Visionary – Holidays, Spirit and Me: Uh oh, It’s Majick

This is the second in or series of four articles on the theme of The Holidays, Spirit and Me


Uh oh, It’s Majick

Whispurring Pussy (Joe)

I remember when it was magic…

Joe Kiser
Joe Kiser

The time of year for which days were marked off the calendar. There were two of these times-of-year.  Summer break and Christmas. Now I’m not talking about the Twelve Days of Christmas countdown. This was different. As I sit here today, I can honestly say that I do not know what other little boys got excited about around Christmas. Perhaps watching football games with their dads.  Perhaps going hunting with their dads.  None of that for me. For me, the countdown was to the day my mom and I pulled out the boxes of Christmas decorations and began turning our mundane living room into a magic kingdom.

As time pushed me into the realm of puberty and eventually adulthood, I found a bitterness for the Holidays. Oh, the magic is gone. During this time, I often found myself depressed and feeling very alone. I now know it was, in part, bi-polar depression. I was also struggling with the self-acceptance of being a  gay man.  During this time, I dreaded the Holidays. I longed for a way to escape, a way remove myself from life for two months or so.  I hated seeing family during this time. I felt guilty for not feeling happy.   I began to resent the Holidays.

I began the process of coming out as a gay man in my thirties.  I experienced anger from family members for coming out. I was told I was selfish for coming out, that I was being influenced by the devil.  Holidays became even more difficult. There were times I refused to visit family during the Holidays.
[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]And with this new-found self-appreciation, I have found, dare I say it, happiness. Happiness within myself.[/pullquote]

Today, my bi-polar depression is well managed, thanks to those fine folks at Pfizer pharmaceuticals.  And with lots and lots of therapy, I am downright happy to be gay. I am gay in every sense of the word. I am 51 years old and have the highest sense of completeness that I have ever had. And with this new-found self-appreciation, I have found, dare I say it, happiness. Happiness within myself.

I no longer dread the Holidays. I find joy in celebrating the Holidays with my family of choice. I now spend time with my biological family without dread.  Though some of them continue to struggle with my being gay, I now know that struggle is theirs and not mine. I have begun to regain a sense of wonderment, a sense of hope.

If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is.


In mid-December, Whispurring Pussy will be vacationing with Santa in Key West for some last minute naughtiness. Upon his return, Whispurr plans to spend the Holidays with family and friends lapping up vast quantities of Egg Nog while watching his favorite Holiday classics ‘Home for the Holidays’ and ‘Sordid Lives’.

Visionary-Holiday, Spirit and Me: Fully grounded


We asked some GSV folks to write whatever came to mind on the theme of “Holidays, Spirit and Me” and share it in Visionary. Jason Buchannan, Doug Emerson, Joe Kiser, and Sugar le Fe agreed. Jason’s poem is the first of these contributions that will be posted on each on the Wednesday’s in December.


“Like most of my work, the topic of spirit and self is apparent, but the concrete (holiday, Thanksgiving) has been heavily abstracted.”

Fully grounded

Jason Buchannan

Jason Buchannan
Jason Buchannan

She speaks to me of grounding, like I need it,
all wrapped up in shrouds and veils
of otherworldly mysteries and delights.

Living without limits takes more
discipline than my airy whims suggest.
The hounding of those voices of reason
in every niche like wind through cracks
in the old wooden door on which
we model the future from our past
do not deafen these ears.

Your Old World malice and refuge
across seas glittering arrive on me
wet and washed out, like this mother
was made to make you her children.
Take her, take me, take this
and that bristle pine down and shelter
your selves on land that isn’t yours.

Maybe these stones remember,
and if we but lower our resonant tones,
we’ll be swimming in their heart songs
cold and slow like the night sky, moving.

Maybe this Old World dream like rain
soaks into those older bones, receptive
to the altercating alterations of melodies
pregnant in the whispering of trees.
When we open a space between,
does that synapse give us life,
or is that vitality found in the death of form
in the trails we blaze through Her?

