Candy's Corner - Light Years Ahead

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Candy's Corner - Light Years Ahead

It may come as a surprise to some of you, but Candy is only human, and sometimes, just like everyone else, can feel a bit down in the dumps and tired.  I was feeling exactly this way last week (perhaps the planetary alignment), when yesterday I happened to pass a store in my town offering "Bio Photon Therapy."  I'm always game to try something new, so I stepped inside and gave it a go, and wouldn't you know, it worked!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

"Light Years Ahead"

Woke up with no axe to grind

Hard to find

Inside my mind

Wonder what has caused this shift

Wrapped this gift

Began to sift

In my head (a scary place)

Packin mace

Just in case

Something has let go of me

Plain to see

I'm Scot free!

Yesterday I strolled in town

Wore a frown

Tightly wound

As I walked, feeling a flop

Came to a stop

Outside a shop

I saw a banner propped up there

It wants to share

I stand and stare

"Bio Photon Therapy"

It says to me

Come in and see

90 mins and we're done

Light program run

Bit of fun

Didn't give a second thought

To what I bought

Not sure I ought

Until this morning I awake

As sweet as cake

No longing ache

No longer haunted by my ex

Or feel perplexed

Dreading what’s next

So as for this Light Therapy

I must agree

It worked for me!

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Flashback Friday, Episode 14 – "Queer Fires for Peace"

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Flashback Friday, Episode 14 – "Queer Fires for Peace"

About three and a half years ago, the Flesh and Spirit Community in San Francisco started a semi-annual event called "Queer Fires for Peace."   They have not only held their own event but have encouraged others to do the same - something as simple as lighting a candle or posting a picture -  or something as elaborate as several minutes of planned ritual.

The first of these events was held on May 12, 2012.  On that weekend at Easton Mountain, a number of members of our extended community gathered here to discuss the future of Easton Mountain with members of our Board.  That evening, we took time out from our discussions for a ritual in which our fires were seven torches that we lighted - for sky, earth, heart and the four directions.  Here's a video of our ceremony.


The next ceremony is set for the eve of the winter solstice, December 20, 2015.  Easton Mountain doesn't have a program on that weekend, but residents are discussing how we might, along with our local extended community, have a "Queer Fire for Peace."

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Candy's Corner - Cozy

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Candy's Corner - Cozy

As the Fall weather arrives, I don't know about you,  I'm ready to get cozy on the couch with a snuggle buddy :)

“Cozy”

I'm going to lie down for a while
Will you cuddle with me?
Face to face, soulful smiles
Eyes connected, looking deep
I touch your hair and face
Your hand upon my chest
Marvel at this sacred space
As we touch and stare and rest
Warm hand on my tummy
Penetrates my whole body
Filled with feelings oh so yummy
Safe, secure, adored, carefree
As we lay in comfort, sleepy
Wrapped in arms soft and tight
Without a word you read me
We close our eyes for the night

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Gratitude - John Stasio

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Gratitude - John Stasio

I am feeling such gratitude for the restoration of our water pressure and the fixing of our well. Most of us in the USA take water for granted yet billions around the world live with great water insecurity. Our recent challenges with water at Easton Mountain has been for me at times a reason to complain and at other times I have taken it as an opportunity to grow in patience and appreciation for the many blessings I sometimes take for granted. Either way I am thrilled that the problem seems fixed! And I am confident that there will be more FGO\'s soon….

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Flashback Friday, Episode 13 - The Luminary Labyrinth

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Flashback Friday, Episode 13 - The Luminary Labyrinth

A labyrinth, as the word is used today, refers to a circle on the floor or ground containing a complex path that leads from an entrance to the circle's center. It is used as a tool for meditation by slowly and silently walking from the entrance to the center and back. See Wikipedia for a full discussion of the history of the labyrinth and how it is often distinguished from a maze.

Early in the history of Easton Mountain, a labyrinth was created in a space near the director's cabin by mowing grass in a labyrinth pattern. Few people knew of it's existence or walked it. There was talk about having a permanent labyrinth on the High Meadow, but it never was constructed.

However, no one who was at Gay Spirit Camp in 2012 will forget the labyrinth that Martin Grealish designed and, with help, installed on the lawn in front of our outdoor stage. This labyrinth used several hundred white paper sacks, each filled with about two inches of sand topped by a lighted candle - hence we had a "luminary labyrinth." Here's a video showing men walking this labyrinth on the evening after it was made.

The next day, many men again walked the labyrinth. One long-term resident first went into our mud pit and covered himself with mud. Then he walked the labyrinth to the center and sat there in meditation.

Others, walking the labyrinth, bowed to him when they reached its center. Note the covered wooden phallus, made and donated by Moss Tidd. Walkers passed it on entering the labyrinth, twice more as they walked the path and a fourth time just before entering the center circle.

