Ade Adeniji and Darren Brady, Founders of The Quest, talk about the Weekend Workshop for Gay Men.
During the weekend we will be Investigating the past, Exploring the present, Releasing the pain and toxicity of the past and present, and Cultivating the awareness and tools to enable an authentic and nurturing present and future.
Closing date for registrations is Fri 28 March. Continue Reading →
Some see us as a voice of reason, others as Life Coaches or a sounding board. Most see us as a powerful and engaging platform to connect with an extraordinary caliber of gay men who are looking beyond the emotional wounds, baggage and other hang-ups that can impact our everyday lives.
We believe the true value of our work can be found in the lives of the participants, so our approach is as flexible, diverse and authoritive as you want it to be.
The Exploration is held over 2.5 days – Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday; along with a newly introduced follow-up Friday evening, three weeks after the initial Exploration. The journey is exhilarating and life-changing but also intense, revealing, nurturing and profound, all experienced from within the comfort of a safe and intimate environment.
This interactive, fun and engaging one-day workshop for Gay Men is all about (re)connecting and (re)aligning with your Unconditional/True Self, and allowing that aspect of You to come forth – without Shame or Judgement; but with Love, Joy, Integrity and Passion.
Date: Saturday 10 May 2014
Time: 10.00am – 5.30pm Continue Reading →
Ade: Beige Magazine recently ran an article with the headline ‘Gays need to grow up‘ and it struck a cord with many people. What were your thoughts on seeing the headline?
Sunny: Well it’s been something that I have been thinking about for quite a while and the article just prompted me to talk to you about it. Why do gay men have this perceived attitude of not wanting to grow up? The article gave some interesting insights, but I think the issue is much deeper than they were willing to go.
Ade: Yes, I had thought about the theme recently too; I was getting ready to go out and had caught sight of myself in the mirror and for a minute or so I wondered whether what I was wearing was ‘age appropriate’.
But don’t you think that for many gay men, particularly those without children, it feels like time is frozen and we are forever young?
Sunny: I think that is only a tiny part of the argument. Sure children and any responsibility like that will make you “grow up” – but lots of straight people don’t have kids and their behaviour can be very different. Continue Reading →
We are conscious that this time of year is often a time of reflection and anticipation. We therefore felt it would be a lovely idea to kick start 2014 with a blog post featuring some of the gay men who have journeyed with The Quest. We hope that by sharing their responses we can highlight that we all connected and ‘wired for connection’; even though our journeys might often take us on different paths.
We asked the men to complete the four statements below:
Our intention for The Quest has always been to provide a platform that enables Gay Men to transform their lives; so that they can embrace Life from a place of authentic self-expression, compassion and fulfillment – this in turn helps facilitate a healthy and nurturing gay community.
2013 has been a beautiful year for The Quest and we have journeyed with many amazing gay men. Some of the highlights from 2013 included: Continue Reading →
I am from a sea-side town in Sicily. Christmas is one of the few times of the year when I get to come back and spend time with my family. There’s lots of noise, lots of bickering, lots of talking of who’s eating what and who’s driving who to the shops, lots of talk about nothing. My parents show affection by filling the fridge. Today for lunch it was savoury pastries, fries, aubergine lasagne, lentils pasta, chicken escalope and a slice of panettone. I have to remember to go back to the gym when I come back to London.
There is still so much I haven’t said to them, yet so much that I have allowed them to see of who I am. I love my parents, they provided for me, made sure my belly was always full and bought me toys and clothes and gave me pretty much everything I ever asked. We weren’t very good at talking about feelings, we brushed things under the carpet. When I was 8 years old I walked inside the bathroom to find my sister unconscious; she had tried to commit suicide. We never talked about it since. If we didn’t talk about it, it didn’t exist, it never happened. Continue Reading →
Today at 4.37pm Scott, aged 5, looked at a Christmas brochure and pointed to a doll set. It includes ‘realistic’ doll, clothes, hair accessories and a dressing table. His eyes lit up and he jabbed the picture shouting “me, me, me for Mistmas ”
It was 10.14 am when Jason, aged 12, spotted David in to school corridor. Heart beating, Jason approached and stuttered…”See you at morning break?”
Dwayne, aged 8 has made a Xmas card for his teacher Mr Brown. His pen hovers over the greeting he is writing inside. He hesitates before writing “love” in front of the “from Dwayne” Continue Reading →
Published by The Quest, ‘Love Me As I Am’ is an anthology of 24 biographies and letters written by gay men as they reflect on the childhood experiences that shaped their lives. The book speaks hard truths, and echoes a prevailing message of hope that promises to reach much further than the gay community and has the potential to leave a lasting impression on every reader — irrespective of his or her sexual orientation.
