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Men, Join me for Road Trippin' with some helpful companions...

Friends, I'm sharing some helpful companions for life's road trips. They, like me, have learned much about navigating them from Franciscan Fr. Richard Rohr and others affiliated with the Center for Action and Contemplation.

In this post you'll find information about:

Regularly Scheduled Meetings

For those on Long Island: 2nd Sat. of every month (next: Jan. 13)

Monthly Men2Men 2nd Saturday of each month circle gatherings from 8:00 AM to 9:15. @ the Sisters of St. Joseph 1725 Brentwood Road Brentwood, NY 11717.

--If interested in giving our group a road test, please email or call Linda 631-273-1187 ext. 411. Cost is $20 bucks and begins with a full cafeteria breakfast.

Our facilitator is Michael Dunne.

In other parts of the US, go to and click "Find a Local Chapter" as shown below:

Elders At The Gate hosted by Illuman NorCal

February 2-4, 2024

In the video below, the facilitator describes this road...this being supported by 3 pillars:

  1. Authenticity is the currency of connection

  2. Transformation occurs in contact with another

  3. We are known by our stories

This is my second such exploration into...ME...I traveled with Elders in 2022.

To get a snapshot of this weekend, just click the link to the 2-minute video that's immediately below the "Elders at the Gate" image that follows these first four images. I've also included below an introductory email from weekend facilitator Joe Gabaeff.

If you're here for some music about road trips, simply scroll a little further. The songs just might get you in the mood to travel with me and the other guys.

CAUTION: The weekend's start coincides with Groundhog Day. Take my advice and Bill Murray's, I'm attending so I can learn to let go of stuff that causes me to keep repeating stuff I need to let go of...Stuff that isn't helping me or you.

Might say, this weekend is about reducing our CARmic debt. So, let's take some back roads, detours, and roads less traveled...and see where they lead...

Elders Road Trippin'

More info: How Do I Build Connection?

What: A Virtual Retreat Experience When: February 2-4, 2024 - (Friday evening through Sunday at noon, Pacific time) Where: Virtual (Zoom Meeting) Who: All men over the age of 18 are welcome. No previous participation in men's work or Illuman necessary. Cost: Sliding scale, $125.00 suggested donation. Men who were initiated at an MROP in 2023 are invited to participate free.  No man will be turned away because of financial concerns.



Presented by Illuman NorCal , Elders at the Gate is a three-day virtual experience inviting men into deeper brotherhood with themselves, others, and the Spirit.

Utilizing story, image, ritual, and council, men are led, shoulder-to-shoulder, through a journey of self-exploration and understanding. Elders at the Gate brings men to the threshold of liminal space, a space where authentic sharing of one's life and story catalyzes spiritual transformation in themselves and others.

The event is truly a first of its kind in being created from the ground up through collective action from Illuman men in tandem with Spirit. Our time together will focus on our individual and collective explorations of the discernment, 'How Do I Build Connection?'  Drawing from the communal wisdom and talents of the brotherhood, as well as video footage of Richard Rohr and other Illuman elders, free spaces for locating, and cultivating a greater understanding of your own answer to the topic will be offered. We gather to assist one another in traveling closer toward our True Self. No matter where you find yourself on your path, whether you are new to this work or have been in it for years, Elders at the Gate offers a welcoming home for You, all of you, to be seen, known, and loved.

Join us at the gate to begin our adventure together!

For any questions or concerns, please contact the event facilitator at

A Note from the Facilitator:

Greetings brothers.  When the lockdowns began, it became clear that Illuman would not be able to gather physically for our work for the foreseeable future.  With heavy hearts, Illuman postponed the US 2020 and 2021 Men's Rites of Passage events.  We wanted to offer some alternative for all of the men eager to connect in fellowship that had already signed up for Rites of Passage across the country.  From there, brothers across the world got to work turning misfortune into opportunity by creating something truly unique; a new, virtual offering that brings the energy of the brotherhood right into the home.

We live in a time when folks have trouble listening to one another, making space, even just taking the time to see one another for who they are, where they are.  The cacophony of daily life screams for our attention, caring little for the quieter voices that may be speaking the wisdom we need to hear.  Elders at the Gate emphasizes creating a space to listen: listen to oneself, to each other and to the Spirit.   We all have a story to tell.  The Elders want to hear yours.

