Quarterly Review: January 1 – March 31, 2012

Kiwiburn, Luminate Festival, Dreamspell Calendar; Yoga Nidra; Vasumi; Hermitage, Mount Cook, Hooker Valley, Ellerslie Flower Show, Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions, Karen McGrath, EarthHealer,

Well, as usual, there’s just not enough time to write regularly.   I’ve finally got a few days now with a wee little bit of downtime, so here comes a post or two recapturing what’s been going on over the last few months.

January flew by as we prepared and then left for the north island for Kiwiburn.  We were gone from the 15th to 25th of January, making the 24 hour journey to and from the site at Whakamaru Domain in Taupo District Council.    This was our sixth Kiwiburn and it was by far my hardest.   Being part of the Committee and crew means that one is almost never off duty, even if one is not officially on-duty!    The crew suffered from lack of enough volunteers which taxed the workload of those on duty.  A few not-so-good things occurred which kept us all busy and left us with a long list of improvements that need to be made for next year.

However, from a participant standpoint, the festival was a huge success and we maintained our population numbers with 536 attendees.   There were lots of daytime activities and lots of good fun to be had in the evenings with Illuminati, Headless Duck, and Balrogs Playpen throwing down the beats.   The Green Fairy hosted another successful opening party with around 200 people in attendance and the wait at the bar for an absinthe drink was at least seven people deep.  People just love the black lights and love to adorn themselves with black light paint.    Always a winner.

We also hosted the first ever Green Fairy Gong Show Karaoke.   Based on the 1970’s US television show, The Gong Show, we had contestants perform karaoke of choice and three judges watched and rated and had the opportunity to gong folks who were not cutting the mustard.    About 40 people turned out for this Friday afternoon event and even I, shy me, got up there and belted out my best “Build Me Up Buttercup” and managed not to get gonged!

The artwork this year exceeded expectations with the Man being its biggest ever and requiring full community assistance in getting him erected into place; and the Temple, made out of driftwood and formed like a seashell, just blew people’s minds.  It was awesome to sit contemplatively inside it and ponder is structural feat.   The burning of these two iconic symbols went without a hitch and were massively fun.

We had a few journalists on site, one of whom produced quite a lovely video about Kiwiburn.  You can see this one and others on our Kiwiburn video channel here:

Only back to Wainui for a week, we then shot up to the top of the south island, to Takaka Hill to attend the Luminate Festival which I’d been wanting to go to for years.   It’s another spiritually, sustainable, and community oriented festival with various musical stages and performances at night, and several marquees hosting very interesting talks during the day.    I went to several talks on nutrition based on the research of Weston A Price and on the Mayan Dreamspell Calendar; I did a yoga class; and I participated in Yoga Nidra, a guided meditation which is supposed to take you into conscious deep REM sleep.   It was all lovely, especially since we got to camp with our mates Steph, Tom, Steve, and Shona, all of whom we hadn’t seen in quite some time.  There were also a bunch of Kiwiburn folks in attendance so it had that ‘family’ feel despite being 1500 to 2000 in attendance.

Back to Wainui, we then hosted woofer week 1 from Feb 12th – 20th  about which I wrote a previous post.

Next saw a dear and long-standing friend of mine, Sinead, fly out from San Francisco for a weeks’ visit with me from Feb 22 – 29th.    We spent a few days in Wainui, heading over to Akaroa for a day of kayaking and birthday celebratory lunch.   It was the first time I’d gotten in a kayak here on the Akaroa harbour and it was quite peaceful and fun to paddle around the secluded bays and inlets.   We saw two dolphins and lots of little fish.

We then went on a road trip to Mt Cook which is about a four hour drive from Christchurch.  We splurged and spent two nights at the Hermitage in Mount Cook, the fancy hotel in the tiny Mt. Cook Village where most rooms have stellar views of ol’ Mt Cook should it choose to show its face.  We upgraded to a pretty nice room and Mt. Cook did not disappoint us.  Both evenings we were treated to the most amazing sunsets on the mountain.   Sipping wine and eating cheese & crackers, we captured some stunning photographs.

During the day we did the Hooker Valley and Glacier walks.   The highlight though had to be the helicopter ride we did around Mt. Cook, landing on a small ice pad on a mountain equally high but across from Mt. Cook.   It truly ranks up there as one of my all time favorite things I’ve ever done.    Thank you Sinead!

Back home for a week and then it was time for us to host the Kiwiburn Executive Committee Summit weekend at our place in Wainui but not before my friend Tobi & I spent the day at the Ellerslie Flower Show on March 7th – the annual gardening show of the year for Christchurch.  This was my third time going in the last five years and it was still fun – loads of showcase landscaped designs;  free food samples;  free plants and seeds; and heaps of gardening-related vendors to poke one’s nose around their tables.  We came home with lots of goodies!

But back to the ExCom weekend.  Five ExCom members flew down from Wellington and Auckland, joining three of us from Christchurch for a weekend pow wow from March 8 – 12th.   Folks started flying in on Thursday afternoon with the remainder coming on Friday evening.   We also had a young Chinese woofer named Lulu stay with us for the week to assist with cooking and cleaning for our large group.

Again, the white board came in handy as we jotted down all the things we wanted/needed to talk about for our two day work gathering.   As you can see from the photo, this was not for the faint of heart.   Many, many, many hours of discussion ensued ‘officially’ on Saturday and Sunday and of course, being who we are, we ‘unofficially’ kept talking about Kiwiburn throughout the rest of our time together.    Emma, recently new to the Committee, was a superstar, keeping the Minutes of the meeting (for you curious readers, you can see our summary minutes here on the Kiwiburn forums)

We are a merry band and do enjoy each others’ company.   Lulu made an awesome meal for us on Saturday night complete with homemade venison dumplings.   Hmmm, hmmmm, good!   We all managed to belt out some karaoke and go on a few walks down to the beach and the surrounds.    All in all an excellent bonding weekend!   Now if we can just tackle the list of ‘to dos’ that came out of our gathering!

A week later and it was time for the next batch of woofers to come which I just posted about.  They were here from March 20 – 27th.

Then a mad rush back to Christchurch where Bruce & I went to a lecture on nourishing traditions by Sally Fallon.   This is worth a post in itself which I don’t know if I’ll get to, but at a minimum, the reader should look at this link.

Oh, in between the crazy weeks of the last month, I also managed to squeeze in two short courses on herbal nutrition and medicine.   This is an area I want to pursue and I found a great teacher in Karen McGrath, an herbalist and more.   I have learned so much about herbs that my head is swimming in all the details, but we came away with many seedling samples which will be perfect additions to our food forest garden.  I can’t wait to put the learning to practice!

And there you have it. My life – fragmented, highly stimulating, and immensely rich.  It’s exhausting at times to keep up this pace and I’ve been feeling it lately.  I am often tired – both physically and emotionally and I’m starting to look at ways to make it more stable and calm though I don’t know if that is possible given the lifestyle we’ve created for ourselves.   Time will tell.    Thankfully the earthquake tremours have substantially lessened this quarter and I think I’ve only felt a handful of shakes in this three-month time period – a record for sure.    Every day is an opportunity for new learning, new insights, new improvements.   Let’s see where we go!