Friday, November 20, 2020

A Moment of Grace

When I was two and a half years old, my mother found me on the kitchen floor, the refrigerator door open behind me, the cottage cheese carton at my side, and its contents slathered all over my face. Smiling up at her, I announced, "I shave."

Her reaction was one of the many reasons I have for deep gratitude toward her, one of the things I wish now, nearly twenty years after her death, that I could thank her for. She responded with utter delight, and then went for the Kodak Brownie camera that documented much of my childhood. (The sense of being on display is decidedly not one of the things for which I'm grateful.)


It could have gone south so easily. If my Aunt Esther had found me instead, there would have been hell to pay.


My mother gifted me that day with a moment of originary grace. With a moment of assurance that it was alright to play, to experiment, to make a mark in the world.


I'm pretty sure that most of us live our lives in a tension between internalized trust in the delight of those around us and internalized fear of their reprisal. The birthright of our own creativity, nestled within the curious, experimental, playful child who still lives inside us, no matter what our age, poised tenuously between loving acceptance and brutal repression.


That tension plays out in our erotic lives. It plays out in our creative lives. We live in hope of the welcoming delight we deserve. We live in fear of the condemnation that could come from stepping out of line. When we gift ourselves with as much compassion as we'd gift a child in front of us; when we give permission to the child within, we soften into spontaneity and joy. And softening into spontaneity and joy, we soften into offering others as well the acceptance and encouragement they need, just as profoundly as we need it ourselves.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

On a Wall in New York City

 ...by way of my friend and fellow traveller Fluffy.




Saturday, October 31, 2020

Friday, October 30, 2020

Day of the Dead


No, not the George Romero movie. 

As I walk around my neighbourhood during one of my favourite times the of the year--when every day the street looks new because of the leaves that have turned colour overnight, or fallen--front yards are sprouting creepshow-style Hallowe'en decorations. Reinforcements of our culture's pervasive belief that life and death are absolute, mutually exclusive opposites. That life and death, or at least death in its daily guise as change, don't continuously permeate one another. Death is hideous, repellent, to be feared and avoided at all costs, those bloody, severed plastic hands hanging from the bush by the sidewalk tell us. On the morning of November 1, when the pumpkins go out with the garbage, we can all go back to the safety of being on this side of the divide. 


What a contrast with the traditions of the Día de Muertos--the Day of All Souls. The veil grows thin, becomes permeable. The dead visit the living, the living visit the dead. Connections are renewed. The dead live on in the ways they've touched our lives. Their life flows through us, even as we live, and will live on when we cross over, in the lives of those we've touched. The dead aren't scary. They're beloved. And we're reminded that we're on our way to join them, as mortal as they are, not to terrify us, but to bring us together.


To be whole ourselves, we need to pass through the veil. We need to remember. We need not to suppress grief for those we've lost, however we've lost them. For some of us, above all and most traumatically to AIDS. Or to violence. They're with us, they're within us.


Friday, October 16, 2020

Welcome to Bhutan

Photos courtesy of the well-travelled Hoppergrass. 












Tuesday, September 29, 2020

A Sutra: The Fivefold Path




When our erotic energy becomes a means of dropping down into heart space, we begin to dissolve the divisions that trick us into believing we're isolated beings. We start to intuit more vividly that our life flows into us from outside, flows through us, flows out again to others. Thanks to the wisdom of our bodies, we start to understand more deeply the infinite web of interconnectedness that gives our life its deep meaning. We dwell in that web, in that web we live and move and have our being. Some of us might choose to call that web God. Others not.



For some, the cultivation of erotic energy becomes itself a spiritual path. For some men--for some, though not for all--it's more specifically a Phallic Path of mindful self-pleasure. Those who have ears, let them hear.


And this Phallic Path then opens into a Fivefold Path.


A path of awareness that time can fold over on itself, space can fold over on itself. That we can be united in love with those far distant, with those we may not have seen face to face in years. This is a shamanic path of consciousness altered by eros, leading from fantasy into Real Presence.





A path of union with those who have gone before us, and with those of generations yet to come. A vision that we are united with them in a universal stream, from which we emerge and into which our lives pour themselves. This is the flow of a Great River through all time and space.




Painting by Philip Gladstone


A path of compassion for all in need of comfort and fulfillment. This is the path of intercessory prayer, of dedicating the merit of our practice to the happiness and healing of others. 





