April interview with Reid Baer -
Why not just love? Why does it have to be
Ill tell you why. Without fierce love
love is merely high-school drama.
Be wise as serpents and harmless as
First, I want to honor Patricia Clason for her
early work with the founders of MKP, and for her
continued service to Combat Veterans.
Second, I was planning on sharing an interview I
did with her in The New Warrior Journal and other
Internet places. Thats not going to happen
now. I attended her workshop, Taking It Lightly and
enjoyed it. However, what I experienced in my
effort to write a story afterwards, including my
YouTube videos that I was asked to take down, was
drama, drama, and more drama.
I choose to end the drama right here. Its
a matter of integrity for me to steer clear of it.
I'm making a personal and professional choice. I'm
not going to get into recriminations, or make this
my rant. This article is not about anyone else but
me; its now about my work around fierce love.
This is my experience.
When Im asked what the key value of MKP is
for me, I almost always answer that it is
I know too many people who put love first in
their approach to life, and then dont get the
integrity part right. I also know people who strive
for integrity, and dont get much love in
their life. Theres a tension between these
two archetypal elements for me.
My original wound began in the Lover quadrant
where I was told repeatedly, I love
you, while I was growing up in an abusive
family environment. There was no integrity
or congruence around love for me. So,
Im extremely sensitive to the use of it, and
carry my own distortions for it.
Even still, in the last few years Ive been
trying out the word love. I like it, in context.
Yet, I see how dangerous it is by itself
just like the Lover trying to take over the entire
inner kingdom of the psyche. How many of us have
our Lover sitting like a High-Chair Tyrant in our
I think theres a tendency in us to project
the focus of our deepest wound into our life's
pursuits. If were wounded in the Lover,
wouldnt we think love was the silver bullet
to save us? The end all and be all? If I think
its all about the Lover
then am I
destined to be out of sync with the other
quadrants? Yes. Each man has a strength and a
weakness in the four quarters that help and hinder
him in an optimal life - rolling through life like
a well rounded wheel. Shall I stop every moment and
tell myself or others that the rolling wheel is
exclusively working because I have learned to
access solely my Lover, or my Warrior, or my
Magician, or King. The good life integrates them
Wolf in sheeps clothing
Ive had the opportunity of strengthening
my Warrior, not in ways I would consciously ask
for, when false accusations were thrown at me in a
messy divorce court. Ive been hurt in
devastating ways on more than one occasion from a
too vulnerable Lover. I have left my sword on the
shelf in the name of love. I continue to struggle
with setting healthy boundaries. Ive been
physically ill at times when I've left my Lover
naively dangling and vulnerable to lover/victims
who thought they were justified in lashing out at
me. The least accountable people I know are
victims. Get a group together, and you've got a
For the most part, I believe that in MKP we
create strong, hard, and healthy containers to do
our deep soulful work. There's a purpose in this -
safety. Emotional safety. Psychic safety. Physical
safety. Love without accountability is the most
dangerous thing on the planet.
By Reid Baer
Well, I see the bait
Youve chosen is nothin
So slimy as a worm
Sweet honey drippin from the hook
Ive got lodged in me bleedin cheek
And Im feelin vulnerable and weak
For this thing called love
From below or up above
Wondering what price Ive paid
To be complete
By the way
Me thinks you cheat.
Well, I say, its been fun
But Ive simply got to run
With what integrity
Ive got left
In little ol me
So Ill be
Jumpin back now
And swimmin again
In the deep blue sea.
Faith without works is dead
I know a little something about love
love my God, I love my wife, my children, my
family, my friends, and me and you
and I get
to be loved. Yet somehow, love doesnt show up
in our MKP language. Some say its a deficit,
I say its perfect the way it is.