This Christmas Season, get the book gift wrapped and posted to you. Continue Reading →
Building on the theme of our popular ‘Getting clear on Sex and Intimacy’ one-day workshop, this interactive, fun and engaging WorkOUT is all about delving beneath the surface of our needs and wants when it comes to Love, Sex and Connection.
As part of our one-day exploration, we will be using some of the guideposts within three insightful books: Loveability: Knowing how to love and be Loved (Robert Holden), How to be an Adult in Love (David Richo) and Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men (Robert Weiss).
Date: Saturday 11 January 2014
Time: 10.00am – 5.30pm Continue Reading →
Short documentary following Ade Adeniji, Co-Founder of The Quest and Paul Woodward, international theatre practitioner and academic, as they prepare for their two separate one-man storytelling performances, ‘Killing My Mother’ and ‘Fathers & Feathers.’
The performances were developed in collaboration with The Quest and premiered at The Pinter Theatre, in London, on 5 October 2013.
In this conflab, Ade Adeniji, Co-Founder of The Quest and Sunny Bahra, a previous participant of The Quest workshops, talk about the journey of black/Asian gay men and the importance of having conversations about race, culture & sexuality.
Ade: As you know, The Quest is co-organising an event this coming Friday titled “The Rainbow Intersection – a dialogue about Race, Culture & Sexuality in Modern Britain“. The intention of the event is to engage people in a conversation about multiple identities.
I’ve heard some say there is no need for such events, for the UK is now considered progressive when it comes to issues around sexuality. What’s your take on this?
Sunny: I think it’s incredibly important. The UK is leading the way as an integrated multi-cultural country. It’s because of this that I think we can and need to have conversations about race and sexuality. Lets face it racism exists, whether it’s in Europe or in Africa. It’s another significant layer of shame that we, as gay men of colour, can feel. Continue Reading →
This interactive, fun and engaging one-day workshop – with insights from ‘The Untethered Soul‘ – is all about confronting the self-saboteur and investigating the limiting beliefs still holding you back in living a life of authentic self expression.
Date: Saturday 9 November 2013
Time: 10.00am – 5.30pm
David, a previous participant of The Quest Workshops, recently performed on stage in the autobiographical storytelling piece ‘The Haunting’, here he reflects on his journey with the production.
When I first said I’d participate in The Haunting, I had no idea what it would open up, where it would lead and what I would confront during the process.
After my first meeting with our director Paul Woodward, the subject of my ‘haunting’ shifted and I saw that it was really about my relationship with sex and money. It was a surprising revelation at first and then I started to see how it wasn’t always about that directly, but more about having sex always be something ‘in exchange’ for something else.
I looked at the significant relationships in my life – and I saw how I was almost always the one supporting the other guy, financially or materially. Sometimes, it was really blatant – as with the straight guy who I met when I first moved to New York in 1975: I literally paid his rent, bought him a piano, moved him to L.A. with me – all with the unfulfilled ‘promise’ of sex that actually only happened 11 years later after he was married with children! And then, I asked myself ‘that’s all there was to it?’ Continue Reading →
Thank You to all those who voted for The Quest and got us shortlisted for the Homo Hero Business of the Year award!
There were 600 nominations and we were runners up for our category. We are especially proud that we were the only non North West organisation to be up for an award.
The important aspect of this acknowledgement is that we are now getting known outside of London and having met The Lesbian and Gay Foundation in Manchester we will be looking to deliver our workshop up north – achieving one of our other major intentions!
It was an inspiring evening and we thank you for making our presence known.
Ade: So, 11th October is celebrated as National Coming Out Day and the theme for this year is ‘Coming Out Still Matters’ – what does that theme mean to you?
Darren: For me ‘coming out’ represents something different from the ‘one off’ event many of us consider it. I think that every day we make choices of whether we allow ourselves to be seen and I consider these moments ‘coming out moments’. So it may be talking about our partners, about wanting to find a boyfriend, a book we are reading or even something about a hobby we have. It can be subtle moments where we are faced with a choice – shall I be expressed or shall I divert, go silent, retreat. Continue Reading →
Ade: I’m really looking forward to our conversation, as the subject is one I am sure many gay men can relate to. I think a good place to start is the recent survey by Grindr, which said that — “Out of 2,000+ respondents, an overwhelming 77% of them [gay men] want to get married someday (and 4% of respondents already are married)….” What were your initial thoughts when you saw that?
Francois: I get stuck here: “an overwhelming 77% of them want to get married someday”. This clearly shows that gay guys are looking for a lasting connection with one other person, which is in stark contrast of the image of gay men in the gay-and-mainstream media depicted as a bunch of half-naked exhibitionists who party hard 4 days of the week and having numerous sexual partners.
