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December 2018

Updated: Jun 24, 2020

Winter is upon us. (Not a Game of Thrones reference)

I know for myself, it’s a time for self-reflection and inventory taking. I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions because, for me, they always lacked staying power. I find life style changes to be a more permanent form of lasting change and COMEGA has been a catalyst for me with lasting change.

This is also the time of year when I find myself in “Bear energy”; if I’m not living consciously, my tendency will be to hibernate and not do a whole lot, so I have to be on my guard to make sure  I’m not isolating and I’m still in connection with my supports. I find the best way to do that is to make sure I have meaningful connections and commitments with activities that support my personal growth; i.e. men’s groups (2), monthly race dialog group, my daily yoga practice (both home and at the studio), my 12 step fellowship meetings, the work I do with the COMEGA OC, and all the family and grandchildren commitments.

So my questions to you is, “How are you taking care of yourself until our next gathering”?

“Are you in connection with COMEGA brothers”?   If yes, “Who initiates the contact”?

“And what else can you do, proactively, to keep the spirit of COMEGA alive within you”?

This is also the time corporations and organizations are reviewing their past year of accomplishments, setting policy changes, setting new goals, and questioning what worked and what didn’t, and COMEGA is no different. The OC is constantly looking at areas where we, as men, can grow personally, and grow the organization at the same time. It often means supportively confronting each other so we don’t get trapped in “Bear Energy” and fall into hibernation. Trying to do COMEGA work around the holidays can be challenging so it requires a lot of Warrior and King Energy as well as support from our brothers.

After the holidays, the OC will be asking for support from our community brothers. We’ll send out requests for assistance with specific tasks we could use help with.  It will be an opportunity to take ownership for our gathering while providing some breathing space for the OC, as we continue to plan for our upcoming, three day weekend in the spring. Any support you can give with these tasks will be graciously appreciated.

And if you’re finding yourself isolating and feeling a lack of connection over the next several weeks, one very important thing you can do to support yourself right now, is to pre-register for the spring gathering, and connect with two new men. Talk to them about how much the gathering has meant to you and encourage them to register and attend. Not only will it support the organization, but it will help to keep the spirit of COMEGA alive in you throughout the winter.

And if you’re interested, below are some of the accomplishments the OC has implemented. We will continue working to make COMEGA a cutting edge men’s gathering.

Paul Gemme and the COMEGA OC

If you would like to respond to the newsletters, go to the COMEGA website and click the contact link.

COMEGA Achievements – From December 2015

The following is a list of achievements, changes, and upgrades that we have made since December of 2015. It is not likely a complete list, nor fully detailed. However, it is hoped that it will highlight what men’s dedication through passion, vision, and diligence through service has accomplished.

1) Re-write the culture norms and have copy available for distribution at every COMEGA gathering.

2) Create a new website, addressing the need to upgrade from the existing one from an archaic platform.

3) Change the fee structure from a sliding scale to a financial aid structure with inclusion of a bursary sub-committee and oversite by a chairman who is an OC member.

a. Create a guiding procedural document.

4) Create a Circle of 8, (Team 8) sub-committee & offer training for men for paired leadership at gatherings

a. Solicit men for leadership role.

b. Brief and debrief leaders at gatherings.

c. Implement 2 facilitators for each team of eight.

5) Address problems with data base. (Ongoing).

a. Inclusion of data such as first COMEGA attendance and number of gatherings attended.

6) Institute process of personal check-ins O.C. meetings.

7) Support consciousness about cis gendered gatherings & support acceptance of change to accept trans- men at gatherings.

8) Invite leadership from other men’s gatherings OC’s to our gathering inclusive of fee waiver to support cross cultural sharing and inclusion.

9) Create special “sessions” at weekends to address various important happenings:

a) Honoring of co-founder Norbert Gauthier’s passing.

b) The burying of Norbert’s ashes and AA medallion.

c) The celebration of our 50th gathering.

d) The honoring and eulogizing of Mark Hillyer, (Baldy) as he approached his passing.

10) Soliciting of solid workshop offerings from men in the community prior to the weekends.

11) Move the endings on Sunday from 11:30 back to 3:00 p.m.

12) Increase the food quality.

13) Support of a liaison with the Ritual Committee.

14) Ritualize honoring of men leaving the OC and new men coming onto the OC at gatherings.

15) Create and execute standard vetting questions for potential new OC members.

a. Create a vetting team and process of vetting men.

b. Use similar vetting process with men for bursary committee.

16) Create written guidelines for weekend MC’s.

17) Start the write - up of various job descriptions and procedures. (Ongoing).

a. Creation of an electronic location to store these. (Ongoing).

18) Start visioning of a New England wide men’s gathering.

19) Solicit MC’s for the talent show prior to the weekend gathering.

20) Create a welcome committee and post men at locations to welcome men as they arrive.

21) Create a new ritual opening reading based in the archetypes.

22) Begin to invite in eldership by offering mentoring of key roles such as: Team 8 leadership, MC roles, and with OC members, including the invitation of men to choose a mentor at the weekend.

23) Start a community wide dialogue that takes place on Sunday afternoons.

24) Move the spring gathering to a more advantageous time, from March to April.

25) Start to address issues of race & racism thru a weekend theme & gathering follow up topic workshops.

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