May 2017 Council Meeting

Gay Spirit VisionsDear Brothers,

We are posting this to inform you that we have a Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday 5/16/2017. Our intent was to make sure this conference call would be open to observers. However, we have encountered a technical problem and are working on a resolution which includes options suggested during the Spring Retreat open forum.

Sadly, it does not appear we will be able to correct this before the call. Therefore, we are inviting anyone that may have questions, concerns or comments to please email them to us by Monday 5/15/2017. We will be able to add to the agenda for discussion and in turn post results the following week.

Please use the email address: info@gayspiritvisions.org

Thank you for your understanding,

Mark (Thunder) Zumback, Wendell Johnson, Doug Emerson,
Bill Harris, Kraig (Nightshade) Blackwelder, Tony James, and Mahan Kalpa Khalsa.

Embrace Us With Laughter

Registration and Information about the 2017 Fall Conference should be available by mid June

The information below is from the 2017 Spring Retreat

GSV Spring Retreat

April 21 – 23 2017
The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center
Highlands, North Carolina

The Sacred Fool’s Journey

Less Than Three Weeks – Please Register Soon

Register Today

Our schedule for the Spring Retreat is coming together, here’s what we have.

Aric, Randy, David, Vic, & Dave

Eric Rohner and Randy Johnson will facilitate our Journeys With the Sacred Fool using meditation, sharing, and dreaming to encourage us on those journeys.  David Chitara, Dave Cable, and Vic Mansfield have volunteered to share some personal stories to prime our pumps for the meditation and journey.

Teddy, David, Sugar, Mahan Kalpa, & Kraig

Mahan Kalpa Khalsa will lead the heartweaving on Friday evening and offer a workshop on Japanese Bondage which focuses on artistic, connective, and sensual pleasures.

David and Teddy Jones will reprise their always-popular Restorative Yoga accompanied by harp adding a “dress to your level of comfort” for this gathering.

Kraig Blackwell will share “The Wondrous and Sacred Mysteries of the 3 Sacred Trigrammatons.” It comes with laughter but should not to be mistaken for the Tetragrammaton, please! ;=}

David Chitara will offer a healing session that will likely include some gentle breathwork exercises (non-strenuous and suitable for all bodies), guided visualization, and/or intuitive healing work. Specifics will be tailored to the needs of those who attend.

Andy Foskey will lead a workshop/discussion exploring the nature of loneliness for men who love men.

Gary/Pleasure will bring tunes for movement/dance with an invitation to “Parade Your Peculiar.”

Andy & Gary
co-conveners

On Saturday evening, we’ll have a time to share your poems, songs, and stories with each other. Bring something you wrote, or a favorite created by someone who art you admire followed by some short videos.

On Saturday afternoon and on Sunday morning we have built-in lots of optional free time if you wish.

Click here join to us as we embrace each other with laughter!

 


Registration at The Mountain begins at 3pm Friday.  Dinner on Friday evening begins at 6pm followed by our opening activities at 7:30 pm. Our Closing Circle begins after lunch on Sunday concluding by 2pm.

We’ll have the option to stay at The Mountain from Sunday afternoon to noon on Monday. We’ll be the only group there, but another group that will be using the lodge is arriving after lunch on Monday. You may sign up for the extra day when you register for the Spring Retreat. The price for the extra day includes meals. If fewer than 20 people sign up, you will receive a $20 refund and we’ll buy some groceries and prepare our own meals.  This extra day is not sponsored or supported by GSV.

 


Please don’t forget the Spring Silent Auction that benefits GSV’s Financial Assistance Program. It’s really simple: You bring items that you value but no longer need and buy the treasures that speak to your spirit that were brought by others. All of the proceeds allow those with limited financial resources to join us.

 

Laughter is Carbonated Prayer

GSV Spring Retreat

April 21 – 23 2017
The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center
Highlands, North Carolina

Register Today

The Sacred Fool’s Journey

“It is curious that physical courage should be so common
in the world and moral courage so rare.”

― Mark Twain

The Fool and his helpers in the image here have a different story than the one we know from tarot cards. The tarot Fool is happy to let us witness his courage as he steps off on a new journey, but he shows no interest in sharing how he developed that courage.

-Jean-Antoine Watteau

The Fools in this image are from commedia dell’arte. Unlike the tarot Fool, they encourage us to join them on their journey. They are experts in the art of laughing at themselves; their mission is to teach us this life enhancing skill. The Fool dressed in white is the sad clown; he invites us to project our sadness and fear on to him. With seductive glances, some of the other clowns offer humor to encourage and support us as we explore our sadness and fear. They rejoice when we find the courage to laugh at ourselves and host a bacchanal when we go forth and encourage others to do the same.

