2015 GSV Fall Conference: Trusting the Wild Mind

2015 GSV Fall Conference: Trusting the Wild Mind

GSV 2015 Fall Conference

Trusting the Wild Mind:
Confronting Discomfort in Our Search for Safety

September 17 – 20, 2015
at The Mountain, Highlands, NC

Three Nights: $398.90
Four Nights: $489.64

Register Today


My Dearest Brothers,

After many months of planning I am excited to announce that registration for GSV’s 26th Annual Fall Conference is now open. Many of our brothers already have the conference on their September calendars. Others are more spontaneous when deciding if they’ll attend. In whichever group you belong, I hope to see you at The Mountain. While it’s fresh on your mind, I encourage you to register today!

When thinking about the times I have joined together with my tribe – the brothers of GSV – I discover memories of the most transformative and heart-opening experiences of my life. The many men already at work on the 2015 Fall Conference share my commitment to creating a space that allows and encourages personal growth and community connection. Spiritual discernment and the intention to co-create a safe space for heartfelt communication guide the formation of our upcoming gathering: Trusting the Wild Mind: Confronting Discomfort in Our Search for Safety.

Over the next few months you’ll learn more about the theme and our keynote speaker (he studies propellers because they can make themselves invisible). You’re going to find out about our intentional conversations that were prompted by our community chats, workshop opportunities, and other fun activities for our gathering (including a hat and wig social!). Watch your email for updates … and please consider registering today! We have in the last ten years never fallen beneath the anticipated number of attendees; early registration will assure your spot!

Are you willing to trust the wild mind? Come explore the edge of your comfort zone, engage with your tribe of amazing brothers, and possibly uncover your authentic voice.


Todd Humphrey
Convener, 2015 Fall Conference


Read More About the 2015 Fall Retreat >>
Register for the 2015 Fall Retreat >>

GSV 25th Anniversary Fund Update

Dear Brother,

First of all, let me thank you for your generous contribution to our Twenty Fifth Anniversary Gift To The Mountain campaign. Today, we have raised over $26,000!!

Initially, the monies raised were to be used in the renovation of Ascenders Cabin. However, after much consultation with The Mountain, it was decided that a new structure would be more beneficial to both The Mountain and to GSV. The new structure will be built on the site of Cabin 5 (see accompanying images) and would:

  • be a 3 story building – approximately 28 ft. x 48 ft.,
  • contain 7 double guest rooms with jack-and-jill baths,
  • a kitchen,
  • a meeting/dining room with seating for 30,
  • restrooms
  • meeting/lounge loft, and
  • two observation/gathering decks.

At the moment, we do not know when construction will begin. We have, however, been assured that it will start shortly after a majority of the funds have been obtained.

Once again, thank you, thank you for your participation in this project!


Wendell Johnson & Steven Berman, co-chairs

The Path Forward: 2015 Spring Update

Scout Glyph

Scout Archetype Glyph
from Andrew Ramer’s
Two Flutes Playing

In March of 2014, as part of our 25th Anniversary Celebration, the GSV Council organized a Visioning Retreat with John Ballew as a facilitator. This retreat, with about 35 diverse participants, considered next steps for GSV. The June 2014 Council meeting in Atlanta provided the first opportunity for us to consider thoughts from the Visioning Retreat and the recommendations from John Ballew’s summary. As a result, we’re evolving a plan called The Path Forward to help us take the next steps towards even more participatory leadership.

Here are some recent efforts toward implementing these ideas:

  • Recruit more diverse leadership drawn from the general community: Luis Alvarez as the 2015 Spring Retreat convener to serve a two-year term; Steven Wilson as a Walks Between Elder to serve a three-year term; and Wendell Johnson as a member with special skills (fundraising) to serve a two-year term. These additions represent both age and ethnic diversity for the Council.
  • Open up the Scholarship process to make it easier to apply for assistance and use scholarships to increase the diversity of our conference attendance. You will notice the largest groups of younger men and men of color at Spring 2015 in the history of GSV, partially as a result of this change.
  • Include more open space in our conference program for brothers to share their interests and gifts. You will notice these spaces in the Spring 2015 schedule.
  • Create a new, more inclusive welcoming statement to be read at the beginning of each gathering. Note the wording of the Welcoming Statement used at the beginning of the heart circle.
  • Demonstrate more transparency in the Council’s processes through providing more information online, more frequent communications with our participants, and community sessions at conferences. You will notice our constantly improving website and the community meeting at Spring 2015, intended as a time for the Council to listen to the ideas of conference participants.
  • Implement liaison training and empowerment. At our Winter Planning Day, January 18-19, we appointed work groups and liaisons (chairpersons) for the work groups which assist the council in producing the three annual conferences. Much of the Planning Day was devoted to training the liaisons. At the Spring 2015 Retreat, you will see activity by several of the work groups (Welcome, Ritual, Altared Spaces (prepares the altar). If you are interested in serving on a work group, see the signup sheet in the Commons, where you checked in.

We hope The Path Forward will support all of us in bringing our planning process into even greater alignment with the spirit of service, brotherhood, love, and encouragement which fills our gatherings.

Pat Boyle, Walks Between Elder, for the Council of Nine, April 24, 2015

2015 Spring Workshops

Terry and I are thrilled about our workshop facilitators! Two of the workshops are described below, and we’re still planning on setting aside several spaces on Saturday afternoon for anyone to lead a workshop or activity.

Franklin AbbottCircle of Healing

with Franklin Abbott
(and Bob Strain on music)

Energy is a nonverbal form of communication. We will be communicating healing through energy and touch in pairs and in the circle. This will be enhanced by guided imagery and music. The Circle of Healing format was used for over five years in a monthly gathering at First E in the early years of the AIDS epidemic to provide comfort and support for those infected with the virus and those in the community who supported them. It is not AIDS-specific and can be used in all forms of healing: physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Dev "Trinity"Let your kid come out to play!

with Dev ‘Trinity’

Using ideas from Transactional Analysis, Non-competitive play, Improvisation, and Theatre Games, the goal of the workshop is for each of us to get in touch with our fun-loving kid and let him come out to play. Most of the play is nonverbal, though that does not mean silence. It does mean focusing on our experiences when we get out of our heads and into our bodies. Touch is involved at a safe level and a participant may choose to sit out any game.

2015 Spring Retreat—Engaging in Communication: Paths to Connections

Engaging in Communication: Paths to Connections

As humans, we tend to compartmentalize ourselves. We sometimes see ourselves as part mind, part body, and part spirit. We even have different doctors for each one of these parts. However, all three parts are one and the same.

There is a concept in social work, Holon, which establishes that we are more than the sum of our parts. In fact, illness in any one of these areas affects the others. This spring we would like to engage all three areas—mind, body, and spirit—to communicate our needs. In order for us to communicate our needs to each other, we first have to connect with these three areas in ourselves.

As a practice, connection and communication offers two opportunities: one, to learn and internalize new skills and tools, and another to self-explore and express yourself on your own terms. This cycle of discovery continues throughout our lives; we often call it growth.

The Spring Retreat will provide safe spaces for us to explore how we communicate though our words, bodies, and spirits. When we cultivate an inner connection in ourselves, we can then connect with others. And for that, we have scheduled unstructured time throughout the weekend.

So, come brothers, and grow with us as we seek to create a spiritual community with the intent to heal, nurture our gifts and potential, and live with integrity in the world.

Peace and Love,

Luis and Terry

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