GSV Virtual Spring Retreat: Announcement Concerning Registration

Greetings Siblings,

We have been made aware that the registration process has a few unexpected issues concerning payment for this Spring Conference. We are currently working with The Mountain to clear up the confusion in the registration process. It has always been our intention to offer this conference *free of charge* and that any donation, including the suggested donation, to the mountain is totally optional, though appreciated. Your registration is sufficient for attendance.

We are all learning from this new experience and working out the kinks, so if more concerns arise, please reach out so that we are able to address them as best we can and make things right.

With love and appreciation for all of you in this community,
Your Trusted Council of Elders

GSV Virtual Spring Retreat: In the Wellspring of Queer Resilience: Listening to the Wisdom of Our Ancestors

2020 Spring Retreat
Dear Siblings,

Greetings, heartfelt appreciation, and comforting hugs to each of you. How much has changed since my previous letter to you announcing the GSV spring retreat which was to have been held live and in person, face-to-face, and heart-to-heart, at The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center on May 8th through 10th. However, as you may have already been aware, The Mountain has cancelled all live and in person events and is temporarily closed in accordance with the North Carolina governor’s Stay At Home order.

Instead, I’m delighted to announce that we are holding the first ever GSV Virtual Spring Retreat! It will be held in four 90-minute Zoom sessions on May 15th, 16th & 17th .

Like so many other organizations, we have been working to reorient ourselves around a meaningful and engaging live Zoom video communications experience that we can use to explore and experiment with together. In venturing into this new technology-based way of being, we are each called upon to breathe even more deeply, to be patient with ourselves, and each other, and to be open to the moving of gay spiritedness between us across space and time to create community and connection.

The draft agenda for our virtual spring retreat, subject to last minute changes, appears below.

If you’ve never participated in a Zoom event before, please consider watching the following video tutorial prior to Friday evening’s opening event so that you will be more at ease and present.
https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362193-Joining-a-Meeting

Some basic suggestions:
1. When you are using Zoom, make sure that the light on your face is brighter than the light in the background; otherwise, we can’t see your bright eyes and beautiful smile.

2. Make sure the environment you are in — whether outside or inside — is completely quiet with no music or noise in the background.

3. Using a 4″ x 6″ index card or something similar, write the name you wish to be called by with a black magic marker, or print your name in large print, so you can hold it up as needed during a session. You’ll understand more about this during the event.

Rainbow

Registration information:


To participate in this virtual event, please register through The Mountain Learning and Retreat Center at this website link: https://www.themountainrlc.org/gsv-spring-online. As you complete the registration process on The Mountain’s website, we suggest you consider giving a donation to The Mountain of about $69.00. In honor of The Mountain’s 30 years of service to our community, we invite you to consider making an additional donation. In any case, please know that no one will be turned away for any reason because of financial constraints. Because this virtual experience is new for all of us, total registration is limited to 50 siblings.

I welcome your presence as we create space together, leaning in to sustaining connection even across space and time.

With gratitude for each of you and for our living, breathing community,

Mark Medlin (Rainbow Sprinkles)
Convenor, GSV Spring Retreat 2020

In the Wellspring of Queer Resilience: Listening to the Wisdom of Our Ancestors


Gay Spirit Visions Virtual Spring Retreat


May 15-17, 2020


Agenda

Friday, May 15th
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Welcome and In-Gathering
Welcome – Mark Medlin
Calling In the Directions – Selected Siblings
In-Gathering Music – Bob Strain
Heart Weaving – Mark Medlin
Heart Circle – Paul Plate

Saturday, May 16th
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
GSV Council Town Hall Meeting,
Jason Buchanan, Presiding Elder

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Opportunities for Connection and Celebration
Two or three options to be determined.

12:00 Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Optional Virtual Saturday Lunch
Click on the lunchtime Zoom link and be randomly grouped with four other siblings for an hour’s informal conversation as you dine together in front of your computer.

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Opportunities for Connection and Celebration
Two or three options to be determined.

