Men’s enlightenment work and personal development- a conversation with Anrew MacDonald

Heidi writes

Andrew Mac Donald has been working in and with men's groups for many years. He started a substack blog a few years ago about men's issues and personal development . How can men and women overcome the separation and overcome the societal roles and requests on how to be and behave. Presently he is working with and in Diads which open a space of safety and intimacy where men can be inspired to dive into their interiority and explore themselves.

Andrew and I met in 2022 by sharing a comon interest: Why Integralist pretend that everything was all right, why do they avoid to talk about the Covid Crisis and the measurements the states imposed on their population? wouldn't it be the task of people on the integral level to speak up and to see the problems from multiple perspectives? Shouldn't they be able to understand what was going on instead of running with the masses?

We met for a conversation then which you can watch here.

In this meeting, 2 years later, Anrew gave an update of his work with men and his ideas of where  this big divide between men and women could be healed.

Videopostfor April 2024

Andrew MacDonald

TRANSCRIPT: yay hello hello to you and and hello to who is listening and watching because here is...

yay hello hello to you and and hello to
who is listening and watching because
here is Heidi from the wisdom Factory
and once six years and longer ago we did
an interview in English almost every
week and now I just mentioned the last
one in English I did a year and a half
ago so times have changed things have
changed but I wanted to reconnect with
Andrew McDonald and to know what he is
up to we had talked before and we met in
several other groups in the meantime and
I think it's interesting because at the
moment It's All About Women and
feminist uh foreign policy as we have in
Germany a very strange thing it's all
about at least as much women have to be
somewhere and as much as
yes not really everywhere I mean women
wouldn't like to to put down the tiles
on the floor or go on the roof and and
do this work but they want to do the
nice and good work
so and I have women's groups and I find
it nice where we discuss uh um topics
which are near to us and so I from you
that you are doing men's groups men yeah
men's groups men's groups yeah as I said
I'm losing English so sometimes it might
sound a bit strange and so I'm curious
in what you are doing but first not
everybody will have heard the first
interview I had with you so maybe you
tell me a little bit me and the audience
who you are what you're doing what
you're up to and so on yeah okay thanks
heidy it's great to be here and I and I
love the look I haven't seen your
property before um and de see looks it
looks more more Majestic than I'd
imagined it yeah it is it is not as you
know the the camera I think is going
like this but it's quite quite big from
here to the to over there it will be 20
M 25 M more or less it's it's it's not
small that's for sure right yeah if you
want to see to to I'm preparing a new
website and it's called Paradiso
pro project not project with C but
project with
k. and then you can see more of these
things okay par what I'm up to right
great reminds me of to you Cinema
Paradiso the movie Cinema Paradiso I
just loved that when I was yeah I heard
when you Google Paradiso you find this
yeah but sometimes you find also
me okay so um well hardi

we remember that we met
because I was looking for somebody who
was interested in integral philosophy
and the shadow of
integral that was a few years ago and I
exactly remember all of the context now
but but you came up I think I saw you
want a comment on a intergral forum
and then we met and we talked about
where was that what's happening with
integral and why with all of
the the challenging things going on in
the world
of Consciousness and politics that we
didn't see more talk with an integral
about the challenges the global
challenges that we were facing it was as
if they weren't there and that was like
huge for me and I remember it was big
for you and I was really excited to you
we had some conversations about that
exactly because I thought if not the
integral people uh addressing this topic
who then you know but everybody was sort
of good not saying anything taboo oops
what happened to you I was trying to
clear my screen because I can see it's
not very clear it was funny

right yeah yeah I now remember yeah yeah
it was this and I was quite upset then
because I have would have expected the
integral Community to be yes more
critical more yes know more attuned to

