GSV 2021 Spring Retreat

Spring Retreat

Growing the Seeds of Hope and Reconnecting with


Self, Sangha, & Sacred Cosmos

May 7-9, 2021


A virtual Zoom-based experience

$35 registration fee


Additional donations for the GSV Scholarship Fund and/or The Mountain can also be made in the registration portal.

Register now!

“For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land …” —from The Song of Songs

My Beautiful Far-Flung Family,

Are you ready to cultivate the seeds of hope?

Are you ready to reconnect with the parts of yourself that have gone into hibernation?

Are you ready to reconnect with the sacred community that yearns to feel your presence, and the sacred cosmos that yearns for your creativity, passion, and activism?

How can we live into our yearning patiently, even when we want to leap into each others’ arms?

Spring has come, and after a year of cultivating resilience in the face of deep division, isolation, and deprivation for so many of us, the time for hope and patient reconnection has come.

I invite you to join me for our Spring Retreat—yes, still virtual—but a crucial time for coming together to envision our next steps for creating a new world together. We will draw hope from deep within, from each other, and from the sacred cosmos in which we live and move and have our being—and walk forward with one heart!

“Then it was spring; and in spring anything may happen. Absolutely anything.” —e.e. cummings

Our time together will be devoted to asking the important questions of our time, celebrating the rich web of connections that sustain and encourage us, reawakening our hearts, bodies, minds, and spirits, and cultivating hope.

We will begin our time together with laughter, heart-sharing, embodied breathwork, and ceremony on Friday Evening, followed by an open time of sharing the poetry, songs, and stories that have given us hope in the last year.

Saturday and Sunday Mornings will begin with a beautiful breathwork and movement meditation, and Tai Chi with Paul Plate. Saturday Morning and Saturday Afternoon, Mahan-Kalpa Khalsa and I will share the stories of our own journeys of hope and reconnection, drawing from our rich histories of deep spiritual exploration and sacred erotic activism, including over twenty years of combined experience shepherding GSV’s Sacred Touch committee. These stories will be interspersed with Q&A and opportunities to reflect in breakout groups on your own journey of hope and reconnection. We will complete the afternoon with opportunities for gentle breathwork and restorative yoga and harp music with David Jones and Teddy Jones, and an opportunity for deeper reflection with TS Pennington and Allen Lomax. Saturday Evening will offer an opportunity for a playful and inspiring workshop, Nourish Your Heart, with John Sorozcak, a long-time facilitator in California Men’s Gatherings. Sunday Morning we will close with conversations on our individual and collective vision for the next year, a final breathwork experience, and our closing circle.

One feature of this year’s virtual spring retreat will be the opportunity to deepen our experience of sharing and reconnection by participating in stable breakout groups. As well, a virtual “rocking-chair porch” will be provided so that we can visit with friends old and new.

Financial assistance, in the form of scholarships, is available. The financial assistance application submission deadline is April 22, 2021. Our hope is that anyone who resonates with our mission and community, and who has a desire to attend, can join us at our gatherings. To that end, we offer financial assistance through the Raven Wolfdancer Financial Assistance Fund. Please go to the Financial Assistance page on the Gay Spirit Visions website for more information about financial assistance (scholarships) and for a link to the GSV financial assistance application form. Remember, the financial assistance application submission deadline is April 22, 2021.

I hope you will join me for a playful, joyful, and profound weekend together of growing the seeds of hope!

All my love,
Hunter Flournoy, GSV 2021 Spring Convener and Mischief-Maker

Register now!


Spring Retreat

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

2020 Spring Retreat
Dear Gentle Ones,

Our Spring GSV Virtual Gathering begins this coming weekend on Friday evening, May 15th, at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

I am pleased to share with you that we have an outstanding series of workshops planned for you on Saturday, May 16th, with Hunter Flournoy, Andrew Ramer, and David and Teddy Jones.