Sunday, May 17th
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Celebration for Preparing Ourselves for Action in the World
Naming of the Fall 2020 GSV Conference Convener
Closing Music – Bob Strain
Heart Circle – Paul Plate
Releasing the Directions – Mark Medlin
Closing Song – Wendell Johnson

12:00 Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Optional Virtual Sunday Lunch
Click on the lunchtime Zoom link and be randomly grouped with four other siblings for an hour’s informal conversation as you dine together in front of your computer.

GSV COVID-19 Official Announcement

2020 Spring Retreat
Greetings Siblings!

The Gay Spirit Visions Council has been in discussion for the last month on how to respond to the changes COVID-19 has made in our gathering practices. As you may have already seen on The Mountain’s website, the Spring Retreat at The Mountain has been cancelled. We cannot in good conscience hold a gathering of this nature at this time with such an intimate family such as yourselves. We have hesitated to make the announcement official until we had something for you as an alternative.

There’s been a debate on whether we should simply cancel the Spring Retreat and do nothing until the Fall Conference, assuming things recover by then. However, during this time of physical isolation, where many are struggling to get their social and spiritual needs met, having a spirit-based community of like-minded people such as Gay Spirit Visions to connect with was worth stepping into the unknown to try to make happen for you all. Additionally, if the current epidemic cannot be controlled in this country by September, we might miss out completely on our Fall Conference as well.

Right now, the council is in discussion with our Spring Convener about the possibility of a virtual Spring Retreat so that we may connect safely with our community in these difficult times. We know that we need something more than a Facebook group and an e-mail list to make a gathering. We are still brainstorming and running logistics on possibilities for what this might look like and how best to implement it. We’ve decided it’s worth pursuing because it’s an exercise in adaptability for our organization and it gives us experience for handling similar circumstances in the future. We’re trying to keep options open, setting signposts and benchmarks for what may come.

In our daily lives, many of us are struggling to connect with our friends and family in satisfying ways. We understand a virtual gathering is not the same as hugging our siblings, but right now, it’s what is safe. Again, we’ll be upfront with you. We don’t know what this is going to look like. In truth, we don’t even know if we can pull it off. We have a lot of ideas and we’re trying to find the tangible things that we need in order to manifest our ideas (and to determine which ideas we are even able to implement), and one thing is becoming very apparent: we’re going to need a lot of help if we want to make this happen.

Most of our ideas come back to the importance of video conferencing to make this happen. That involves someone hosting it. One person cannot host an entire weekend. Our main limitation right now in this regard is the number of people who are willing and able to volunteer to facilitate for a specific amount of time, if we want to make it approximate a weekend retreat.

We’re also currently focusing on making the heart-to-heart connection happen above all else, which we believe to be at the core of the GSV experience. However, we are still open to potential workshops as long as they can be conducted over a digital medium. It may be difficult-to-impossible to have a traditional Heart Circle, so we’re trying to figure out an appropriate alternative, depending on how many people might attend the gathering. Again, all these ideas are subject to change as we sit down and continue working through what’s feasible and what’s not. Trust us, if we could, we would want nothing more than to give you a full gathering at The Mountain in a safe way, but right now we can’t.

It will be different. It may be very imperfect. But if we can get together for even a single two-hour gathering, we’re calling it a success. The more help we have, the more we can do. But if we don’t have help, we cannot guarantee that there will be even that to look forward to. So, if you have a desire and willingness to help make this happen, we strongly urge you to reach out to us.

The best part is you don’t have to leave the comfort of your bed to help!

If you are a member of a GSV Working Circle, please consider how you might translate your work at The Mountain to a digital medium.

Please contact Council@gayspiritvisions.org or Markcmedlin@gmail.com with your intent to be of service, or if you have questions. (Probably, though, we don’t have many solid answers right now.)

Thank you for your patience and for your compassionate understanding as we try to navigate the waters of this difficult time.