However, it will be interesting to know if those who participated in the survey hoped to meet their potential life partners on an app like Grindr, or on other similar gay hook-up sites. Continue Reading →
In July, the Southbank hosted a discussion and debate chaired by Matthew Todd, Editor of Attitude magazine, looking at whether there is a problem with Drink, Drugs and Sex for Gay Men. Francois Lubbe, Editor of The Quest publication ‘Love Me As I Am‘ and The Quest Co- Founder, Darren Brady went along and this conflab took place a few days later.
Darren – So Francois, how did you feel during the discussion?
Francois - I was hoping to hear a solution-driven discussion, since most of the panel members had already engaged in similar discussions in the past. The fact is, as a gay man, I can see that there is a problem within our community in terms of destructive behaviour and how it affects our community. In my view this is beginning to take on epidemic proportions.
D – Yes I agree. I wanted to hear more about the root causes of this behaviour and less about what the behaviour was. It felt like we were describing the problem and not considering ways forward. A bit like listening to the music being played on the deck of the Titanic. Do you think that it is difficult having a solution driven conversation? Continue Reading →
There are two distinct and very different stories being told about the experience of being gay in the UK in 2013 and the difference in these stories could not be more stark.
On the one hand, we have the positives – the soon to be legal status of gay marriage, established civil partnerships, increased visibility in the press and media, an equal age of consent, mainstream support for positive role model and anti bullying work, cross-party support for gay equality, the effective treatment of HIV, governments globally legalising equality and gay marriage, increased openness about sexual identity from public figures and gay parenting becoming widespread. This picture has lead to some naturally optimistic assumptions that things are looking good and that being gay is no longer an issue for those lucky enough to live in a progressive United Kingdom. It is a picture and a set of assumptions we all so desperately want to believe. And it is a picture that is so at odds with all the data available that demonstrates so alarmingly the state of Gay mens’ mental health both in the UK and around the world. Continue Reading →
Ernesto Moreno, Darren Brady and Ade Adeniji recently sat down for an interview with Brené Brown to talk about her work as it relates to the lives of gay men. Here Ade shares his reflections on the journey to meeting Brené.
I remember being filled with such excitement and anticipation when in early April I discovered that Brené Brown was coming to London to give a talk at The School of Life. I immediately posted the details on Facebook, and notified a few of the guys who had journeyed with The Quest about the event. Since discovering Brené’s work via her TED talks, Darren and myself had often referred to her research in our work with gay men on the issue of shame, vulnerability and courage.
I got out my diary to put in the date and then noticed that I had another engagement on the same day, which I could not get out of – or could I? I was in the process of starting a monthly group coaching session in June, and our second session would clash with the Brené event. I debated whether to move the session, but everything was already in place and so I gradually settled to the possibility of the talk making its way to YouTube and seeing it there.
Few weeks later as Ernesto told me that he had his ticket for The School of Life event, I silently debated whether I could take my coaching group for an outing to see Brené, but by that stage the tickets were all gone. ‘Oh well, that’s that’ I thought! Continue Reading →
Ernesto Moreno, Darren Brady and Ade Adeniji recently sat down for an interview with Brené Brown to talk about her work as it relates to the lives of gay men. Here Darren shares his reflections on the journey to meeting Brené .
There are moments in life where reality meets a dream. The moment someone agrees to a date, we hold the keys of our new home in our hand, we look into the eyes of our new born child for the first time, we open the letter containing the results of our hard earned qualification. These moments can be large or small, outwardly major or seemingly insignificant but they contain a magic where suddenly what we imagined becomes possible, what we dreamed of emerges in front of our eyes. And so it was for me on the day we met Brene Brown.
A few days before we received confirmation that Brene would be able to meet us during her upcoming trip to the UK, a friend had sent me an Internet link to one of her famous Ted talks. Ade and I had just completed one of our foundation weekend workshopsand as I watched this talk I had the repeated realisation that almost everything she was saying was the same as what we were doing with the gay men who had just completed the workshop. It was as though her last 12 years of research was being plugged directly into what we were exploring within our workshop. Continue Reading →
Ernesto Moreno, Darren Brady and Ade Adeniji recently sat down for an interview with Brené Brown to talk about her work as it relates to the lives of gay men. Here Ernesto shares his reflections on the journey to meeting Brené .
Since I was a young teenager, I have been reading lots of personal development and psychology books. Throughout all these years I have come across wonderful books, those that change us and leave a profound impact in us. Brene’s latest book ‘Daring Greatly’ is definitely one of these wonderful books. Sometimes I even say that ‘Daring Greatly’ is probably the best book I have ever read – and yes, I know that is quite a statement to make!
