ABOUT THE FATHER & SON JOURNEY EXPERIENCE
Who Is The Father & Son Journey For?
We are likely to have men as young as 13 years of age, and on the other end of the spectrum of life, men in their 70’s or 80’s.
There will be a separate track for a group of young men between the ages of 13-18, which will be run by John Wepner.
Therefore, sons who attend with their fathers may be either in their adolescence, young adult life, or perhaps in mid-life. Fathers who attend with their sons may be as young as 40, they may be in their elder years, or somewhere in between.
As a community, there will be at least three generations of men represented on the mountain, and this representation across all the stages of adult life will enrich the collective experience of the men who attend.
Facing the Challenges of The Father-Son Bond:
Moving From’ Helper’ To ‘Companion’ Through Life’s Journey
Navigating The Essential Developmental Struggles
- How do we honor the established traditions and heritage of the past, while also making room for new ways that have never before been established?
- How do we accept, understand, and deal with the inevitable issues of power, authority, and aggression between a father and son?
- How can we better explore healthy forms of generative love and aggression, and confront destructive forms of love and aggression as men?
- How do we learn to better communicate about our inner lives with one another? How can we struggle in worthwhile ways to find language for our interior worlds?
- How can we express ourselves with words that reveal who we are, rather than use our words to obscure our vulnerabilities and enforce our positions of power?
As Fathers – Facing Fundamental Quest(ion)s
- How do we learn to acknowledge and allow for our absences, our mistakes, and our failures to be a part of our relationship with our sons?
- How do we practice asking for forgiveness for our mistakes? How can we become better at understanding how our mistakes have impacted our sons? How do we learn to forgive ourselves for the ways we cause our sons pain?
- How do we move from overly passive or punitive parenting styles, and provide better learning opportunities for our sons?
- How can we better understand that what will most burdensome for our sons is the reality of our own unlived lives?
- How can we learn to not simply do to our sons what was done to us?
- How do we learn to give to our sons what was never given to us?
- How do we learn to shift from being ‘the one who knows better’ to becoming ‘the one who accompanies our sons’ in ways that allow them to know us better, and us to know them better?
As Sons – Facing Fundamental Quest(ion)s
- How do we wrestle with both wanting our fathers’ encouragement and approval, while also wanting to strike out on our own individual paths that our fathers may not be able to understand, appreciate or approve of?
- How do we continue to look up to our fathers, while at the same time witnessing and withstanding our fathers’ flaws, failures, and contradictions?
- How can we gradually learn how to ‘humanize’ our fathers? How do we understand that seeing them as ordinary people is a sign of our own growth as men?
- How do we learn that forgiving our fathers for their absences, mistakes or harmful behaviors is not an exoneration of what went wrong, but rather is an act that allows for something to be repaired, or for something new to become established?
- How do we experience forgiving as an act of empowerment? How can we learn to share with our fathers the pain we have experienced while allowing them to accompany us in new ways?
- How do we come to accept that repairing or developing a bond with our fathers is always done one step at a time, and is always ‘partial’ and ultimately can never be exactly as we might wish for?
- How do we learn to also ask our fathers to forgive the ways that our own clinging to childish thinking or childish behaviors did not allow for them to be imperfect yet caring fathers for us?
In our Journey process, conversations emerge spontaneously as a result of formative experiences that require all men to enter into the unknown together.
In this way, conversations that are essential and meaningful do not have to be avoided, forced or contrived. They arrrive unforeseen, and unfold naturally, from the moment being lived together.
The Setting Of The Weeklong Wildnerness Men’s Journey
As men who attempt to become our best as fathers, lovers, brothers, and sons – we understand that in order to think in new ways and grow our capacities to live and love in the world – we need a to be a part of something vital, and greater than ourselves.
On the Men’s Journey Weeklong Intensive, we set the space and create the conditions for something larger than ourselves to be the holding container for our experiences.
We are immersed in the majesty of nature, in the privacy of a rural mountaintop, in the responsive community of men who provide shelter, meals, rituals, and meaningful companionship.
We also offer essential, ‘elemental’ experiences that all men go through together. These challenging experiences require cooperation, mutual reliance and shared effort, and a collective vulnerability as witnesses to each other’s lived experience.
At times, fathers and sons will share in these challenging elements with a larger community. At other times, the father and sons will experience a more intimate setting with one another for more private conversations and ‘quality time’.
Meet Your Journey Guide - Michael Mervosh
MICHAEL MERVOSH is a licensed psychologist and psychotherapist. He has a private practice in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the founder and Executive Director the Hero’s Journey® Foundation.
Through 30 years of experience in working with individuals and groups, as well as 25 years of working with men in wilderness intensives, he has offering these journeys as part of deep lifelong call to adventure.
Michael brings himself, along with a seasoned, well-trained staff, to provide a enlivening and supportive journey to face the challenges men are facing in our world.
Anyone who is paying attention to all that is taking place in our world these days has an ever-growing concern for what our future holds, individually and collectively.
We are all uneasy witnesses to increasingly challenging times; it seems as if our individual and collective worlds are increasingly combative, volatile, and endangered. We appear to be unraveling as we enter a ‘tipping point’ in our evolutionary development as human beings.
Not surprisingly, at the same time, this is exactly how an authentic ‘hero’s journey’ seems to play itself out: Going off on an adventure into the great unknown, only for the adventure to turn into an ordeal.
It is becoming increasingly evident that none of us are being spared the ordeals of life these days. We are being drawn in, more and more, to the realities of established ways of life being endangered on personal, local, national, and global levels.
Our Men’s Wilderness Journey is our best response to what is now needed in the world – an opportunity to open ourselves to go beyond where we have been, and to find the courage to enter into capacities we have not yet obtained – growing in complexity as human beings, becoming kinder, more considered and compassionate in our thoughts and our actions, and in service to that which is greater than ourselves.
What are the essential heroic tasks being required of us in these increasingly challenging socio-cultural conditions?
What is life asking from each of us?
How are we being asked to change, to mature, and to respond?
These are the questions we are being faced with now. These are the quests we are being bound to, and perhaps we were born for.
Our new Father and Son Journey is designed to address these larger questions that we are all facing these days as men.
It also allows for the father-son relationship to deepen as each man reflects upon his place and purpose in the world, and in relationship with one another.