Next Step: Changing Your Life from the Inside out

By Steven Libowitz   |   February 22, 2018

Bill Wich’s involvement in the ManKind Project and other self-discovery weekends goes back more than 25 years. He went through the entire MKP training, quickly rising to the role of full leader, and helped developed curriculum over the years. Much of what he developed over decades was the basis for The Work, a documentary film about a four-day intensive conducted at Folsom Prison that was released in 2017 to universal acclaim from critics and audiences and won the Grand Jury Prize at the South By Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival.

In all that time, nothing has proven as profoundly effective as The Next Step, a weekend workshop that was developed to move beyond shadow work – uncovering and confronting learned behaviors and patterns that we try to hide, ignore, or deny – into an integrative system that encompasses and encourages life mission: the next step on a journey of healing and transformation.

“Before this came along, mission was only ‘an esoteric exercise’ in our work,” Wich explained over the phone last week. That was largely because much of the other trainings and even ongoing circles such as MKP’s Integration Groups suffer from the called “Wound-ology” – where members “keep going over the same issues over and over again.”

What makes The Next Step different, he said, is that the approach adds “tools and technology that helps you get through an issue, come out the other end, not have to work it again.” That comes from working with “Parts” – the individual areas, like a wounded child, that have not resolved and still drive thoughts and behavior. The facilitation in the Next Step “takes a part aside, talks to it, and has a discussion that is productive and can lead to a solution, rather than just yelling at each other,” Wich said.

“You are working directly with the subconscious,” he said of the Next Step, which he developed by synthesizing the best parts of all the workshops he has attended and conducted, including a background in hypnosis. “It’s not the conscious mind making a decision, like what might come out of therapy or the typical method of thinking or talking things through. It’s literally working with the part subconsciously, so that when it takes on a new behavior, it’s real. It’s a permanent resolution.”

The process has its basis in the neuroplasticity of the brain. “Once you are in an altered state, you are beyond your conscious controlling mechanisms,” Wich explained. “Once that happens you can work directly with the ‘part’, and any changes made at that level become permanent. It’s not about creating more discipline. It’s about changing the wiring so that you naturally flow and do those things.”

The upshot is to have all of the individual “parts” integrated and working toward the same goal of living a life of purpose without sabotage from within.

The Next Step training, which was created in its current format just three years ago, makes its Santa Barbara area debut in a weekend workshop slated for March 2-4 at Dancing Deer Farms in Templeton, which is where MKP Santa Barbara holds its other trainings. It’s also the only MKP-sponsored training that is open to both men and women, and is considered especially beneficial for those who want to come as a couple. The only requirement is that participants have some experience in sitting in circles that involve co-facilitation, so that they have a background in the language and concept.

Participants can expect to discover a deeper mission, experience healing shadows and transforming them into allies that fully support your mission, and experience a step-by-step process so you can facilitate the same deep healing in others – and yourself after the workshop. The Next Step Training participant fee is $395 and includes accommodations onsite and meals. Contact Christopher O’Dell at (562) 822-9437 or visit for details and reservations.

Turning Two

The Santa Barbara Consciousness Network, which held monthly events at Unity of Santa Barbara bringing together guest speakers, local healing practitioners, and other members of the local conscious community, has been on hiatus for several months, taking a break even before the fire and mudslide disasters. But founder Forrest Leichtberg, the 24-year-old spiritual entrepreneur who previously brought such guests as Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks to his gatherings, doesn’t want anyone to think the organization has gone belly-up, even as he searches for a viable format and venue to resume to ongoing events with a mission to help people share their knowledge and power and growth potential for the betterment of humanity.

So the Consciousness Network is hosting its Second Anniversary Party this Thursday, February 22, at Karpeles Manuscript Library. The free gathering is a celebration featuring a chance to meet or re-connect with like-minded community members, engage with invited previous speakers and musical performers, and share a meal during the optional potluck. Celebrate life and emerging from the disasters and discover what’s next for the network. Karpeles is located at 21 West Anapamu Street, event time is 6 to 9:30 pm. RSVP at or just show up.

