Periwinkle Dragonfly

Bear Your Soul

posted by on 08.11.2014, under Bear History Project, News
08.11

As Bear Your Soul week unfolded I relaxed more and more into it. I think I made several friends. The most open dialogs happened at the morning AA meetings with a small circle of five of us—Rainer S., Max C. , Dave D., myself and Justin B.. The BIG missing piece was the sexual connection. I am impotent and without a libido as I found out the first day I played in the hot tub with a guy named Bob, who made himself scarce after that first day. Freddy Freeman and his husband Jay Freeman were amazing powerhouses. Freddy is full of vision and accomplished a major coup with this, the third (and first time in summer) Bear Your Soul. I so many ways it was like bing at a Billy retreat. The mix of men was great, young to od, men of color, otters to Girth and Mirth sized men. Plenty of hair. I fell in love with five different men, but did not have the libido to approach any of them. The facilities were very mich like Saratoga Springs, CA, the Billy Gathering site/propert. Easton mountain has a huge lodge with one very large meeting and performance space room, a dining roon, and serving area off the kitchen, a kitchen, and a he deck off the serving area. They now have a swimming pool nearby. There is a temple, where the AA meetings and kink play took place. They have a motel like lodge, two stories with ten rooms each floor, another large housing area with five bunkbeds, and a few other buildings and a garden and many hiking paths through the woods. Freddy and other residents like on the edge of the retreat center in separate buildings. I did as many of the massage and touch workshops as I could I got in al the hugging and kissing and caressing and massage that I could take in. I am absolutely starved for the touch of other men living here in Cortland. There were singing workshops and belly dancing workshops as well. It was all about fun and connecting with our inner selves, finding our Authentic Being. It was wonderful once I dropped my guard and my old prejudices. It did me a world of good to be among my kindred spirited brothers. It was a mmix between the early 1980s bears and what I experienced in Billy Community. I am so glad I went through the Billy experience and I am thrilled to get in so close to the ground floor of a shift in Bear Consciousness. This is where I was in my thinking when I dropped out of bear community in California and joined the Billies—I wanted to develop a program to bring hear circles and heart-centered community notios to the bear community. Freddy has accomplished this, on a very small scale. But it is a positive start. And we have plans and dreams to take it wider. Before I forget it was great to room with Martin Swinger, the grandfather of bear music. I brought Martin into the first ever bear fundraising concert at Mount Ida back in 2000, along with Ernie Lajoi and a guy we flew in from Seattle, for th second Bear Icons Art Exhibition. And Dave Diet, my friend from Ithaca, was the official photographer. I felt privilegded to be surrounded by old friends and so much talent. I had heard for years about Bearpalooza and finally got to hear them perform on Concert Day. The singers and songs were wonderful. It was very moving. We also had a second Broadway Bears impromptu concert, also fun and moving. Of course the biggest component from my subjective poit of view was being hailed as a community elder and gay/bear pioneer. On Friday night we had a sort of h=town meeting. I gave a brief overview of old-school bears from the 1980s and 1990s, which was a revelation to everyone there. They were amazed to find out how close to what we were doing at Bear your Soul paralleled the spirit and dynamics of the early bears. My presentation was followed by a spirited discussion, with several individuals coming to the front and speaking their experiences and truth. It felt like gay community before we got coopted by the corporations. And I ended with a call to draft a manifesto, which I will informally call the Bear Your Soul Manifesto. Freddy wants to develop Bear Your Soul and take it across the country. He already has accepted an invite to go to rural South Wales to take it to Great Britain. I was presented with a bear flag and a lot of folks signed it to commemorate the event. I elt deeply honored an thrilled; I also felt like it’s over due for people to recognize the pioneering work I did in / for the bear community I still have a very bitter taste in my mouth fior how shitty I was treated in Palm Springs. Those affluenza-infested queens need a wake-up call real bad. My group therapist there was so encouraging of me coming back to Palm Springs once my Disability gets sorted out. I cannot imagine any place I would prefer never to return to. (For a fuller account of my days in Pam Springs and the rest of my life, read my memoirs, currently in preparation.) So I want to end this blog on a very positive note. I look forward to co-writing the manifesto and I look forward to becoming involved in spreading the Bear Your Soul word and facilitating programs in the future. I am retired, albeit poor, so I am free to go anywhere any time as long as I am being financially supported. I thank Freddy and Jay for their amazing work this past week and I love Freddy for his spirit, energy, and vision. He is truly a remarkable individual and I thank him for giving birth to this new regeneration of true bear spirit. May it grow and thrive over time. Posted at Origins Coffeehouse, Homer, NY.

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