I am open; I am closed.
I am the window you can’t latch.
I am the curtains billowing,
drawing your attention, distracting
you from yourself to find you.
I am the wind, rippling
the objects you’re strung taut against.

So what anchors my divine vessel down to solid earth?
What orients my constant maiden voyage?
I am the welding of worlds. The crux of creation.
Sound, light. Silence, shadow. I am everything.
And being so drunk on all of existence,
where is my firm footing? What is my next step?
My compass ion, charged with universal meaning
I readily recreate constantly.

Is there solidity on my course? When I leave the Earth,
am I still walking my path? When I return,
am I where I always was?

She says, bend your knees. Send your light down
through the legs, and through your coccyx.
Make that pyramid and send your sacral stream
straight through into Mother. Feel her
heat your heart like blanket love,
and let Spirit above surrender you. This, she says,
will ground your path and center your soul.

But will this sufficiently join Jai’s spirit to the Earth
and keep him from losing himself in the ethereals?
If this doesn’t work, find another. If that doesn’t work,
keep searching. You will know by the way it feels.
Trust your body’s sensations. It knows love,
even when the mind fails to recognize.
Really feel your flesh again for the first time in ages.
It is there; you exist.



Jason can be found organizing young adult resistance movements that work to reclaim self and divinity in Raleigh, NC, when he’s not working in consumerism with plants.

From the Visionary – Bliss: What is my Passion?

This is the fourth and final in a series of articles about Bliss republished from the Visionary archive.



– Roger Beaumont

Roger Beaumont
Roger Beaumont

My typical response to this question would be to say that my passions are my dressage horse, Coty; gardening; cooking; wine; entertaining; blah, blah, blah. In my new life, I am compelled to be more honest.

A few years after coming out as a gay man in 2003, I was at a men’s spiritual conference in Albuquerque, NM. I heard a speaker describe how he had to return to his wife because her doctors just told him that her cancer had returned and the prognosis was not good. He was distraught, not knowing what he would do to continue living without his beloved wife.

I turned to a friend who had lived his gay life for many years after an experience of straight marriage, children and a successful law career. I asked him, “Jim, what is the difference between what the speaker and I feel about our respective wives? I loved my wife of 43 years but not in the same way he describes his relationship with his wife. What’s the difference?”

Jim said, “Roger, you may have loved your wife and may have experienced joy and a certain happiness, but there was no passion in your marriage.”

What a breakthrough moment.

I was married in the same era as Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain, when being openly gay was hardly an option. I lived in unconscious denial for more than 60 years. I was youngest of 12 children, born in Canada after The Depression. My father moved us to the Maine woods to a miserable camp and worked as a lumberjack when I was three. Two years later, he abandoned us all by succumbing to alcoholism and took his own life. I’ve always kept the death certificate which attributed his death to “alcoholism aggravated by drinking lemon extract.” Except for his tainted sperm, I can’t think of any other inheritance.

My French-speaking mother and her children lived in a foreign country, away from the support she had known in Quebec. Fortunately, my father had qualified for benefits in that new system called Social Security. This gave my mother a meager income that helped support the family until the children could work. (Guess how I feel about the current illegal immigrant issue?) I and a couple of my sisters went to convent schools, then cold and heartless institutions. I survived somehow, learning to be the perfect Enneagram nine, self-effacing, knowing I didn’t matter much, hoping that no one would ever guess the self-loathing turmoil in my heart.

After leaving the seminary in Bucksport and Bar Harbor, Maine, in 1955, (I wasn’t good priestly material because I jerked off too much) I found the warmth I craved by marrying the second woman I ever dated and the only one I had ever had sex with. She had the strength and common sense for both of us. Soon, I had purpose in my life as a teacher, a father of a beautiful daughter and three handsome sons. I finally had a home and a family where I belonged. I was, however, disappointing as a husband. From the twin bed honeymoon to the years of not knowing or sharing my feelings, I lived a straight life that saved me from facing what was deep in my heart – a longing and a craving for beautiful men. I denied my addiction for gay porn until 2001 when I was 62. By then, my daughter had come out as a lesbian 12 years earlier. That was a gift to me because it allowed me to start exploring my hidden life and start facing the possibility that I was gay.