I am also aware that how good a book is, depends highly on where we are in life at the time we read such book and it’s normally a very subjective matter. A book that can be great for me is not necessarily as good for someone else. I believe this is the result of how well we can relate to the book personally. If the book resonates with something we are going through or have experienced before, then the better the book is. It is like if the book was directly speaking to us. This is also why when we read a book again some time later we discover complete new meanings, because we are now reading it with a different state of mind. And this is probably why ‘Daring Greatly’ was such a good read for me; because it came at the right time and it relates to things I have gone through; and I continue to go through. Continue Reading →
Brené Brown PhD, LMSW is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestsellers Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection. She is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and has spent the last 12 years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.
Brené became a global sensation after her TEDx Houston talk on The Power of Vulnerability went viral and became one of the most watched talks on TED.com with over 10 million views. In 2012, she returned to TED and gave the closing talk – Listening to Shame – at the Conference in Long Beach. Brené and her work have been heavily featured in media all around the world, and Oprah recently interviewed her on Super Soul Sunday.
In our work at The Quest we spend time exploring shame and how it relates to the journey of gay men. Brené defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” In her research, Brené found that shame is highly correlated with addiction, violence and depression and that this ‘shame’ is ultimately what prevents people from ‘Wholehearted living’, which she defines as the ability to engage in our lives from a place of worthiness, and feel love and belonging.
Brené explains that for us to feel love and belonging, we need to embrace vulnerability, share our story and let ourselves be seen; this is the essence of our Weekend Exploration Workshop for Gay Men and lies at the heart of The Quest.
We sat down with Brené on her recent visit to London to discuss the insights from her research as it relates to the lives of gay men. Continue Reading →
Ade: Around the world, the Gay Pride season has truly begun! When you think of Pride what comes up for you?
Darren: Pride for me has always been synonymous with being within a large group – a sense of being the ‘majority’ for a day. I remember the feeling of walking on the marches with thousands of other LGBT people and looking at members of the public on the pavement and thinking ‘the roles have been reversed’.
It created such a wave of confidence in me. How about you?
Ade: Yes, I feel the same. I always equate Pride with ‘the day being gay is celebrated’. I went to my first Pride in 1995 in London. I was still in the closet and had tagged along with some gay friends – out of curiosity. I remember calling them to ask if I could come along and feeling a sense of shame about asking. On getting there, I wanted to be ‘Out & Proud’ like everyone else, but remembered feeling unworthy and deeply flawed about being gay… 12 months later, I was out and proud, and a steward at the 1996 London Pride – from Shame to Pride!!! Continue Reading →
When I was in Thailand recently a very powerful thing happened to me. Bear with me as this may sound a little strange… my body started talking to me.
Many times before on holidays I have made it a routine to go running along the beach and this time was no exception. I found myself jogging, barefoot along the beach and I could suddenly hear my body talking.
“oh, this feels gooooood ” it told me, “I really needed this, I need to move through space”
It was a different sounding voice to the one I was used to. That voice said things like -
“oh, ok, were going running but not too far. Look for a marker in the distance and that’s as far was we will go and then turn back. Let’s not overdo it”.
This voice was absent. Continue Reading →
On Wednesday 22 May we held our first Bitesize event. The Quest Bitesize is an evening designed exclusively for The Quest graduates to come together and explore issues relevant to their journey of authenticity, reconnect with other graduates and to learn and discover new things that can facilitate their journey of self-discovery and authenticity. In a way, it is an evening that is aimed to reignite the passion that brought us together in the first place.
“As a gay, you understand that while you’ll always find peers who allow you to be exactly as queeny as you are, there is still a social hierarchy that puts a premium on masculinity. Tops are valued. “Straight-acting” is a badge of pride, despite the term’s corrosiveness…”
What comes up for you when you digest that?
You must know the feeling. You go through your drawers and find an old favourite shirt you’ve forgotten about. You think: “Gosh, I wondered where this had gone. I thought I’d lost it.” When you put it on and look in the mirror, it still fits like a dream and looks smashing.
That’s how I felt when I recently landed back on the ‘dating scene’ — pleasantly curious and ready to strut my stuff. With 40 around the corner and because I’m wary of repeating old patterns, I was a bit apprehensive too despite my enthusiasm.
Nowadays, gay men are certainly spoiled for choice when it comes to how we can connect with other guys. The obvious and easy choices are online dating sites and smartphone apps. I’ve tried both and I know they offer loads to look at and hold the alluring promise of immediate gratification, but they’re also time-consuming. I mean really, how many frogs can one man kiss? Continue Reading →