DadsNews   April, 2006   Volume 2,  Number 5 

Ken Mossman MFA, CPCC, PCC              518.580.0550


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In this issue:

  1. Greetings!
  2. Feature: "Stay"
  3. Quote of the Month
  4. Happenings...


Greetings!

Happy April,

Crocuses are finally blooming, lilies are poking up out of the earth and all manner of buzzy critters are taking to the air. Yup, Spring really did show up - nipping at the heels of a less-than-stellar skier's winter...

I took my last day on the hill on April 7, skied for just over two hours, looked over the summit of Gore Mountain and saw a dark Adirondack rain cloud looking rather plump and all too willing to offer up an April shower. I pointed my skis downhill, barreled to the base, packed my gear and drove for ten minutes before the rain started falling. Thus came the official end to my season.

Time to shed the skin of winter and move on to new adventures...

This time of year always reminds me that life continues to happen beyond the range of my vision. Things have been growing below the surface. It's time for debuts and re-emergence, time to stick around and look for what's been happening behind the scenes. Time to "stay..."

Enjoy the season and have a good read!

Yours,

Ken

PS: As always, I'm grateful to you for spreading the DadsNews to friends and fathers the world over... Thanks!


Stay... 

"For Sale" signs are popping up on front yards faster than dandelions in May.

I was on the phone a couple of minutes ago with a realtor. He called to let me know that a house a three-bedroom house in the neighborhood just sold for - well, a whole lot more than the sellers paid for it. Then he asked me the inevitable question, "So when were you thinking of moving?"

"Twenty years, give or take a few," I responded.

"Oh," he said. "I take it you like it there... Well, do you know of anyone in the neighborhood who's thinking of moving?"

"Not that I can think of," I said. "I usually know someone is thinking of moving when I see one of those signs on their front lawn."

"Yeah... That would be a hint, wouldn't it..?

"Subtle," I added, "and it does send a message."

He thanked me for my time, and said good-bye...

My office windows open to a broad, sweeping front yard. While many properties tend toward some form of four-sidedness, ours is a more of a funky pie-slice that defies geometric classification. I would refer to it as "elongated pizzagonal," that being, of course, the shape of a lengthy slice of pizza. It's a rather eccentric chunk of land which, like much of our neighborhood, was re-claimed from what was essentially a rolling swamp.

We moved into this house on January 4, 2002, after having spent the better part of a year wearing out our very patient realtor...

Three things, in no particular order, sealed the deal for us: the kitchen, the neighborhood and the snake.

Yup. You heard that right... Kitchen. Neighborhood. Snake.

Could anyone ask for more?

What - you don't like kitchens..?

My son was three years old, plus a month or two, when we saw this house for the first time. It was a cool, clear early fall day. Most of the leaves were still on the trees and the grass was still clinging to it's late-season green. We'd made a special trip to see another house and, finding ourselves locked out of that one for the second or third time, Connie, our realtor, suggested we have a look at a new listing Danielle discovered online. The universe - to say nothing of those funny little lock-boxes realtors put keys in - works in strange ways...

We drove into the neighborhood, delighted to see streets wide enough and empty enough for a kid to safely learn to skate or ride a bike. We saw families outside playing, enjoying themselves and the neighborhood. Before we had even stepped inside the house, something just felt right...

I don't remember looking around the inside of the house. I think I've spent so much time inside since we moved in that I just don't recall how it was. Doesn't really matter...

What I do recall quite clearly was walking around the yard, circumnavigating the house from west to north to east to south. There was a narrow garden bed on the south side, with the afternoon sun bright and warm against the dirt and the south wall. (I'd become an enthusiastic - OK, rabid - gardener over the past few years. I was checking out the dirt!) As I looked down at the plants and soil, a small black and yellow garter snake glided gracefully and silently between flower stems, then stopped for an instant. I called my son, who ran as fast as his three year-old legs could carry him. Cai stopped at the edge of the garden and bent low to see the snake just as it slipped off into the shade beneath a short evergreen hedge. Clearly thrilled, Cai jumped up and down, doing his best to figure out how to get another look.

