elder profile
Chuck Rihm
Convener for Ohio  
Chuck Rihm

Chuck Rihm is the Convener for Ohio and lives outside Cleveland.

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Peter Fishpool

"Rucksacks and Memory Bags"

about illuman 
Illuman is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose vision is to see men transforming men and, through them, families and communities for generations to come.  Our mission is to engage those seeking a life-long journey of spiritual transformation.


In this issue learn more about:  
  1. Illuman: The Courage to be in Community
  2. Journey of Illumination Touchstone - Connecting: we are men who choose another to walk with - shoulder to shoulder 

  3. Illuman Men's Conference 2014 - Register Now
  4. Reminder regarding spouse/wife for the 2014 conference

And don't forget to check out our Elder Profile and  Reflection features.


one1.  Illuman: The Courage to be in Community


Growing up in rural Ireland, I experienced a strong sense of community associated with place. My family lived in a small town; we knew everyone and extended family lived close by. Now, before you think I'm going to create an idyllic picture and write of a hankering for times past, let me assure you that knowing everyone was not always a good thing; there was nowhere to hide. That said, the positives absolutely outweighed the negatives. When life threw you a curveball, you could be certain that the community would rally around you. There was a clear sense of collective joy at births, marriages, confirmations, Christmas, etc., and when a family experienced a tragedy or death, the community rallied to provide support.

As an adult, I have moved several times for school and work. When I have found myself in a new location, I have always attempted to recreate community. I imagine that several of you have had this experience too. This need is driven by a strong instinct to belong. If we tune in to Mother Nature, we'll quickly observe that other two- and four-legged creatures also have an instinctive need to belong; they organize in packs, herds, troops, pods, flocks, and so on.

There is also a second instinct that men share. We're living in the last minute of the history of human evolution, and for most of that history we've been in competition with each other. This strong instinct to compete with each other is grounded in the search for scarce resources.

For those of us doing inner work today, this instinct to compete is often a barrier to being in community. In fact, these two instincts can make us feel schizophrenic. We have both a great desire to belong to a community and a strong desire to compete with others in that community.

This schizophrenia tends to keep our interactions at a superficial level, but as a culture we cannot afford to live this way any longer. The high rates of suicide and disaffection amongst young men point to a growing need in our world for a community of men who are doing their inner work and providing community-based leadership for future generations.

This takes courage, but not the same kind of courage that it takes to fight a lion. This courage is about the willingness to be appropriately vulnerable: to share what we struggle with and where we see God working in our lives. This means we have to step out and participate in community, even when we feel tempted to anesthetize ourselves to the inner journey and the risk of sharing. Part of the function of Illuman is to create sacred space for men who want to take that risk.

So where do you see each of these instincts (to belong and to compete) playing out in your life? Where are you finding community-or not? Where might you need to create it? 

If you want to experience a community of men doing their inner work, please consider attending our November conference (details below).

Damien Faughnan
President, Illuman Board of Directors
two2.  Connecting - we are men who chose another to walk with - shoulder to shoulder

By Steve Conroy
Steve Conroy is a Wisdom Elder from Northern California.

For Illuman men, connecting is one of the five touchstones we want to advocate as being a necessary component in all aspects of our work, from the Journey of Illumination to our Chapter events like the MROP or Firmings, and from how we meet communally to our one-on-one relationships. We
want the five touchstones to permeate all aspects of our communities.

One of the touchstones is connecting. Truly connecting should be one of our highest goals. As such, we need to know what is meant by connecting. There are many nuances to connecting, but the purest sense of connecting is the joining. To be really connected is almost as if two separate entities become one-much like a marriage.


Read Full Article > 

five3.  Illuman Conference 2014 - Register Now - 

Conference Registration Ends on October 26th


Illuman conference Nove 7-9 2014 
Click here to register for our conference  
Save The Date:

November 7-9, 2014


The Hyatt Regency Tamaya

Bernalillo, New Mexico



Being a Generative Man: Water in the Desert
  • Moving beyond Stagnation: Men Coming Alive
  • Learning the Way of Council: Listening to all the Voices
  • Energizing the Next Generation: Old and Young Men Together
  • The Fourfold Path: Recognizing, Awakening, Nurturing, and Claiming

Speakers include:


Belden Lane, backpacker, storyteller, and writer in spirituality (Author of The Solace of Fierce Landscapes 

and forthcoming Backpacking with the Saints)  


Fr. Richard Rohr O.F.M., founder of Men as Learners and Elders (Author of Adam's Return, Soul Brothers, From Wild Man to Wise Man, and On the Threshold of Transformation)


We greatly regret that due to illness, Adrian Scott will not be teaching at our conference. Please pray for Adrian's speedy recovery.


For further information about the conference please visit Illuman.org.     


four4.   A reminder about bringing your spouse/wife to the 2014 conference


The women in our lives provide important support for us on the spiritual journey. Yet there are times when men need time together in the absence of women to talk about our spiritual lives. Therefore, our upcoming conference is open to men only, although women are welcome to come along and enjoy the location and amenities of the conference venue. This exclusion from the conference is not, of course, because we disrespect women. Instead, we want to include women in a way that feels thoughtful and helpful. In an informal session on Saturday afternoon, Fr. Richard Rohr will speak with all women who are accompanying men to the conference. There is no need to register for this event. 

Fr. Richard Rohr
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