"I'm so busy all the time," Kim says. "When I'm in the lodge, I'm not making Excel spreadsheets or five-year plans. It's time for myself." And that one-on-one time with his thoughts helps him keep things in perspective. "I don't really think I'm a fox," he says, "but it's fun to tell people about my spirit animal." If only his friends were as receptive. When Kim relayed his story not long ago, one of his buddies said, "Don't ever tell anyone that again."


THE LODGE IN PASADENA HAS ELK ANTLERS TIED TO THE TOP AND A TINY DISCO ball suspended from its wood frame—both just for fun. The group inside has now survived two of four rounds of stifling heat, one focused on prayers for themselves, the next on prayers for others. It takes a while for the guys to open up. When they finally do, they begin with "Great Spirit . . ."

And though their requests are sometimes meandering, what they want "always comes down to sex and money," Kirk says. After each round, the tent flap is unsealed and everyone tilts toward the cooler air. The flap is shut again and Kirk dumps water on the freshly stoked fire pit. Lots of water. Time now for the primal scream. "This round is about releasing," Kirk says. "Whatever you need to get out, do it." The shouts meld into one barbaric yawp so loud that the neighbors must be scrambling to turn up the volume on their TV sets. "There's stuff still in there," Kirk says. So, faces red and rivered with sweat, the men let it all go once again.

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