The TONE Project 2.0 is in the books...at least the formal part. What an honour it was to once again be a part of a emotionally courageous, collectively supportive and adventurous group of men looking for other ways into wellness.
Responding to the call to adventure, we gathered at Namaste Esperanza Integrated Wellness Centre to begin our individual and collective journeys, ending up eventually at The Deanery Project to complete our work together. Throughout our 2.5 months together, exploring the trail that has lead us into difficulties, dissecting the role of gender expectations in our lives as men, discovering commonality and celebrating diversity through it all.
Using adventure therapy and experiential learning experiences, men are invited to delve into the issues that brought them to the TONE Project. Whether we are using a rope swinging activity to demonstrate the need to ask for the support of others (to complete the activity, one must literally rely on the physical support of the other men), or tightrope/slackline experience as a metaphor for the 'challenges of getting to the other side of our goals' (part of a goal-setting workshop), the TONE Project offers a different take on HOW and WHERE therapy can happen.
Similarly, our work intentionally infuses expressive therapy techniques: believing that there are many ways we can access our inner states, and that by doing so in ways that are not always talk-based, we might see our lives, experiences, relationships, histories, etc., from new and insightful angles.
The use of service projects amongst groups of men has proven particularly powerful. Building a fire pit, designing and constructing benches (for said fire pit), trail maintenance - are but a few examples of how our men have worked collectively to 'serve another'. The physical labour, working together with other men, needing to creatively problem solve, working with and within natural spaces - are a few of the benefits expressed by TONE men.
The beginning of the post references the 'formal' ending of the group, as we have encouraged participants to continue to explore ways of supporting each other via a peer support group. I was overjoyed this week to see the first email inviting the men to gather - independently - including the invitation to consider a canoe trip together!
An honour and a privaledge indeed...
[Looking ahead: Next TONE Project group starts mid-September, and is geared towards young adult men,18-30 years old. Check the website or Facebook page for details!!]