Men on Water: A Healing Journey
Fri May 22 - Mon May 25, 2015
Adventure Workshop on the Mississippi River
Jim PathFinder Ewing, the author of seven books on eco-spirituality and mind-body
medicine, will be teaching a three-day workshop on the river. Timed to coincide with the
release of his new book, Redefining Manhood: A Guide for Men and Those Who Love
Them (Findhorn Press, Spring 2015), the workshop will focus on reassessing the
concept of men and their roles in today's society.
Canoe builder and youth leader John Ruskey and his team of Mighty Quapaws will be
your outfitters, guides and cooks for the expedition.
Summary: 4-day weekend with paddling, camping and workshops. Muddy Waters
Wilderness. This is a journey through some of the wildest & remote islands & forests of
the Lower Mississippi. Described in a 12-page article in National Geographic Adventure
Magazine, August 2007. Great back channels & oxbow lakes to explore. Fossil finding &
rock hunting at Knowlton Crevasse & Catfish Point. Great swimming throughout.
Abundant wildlife, exceptional birding, world class fisheries, the greatest concentration
of white tailed deer in the country, as well as the Louisiana black bear. No towns or
industry. The only evidence of civilization is the tugboats on the river.
See http://www.island63.com/expeditions-muddy_waters.cfm for photos and description.
Charge: $550 each all inclusive includes all workshops and teachings, shuttle, meals,
guiding and outfitting, and everything you will need for the river. Special deal for fathers
and sons, and same deal for couples: 500 each.
Meet: 9am Fri May 22nd
Quapaw Canoe Company
291 Sunflower Avenue
Meet at 9am. Park your car, pack your bag and load the canoe. Shuttle to Mississippi
River and set off downstream. 4 days on the biggest river in North America. Primitive
Camping. Bring tent and sleeping bag, or arrange rental.
Finish: Mon May 25th
Return to the same sometime mid-day. Unpack your bags. Say goodbye to new
friends. Your car will be waiting you. Return home.
Men on Water: A Healing Journey
Jim PathFinder Ewing
The workshop is normally taught in two segments: one as a men's retreat (the "Men"
part of the title) as a path for men in self-discovery and inner growth; and one for
women ("Those Who Love Them"), so they can understand and help men grow in
wisdom and stature to meet today's changing roles. This workshop is for men, women
and children, or singles, and will focus on concepts in the book as well as living in
harmony with nature, in keeping with being on the river.
The outline of the three-day workshops is an evening session of approximately two
hours, followed by a full day, then a morning session to wrap up and share what is
This workshop teaches men how to be men in a new, yet time-tested way, by
reevaluating how they were brought up and determining which behaviors are suitable
for adopting, and which are suitable for rejecting. No one is taught what to believe, only
how to examine what is believed, so self-discovery can take place.
Participants should bring notebook or paper and pens to write down insights and
understandings. It is recommended that those attending the workshop read Redefining
Manhood before the trip and be prepared to discuss the concepts. Some exercises in
the book will be part of the workshop.
Paddling and Camping Description
Quapaw Canoe Company
Food & Gear: Quapaw provides all necessary river gear & emergency equipment.
Normally we prepare all food & refreshments, drinks include spring water, juices and
milk. Alcoholic beverages BYOB. We will pack all necessary cookware and eating
utensils, as well as camp tables and camp chairs.
Bring all personal gear and stuff into our waterproof drybags before launching (or use
your own). These are backpack-style bags made of tough waterproof material - great
for packing on a rainy day! It takes three complete fold to make them water-proof, be
sure to lock all four buckles! If you have any questions, check with your guide.
Be prepared for rain or intense sun UV exposure! Sunlight is surprisingly intense on the
river, even in the winter (you get the sun twice - once from above and once reflected
from below). Sunburn is our number one complaint and has caused more than one
Mississippi River paddler very painful days and sleepless nights. Be forewarned!
Sunglasses, sun screen, long sleeve clothing and a wide brim hat are all good ideas,
especially for anyone particularly sensitive.
