Tag Archives: gay

10 moments to remind you to pause for a few minutes every day

MOMENTS

1. Stopping at a traffic light.
2. Arriving at your office every morning.
3. Turning on your computer.
4. A call from your boyfriend.
5. Setting the alarm of your mobile phone at a particular time.
6. Stopping for a cup of coffee or a cup of tea.
7. Changing into your workout gear.
8. Having a shower after your workout.
9. Unlocking the door of your house when you get back home.
10. Undressing and changing into comfortable clothing before dinner.

Stop

STOP PARAR MINDFULNESS

“When I was a young monk in Vietnam, each village temple had a big bell, like those in Christian churches in Europe and the United States. Whenever the bell was invited to sound, all the villagers would stop what they were doing and pause for a few moments to breath in and out in mindfulness. At Plum Village, the community where I live in France, we do the same. Every time we hear the bell, we go back to ourselves and enjoy our breathing. When we breathe in, we silently say, “Listen, listen”, and when we breathe out, we say, “This wonderful sound brings me back to my true home”.”

Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese monk, one of the best advocates of mindfulness, founder of Plum Village.
YourTrue Home. The Everyday Wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh. Boston & London: Shambala;2011.


What could be your personal reminder to stop for a few minutes during the day?

Spring

spring 2

“But there’s the springtime, insanely generous. It calls out to your senses, and through them to your heart, where it comes in warming your blood and flooding your mind with light.”

Luis Cernuda
From Spring, a prose poem from Ocnos (1942)

Practicing mindful yoga

Mindful Yoga

“Through the practice of mindful yoga, we can expand and deepen our sense of what it means to inhabit the body and develop a richer and more nuanced sense of the lived body in the lived moment”

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Coming to Our Senses. Healing Ourselves and the World through Mindfulness. New York: Hyperion, 2005.

“It is a profound meditation practice, especially when practiced mindfully, and develops strength, balance, and flexibility of mind even as it is developing those same capacities at the level of the body”

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Coming to Our Senses. Healing Ourselves and the World through Mindfulness. New York: Hyperion, 2005.

Yesterday morning, today

JAIME GIL DE BIEDMA

Yesterday morning, today

You rest your temple against
the open window pane
watching rain falling down
over the ocean.

In a split-second image-
your body outlined
serely in half-light, still
naked from the night.

And then you turn toward me,
smiling. I´m thinking
so much has changed but this
is how I remember you.

Jaime Gil de Biedma, Spanish poet and writer, 1929-1990

Practising the body scan

Body scan. Thailand

“We can surrender completely to the embrace of gravity, and let go into the floor or mat or bed and let it do the work. Sometimes it can feel like you are floating, and that can be very pleasant and increase your motivation for taking up residence in your body and in the present moment.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Coming to Our Senses. Healing Ourselves and the World through Mindfulness. New York: Hyperion, 2005.

“All you need to do is lie here and feel different regions of your body and then let go of them. The body scan is systematic in the sense that we move through the various regions of the body in a particular order. But there is no one way to do it. It could be done scanning from head to feet or from feet to head or from side to side for that matter.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn
Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. New York: Hyperion, 1994.

Andrew Harvey

Andrew-Harvey

Andrew Harvey was born in India in 1952, where he lived until he was 9 years old. He then went to several English private Schools, and studied at Oxford University where he later taught Shakespeare and French Literature until 1977.

He is an author, religious scholar and teacher of several mystic traditions, especially Hinduism and Sufism.

Harvey also emphasizes the Divine Feminine, as expressed with different names throughout the history as Isis, Kali, The Virgin Mary, or Mother Earth.

Harvey is widely known for his books on spiritual and mystical topics, among which should be highlighted Dialogues with a modern mystic, The Direct Path, The Essential Mystics, The Essential Gay Mystics, The Return of the Mother and Son of Man.

As an scholar and an expert on Rumi, he has written several books on the subject, namely The way of Passion, Celebration of Rumi, and Perfume of the desert.

In 1990 he col-laborated with Sogyal Rinpoche and Ptrick Gaffney in the writing of the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.

Throughout his work he synthesizes different mystical explorations and tries to reconcile eastern and western mysticism.

He is the founder of the Sacred Activism movement, to which he dedicates much of his time and energy. In The Hope, A Guide to sacred Activism, he defines this movement as “a spirituality that is only private and self-absorbed, one devoid of an authentic political and social consciousness, does little to halt the suicidal juggernaut of history. On the other hand, an activism that is not purified by profound spiritual and psychological self-awareness and rooted in divine truth, wisdom, and compassion will only perpetuate the problem it is trying to solve, however righteous its intentions. When, however, the deepest and most grounded spiritual vision is married to a practical and pragmatic drive to transform all existing political, economic and social institutions, a holy force – the power of wisdom and love in action – is born. This force I define as Sacred Activism”.

Andrew Harvey is one of the sixteen gay writers interviewed in Mark Thompson’s nook, Gay Soul. In the book Harvey among other things states that “gayness is a large wound, but also a large opportunity”.

The BBC edited in 1993 a documentary called The Making of a Modern Mystic, based on Harry Harvey’s life and works.