Come join the men in listening to the wisdom of the Larger boldly, intentionally and authentically.  The time together is an invitation to open oneself to the bigger implications of Life: we are not separate, autonomous beings in the vacuum of our own routines and mental constructs, but connected, interdependent necessities in the flow of All That Is.  We all have a place in the Larger, a beautiful place that reaches out to us in Grace.  You are enough.  You are loved.  Your story matters.

We all need help along the way knowing if we are truly ready for the next step on the journey.  Our ancestors and elders have always been the necessary touchstone to affirm our intuitions of the question, 'How Do I Build Connection?' Initiated or uninitiated, let us gather together to deepen our brotherhood through strengthening our relationship to ourselves, each other and the Spirit.  The Elders are waiting.  The Elders are waiting for you to show up.

In Appreciation and Love Joe Gabaeff, Illuman NorCal Convener Emeritus and Facilitator of Elders at the Gate


I was in the car-fixin', let's begin with some basics...

First up, Yusuf "Cat" Stevens...

Next up on the STEREO...some STERNO...Canned Heat...

The trip's better with a companion...

Into the Woods...with friends...

In this post, I wasn't gonna put into practice my friend Steve's mantra "There's a Grateful Dead song for every occasion"...until I saw the message on their license plate...So look below...BTW - Fellow surfer Steve also has the honor of teaching me the art of Volkswagen repair. Thanks, Guru!!!

And from the Land Down Under...Xavier Rudd...

My Road Trippin': Friends & Family Affairs..

Beginning in the summer of '69, me and my fellow surfers traveled around the coasts of this land, including three round trips to Callie.

In 1973, when I decided to move there permanently, my parents accompanied me. Backstory: Late in '72, I had a spiritual awakening one weekend as a result of reading "Be Here Now" by Ram Dass. He introduced me for the first time to a loving version of "G-d". On the Monday following, I called my Dad asking if I could see him. This began a process of developing a new father-son that began with a one-sided hug...

Then, in 1975 when I decided to move back to NY, three of my sisters flew out to Southern California and drove back with me.


Dad rode shotgun and took lots of photos...Mom sat in back writing poetry...

Below, first cousins Bill and Margie sending us off. We stopped at their home on our way to Niagara Falls. "Slowly I turned...Step by step...Inch by inch..."


With sisters (l-r) Julie (RIP) and Cathy...

Cathy and Mary...


First, let's join the Man in the Van...Van we wander and wonder together...

"It's easy to describe the leaves in the Autumn

And it's oh so easy in the Spring

But down through January and February it's a very different thing."

and so appropriate for us "ELDERS"...

I had the pleasure of seeing these next Wondering artists at NYC's Town Hall...

...and named my website after this song:

This next image captures Joe's 2nd pillar: Transformation occurs in contact with another

My 2022 Elders at the Gate recap

I first learned about my first NorCal Illuman Crew's Elders from the Ohio Illuman team because Eileen and I did a virtual couples weekend with them in 2021 called "This Breath."

Then in 2022, I rejoined the Ohio contingent for "Myths: The Hero's Journey."

Here's an email note I sent to Brian, my Ohio contact after my first Elders in 2022:

From: Thomas Tittmann <>Date: Friday, January 20, 2023 at 2:53 PMTo: Ohio Illuman <>Subject: Re: 🟡 Elders at the Gate 🗝️ - December 2022


Hello! A belated thanks for promoting this weekend. What a great group of guys! 


I’m 75, and though retired for almost 10 years, I don’t often take extended time to reflect.


What was most helpful for me were all of the preparatory questions for reflection - both before the weekend and then throughout our time together. The journaling I did helped reveal patterns - some keepers and some to let go. The weekend’s format: large group, small group and one-on-one provided additional opportunities to wrestle with some personal challenges and also trust the invitations to relax into places of not knowing…


And we had fun…in between times for soul searching…we had some great belly laughs. 





I'm Grateful Road Trippin' ain't Dead...

Here's one for our NorCal brothers. Thanks for reminding us of the importance of building bridges...

We're all Connected as One Love...One Heart...

Road Trippin' is Better when we're TOGETHER...

Love is the answer

At least for most of the questions in my heart

Like "Why are we here?", "And where do we go?", "And how come it's so hard?"

It's not always easy

And sometimes life can be deceiving

I'll tell you one thing:

It's always better when we're together



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