When I attended a rite of passage in the New Mexican desert with Richard Rohr, I finally had the courage to know myself. Richard sent us out into the beautiful valleys and mesas with two questions. The first: what is your greatest fear? I was bowled over by the answer I wrote in my journal: “I’m afraid that someone will find out that I am gay.” That was my real birth as an authentic human being. The second question: “What will you say to God when you die and He asks ‘Who are you? I don’t recognize you. You never lived the life I gave you. You denied a whole part of yourself. Who are you?’” Since I’d gone to the retreat to better know my God, this question was just as disturbing as the first.

And so began, finally, my acceptance of who I am, a gay man who has half-lived a good life, full of comforts and much joy from a good woman, four children and 17 grandchildren and a satisfying career. But where was the passion?

I’ll tell you passion. Passion is enjoying the intellectual and the sensual company of beautiful men. [pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Passion is living in the moment, surrounding yourself with people who know who you truly are and love you because you are you.[/pullquote]
Passion is living in the moment, surrounding yourself with people who know who you truly are and love you because you are you.
Passion is attending a Body Electric weekend. Passion is looking into the eyes of honest and brave men, regardless of age or size, and loving unabashedly what you see. Passion is feeling the full embrace of another man, skin-to-skin, simply enjoying the closeness, the warmth, the love. Passion is greeting each new day without guilt and shame. Passion is belonging to your tribe, knowing that you can ask anything of your brothers and that they support you with love and understanding. Passion is being able to face the end of your life, knowing that you celebrated every gift that God gave you, most especially the gift of your sexuality. Honoring others and yourself, openly and without holding back, that’s passion.

   Caress me beloved, I cried out then. And now, ten thousand years later, I see a world about to  

   happen where men can answer me. And only when a man has played flutes with the presence 

   within him can he play flute with a man of flesh. Two flutes, echoing, echoing.

        —Andrew Ramer, Two Flutes Playing

Baby, that’s passion. And a whole orchestra of men, flutes playing. That’s passion!

Roger Beaumont, happily plays his flute in Asheville, NC, and surrounding areas.

This article was originally published in the Summer 2006 issue of GSV’s Visionary journal.  Read the original article in the Visionary.


Roger’s 2015 Update

Wow! I highly recommend that everyone keep a journal. Nothing like reading one’s thoughts/beliefs/passions nine years later. Here I am in my 80th year and I am still talking about Passion? As we say at Jubilee!: Oh yeah! I still can’t keep my eyes off any attractive man of any age over 18 (an age limit being very important for “Mature” gay men).

The first person I shared the above article from the Visionary with, just last week, was my beautiful lesbian daughter who got married to a marvelous girl friend in a Napa Valley winery in October. If anyone had read it previously, no one had ever commented.  Her reaction was very complimentary and accepting. She requested a copy immediately.

Nine years later my passion really hasn’t changed. It may have evolved but it still is my celebration of life. A celebration of being a healthy old man and living out his passion by being open and vulnerable. And by telling someone what I feel when I connect with them, be it by touch, word, or simple eye contact. I always prefer an honest hug to handshakes.

I do admit that as I move along in years and find myself alone, I occasionally have regrets. How could I let my orientation be more important than staying close with my wife and spending the last few years of my life sharing our feelings and our memories? That thought only lasts a few moments before I revert to my honest embrace of my continued passion for my gay world. I guess what I’m saying is that what this gay guy enjoys to the fullest is honest communication with any authentic person regardless of gender or orientation.  Oh Yeah!

Of course that eliminates most presidential candidates.

From the Visionary – Bliss: Finding Joy

This is the third in a series of articles about finding Bliss, republished from the Visionary archive.


