Women’s Workshop: Leaving My Father’s House

Back Story:  In late 1996, having been in men’s work for more than 10 years, I attended a workshop for men in California. Run by Char Tosi & Marlene Napa, it was titled: Under Your Mother’s Pillow. Taken from Robert Bly’s Iron John story, it offered men the opportunity to do deep work on mother issues. It was so powerfully healing for me, that I began to imagine providing women the same opportunity to work on father issues.

I wrestled with that idea for months. It scared me, it intrigued me, it challenged me in so many ways. So I decided to do a vision quest. I traveled from San Diego to Sedona, and spent 3 days in the desert with a medicine man. On the 3rd day, while meditating under a tree, I heard a noise, like a large pile driver pounding rock. Startled, I hiked the area to find the source of the sound. Nothing.

I felt the medicine pounding through my veins, and the noise kept getting louder. I laid down under a tree, focusing on my breath. Suddenly, I could feel that pile driver pounding into my lower body. I writhed in pain, scrunching up my legs into my stomach, wanting to make it stop. But it wouldn’t stop. It just kept pounding and pounding and pounding, until I passed out.

I do not know how long I was gone. When I awoke, I had the sweetest feeling of peace, all the pain had simply disappeared. My heart felt so open, and then She spoke to me: “Now you can stand with and listen to a woman who has been raped. And you will know what to do.”

Finding another man to partner with (Thank you Jim Coleman), getting our wives blessings, interviewing, doing focus groups, writing & designing … we offered our first workshop in San Diego in October 1998. And we did 28 workshops in 39 months.

We named it “Leaving My Father’s House” from Marion Woodman’s book. Marion came through town after we had started, and gave us her gracious & generous blessing. Our last workshop was in Seattle in December 2001, and we have not done another since.

LMFH Workshop Participant Testimonial:

“Last weekend, I witnessed a man filled with unconditional love for women. I marveled at your passion, conviction, and willingness to fully offer yourself up to a group of women who needed your wisdom, tenderness, and ultimately your strength. I was sustained in a way I could not have anticipated by the way you guided us and then walked with us into the fire of truth. You are a man magnificently balanced in your masculine and feminine energies, full of grace, willing to put yourself on the razor’s edge. I am lifted up and humbled by the knowledge that my path to authentic womanhood was to be revealed to me by a man. Men and women healing and evolving together – hope is alive.”
Krista K. – Account Executive

Postscript:  I have often thought about resurrecting this body of work. Since the #metoo movement, with corporate women coming into power along side men, the environment is still filled with patriarchal programming. When women & men work together, it is virtually impossible to not project mother & father issues onto each other. Not only in the workplace, but in EVERY relationship. Our sense of love was imprinted early, and this is the dominant software in our operating system.

What better place to do this transformative work than in the corporate world !!!


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