Labyrinths don't have to be as big as the one Martin made. Perhaps some ambition person will create a smaller permanent labyrinth at Easton Mountain soon.

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Flashback Friday, Episode 12 - The Garden

Flashback Friday, Episode 12 - The Garden

Almost from the start, there has been some kind of garden on the High Meadow at Easton Mountain - a few beds of lettuce, some herbs, and once a long row of garlic - but it wasn't until 2007 when David Armbruster became our gardener, that we began to see the full possibilities of what we could have. David started late in the spring of 2007, with about ten beds, carefully laid out with at least one vegetable, one flowering plant,and one herb in each bed. In 2008, he was able to bring out his full vision of the garden. On the second Monday in September we invited the Easton Neighbors (a community group that meets monthly at the local Methodist church) to see the garden. Here's a short video of their visit.

David felt so good about working the soil that he decided to buy a farm in Cambridge, where he now lives. With David devoting his time to his own farm, we have had a succession of other gardeners, each of whom has brought his own vision to the area. This year Pathfinder and Michael Harbison have been the major keepers of our garden, producing vegetables for our kitchen and flowers for just about every pubic room we have.

Flashback Friday – Episode 11:  The Orange Blob

Flashback Friday – Episode 11: The Orange Blob

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During the Labor Day weekend of 2010, some of us thought that an alien life form had invaded Easton Mountain.  It turned out to be Etham Shoshan, a performance artist from New York City, and some of his friends. You'll note that our website at the end of this video is shown as ".com" - and that's what it was in 2010.

 

 

 

Owning and Managing the Shadow

Owning and Managing the Shadow

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An excerpt from Gay Men and The New Way Forward Gay men’s distinct gifts exhibit the remarkable generosity that we bring to the world. We heal, nurture, challenge, serve, teach, and forgive humanity. We are engaged in a revolution of evolutionary proportions. Gay men are what the world has been waiting for.

For as much generosity as we bestow upon the bulk of humanity, and for as much mutual support as we give each other in many instances, gay men can be remarkably hurtful toward each other. I have heard this sentiment expressed in every group I have run. In fact, throughout the Gay Men of Wisdom work, I have heard near consensus that gay men feel more wounded by other gay men than by heterosexuals.

What’s going on here? A group of men that has the capacity to help humanity discover The New Way Forward finds itself more wounded by its own members than by those who oppressed them? Of course, that is not the whole story. An emotional response does not mean that gay men actually victimize each other more than the larger world oppresses us. It might just feel that way. We would not have the friendships and romantic partnerships that bring us together; nor our social groups, community centers, and advocacy and social service organizations if we victimized each other more than we expressed care. Still, the double standard—that we give our gifts generously to heterosexuals and often withhold them from each other—warrants attention and action.

This dark side of gay men reflects what the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung called the shadow. According to Jung, the shadow consists of those (mostly negative) aspects of our personality that we deny the existence of or remain unconscious about. Because we refuse to acknowledge these traits and deem them unacceptable to us, we project them onto others.

Thus, the traits that we dislike the most in others are often the hidden and disowned parts of ourselves—our personal shadow. For gay men, in many cases, the shadow represents the dark side of our gifts; in others it simply reflects our human flaws. Acknowledging and managing one’s shadow requires a willingness to confront oneself.

It is easy to point fingers, to become enraged, and to reenact the drama of being the victim within our own group. It is much more difficult to accept our own responsibility for victimizing others. Few people truly see themselves as perpetrators of harm. Most want to believe that they are fundamentally good, and that they act nobly—or at least they “do the right thing.”

The fact is that we are all perpetrators. Every gay man has, at some point—and sometimes at many points—cast judgment upon, belittled, dismissed, ignored, insulted, derided, demeaned, jabbed at, avoided, recoiled from, expressed disgust for, or otherwise hurt another gay man. Each of us has perpetrated these acts of violence on each other.

Ray will be leading a workshop, Celebrating Gay Manhood, November 13-15, at Easton Mountain.

Candy's Corner - Heart's Desire

Candy's Corner - Heart's Desire

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  As I pondered what to share with you this week, I stumbled across this poem I wrote when I was at the Easton Mountain Singles Retreat last year - With this year's Singles Retreat just a week away, what better timing to share my experience of this event with you all!

 

 

“Heart's Desire”

Mind was reeling as I dance

Am I going to miss my chance?

Would I really let this go

And hold on just for what I know?