A path of union with the natural world, affirming in joy and humility that we ourselves are part of it. That we arise and flourish and pass on like flowers in the field, like trees sending our roots into the earth, like shoals of fish, like flocks of birds and swarms of dragonflies. We blossom and flourish like leaves on the tree. 





A path of non-duality: I am my penis. I am my hand. I am the conscious attention that brings them together in mindfulness. My penis is not my hand. My hand is not my conscious intention, and yet all three are me, and I am all three. I give, and I receive. I am the dance among these three, each flowing into the others. This is an image within me of the universal web that I might choose to call God.





OM NAMA SHIVAYA PRIAPUS PAN LORD OF THE DANCE JESUS ATUM CERNUNNOS NAMA OM

Monday, September 28, 2020

The Main Thing


 

"The whole world is a very narrow bridge, and the main thing is to have no fear at all."

            --Rabbi Nachman of Bratislav

Saturday, September 19, 2020

A Call to Compassion

Do not forget that the ashes falling from the sky are all that remains of the pine and grass and thistle and bear and coyote and deer and mouse that could not escape.

Scoop some up in a sacred manner. Take it to you altar. Offer prayers for these beings.

Honor their death. Pray for life. Call in rain. Remind Fire that it is full, has gobbled enough, and can rest.

May all beings be safe. May all beings be loved. May all beings be remembered. May all beings be mourned.

           --source unknown

Monday, September 7, 2020

A Sudden Opening

"Magic is a sudden opening of the heart and mind to the wonder of existence. It is a sense that there is much more to life than we usually recognize; that we do not have to be confined by the limited beliefs that our family, our society, or our own habitual thoughts impose on us;  that life contains many dimensions, depths, textures, and meanings extending far beyond our familiar beliefs and concepts."

                --John Welwood, as quoted by Shakhti Ganeshan

Friday, August 21, 2020

The Path of Phallic Awareness


Deep in your soul, eros and spirit, arousal and prayer are both manifestations of the sacred Energy that moves within you and flows through the whole world. Sometimes they run parallel. Sometimes they mingle in wonderful, complex, surprising ways. 

I invite you to share with me a six-part, one-on-one guided exploration into deeper self-awareness. For now, our meetings take place onscreen. When the pandemic is over, in-person sessions will also be possible.

Session 1: Taking Stock    

Session 2: Creating a Sacred Space

Session 3: Being Witnessed and Blessed

Session 4: Deepening Your Practice    

Session 5: Transpersonal Eros

Session 6: Creating a Sustainable Practice

You can read about the series and the details of each session's focus here.


Monday, August 17, 2020

A Deep and Simple Insight

"God comes to you disguised as your life."

        --Paula D'Arcy
        Quoted in Richard Rohr's daily meditation for August 17

Friday, August 7, 2020

Naked, Empty and Alone: Reflections of An Erotic Mystic on the Mountain

This beautiful extended meditation on the cultivation of mindful autoeroticism is a guest post by Michael GVamos. Michael describes his experience of a retreat into the wilderness in the time of Covid as "a precious brush with seeing and wanting the devastating, delicious, ecstatic, and painful presence of the Divine."



The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced massive change for all of us. Since my spouse works on the front lines of health care, for me it has meant living alone in a log cabin on a large swath of land in the Alaskan mountain wilderness since March 21, 2020. I call it living “the Frontier Life”--wood stove for heat, outhouse, no running water, sporadic cell phone service. Literally drawing water and carrying firewood enveloped by the unspeakable beauty of Nature. My mantra during this time has been from Barnaby Barratt: “Naked, empty and alone.” 

As someone who has had a daily Tantric self-pleasuring practice for over six years, this sojourn quickly became for me an opportunity to let myself fall into the rhythm of Nature; to let go of my ego and resistance, and allow myself to respond to the invitation of Eros. Ego versus Eros. Whenever and as often as I am called. Eros summons. It is visceral. I can feel it in my pelvis. Stirrings in my genitals. “The god wants my life” as Jung said. Letting myself be swept up by it, taken over by it, “letting go.” Touching my body. Massaging/soothing my torso, thighs and abdomen with oil. Caressing my genitals, stimulating my nipples, stroking my cock. No goal in mind, no time in mind; with the simple intentions of postponing ejaculation, getting into my body and GETTING OUT OF MY HEAD. 

“Self-pleasuring is our sensual source that enables us to set aside the tyrannical governance of our judgmental minds and moves us toward divine bliss.”  