From The Council, with Love,

Jason Buchanan, Presiding Elder
Robert “Bear of the RO” McDonald, Elder of Finance
John Rivest, Elder of Records
Randy Taylor
Bruce “Dandy” Tidwell
Jonny “Mothra” Gray
Mackie “Luna Farfalla” Obando
Neil Burns
David Cable

GSV 2020 Spring Retreat

In the Wellspring of Queer Resilience: Listening to the Wisdom of Our Ancestors


2020 Spring Retreat

May 8 – 10, 2020


The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center ~ Highlands, NC


2020 Spring Retreat

Register Now!


Beloved Siblings,

These days, there’s a lot of buzz in the personal development and corporate professionalism arenas about the idea of “resilience.” However, in gay circles I don’t hear much about our inner strengths and how to cultivate and enrich these and then take them to the streets in new and impactful ways that will make a difference to our community.

As the beauty of spring 2020 unfolds, I invite you to climb the mountain and step out into a weekend of reflection and healthy community as together we go within to explore our inner strengths. We will also venture out to explore nature in order to gain a deeper knowledge of the unique queer resilience that each of us draws on and expresses as we navigate through the challenges and uncertainties of our daily lives. It will be a time to deepen our inner knowing, ground ourselves to our warm and gentle planet, and feel the bonds between us.

When you go within, what awareness do you notice about your greatest strength? How do you express it? How does it help you navigate challenges? What would help you nourish it more? What other strengths might you have that you may be unaware of? How could these support you?

One of our elders, Andrew Ramer, introduced us years ago in his book Two Flutes Playing to four primary clans in which men who love men express our consciousness in the world: scouts, flute players, shamans, and hunters. It’s time now for us to revisit these spirits and to explore ways to draw strength from their wisdom for our present day challenges and quandaries. At the Winter Meditation this year, I felt a visceral connection to the radiant well ancients in one of the workshop experiences. It made me curious about engaging in dialogue with them. I wanted to know more about what the positive ancestral energies would say in answer to our most heartfelt questions. In community with you, I invite you to join me in finding out.

In this spring retreat, we will celebrate our connection to nature, aliveness, sacred sexuality, and to embodying our centered and authentic spirit in everyday life. Let’s celebrate renewal and rebirth in the beauty of spring that moves into the fullness of summer green.

Now calling for workshop leaders for the aforementioned topics and anything else that your intuition and your spirits tell you needs to be at our spring retreat. Please contact me at markcmedlin@gmail.com directly or council@gayspiritvisions.org with workshop requests, proposals, and further questions.

If you are interested in helping with the retreat in any way before, during, or after the retreat, consider reaching out to me directly at markcmedlin@gmail.com or to the council at council@gayspiritvisions.org for more information about ways to be of assistance. Helping is a great opportunity to meet other people. Fire us an email too if you have any other questions, comments, or concerns.

And don’t forget, GSV offers financial assistance through the Raven Wolfdancer Financial Assistance Fund. GSV recognizes that economic circumstances may impose undue financial hardships on some and prevent them from attending our gatherings. The assistance we offer is designed to help offset the cost of attending a gathering. Additionally, most of us are happy to carpool. Please do not hesitate to ask for assistance. Why else are we here but to help one another?

With appreciation for all that we are in life together,

Mark C. Medlin, Convener
GSV Spring Retreat 2020

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Copyright © 2020 Gay Spirit Visions, All rights reserved.

GSV 2020 Winter Meditation – Last Chance to Register

Seeing the Unseen: Bringing our Gifts into the Light


2020 Winter Meditation Picture

January 17 – 19, 2020


The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center ~ Highlands, NC


2020 Winter Meditation Prices

Register Now!

Dear Siblings,

Our Ancestors are with us, supporting, gifting, and enfolding us. These are the loved ones we have known and not known; from our family of origin, our chosen queer family, and from the Queer Breath of the Universe that flows around us. They have given us gifts which we may not even know. Let’s bring them into the light.

Friday night, we will gather, meet, greet, and eat. The opening Heart Circle weaves us together in mutual purpose and transforms us into a sacred compassionate container in which we do our deep work together as a community. Together we will invite and welcome those who love us, the Sacredness, the Spirits, and our Ancestors. We will ask them to come and help us to know ourselves more fully, especially our hidden gifts and strengths.