Like a tree, if we focus entirely on the fruit
itself, we may not have the vision or real focus
for the long row of hoeing that has to get done. It
takes a great deal of work/faith to actually get to
the fruit, including planting the seed, nurturing
it, dunging it, cultivating it, pruning it,
watering it, and protecting it vigilantly. The
fruit is the byproduct of good hard accountability
with nature. Anything short of that is cheap fruit
I say watch out for those anyone,
anywhere who advance their cause in the name
of love. (Id like for you to read Denis
DeRougements Love in the Western World to
understand where we are in our modern culture
around a degraded form of what was originally a
Heres what MKP International stated from a
consensus in its last conference:
Purpose: We awaken and empower men to conscious
service to the world.
Mission: To challenge and nurture every man on
his journey to authenticity through initiation.
Vision: Inspiring men to reclaim the sacred
masculine, creating safe circles and vibrant
communities. All men welcome.
Core values: The core values of MKP are
accountability, authenticity, compassion,
generosity, integrity, leadership, multicultural
awareness, and respect.
We commit to integrating these values into our
Wheres the LOVE, man?
Im wondering if theres a distinct
quality about being a man that is willing to be
focused on accountability or authenticity before he
dives into an all encompassing world of love. What
if accountability is the supreme act of love? For
me, if I go into a task with the idea of doing the
work first, and having fun second, it tends to
serve me better than if I go in wanting to have fun
first, and then the work usually doesnt get
done (or its half-assed).
Let me ask you, is it possible that those who
profess the most love are the ones asking for the
most excuses around their own behavior? Do you let
someone off the hook (love) because you want to be
(loved) let off the hook yourself? What a wonderful
and terrible word love can be. What has been the
cost for you to love or be loved in your life? Have
you ever felt like you were the object of a person
feigning love onto you so that they could identify
themselves as a loving person? I have. I do.
Actions speak louder than words
Do you have anyone in your life that uses your
Lover, or your shadow Lover - shame, to hook you
into their life? Do you wimp out among men and
women, and end up losing a piece of yourself? Is
this not a lack of integrity?
Is my first obligation to love or to do my own
personal work? D.H.Lawrence says life is a
long difficult repentance. The
word repentance doesnt bother me; I think
its just growing developing. This is
my primary task. If I dont heal myself, then
Im not really doing anything for the world.
I hear this phrase a lot: Love is life. Well, it
may work for some, but my life doesnt work
Stephen Covey talks about leadership that is
principle-based, as opposed to personality based.
Think about the gift Rich Tosi and Bill Kauth gave
MKP. They literally gave away the organization to
us. This Project does not exist to promote these
two men, nor do they want it to.
Other organizations based on personalities, I
believe, run the risk of grandiosity that Dr.
Robert Moore says is the single biggest sickness of
our generation. I believe it too. I wrestle with
If its true that religion is the last
refuge of scoundrels, then I believe that in the
name of love, people become inflated and
self-serving in their own wounds creating a
selfish fantasy universe and lovingly inviting
people into it ... to simply adore the creator.
The Golden Lover is about connection, the Shadow
Lover is about addiction. Tyrant Kings/Abdicating
Kings collude with Shadow Lovers to justify
addictions of any kind, including an addiction to
love. Golden Kings are a compliment to Golden
Shall mercy rob justice?
I believe in the tension of life. As C.G. Jung
says, All of lifes problems are
fundamentally unsolvable. If thats
true, then anyone who tries to sell me on a magic
potion, including love, is a profound liar. Life is
simply hard. Deal with it. (Richard Rohr)
I do pray for my enemies. I do work to forgive.
I create space for people who are different from
me. I work on listening. I stretch my compassion
and empathy. I look to give approbation and
blessings to others. I seek acknowledgment and
blessings for myself. I do believe in power that
comes from another source than me - a Divine
Do NOT count me as a love guru - I couldnt
handle the projections. Im happy to be a
Searcher of Truth. Rumi can talk about love. The
rest of us are dabblers. Rumi says a fathers
stern slap is better for a man than his
mothers indulgence. Give me a Real World
before you give me Real Love. Our goal isnt
to find the meaning of life, but to find the true
experience of life. (Joseph Campbell)
My Sovereign, working with my Warrior and my
Magician, help keep my Lover in a clean place.