--Barnaby Barratt

Being swept up by Eros, taken over by it; falling into the pleasure, joy, soothing, centering, bliss, and fun. Like the Whirling Dervishes; beyond conscious thought. This is a profound, tenuous altered state. Connecting directly with my Life Force. Surrendering to it. Spiritually connecting with all the other men throughout the world also stroking their cocks at this time; like each of us beating a drum, contributing to the universal vibration of pleasure/joy in the world. It feels like being swaddled and cuddled in the palm of the Divine. There cannot be too much. It is like a well that I come back to over and over. Pleasure-Joy-Bliss = my spiritual food and medicine. Riding the energy; actively, consciously moving the energy to my heart center. Breathing it in. My face and heart smile. I am in a State-of-Being-Loved beyond all doubt. Sacramental. Transcendent. Redemptive. 



But even on this Erotic Mountain paradise, there is resistance. My ego, my “conscious self” wants its say. As James Broughton said, “perverse greed for power is the mind’s ugly doing. The mind is the worst pervert in the world.” The litany is long: shame (you are playing with yourself AGAIN, enjoying your cock too much), hedonism (pleasure is bad, you are selfish, and all you want is self-gratification), irrational (this is crazy, out-of-control behavior, who knows where it will lead?), immoral (you call this spiritual? This is decadent and sinful), not-manly (if you were a real man you would be getting laid; this is the best you can do?) and non-productive (you are wasting time, not getting things done, indulgent!) Our culture has indoctrinated me to shun Eros in all forms. The savage capitalists do not want me playing with my cock or communing with Eros (enjoying myself); my role as citizen is to be a producer (making money) or a consumer (spending money.) I am to worship the god of our Economy, not the god of Eros. It takes diligent, consistent effort to go against the grain of these insidious messages our culture has inculcated in me. They are as much in my head as they are out there in the media/culture. And my ego gleefully takes on the role of judge and jury. 

So, each day is an invitation to let go of resistance, to surrender to Eros, to be Divine, not reasonable. Some days I struggle. Some days it is easy. The invitation is always there to temporarily let go of being constructive, efficient and practical, and let myself be taken over by pointlessness, pleasure, joy and bliss. As I answer the call/desire of Eros; as I respond and open up, it becomes clear: the Divine wants my life. Touching my cock is a touchstone to this altered/holy state; a transformed, spiritual out-of-my-head state, a transcendent state, a mystical state of being profoundly loved by Love. 

“Sometimes you no longer recognize yourself. You want to overcome it, but it overcomes you. You want to set limits, but it compels you to keep going. You want to elude it, but it comes with you. You want to employ it, but you are its tool; you want to think about it, but your thoughts obey it. Finally, the fear of the inescapable seizes you, for it comes after you slowly and invincibly.There is no escape. So it is that you come to know what a real God is."

--C.G. Jung - The Red Book Liber Novus

I can go then into my day, into the world with this consciousness; not reasonable but Divine; strong, centered, compassionate. This is a tenuous state – it’s new – like riding a bicycle initially – a fragile state. It takes lots and lots of practice to internalize it – over and over again. I can go back to this place, this state, this center over and over during the day: this state of being profoundly loved by Love.
“To worship a god, one must become a god.” 
– Joseph Campbell

Still the questions remain. What do I do with all of this? How do I do this? What do I do with this when I go back to civilization?

WTF

The world is strong.
I feel weak.

"But the way is my own self, my own life founded upon myself. The God wants my life. He wants to go with me, sit at the table with me, work with me. Above all he wants to be ever present. But I'm ashamed of my God. I don't want to be divine but reasonable. The divine appears to me as irrational craziness. I hate it as an absurd disturbance of my meaningful human activity. It seems an unbecoming sickness which has stolen into the regular course of my life. Yes, I even find the divine superfluous.”
--C.G. Jung - The Red Book Liber Novus



Sunday, July 26, 2020

Three Visions

Three times in my queer life, visions of my relationship to the Christian church and to Christ have brought a clarity that's left me with an unshakeable faith in their power and their truth. 

None of them is easy to write about. Each is bound up with complex circumstances of my life. What can they possibly mean for someone else hearing about them? I'll never know for sure. But I have to try. 

I

I was twenty-eight years old in 1983, when I outed myself in the Saturday religion section of the Toronto Star, in an interview about the experience of gay Lutherans. The reporter had selected for his writeup the most sensational sound bytes he could pull from our conversation.

