(A few timeless thoughts, followed by an invitation to jam later this summer)
I was on a call with a dear friend the other day, and we were talking about how to manage all the intensity and uncertainty of the world, and it came to me that we really can't.
At least, not in any way we've been conditioned to expect. By ourselves, for ourselves.
If you think about our models of health and wellness, most of it focuses on us as isolated individuals, processing our traumas, talking through our "unconscious" repressions and desires, setting our dreams and goals, and then being magically ushered into a lifetime of easeful, effortless existence.
But there's a deeper level to feel here, bigger than any of us, and longer in the making than any of our own personal lifespans. (aka History and the Human Condition).
And when we're absolutely clobbered by the enormity and complexity of All The Things, when we're simply unable to find the way out to our own neat and tidy happy ending?
Well that's when as Alice Walker once wrote, that our "hard times call for furious dancing." Because when we don't have the strength to carry on by ourselves, for ourselves, that's when the pulse of the music, the beat of the band can pick us up.
When we lift our heads and look around through bleary eyes to see our brothers and sisters already on their feet, dancing furiously. That's when something magic happens––we feel the pulse too. Like some ecstatic puppet, our limbs twitch and jerk, shimmy and shake and the Groove gets us back on our feet, and inspires us to give it up, just one more time. Because, how could we not with a beat that funky?
The Groove and Reconciliation Committee––coming soon to a town near you. Batch forgiveness, healing celebration. It doesn't necessarily fix all of those intractable problems––our own, or the world's. But it does give us the strength to keep on keeping on.
Same as it ever was.
Collective ritual takes the impossible burden off us as individuals.
Just today I was listening to a talk ecologist, farmer and poet Wendell Berry gave at Yale a few years back, and he was asked about why he's hopeful but not an optimist.
He said, "Optimism is just the opposite of pessimism really, they're both programs. You've decided ahead of life unfolding how you're gonna feel about it. But hope, hope is an orientation, and it's one that grows when you're surrounded by others who feel it too. Hope (of others) fuels Hope (our own)."
And that's what we're doing in the Rocky Mountains this midsummer––hosting a gathering of hope. And not just any old hope, but radical hope. The kind that is durable and long lasting. The kind where the map (predictions about the world) matches the territory (our lives as we're actually living them in the times we're actually in).
To help us do that, this year's musical guests are a pair of artists from Sebastopol, California, MaMuse. Sarah and Karisha write and sing songs that not only make us want to dance, but remind us of the longer arc of history, bending towards all the good things.
Check this one, with the Thrive choir singing We Shall Be Known (by the company we keep).
And the best part is that this summer, the backup choir is you, and all of us.
While Curt will be teaching super rad sticks-of-death aikido staff practices, and we'll be training in group flow acro yoga and percussion, MaMuse will be guiding everyone in finding their voices and singing their songs.
(Technically, this is a culmination of our respiration training, which begins with pulse oximeters, static apnea tests, CO2 tolerance scoring, and vagal nerve breathing––but hey, once you've got the basics down, we should have fun with it ;)
For the theory geeks and workshop types, don't worry, there will be plenty of compelling frames and experiential exercises to go deep. We're "architecting culture"––i.e. designing a super fun time to be had by all––while also sharing the source codes on how to do it. So for anyone interested in building (and experiencing) vibrant, engaged, connected community, consider this a crash course in how to.
And for anyone who's plum full up on podcasts and youtubes of clever people mapping all the finer points of the fustercluck, know that we're biasing towards living together, training together, dining together, and playing together.
—> Apply to train your body and brain at Camp Omega
As Wendell Berry reminds us, hope is an orientation, and it's one that grows when you're surrounded by others who feel it too. That's how we get this done. Not by ourselves, on the couch, or with our pills, affirmations and biohacks. But together, living, moving, grieving and grooving.
And you're invited. If this sounds like your jam, or medicine that might soothe your soul, pick a time to chat with someone on our team, and we'll see you in the high mountains, in midsummer, where we'll get to sweat our prayers, together.
––> Join us at Camp Omega this year
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