A Man
Overboard

 

 

George Daranyi


I have seen our new MKP Chairman George Daranyi for the past several years at our annual business meetings, quietly counseling with our organization’s leadership. I could sense that his experience was honored by them, and his opinion valued.

It feels right to me that Daranyi stepped in for a year to finish Jim Mitchell’s two-year term.

Before I spoke with him, I checked out his website: www.georgedaranyi.com/

He’s a damn POET! I read each of his poems – starting with the one most powerful for me:

Tethered

Would you rather be tethered?
Or, untethered?
Staked?
Or, unstaked?
Loose in the field? '
Or, tied to something?

Here I stand
I shall go no further
Here we stand
We shall go no further

Tethered,
I turn this way and that
I walk toward the sun
Then, away
I walk in my shoes
Then, barefoot
A small groove appears
Blisters
Then, a deeper groove
Bloodied
Finally, I cannot see

Here I stand
I shall go no further
Here We stand
We shall go no further

Untethered
I run this way and that
First I follow the sun
Then it follows me
First in my shoes
Then, barefoot
Blisters
Blood
No path, no groove, no deep hole
No stand, no stake, no tether

Would you rather be tethered?
Or, untethered?
Staked?
Or, unstaked?
Loose in the field?
Or, tied to something?

Here I stand
Here We stand

©2005, George Daranyi

After reading it, I yelled out loud to myself, “He’s a true Jungian!”

Here's a man who I believe knows how to hold the tensions and conflicts in a good way - including the challenges of what's happening in The ManKind Project International.

“Oh, yeah … I like how Jung talks about holding the tension of the opposites,” the new Chairman began on the phone with me. “One of the definitions of maturity for me is defined by the ability to hold things together in greater and greater tension. It’s not easy to hold those expanding polar opposites and keep them from shattering before the transformation occurs. Most people want to hold onto just one direction, and hold on too tightly. It’s very uncomfortable to contain life’s tensions.”

Daranyi has been involved in the visioning process for the past five years we’ve been struggling with it. He’s lead many of the group encounters at Glen Ivy to help discover exactly who we are.

“We began the exploration of what MKP would look like 50 years from now in a traditional way, the way businesses do it,” he explained. “As an organization we have pursued a mission statement similarly to what we do on an NWTA after the Little Boy’s Deepest Needs were met. In hindsight, I see this as a trap. We did not do the real work which is answering this question: 'Foundationally, what is the passion, the excellence, and the driver of our success? And, what is the intersection of those three points?'

“We discovered last year, at the end of our process on Vision/Mission that our primary purpose had been to initiate men into missions of service. It’s the thing we’ve done best since 1985 – running NWTA trainings and offering I-Groups. We’ve developed 40 communities, have had several hundred trainings per year, and initiated thousands of men. But, I have felt for sometime, and others have also shared with me since Glen Ivy in 2007, that our primary purpose is actually bigger than that. Then I read Jim Collin's book about moving an organization from Good to Great, and his section on the hedgehog."

In Glen Ivy this year Daranyi taught the assembled group of men about the principle of a hedgehog – an animal that does one thing really well, i.e., roll up in a ball to protect itself and who then grows old, fat and happy, from Collins’ book, “From Good to Great.” [Check out David Kaar's review .]

“I personally believe we need a different and much broader and more useful language than what we’ve been using, one that incorporates our real hedgehog: we are a men’s leadership training organization. We’re not just initiators; not just providers of space for our NWTA’s and I Groups; but we teach men how to be leaders in every area of their life - we’re a leadership training organization. The past chairman, Jim Mitchell, and I have had this on going dialogue for quite some time now, and we just need to embrace it at he institutional level."

This had echoes for me of what Don Jones told me years ago … that we are the world’s best place to acquire leadership skills.

And, George, won’t this be an easier way to market what we do?

“In plain English, leadership is something anybody on the street can understand. The ideas of initiation trainings, pursuing the sacred masculine, battles on the insider or outside, shadows, facing shadows … those ideas are all inward looking conversations. It’s code we understand in the membership of MKP – great for our own circle, but it has little meaning for the external world.”

The Chairman said he will be a cheerleader for the next year in keeping all of the organization’s decisions focused on leadership development.

“It was good that we’ve done our inward focus for ourselves, but we didn’t answer the simple outward question: ‘Hey, who are you guys? What do you stand for?’ We can now do that. If we’re clear about our hedgehog, then our vision and mission will evolve.”

Folks … men, I have to say, as your humble Editor that I’m so on board with George and this idea! I’ve stayed in MKP for 13 years because I’ve seen my own leadership skills grow. I have found leadership opportunities on NWTA’s, and even more so in I-Group work, community leadership, and in my own personal life.

“Most men haven’t been able to language how to broaden our scope of MKP leadership in a good way,” the Chairman continued. “When I came off my weekend, two things happened; I knew I was standing as a man among men - I had found my place in a circle of men. It was the most profound thing I’d been searching my whole life for - where I could fit in. When I heard the drumming, and throughout the Heroes Journey, and finally getting my Talisman; I looked around and said to myself, ‘This is it. This is where I belong.’”

The second piece that Daranyi said he received on his NWTA, was a clarity about his mission in life.

“I realized I needed to be in service to the world in some way. I had to align my life to serve a broader good. I had never captured that before then. I had never been grounded in a congruent way around service to mankind. Those were the two big things: I belong with men, and I’m in service.”

I told George that my leadership had taught me to take care of myself, first. I had to learn how to be my own leader.

“That is one level of leadership,” he noted. “And men also want to learn how to run groups of men. We’ve forgotten where MKP came from - men’s circle and men’s communities. Now that we’re one generation into this work, part of our give-back is through open circles and I-groups.”