Starting the next morning, news of it went through the coffee hour of St. Ansgar Lutheran Church like wildfire. Over the next weeks and months, the stalwarts of the congregation took to inviting me for individual chats. The conversation always centered around my grave errors, which Christian charity compelled them to point out. Usually, they ended by asking me to stop coming to church altogether. The Lutheran clergy of the city held an emergency meeting to assure that random homosexuals wouldn't start attending the services of their congregations. One retired pastor reached out to me for dialogue, and then put the make on me in his living room.

I plodded on for the better part of a year. Going to church on Sunday no longer gave me strength or joy to carry me through the week. Instead, it was the source of a metastasizing bitterness and resentment I needed the next four or five days to recover from. And then one night, I had a dream.

I'd escaped from a concentration camp. I'd made my way back home and was sitting at the dinner table with my mother and brothers. (In waking life, I'm an only child. But "Who are my mother and my brothers? asks Jesus in the first three Gospels.) As we sat together, my mother turned to me and said, "Go back outside." I replied that if I did, the Nazis would find me and kill me. My brother turned to me, drove a knife into my forearm, and said, "Do what your mother tells you."

And so I did, resolved to kill myself before I was recaptured. There was a car, and a lake, and I drove the car into the lake. Except that I immediately came up for air. Once, twice, and then a third time. 

Like a baptism that was at once a symbolic death and a birth into new life.

The dream told me everything I needed to know, at that point in my life, about spiritual survival. I woke up and never went back. It would be fifteen years before I participated in another Christian service. 

It was grace that rescued me from the clutches of the church.

II

In 2011, on top of a mountain above the Russian River, a Sacred Intimate midwifed the rage I'd carried, since the age of five, at being shamed for my male body by my narcissistic, fanatically religious aunt. I screamed myself hoarse shouting out over the valley. 

And then we were back in the room where the session had begun, diving deep into a visualization. Jesus was in the room with us. As he had been when I was five. And was blessing my body. Wanted my male energy. Desired it as a gift I could offer him. Jesus wanted me to top him. Beyond any power my aunt had ever had to come between us.

It was what I was made for, what I was created to do. It was a consummation of my relationship to the divine source of my life, a prayer prayed with my body. Blindfolded, I thrust into whatever it was that the S.I.  was offering me. His hand? A Fleshlight? In any case, for the moment, the flesh of the resurrected Christ. Utterly welcoming my humanity into himself. 

III

At a monastery up the Hudson from New York City, a young monk listened to the story behind the first of these visions, when I was feeling stuck and resistant in the middle of a weekend retreat. I was creeped out by the language of surrender that had been running through much of the program. I was trying to explain why. 

He and I were pretty much at an impasse in our conversation when, as we ran out of time, he said, maybe you have to go outside and face the Nazis.

"Get me the fuck out of here now. There are Buddhists I can go hang with just up the road." I thought. 

But then, just a few minutes later,  joined a circle with a dozen others on the retreat, sitting in silence around the altar in the chapel. My monkey mind jumping like crazy, panicked and swinging from tree to tree. 

Then I was alone, outside, waiting for the death squad. Except that Christ was there with me, hanging on the cross. And what I could do was shield his body from the bullets we were expecting together. Perhaps they'd still pierce his flesh, but only after they'd first gone through me. It's what I could do, the only thing I could do. Not a gesture of despair, like my attempt to drive the car into the lake, but of solidarity and love. Present to his suffering, as he was present to mine. 

And both of us together present to the world's. Present to the suffering of the folks at St. Ansgar's, stuck between what they'd believed in good faith all their lives and a new world making new demands of them. Present to my aunt, God love her, with her own life history of unmet needs and longings.

To protect him meant climbing up on the cross facing him. And then I realized that I was his Shakti, his consort in the iconography of a Tibetan mandala, united with him in passionate bliss. Penetrated by him in inseparable embrace. As years before I'd penetrated him. The circle completed. And the Nazis an irrelevant distraction. 

My beloved is mine, and I am his. He pastures his flock among the lilies.


Sunday, July 5, 2020

Erotic by Nature

In the unforgettable words of one of my co-facilitators, "Tits to the earth and lips to the sky..."



Thursday, June 25, 2020

Queer Eros and Social Justice: A Guest Post by James Lawer

James Lawer has generously shared this powerful reflection, along with his sculpture of which it's an explanation. I want to express how grateful I am to him, and how moved I am by what he's created.




The hanging has four basic areas.  Starting from the right:  the succession of cones represents my ancestors, all of them white folks.  On some of the cones are languages I know they have spoken:  Cornish, Plattdeutsh, French, Norse, Mongol and Slavic, Old English, Latin, and developments in the English language.

