This week’s Man Of The Week is Ian MacKenzie, often described as a new paradigm media activist, whose goal mission is to uncover and share stories of the emerging paradigm, moving away from destruction and towards a more life-affirming future. Using film as his medium, Ian crafts conscious memes on behalf of the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible. Be it fluke or fate, Ian’s entry into the filming world came when he decided to join his best friend on a year-long journey to tell a story about a man who worked 52 jobs in 52 weeks to discover his true passion. The film, aptly titled, was called “One Week Job” went on to receive widespread media attention and ironically enough, it was Ian who discovered his true passion; filmmaking.
Today, Ian is working on a couple different projects, with one particularly hitting close to home, Healing of Love (2016). A short film that aims to explore and excavate our deepest wounds around love, sex and partnerships. Follow Ian’s latest updates by following his Facebook fan page.
What do you do? (Work)
My friend once called me “The Indiana Jones of the new story.” I’m a filmmaker and activist that crafts conscious media to shift our cultural mythology away from destruction and toward a life-affirming future.
Why do you do it?
I’ve always been fascinated with stories, from reading fantasy books as a teenager, to writing short stories of my own as a young adult. Cultures are built upon stories as well, though they are often harder to see when it’s all we’ve ever known. Given our convergent crises on this planet, from social, to economic, to environmental, we are called to reimagine our cultural stories at the deepest level. I choose film as my primary medium as it contains a uniquely powerful alchemy that can catalyze change in a short period of time.
How do you make a difference in the world? (Work, business, life, family, self)
Like many artists, I have little separation between my work, my life, my family, and my self. I don’t see them as separate realms, but intimately intertwined. (Case in point: two of my feature documentaries include my best friend (One Week Job) and my partner (Amplify Her) as the main subjects). At the core, I attempt to make beauty. In the face of so much cynicism and despair, making beauty is a revolutionary act.
What are 3 defining moments in your life?
– In 2007, my aforementioned best friend Sean Aiken graduated from college and didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life. Rather than dive into a career path, only to find out later it wasn’t for him, he decided to launch The One Week Job Project. He would work one job a week for a year, and contribute any funds paid to charity. Incredibly, the offers rolled in from all over North America, from a Dairy Farmer in Alberta, to a Hollywood Producer in LA, to an astronomer in Hawaii.
Halfway through the journey, I quit my job as a copywriter and joined him on the road, shooting the adventure on a basic video camera. While I’d had an interest in filmmaking, I’d never seriously attempted a documentary…until now. Eventually, I crafted 100+ hours of footage into a cohesive film, which in 2010 we premiered to a sold-out audience in Vancouver and eventually aired on the CBC. I haven’t stopped making films since.
– In 2011, I attending Burning Man for the third time. While many come for the party, others stay for The Temple. It is the yin to the gathering’s yang – a beautiful structure that serves as a place for collective grief and sorrow. That year, it was called The Temple of Transition, a magnificent building that taught me the meaning of agape. On the final night, the Temple is always burned in silence – from dust to dust. And yet that morning, something in me couldn’t leave without capturing a piece. I shot as much footage as I could, and post-burn released the short film Dear Temple. I believe it was Mark Twain who said the two most important days of your life are “the day you are born, and the day you found out what you’re born to do.” This day was the latter.
– Finally, in 2013, after multiple years of failing to conceive, and my burgeoning desire to expand the boundaries of our love, my wife and I decided to separate. (The complete story is an epic saga of joy and heartbreak, in fact, I’m currently finishing a 17 page essay on the end of the marriage – stay tuned).
Suffice to say, it launched me on an inquiry into our cultural mythology of sex, partnership, and the village, which has already taken me as far away as Tamera peace village in Portugal to shoot my forthcoming short Healing of Love – aimed at excavating our deepest collective wounds around love and sexuality.
What is your life purpose?
My life purpose is to weave the threads of the emergent culture – to see the larger patterns and craft a cohesive synthesis for others to understand and activate their own gifts.
How did you tap into it?
By having great parents and friends. By listening deeply to my soul’s inner calling. And by continuing to trust I will be lead to where I’m needed most.
