Watch this short video interview with Bob Jones, the creator of the ConneXions Workshops to get a clearer sense of what the workshop is about and why Bob created it. Bob shares his personal mission and how his mission helped inform the creation of this workshop. This is the first in what will be a collection of short video clips interviewing Bob and the other members of the team. At our next offering, we plan to capture some live testimonials from participants as well.
I have been fortunate to have many mentors in my life, people who have pushed me, prodded me, challenged me and loved me fiercely. One of them is Mike Elser, past president of The Mankind Project USA who is also a Rinzai Zen Priest. We meet online most weeks for one hour and talk about various aspects of my life. In our conversation earlier this week, he did a piece of “Voice Dialogue” with me. He asked to speak with my “Seeking Mind”. I knew immediately that part of me which is constantly seeking, driven by both curiosity and by … Continue reading
On July 4th, 2017, I awoke with severe back pain. My wife suggested that it may be kidney related and urged me to drink lots of water. I did, but the pain was even worse the next day. A visit to my doctor took kidneys off the list, but an X-Ray yielded a diagnosis of “diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis” (DISH) for short which is a strange form of osteoarthritis.
Old Bones: When I was a teenager, I resented my father for being harsh and domineering. Years of forgiveness and my own experience as a father have helped to soften that perspective. He passed away eleven years ago. Recently, my own harsh and domineering side come up again in a situation regarding youth behavior. I still have an old bone that comes out to be chewed upon from time to time. I suppose that reason why it comes up, once again, is to forgive, once again. As I think of Dad, I also think of duty and obligation. However, forgiveness … Continue reading
This post marks a milestone in my life and describes part of my journey from head to heart. On June 6th, 1967, exactly 50 years ago today, I started a job as a computer operator trainee. On my second day on the job, my boss handed me a COBOL manual and said, “Learn it. As soon as you write your first program, I will give you a $10 per week raise.” I got the raise two weeks later and have been writing computer programs ever since. In the half century since then, I have watched the computer industry grow up. … Continue reading
I have had a very busy week with lots of changes afoot. Some are external like diving into Facebook or leading a Primary Integration Training for 17 men last weekend… or a Welcome Home ceremony for 10 men in Bellingham last night. But there is a deeper change I feel creeping up on me. In January of this year, I decided to stop making money as a programmer. I still program (I have to to maintain this website), but I decided to follow my passion and develop and teach my ConneXions Intensive workshops. This meant taking a big risk. I … Continue reading
In June, 2015 I responded to a Quora post asking, “Why aren’t there a lot of old programmers at software companies?” My post was viewed over 650,000 times and “upvoted” over 7,000 times. I just heard today from a dear friend who spotted a Huffington Post article. He guessed that it might have been from me and he was right. Go figure! It’s the same post. I reread the post and realized that some of my specific goals have changed, but that the general arc of my life remains the same… moving from my head into my heart.
My first ConneXions Workshop is scheduled to start in less than three weeks and I have only five people signed up. I have an interesting challenge facing me: bootstrapping a whole new business where I am responsible for 100% of the deliverables which include the website, the email campaigns, the course content and the event logistics and marketing. I feel a bit like Sisyphus pushing the rock uphill, but I am the one who chose the hill and the rock. I feel a bit of overwhelm on a pretty regular basis, and that should not be a surprise. At the … Continue reading
I was interviewed in early March, 2016 by Alise Cortez in her “Working on Purpose” show on the Voice of America. We talked about my life as a programmer and my experiences with the Mankind Project. The interview aired on March 16th, 2016. Here is a description of that interview. Introduction (by Alise Cortez) The 1960s women’s movement was of monumental importance to advance the conscious development of women. But what response did it evoke in men? Where do men derive their sense of connection and meaning in today’s times? And how do men navigate their lives against the backdrop of … Continue reading
The feedback on my ConneXions workshop is starting to come it and it is both good and… well, challenging. I have so much content that the advice I am getting is to break it into several one-day workshops. The other feedback is exactly what I was both expecting and most concerned about. I need more exercises that get people moving and in their bodies. Kim Illig just gave me lots of ideas like using some ecstatic dance to demonstrate meditation.
