Men's Soul Tavern Retreat Theme & Readings

Themes For The Upcoming Retreat Weekend


In times of chaos and divisiveness, where leadership has obviously been lacking, and it times of increasing alienation and isolation due to an increasing sense of being threatened – in this exact time of political, social and environmental climate – WHO DO WE CHOOSE TO BE?   

Meg Wheatley sets the compass heading for us for the weekend.  How can we hold our centers and bridge the gap between the polarizing oppositions around us, and IN us?

We will have chances to think about and speak to ways we might better be able to face the reality of our with less emotional reactivity and more searching for new understanding;  we can better claim our own capacities and lead with them, rather than make others change their views or their ways;  and most of all, we can be active participants in restoring places of sanity – within ourselves and with others – as we go forward.


Secondly, Warren Poland, in his book Intimacy & Separateness, challenges us to call ourselves into question more deeply, and to look within at subtle and embedded attitudes towards the ‘others’ who are not at all like us.  How do we hold them in disregard in our minds?  How can we learn to think about those ‘on the other side’ of our view as valid?  How can we see them with more compassionate understanding?

We all tend to take refuge, and raise our spirits, in the company of our own kind

There is a certain comfort to be found in familiarity and commonality; a sense of restoration to be had in feeling like we have people we belong to, who know us and ‘get’ us, who are on our side, and have our backs.

Among those of our kind, we can ‘let down our guard’, we don’t have to work at being ourselves.  We know how to navigate the terrain, how to engage particular people, places, things.  Things make sense in a way that doesn’t seem to require much communication or negotiation; understanding seems at the ready.

What has us increasingly seeking out states of refuge? What has us under siege?  What is being threatened in our society, in our institutions, in our homes, and most essentially, in ourselves?

Each of will be encouraged to look at how we render people into ‘others’, those who are not identified as one of ‘us’, and how it serves our purposes to do such ‘othering’.


What to Read to Prepare For Your Retreat Weekend

1.  WHO DO WE CHOOSE TO BE? Facing Reality, Claiming Leadership, Restoring Sanity – by Margaret Wheatley.

Read as much of this as you can, or just go to the chapters you are drawn to.  If you need some structure, read the OPENING and CHAPTER 1 – The Arrow of Time – this will give you context.  Then go right to CHAPTER 7 – Who Do We Choose To Be.  The CODA at the end is also worth reading.

Chapter 1 – Regarding the Other – Poland, by Warren Poland.  

Click the title to read the PDF file for this chapter.  If you want my personal cliff notes of the chapter, see below. This is the first chapter from his highly regarded clinical book, Intimacy & Separateness.

Intimacy & Separateness – Chapter 1 – Regarding The Other – Notes


“When there is no shared reality and people are flailing for ground, whoever declares a reality that promises to reduce fear becomes the leader.  It is always this way, and this is where we are now.

This is the reality that summons us to be Warriors of the Human Spirit.”

Margaret Wheatley

A vital man vitalizes the world.

– Joseph Campbell

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