2015 Fall Conference: Conversations About Discomfort and Safety

In addition to the two sessions by our Keynote Speaker, Buddy Wakefield, we have four conversations that will be moderated by members of our tribe. The topics are derived from conversations at conferences over the past few years and from online postings that generated significant interest. You’ll be able to attend two of the following conversations:

Scott Dillard
Scott Dillard

The Discomfort and Safety of Surviving
with host Scott Dillard

Since the advent of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, many of us have lost a good number of friends, family, and partners. Some of us have carried on our lives as we witnessed the passing of those we loved and also worried for our health at the same time. Still others have wondered, “Why them and not me?” It is a sort of survivor’s guilt that makes us wonder about our own mortality, the fairness of life, and how we continue to live with loss.

We will engage in a conversation that seeks to honor those we lost, those we carried for, and our own sense of self in these most trying of times. This is more than a chat. We will do some writing, some sketching, some storytelling that uncovers the emotions we each feel as survivors of the plague. Come prepared to share at our own level of comfort and to contemplate the shared sense of community that living through this has meant.


Joe Kiser
Joe Kiser & Friend

The Discomfort and Safety of Aging
with host Joe Kiser

As I move from one decade to another, I have experienced many changes on many fronts…and backs. How I experience life has evolved. Emotionally, physically and spiritually. From wild to mild and back to wild again. As my body, mind and spirituality evolve, I am presented with opportunities to embrace, deny or adapt. Additionally, questions have arisen for me. What responsibility, if any, do i have for the next generation? What, if anything, can I offer to future generations?

During this session, I will share some of my experiences and the impact of my decisions and reactions. I would also like to hear the experiences and expectations of others.


Greg Hummel
Greg Hummel

The Discomfort and Safety Around the Gender and Sexuality Continuum
with host Greg Hummel

Man, woman, straight, or gay. Do you remember when these were our only options? For some, these identifiers are enough. But for many of us, these labels are limiting and leave us left out of the conversation. At a time in history when women like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox are creating (much needed) ripples in our social fabric, we sometimes find ourselves struggling to keep up. Come join me in confronting our discomfort around gender identity and sexuality. Together we can create an even safer GSV environment and a safer world.


Hunter Flournoy
Hunter Flournoy

The Discomfort and Safety of Victimization and Oppression
with host Hunter Flournoy

Join us for a discussion of our experiences of victimization and oppression, and how we perpetuate these experiences even within our own community by oppressing each other, and projecting the role of oppressor onto each other. Explore how we can step off of the drama triangle and empower ourselves and each other.

2015 Fall Keynote: Buddy Wakefield

Buddy Wakefield
Buddy Wakefield
2015 Fall Conference Keynote

I embraced an opportunity to experience the spoken-word artistry and storytelling of Buddy Wakefield at an event in Greensboro during his recent World Tour. I wrangled Thunder Zumbach into joining me. I was immediately enamored of Buddy’s authenticity, his openness in sharing his story, his passion for language, and his willingness to be comfortable in his discomfort. The World Tour stopped in Tampa where I encouraged Tim Flood to experience this delicious dance of words and emotion. When I checked my knowingness (in my own dance with Wild Mind, doubting myself plays its role), Tim said, “YES.” Thunder said, “Oh my, YES!” (I figured spirit was saying “YES.” Who has a world tour and stops in Greensboro?)

Most importantly, Buddy said, “YES!” I truly believe if you join us in September you will too! Click on the link below for more information about Buddy, our keynote speaker for 2015, and for highlights of the program for the GSV 2015 Fall Conference: Trusting the Wild Mind: Confronting Discomfort in Our Search for Safety.


About Buddy Wakefield

Buddy Wakefield“Buddy Wakefield aims to cause a disarming de-haunting of accidents. He is pursuing a career in judgment suspension but sometimes wants to blend in so badly he forgets his purpose and worries that everyone else is doing it right, or wrong. He once sat on top of the whole world and told it jokes about the ocean until everybody crumbled into tattoos of bakeries. It smelled good. Felt right. We laughed. So much. Sometimes, he studies propellers because they can make themselves invisible. Buddy has collected enough humongous titles to be crushed under their weight. There are no stunt doubles performing the accidents in his work, or the bursts of beast in his behavior. There is a recurring theme in his nightmares where he wakes up only to realize that whatever supposedly awful thing was stalking him was really just trying to help. His interests include cephalopods, chopping wood and untrembling, unless trembling is imperative to a successful dance move.”

Visit Buddy online at buddywakefield.com >>

About the Wild Mind

My Dearest Brothers,

Todd Humphrey
Todd Humphrey
2015 Fall Conference Convener

Not long ago I wrote to let you know that registration for the GSV 2015 Fall Conference had opened. In just two months we will join together again at The Mountain to continue the work that was started more than 30 years ago at Running Water Farm. The previous ten months have flown by for me; I guess it’s true that time flies when you are having fun. The greatest gift for me in this time has been the visioning and planning and sacred space I have shared with so many of you as Trusting the Wild Mind: Confronting Discomfort in Our Search for Safety has evolved from concept to the transformative experience I hope you will share with me.

Wild Mind is the primal instinct to live, to celebrate, and ultimately to embrace the truth of our being. Wild Mind is the root of our peace, the fierceness of our passion, the wellspring of our joy, and the voice of our power. Stand hand-in-hand in our sacred circle of men who love men. Together, with whatever willingness is possible, we can consciously lean into our discomfort and have the authentic, honest conversations that our souls crave.

Like all the work of GSV, this endeavor may be a stand-alone experience for some. For me, Trusting the Wild Mind: Confronting Discomfort in Our Search for Safety is an intersection of ideas from our previous three fall conferences; it continues the arc of Storytelling as a Spiritual Practice (2012), The Kingdom Within (2013), and Waking Up in Community (2014). This year, come and be present with the stories you carry about comfort and discomfort. Come explore the intimacy of self-trust and unravel this idea of feeling safe. Come explore the story of yourself, the story of community, and the story of how, to the extent we can (or are willing to) release any suffering over being safe in ourselves or with one another.

Todd Humphrey, 2015 Fall Conference Convener

View a PDF of highlights from the 2015 Fall Conference >>

2015 GSV Fall Conference: Trusting the Wild Mind

GSV 2015 Fall Conference

GSV 2015 Fall Conference

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

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

Four Days: $398.90
Five Days: $489.64


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 >>

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