POWERFUL and LOVING
Annual Review of 2022
Below is a mixture of personal reflections and community highlights
made by David Jurasek, PAL founder.
It was a formative time learning to trust, in my marriage, in this community and within myself. There were some heavy personal losses. At the same time, many foundations built and gains harvested.
Table of Contents
(CLICK on each line to see details)
Accepting Influence from mentors.
Creating a "Circle Of Care" network
Two Wildheart Adventures
Helped spark a "Women's Community"
Potent Retreats, Healing Intensives and Fires
Started singing and wrote 2 songs…
Our community grew with 3 new Masterhearts
Defined the 6 FIERCE Skills of our culture
Started "The COMPASS" a story-based PODCAST.
Discovered a "Natural Accountability" process
Published (finally) this heartful beast…
Trying to "change" people.
Not being clear enough about expectations.
Fearing to make bold claims.
Neglected my family at times.
Putting my marriage first.
Theme for 2023 = CLARIFY
Sitting on my throne more often
Adding more SASS ("Sex And Sexuality Series")
Deeper Nature Integration
Growing our leadership capacity, so I can die already
1. Celebrating the Bounty of Last Year...
Accepting Influence from Mentors
I am so grateful to three new mentors this year.
One is HOPE Paterson who has given me space and support to dream more deeply and think about structures and systems in holistic and integrated way.
The second was STEPH Drouin, who has been helping me liberate my voice and sing (more on that below).
And the third was an old friend and long time mentor in creative and business domains, BRADLEY T. Morris of The Creator's Club, who keeps me from procrastinating too long. Encouraging me to ABC... Always Be Creating!
Creating a "Circle of Care" Network
After sorting through a hundred names, interviewed and narrowed down my short list of helping pros (couples therapists, coaches, and mediation and legal pros) I am proud to recommend a "Circle of Care" of professionals outside of our community.
See the private page here. PASSWORD is "care"
Completed Two Wildheart Adventures
We completed two rounds of Wildheart this year. What a deep and soulful journey.
After working with Michael and Anthony so closely, I never want to lead anything alone again!
Helped spark a "Women's Community"
This is still unbelievable to me. It started with a gnawing sense after seeing a few douzen of my
dearest female friends isolated in the world and jealous of PAL. It was awkward for me to bring it up. But now it is running and thriving!
Potent retreats, Healing Intensives & Fires...
A spring and fall retreat on Kim and Jerry's land, full of music, magic and heart. Men are still talking about how nourishing these were as vital touchpoints...
Andrew, Michael and I also pioneered some rich and deep Healing Intensives integrating sound healing and breathwork, and
Michael called us several times to re-ignite the ancient art of fire making, tending and basking around together in Taylor Creek, keeping us wild and vital accross the seasons.
I started singing and wrote 2 songs…
No accident that I after being in community with so many potent musicians encouraging me to jam along, and mentored by Steph (see above), I started to sing on my own.
The first few times I heard myself played back, I felt deeply emberassed.
Eventually, I found music coming to me that I consider to be my own "medicine songs".
Here are the two that I need to sing daily.
We started "The COMPASS" a podcast documenting Adventures In Mentoring
I felt a longing to share more widely the sacred and very private tales our evolving with the love and guidance of a mentor. So far, Michael and I have shared some key stories of real men (identities protected) and some of our own.
Listen here on most platforms.
Our community grew with 12 men
~ forming THREE new Masterhearts!
Not in a rush to grow, we've been slowly gathering a village of exceptional men. Each one unique, generous of heart and bringing their own blend of power and love to the table.
Above are the 12 awesome men who chose to step into the core of our community through our Masterheart program. They are (from top left) Scott, Rick, Ryan, Robert, Nadeem, Jason, Larry, Kevin, Graham, Victor, Fred and Paul.
Thank you for all that you bring as we swell to 25 men!
And thank you to fellow mentors, Anthony, Bruce, Ben and Clive who have been hosting our Masterheart groups in ways that maintain the rich culture or mutual and deep nourishment.
We defined the PRACTICES of our culture
Most men new to our community feel something is different here. The way of listening and responding so rich and potent. They wonder...
"How did you create this culture?"
"Can I learn to do this, too?
This fall we took time to codify the essential skills that form the ethos of our culture into the 6 FIERCE Skills. See above. Men who join our community, can access training material for each of them and see them in action, within in our groups.
We discovered a "Natural Accountability" process
After years of looking for ways help one another become more regularly accountable -- without the pushiness or shaming of the productivity culture -- Andrew and I discovered that natural principles were missing and needed.
The cycles about have helped us do weekly accountability check-ins that are deeply grounded in who we are and who we are becoming, leaving us feeling more clear, connected and appreciating of growth phases we are in.
Great intro to this process on this podcast interview here.
Finally published this heartful beast
I credit my steadfast, astute and passionate wife, Maria, for nudging me to give it over to the printers. She was also there throughout the 2 years while I wrestled to get this beast out of my head and heart and on to the page.
The reviews pouring in -- 20+ glowing about the deep impactful it has made and a couple critical ones to make my life spicy -- made it all worth it!
You can find it here.
2. Where I struggled and grew...
Without being unfairly hard on myself, I am objectively clear that I wasted some time being distracted and using it as avoidance of issues that I was afraid to face.
