for this work. Respectfully, we introduce ourselves to this place and its community of beings, make offerings and humbly learn its language. The land will become your greatest teacher.


"What I stand for is what I stand on." - Wendell Berry

PROCESS & STRUCTURE

When you say yes, it begins. You are making a commitment to your personal healing and growth and being a support for other men in our circle. You will be in preparation long before you arrive - moving towards your solo experience in nature.


You will receive a list of materials and questions to prepare you for the journey. 


Once you arrive, we support you through a process - in group and solo, so that you may receive the greatest benefit from being on the land. We introduce you to the place and the men with whom you will work. We prepare you for your solo time - which includes finding your fasting place, creating your personal ritual and setting your intentions.


Your 'solo' time will consist of 3 days and nights of fasting in your chosen place in nature. Your facilitators/mentors maintain a basecamp throughout for your safety and to welcome you after your experience.


After your solo time, you share with the other fasters as part of returning to regular time and place. We are challenged to embody what we have learned and to support one another in this process. We ask you to invite family or friends on the final day, so they can acknowledge and welcome you home.


If you would like to join us, please email and request an application package. This year participation in MEND weekends is required to enter the ROP program. If accepted into the MEND weekends, you will receive a Welcome package, which will include information re. preparations, questions to contemplate, equipment list, fees, cancellation policies, waiver, etc. Submitting a completed appllication does not guarantee acceptance to the program.

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