Winter Healing Arts Faire

The Center for Spiritual Living at the Center of the Heart, located at 487 North Turnpike Road, hosts one of its popular periodic days of healing this Saturday, February 24. Taking place from noon to 5 pm, the event offers an opportunity to experience short sessions of massage, energetic healing, psychic readings, Tarot cards, intuitive channeling and healers, aura photos, Angel Card readers, and additional forms of healing in a wide variety of modalities for a fraction of the typical off-site cost. Each of the participating healers in the event offer mini-treatment sessions of their services at a prix-fixe rate of $20 for 15 minutes. (Full sessions are available for additional tickets). Among the choices are John of God Crystal Bed healing sessions, which are unusual for these types of events. Arts and crafts vendors with appropriate wares will be on site for visitors to shop. Admission is free. Call 964-4861 or visit for more information.

Balancing for the Bucket Brigade

Shirley Marcus, who began offering her healing modalities include Rollness – which was developed by a European physiotherapist, fascia therapist, and energetician – at Sympatico Pilates Studio in Montecito only a few months ago, is hosting a special Rollness class by donation basis as a benefit for the Santa Barbara Bucket Brigade. The one-hour class, held Saturday at 11 am at Sympatico (a second class will take place at 12:30 pm based on demand), is aimed at improving endurance, balancing strength and flexibility, and reinforcing ligaments, as well as providing other benefits. Call 825-7865 or visit

La Casa de Maria, Downtown

Radhule Weininger has been running meditation sessions weekly and retreats regularly each month at La Casa de Maria’s Center for Spiritual Renewal for years. In the wake of the devastating mudslide/debris flow that leveled several of the center’s buildings and severely damaged many others, the weekly meditation gatherings on Thursdays have been temporarily relocated to Sacred Space in Summerland, as noted here in a previous issue. Now, her Half-Day Retreat, slated for 2:30 to 6 pm this Sunday, February 25, is being held at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Santa Barbara, which has been hosting her Solidarity and Renewal events on the second Tuesday of the month since the 2016 election.

Sunday’s special event will be moderated by Weininger along with her husband, palliative physician Michael Kearney, while the interfaith guest speakers include Casa de Maria’s executive director Steve Jacobsen, plus rabbi Arthur Gross-Schaeffer, Imam Niazi, Vrajaprana, and rabbi Steve Cohen. Suzanne Dunn, and Jeannette Love from the Beatitudes will also participate, and poet Teddy Macker will be joined by Fariba reading Rumi. Pianist Suzanne Malloy, flutist Lisa DeBoer, and cellist Anne Anderson will present music from Taize, while concert pianist Heena Yoon from UCSB is slated to play Chopin, and Noah Owens will play guitar. Also, Anahita Holden, Juliet Rhode-Brown, and Daniel Girard will present Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with harp, guitar, and voice. Of course, Radhule will also offer a guided meditation as the anchor for the event, which also includes afternoon snacks donated by Fresco Cafe.

She Is Rising

Despite what the title might imply, the #MeToo movement was not the impetus for the women-only gatherings going on at the Santa Barbara Mission Rose Garden. She Is Rising is the mother-daughter “intimacy coaching” duo of Katie Korzen and Shelby Stawiecki, who teach women how to create a life of sensual sustainability. They are extending the open invitation to join a group of loving women who are interested in healing disconnection in relationship to themselves and their partners. The Meetup at the Mission is an introduction into the work of awakened intimacy, the path to radiant wholeness. Participants will discover how emotional intimacy and sexual intimacy’s healing work leads you to ecstatic bliss in each and every moment.

Gather in the Rose Garden for the free intro sessions at 2 pm on the next two Saturdays, February 24 and March 3. For more information, visit

Embrace Embracing

The Santa Barbara Cuddle Connection’s monthly gatherings offer an opportunity to practice connecting socially, energetically and/or physically in a safe, structured environment. No puppy piles – as all activities are mutually agreed upon in clear words and intent. The format begins with ice breakers, exercises, demos, and before participants put into practice the skills you’ve learned. No touch is ever required. Led by certified Platonic Touch therapist Amber York from 7 to 10 pm on Saturday, February 25, at Santa Barbara Body Therapy Institute, 516 N. Quarantina Street. Donation $20. Details and optional reservations at

Full Moon Circle

He Heals On Wheels and Shiva and The Diva co-host a Full Moon Circle gathering at 7:30 pm on Thursday, March 1, where all are invited to come together at a healing space at Wisniewski Chiropractic & Massage (228 E. Anapamu St.) for a sharing circle and full-moon ceremony. Participants will build an altar, call in the four directions, and invite the spirit guides and animal friends to come together as a community to manifest the highest vibration with a clear intention. Bring any crystals you wish to clear and charge, and musical instruments of choice, including simply your voice. Details online at 


You might also be interested in...