We can supply tents & sleeping bags to anyone who needs them, $35ea/person/trip
regardless of length. Otherwise, bring your own and pack with your gear into our dry
Camping: Remote islands, sandbars, towheads, usually sandy places, sometimes it's
necessary to make a muddy landing. In inclement weather it might be necessary to find
shelter within the forest. This is primitive camping on a river island, no services of any
sort. Bring everything you need to make yourself comfortable. Bring your own toiletry.
Bring a change of warm clothing, including summer months, when mornings can be
cool. It's always cooler on the river.
Charge: $550 each all inclusive includes all workshops and teachings, shuttle, meals,
guiding and outfitting, and everything you will need for the river. Bring your personal
items and camping gear and we'll provide everything else. Fee includes canoes,
paddles, lifejackets and all necessary river gear, first aid kits and emergency gear; and
meals, which include all the food prep, campfire cooking, cookware and eatware, and
cleanup. Also includes shuttle and transportation of canoes and gear plus our vehicles
and drivers to and from Clarksdale to the river.
Deposit: $250 deposit required to hold date, remainder due at trip start. Deposit
refundable in case of severe weather or other unforeseeable disastrous or dangerous
About the Book:
While women have forged ahead in the workplace and society, men are finding
themselves increasingly marginalized, socially, professionally, economically — enough
so that one book on bestseller lists recently has been titled The End of Men. This has
led to calls for a men's movement and courses are being taught, but they are failing to
find traction among men. The reason should be plain: where once Iron John stood as an
archetype, along with the King, Warrior, Lover and Magician, those roles have become
sadly outdated. The old archetypes of manhood no longer apply.
In this book, the author of six previous books on energy medicine, Native American
spirituality and mindfulness, outlines why the current courses on men's empowerment
are failing and offers a new way of looking at male roles that predates the modern era. It
is a "back to the future" approach to manhood that actually is better suited for the male
psyche, having existed for thousands of years in all parts of the globe. Modernized, this
"survival kit" for the male gender can revitalize male and female relations on a more
balanced and time-honored footing. This book serves as a self-help manual for men, a
guide for men's retreats, and a primer for wives, daughters, mothers and female friends
to help the men in their lives adopt a newer, healthier way of living in balance with a
society that is rapidly shifting its roles.
Other books on this topic repeat tired stereotypes of the "king," "lover," "warrior,"
"magician" and similar shorthand versions of men's roles; but those roles no longer hold
much value in today's society. In a society where women have more education and
higher earning capacity than men, a woman can be "king." Women no longer sit idly
waiting to be awakened by a Prince Charming; they are active lovers, emancipated from
the Sleeping Beauty archetype. If men try to adopt outdated "lover" roles, they find
themselves alone, even pitied. Women are warriors, and magicians, and welders,
firefighters and CEOs. An "Iron John" who wishes to retreat into what he is taught is his
strength in masculinity — the wild man of ancient times — will find himself alienated and
out of step with reality. Conversely, if men try to adopt feminized versions of men's roles,
they will find themselves equally marginalized. Women don't need men to be women.
Nor do they need men who patronize them.
Redefining Manhood: A Guide for Men and Those Who Love Them
Findhorn Press, Spring 2015
by Jim Ewing
Some Thoughts on Jim Pathfinder Ewing's newest book:
Redefining Manhood: a Guide to Men and Those Who Love Them
by John Ruskey
The male spirit, in its purest form, is as wide and wild as the great distances that create
our continent, and the vast landscapes that predominate: from the Appalachians to the
Rockies, from the Great Plains to the Lower Mississippi Floodplain, from the
Cumberland Plateau to the Colorado Plateau. All men are all born with it. But too
easily it slips away only into the wild warlike side of things. Untempered by other
essential manly qualities like wisdom and compassion, and without elders, or other
living guides to point the way, Man's good qualities become wildly destructive.
Jim Ewing's Redefining Manhood rekindles fires long neglected by Men and Those Who
Love Them and let to burn out in our society. Jim is a fire-maker if nothing else. He has
found ashes from fires that burned brightly in pre-christian societies where men and
women worked in harmony with each other and with the mother earth we all live on, and
depend upon for our survival.
