Day Forty: Rhythm

My writing rhythm has been thrown off after this weekend, much like many peoples’ daily rhythms were thrown off by the election of Duck Tales.  There are two ways to look at rhythmic detachment: one, where we can feel overwhelmed by the new directions that the melodies of life are taking us, unable to anticipate where our next move will lead us; and two, where we feel liberated by the knowledge that there are other beats to dance to and we are not cogs in a machine.

It is easy to become stuck in any one perspective or paradigm – of self; of how others will treat us; or of what to expect from life’s mystery.  However, if we were truly honest with ourselves, we would understand that even though so many mysteries that we have uncovered have proven fairly predictable, the deeper we delve into life, the more its mysteries prove how little we actually understand the patterns.

Of course, everything in life has a pattern.  The mystery of life lies in how those patterns interact.  What I learnt this weekend is that being independent is a weakness, for the reason that I can dive as deeply as I want, but without the question of interdependence, the depths that I will go lose their mystery and I will continue to relive the patterns that I already know, which can be quite debilitating if I happen to trigger those memories that are difficult to relive.

Incorporating others into our journey means allowing for an intersection of our patterns with theirs, giving more breadth to the depths that we can dive.  So, instead of sinking into an ever-darkening hole, we find ourselves able to swim across a body of water to different levels, depending on what kinds of safety tools the others provide us.  This may all sound quite obscure right now, but I’d like to expand on these ideas over the next few days as I relive my time at Envision.

For now, I’d like to share how thankful I am to have reached out and connected with some special people, one of whom specifically helped me to remember how important it is to open myself to being led from time to time, especially in a time of deep confusion.

I knew that I wanted to take LSD this weekend and I chose the second night of the festival, taking it alone while watching an incredible folk/reggae performance by Satsang.  I had taken 2c-b last year on my own and had an epic evening, but this year something felt different.  I seemed to be on a mission to feel something/anything, so I took a whole tab instead of a half like I normally would.  I didn’t think that anything was happening when all of a sudden, it came on as a powerful force and I was unable to control my mental state.

Paranoia began setting in and I could feel the presence of all of those around me, strongly encroaching into my mind space.  I felt that I could get through this hurdle, so I held on tightly to my sanity and shifted somewhere a little less densely packed.  This turned out to be a mistake because more people started brushing past me as they walked by the empty spaces surrounding me, and as soon as the show ended, I did my best to find my way back to the safety of the camp site.

I kept getting lost along the way, distracted by the creative sculptures, paintings, and people dressed up.  If I could recognize any one thing, I would know where I was and be able to guide myself back.  But everything was taking on new life, with feather chandeliers dancing above me and vine covered stages calling me in.

As I wandered, I was suddenly corralled into a group of people surrounding what looked like a bonfire.  As I was edged closer, I realized that a pyro-dance performance was beginning and about 20 people dressed in what appeared to be BDSM bondage gear started twirling 5-pronged batons lit with green flames around themselves and into the air.  I couldn’t believe what I had stumbled upon, and all of us gathered were in awe of this unscheduled performance.

This was the moment when I realized that I was not dressed the part for this festival.  I knew from the start what I was getting myself into – Envision is a place where people let their freak flag’s fly.  Well, my freak flag has always flown internally, and although I like clothing, I have never tried to represent myself by what I wear.  On this particular evening, I was wearing a white tank top and a tiger print knee-length skirt with my hair tied up in a simple ponytail.  As I watched the performance, I had a couple trying to see past me look directly at me and remark how they didn’t know that fire dancing had become so mainstream.  Of course, they were wearing the latest in festival fashion: glitter, dozens of tattoos and/or face paint, minimal stringy clothing, and partially shaved/dreaded and feather-laced hair.

This is when I realized that my form of radical self-expression is not the kind that speaks for itself.  To everyone who saw me, I likely looked like an outsider who somehow became lost on the festival grounds.  And as I looked around, I couldn’t see myself in any of the people around me, except perhaps the 60-year old hippy man in the t-shirt, shorts and sunglasses, who was absolutely rocking out.  We must have looked like quite the duo as I was tweaking out at the dancing and what I was wearing.

As soon as the performance was over, I began to understand where I was located and stumbled my way back to camp.  Following the glowing hoops and strings of light, it now became clear to me that these were beacons put in place by the festival fairies to guide people like me to where we need to go, much like the glitter, feathers and arrows on the festies’ bodies were there to signify which way to fly when we find ourselves cruising up in the air.

I made it back to camp, but was nevertheless overwhelmed to find that my fellow campers were gathered around our circle of tents.  I told them that they were missing out on all of the action out in the village and described the fire dance that I had just witnessed.  I knew that they were all in my same boat and they were excited by the news that I relayed and quickly ventured off.  I was temporarily relieved, except that in my new found mental silence, I had opened the space for my thoughts to fill me up, and whether I liked it or not, I had already jumped and was poised to dive in deep.

To be continued….

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