Hanging beneath the circle are slips of paper naming some instances of homophobia, racism and related violence (physical and emotional and spiritual) that I have experienced from others, from my family, from society, from church.  In addition, I did as honest an appraisal as possible to ferret out instances where I myself was a perpetrator of such.  These all hang together, in the form of spirit descending, but as they hopefully fall away.

In the center is a circle that represents where I figure I stand in history.  All of my descendants, starting with my Black sons-in-law, are all Black.  That includes all of my grandchildren and my great-grand daughter.  I am, therefore, the last white grandfather of this line.



In addition, my name James Lawer is the last since the early 1700s.  In the language of Game of Thrones, I am “James Lawer the Last of His Name.”  With me and my daughters, that whole line of only-white ancestors ends.  After this moment in time, the genetic line becomes mixed race, politically and racially (originally racist) identified as Black.

In addition, I am Queer, Other.  We who are Queer walk between the dualities.  We are the In-betweens, the Walk Besides, the Neither This nor That:  We are Other.  My Queerness is not a mistake:  My whole line is charged and changed in my erotic nature. 

This Other is the Pivot.

The Cosmic Erotic Multiverse is many universes of loves, wounds, traumas, beliefs, and within All is the Life Force Energy that is also constantly changing.  So, with me and my daughters, everything changes.  
So:  I am (along with my daughters) the Pivot.  From here on out, all of my descendants are Black.  Not only do I not regret this:  I also celebrate this shift.

My descendants are indicated by the single cone going outward to the left.  On it is written “Your Black Lives Matter.”  I say “Your,” because the whole Black Lives Matter movement is intensely personal to me.  That’s my Family!!!

It is in the shape of a megaphone, because I want to stand at the Pivot point and address all of my descendants, telling them to be strong, to shine, to stand proud, to be as wise as you can, to create a new world of inclusion so that no one of you feels hammered by your existence, to know you also come from a long line of adventurers, explorers, folks who wanted a better life for themselves, who also struggled but who made it to this Pivot point, and to say to you:  You are loved, blessed and wanted.  I welcome you and hold you in my heart, even long after I have been forgotten.  I love you.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

The Face of Hypocrisy


Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times


"The president used a Bible, the most sacred text of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and one of the churches of my diocese, as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything our church stands for.

"It is appalling. The Bible is not an instrument of white supremacy or American nationalism. It is a universal text for all human beings.

"The president did not come to pray at St. Johns. He did not come to acknowledge the agony that our country is experiencing right now. He never mentioned the sacred worth of people of color in our nation who rightfully demand an end to hundreds of years of systemic racism and white supremacy."

Bishop Mariann E. Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Altared States: A Body Electric Sunday Workshop

Since the arrival of Covid, the New Body Electric School has offered online presentations by community members on Sunday evenings. I'm delighted to be leading one this week, on May 31.

Now, maybe more than ever, we need visible personal reminders of what sustains our lives—people we love, experiences that have shaped us, values we hold dear, images of the Divine that speak to our souls. Identifying our own sacred objects and arranging them together in a sacred space can bring comfort, insight, and deep satisfaction. 

This is a good time to put some creative energy and imagination into building a personal altar.  Think of this session as a Ritual Tupperware Party.  We’ll talk with each other about our sacred objects.  We’ll share ideas (and previous experiences) for creating an altar that expresses your Truth in visible form and helps you listen more deeply to your Life. We’ll model embodied practices that can help us hold body and spirit together.

Please bring to the session an object that you consider sacred, or which carries important personal meaning for you. We'll share these with each other in breakout groups. And please have a bell with you and a candle to light.

You can register for the Zoom session, which begins at 8 p.m. EDT, here.




Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Dreaming the Beloved Community


In this strange time when Zoom is the best we've got and almost all community is virtual, at least we can dream. Maybe one of the best things we can do while the routine forms of daily life are out of the question is to put some added energy into imagining the world we might want to live in instead.

What do you think of when you hear the word "utopia"? For some, it suggests sheer, unrealistic self-indulgence. But imagining a world into being that you've never seen can be the starting point of Gandhi's famous injunction: "You must be the change in the world that you want to see."

Utopian imagination can be what queer theorist José Esteban Muñoz calls a "forward-dawning, not-yet-conscious" awareness that we don't have to accept the world as it is. Other realities aren't necessarily unrealistic. They're just unrealized. Yet.

