In the closing circle of the festival we just attended, the very last bit of information communicated to the group came from a very powerful shaman. He stepped forward into the circle and said the spirits had a few more words for us. It went something like this: “2007 is our year, our year to be true, to not be afraid. It is time.”
The words resonated very deeply with me as about an hour prior to the closing circle, Bruce & I had walked down to the river to each look for a special stone to throw into the river with our intentions for the year. I had found a really nice purplely-looking stone and held it in my hand while meditating my intentions for 2007 which went along the lines of “I am going to stop being afraid, I will push myself forward, 2007 is going to be my year.” I then hurled it into the burbling river and watched it gently sweep away. Release.
Let me back up a bit…………
We’re back now a few days from the six day camping festival we went to over New Year’s weekend blissing out and embracing 2007. Friend Briar invited us along – it’s a festival she’s been going to for over a decade. Not having anything better to do, and wanting to spend more time getting to know her, and since it’s summer in New Zealand (the coldest one on record in 60 years apparently), we decided it would be fun to do.
We didn’t know much about it except that it was a family oriented, non drug and alcohol event, complete with two prepared vegetarian meals per day and offered some kind of workshops. Called ConvergenceOneFamily, the event has been held for the last twenty years in a place aptly called Journey’s End, about an hour north of Christchurch.
We went with no expectations.
We were blown away on so many levels.
First, just from a practical point of view, the event was incredibly well orchestrated. About a dozen or so folks served on the committee (named the Heartbeat) for the past year, planning and organizing for the event that would host approximately 300 adults and 50+ children. There were three fields in which folks could set up camp, two small buildings with dorm rooms, one main building which served as the central commissary and a little chill space, a small chapel, seven marquee/tents set up for workshops, and some portaloos and compost toilettes, all situated in very serene and beautiful surroundings in the foothills of Loburn. A beautiful small stream/river ran through the property in which folks could swim and there was a nicely constructed sauna conveniently built near one of the swimming holes. Peaceful.
From an emotional and spiritual level, we were really amazed at what transpired over the six days. The concept was that everyone was there with loving intentions which I believe they were. This was a family – the horn would sound each morning and also before each meal calling the family together to the main marquee. Folks would generally circle up and announcements would be made for the coming day – info on what workshops were being given, info on any activity anyone wanted to organize, info on how someone was feeling. When meals were being served (no small undertaking to feed 350 people all at once), and the tables were being prepared, the group would circle up, hold hands, and sing some songs.
It took me a day or two to realize that the majority of folks there were involved in the spiritual/healing professions and many offered to give a workshop on some topic of their expertise.
If this all sounds a bit foo-foo or too ‘hippy’ish’, I am here to tell you it wasn’t. On the surface, if you looked around, we were all just ordinary people, camping together for the weekend. However, if your heart was open and you scratched just underneath the surface, you realized you were surrounded by an incredibly loving and talented group of people who shared similar ideals and thoughts about community, the world, and the way we need to be in it. There was an incredible undercurrent of energy and openness and one couldn’t help but be sucked into its vortex and be affected by it.
At first I wasn’t sure how to respond. I generally, and more so in unfamiliar situations, tend to be an observer, quietly watching others, reflecting inward, not usually willing to ‘put myself out there’ to strangers, especially when what you are ‘putting out there’ is your true self, your soul, your heart. I’ve been so curious about alternative healing modalities for a while now, reading up on and exploring things (like Reiki) at a very slow pace. Suddenly I was surrounded by people who thought nothing about channeling to past lives, talking in tongue with nature spirits, or carrying on conversation with a ‘seer’, a rather sweet, but sometimes awkward man who would often burst out with things like ‘I see two white horses, one spotted, with an Indian chief standing behind you. Don’t worry, it’s alright, they’re safe.” Beautiful.
When is the last time you gazed for any length of time into someone’s eyes? A complete strangers’ eyes? I attended two workshops (one on communication, the other on five rhythms of dance) where we had to spend a few minutes a piece going around to people and look into their eyes and either carry out a discussion or dance with them. Let me tell you, after dancing with 25+ people, looking into their eyes, laughing and smiling, my heart felt filled with happiness and love. During the closing circle as we circled around, singing songs that made me well up with tears, gazing into each persons eyes, I again felt this intense loving energy which has me convinced we have the power to make the world a better place. Intentions.
I attended a workshop on past lives, which really didn’t end up being about past lives, but more focused on a past negative event which one wanted to ‘clear’ and come to resolution on – the instructor guided us through a really neat meditation/visualization that totally worked for me and for many of the participants. I went to a vocal healing workshop where the instructor had us choose a negative and positive feeling, associate a sound to it, stand in the middle of a circle and emote it, and then the group would emote the sound three times with you. I was petrified to participate in this but she made it clear that if you chose to stay for the workshop you could not leave during it. I stayed. I pushed myself. I was afraid. I cried, I found my voice. I was incredibly moved by the negative feelings people shared, feelings of frustration, grief, anger, abandonment, loneliness, sadness, resentment. And made to smile with the positive emotions people desperately wanted to feel: joy, happiness, calmness, peace. It totally worked, we all felt better afterwards. The universe knows. Trust.
Briar and two of her friends hosted a workshop on sacred sensuality. I won’t say much about it here, but ask me about it next time I see you cuz it deserves to be talked about. I pushed myself far for this one, was nervous, and surprised myself at how well I responded and how much I enjoyed myself. Thank you Briar, John, and Jax for creating an amazing space within which one could feel safe to push their boundaries and question convention. Namaste.
I could go on and on, but I must stop now. Bruce came up with a good metaphor for the event….. Burning Man represents the yin (creative chaos), Convergence represents the yang (loving creative intent) – both are mind blowing, both tap into the heart and soul in different ways, both should be experienced.
We are circling, circling together,
We are singing, singing our heartsong,
This is family,
This is unity,
This is celebration,
This is sacred.
This is my year.
This is our year.
It has been said and so it shall be so.