Harvey lives now in Arkansas where he continues to write, and travels around the world lecturing, and organizing travels to sacred sites around the world. The Watkins mind Body Spirit Magazine nominated him as one of the 100 Most Spiritually Influential People in the World.

More about Harrey Harvey’s life, books and Sacred activism can be found at: www.andrewharvey.net

Sources:
Andrew Harvey: Institute for Sacred Activism, www.andrewharvey.net
Mark Thompson. Gay Soul: Finding the Heart of Gay Spirit and Nature. 1994, HarperSanFrancisco.
Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Harvey

Barcelona will host the first ever MindfulGay workshop!

WORKSHOP BARCELONA MINDFULGAY

It’s such a honor to share that our first MindfulGay workshop will be held in Barcelona, Spain, from the 21st of April to the 8th of June of 2015.

Please, read the information below and write us if you have any doubt or want to join us along this 8 weeks MBSR workshop.

Sign up in http://www.mindfulgay-training.com

Next workshops worldwide will be added very soon, so stay tunned!

Good starting points

MINDFULNESS GAY MSBR

Anyone interested in Mindfulness and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) should start by looking at these three links:

1. The Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where it all started more than 30 years ago. It is the world reference point for Mindfulness, MBSR, and Mindfulness Education in general.

http://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/

2. Mindfulness Meditation NYC is a collaborative of MBSR teachers offering classes in the NYC area. It is a great source of information for anyone who wants to know about Mindfulness and MBSR, regardless of their location.

http://www.mindfulnessmeditationnyc.com/

3. The Center for Mindfulness research and Practice at Bangor University in Wales, United Kingdom, is one of the leading centres for teaching and research on Mindfulness in Europe and throughout the world. Their courses and workshops complement perfectly those offered in different centres in the United States.

http://www.bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness/

Men of Spirit, the interview

MENOFSPIRIT

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.

ROGER from MEN OF SPIRIT

Men of Spirit

Men of Spirit

www.menofspirit.com

Men of Spirit is a website that all gay men interested in spirituality and body work should have in mind.

There you can find an up-to-date accurate listing of all the scheduled gatherings – exclusively for gay and bisexual men – related to advancing personal growth, spirituality, sacred sexuality, and the connection with Self, nature and other like-minded men, which take place in the United States during the year. A list of websites providing more information is also included.

Men of Spirit

Harry Hay and the modern gay movement

Harry Hay

Harry Hay was born in England in 1912, but a few years later he moved with his family to Los Angeles, where he lived most of his life.

Many people consider him to be the founder of the modern American gay rights movement. He fought against the treatment and the intolerance that gays were suffering in the 1920s and 1930s from the police and from society in general. He was widely involved in politics, considered himself a communist and was active in different labour and civil rights causes until the end of his days.

In 1950, Harry Hay founded an underground organisation, called the Mattachine Society, which was America’s first gay rights group. In the 1970s he decided to become more public about his activism for the gay cause, and he co-founded the Radical Faeries, a gay men’s movement which affirmed gayness as a form of spiritual calling.

“His central idea–as revolutionary then as now–is that gay people have a special role to play in human evolution. He was the first to insist that we are a separate, distinct minority with certain traits and talents, mainly in the areas of teaching, healing, mediating opposites, and creating beauty” Thompson RadFae,org. As a result of this he was against the progressive assimilation of gay men and gay culture into the mainstream society.

He lived with John Burnside, his soulmate and lover of 39 years, until his death in 2002 in San Francisco at the age of 90.

Anyone who wants to know more about Harry Hay should read Stuart Timmons’ biography, The Trouble with Harry Hay: Founder of the Modern Gay Movement, and the collection of Harry’s writings and essays, Radically Gay: Gay Liberation in the Words of its Founder.

His life has been the subject of a documentary by Eric Slade called Hope along the wind which won several film awards, More information on the film and on Harry´s life and work can be found at www.harryhay.com

Three questions

Three questions Harry Hay

Every time Harry Hay gave a talk or a conference, he used to start by asking 3 questions regarding us as gay men:

Who are we?

Where do we come from?

Why are we here…?

Harry Hay (gay man, intellectual and activist, one of the founders of the Radical Faeries movement)

An approach to James Broughton

James Broughton

James Broughton is the very epitome of a writer who constantly experienced mindfulness both in his personal life and in his work.

He was born in Modesto, California, in 1913. He was a poet and experimental filmmaker and was associated with the San Francisco Renaissance, a movement which preceded the Beat Generation poets. He was involved with the counter-cultural movement the Radical Faeries and was a member of the group The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

His life was a mirror of his work. He was a free spirit and kept exploring and transcending boundaries of male and female, straight and gay, young and old, wilderness and civility, body and spirit. In spite of ongoing pressures from his family and society, he was never afraid of following his instincts and beliefs.

Poet and publisher Jonathan Williams gave him the nickname ‘Big Joy’ and James really lived up to it throughout his life.

