In this interview, Jonathan, Dana White and I talk about a fascinating project created by Dana and inspired by the gentle power in Jonathan’s voice and the depth of his character. The project is an interpretation of the eight-one verses of the Tao Te Ching, by Dana and is a beautiful work in progress that can be found on YouTube by searching: Dana White Tao Te Ching.
Jonathan Staggers is a former professional American football wide receiver in the National Football League. He was a star football player for Helias High School in Jefferson City, Missouri. He starred as a running back/wide receiver at the University of Missouri before playing six seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Green Bay Packers, and the Detroit Lions of the NFL. For the past twenty-three years Jonathan has been a Breema Instructor with The Breema Center in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In high school track I was not much of a sprinter so I never learned just how to pass the baton, and on the rare occasion when called upon in practice to fill in and run with the relay team, I sometimes fumbled or dropped it. What I did learn was that I had endurance. I would run the half-mile, the mile, and later in life, the marathon. (I ran one in a row.)
In the early spring of 1999, the day before the Motorola Austin marathon, I drove the route and came up with twenty-seven words that became mantras dedicated to each of the 26.2-miles, each representing something or someone special: faith, hope, love, courage, Mother, Father, vulnerability, compassion, etc.
The following morning the energy in the air was palpable as the starting horn blasted and we all took off; a sea of bobbing heads, and the arms, torsos and legs, and the feeling of being one with the people around me. I clocked just under 9-minutes the first mile; a respectable pace, but too fast for me for the distance. With each mile marker there were people cheering, live music playing, and hands reaching out with cups of water; all a reminder to slow down and pull the next word from my small fanny pack and begin the next mantra.
Eventually, behind the thinning tail of the pack I crossed the finish line on Auditorium Shores. A finisher’s metal was handed to me to place around my own neck, as well as a thermal blanket to wrap around myself like a centurion’s cape.
Now, almost every day when I drive downtown across some portion of the route I reflect on the word for that mile of the race and, for a moment, I feel it all again; the excitement, the heart pounding, the pain and fatigue, the humbling pride; another memory turned metaphor to reflect upon.
Today, it’s hard to believe that after almost nine years, almost 450 weekly gatherings, and over 20,000 collective man-hours invested in the overarching topics of male spirituality and compassion, it’s time to pass the baton.
Nothing is going away, the circle, the network, the connections, holding space for one another, it will all continue. But, for me the change is a bit scary to say the least. At the same time, I am excited to share that a seasoned team of guys is picking up the baton and bringing fresh energy to our Monday contemplative circle. I will still be involved, participating and facilitating from time to time, but this will enable me to increase my focus in two key areas:
First, my podcast, In Search of the New Compassionate Male. It is resonating with more and more thought leaders around the world. They are surfacing to join the search and I want to continue to provide a platform for them to be heard.
Second, I will be investing more time into my Life Skills Coaching which I am offering to both men and women. This, to help fund the Search.
I believe that during this incredible time if change, the New Compassionate Male is emerging as the new archetype. I have witnessed it within our circle and within myself, and it is being confirmed with each podcast episode.
I am truly grateful and blessed to be on the path with so many heart-centered and compassionate men and women, and I am looking forward to our collective, and unfolding future; somewhat of a marathon ahead perhaps, but one filled with excitement, if we choose.
Philip Kpakiwa’s harrowing story of his escape from the civil war in Sierra Leone is both powerful and heartwarming. His passion for helping young children in Guinea exemplifies a truly compassionate man.
Philip is an expert in peace-building and conflict resolution, with over five years’ experience with MasterPeace. Since 2011 he has been the country coordinator of MasterPeace Guinea, working on peacebuilding, mediation, peace education, and actively training young people in creativity and leadership skills. He is a man with a deep passion for vulnerable children. He has served as the representative director of Care for Children Guinea, providing a decent life for vulnerable children and developing their talents. Founder of Conquerors for Christ Ministry Guinea, Philip holds a
diploma in Theology from the New Family Bible Training Center, a diploma in Peace and Conflict Management from IBMG University, and certificates in Communication, Leadership, Project Management, Fundraising, and Conflict Intervention from Cairo and the Netherlands. After completing the Fellowship, Philip plans to continue his work in peacebuilding, leadership, and empowering young people with creativity, social reconciliation programs, and school peace.
“The mission of the 3rd Act in 2021 is to increase the impact of our efforts to help deserving individuals and organizations that are making a difference in this crazy world. This year we are going to kick it up a notch and strive to increase awareness and participation by focusing on a more targeted effort to bring greater benefits to those who need a helping hand. I believe that pulling together connections, good stories, and a shared mission to help others is powerful and can change lives.
As I think about the mission of the 3rd Act to shine a spotlight on deserving individuals and organizations that are making a difference in this crazy world we find ourselves in, I feel the desire to kick it up a notch in 2021. Over the last seven or eight months, I believe we have started a good conversation about incredible people who are truly making a difference in the lives of others. This effort has been rewarding to me but I feel compelled to reach higher for more participation and explore whether a more targeted effort can bring greater benefits to those that need a helping hand.” – Roger Steed
3rd Act’s mission is to spotlight individuals, charities and small businesses that need a helping hand due to economic carnage and reduced alternatives to increase cash necessary to continue operating or just make it through a month of living expenses.
3rd Act’s desire is to provide a platform for individuals and charities by engaging in an in-depth conversation that highlights the need and support mechanisms available for financial support through direct funding or helping to organize fund raising campaigns.
It is not a surprise to anyone paying attention to realize that the economic hardship caused by the spread of the COVID-19 virus and mandated closure of many small businesses is immense and has resulted in many worthwhile small charities to experience extreme
lack of funding from annual campaigns and
fund raising efforts.