About a month ago the San Francisco based Flesh & Spirit Community issued a call for gay and queer men and womenlight fires for peace, especially on April 12. On that day, some Easton Mountain community members were gathered to celebrate our twelfth aniversary. Here’s the fire ritual that was created in response to Flesh & Spirit’s call.
by Hollis Lewis
It was March 18, 2001. I went to a yoga class, and I was petrified. Something told me, you need to attend, if you attend you will face one of your fears. So, onto my very first class of Hot Nude Yoga I went. I am proud to say that the fear of being naked in front of others was annihilated. I discovered complete freedom. Not only the freedom of being nude in the company of others, but also the freedom of not worrying about being judged – or caring about what others thought of me or my body.
When practicing Yoga, my body and breath became one in a physical and spiritual way. Each time I practice, I come alive. Whenever I feel lost, overwhelmed, not quite together, or even happy, yoga centers and grounds me. My entire being is awakened when I practice. When I leave my mat, I take my practice and apply it to other areas of my life.
I’ve discovered that some of the benefits of yoga for men are improved blood circulation, better respiratory and cardiovascular systems; decrease blood sugar and pressure, body weight moves into healthier range. I’ve noticed an improvement in flexibility, concentration, sex life, and my overall outlook on life.
Yoga promotes love and harmony in my life.
At Nude York Yoga, you’ll find a strong community of Brothers who are non-judgmental, supportive and caring. I’m excited that Nude York Yoga is bringing our community to Easton Mountain for our first Memorial Day Retreat.
What It Is and How to Use It
by Harry Faddis
If you were to Google “Enneagram,” you would see more than six million links or results – and yet most people have never heard of it. There is a lot of information available, and yet it seems hard to get started learning about it. I have been a student of the Enneagram for more than twenty years and still consider myself a bit of a beginner.
In Greek, ennea means nine and gramo means something written or drawn. So the Enneagram is a nine-point system of typing the human personality. Each person can be designated as one of the nine types. And, depending on the school or author, each of the nine types has a name that is similar to an archtype.
The history of the Enneagram is shrouded in mystery; some people believe it came from the ancient Sufis from the twelfth century. It seems to have had a two-direction entry into western culture. One Asian/European strain came from the philospher Gurdjieff and the other strain from South America with the teachings of Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo. It appeared in the USA in the 60’s, often under auspeces of the Jesuits. They began to use it for spiritual direction, one use which continues even to this day, despite severe warnings from the Vatican that the study of the Enneagram should be considered to be dangerous.
When you search through the Enneagram books offered by an on-line bookseller like Barnes & Noble, you will be amazed by the number of authors and interpretations of the Enneagram. The vast amount of literature is certainly an indication of a growing interest in the subject. Two leading teachers are Don Richard Riso and Helen Palmer. A good start in Enneagram study is to find out what your personality type is, and do a little reading about your type.
Besides personal study, the Enneagram is useful for many reasons. It gives direction to the following questions: Who are you and why are you driving me crazy? Why do I always react in this way? Why do I never get along with certain types of people? Among the possible results of Enneagram study are the increased ability to have compassion for one’s self and to develop compassion for others. We have to live in a world where people are what they are. We can not change people. The study of the Enneagram may help us to learn to live and work and love each other.
From the beginnings of history we can observe people’s search for describing the human condition.The Greek and Roman philosophers wrote about our shared condition. The study of astrology certainly seeks to explain who we are. There are the twelve signs of the Western zodiac and the twelve animals of Chinese Astrology. In our time, the Meyers-Briggs Personality Assessment organizes the personality in such a way the we can learn to live and work together. The study of the Enneagram is but another way of looking at other viewpoints of our humanity and what made us the way we are. For those interested in developing a deeper spiritual life, the Enneagram offers elegant, complex, and clear directions for our progress along a spiritual path. It offers affirmation of our challenges and directions for practice that are just right for the individual. Even when we are lost, we can be found through the study of the Enneagram.
When a group of people discover their Enneagram types, it is great fun to openly be able to discuss our character flaws as well as our type’s particular gifts. There are many ways to have fun with this study. Tom Condon has written about the Enneagram at the Movies. It is enlightening and enjoyable to see one’s own type in a film. In additon to Condon, many authors have written about the Enneagram from the perspective of their own professions, such as psychology, christianity, buddhism, behavioral science, and even humor.
At Eason Mountain we are offering two Enneagram workshops this year, both led by Michael Naylor. We believe that the pursuit of knowledge and spirituality is part of our mission, as well as the healing of the soul and spirit. The Enneagram is one way of making this journey.
Do you feel a longing to connect with other gay men – not a longing for bars, bath houses, and cruising areas – but a longing for authentic connection and fellowship in a community devoted to service? Long-time Easton supporter Dave Nimmons (organizer and gay activist), in his book, The Soul Beneath the Skin, documents how gay men are often drawn toward helping and healing professions. You may find within yourself something that says that service can lead to a fulfilling life. You may have been drawn to work within a religious institution, only to feel unwelcome because of your sexual orientation.