In 1990, I was hired by Microsoft as a Director of their Core Consulting Team for Microsoft Consulting Services. I sold my house in San Jose and moved my family to Redmond, WA in September and dove in. It didn’t take me long to realize that the powerful currents at Microsoft were pulling me under and I was into a political situation that was way over my head. My boss also realized that his team wasn’t working well, so the whole bunch of us went off for a weekend to do some “team building”. During the weekend, something profound happened … Continue reading
It’s Monday morning and I am in re-entry. I completed a very intense training this past weekend and I am still in a bit of an altered state. The training is called LT3 (Leadership Training 3) and is the capstone of the MKP leader training programs. I felt considerable growth and clarity as a result of the weekend. On Friday evening, we did a process and I granted myself license to try something different. The leader gave me some tough but insightful feedback later that evening and I could feel myself starting to spiral downward… into the rabbit hole of … Continue reading
It’s 7:15AM and I have been up since 2:30AM. Couldn’t sleep… again. I have seen a sleep doctor many times. He is patient and takes copious notes but hasn’t been successful helping me get a good night’s sleep. No blame here. Blame is such a useless concept. But I do face another day feeling fuzzy and tired. And today will be a busy one. I have three appointments to sit with conscious men and look at our lives together today and my Voice of America interview with Alise Cortez goes live today at 3:00PM PST. I have been working on … Continue reading
I went back to high school in September. Other than parent-teacher nights and occasional class reunions, this is the first time I have been in high school in over 50 years. I am part of a nine-person team (one real teacher) and eight volunteers who are teaching Advanced Placement Computer Science (Java) in one of our local high schools.
I attend yoga every Sunday morning that I can because Paul Millage bookends the yoga asanas with kirtan and afterwards many of us sit in circle and explore the spiritual aspects of yoga and our lives. In this morning’s circle, a young woman with tears in her eyes asked us to pray for the people in Israel and Palestine.
I don’t know whether to lead with the outcomes from three days and two sleepless nights with amazingly conscious men or the impact of the album I am listening to right now that ranks with Santana’s Caravanserai, The Dark Side of the Moon and Paul Simon’s Graceland, so I will start with the Shantala’s visit to Bellingham. On Sunday evening, after two sleepless nights and a seven hour drive from Manzanita, Oregon, a quick shower and dinner, I walked into the Presence Studio to the mesmerizing sound of Heather and Benjy Wertheimer, the husband and wife partnership called “Shantala“. There … Continue reading
Shift Happens I ordered some clothing from a website in April and by early June, most of the order was still missing. I was angry with the vendor and had some pretty clear judgments about the obvious problems with his business so I called him today and brother, what a lesson I learned. I told the man in clear terms that there were real problems with his business, and his response was, “Yes, and I am the problem.” “How is that?” I asked.
As of June 6, 2014, I will have been a computer programmer for 47 years. I estimate that I have written over three million lines of computer code in a plethora of programming languages, many of them long dead. But who gives a shit? Sure, programming has paid the rent… at least most of the time. But will anybody actually look at and really read the code I have spent so much of my life writing? Probably not. So what really matters?
One of my earliest childhood memories was sitting at the top of the stairs listening to my father yell at my mother and hearing her scream as he hit her. I felt helpless and scared and I promised myself I would never do this to my children. I took in a message that men with power will hurt people. I feared my own power. I didn’t want to hurt others. I gave my power away whenever I could. I feared leadership, but time and again
The Mankind Project (MKP) is changing the world, one man at a time. It teaches us men to wake up, grow up and stand up in missions of service. The New Warrior Training Adventure (NWTA) created in 1985 by an educator, a therapist and an ex-marine, has initiated close to 50,000 men around the world into a world of the mature masculine.
In September, 2013, I staffed my 33rd NWTA weekend. I am considered a senior staffer, one who knows the weekend quite well. I was asked by the weekend leader to step onto the leader track for the weekend because he didn’t think there were enough experienced men. I have staffed with this leader before and it worked quite well, so I stepped on as a leader in training (LIT)… for this weekend only.