that that goes along with something that
is really striking to me how we get
caught in our silos you know our our
local areas of what we know or what we
think is true and then it's hard for us
to see outside of that yeah and and you
know coming to gender for a moment
that's that's true of the Sexes as well
but it's true of everything we're all in
my my view we're always
caught I'm always caught with
my particular story my particular drama
my particular particular trauma because
I've come from back come from an
experience of of
trauma um along with many other
experiences but that's been a very
shaping experience in my life of trauma
and uh it and releasing from that is
disentangling from our
particular stories and this maybe the
stories that have got a hold of us that
are grabbing on to us with their their
tight fingers right grabbing us so
disentangling from that has
been um is it is part of our challenge
for all of us today to awaken into a
world yeah so um about men and women so
I I I'm old I'm an old guy but um 30
years or so I got into men's work and I
was already you know uh 40 a little over
40 then 40 something and
um I was amazed
because well a couple of things one is
that part of my difficulty as a child um
was um
uh difficulty with Mom and Dad you know
with both of them almost everybody yeah
yeah I'm gonna leave that I'm gonna
leave I'll just leave that whole area
but uh probably especially no it's
there's no especially there's no
especially but um it was confusing to me
so my relationships with men and women
were not very clear I was not I was for
one thing I was
a afraid of women I grew up afraid of
women and of men actually but
um Intimate Relationships were were hard
were not successful I was frightened to
be too close and in too much intimacy so
with men it was okay but when I got into
a men's group at 40 something was the
first time in my life after all those
years that i' had ever talked honestly
told people what I was experiencing how
I was what was going on with me and I
also having for a variety of reasons I
had been a very very low achieving male
I'll say that up until my 40s so I
didn't feel that I measured up well I
didn't feel successful I didn't feel
confident I didn't feel proud of
myself and um
I was in a group
with in Ottawa Canada with a group of
men who whose wives were at least for
some of them their wives were in the
local young society and the women were
meeting but the men were thinking what
what about us what we're not why are we
not doing anything and and most of them
middleaged and had achieved some success
in their lives like they they had the
kids theyd had the marriage had the
kids they were successful in their
careers they had they had enough money
and there was a question of what now
this my a general perception there was a
question of what's next for
us and for me it was the first time that
I had an that I had found myself able to
talk about my actual life you what was
actually going on with me better uh than
I had and that was really really
important and I've been involved that
group went on for about 18 years with a
crack in the middle for a bit and I and
then years later in recent years we've
actually got back together again um
although I have to say that from my
experience covid and all of that
has driven a
um has divided us or we're not it
feel speaking for myself we don't have
the same
uh Clarity and unity that we had before
so I'm a conspiracy theorist I say that
was the reason why co co came
up a conspiracy realist I call it
conspiracy realist because they want us
not to come together they whoever they
is you know but the tendency is to keep
us separate and because separate you
alone can't do anything but together ha
there is the power and that's one of
your topics too no the V space and
everything yes so it's an open question
and I I don't have the answer for it but
so much has gone
into the so much um energy has has has

gone into the separation of women and
men the split between the natural
respect and love and
appreciation and recognition of
commonality between women and men it's
been such it's such a
striking feature of Our Lives
that you know I have to wonder whether
it was very or how deliberate it was
because it's been incredibly successful
at splitting the foundation of the
society the unity of men and women and
the ability to raise
children who who feel they have equal
and equally respected parents who both
have a good place so that children can
feel that they both have a good that
they have a good place
so so I I do wonder wonder about that
and I'm very very interested in how
women and men can come together and find

ourselves in
respect um
and safety
and having a language for being together
in which we feel we feel um

allies together in facing what I think
our common challenge or or our I hate to
say enemy but our common uh the problem
is that I think that we have globalist
forces that are holding us that that
um disunifying us and making it hard for
so men and women are not each other's
enemies and actually unconsciousness is
our enemy the only enemy I I see think
that the globalist forces including the
world economic forum and the wh the
World Health Organization United Nations
and and
uh in the entire governing structure of
the world is um is compromised by a by a

