SESSION TITLE: Gender, Power, Sexuality
Convenor: Sura Hart, Doug Dolstad
Recorder: Peter Vennewitz
Others present: 20 women, 9 men


The first 45 minutes were spent sharing about the two day retreat on this topic which was held last year at Seabeck. Ten men and ten women were involved. About six members of the original group were present in this group. Several shared how powerful, moving, transformative, and hopeful they experienced one exercise to be. As remaining time did not seem sufficient to repeat the exercise, the group choose to do an alternative suggested by Liv Monroe, who subsequently facilitated the exercise.

The exercise involved each man and each woman writing on a slip of paper what he or she would like to hear from a member of the other sex. The women then sat in a circle and the men moved around the circle whispering in the ear of every woman one of the statements written by a woman. Some men went around to the circle twice.

The men and women then switched places, and the women went around the circle and whispered in the ear of every man. Some women took turns repeated what a man had written, because there weren't enough statements from the men for every woman to have her own to repeat.

The statements the women indicated they would like to hear said to them were as follows (Three or four women did not write a statement or did not stay through this exercise, thus there are only 17 statements.):

1. I cherish you and there is nothing I would like to change in you.
2. You are so beautiful. What can I do to show you my love?
3. Wow! What a great idea! How did you come up with that?
4. I love your kind of beauty. I feel beautiful around you. I am ready to explore with you.
5. I'd like to know your inner dreams.
6. I never tire of being with you--you enchant me.
7. I truly treasure you. Each act, each word, each breath fills my heart, and nurtures my soul.
8. I love your body.
9. I wouldn't change a thing about you.
10. I'll hold you and comfort you for as long as you'd like.
11. Come dance and sing and play in the water with me.
12. You are adorable, Darling.
13. Would you please sit down with me and tell me stories about your life?
14. I would be happy to meet your needs.
15. I totally enjoy being with you -- it's exciting, fun, intriguing and challenging.
16. I accept you.
17. I want to know what's alive in you.

The statements the men indicated they would like to hear said to them were (Some men wrote more than one statement so fewer women would have to share.):

1. I won't stereotype you.
2. No matter what I say, I only want you to do what you want to do.
3. I believe in your power to generate and nurture life.
4. I appreciate hearing from you exactly what you want.
5. I really see how important that is to you.
6. Thank you for your willingness to be open, present, and speaking your truth and hearing mine.
7. Thank you for making my life more wonderful.
8. I love you inside and out, all that you are in my world.
9. I love you: your care and kindness, your strength and your passion, your love of life.
10. I like you cock.
11. I like the way you look.
12. I want to be honored as a man.
13. You are enough just how you are.

The last ten minutes were spent discussing the experience. Only one negative experience was shared.