On Saturday, we will connect with our deepest, truest self, and invite the luminous being of light within each of us to ignite, shine, and make itself known. Through Systemic Family Constellations, Systemic Ritual, and other techniques, we strengthen our ancestral connections more fully so that the unique universe of mystery which lies within us may come forward in beauty and safety. We will welcome all of ourselves into the circle.

Sunday morning, we break our fast together and share our experiences. We will speak our spiritual experiences out of the dream and into reality, thus solidifying their potency. We will thank the Ancestors and the Loving Spirits for holding us so beautifully and we will invite them to depart in beauty. As we take our leave of each other, we will carry into the wide world the bright seeds of our sacred container and all the beauty they contain. May they find fertile ground in which to sprout for all people.

What will we be doing?


The Mountain has been GSV’s spiritual home for three decades. You’ll have opportunities to enjoy breathtaking views, friendly folks, hugs, fireside chats, delicious food, and heart-centered community sharing. The focus of the weekend will be experiential and heart-opening workshops, meditations, and activities.

Inviting and Opening Sacred Space and Weaving our Community Container (all y’all): In ceremony together we invoke Sacredness and weave our spiritual container with our hearts, words, and actions.
Silent Morning Meditation (T.S. Pennington): Beyond description.
Meeting the True Self (Jeffrey Rich): A Guided Meditation to meet our uniqueness in this incarnation. Before getting to know the Ancestors, we need to know who we are.
Systemic Ceremonial Constellations (Jeffrey Rich and Michael Murphy): Systemic Constellations (also known as Family Constellations) lets us look at the hidden dynamics operating behind the scenes in our family and ancestral systems. Using the “Knowing Field” of energy and information, this amazing methodology will help us unpack the seeds of queerness in our families to better see and receive the hidden gifts that come with them.
Exploring our Auric Fields and their Information (Jason Buchanan): A short meditation to center ourselves followed by beginning techniques to sense our auric fields. We will then have an opportunity to partner up or form small groups to look at each other’s auric fields. We may then probe past color and texture to sense the emotion and gnosis held there.
Dancing Through Your Chakras (Mahan-Kalpa Khalsa): In this exploratory session, we will identify our energy centers — called chakras in Ayurvedic medicine — and stimulate them with body movement, breath, and sound. Knowing our chakras allows us to open our eyes to the depth of our intuition, our desire, and our unrealized abilities. We will partner in a series of simple experiments that will be playful and adventurous.
Five Rhythms Dance (John Brock): A Moving Meditation –- we’ll move to an eclectic mix of music designed to help cast off inhibitions and cultivate transformational joy.
Finding Your Fierceness (Scott Dillard): In this workshop we will use guided meditation, movement, and storytelling to connect with our fiercest self in order to bring that being forward into the new year. We will be accessing story and body memory in order to reach into our past and then project into the future. Participants will work individually and in small groups. As we will be moving about, comfortable clothing is advised.
Conversations and Camaraderie: Casual conversations with friends, old and new.
Free Time to reflect, relax, journal, explore, nap, and soak in the beauty of The Mountain.
Closing Heart Circle and preparation for re-entry into the world with your gifts

Our Convener


Vic Mansfield: I’ve lived in the mountains for over 30 years. Coming out late in life, I came to GSV about seven years ago. It saved my life and loved me into being. I’m a bit of spiritual BuddhaPalian after years (and years) as a parish priest in the Episcopal Church. Now retired, I live in Burnsville, NC. I am passionate about Spirit, our belovedness, our gifts.

Convener’s Little Helper


Jeffrey Rich was born in Asheville and now lives in Burnsville, NC. He has worked as a software developer and trainer during his first career, and as a massage therapist, massage instructor, shamanic healer, and systemic family constellations group facilitator in his second half of life.

Vic Mansfield, Convener
vcmansfield@gmail.com

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Copyright © 2020 Gay Spirit Visions, All rights reserved.

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