GSV 2020 Fall Virtual Conference

GSV 2020 Fall Conference

GSV 2020 Fall Virtual Conference

Resilience through Recounting

September 24 – 27, 2020

Register here

Greetings GSV Siblings,

This is not the conference I originally envisioned. Well, you know, life happens, and pandemics are a (thankfully, rare) fact of life.

As COVID-19 necessitated changes to how we do just about everything, I faced a familiar mix of resistance and excitement in planning for the fall conference. On bad days, I can’t face the challenges. On good days, I see so many fruitful possibilities.

I want this conference to be a space of sharing a similar mixed bag of experiences. We are full of so many stories. Some are about accomplishments. Some are about disappointments. Some are written on our bodies in scar tissue and wrinkles. Some soar up from our deepest spiritual center.

I don’t know what happens next; that is part of living in a story. Maybe you are eager for the end; maybe you want it to go on forever. Either way and at all points between, there is opportunity for recall, recounting, and resilience.

We tell our stories not just to record what happened, but to sing ourselves into being. And this is the story about the time we held our annual fall rituals online. Lean in. Listen. Share.

Our Conference Schedule

This is the schedule (below) in its pared down form. There is a more detailed and constantly updating version of the schedule at the link provided. There, you will find bios for all our presenters and more details about our workshops and presentations.

Mindful of best practices and advice for an online conference, I have endeavored to leave empty space on the schedule so that we don’t spend the weekend just teleconferencing. To the best of my ability, I have tried to schedule with the different time zones of attendees in mind.

I took note of feedback from the Spring Retreat Gathering to make sure small groups were part of this conference, both to honor our fall traditions and to provide more intimate virtual groupings to share in.

I have also worked to provide asynchronous content to facilitate different registers of engagement. Each day begins with a downloadable semi-guided meditation. You may sit with that at the usual early morning hour, or you can take advantage of that whenever you wish.

Similarly, I have set up several murals for the conference. One is linked at the bottom of this page and includes a more detailed conference schedule. That mural is “read only” but will contain links to other murals and content that you can interact with and add to. I chose this platform because it is relatively easy to use, with hopefully clear guides for how to add content and interact with the provided material. If you have questions about how to use it, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Take Care of Yourselves

Take breaks when you need to. Connect with others on your own platforms when you need to. Get up out of your chair and move around when you need to. Use the white spaces in the schedule as you need to. Drink lots of water. I know we aren’t at The Mountain, but we still need space for self-care.

I believe that stories heal and help us. But I also know that healing can take a lot out of us. And some stories, whew! You need a moment, right?

Additional information about Guardians, pop-up sessions, ways to connect, etc. will be shared on the fuller schedule mural link. That is a work in progress and will be continually updated throughout the conference. We will also email out connecting information for the Zoom sessions to the attendees. Enjoy!

Registration is now open. The GSV program fee is $50. In addition, a donation to The Mountain would be greatly appreciated due to their loss of income caused by coronavirus and subsequent cancellations.

Blessed be,
Jonny/Mothra, Convener, Fall 2020

Conference Schedule

Thursday, 9/24
7-9 pm EDT
Welcome and Heart Circle

9:30-11 pm EDT
With Mahan-Kalpa Khalsa

Friday, 9/25
Early Morning
Downloadable Daily Meditation

11-12:15 pm EDT
with David and Teddy Jones
Enneagram Circle
with Tim Flood

2-3:15 pm EDT
Small Groups

4-5:15 pm EDT
Embody Your Inward Sage
Guided by Andrew Ramer
Archangel Gabriel brings us Inspiration/Creativity/Boldness
With Pete Cossaboon

7-9 pm EDT
Telling Our Stories
Panelists: Jonny Gray, Greg Hummel, David Manning et al.

9:30-11 pm EDT
Lingam Puga
With Mahan-Kalpa Khalsa

Saturday, 9/26
Early Morning
Downloadable Daily Meditation

11-12:15 pm EDT
Small Groups

2-3:15 pm EDT
Keynote Address
Padraig O Tuama

4- 5:15 pm EDT
Introduction to Rainbow Awakening
With Damien Rowse
Mindful Doodling
With Jeff Beacham

7-9 pm EDT
“Making Masks Fun Again!”
Online Variety Show and Masquerade

9:30-11 pm EDT
Open Zoom Room – To do with as we please

Sunday, 9/27
Early Morning
Downloadable Daily Meditation

10-11 am EDT
Small Groups

11:30-1 pm EDT
Closing Circle and Farewells

GSV Fall 2020 Fall Virtual Conference

GSV 2020 Fall Conference

GSV 2020 Fall Virtual Conference

Resilience through Recounting

September 24 – 27, 2020

Register here

Greetings GSV Siblings,

I am getting so excited about our upcoming fall conference, “Resilience through Recounting.” Folks are stepping up and offering some amazing workshops that I think fit well with our theme and online format. And I am thinking a lot about how stories are helping me cope with this ongoing pandemic.