Daranyi has been one of the strongest proponents and examples of Open Circles. He eventually had to leave our conversation to get ready for his every other Wednesday night Open Circle.

“Robert Bly’s never been initiated! We don’t have any problem with him. We have believed wrongly that men need us … we need the men. I see our organization growing and our arrogance being penetrated.”

He spoke in glowing terms about a man who he has played golf with, who is not a New Warrior, but who is “awakened, empowered, mission oriented, enlightened, and progressive.”

“He’s one of the most interesting men I’ve ever met. He’s a solid guy. Whether or not he wants to be in relation with MKP or not, we need him! If we offer him a place inside the organization, without insisting that he do the NWTA first, then he would probably take a step toward us, and we could be in relation to him in a win/win kind of way. But, right now, there is no way for that to occur. If we become a great leadership training organization, then this is the kind of man we are interested in, and if we are leadership focused then we’re the kind of organization he would join.”

The NWTA is still the entry point for a man to be in relation with our membership, he added. However, this idea of leadership development could very well be the handle that attracts the MILLION men Daranyi said he wants to bring into MKP in his lifetime.

So George, what about the guy reading this that doesn’t really care about all the machinations at the top of MKP’s rung?

“The zealous part of me wants every man to care about the umbrella organization and feel the brotherhood of initiated men around the world. But I’m not sure that’s important for every man. We need to create fluidity inside our own organizational structure where a man can access the benefits of the institution at whatever level he wants, whatever is useful to him. I don’t think we need to insist on only one formula for being in relation with each other.”

Historically, if a man wanted to get some of the same juice as he did on his own initiation, he staffed.

“Staffing has been the single most inspiring point after a man's NWTA,” the Chairman agreed. “To go back as a staff man – that’s been where the embers have continued to burn for him. Let’s honor the men who have chosen that path toward leadership. And still, MKP International should be bigger in its focus on leadership.”

To Daranyi, there is a gift in having a world wide organization that can take the continuity of an established curriculum to all the outposts of the world.

“In the world of Alcoholics Anonymous, they read the same preamble everywhere you go from the Big Book. They are an international service based organization. There are 10’s of thousands of meetings happening around the world. Without the umbrella organization of AA, you wouldn’t have the skeletal structure in place at the local level.”

Daranyi was initiated in San Diego, November 1992. He was going through a separation and a divorce when his therapist, Dennis Meade-Shikaly suggested he go on the New Warrior Training Adventure.

As one of the Arizona's founding fathers, the new Chairman will be using his pioneering skills to take our umbrella organization into the future.

I asked what it was that drives him personally.

“In Christian theology, it would be The Kingdom of God is at hand - I see the Christ in you; in Buddhism it is the achievement of the Buddha mind; in Daoism, the experience of the Dao. My belief is that everyone is living inside of a spiritual construct, and most people are unaware that they are spiritually alive. Part of my job as an initiator of men is to blow oxygen into the embers that is the foundational life of all creation. That’s when I get to be in relation with someone who is awakened and who is on a path of growing and exploring.”

What’s it like to hang out with guys like that?!

“It feels like the last staff meeting on an NWTA when the work is completed as we’re looking at each other. We don’t think about bank accounts, our lives at home, stories, or material struggles - but we can see into each man’s eyes and know that they're present, valuable, and valued … it feels like belonging.”

I mentioned that Gordon Clay’s www.menstuff.org has as his mission to end men’s isolation.

“My shadow is my fear of dying alone after a useless life,” Daranyi said. “It’s the Shadow I touched on my NWTA, and it’s still the one that’s at play. I’ve never uncovered a deeper one.”

And your Golden Mission?

“My golden mission … I bring men to life by creating space for healing transformation and leadership to emerge."

Somehow George Daranyi works both sides of his brain as not only a poet, but a noted attorney, intervention coordinator, lecturer, and workshop facilitator. Check out his website for more information on this unique leader among leaders. www.georgedaranyi.com/

Daranyi was born in Lima, Peru in 1957 and came to the United States in 1965.

We were able to chat for a moment in Spanish, which inspired him to recite to me on the phone this poem he'd recently written.

Listening to this authentic man share his deep and passionate life filled me with great joy and the commitment to support him as our new Chairman. I hope you do too. - RB

Show Me Your Papers

Show me your papers!
I said: Show me your papers.

Not long ago
A time in America
When I could move freely
From place to place
City to city
Job to job
Home to home

Free
Free from inspection
Objection
Intrusion
Oppression
Judgment

Show me your papers!
I said: Show me your papers.

I am told now
By those bigots
I must have the right papers
In order
In order to have my life
In order to move
In order to breathe
In order to be
Free

Show me your papers!
I said: Show me your papers.

Have we forgotten?
Have we forgotten King George?
Have we forgotten the blue arm tattoos?
Have we forgotten the yellow stars?
The crystal night?
The twisted cross?
The black leather boots in the night?
The Polish ghetto?
The camps?
The gulag?
The killing fields?
Have we forgotten these things?

Show me your papers!
I said: show me your papers.

I am told
This is required
To make me safer
To make me freer
To protect me
To take care of me
To take care of my family
To take care of my country
I am told
I will feel better
I will get used to it
I am told

Show me your papers!
I said: Show me your papers.

So, what shall I do?
What shall you do?
Show them your papers!
Or, resist.

© 2005, George Daranyi

© 2008, Reid Baer

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The fame you earn has a different taste from the fame that is forced upon you. - Gloria Vanderbilt

Reid Baer, an award-winning playwright for “A Lyon’s 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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