My brain quickly calculates

No! I don't want more empty dates

So off I go, I've made my choice

My stand to hear my true heart's voice

This unknown guy, my future begs

Attracted to his hairy legs

And softness in his wide bright smile

And so I stop to talk a while

Not knowing if there would be more

Or who awaits behind the door

And with each word and glance and action

Theres more than physical attraction

I'm honored by the man I see

His trust and vulnerability

He holds me, softly kissed my head

So glad I spoke to him instead

I lay there wrapped, in arms, sun shining

Feel the warmth of his heart smiling

And even though I'm not a floozy

We got naked in the jacuzzi

Bubbling water, effervesce

At one, held in close caress

I'm smiling just because I know

He held my hand and won't let go

A date that lasted 26 hours

Sleeping, dancing, sensual showers

We make plans, our eyes excited

What a catch, our hearts delighted

Almost time to leave, and so

We find excuses not go

Just another cuddle and kiss

Save them up so we won't miss

Each other, over the next few

Days until, wonderful, beautiful, date #2

Flashback Friday - Episode 10: The Domes and the Garden Cabin

Flashback Friday - Episode 10: The Domes and the Garden Cabin

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In celebration of Easton’s 15th year; on Fridays, we are looking back to Easton’s past to see where we came from! A few days ago, while cleaning in the back room - the area we affectionately call "the pit" - I came upon four drawings in red and black ink on "post-it" size paper. I recognized that these must be Hugh Russell's original designs for the Garden Cabin.

When I first came to Easton Mountain, to lead a weekend program in the summer of 2001, all participants stayed in two geodesic, canvas-covered domes. The second floor of the Guest House was used by staff, because the first floor rooms were in no condition to be occupied, and the building inspectors refused to certify only the second-floor rooms.

The following winter, one of the domes collapsed under the weight of snow. The manufacturer replaced bent metal and the rips in the canvas were sewn together. I remember being on the team that put the canvas back over the dome to make it ready for the 2002 season. By that time, the Guest House had been renovated, so attendees had a choice of that building, a bunk in a dome, or camping.

The domes were used through 2006, but always presented problems. By the end of winter in 2007 there was a hole in the canvas in one dome, and it was evident that the choices were to replace the canvas of both domes or stop using them. At that time our board president was Hugh Russell, an architect from Massachusetts, and he's the one who must have drawn his original designs on that tiny paper.

Hugh Russell working on the garden cabin

He later drew up full-sized plans, and, with snow still on the ground, a small bulldozer was used to level the land for building.Bulldozer clearing land

It was a warm spring, and many volunteers worked diligently, wearing shorts - or sometimes even less. Workers2

Workers building the garden cabinBy the time of Gay Freedom Camp, the Garden Cabin was ready for occupants.

One of the domes, without canvas, is now in the garden, where it serves as a trellis for grapes. The other has been divided into two pieces, the larger forming the backdrop of our outdoor theatre and the smaller used to support canvas covering the mud pit. So these artifacts from our history remain to remind us the days when "the dome" was a housing option - and we have the drawings that were the first steps in their replacement.

Modeling Sustainable Manhood

Modeling Sustainable Manhood

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An excerpt from Gay Men and The New Way Forward Masculine-feminine intelligence bestows upon gay men an innate flexibility to access the masculine and feminine. Most gay men do not need instruction to access their emotions, to demonstrate empathy, and to act cooperatively. Sensitivity and intuitiveness often come naturally. At the same time, because we are men, and because we are socialized with all the expectations of manhood, we have broad access to the masculine.

Male gender norms restrict men’s repertoire of expression. The emergence of an emboldened gay male community around the globe counteracts that rigidity. By our very nature, gay men challenge patriarchal structure. When we become aware of our impact and our potential, we can use this gift to advance change where it is needed most: expanding male consciousness.

By coming out, gay men and lesbians have made enormous contributions to global consciousness. We serve as models of authenticity and courage, and we cleanse shame for humanity. Additionally, and very consequentially, coming out created a new rite of passage. It says, “I now choose to live according to who I am instead of what society wants me to be.” This public declaration emboldens us to choose authenticity in all areas of our lives, well beyond our sexuality. We have bequeathed this rite to future generations, creating a lasting ripple effect.

Coming out, of course, represents just the first step in our journey to authenticity. Gay men spend considerable energy questioning and rewriting society’s rules about what it means to be a man—and recovering from the emotional violence these rules and their messengers inflicted. But gay men are not the only ones whose spirit becomes crushed by society’s wholesale prohibition on the feminine for men. All boys and men suffer from it.

Of course, differences exist between society’s expectations of men and their actual behaviors. Many men choose to express feminine traits and consider it a sign of strength. For instance, the last few decades in the United States have witnessed an expansion of men’s permitted behaviors and traits, a rise in stay-at-home dads, and increasing gender parity. The women’s movement largely influenced these expansions in gender norms. Among the Millennial generation, men embrace a much wider set of permissible expressions than do their parents. For this generation, which came of age at a time when gay men had already been living openly for years, gay men’s model of manhood has no doubt had an influence.