Paul Plate

Paul Plate
Paul Plate

About a year ago, I mentioned to a friend that I was having trouble with joy and that hawks were coming to me often. She suggested that I go see the therapist whom I have been journeying with for the past year. Together we experienced a spiritual, counseling, backpacking adventure in the high desert above Santa Fe and a breath-work retreat with other therapeutic activities to look at the issue of not experiencing joy.

For me, sadness seems to come easier than joy and I am aware of its presence more. Sadness is comfortable; I know how to do it. [pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Although I understand the idea of balance – that there is joy and sadness – when I review my life, I think mostly of the sadness.[/pullquote]
Although I understand the idea of balance – that there is joy and sadness – when I review my life, I think mostly of the sadness.I am aware that the sadness seems more overwhelming or more intense than the happiness.

I often seem apart from joy, detached, as though it is not reachable or that it is not mine. I know that I am not moving toward joy and that, sometimes, I am clearly moving away from it. Not only am I not experiencing it, I am turning from it. Last year, after a week of learning about culture and teaching counseling in El Doret, Kenya, I spent a couple of days in the Maasai Mara. The great herds were already assembling in the northern part of the Serengeti. I felt like I was home. I felt joy in the presence of these incredible creatures and with people who were living their lives so close to the earth.

Then, after an incredibly wonderful year, the dog of my heart died in December. I had to make the decision about when she would leave. I was heartbroken. I remember the intensity of the pain of losing her more than any of the joyful experiences of the past year.

I get stuck on wanting things to stay the way they are when they are good and not to change. Maybe I get stuck on wanting things to stay the way they are when they are not so good.

What I have learned is that there is a script, one that I did not write but that I am great about following. At first, I accepted this idea somewhat halfheartedly until I mentioned it to two of my siblings. My brother knew the feelings while my sister knew part of the script. It has something to do with honoring the joyless life that our Mom has experienced. In loyalty to her, we can’t experience the joy of our lives.

So, back to the counselor. Knowing my love for ritual, she told me that I needed to use ritual to move the script from a place of power. I’m not exactly sure yet how the script goes and I’ve not finished the ritual. What I do know is that the script lives deep inside my heart and that it hurts.

For me, the journey to living in my own joyful place is slow. I’ve made some progress. My partner of nine years died about eight years ago and, when I lost him, I also lost his family. He gave me cherished gifts; both beautiful things and wonderful memories. He helped me to know how to be in relationship. I learned some things that I wanted and that I wouldn’t do without in future relationships; honesty, trust and sex. I have since spent some time with two incredible men who fueled some joyful feelings. Through them, I knew that I’d learned some lessons well.

So, joy is not easy for me. However, there is joy in my life. I think about:

the rising moon,
lightening bugs,
the first daffodil,
the smell of a gardenia,
the salt mist of the ocean,
the hawk circling above,
loving family,
supportive friends,
a talented and dedicated staff,
a sarong in the morning air,
feeling the fur of an animal companion,
resting in the arms of a lovely man
and being grounded in the earth.

Paul Plate is executive director of PositiveImpact, an organization that provides mental health and prevention services for people affected by HIV. He lives in a 100- year-old farm house in Decatur, GA, with several animal companions.  He has room for another loved one. 

This article was originally published in the Summer 2006 issue of GSV’s Visionary journal.  Read the original article in the Visionary.


November 2015 Update from Paul

So much has transpired since the writing of this short essay.  I am especially aware of several significant endings that usually come spaced further apart.  The death of my Mother and my Father within the last three years also initiated the dismantling of the family home.  After about five years of service, I completed my elongated term as Walks between Elder of Gay Spirit Visions.  After 23 years as the only director of Positive Impact, the agency merged with AID Gwinnett to form Positive Impact Health Centers and I transitioned to a staff position assisting the new director. This is also part of my retirement plan which has been extended.  At sixty-six, I am still vitally committed to important work and feel that I continue to make meaningful contributions.