Across space and time, we will have the opportunity to create the gentle, warm, and playful community just like we have so enjoyed all these years previously on our beloved mountaintop. This year we open arms and hearts to each other wherever we are and welcome each other as we hold sacred presence with ourselves and with our community. Our capacity is 50 people. There are about 12 spaces still available. Please register today!
https://www.themountainrlc.org/gsv-spring-online

Once you have registered, you will receive an email from me later this week with Zoom links for each session. We recommend you familiarize yourself with Zoom before participating.

With grateful anticipation of our meeting,

Mark Medlin, Convener
Virtual Spring GSV Gathering 2020
________________________________________

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


Virtual Spring GSV Gathering — May 15-17, 2020

Friday Evening
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. EDT
Welcome and In-Gathering
Welcome — Mark Medlin
Fire Bridging — Scotty Simons
Calling in the Directions — Selected Siblings
Heart Weaving — Mark Medlin
Musical Reflection — Bob Strain
Heart Circle — Paul Plate

Saturday
Opportunities for Connection and Celebration
9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. EDT
GSV Council Town Hall Meeting

Join your presiding elder, Jason Buchanan, and members of the GSV Council as they talk about our organization and community. You will also hear from a representative from The Mountain and have an opportunity to ask questions.

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. EDT
Rooting and Rising: Discovering our Deepest Resiliency and Truest Visions
with Hunter Flournoy

In this turning of the worlds, each of us must root deep in the tremendous strength of the Great Mystery, the Sacred Earth, the community of those we love, the healing power of our own body and breath, and the truest visions of our hearts. In this 90-minute workshop, we will explore each of these through stories, sharing, and practical exercises. Come ready to move, to breathe, to share and bear witness to the incredible strength we can create together.
Hunter
Hunter Flournoy is a two-spirited healer, life-coach, breathworker, writer, and master facilitator with a passionate commitment to building community for soulful GBTQ men and helping them change their lives. He is the vision-keeper for Spirit Journeys and a devoted member of our Gay Spirit Visions community.

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT
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. EDT
In the Temple of Father Earth: Embodying the Wisdom of our Gay Ancestors
with Andrew Ramer

We are living in a time of unprecedented challenges, caught between the global threats of climate change and the microscopic threats of a new virus. This time invites us to deepen into ourselves, whoever we are, and invites us as men who love men to tap into our own deep archetypal wisdom.

This workshop emerges from the teachings found in Andrew Ramer’s book Two Flutes Playing. After an introduction to the session, we will go on a guided journey of connection with our ancient gay ancestors, designed to support our own embodied elderhood. We will end with an open conversation about our work of global healing and the ways that we can support each other.
Andrew
Andrew Ramer spoke at the first GSV gathering with Harry Hay and Franklin Abbott. In addition to Two Flutes Playing he is the author of Queering the Text and Fragments of the Brooklyn Talmud, a comic kweerish dystopian exploration of texts and stories. andrewramer.com

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. EDT
Yoga with Affirmations for Challenging Times | Men’s Yoga and Harp Meditation
with David and Teddy Jones

Your session is a mixture of gentle active yoga as well as restorative yoga. Please have a blanket or big towel, a yoga mat and a strap or belt. Here is your opportunity to stretch and unwind after a full day of reflection and connection. Yoga and meditation will enable you to integrate all your awareness and learning in embodiment.
David & Teddy
David Jones has been teaching in the greater Nashville area for eleven years. During much of this time he also taught at The Recovery Ranch, a drug and alcohol treatment center. In the recent year he began working at Milestones at Onsite with a focus in trauma recovery. He offers a basic hatha class, a light vinyasa flow accessible to all levels. His focus has become restorative yoga. He teaches spiritual and restorative workshops regularly.

Teddy Jones is an acoustic harpist who specializes in original music created for special events and ceremonies. His recordings are improvisations that can be used for meditation, stress release, massage, yoga, and healing.

Sunday
Celebration for Preparing Ourselves for Action in the World

10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. EDT
Releasing the Directions – Mark Medlin and Selected Siblings
Musical Reflection – Bob Strain
Heart Circle – Paul Plate
Closing Song: Dear Friends, Queer Friends – Wendall Johnson

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT
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 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 [email protected] or [email protected] 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