Its ultimately a mystery for me, this life. I
dont have a neat answer that sums it all up -
like love. Ask me to look at my strengths and
weaknesses in the Four Quadrants, but dont
ask me to be a perfect example of any of them for
you. I cant imagine always being on my guard
to be anything - especially loving.
This is what Ill hear from some people:
Hes just not loving enough or
Im not loving enough or I
cant be intimate the way he/she wants me to
Forget that crap.
Recently, for the first time in my life, I got a
puppy. Patricia, my wife, knew how to house train
the critter; she's had dogs before. She made rules
first, and gave the puppy love second. The puppy's
sister from the same litter, owned by Patricia's
son, is being loved first, and trained second -
it's still shitting in the house. Ours scratches on
the door to go potty outside.
Is Simon Cowell, the judge on American Idol,
cruel when he tells a terrible singer that they're
actually terrible? Or, is he really helping that
individual from further hardships in the savage
entertainment business? I'll tell you who's really
being cruel - Paul Abdul and her love, love, love
comments for everybody. She's encouraging bad
Because I come in contact with a lot of people,
I have to set boundaries or I would never have a
life of my own. I do appreciate your kind notes and
phone calls - really, they're welcome - but if
someone starts calling me everyday, I have to say
"stop." Watch how this kind of person then reacts
- who proclaims they're loving you - if you ask
them to cease contact. Oh, the high-school drama
begins. You'll be hearing from mutual friends,
advocates of reconciliation, and who knows who ...
in the end, however, it's a sign of no respect when
a simple request cannot be granted for space or
distance in a relationship. Now take a good look
here for the repercussions: the passive aggressive
Warrior imbedded within the Lover idealization
shows itself. There's no awareness, and no
responsibility taken. Watch how the Magician comes
out quickly to argue the cause of the Wounded
Lover. It's all shadow shit.
You should know that I married a good Warrior
Woman. Shes tougher than I am. Shes
from the coal-mining hills near Tennessee. She
doesnt abide the kind of emotional
game-playing that a lot of women (men) do. Im
actually more the Lover in our marriage, than she
is. Shed admit to that.
What holds my world together is the integration
of all the archetypal energies. My healthy soul
rolls smoothly when each quadrant is honored and
given an integral role. Integration is integrity.
I'll say that again. Integration is integrity. Or,
as C.G. Jung would say, its a kind of optimal
individuation of the multi-faceted energies that
flow within and without us. My healthy ego is the
I dont want us to just be Warriors, or
Magicians, or Lovers, or Kings. I want us NOT to
get stuck in any one quadrant as the secret to
life. I want an integrated life for myself and for
you. In my best moments, Im NOT looking for
an addictive shortcut; Im willing to hang in
there for the whole life experience, including the
good, the bad, and the unloving. My goal is to
create a safe container within myself where
everything's welcome. It's my Sovereign that gives
me that space not to immediately react - or
overreact. It's certainly not the Lover
If I can be true to the goal of integrity, then
I can learn to accept all of who I am. If I can be
integrated within myself, then I can accept all the
various peoples of the world, including those I
perceive as the lowliest (which obviously represent
my own denied parts).
brothers! Shall we believe in a
world that is real, where men are conscious of
their shadows and gold, and ultimately take
responsibility for who we are and how we act?!
That's the world I want to live in!
© 2007, Reid Baer
* * *
The fame you earn has a different taste from the
fame that is forced upon you. - Gloria
Reid Baer, an
award-winning playwright for A Lyons
Tale is also a newspaper journalist, a poet
with more than 100 poems in magazines world wide,
and a novelist with his first book released this
month entitled Kill
The Story. Baer has been
a member of The ManKind Project since 1995 and
currently edits The New Warrior Journal for
The ManKind Project www.mkp.org
He resides in Reidsville, N.C. with his wife
Patricia. He can be reached at E-Mail.
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