Every year for 6 years, several dedicated men have assembled to
create a special experience for men. It is called simply "The
Florida Men's Gathering" and hopefully it will continue ever
Their work takes a lot of time and dedication. They are all committed
to creating the spiritual journey that men must take in order
to participate successfully in our lives and have quality relationships
with our families, friends, co-workers, the ecology, and our own
minds and bodies. Even the food is cleansing. I thank them all.
It is a unique experience for me offered nowhere else.
It has helped me examine how I occur for the universe, and to
work endlessly on improving that.
Many of us, if not all of us, are walking wounded. We suffer
the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Our mentors, mostly
walking wounded themselves, tried in the only way they know to
brutally educate us for manhood. We bear the scars of that process.
We come to Orlando to the Florida Men's Gathering to heal the
wounds. We create rules for safety, we create a sacred circle,
we cooperate in rituals of blessings, drumming, cooking, cleaning
up, and entertainment in the greatest hootenanny where even the
frogs sound sweet. Laughter often rumbles and shrieks through
the trees as we play. Tears of healing often flow down the faces
of the most stoic among us.
We ask the coyote to join us, lest we create such rigidity in
our structure that instead of soaring high into the sky, our roots
are trapped like a Douglas fir tree growing in a hole in a rock
to become only a "bonsai," a terribly stunted 3-foot
high micro-image of its 300 foot high majestic father.
The coyote blasphemes, ridicules, and rends asunder all our sacred
creations. He steals our chickens, often killing senselessly
much more than he can ever eat. One of his purposes is to call
us to be on guard against our own pomposity, as well as to remind
us that most of the world doesn't care what we do. Outsiders
will destroy us if we are not vigilant.
The coyote waxed strong and powerful on the way to the sweat lodge.
Using only words, he wiped out a sacred temple!
How weak was that temple that a conversation could destroy it?
Even the walls of Jericho required God and trumpets to destroy
Let us learn from this that the mortar of our construction, our
commitment to its being, must be strong enough to withstand any
attack! We must invite coyote in, and somehow satisfy his needs
so he will no longer feel the desire to provoke. We must learn
how to do this because there exists a plethora of coyotes in the
world. Their numbers are legion. We must be so strong in our
commitments that no coyote or wolf can budge us on our quest for
a better manhood, better community, better country, and better
This philosophy I bring from the 6th Florida Men's Gathering.
My deepest thanks for Jim Bracewell, Peter, and a cast of dozens,
who created this 6th Gathering.
Robert Jacober is from Miami, Florida