Easton Mountain is a place where you can fulfill your longing to serve.
Easton Mountain – built by men who, like yourself, are drawn to service – wants you. Volunteers help with almost every aspect of running our organization and retreat center. You can have the satisfaction of serving your brothers in an environment that supports you as a man who love men.
Now is the time to volunteer for spring and summer. Look at the list of categories below and fill out the on-line form for the program that comes closest to meeting your needs.
- Short Term On-Site Volunteers serve for up to one month. Sign up by completing our Volunteer Form and letting us know how you’d like to help and when.
- Work-Study Program volunteers live on-site for one to three months. In exchange for your time and effort, Easton provides participation in Easton-sponsored events, as well as spiritual counseling and opportunity for community building. Please complete an application if you are interested in the work-study program.
- Volunteering for a “Building Community Weekend” is a great way to get to know Easton and to help build community. See our calendar of events for upcoming dates!
- Project Volunteering: Do you have a special skill you’d like to share with the organization from your home? Examples might be fundraising, marketing, public relations, graphic design, web design. Complete our Volunteer Form and let us know how you’d like to help.
We look forward to talking with you in person, learning what you might want from a volunteer program, and helping you make your volunteer time as rewarding as possible. Whichever program you choose, you’ll have our fellowship and gratitude as we work together to manifest the vision of Easton Mountain.
by Chris DiGiorgio
It was the fall of 2005, when things came to a head in my life. I was miserable at my job; and I was short with my friends, my clients and my co-workers. One of my friends suggested I see this enlightened being; her name was Sai Maa Lakshmi Devi. I was at the end of my rope, and had nothing to lose, so I went to a weekend workshop event with her. She started to teach me how to meditate, and I kept showing up to her week-long programs. Each time I would come back from her events I felt more at peace. I started to accept that my work life was not so bad. I became more satisfied in my daily life. Things that would stress me would no longer stress me. What I found out was that as I dove more inward the more peace I found. So I started to meditate and chant every day.
There are many benefits to meditation: It reduces stress, brings greater peace, improves your mental health, improves overall memory and brain function. Meditation is also a tool to experience the Spirit within and therefore gain a greater sense of inner peace, wholeness and centeredness. Meditation also brings greater clarity and focus to the brain. For example, I recently lost my iphone charger. I could not remember where I placed it. During meditation, it came to me where the iphone charger was, it was in a pocket of a brief case and sure enough there it was.
Many beginners claim they are too distracted for meditation. There mind is too busy. The point is meditation is a cumulative effect, you are training your mind to be at peace. If you have a busy mind, it just takes longer to reduce the noise but the noise will reduce. I am one of those people who have many thoughts, but meditation has helped me. I encourage all to try meditation, you will find the greater peace is in you!
Chris will be leading a retreat at Easton Mountain, “Meditation for a Daily Life,” March 16-18. For more information, check out the Easton Mountain website.
Here are some pictures of this evenings solstice ritual:
As we approach the summer season, here’s some pictures to remind us just how exciting it is at Easton Mountain.
Hunter sends this holiday greeting with a note that, because of emergency surgery he will miss the Christmas celebrations. He does plan to be here net week for the New Year’s Retreat.
There is currently a paid staff position open at Easton Mountain – that of a marketing intern. The following is a description of the position:
The primary requirement of anyone on the staff and particularly on the reseident staff is for someone who has a vision for his life – a vision that is in harmony with the Mission Statement and Values of Easton Mounbtain. While this is a prerequisite for all staff, it is especially important for our Marketing Intern – because this person is essentially charged with the task of attracting others to our Mission and Values – in other words, he is selling Easton Mountain. He is not charged with doing that task alone. Rather he is charged with being a key player on a team that includes other staff members and volunteers – the Easton Mountain Marketing Team. We are not seeking a person with a broad background in marketing. Instead we seek a person with good interpersonal skills, some computer savy, and a willingness to work on our Marketing Team.
- Communicate with others on the Marketing Team – be the person on the Marketing Team who keeps the rest of the team informed about what is going on.
- Communicate with facilitators about promoting their retreats
- Communicate with other men in our extended family to find men who are in a specific position to promote Easton Mountain
- Get copy for the catalog, other print material, and the web site ready for the designer and webmaster
- Produce simple flyers that don’t need our designer’s work
- Use social networking to promote Easton Mountain and Easton special events
- Produce a quarterly on-line newsletter on the activities of Easton Mountain.
- Maintain the Easton Mountain Experiences Blog.
Compensation includes room and board at Easton Mountain, a $1000 a month stipend, and health insurance.
If you are interested in this position or would like to recommend someone, please contact us.