um a deep unconsciousness of what's of
what we're here for it's not that their
enemies or
evil so much as that they're deeply
unconscious and it shows up as you know

uh powerful negative forces in our world
so it's a it's a it's a Consciousness
challenge it's a consciousness challeng
as I see it
so I'm but let me ask you something you
you said the separation between men and
women that has is a long time that it is
going on and we try to somehow overcome
it you see other countries said still
heavily that the women are under subdued
let's say but what you are talking about
now in the last years that is a
separation not only between men and
women but between more or less everybody
in all groups separation that's there
you up you belong to to different groups
so the separation goes everywhere so at
the end you are alone you know that um
yeah it's not specific men and women I
wanted to
say yes you're right it's certainly not
it's not certainly not only
men and women yeah but that split is so

foundational because it's it exists in
the heart of the family and in the heart
of our individual psyches so
almost so for from a developmental point
of view our
development with
the conditioning of in the physiological
experience of being a man or of being a
woman is so foundational to us the you
know the the political separations
between you know the left and the right
um and it comes after that but but the
man woman's SP is so foundational when
you said it's been going on for a long
time I guess you mean are meaning two
ancient times is that correct like yeah
you don't just mean the last 60 or 70
years no no I mean at
least uh since Enlightenment uh when
then uh the the is um B Bor boura uh

fames started to be the women you know
not even nurturing their children
anymore but only you know being in the
lady in the house and the men do the
politics and the everything outside the
house but before I know I think I have
heard and I think to know that in
medieval times the the women had quite a
important role in maintaining the family
also they did uh they worked together
men and women to women to to to to to
bring up the family they were handicraft
people and so on you know and then when
the the the work Diversified and was
more you know the with the Industrial
Revolution the men were out of the house
exactly 's
many factors um many many factors over
the long history I me the history of men
and women almost the history of culture
so it's very very hard to to for me to
um statements that can summarize it well
I don't have that I don't have it in my
mind but I've done a lot of um

so I'll put it this way that if you
study the Sexes today you look on
Twitter or you look you look at the
literature you look at popular culture
about how we're understanding women and
men and I'm talking about the West here
the the the the atmosphere of the
conversation the vibration the vibe of
the conversation is very very negative
it's very uh antagonistic you
know it's pointing
to um the problems the injustices that
are being perpetrated by the other sex
and I I spent a lot of time examining
parts of
that but I don't think it's a useful
conversation I don't really want to go
in I don't I don't want to go into it
because because we're so triggered by by

perceived injustices or real
things because there's examples of all
kinds of Horrors on on every side so I
don't find it it's not a conversation
I'm I'm really interested in right now
because I do
think go ahead it's not healthy because
it's goes into victimism and when you
are a victim you cannot grow up you you
get INF ized you know and we want to
grow up and you need to take over
responsibility for things and when
things have gone this way they have gone
this way you need maybe maybe surely
recognize that it was like this but not
spend your time in accusing uh men who
in in my case no as a woman accusing men
uh because who have never done it and
this they are not the reason for it I
think think there is a period And I live
it for my life where I had this you know
bashing of men but then you need to
overcome that you cannot St that you're
are not a victim if you're a victim I
mean yeah and yeah yeah and and I have
felt um I
have I've been sort of a a a guilty part
of the almost like a guilty pleasure I
understand better but I still have
in seeing the the other side seeing

men's point of view and where men are
seemingly victimized in I I spent a lot
of time there but it's although with
some intellectual consciousness of that
of of um that that wasn't the whole
story what I'm saying is that
intellectually I see the balance
emotionally I didn't see it emotionally
I felt the pain of the the separation in
a particularly man way I feel that I'm
mostly over that now or or who knows but
I feel I feel
much I feel I feel not held by that

