Richard Good, 58, works for Eden International, Cornwall abob
How did you know about abob?
I met Thurstan Crockett who was doing one of our courses at Eden and I instantly had a strong connection with him. I am known for building fires at Eden, few people build one for me and Thurstan did. I was moved that he’d made such a beautiful fire. We had a chat about abob and straightaway I realised that it was something that I wanted to contribute to.
What was your first experience of abob?
I went along to a couple of meetings but I was pretty much straight into the Quest for Community weekend. I found it to be beautifully held. The flow and design are intelligently formed. I was moved by this opportunity for all of us to explore areas of our lives and bring greater balance. I found it a dynamic way of allowing men who would never normally have met – to share their vulnerability and wisdom. And it doesn’t matter what you do as work.
What did you personally get out of the weekend?
I felt so well held. I do a lot of this kind of work myself at Eden and in my personal life, so I was touched by how lightly and how skilled the structure of the weekend was. I also appreciated how important nature was to this rite of passage weekend as that’s what I work with a lot. I really appreciated the grieving circle as well. I’d never seen this before and it was beautifully done. The experience transcended any sense of this just being Cornwall, it went beyond that.
Were you attracted to the idea of being in service to younger men?
Absolutely. I remember being asked that question at abob and my answer was – Yes I’m in.
How are the weekly sharing circles for you?
They’re always powerful. It’s so great for men to have this opportunity to do carpet work. It’s a huge gift. I don’t go every single week. I appreciate all the different skills that we bring to this work. And the coming together. In so many ways. The older and younger men too.
How do you step out of your comfort zone in this work?
Well I’m not a king in the kitchen and I was staffing one of the weekends and there are opportunities to volunteer in different areas. My kingdom is facilitating which I do a lot of. So this time, I put my hand up to help in the kitchen. In doing so, it gave me such respect for the men who are kings in this cooking area. Food is so often taken for granted in this way. It gave me great joy to see hungry men wolfing down our meals. And it takes a huge amount of effort to make. It really is the food of love. I’m still not a king in the kitchen but this experience gave me a new appreciation of what goes on there.
Have you mentored any younger men?
I’m seeing one younger man in Newquay and mentoring and older man in training to become a mentor.
How did it all go during lockdown?
We did our weekly meetings via Zoom and it worked amazingly well. I think because we already know and trusted each other. I wondered how it would be but it was really good. In fact there was also something freeing about it. The process and the connections were incredible.
How do you see your future with abob?
I’m going to continue. I love it lots of different ways. I’m looking forward to mentoring more. It really is a fantastic group of men. I’m keen to support more of a focus on what’s good and what’s going well and what appreciation can be found for each other and ourselves. I’m keen to celebrate Kingship in our weekly meetings.