Let me introduce myself: I’m Mike Bodkin, the Executive Director of Rites of Passage. This is my first attempt at blogging, so forgive me if I stumble a bit. For many years, I worked full-time as a youth and family counselor at a local non-profit, later adding some grant writing to my list of tasks. (I’d try to fund wilderness programs, despite most funders being very doubtful about their value…but that’s another story).
During all this time, I would take most of my vacation time to lead wilderness rites of passage. Why did I do this? This work was where my heart lay, and I was “following my bliss”, to paraphrase Joseph Campbell. I couldn’t not do it. What I saw then, and continue to see now, was the transformative healing power of time spent in the wilderness. Up against a wall that no psychotherapy or workshop or activity seemed able to penetrate, people would come and renew themselves, returning home as if reborn. And—this was really new for me—I would find myself renewed by doing the work of guiding. Actually I shouldn’t have been surprised, since my teachers had been telling me, from my first undertaking of a Vision Quest, that the key to holding on to the power and vision you gained on the solo was to learn how to give it away when you returned. And so I’ve been doing for many years.
Three years ago, I made the momentous decision to quit my job and devote myself full-time to directing Rites of Passage; since then the work has only expanded, deepened and grown in beauty. I invite you to join our growing circle, to become part of this community of initiated men and women, to discover your own heart’s yearning, and to access the support and courage needed to follow it—for the sake of your own spirit, the human world, and the earth.