This journey is still very intense, and although I cannot say that joy has been evident, I have learned a few things.  Most important, I have learned that I have been given many gifts and opportunities and I have been given the time and respect to fully participate in how these endings play out.  This has been a gift and I will look at this time as a joyful opportunity to understand and hold my accomplishments and to fully contribute during the transitions.

from the Visionary – Bliss: A Positive Perspective

This is the the second in a series of articles about Bliss and Passion republished from the Visionary archive.


– Lem Arnold

GSV Lem Arnold (1)
Lem Arnold

When I think of what keeps me sailing through life with a positive perspective on the people and the world around me, I think of my perspective of where I am now. (I will add that my partner, Pat Boyle, asked for the ability to respond to this article.)

I am a complete person. I have a tendency to not be as open to expressing my feelings, so sometimes I may seem standoffish. That’s just the insecurity speaking or because I am lost in thought. The complexity comes from the fact that often I operate on two levels simultaneously, emotional and intellectual, most times without realizing and hopefully better integrated than it sounds.

My intellectual side comes from a strong interest in analytical thinking, evaluating issues, acquiring data and coming up with solutions. I see challenges not as barriers but opportunities to challenge my own thoughts and abilities. I thrive on finding unique solutions to these challenges and sharing them with peers or friends. Much of this comes from my love of math as a child, especially doing complex calculations in my head without paper. In college this interest was significantly stimulated by an elective I took my freshman year that challenged us to find answers in fields beyond our educational training at the time by using a logic-based approach to problem-solving. This is a part of my daily life especially in the office as a physician as well as in everyday life experiences. This is also true with adoption of new technology – digital cameras and digital photography as an example. This does not feel impersonal, because it is the drive to bring positive results to those around me. I have learned that convincing people that my idea is a good solution requires that they need to have had time to process the problem for themselves before I share my proposed solution. So one thing I have learned is greater patience.

My creative drive also carries over into my gardening. It is a great way to see results of my work on a more concrete level. [pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]I thoroughly enjoy digging in the dirt and planting seeds and watching them grow. [/pullquote]
I thoroughly enjoy digging in the dirt and planting seeds and watching them grow. It is interesting that, at times, I enjoy planting and caring for the garden more than actually harvesting the product of my endeavors. (I can sometimes use help harvesting!) However, giving away the results is great fun and I so look forward to the arrival of the first sweet corn out of the garden.

On an emotional level, I see myself as a caregiver who enjoys giving and frequently has a hard time receiving. Recently, I had one of my families at work tell me how they love me as a doctor. I have learned to say thank you and am becoming much better at hearing that when said. I learned long ago that the best physician is one who listens well and expresses care and interest in addition to making the right diagnosis and treatment. As an only child, one of the things that I really missed was having siblings. I always dreamed of having a brother and at one point had an imaginary brother. I have had some close friends in the past and have a wonderful partner with four brothers, but it was getting involved with GSV that allowed me to feel that I really have that family, that brotherhood, that I missed. I have come to realize that the intellectual challenges are good, powerful and a great adrenalin fix, but it is the feeling of true friendship and care that I experience with many of you in GSV that keeps me going and giving, letting me experience that natural high that can only be felt and not thought.

Lem Arnold is a 54-year-old physician, partner and son and educates health care professionals on culturally competent care for the LGBTI. He lives in Atlanta and LaFayette, GA.

This article was originally published in the Summer 2006 issue of GSV’s Visionary journal.  Read the original article in the Visionary.



Following my bliss 10 years later finds a life that is little more complicated. With the onset of physical problems – specifically my back problems – I have come to realize that there can be limitations in life and I am not ready for those.  I can no longer ride the tractor and gardening has become picking only.  I had one major surgery and am hoping that I do not have to have another one. I still get the patient gratitude fix – back to work after 3 ½ months off after surgery – and hugs from my brothers in GSV, but I am uncertain what the future will be.  How mobile and free of pain will I be? So I will keep on working a while longer, contemplating retirement in the not too distant future and trying to keep a positive outlook. So for the time being, it is taking life just one day at a time.