Many of us have just returned from the annual Illuman conference “Soularize/Drawing from a Deep Well”, in Albuquerque, NM. This is the yearly pilgrimage for men on the Journey of Illumination. It is the time when brotherhood expands into something larger than our own neighborhood. What I love about Illuman is that men who I’ve never met before can instantly become a brother and friend. One truly experiences the words of Jesus, “Love your neighbor”.
This year at Soularize, we heard from twelve men who spoke openly about their transforming experiences with grief and humility, and their spiritual work for social justice and caring for the next generation. We met in small groups and shared deeply about what these stories mean to us. Personally, my own council group was one of the deepest and most powerful experiences of connecting with other men, ever. We have each others emails, and we are keeping in touch.
At Drawing from a Deep Well, Richard Rohr shared over two full days his own entire life journey. Deep and mesmerizing, it felt like we were truly all brothers, gathered around, listening to our father tell his life. Richard has been an icon in Men’s work, and we come away energized to discover our own gifts and how we can offer them to the world.
“The powers of the Trinity conspired and through it’s gentle instruments allowed me to miraculously find myself at Soularize. Once there, the opportunity to walk through the wild yellow leaves of my soul, challenged and inspired my willingness to transform. Then, I began to learn how to reread the signs of my spiritual book.
Los poderes de la Trinidad conspiraron y a travÃÂ©s de sus gentiles instrumentos pude milagrosamente participar en Soularize. Una vez allÃÂ, la oportunidad de caminar por las salvajes y amarillas hojas de mÃÂ alma, retaron e inspiraron mi complacencia de transformaciÃ³n. Luego, comencÃÂ© a aprender como releer los signos de mi libro espiritual.” –Nestor Rodriguez-Diaz
“My decision to go to New Mexico for Soularize and Drawing from a Deep Well was the result of good experiences at meetings of a Southern California Illuman subchapter in Camarillo. Those meetings had a welcoming warmth plus trust and respect. I found the same things in New Mexico. The large group experiences set the mood for the small group experiences (council circles). Strangers quickly became brothers as we had opportunities to speak our truths from our hearts. Truths that most likely had not been spoken aloud anywhere else. There were tears and laughter. I look forward to returning annually to New Mexico and to attending the local Illuman meetings, plus it is likely that I will attend a Men’s Rite of Passage within the next year.” — Ben Smith