Thursday, March 17, 2016

Weaving Together: The Stonesong Retreat

Gathering, Workshop, Retreat: they’re all labels for temporary communities gay and bi men form in search of bigger life and deeper connection. Each raises its own expectations. Advance planning from the top down,  or a container held open for the community to fill spontaneously. More focus on spirituality or less. A one-off event, or a reunion of men who gather repeatedly and build up a web of continuing connections over time.

We gravitate toward the sorts of events we’ve learned from experience suit us best. Or else,  we glean the full range of what feeds our hearts and souls by moving between communities. Maybe you need five days of silent meditation, and a week with faeries in the wilderness.
Speaking for myself, I want a strong sense of encounter with the Sacred. I want celebration of our spiritual paths in their mutually enriching diversity. I want reverence for the Earth and acknowledgement that we’re a part of its greater and holy life. I want rituals, both individual and communal, that rise up organically from the shared experience of those present, rituals that help us access parts of ourselves and one another that ordinary business-as-usual words and behavior can’t get at. I want heartfelt intentional communication and equally deep listening. I want freedom and safety to play and experiment with joyous abandon in the presence of others.
Those are the values I’ve brought to my conversations with Frank Dunn, an Episcopal priest and director of the DC-based men’s consciousness-raising group Jonathan’s Circle, as we’ve planned The Stonesong Retreat, four days in the company of kindred spirits in the verdant countryside of western Maryland, 18-21 August.
I invite you to ask yourself these questions:  what happens  in sacred space where you’re safe to come forward and give voice to the deepest longings of your body, mind, and soul? What would a community of brothers look like who commit to holding that space for each other? What spiritual practice might you be called to create for yourself as an expression of the fullness of life within you? What rituals would you build together to integrate the spiritual and erotic joys, sorrows, aspirations, and hopes of all?
If those questions call to you, then I invite you to please consider joining us. You can access more information on the retreat and registration here.
The time at Stonesong Awareness and Nature Centre will offer a short, sweet taste of what it’s like to live mindfully with spiritually and erotically alive men who have faith that what we discover together will be bigger and richer than what we can build on our own.
We’ll build a sacred community.
We’ll  explore the place our human erotic lives hold in  the greater life of Nature.
We’ll create personal and communal ritual.
We’ll share in heart circles.
We’ll  celebrate as faeries, tricksters, and bards.
We’ll exchange our stories.
We’ll allow ourselves and one another times of simple unstructured relaxation.
In all this, we’ll weave the connections that expand the possibilties of our lives.

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