Take off your shoes!

June 23rd, 2008

Email This Blog Post Email This Blog Post Filed under: New Village Commons— Lynne Elizabeth @ 1:07 pm

Patience is a word that has been showing up for me lately—at least three reminders this month to consider a slower mode of living. In this why-didn’t-we-fix-it-yesterday world, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer potential of what we can do, what we feel we should do, and what we feel we must do, not mention what we wish we had done. Finding reminders about patience, I am nudged to give myself permission to ease into the space of just appreciating what is, take off the yanking bridle that pulls me ever forward, and really feel the luscious grass on my bare feet.

You may think this is only metaphor, but that is exactly what I did this past Saturday at a festival called the Big One that our parent organization, ADPSR, co-sponsored at Golden Gate Park in SF. Wisely, we were invited on arrival to take off our shoes and sit down for a guided meditation. I never put those shoes back on and enjoyed all day the glorious lawn of Sharon Meadows that stretched for a hundred yards in all directions from the event center, a space dressed in colorful Indian cloths and tables of fresh organic strawberries, bread, and beverages.

The Big One was billed as “a community convergence for conscious change,” and it was exactly that. Conceived by Torie Jacobs and Saba Malik, the Big One was set up as a village of themed “neighborhood” tents offering solutions to issues related to Social Justice and Spirit, School and Community Gardens, Health and Wellness, Food Justice, and more. Except for howls and whistles from the Storytelling tent, the Permaculture and Design tent was the liveliest of them all, featuring an hourly series of speakers and an adjunct display tent on composting toilets and greywater.

In the Local Green Economy tent I heard the most illuminating presentation by the founders of Cafe Gratitude, Matthew and Terces Engelhart, who gave us the gift of an exercise in how to listen. In pairs we were invited to describe what we imagined was getting in the way of our being fully present in the moment and then to describe what it felt like to run those thoughts. Our listening partners told us back what they heard us say and later acknowledged some beautiful quality we embodied (even if we did not show evidence of it!). No surprise, I noticed I wasn’t present because I didn’t believe I had enough time to do everything I wanted to do. I was perpetually thinking I needed to be doing something else, something more important. Feeling anxious about that, I missed the experience I was having! Some irony, eh?

The Big One was offering me release from that habit. The event itself was free and non-commercial. I could not sell books, so I put them on display to go play. Right away, someone offered me free homemade lemonade. I sat under umbrellas for live musicians in the Music tent. I took a free chair massage in the Health tent. I tossed bean bags (and missed!) at eco-carnival games from the Sustainable Living Roadshow. I watched inspiring short films by the Global Oneness Project. I talked to Mr. Fun about eco-arts for kids in the Youth Engagement tent. I saw a dog catch a frisbee in his teeth and a woman spin him round holding the frisbee. The highlight of the day, to be honest, was watching a gopher pop right out of the lawn, pushing up a load of dirt with his nose—right in front of me!

Why hadn’t I noticed before that everything is happening at the right time in the most delightful way! And I am exactly where I ought to be. Just to prove it, someone reminded me it was the first day of summer. Yes, summer, now!

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One Response to “Take off your shoes!”

  1. Dear Lynne~

    I LOVED what you wrote about The Big ONE~~~~ I think you really captured the essence of what it was about~~~

    thank you for that gift~~

    most sincerely~ Tori

    Comment by Tori Jacobs — July 14, 2008 @ 4:15 pm


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