The phone rings and it’s Michael Boyle. It seems that the numbers on “Breaking the Spell” aren’t so good. Men are being slow to sign-up. They’re saying that it’s still a long way off, they’re busy with other things, or that the retreat is too expensive…
I don’t buy the idea that it’s too expensive – but there’s clearly something that is stopping men from signing up for what promises to be a life-affirming, if not life-changing weekend.
Michael and I talk things through. He’s thinks we should go ahead anyway and do what we set out to do, which is to explore different ways of being a man in the twenty-first century – ways that elicit a more compassionate, collaborative and fundamentally generous kind of masculinity.
Michael – as convinced a mythologist as I have ever known – wants to explore a new story for men, and I think he might be on to something. Certainly, I want to support him in his search, even though, we’ve always come at things from different perspectives. The one big thing we can agree on is that the greedy, grasping, hubristic way we still go about things is simply unsustainable. Any new story for men must include generosity.
As Michael speaks his passion for a less acquisitive, less driven masculinity, I’m suddenly minded of a book from long ago. “The Gift” by Lewis Hyde. This is a magical book about creativity, that remains a profound meditation on the power of giving to create the flow of movement – to open-up different ways of doing and being, to give rise to new stories. Michael has read it too and soon we are talking about what we can do to increase the flow around “Breaking the Spell”.
Within minutes, we have decided that we don’t want money to get in the way of things, and that we want to proceed regardless of the fee structure, hoping and trusting that others will support those who are pressed financially and keep the event viable.
So we've created a new pricing structure to enable as many men as possible to come and join us. All prices include the full Retreat and delicious food for 3 days:
Retreat & Camping in grounds: £295
Retreat & Bedroom at centre: £395
Retreat & Bedroom at centre + generosity to assist another mans place: £495
Limited Bursary Places: £200 + helping out over the weekend
[please email us through the contacts page to apply]
This then is our gift, our potlach, our giveaway. As two very different elder men we are content to forgo any income for the sake of passing on the work we know to be both worthwhile and necessary. It’s not about ‘talking the talk and walking the walk’, still less about selling places at an event. It’s about standing up for what we have learned in our accumulated years – of saying this work is our gift – we hope you’ll accept it.