Name: Michael McDowell
George is actually my real first name. It’s a generational family name going back to at least 1845. I’ve never been called this. My dad and grandfather were called this. Now I’m often called Roddy. It has a special feel. This is what my first “brothers” called me. The camaraderie of jet pilots and their call signs. A deeper meaning and connection. A bond. A very special one. Gratitude. Connection.
Living in San Francisco when I’m not out of my roller bag somewhere in Asia, Europe or the States. Have been here nearly 18 years but Colorado and specifically the southwest of Colorado has my spirit and my heart. I’d bring everyone I know and love there, just to be with me in how I feel when I’m there.
Who are you?
Who I am is the most challenging to answer. I want to know who I am. Deeply. I’ve never wanted to be a “list” of things. That’s performance based. Superficial. We are meant to be something more than our vestments and accomplishments. When I am in my final days, who I am is who I loved and impacted. This helps me connect to this question. Who am I? I’m a flawed man that is trying. Trying to be a more pure friend. A brother. It’s my most honorable aspect of me. That I am love and support to all that I know, encounter and hold close. I’m a brother, an uncle, a neighbor, a son and a man on a journey to something that is worthy of a life well lived, an elder. A guide to myself and others. Always learning and growing.
When did your EVRYMAN journey begin?
My journey to EVRYMAN began in November of 2019. I was in another day of sadness and depression and found the EVRYMAN newsletter in my inbox. I’d heard of them earlier that year, in March. Seeking a partner, my drive was always to what was happening externally. I met a woman that was attending a coed event in San Francisco. I bookmarked this “EVRYMAN” group she briefly shared about. By November this sign from the universe came back to me in the form of sadness and depression. This wasn’t the first time. I needed love, support, connection and meaning in my life. In the newsletter I read that there were no groups, but a retreat on the opposite side of the country in December. So I booked in. I was approaching it as another “event” to attend. I had not quite grasped the deeper affect and meaning this experience would have. December 5th and 6th 2019 in Sheffield, Massachusetts at a place called Race Brook is a place I will never forget. This experience was on the level of August 8 1990 in Pensacola FL reporting to Aviation Officer Candidate School. The yelling. The screaming. The regimentation. EVRYMAN at Race Brook was nothing like that, but easily as impacting my life. Both powerful experiences effectively changing my life from that day forward. Sending me on a quest to find me and the brothers that would be there for me. Sharing the same desire to better self, connection and community. To mean something more than our performance and vestments of “man”.
Who were you before? Who are you now? Who do you want to become?
Before EVRYMAN I was my accomplishments. And I was this broken person trying to keep it together. Shrug all of that stuff and experience off of me. Protect against the hurts and avoid the pain and trauma of it all. They couldn’t feel me because I would not feel. See, it was too painful to feel. It was overwhelming pain that was not survivable. Live another day. Survive. Servicing the next accomplishment in life. Be a good boy. Be a good young man. Be a good grown up. Be a man and do all of these things and you’re “good”. Now, I’m that perfectly imperfect human that’s connecting and integrating all that has happened to me. But I’m not reaching around in the dark for the light. I’m guided by others and with that guidance, I find what’s in me. When I am attached to the outcome and expectations aren’t met, I am seen and heard by my brothers, and they share their own experiences and I’m not alone. And we go together. I don’t fix things (as much) anymore. I simply experience them. And make them real by sharing, and by feeling. By feeling the experience, good or bad, I live. And I love it fully. In my body’s sensations and in my FULL emotion. I just want to get better at that. To feel the fullness of my sadness. The fullness of my pain. The fullness of my anger. As things are. And when I feel the fullness of this, it gives way and space to DEEP joy. Happiness. Love. Connection. Gratitude. Joy. And I want to jump. And go. And bring others with me. Let’s go. Let’s go together. When I feel into that, I know I MUST go. To BE. A human BEing. Not doing. It’s nothing to me without slowing down and connecting to my physical sensations and the emotions connected to it. To humbly know myself better and step into the best of me.
Who has EVRYMAN impacted the most in your life?
EVRYMAN has most impacted me. Directly, I’ve changed from EVRYMAN relationships and connections. These connections have stabilized me and propelled me to seek out value added complimentary experiences and guides. In the end, it’s been about the support, secure attachments and community that make today and future days possible.
If you could have one person join EVRYMAN who would it be?
I would bring my long time and best friend to EVRYMAN. Second to that would be my father.
Because the body knows the truth. EVRYMAN has been most impactful when I FEEL the sensations in my body and connect the emotions to them. I continue to make it a practice to feel what I feel. Move those feelings out of the way that block me from joy, happiness, connection and gratitude.