What world do you dream of living in? What would it look like? How would its citizens interact? How might queer men live together in loving, erotically accepting community? What could we build together? How could we go about the healing of our souls and the repair of the world? How might lives lived richly in acceptance, gratitude, and abundance awaken the wisdom and compassion that we're all capable of manifesting?

Give yourself time to dream. Write a story about this world of yours. Or draw a map. Describe its history and customs and rituals. Build a model of the temple or the assembly hall where the community gathers. Do all of those, and create a journal full of those dreams--as Tolkien did, year after year, with Middle Earth. Make it playful. Make it sexy. Fill it with passion and longing and conviction. Fill it with courage to resist injustice and oppression. Draw on the memory of what we created in the years leading up to Stonewall, in the years after Stonewall, in the years of fighting for queer lives in the middle of the AIDS pandemic, in the more recent years when we're still a despised minority in much of the world--and often in danger much closer to home. Honour the half-fulfilled potentials of those times. Cultivate those memories like precious seedlings that can grow into what is yet to be.

The future is queer. If we make it so.


Thursday, April 16, 2020

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Decameron



Painting by John William Waterhouse

Ten young Florentines fleeing the plague. Ten days spent telling stories to pass their time in seclusion. A hundred stories. Tales of love that end well. Tales of love that end tragically. Tales about something lost and then recovered. Tales of wives playing tricks on their husbands.

Maybe you've read Boccaccio's Decameron. Maybe you've seen Pasolini's movie in all its queer, raunchy genius.

While you wait out the virus--to say nothing of the incompetent, idiotic bluster of Donald Trump--maybe you can follow the inspired suggestion of my dear friend Hoppergrass and hold your own Decameron.

Recruit nine friends who are each willing to write an erotic tale to share within the group. Set a reasonable word limit to keep it from turning into a big task that scares them off. Just one story from each man, not ten. This is the twenty-first century, after all. Our attention spans are shot.

A fantasy you haven't shared before. A real-life experience you can't stop rehearsing. A piece of fan fiction: Kirk and Spock getting it on in the airlock, or Harry Potter learning to cast a new spell with his wand. A sci fi tale of what happens when men have sex in zero gravity. Historical fiction. Trump in hell, blowing Bill Clinton for all eternity.

Collect the submissions. Arrange them in a good order for variety, and then send them out by e-mail one a day for ten days. Or gather every day on a conference platform to read them aloud to one another. 

Maintain confidentiality. You and your friends are courageously revealing yourselves to each other. Don't share the stories beyond your circle. Choose pseudonyms if you need them.

Make an agreement not to respond judgmentally to each other if you find something unsettling in someone else's story. Take responsbilitiy for your own reaction as being just that. Make your circle a space of acceptance and safety. They're just stories.

On Day Eleven, hold an online meeting. Talk about what it was like writing, what it was like sharing, what it was like reading, what surprised you.

And then decide if you'd like to do it all over again.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Resilience

The streets emptied out. Borders closed. People emptied grocery shelves in panic. And every queer men's gathering I'd been scheduled to lead or participate in was cancelled through July. Who know what will be possible beyond then? 

For some of us, the anxiety and isolation echo the trauma of the AIDS crisis. For nearly all of us, our inability to reach out and physically touch one another, let alone to connect erotically, compromises the lovingly embodied communities we've built over decades. 

And yet, the patience and kindness and resilience all around us are extraordinary. Neighbours sending around flyers with offers to run errands for one another. People singing to each other from their balconies in Italy. Online heart circles and other programs blossoming in communities like The Billys, the Radical Faeries, the Body Electric School.

The same past history of another, far more deadly contagion that's left some of us affected for life also holds the reminders of how queers rose to meet a health threat not only with courage and righteous rage, but also with grace and inventiveness, playfulness and imagination. We learned new, safer ways to have sex. We created new networks of support and education. We found ways forward. We chose life and went on creating community.






In the 1980s, we ran off zines on photocopiers. We learned how to fuck safely. We sat down in corporate lobbies. We created jackoff clubs. We wrote and painted and danced and acted and took photographs and marched. We put on wimples and makeup and roller skates and threw condoms to passersby.




That history is full of precious seeds for a future that we're now called to imagine. We know how to do what we need to do, even if we don't yet know that we know it. Now's the time to sing from our balconies. To sit in a heart circle via Zoom. To reimagine once again the ways we reach out to one another, and to go on manifesting our faith in the deep truth of transpersonal Love.