As I have been busy putting my college courses online this semester, I have been struck by the importance of narrative framing. With fall fast approaching, I realized I really didn’t want to teach online. I spent a lot of time this summer teaching myself how to do it. Very quickly, an important message from a colleague sank in: don’t focus on what you can’t do online, focus on what online teaching allows you to do really well. Such a simple piece of advice, but so profoundly helpful! As I met my students in teleconferences or on discussion boards, I avoided saying how we would be covering this material if we were in person. Instead, I approached them with excitement about the different ways of engaging our material that the online platforms would allow.

I want to pass this insight on to you. Our fall conference will not be what we have come to know, expect, and cherish in our time together on The Mountain. But if we let it, it can be amazing in its own way. It will be its own kind of conference, and it will come with opportunities that an in-person gathering cannot allow. I am getting very excited about that!

I am working with the GSV Council to provide some fall conference experiences additional to the Zoom rooms. We are figuring out how to hold the silent auction online. I am pursuing some ideas for sharing spaces and asynchronous interactions that feature exploring our stories together.

Perhaps most exciting is our keynote speaker, Pádraig Ó Tuama. When we realized the fall conference needed to be online, we challenged ourselves to find an exciting speaker who could contribute to our theme. Since travel wasn’t an issue, we reached out “across the pond” to find an excellent practitioner of resilience and reconciliation who makes poetry and storytelling central to his work. Padraig is, quite simply, an amazing human being, and I am so happy he agreed to join us. It is worth noting that he was already aware of our organization and was eager to join us this fall. If you would like to know more about Pádraig, I highly recommend this TED Talk.

I am looking forward to seeing you all online in just under a month. I am eager to add this year’s fall conference to our treasure trove of stories we tell about ourselves and how we persevere even in the face of challenges.

Registration is now open. The GSV program fee is $50, for which financial assistance is available. In addition, a donation to The Mountain would be greatly appreciated due to their loss of income caused by coronavirus and subsequent cancellations.

Blessed be,
Jonny/Mothra, Convener, Fall 2020

Keynote SpeakerKeynote Speaker: Pádraig Ó Tuama. Irish poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama’s work centers around themes of language, power, conflict, and religion. Working fluently on the page and with groups of people, Pádraig is a skilled speaker, teacher, and group worker. He is the author of four volumes of poetry: Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community, In the Shelter, Sorry for your Troubles, and Readings from the Books of Exile. From 2014-2019 he was the leader of the Corrymeela Community, Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation community. He is based in Belfast, Ireland.

Convener: Jonny Gray (Mothra). Jonny has been coming to GSV since 2015. When he isn’t being aMonthra fabulous if large moth dancing around the sacred GSV fire, he pays the bills by being a professor of Communication Studies at Southern Illinois University, where he specializes in arts-based environmental advocacy. He is also the host of the weekly show, Isn’t It Queer, which broadcasts on local community radio (WDBX) and is released as a podcast.

GSV 2020 Fall Virtual Conference

GSV Fall Conference 2020 Photo

Resilience through Recounting

September 24 – 27, 2020

While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay
There are frail forms fainting at the door
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say
Oh, hard times, come again no more
(From: Hard Times Come Around No More, Traditional)

Hard times. Many of us have been here before; many will be here again–but not all of us, and none of us in the same way. We know sickness at the door. We know incompetence at the highest level and dealing with such sickness only makes it worse. Both seem out to get us and see us suffer and die. Or, at least, that’s one way of telling the story.

Stories link us in networks of shared understanding if not always agreement. They help us learn about things we haven’t directly experienced. Stories give us a frame to hang the ambiguous on so that it starts to make sense. They make the uncomfortable a little more palatable when seen through the frame of familiar narrative structures. Ah yes, we say, I know this story.

When we cannot gather together in person, when we cannot hug and otherwise explore each other with sacred touch, when we cannot raise our voices together in song or generate steam from our bodies entwined in pulsing dance, we still have stories.

This fall, Gay Spirit Visions invites you to a COVID-19-compliant online gathering to connect as we are able. We come together to tell and to listen to one another’s stories, for stories, too, are a powerful medicine. How are we weathering this storm? How is it familiar? How is it strange? Are there other stories that arise from our current situation that we want to give space to?

Circle ‘round. Listen up. What I have is a story …

Many events conducive to sharing our stories are already being planned, including an online talent show, panels consisting of some of our best homegrown storytellers, an online silent auction, and opportunities for discussions in small groups. As always, our members’ willingness to provide workshops and activities is strongly encouraged and appreciated. If you have something you want to contribute or present, please contact the Fall Conference convener, Jonny Gray (a.k.a. Mothra).

Registration information and suggested donation options will be handled through The Mountain Retreat and Learning Center registration platform. Details will be coming soon.

Jonny Gray,
2020 GSV Fall Conference

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!

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

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 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 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.

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.

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