In his book, “The Spirituality of Comedy,” published in 1996, Conrad Hyers posits, “laughter is carbonated prayer.” He uses the phrase in speaking of how best to deal with the essentially tragic nature of the human condition. Twenty-one years later, the conditions of our humanity have more potential tragedy than ever and doubly so for those of us in minority communities who have long been oppressed by the majority.

“Prayer” can be a fraught word for those who were told that if we would just pray to God, and behave in a way that pleased Him, we would get an A on the math test tomorrow despite the fact that we had straight C’s so far. Alternatively, that if we counted enough beads as we prayed, mommy and daddy would stop fighting and we could find some peace. When, despite our prayers, we got a C and our parents got divorced, the folks who prescribed this kind of prayer shamed us by suggesting that we clearly had not counted enough beads or used words that their God could understand.

Please take a breath with us …

Blessedly there is now research indicating how and why prayer does and does not produce the results we desire. That has led to a new understanding of prayer as a way to open ourselves to healing rather than subordinate our strength to some “holy” being or image. This same research describes how meditation and breath are effective tools for finding peace.

The beneficial neurochemical changes that we experience from meditation/centering prayer are also present when we laugh. When we laugh at ourselves, we find synergies that enhance carbonization. When others laugh with us as we laugh at ourselves we create an encouraging and inspiring spiritual celebration.

We touched on this briefly at last fall’s conference in the context of bullying and snark. Queer folks have long used snark as a creative response to being bullied. In addition, we have long used snark within our own community since it is usually safer to bully those in our own tribe because it feels safer than speaking truth to power.

There is a sea of difference between laughing at others and laughing at ourselves while inviting others to join us.

Enter the Sacred Fool!


We already know that The Mountain rings with the sound of laughter when we are there. One of our goals this spring is to encourage laughter that offers a deeper understanding of our hearts and the hearts of others.

Do you already know how to laugh at yourself and encourage others to join you? Are you willing to share your experience at the Spring Retreat? If so, please email Pleasure (garykaupman@gmail.com) and we will explore how that might happen.


Registration for the retreat, begins at 3pm Friday. Following dinner, the Opening Circle begins at 7:30pm. Closing Circle begins after lunch on Sunday with a goal of finishing by 2pm.

We’ll have the option to stay at The Mountain from Sunday afternoon to noon on Monday. We’ll be the only group there, but there is another group that will be using the lodge arriving after lunch on Monday. You may sign up for the extra day when you register for the Spring Retreat. The price for the extra day includes meals. If fewer than 20 people sign up, you will receive a $20 refund and we’ll buy some groceries and prepare our own meals.  This extra day is not sponsored or supported by GSV.


Please don’t forget the Spring Silent Auction that benefits GSV’s Financial Assistance Program. It’s really simple: You bring items that you value but no longer need and buy the treasures that speak to your spirit that were brought by others. All of the proceeds allow those with limited financial resources to join us.


We are happy that Aric Rohner has agreed to join us in creating the Spring Retreat. Since hierarchy holds no charm for any of us, we are giving “convener” a rest and referring to ourselves as “co-creators.” If that is not hip enough for you, please think of us as “co-makers.”

Aric Rohner

Andy (Ann Dee) Foskey

Gary (Pleasure) Kaupman

 

The Sacred Fool’s Journey

GSV Spring Retreat

April 21 – 23 2017
The Mountain Retreat & Learning Center
Highlands, North Carolina

The Sacred Fool’s Journey

“Whoever travels without a guide, needs two hundred years
for a two-day journey.”

-Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

Our life’s journey comprises innumerable smaller journeys which in turn create and append our larger life’s journey.  Think of it as spirit’s spiral dance.

It is really easy to make decisions that direct our journey on autopilot; a consciousness based on the experience and knowledge of others. Autopilot keeps us safe on planes, but does little to enrich our spiritual lives that thrive on inquiry and openness. Unlike autopilot, spiritual journeys call us to be courageous as we choose our journeys and navigate their paths.

The Sacred Fool’s job is to be our guide; to buoy our courage and lift our spirits.

This Fool we will explore at the Spring Retreat, is not witless, fatuous or shortsighted.

Quite the opposite. Our Sacred Fool encourages us to embark on new journeys with our eyes, minds, and, most especially our hearts, open.  This Fool is filled with curiosity and calls us to explore ever-greater aliveness, a greater consciousness and deeper union with spirit.

The Sacred Fool is the very definition of generosity of spirit, filled with cheer and skillfully using laughter in the service of morphing fear into trust. GSV’s Spring Retreat is traditionally the lightest and most ebullient of its three yearly gatherings. This retreat will be brimming with the pleasures and the rewards of connecting through play.