Having cancer showed me that time is the most precious resource I have. I am glad this natural scarcity motivated me to look at the grief, resentment, shame, guilt and despair that I was avoiding feeling more fully.
Trying to reach people who's ears are not open
I believe it was Paolo Coelho wrote, "You cannot wake up someone who is pretending to be asleep." Or to put it as my Polish friend's grandmother would say shaking her head, "Why you trying to push the river, huh?"
It took feeling a lot of frustration and disappointment with some dear friends and family members who did something harmful to show me the limits of my my power and love. And to remind me where I do have maximum influence. Now I have been feeling more ease and joy, and a sense of understanding of the long game. Change in inevitable. Growth is optional.
Not being clear enough about expectations
I am starting to see that most of the clarity I have sought by trying to predict and intuit ahead of me, only comes with decisions and process. The further I step forward and walk the path, the more I discover.
Hindsight is 20/20 and I also see that in many ways in my endlessly thinking long term and planning ahead, I have not been clear and honest enough with some loved ones and men in this community about where I and this community is actually at now. This has caused undue confusion and stress for come partners and collaborators. That is another reason I am doing this annual review. See more below about what I am doing to change that now and over the year ahead.
Fearing to make bold claims
Much of 2022 for me was about stepping back, supporting others to shine and filling in the gaps where I saw them. It felt like a relief and brought me more peace to de-center myself. And to process lots of shame over the year to reduce my own sense of self-importance.
That said, I started to see by the fall that there are some gifts and dreams that I have not given as fully as I could. And that the medicine I have been accumulating over my lifetime is very potent. I plan to make clear, concrete and bold promises to some of the men I will work with in 2023. It sends a chill up my spine, but I know that holding back is not an option.
Neglecting my family (at times)
Ironic, I know. I devote my life to helping me and men I care about to grow relationally. Meanwhile, there are times, when I have ignored my wife and daughter. Part of that was my self-importance (shame / pride). Part of it was anxiety driving me to fuss over less important things. Regardless, I am committed and have already taken steps to rectify this misalignment. I know I am on the right track when my wife (the best BS detector) has noticed and let me know when she has felt me doing so.
3. What I am focused on in 2023...
Putting my marriage first
It's needed to be at the centre of my life. Not an addition. Or a point of maintanance.
I have fears still living into this. But, I have made the commitment in my heart and have already experimented and seen how this is my true priority going forward. Tending a well nourished marriage enables me to show up fully in this community, fuelling my growth as a father, friend and brother.
Theme for 2023 = CLARIFY
Not as an outcome but as a verb. I have discovered how much resentment, confusion and distrust I have sown in myself and within my bonds with others when I have left things vague and undefined.
This calling is already working it's medicine on me since December, as I am actively clarifying in my marriage and all my vital bonds what I want and where my edges and limits are. It's been liberating, refreshing and incredibly strengthening of many of the bonds themselves.
Sitting on my throne, more often
Image above comes from my response to the "Clarity Cards" excercize recommended by Dan Blank.
First, it is about knowing my priorities. So, primary it is for me to step into my capacity to discern them. This is not about power over others, but resting in the throne of the inner king within me, not only when it's over-due, but more throughout each day.
So many decisions, pivots and re-calibrations are needed several times a day.
To find my centre, gathering my allies, basking in a presence that is greater than my own, I am able to break the spell of distraction and urgency to see what's most important and needing my caring influence.
Another analogy is to be the steady-handed, sure-footed steward of the land.
Adding more SASS (Sex and Sexuality Series)
On the heels of Valentines and the cusp of spring, one of our seasoned mentors, Brian Lynn, will be lead us through a deep and thorough exploration of the sexual terrain over 8 weeks.
I expect many rich and spicy conversations will be had in the powerful container of trust that we will co-create together.
Deeper Nature Integration
As some of us have spent years in nature mentoring, as well as, exploring plant medicine and studying it's efficacy in healing, I expect that our growing ecological consciousness will become more deeply woven into our culture.
Expect more deep nature immersion and retreats coming up this year.
Growing leadership capacity,
so I can die already
Just kidding. That's just my Eastern European flair for dark humour coming out.
I aim to live fully till my ripe 90s. But, seriously, I am focused on establishing a more robust structure of governance, leadership capacity, oversight and support this year. This has come naturally from what I consider to be the "heart and soul of PAL" is asking for as it matures and grows as a living village that is much bigger than me. And from patient nudges from men like Bruce Lyne, reminding me of what we are being called to become together over time.
It's a process of evolving. Will make the highlights and where we stand made available to all members of our community in the coming weeks.
This is the boldest offer I mentioned earlier. I am ready for our community to offer a frame of support for men that is far more intensive and comprehensive than either the integrated therapy or the enriched mentoring I have been giving so far.
This is for men who want -- and due to urgent circumstances, would say they need -- to grow their personal pressence and confidence in their capacity to love and be loved more fully, to experience deeper intimacy and forge stronger and more lasting bonds.
It's a structured and accelerated 3 month journey with the most powerful processes and tools we have, a team of mentors and multiple points of weekly support.
Thank you for being an active member or a potent ally on the sidelines cheering us on,
as we continue to grow this village
of powerful and loving men...