Who is your Role-Model or Mentor?
Author, farmer, and spiritual activist Stephen Jenkinson is one of my most prominent mentors. After spending years in palliative care (what he calls ‘the death trade’) he recognized over and again a consistent death phobia that plagued the end of life. He traced the origins to the dominant culture, and the loss of our ability to be at home in the world. Along with his wife Nathalie, they attempted the impossible – they created the Orphan Wisdom school, a teaching house to learn the skills of home and village-mindedness once again.
Do you have any daily habits? If so, what are they?
I’m on the road quite a bit and I have a hard time maintaining daily habits. The ones that do survive are the simple ones, like my morning coffee.
When do you know your work/life balance is off?
I recognize my work/life balance is off when I lose track of the basic joy of being alive. Work feels oppressive and never-ending. Relationships feel withered and burdensome. Usually it means I need to spend less time on the computer and more time outside. – along with saying ‘no’ to new projects, even though they’re often compelling.
Vulnerability is a challenge for most men – share a vulnerable moment from your life with us.
Recently, I invited a sharing circle with my close family. It was a long time coming, as I hadn’t had an honest and open conversation with them for almost a decade. Spending most of my time on the road, our lives had drifted further away from each other. My family also inherited the Irish trait of avoiding sincerity with humour, which makes it difficult to really open up with each other. Therefore, creating the space for the circle was incredibly vulnerable.
What did you learn from it?
I’m happy to report the circle went very well and I wonder why I waited so long.
If you are or were going to be a mentor for another man, what is one piece of advice you would give him?
Finish things. It’s far too easy to start something, then let it flounder while you move on to the next compelling idea/project/relationship. You will be known by what you finish. That doesn’t necessary mean continue everything until it’s complete. Respectfully bow out of a project if it’s no longer viable. Mercifully close that relationship if it’s become destructive or numbing. And learn to say no, rather than attempt to please everyone.
How do you be the best partner (Boyfriend/Husband- past or present)
Remain committed to your mission. Often, that which first attracted your partner to you is the first casualty when you alter your life for a relationship. And maintain a shared vision for why you are together, even if that will change over time. It could be raising kids. Building community. Making art.
Do you support any Charities or Not-for-profits? (Which one(s) and why?)
I’ve been a longtime supporter of Amnesty international, an important voice for human rights, and especially for those who have been wrongly imprisoned, tortured, and forgotten.
If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
“One Day They’ll Know” by Pretty Lights (Odesza Remix). This perfect fusion of two artists captures the epic feeling of driving down a sun-drenched coast or gazing out a plane window at the languid clouds below. I often find myself in these inbetween places, from one adventure to the next. This track beats back the feeling of overwhelm – reminding me life can only be experienced one day at a time.
Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
These next few years will see me touring my films Amplify Her and Healing of Love. Along the way, I’m also finishing a short from my time with Stephen Jenkinson called Lost Nation Road. I’m also gathering the wisdom of village-making – recognizing the importance of rebuilding structures of healing needed to create trust among people once again. This is especially true for men – who, in the wake of the rising feminine, need a new culture of true empowerment, solidarity and authenticity.
What legacy do you want to leave for future generations?
I see myself engaged in the necessary work of building a village on the West Coast, likely a gulf island. This is the real foundation of any future worth living. In the 1960’s the initial surge toward intentional community was sincere, but lacked the eldership necessary to plant the roots deep enough. Today, that spiral is coming around again – only this time, we have the internet and emerging forms of decentralized decision-making and localized autonomy. Combined with the grace and wisdom of indigenous peoples still connected to the land, and remembering our own ancestral lineages, we have the opportunity to collectively awake from the culture of separation into the joy of reunion – with each other and with all life.
What One book would you recommend for any Man?
“Iron John” by Robert Bly. This seminal book kickstarted the previous wave that became known as the Men’s Movement, and remains just as relevant today. While the specifics of each man’s life may be his own, there exists an archetypal substructure that each of us must navigate on the path to initiation. This book is a map.
If you know a Man that is making a positive impact on the world, we would love to hear from you! Contact us at [email protected]