Come to explore your courage and ours. Courage acknowledges the presence of fear and willingly engages it, while bravery requires little thought or consciousness and thus knows nothing of fear.
This is the courage of the drag queens and sissies who ignited gay liberation in the ’60s. This is the courage of the communities that came together in the ‘80s to care for each other and demand that the political and medical establishments take action to halt the AIDS pandemic. This is the courage that is at the core of peaceful resistance and the guiding light of non-violence; the courage that it took for you to come out and to come to GSV. This is the courage that will allow us to challenge all who would silence spirit.

The schedule will similar to last spring allowing big blocks of free time and/or the option to participate in community-led workshops.

Register Today


Registration for the retreat, begins at 3pm Friday. Following dinner, the Opening Circle begins at 7:30pm. Closing Circle begins after lunch on Sunday with a goal of finishing by 2pm.

We’ll have the option to stay at The Mountain from Sunday afternoon to noon on Monday. We’ll be the only group there, but there is another group that will be using the lodge arriving after lunch on Monday. You may sign up for the extra day when you register for the Spring Retreat. The price for the extra day includes meals. If fewer than 20 people sign up, you will receive a $20 refund and we’ll buy some groceries and prepare our own meals.  This extra day is not sponsored or supported by GSV.

 


Finally, please don’t forget the Spring Silent Auction that benefits GSV’s Financial Assistance Program. It’s really simple: You bring items that you value but no longer need and buy the treasures that speak to your spirit that were brought by others. All of the proceeds allow those with limited financial resources to join us.

Gary (Pleasure) Kaupman

Andy (Ann Dee) Foskey

2017 GSV Winter Meditation: Cocooning & Transformation

GSV 2017 Winter Meditation

GSV 2017 Winter Meditation

Cocooning and Transformation

January 13 – 15, 2017
at The Mountain, Highlands NC

Cost is $ 226.47 – Double Occupancy
$301.20 Single Occupancy

Register for the 2017 Winter Meditation

Dear Brothers,

Come join with a loving community of your GSV brothers for a time of mindful
presence and gentle celebration. The long nights of January will offer us space
for quiet and inspiration–think of ancient farmers who honored the dark and
silence of a season long past harvest. We seek the wisdom of all creatures who
wrap themselves in a mantle of repose, awaiting a transformation into new life.
We’ll bundle our individual memories together and lay them on the altar. Guided
meditations will help us take stock of our present lives, and especially of patterns
that no longer serve us well. We’ll envision new directions for the coming year:
our intentions and our hopes, both as individuals and in community.
Come create strings of meditation flags to surround us in our gathering. Help
decorate a communal shawl to wrap ourselves in our visions for the days and
months ahead. In the season of cold and darkness, we’ll honor fire, warmth, and
light. Share in creating an evening of poems, songs, performance, costume, and
dance.

Registration for the GSV 2017 Winter Meditation is now open to all men who love men. Early registration will assure your place. Programming for the Winter Meditation will conclude on Sunday afternoon, but some of us will stay on to savor the winter beauty and spend more time with our brothers. For an additional charge, you can register to stay on at The Mountain until Monday afternoon.

As a spiritual director, Kurt Schreiber helps others heal discordant conditions, clarify goals, and respond to (or initiate) change. He approaches this and the rest of his life on a basis of fundamental spiritual principles and a related practice that draws mainly on Christian and Buddhist traditions. Often, he works with individuals, groups, and organizations on problems resulting from what he sees as broadly held misconceptions of cultural, religious, gender, or sexual identity. For about thirty years, Kurt worked more than full-time in the corporate world, where he was a senior officer and general counsel of large companies. While he no longer practices law or works in companies, his business background is sometimes useful, especially when he is asked to help inter-religious, charitable, and business organizations. Kurt’s home is in Nashville, where he’s now lived longer than anywhere else. There are many there whom he holds dear, including his two grown children.

David Townsend first made friends with the GSV community at the Fall Conference in 2004. He’s spent over thirty years as a teacher. Now he’s making more space for his calling as a spiritual companion, ritualist, and sacred intimate. Last August, he co-led a retreat in Maryland, under the auspices of the DC-based group Jonathan’s Circle. The program helped nineteen men create personal and shared-ritual to support the integration of their spiritual and erotic lives. David believes we’re all happiest when we live our lives with gratitude, and with a desire to give back. A slut who will pray with anybody, he’s fascinated by how ritual works across cultures and religious traditions. He keeps his blog on queer men’s spirituality at www.anchorholder.blogspot.com. David lives in Toronto and on the East End of Long Island with his partner Jonathan and their cat Bracket.

Kurt Schreiber, Co-Convener
David Townsend, Co-Convener

Register for the 2017 Winter Meditation

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