story physically or emotionally anymore
good good because I wanted to to add we
women are surely been mistreated by men
but also by women and the other way
around men have been mistreated by other
men and victimized by other men and also
by women only women have a different way
of doing it they don't use physical
power they use psychological right
that's right and I'll give you that's
right I'll give you an example too of
how the Distortion happens and and and
this whole area is not well
known because we have a social story
that only
women only men can be perpetrators and
and men can only be perpetrators and
women can be only be victims that's a
social story we have and it's just not
true one person characterized it
as a really wonderful uh male writer who
see who saw and spoke to the the um the

mutuality of our story is waren Ferell
back about 30 years ago we wrote a book
called The Myth of meale power it's
truly wonderful book but he pointed
out in the in early on in the book that
we have we have we're very familiar with
women's light
side and men's dark side and what and we
don't have a
corresponding understanding of men's
Light Side side and or women's dark side
they're socially not allowable in the
um so anyway coming back to the way
forward from here I think it's
incredibly powerful place in terms of
what's happening in the world to think
unifying or being part of the
unification of
men's love and women's love I'm not
talking about the individual couple only
but about the
archetypal nature of
our intimate love and respect for each
other we are we are
um you know we're so connected that
we're one right and yet we have I want
to hijack you
because you are not up to dat today men
and women are the same and you can even
change what you
are you
know yeah I'll just I'll say about that
that I know I hear what you're saying
Heidi and it's it's true um I'm laughing
I'm laughing for me it's ridiculous
completely ridiculous it is for me also
it is for me also and it's yeah it's uh

it's not easy or or it's a challenge to
have this conversation with younger
people today because it seems to them
Incorrect or or bad to claim the to

claim uh pride in
masculinity and to claim pride in a Trad
femininity in the in what we used to see
as the virtues of women and the virtues
of men now they're indoctrination has
worked the indoctrination has worked you
know has worked beautifully yes it has
it has it's a symptom of a wider as you
were saying it's a symptom of a wider
lack of clarity between the
sex wider split between the parts of our
culture right but it's I think it's a
Critic critical one because it is the
family and it is the you know the the
heart of our in inner
psychology the foundation is based on
being a man or a woman I believe that
we're evolving to see ourselves as being
as being Consciousness or being um uh a
higher in a higher Unity but we need
that Foundation of being a woman or a
man a child or a young man who doesn't
have that is dissociated from
his psychic past of how men were and the
qualities of men so he speaking of man
he can't embody that well he can't he
doesn't know how to take it on because
it's shameful for him to feel pride in
the the strength the agency and the you
know the
worldly um
power with which men moved into the
world and I'll say too the connection to
God because men have men men's action in
has been deeply connected to service
men's honor which is a primary sense of

masculine um value is has always been in

the context of service to to God and
Country you Andrew if somebody hears
it you are completely incorrect you are
in the far right corner now I am is
pushed there who
has I'm a conspiracy realist but at
least you are everything which shouldn't
be in the at least I've got you for I've
got you for company as a conspiracy
realist tid so I feel much safer just to
say I I I start to laugh on all the
these things because they are so weird
and so
un I don't know like
so distant from from themselves from
from Humanity from it from Human itself
from from
creation when then there's only thought
thoughts thoughts thoughts and theories
and and then I have the best idea and
now I force you to do as as I want you
to be and you know that was has
unfortunately been also with feminism no
so it's but you know now the the women
who go into politics they are worse than
men by the
way in
their that don't express feminine
qualities let's say in this way they
might have na have nail polish or high
heels but that's not feminine quality
that's just a how do you say the the SE
theater the costume of the theater play
you know yeah yeah okay I'm interrupting
you go ahead no no no no absolutely
no it's more it's a conversation is
better than is always better than a
yeah yeah go ahead and and tell tell me
a little bit about your work of the last
few years what you were well um