In the 1940’s he began experimenting with filming, making avant-garde films, exploring themes of sex, death, and the meaning of life, earning him several awards, among which should be highlighted a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute, and an award in Cannes from Jean Cocteau for his film The Pleasure Garden.

He wrote more than 20 books, poetry being one of his favourite passions. An example of the importance of the here and now in his work are the poems ¨Closure`, and ´This is it`, which feature in other posts in this blog.

James Broughton had both male and female lovers during his life. With his wife, the artist Suzanna Hart, he had two children, and he also had a daughter with the film critic Pauline Kael. In his 60s, James Broughton formed a relationship with a Canadian student named Joel Singer, which lasted for nearly 25 years until Broughton’s death in 1999.

Abundant information about James Broughton’s life and work, as well as the 2012 award-winning film documenting his life (Big Joy: the adventures of James Broughton by Stephen Silha et al) can be found at http://bigjoy.org

YOUTUBE

Meditating open air

open air

Meditating open-air.

Feeling connected to the earth, feeling grounded, feeling rooted.

The wind blowing in your face.

Listening to the sound of water, the power of water, water falling into the void.

Blending with nature.

Becoming merged with it.

Becoming one.

By Manuel Grau (in the picture), founder at MindfulGay

Andrew Ramer, sharing the same tribe

2 Flutes Playing Andrew Ramer

Andrew Ramer is a poet, novelist, and a maggid (a sacred Jewish story teller). Born in New York, he now lives in San Francisco, California, where he is an active member of an historically LGBTQ synagogue, a spiritual counselor for a Mennonite church, and teaches in the Jewish Studies and Social Justice Program at a Jesuit university.

Spirituality and more specifically gay spirituality is a vital component in his life, and he has been actively involved in several communities such as the Gay Spirit Visions conference in North California and the New York Healing Circle.

For several years he wrote a column on spiritual practice for White Crane Journal and has published several books ranging from novels to books on angels, gay erotic anthologies and short stories.

Andrew writes about himself: “You will find in my writing a range of voices, some my own and some received, a term I prefer to ‘channeled´”.

The best known among all the books he has written is Two Flutes Playing (Lethe Press, 2005).

In the book, he reviews and stresses the importance of mythology for gay men, and the reality of the existence of the gay tribe as a unique group of men who love men that has to regain its place in history and everyday society.
Talking about the book, Andrew Ramer says: “(…) I want to speak here of the saints and heroes of the gay tribes. For this is a period of human history that has been lost through time, whose return is vitally needed. For you know the heroes of the other tribes. But of this small, sacred tribe, whose history has been obscured, you remember nothing”.

Andrew Ramer is one of the gay writers and intellectuals portrayed and interviewed in Mark Thompson’s book, Gay Soul: Finding the Heart of Gay Spirit and Nature (Harper, 1994).

He can be found online at http://www.andrewramer.com.

Our special touch, by Andrew Ramer

manos gays mindfulness

“The most important thing we can tell each other as gay men is that we are here for a reason and all of us know what the reason is. We know when we sit with ourselves and notice who we are, what we do, and what we bring to the world. There´s a line from a Native American medicine chant that says: ‘You bring to all of life your special touch’. We gay men know what our special touch is”.

Andrew Ramer, North American gay writer and story teller.

MBSR, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

MSBR Mindfulness

You may already be familiar to what MBSR stands for, and know that these four letters mean Mindfulness-based stress reduction.

As you already know, it was created by Jon Kabat-Zin in the late seventies. Although it is based in Buddhist meditation principles, the course it’s structured throughout 8 weeks, and its main aim is to reduce stress and to give you tools to bring awareness to your life moment by moment.

The main meditation practices that are used in the course are sitting meditation, body scan, walking meditation, and mindful yoga, also known as mindful movement.

Those are different types of what is known as formal practice. In all of them the main anchor or object of awareness, at least at the beginning, is the breath. As Jon Kabat-Zin says: “Try it for a few years and see what happens”.

Informal practices are also introduced. This means bringing attention to different activities that we all usually do in our daily life, like eating, brushing our teeth or washing the dirty dishes.
Sessions are complemented with weekly practice at home listening to Cds and using reading material.
When a group is established at the beginning of the course a bond and a commitment is created.

A bond between the facilitator and the participants, and also among the participants themselves which will develop and grow as the course goes on. It is like weaving a patchwork quilt between all the participants of the course including the facilitator.

A commitment to attend all the classes for the benefit of one self and the rest. And a commitment to do the home practice during the week after each session.

Many questions can come to our minds before starting an MBSR Course.

Do I need to be an experienced meditator? Not at all. It’s not about perfection, nor about competing with yourself or others. It’s as simple as focusing on the breath, and going back to it every time the mind wanders. It is about befriending something as familiar as the breath, which has been with us since our birth, and that will be with us until we die, but that frequently we are not aware it’s there.

Do I have to have practiced yoga in order to do mindful movement? Not at all. Mindful movement focuses on being aware of our body when it moves. It can be as simple as raising your eyebrows, or moving your feet.

What benefits can I get by doing the course? You will get to understand stress better and how to reduce it. You will learn how to deal with thoughts, emotions and feelings in a more skillful way.