The native peoples embodied this spirit when they lived close to the land, and it was
passed on through the generations through stories, trials, vision quests, agrarian
practices, hunts and celebrations. Us Anglos, we sometimes find it, embody it, breathe
it into our existence. But more often we lose it and let paranoia rule. Fear of the dark.
Fear of the woods. Fear of bears. Fear of snakes. Fear of ladybugs. Fear of ladies.
Fear of our more gentle qualities. Fear of art and poetry. Fear of being quiet. Fear of
silence. Human paranoia too easily overcomes the ethereal spirit of the wildlands.
Without parents, grandparents or elders to show the way, there is no way but to close
the door on the fearful places and turn on the television or the computer. Redefining
Manhood is a connection to that pulsing spirit of the male-ness that is flowing
everywhere but is hard to hear amongst the noise and commotion of our busy lives.
Jim Ewing looks beyond the loss of the "Wild Man" to find man's essential qualities in a
path of peace. This pathway offers timely and much-needed alternatives to the
pathways of fear and war which seem to be rampaging across our planet. Instead of
aggression and greedy accumulation of property, Redefining Manhood discovers manly
qualities of love, empathy, resolve and responsibility that predate the hardening of the
christian world several millennia ago, and shows us how we can rejuvenate those
beautiful qualities back into our lives for the benefit of all: our families, our friends, our
society, our world.
I grew up on the edge of Arapaho National Forest in the Front Range of the Rockies.
My father taught me to walk softly in those ponderosa piney woods, a lesson which
saved my life and gave me a life-long love of the multi-ever-varying forms and patterns
of life. I have always been a misfit in society. But when I finally found myself freed by
my father's gentle forgiving spirit, and the endless wilderness behind our house, I no
longer cared. And the strangest thing was suddenly I fit in. What if you didn't have a
wild woods to run around in as a kid? What if you didn't have mentors, or readings '
like Redefining Manhood to open your imagination to what's out there and to find your
place in it? I shudder at the thought it is so confining and claustrophobic. Life without it
would be like losing your way in a suburban neighborhood never to be able to leave,
never able to escape the gridlock checkerboard tendencies of civilizations.
Later in my life, in the flatlands and the structured East Coast prep school society it was
some of the same lessons found in Redefining Manhood that once again saved my life,
this time in my imagination, in my education, and in the mentors who watched over my
growth through puberty into manhood.
If Redefining Manhood had been published when I was going through those awful
pimply pubescent years when I made so many stupid mistakes it probably would have
saved me and my family several years of moral anguish, and fear of society. It probably
would have saved my motherÊ¼s hair from turning prematurely grey, like mine is doing
We are nature, not separate from it. It is only in separation that we invite worldwide
environmental problems. When you experience the wilderness you begin to feel and
care for it, and care for all its abundance of creative life forms, and colors and patterns,
aromas and poetry and music. And then you become livened and emboldened with the
passions it stirs in you. Jim Ewing's Redefining Manhood inspires self-reflection about
manhood and the "downward spiral passed on through the generations" and gives us
practices to discover them and change them. As Jim says, "Let the Dark Mother be
dark no more... Let men become men, not perpetual adolescents... Let the "Father
Wound" heal with inner nourishment shared by the whole family..."
Early on in the book, Jim asks, "Is there any hope to raise male children to become
responsible, reasonable, rational adults?" Through the path of Peace, yes there is
hope. Redefining Manhood will change your way of thinking about manhood, from
inside to out -- from the spirit to the emotions to the head to the body -- and provide the
steps for all of us to bring balance back into the long disheveled community of men and
women, and the children we raise.
I will be using Redefining Manhood: a Guide to Men and Those Who Love Them to help
guide my apprenticeships with young men (and women) of the Mississippi Delta. I will
use it in my own life to help in my maturation as an adult. Even though I am now over
50 I now see I have so much to learn and grow!
Every man raising a boy should read Redefining Manhood. Every woman seeking a
creating a balanced relationship should read Redefining Manhood. Every family should
add it to the list of essential books, and follow the path of peace, to discover and live the
best qualities of manhood, those that will bring long term health and joy to the family,
and harmony to the beautiful earth we live on.