Roger, the creator of the Men of Spirit website, has agreed to answer some questions about this project for the readers of MindfulGay.
Roger, could you define what Men of Spirit is, and what is the main purpose of it?
Men of Spirit is a website that was created with the intention of raising awareness of men’s gatherings. I often attended workshops and talked to the attendees about other retreats and realized that many of these men had not heard of the other workshops going on in various retreat centers through out the US. The criteria for the Men of Spirit calendar of events consists of gatherings that focus on advancing personal growth, spirituality, sacred sexuality, the connection with Self, nature and other like-minded men. Its purpose is to help others explore events, teachers, programs, schools and gatherings that create greater awareness of who and what we are. Events that help us align our lives with our deepest desires. All of the events listed on this website are for men who love men.
How did you come up with the idea of creating this project?
I have been attending men’s workshops since 1998 and the impact of my first workshop changed how I would live my life forever. I also witnessed others having similar experiences and I realized the importance of this type of work. For years, I spent hours online looking for workshops and spirit related travel opportunities that interested me. I kept a personal calendar of these events and used this information through-out the year to plan my travel according to the workshops that were interesting to me. The process of finding and documenting the workshop information from multiple websites was time consuming. I often thought about how convenient it would be to have a website that listed all these events in one online location. Obviously, such a website didn’t exist and my method was the best I could manage.
In 2012 I attended a local college to learn web design to help promote my design business. The students were asked to develop their own websites as their project for a final grade. I started building a website for my business, but I quickly realized that it would take weeks to prepare the photo content suitable for a design business. I then started using images that I found online and paired them to the workshops that I was planning to attend in the future. This was a very effective way for me to learn to use the software without spending countless hours on preparing content. I needed a domain name and Men of Spirit seemed fitting and it also happened to be available. It came together very quickly. Essentially, it was developed as a homework assignment.
I continued working on Men of Spirit website to practice my software skills not knowing that I’d actually publish it someday. I posted my first event in March 2013 and haven’t stopped since.
Would you say your website covers all areas of physical and spiritual exploration and development for a gay or bisexual man?
I think that Men of Spirit is reflective of the type of workshops available today for men who love men. I don’t think that the website reflects all areas of Spirituality for gay/bi men because Spiritual paths are not exclusive to men. The Men of Spirit website posts events that are exclusive to men. In fact, it’s very specific and limited in the realm of most men´s Spiritual development.
At the moment the information you give is about venues located in the United States, have you got plans to expand it to Europe and the rest of the world?
It’s difficult for me to post an event that I’m not familiar with in some way. I seldom offer personal opinions about an event, but I think there may be an implied recommendation by my posting an event on the website. My experience of workshops has been expanding over time and I’m starting to learn and recognize that there are many workshops in various countries that the Men of Spirit audience would be interested in attending. The Men of Spirit audience is global and the viewers are from all over the world. However, the vast majority of viewers are from North America and Europe.
Have you got any additional plans or ideas regarding Men of Spirit in the years to come that you would like to share with our readers?
I would like to see Men of Spirit sponsored workshops and events. However, I solely support the existence of the Men of Spirit website. It’s a free service to the facilitators and venues of all the events listed. Without additional financial resources and others to help with the growing process, I don’t know how that would be possible. I believe that this project will continue to move me towards a greater purpose. I’m just not sure what that will be during the infancy stage of Men of Spirit.
It has been a real pleasure to have you at MindfulGay. Thank you so much Roger for sharing your time and your ideas with us.