I've been doing a Blog for a few years
and Heidi it was so confusing for me
because you know I'm interested in
Consciousness right I'm meditator and
all of that so I have changed the name
of my blog back and
um I don't know what to compare it to
every just keep on changing it back and
forth some something to do with
Consciousness something to do with men
and women something to do with men alone
I so these subjects are really intertwin
for me and I find it hard to separate
them out so now I call my blog waking up
today and sort of that's my latest thing
and I think I'm probably going to stay
with that because it allows me to have
the to have the Consciousness centered
and I have a little subset around men
and women so I have been doing um

and this is really exciting for me and
I'm happy that to tell you
and maybe others will have some related
experience but I've been doing a lot of
meditation means diad means pair right
it's it's two so are you familiar with
with that yeah so so there's many
different um community ities online and
in person at least somewhat somewhat not
geographically in one place in person
but there's European groups that come
together for example that um practice di
diets so it is it comes from the world
Enlightenment so two
um such as yourself and myself would
take time
periods of usually 5 minutes each where
where one would give the other a
prompt uh with an Enlightenment them
such as tell me who you are for example
or or um tell me what another is is
another one and the
listener a prompt is given the person
looks for something true about that and
just gives it to the the listening just
gives it to them just tells them at the
end of five minutes they switch RS and
this goes on for 40 minutes so I've been
doing that for in variance of that
for I don't know 10 years or something
but that particular form is more more
recent but it's practiced in wide wide
widely re recently I've started to do
men's um prompts that are have to do
with men with in a men's men only group
so for example we said we say and this
is a killer question tell me how you
hide in
relationship and we men work on men take
terms working on that and um and

it's profound and
what an observation I just made the
other day about that was
that when
we I'm just gonna cheat here and just I
I wrote it down the other day um oh yeah
when we're taking turns with that we're
equal right so I
go tell me you're
ex tell me how you hide in relationship
and then the other person does that too
so we're equal there's nobody who's got
you know big person and a little person
and if you can be equal with another man
you don't have to be afraid because
you're the same you don't have to be
afraid and if you don't have to be if
you're not afraid you don't have to hide
anything and if you don't have to hide
anything then you're free from the whole
of trying to look good trying to be safe
trying to belong that whole thing you
don't have to do all of that it's all
it's over it's potentially over if you
really get it you don't have to do any
of that so we're working on that and I'm
I'm sure that and
I'm when you know in connection with
some women that I hope we're going to do
something similar to this to that and
then we can
you know I'm I'm ahead of myself I'm
just thrilled with what's happening with
the man well maybe I should stop there
but we could have a conscious
conversation between the women and the
men we could have an AR we could have an
archetypal intimacy except the phrase we
could have uh you
know it's not a dating a dating site or
anything like that a dating phenomenon
but it is a way to safely encounter each
other with our truth in

and if we don't have to be afraid we
don't have to hide what shows up is that
we respect and love each other we do
that's our actual
truth go
ahead this is a a good idea and I'm
doing groups no but it is more
co-creative groups we are six seven
people and talk together
um not in with a for like this you know
normally yes with respect and with
leaving some silence in between and not
jump over each other something like this
and there that can go very deep also and
my what I noticed is when we are only
women it normally works perfectly as
soon as there is a
man no he he he tries to impose his mode

and his mode is talking about out
normally and not talking from within so
that would be a good experiment to
create create this I have a certain in
my head absolutely because I know he is
absolutely capable of this but yeah yeah
yeah yeah we we're we're caught in our
social our social roles yeah I I've done
a lot of diad meditation or a lot of
group Explorations I used to lead them
and there were mostly women in or mostly
more women were attracted to
it and but in more recently I've been

