We had an email last week from Arnie Katz, who is leading a retreat at Easton Mountain this fall. In his email, he said:
I had a new client recently who found me because he found and searched the Easton Mountain website and came across my workshop listing for this October. He said that he wasn’t quite ready for a workshop like mine, but that he wanted to come see me one-on-one as a client, which I certainly welcomed.
We have now had a few sessions together, and getting to know each other. He has opened up to me and shared some of his story. He shared with me that he and his wife are separated, and they have children together.
I was curious to understand him better, so I asked him directly why he was searching the Easton Mountain website. He did not say that he was gay. His words were: “I am not out.” and I sensed what he meant. He further said that he was not sure whether Easton would be a safe or welcome place to be at this stage of his journey.
I took that as an opportunity to both reassure and educate him. I let him know that men come to Easton across a wide spectrum of experience and that there have been quite a number of men I have met over the years at Easton who were either formally in heterosexual marriages and came out, men who are still in heterosexual marriages and are gay, and men who are in heterosexual marriages and are not out and are trying to come to terms with their sexuality. I told him that Easton is a safe place to explore any facet of that and that he would be welcome wherever he is along his journey, and that he would meet men who would understand and be supportive of him.
He said in response that he was surprised to hear that, and that nothing on the Easton website gave him the sense of that directly. The impression he seems to have gotten is that Easton is a place for VERY OUT men only. It gave me pause to think and reflect upon that and what we could do to make Easton and Easton's website communicate messages of welcome to men in this particular life journey and exploration....?
What's your impression of Easton Mountain as “a safe place to explore”? Do you consider yourself a “VERY OUT” gay man? Do you think it's a safe place for men who are coming to terms with their sexuality? Has Easton helped you come to terms with your sexuality? You can reply to this blog or make a comment on Facebook.
Arnie Katz is a massage therapist and facilitator in Boston, and has been coming to Easton Mountain since 2007. He will be leading Exploring Conscious Touch, October 13-16.