How would it be…
…to escape from the modern world, just for a short while.
To get away from modern technology, modern demands, modern problems and modern life.
To practice a handful of the ancient skills that give the deep satisfaction of providing your own warmth, shelter and sustenance.
To share this experience with other men who face their own day-to-day challenges.
To take time, to get perspective on who you are, and who you might want to be again. To to return to the modern world, recharged, refocused and more able to find yourself amongst the noise.
More you in yourself, more sure in your decisions and more content with who you are.
“Keep close to Nature’s heart,
and break clear away, once in a while,
and climb a mountain or
spend a week in the woods.
Wash your spirit clean.”
John Muir, American naturalist and author
Making the modern man
Sometime around the turn of the last century, the idea that a person had to ‘be’ a certain way to be successful was born.
This wasn’t based on any scientific measurement of life expectancy or happiness, but rather the realisation that the ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ was a personality trait that could be exploited. Men started to be told ‘how to be’, in order to worry them into spending their hard-earned cash.
As competition for this cash increased, so the urgency of the messaging and the strength of the claims grew, and the pressure increased.
Then came the evolution of the caring, emotionally mature and deeply confused ‘nineties man’, and ultimately the complete disappearance of good male role models. This was the birth of Modern Man, and it is not surprising that he has no real identity, no clear purpose in life and no one to turn to to ask for help.
So what does he do? Typically he ends up down the pub ‘drowning his sorrows’, sharing tall tales with his associates, in complete denial of the reality of his existence.
Denial and alcohol can lead to misunderstandings, which sometimes end in violence – domestic or public – which can soon escalate into broken homes and marriages, possibly custodial sentences, addiction and depression.
When these pursuits are undertaken to ‘numb the pain’, then a worse outcome is often inevitable, potentially even suicide.
The most common thing said amongst the associates of the Modern Man who commits suicide?
“I had absolutely no idea that he had a problem.”
“Our research underlines that so often their own worst enemies, men need new rules for survival. Outmoded, incorrect and misplaced male self-beliefs are proving lethal and the traditional strong, silent response to adversity is increasingly failing to protect men from themselves.”
Jane Powell, Chief Executive of CALM
The pressures on modern man
There is a constant pressure to be the ‘alpha male’, always joking, up for a laugh, successful, rugged, attractive to every woman and respected by every man. It’s exhausting.
It’s easy to suggest that you can simply turn away from these expectations, that you switch off the phone, television and radio. But that isn’t modern life, nor is it particularly inspiring, or even good for you.
We are surrounded by people and things that are constantly telling us that life would be so much better if we simply conform.
We talk about these challenges more here…
“Modern Man is alienated from himself, from his fellow men, and from nature. He has been transformed into a commodity, experiences his life forces as an investment which must bring him the maximum profit obtainable under existing market conditions.”
Erich Seligmann Fromm, German Psychologist & Psychoanalyst
Do you want to be a better man?
One man’s ‘better’ is invariably another man’s worse.
People telling you what better looks like is the reason that you are here, and the reason that we created Stone Circle.
So, what do we mean by ‘better’?
If you feel overwhelmed by Modern Life, and feel the need to escape it, then we believe the only way to do this is by being better than you currently are.
What you define as better could be completely different to the next Man, ultimately it’s what makes you feel better than you do today about being a Man. Only you know what better is, only you know if doing something makes you feel like a Better Man.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
A Man who is a little bit more in control of his life today than he was yesterday.
A Man who knows himself, and is aware of what makes him better.
A Man who is able to ask for help when he needs it.
A Man who can make space for himself when he needs to escape from Modern Life.
A Man who doesn’t give more of himself than he is able to, and knows how to say ‘enough’.
A Man who looks at every problem as a challenge, rather than a burden.
We want to be Better Men, that’s why we created Stone Circle.
Every day we try to do something positive and challenging to make ourselves better than we were. Most weekends we can be found out in the Wild somewhere, you can see some of our exploits on our ‘Two Men in the Wild‘ site.
We believe that being out in nature and learning some of the ancient skills that our ancestors took for granted is what keeps us sane.
Over the years we’ve found that getting some proper ‘Man Time’, either alone or with other Men, is a simple and truly effective way of coping with Modern Life. We create shelter, cook a meal, get a good fire going and talk until the early hours about what’s going on for us: all the things that are stopping us being better men.
Then we go home, back to Modern Life, where we are able to be productive, positive and supportive Men. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Many men think that spending time in the wild is an ordeal to be endured. We aim to show them that it is an adventure to be enjoyed and returned to whenever the pressures of Modern Life take over.
On a typical weekend we might meet with an experienced craftsmen and learn how to rebuild a dry-stone-wall, or go off into uncharted wilderness with just a map, compass and a backpack, or even knap flint to make an arrow, and carve an ash stave to make a bow.
We also explore how to make the most of being out in nature at different times of the year, to be at ease in the Wild in all its seasons, and prepared for every type of weather.
We start by helping Men to become comfortable with ‘being in nature’, spending time ‘under canvas’ and getting the hang of the basics so that they feel able to escape completely.
After that we look at the skills and experience needed to go into the Wild, to spend a day – or even overnight – in nature on their own.
They can then return home, reinvigorated and recharged, equipped with everything that they need to rejoin nature whenever they choose: to use the wild as a natural defence against the stresses of modern life.
We ask Men to learn these basics with us first so that they can join us on future Adventures, self-sufficient and prepared, able to join with other Men as a group; to spend a weekend with us, learning, exploring, contributing and unwinding.
If the Modern World is getting too much for you, then why not join us in the Wild?
The table below gives the dates and locations of the next four weekends, the full list of dates is available on the ‘Come with us.’ page.
This weekend is an introduction to spending time ‘under canvas’ the Stone Circle Way. Its an opportunity to learn the basics of making fire and shelter in a safe and secure manner.
We look at a number of techniques for making shelter from ‘tarp’ and ‘paracord’, and making fire using natural resources. These fires are then brought together to make a central camp fire on which we cook our evening meal, and take some time to talk about our Modern Life challenges.
It’s a great opportunity to learn some of the basic skills that all Men once took for granted: how to be safe and comfortable in the Wild. It will give you the basic skills, equipment, courage and experience to take yourself away from the Modern World whenever it becomes too much, even if it’s only for a few hours.
This Weekend is for any Man over 25 years of age, regardless of your previous experience of being in the Wild.
We use a number of campsites around the country, to give ourselves as much variety as possible. This also means that weekends will never be too far away for any Man.
The Stone Circle weekends have given me the time I need to forget my pressures and clear my head. All my family have noticed the difference in me.Paul Mattinson
Its great to simply spend time out in nature, away from work and pressure. It’s really helped me to get away from the pressures of modern life for a while, and recharge.Andy Kerr