doing the diad meditations very formally
and there's
surprisingly often equal numbers of men
and sometimes more men are in it but
doing that Within Enlightenment is the
focus my sense is that the deeper sense
of being a that that there's a a a
basement that we won't go to there is
a staying away from our experience as
women or men it's like it's a we just
agree we're about Enlightenment and
higher things we won't go to any of that
any of that other stuff so when it
becomes invite
in the sense of the men's group it
brings out a another sort of safety and
men can men
can as I was mentioning see that they're
equal and because the the back and
forness allows them not to have to be in
a game about
who's who doesn't want to lose perect
who's more perfect who's more powerful
who who belongs more is the way I Who
belongs more and who belongs less right
it's all of that is and and it
disappears quickly it it can disappear
quickly if we're very clear about the
way that we do it and allow each person
to have their space without being
improved or helped or guided or fixed in
any way whatsoever just to allow him to
have his own space we come into a we
just get past all the nonsense it we
don't we don't do it it just happens
because there's Clarity in the
space women would have a different
conversation a different you know they
they'd have their own but I'm sure but
their Humanity will show beyond the
social roles just as the men's do and
then we can meet we can meet beyond the
social rules as well and I'm super
excited about that that that could
happen yeah that's
good continue to do that yeah work in
progress this
great yeah I'll give my contact details
after yes yes do we have about
also you also named weace and the
mapping and so on maybe you talk a
little bit about that too
what do you understand under we space
What are what are you doing there right
well this is a a refinement of the wi
space it it what I'm talking about with
the diad
stuff when we do it actually in the
context they do the
alternations and for the most part in
the communities that I'm in they don't
do any reflection on that so what we do

in the the men's thing is we take uh a
portion at the end in the D in the
diad to ask what are you noticing about
this we space that we're in so each
individual speaks for himself it goes
back and forth but what are you noticing
about that and
then so
that's that's the first parts are
experience and the second part is refle
ction and like the wi spaces that what's
happening here what's happening in this
wi space then we come out into the
larger group with the different
diads and what are we noticing here in
this experience what are we noticing
it's like not giving an answer it's like
what is happening here so that's it so
that's that's where I'm at with the wi
space these days I mean there there's a
whole theory in my book evolutionary U
is about the wi space
but I'm not focused on that so much
right at the
okay so if you want to lead people where
they find you on substack I I know well
put it in the put it below if you can or
send it out because it's I have to
change the substack name to waking up
today but it's under my name it's Andrew
Carter McDonald so that won't people
won't that won't stick so you put you
write it down if you will yeah somebody
else had the Andrew McDonald name uh so
okay my middle name in yeah but yeah I'd
love I'd love for people to be in touch
uh to subscribe there and the whole pro
project of man manom conversations will
be going along there as well as
how how we can just just reflections on

what waking up means in the context of
globalist weight that's on us from the
all of those Glo Global powers and I
think that the antidote
to globalist power is personal voice it
our ability to approach appropriately
use our personal voice to tell our truth
because just as it's true for men and
women where we feel like oh I don't have
a voice I've got nothing to say it's too
big it's too confusing for me we feel
that and it's not true our voice is the
missing part our personal voice and we
can we can do it so it's really around
raising personal voice rise and shine
and um and and I used the man woman part
as one theater to work on that

mhm it would be much more powerful no I
want also say not only personal voice
but which is the expression can be the
expression of your personal power and
you know I'm a voice teacher so I'm all
up to to raise your your personal voice
and come out out and tell
your I should interview you over there
Heidi about that yeah do that authentic
voice you know if you are a deep person
and really and have a voice like this
nobody will believe you you know that's
not it's not a voice of
a serious adult
yeah things like that you know yeah yeah
and it's I'm meaning not only our
physical voice but our I know I know our
soul our connection to our soul yeah I
know that but I wanted to say also the
physical voice is important to get heard
because if you speak in this way in the
L way somebody is talking like this who
hears them I mean you know you need to
have a certain power also in your
physical voice to be heard otherwise
people talk over you you know so both
together it's all
connected it's all connected thanks
great to see you again yeah thank you
and then if you want to interview me

About Andrew

Meditator, lover of groups that bring about collective intelligence, light-hearted former long-term confused trauma victim, writer, outdoorsman, long experience in men’s work, elder, mentor, coach. Author of Evolutionary YOU: Discovering the Depths of Radical Change.