An offer to connect
Since our gathering in September I have reached out with two emails to the men in my circle of eight team. After the first email I received responses from all but two men.
A couple of weeks later I reached out with a second email and received responses from only four men. One man in the group failed to respond to both emails so I reached out to him personally. I was sad to learn he had been struggling with depression since leaving the gathering and had fallen into seclusion and isolation.
I write this, hopefully impress upon you, the importance of maintaining connection between gatherings with our brothers within the Comega community; and to understand the fundamental reason the founders of Comega created the gathering in the first place. “To break down the barriers of isolation men experience and to provide an opportunity for a deep, heartfelt connection to other men”; something that’s lacking in our modern day culture.
Between gatherings is the time to really access the archetypes and put them to practical use.
A healthy King energy is going to recognize to need to keep our brethren and community vibrant between gathering so we can make a difference in the world.
If your Magician, sometimes located in your gut, intuits that a brother may not be doing well, use your Lover energy to realize the significance all our brothers have to ourselves personally and to our community as a whole; and finally call on your Warrior to make that phone call to connect.
I’m amazed by the men who show up at the gathering, maybe for the first time, and leave feeling inspired and connected to other men in a way they have not experienced before. Some men come back, but sadly many men don’t, and we lose men if they’re not in connection between gatherings.
At the last gathering two men returned after an absence of ten years or more; recognizing the hunger they felt from the void of authentic male connection.
OK, I’m going to switch gears here and provide some transparency.
As the OC continues to work, taking our organization to the cutting edge of men’s work, being responsive to member suggestions, and continuing to provide options for men with limited resources, ( we have a separate limited fund to protect that), we also have to be extremely creative to remain financially viable.
We have a long standing relationship with Camp Hazen and we have developed a symbiotic relationship that works well for both of us. Over the years Hazen has kept the price we pay per man steady and fixed while charging other organizations more. That has been slowly changing in the last couple of years and Hazen has begun to slowly increase our financial responsibility at each gathering. We are also one of the few organizations that requires the use of the entire camp for our gathering, it just wouldn’t do to share space with another organization.
As an organization who requires the entire camp for our gathering Hazen requires us to be financially responsible for 100 men. If only 80 show up, we’re still financially responsible for the other 20; this means we have the potential to lose money at every gathering.
What seems the most viable solution, and it will take the whole community working together, is to raise our attendance numbers to 100 men or more, which means pre-registration can be a lifeline for the gathering and it helps us to prepare with Camp Hazen so they can meet our needs. (Meals, housing, etc.)
It means all of us together reaching out to members throughout the year, staying connected. (This 1st time newsletter is a way we are holding the OC accountable to do the same).
It means bringing another man with you to gathering and talking up Comega in other communities you’re involved in. (church, 12 step meetings, yoga, etc.)
It means honestly self-reflecting and questioning how well I access my archetypes in my daily life and not just two times a year and what part am I playing to sustain our organization.
So let’s work together this year and hold the vision of 115 men for the spring gathering with 50 men attending the pre-gathering workshop.
We also appreciate the men who offered their services towards our sustainability during the last community meeting. We have your names and your offerings and we will be in contact soon.
In the Spirit of Brotherhood
Paul Gemme and the Comega OC