I turned to Danielle and said, "this is it, and it comes with a snake! This is our house!"

Though snakes seem to have a bad name in certain circles, I've always been fascinated with them. In many Native American traditions, Snake medicine has powerful and mysterious healing qualities. In my yard, I figure they are a sign that all is well with the local ecosystem, there are plenty of toads and rodents around to eat, and that someone is, in fact, eating them. (We've noticed how many more toads there are in June than in September, so they're going somewhere...)

One way or another, I saw the little serpent as a good omen. It reminded me of wonderful adventures I'd had as a kid - vacationing in the Adirondacks, trouncing around in the woods, discovering salamanders, fish, odd bugs and, of course, snakes. It struck me as an invitation to stay, a signal that this would be a good place for a little boy to grow up and a place for all of us to come home to and adventure from...

Part of the essence of the mature masculine is that he drives his sword into the ground and consciously chooses to stay. Not in mindless, defensive or aggressive posturing - rather with flexibility, compassion and an open-hearted ferocity that is equal parts deep caring and protectiveness. It's commitment, though it's a far cry from the "written in stone" variety that, according to the word on the street, many Men fear. It's commitment grounded in the notion that something is really at stake here, and it's something larger than my own desire for a brand of freedom that wants to convince me that any responsibility beyond myself is too heavy a weight to bear. There is a vulnerability in staying, a constant call to shed one's skin in order to mirror the dynamic changes that are present in all systems in the natural world. Change happens, and I choose to stay and meet it.

Sometimes the call to "stay" comes from within. It may come from family, community, nation... It may have a quiet, divine voice behind it. It may be cloaked in a fog of childhood reminiscence, an early message that refuses to go away...

The call to "stay" will be challenged by all sorts of things, from work to money to weather to temptations and distractions to numerous to mention - including calls from excited realtors wanting to know when you're moving...

Check back with me in twenty years... I'm choosing to stay. There's a garden to grow, a brilliant kid who's growing, a business and a relationship with my sweetheart that keep growing, too. This house feels like the perfect container for all the growth that's happening.

And, by the way, I have it on authority from a source who keeps an ear close to the ground. Thanks, Snake...


Quote of the Month

"Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain."

Henry David Thoreau


Happenings...

Surfing the Masculine / Feminine Mobius Strip
A Workshop Exploring the Energies of the Masculine, the Feminine, and the Third Way

Here's what past "Mobius" participants have to say:

The workshop was life enhancing for me. I broke through to something I have been trying to access for years.”

“Thank you for creating a space which allowed me to get more in touch with some of the hidden or rejected parts of me...the good, bad, feminine, masculine, sensitive, defeated, rebellious, fragile... the works... Thank all of you for the time and effort you put into this work... It feels big and important.”

“This work has been at least as powerful as my experience of leadership. I would say, ‘get yourself there as soon as possible.’”

“The design of the workshop was nothing less than brilliant.”

Course Dates: June 23-25, 2006
• Hours: Friday and Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM
• Sunday, 9 AM to 5 PM
• Location: TBA (Northeast)
• Course Tuition: $500 Early Bird (Before May 27, $600 after May 27)
• Course will be led by the "MF3" Team: Sam House, Mary Kuentz, Ken Mossman, Debra Wilton-Kinney

For more information, visit my "Programs" page or contact me at: 518.580-0550 or via email.

To find out more about the work of the MF3 Group, visit our blog!


More cool stuff is available at the Cirrus Leadership website!

Next issue of DadsNews: Thursday, May 11, 2006.
Until then, keep looking for surprises at the tips of your toes!


DadsNews ©2006, Kenneth Mossman, MFA, CPCC, PCC,  Cirrus Leadership®
Use and distribution permitted and encouraged, providing attribution is... well, attributed!