“The beginning is always today.”
— Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
I feel this quote in my body as I write this. I am filled with hope and excitement as approach our 40th anniversary as a school and our 4th anniversary as a nonprofit, and we have begun planning the celebration. Whatever the headwinds we have faced, together, we have always overcome them.
Planning the celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the Body Electric School is more than just marking this great milestone. It is marking the Season of Light, igniting our torch with love and community. It will be our spring, our recommitment to the power of eros and its relationship to the sacred. The same beacon that warmed us in the AIDS crisis will be there for all LGBTQIA folx and our straight allies. The school that brought you experiences to inspire and transform so many will be here for you for more moments that lead to testimonials like these.
This was quite possibly the most healing single thing I’ve ever done for myself.
The workshop was transformative! My boundaries were expanded. I reached levels of erotic sensations that exceeded everything that I had previously experienced or imagined possible. However, my spiritual revelation exceeded my erotic.
I loved the experience and I want/need to write it out. I am a new woman, on a new path, and BE was my maiden voyage on this new path of growth. I’m meeting me for the first time, my fully integrated body, soul and mind.
I’m shocked at how much healing I experienced, I thought I was going to the retreat to sink deeply into my body and my erotic life, which I did. But I also experienced healing of something that has been in my consciousness for my entire life. I was able to access and face a part of myself that has forever been terrifying and untouchable. I am deeply grateful.
We are planning a Body Electric version of Story Corps, recording the stories of our community members to preserve the many transformative experiences people have had through the school over the last decades. More information on this soon.
We would also like to start using photos from our community members for our website. Who better to represent us than us? If you would like to participate in these efforts, we will be following up with more information soon.
We would like to make the 40th anniversary more than just celebrations. It is an opportunity to expand our work to be more inclusive and equitable while reaffirming our roots. This is the time when we can ensure the stability of the school for decades to come.
Body Electric is hosting “associated workshops” from BE Faculty and guest facilitators. These workshops are related to the work of BE but are not our core offerings. Coming up are Boundless Joy Arising: A Self-Pleasuring Workshop, Intro to Rope Bondage Playshop , and Moving Into Intimacy
Two more firsts this year!
In keeping with our commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, we are hosting two new events for Body Electric this spring and summer, and I am very excited to announce them: a BIPOC women’s event in Vancouver, Celebrating the Body Erotic for BIPOC Women, and a BIPOC men’s mini-intensive called Awakening our Colorful Souls.
Celebrating the Body Erotic for BIPOC Women is Body Electric’s first program for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) women — an affinity space to discover the joy and pleasure that can be birthed when shame and fear are cast aside. Elisa Lee will facilitate this event, and Ax Love is coordinating. This is happening on June 9-11 as a non-residential event in Vancouver.
There will be an exploration of how the white dominant culture has influenced the erotic life of BIPOC women and how they can claim sovereignty in embodying the phrase, “My body is for me, my sexuality is mine to define, and pleasure is mine.”
The men’s event will follow up on last year’s first BIPOC men’s CBE and be facilitated by Andre Martin and JoJo Bear. It will be held at the Bodhi Manda Zen Center in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, outside Sante Fe. Awakening our Colorful Souls is an opportunity to be in an erotic communal space with other BIPOC men. This workshop is open to all men of color.
In this intensive, there will be the opportunity to be in a sacred community while being led through full-bodied rituals at the peaceful Zen Center, home to natural hot springs.
Men will connect communally through language, touch, breathwork, and ritual. The intention is for participants to strengthen their embodied stories and take up as much space as they can as BIPOC men in a nurturing and safe environment.
This is an opportunity for men of color to be in an environment where they can feel free to express themselves equally and hold space for their wounds in a heart-centered container. In this intensive, there will be genital and anal massage, breathwork, and even some optional BDSM practice, all in a dedicated space being held by other men of color.
This experience is a beginner/intermediate intensive. It is a combination of our longest-running offering, Celebrating the Body Erotic, with some pieces from other Body Electric School intensives. It is important for the school and the facilitators that we spend time building a safe and roomy environment so that participants can be seen, heard, and touched fully.
These two events will have online meet and greets scheduled beforehand so people can meet the facilitators and get their questions answered about the workshops. The BIPOC women’s CBE meet and greets are on April 20 and May 11. The men’s will be on May 21st at 4 ET \.
For more information email: email@example.com
QUARTERLY BOARD SUMMARY: Q1 2023 by Charlie McFarland.
Our annual board of directors ‘year’ starts at the March meeting, and, with a couple of by-law changes, we were able to expand the number of directors to twelve, offering greater diversity and representation of our BE community.
Late last year, director Matt Loper departed the board, and we are all grateful for his energy, commitment, and many contributions to the Body Electric School. Kristy Lowther has moved from a stint of board service to a new staff position as Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI), in itself the outcome of how much work the board’s JEDI+ committee has done, to position this vital work within the operations of the school.
In January and February, we “filled out” those positions, plus one vacant one, with Willow Young, Pawel (“Pavi”) Lorkiewicz, and Alexx (“Goose”) Pryjma, and – in March – welcomed our twelfth member, Paul Gilles.
They join Mario Burrell, Donald Dumpson, Mike Galan, Eric Lange, and Gabriela Love. Our new board executive committee, as of March, sees Suzanne Blackburn remain as President and Ezra Lowe as Treasurer, with Charlie McFarland moving into the Vice-President position and Pavi joining as Secretary.
A full complement, raring to go, with much work to do in an important year, growing, stabilizing the organization, and looking forward to our 40th anniversary next year!
We also elected new (and sometimes continuing) board committees and chairs to bring policy issues and advice to the full board, and here are those ‘chairs::
Strategic Planning: Mike
40th Anniversary: Tom Kovach
As many of you know, our Executive Director Search Committee completed its work of receiving applications and interviewing several candidates and recommended to the full board that we offer the permanent position to Tom, who has served an “interim” year. The board gladly and unanimously accepted the recommendation and just as gladly welcomed Tom’s acceptance! We’re so grateful for Tom’s strengths, his wide range of management experience, his team-building skills, and his passion and commitment for Body Electric, and will therefore continue to put up with his sense of humor and his USS Enterprise flight deck zoom backgrounds.
Briefly, a couple more things to let our members and community know about:
We received recommendations from our Ambassadors group to update our Code of Ethics to reflect our increasing diversity and gladly adopted them as Body Electric policy. We made a special push to acknowledge our major donors ($250+) with handwritten and heartfelt thank-yous. And we are hoping, eventually, to get a long-desired retreat with board and faculty members together – with so many new faces on both teams and with so much new energy and passion, we can’t wait to bring our visions together. Plus, the 40th-anniversary committee (Tom + Eric, Willow, and Pavi) are eager to hear suggestions as to ways to celebrate in 2024.
Although our March “membership month” is just over, we encourage all of our community to become Body Electric School members and join us in supporting the School by donating once per year or on an ongoing monthly basis.