Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Navel Gazing

There's often a feeling of self-doubt upon returning to one's residence after some time away. Did that really just happen? Did I just wake up from a crazy-awesome dream? Are you telling me that I can't just meet up with my fellow weirdos whenever I want because there's an ocean between us?... Do I really belong here? Often the thought-stopping occurs here. Buck up, and move on. Back to "life". Or, if you're like me -- a sucker for a juicy existential crisis -- the thought-spiral continues. Where do I belong? Where is home? What does it mean to belong, anyway? Is it something to be earned? Is it a result of the people you surround yourself with? Is it a choice?

Whatever the answer may be for you, I think most, if not all, of us at YxYY found a sense of belonging this last weekend. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say some version of, "I've found my [people] here," I could've paid for the whole weekend, no problem. (Feel free to insert family, freaks, weirdos or some other applicable descriptor into the brackets).

In one of the many fine and fabulous un-scheduled sessions, a group of us "navel gazers" tried to pin point two things: What brings us to places and events such as YxYY, XOXO, Burning Man, etc., and perhaps more importantly, how do we continue this awesome Yes-ness past this 72hrs of the rad and fantastic?

If I could label the connecting thread that drew us to Yes& and tied us all together, it would be: creativity. This event began, and has continued, with an idea. An amazing, creative idea started by the Radical Five Founders. That idea led to an intent; the intent to connect wholeheartedly and authentically with other weirdos. That intent has led to what I think is a pillar of Yes: permission. You have permission to be 100% you, 100% of the time. All are welcome, all are invited. Come as you are, and be accepted & appreciated for your unique & quirky perspective. You belong. Full stop.

This wonderfulness naturally leads to the second question us navel-gazers poised: how do we continue this "perpetual yes" (as one of the Five put it)? Three days was a teasey taster of how beautiful intentional community can be. "We want more!", we cried out together in room 533 of the Ace Hotel. Can we find this out in the "real world"? Why can't this be the real world? Can we tap into this as a steady supply of inspiration? A drip-feed of inclusivity and positive intention? Or must we hop from event to event, looking for our next hit of total acceptance? How can we use these events as a boost; as a provider of momentum in this movement of "yes", rather than as our sole source of yay-sayer dopamine?

It would be ideal if this final paragraph contained the answers to all of these questions. Alas, I do not have the answers, but I know we, as a collective, do! What I do have, however, is an idea. (And isn't that how this all started anyway?) I believe Step One is to start with yourself. Make the intent to connect to yourself. Give yourself permission to "wave your freak flag." Seek out inspiration for your Inner Artist. Accept yourself as you are. Say YES to YOU. Do that, and I can guarantee you, you will find your "people" on this yes-filled journey.

Got it? Great. Now... what is Step Two? Well, that's up to you.

Friday, 7 July 2017

"Hello, it's been awhile."

Oh, sweet time alone... Just my Artist and I on the page, becoming reacquainted. It's a little awkward at first, almost like a reunion with a lost lover. Silent musings are exchanged between us. Did you miss me? Is it obvious that I missed you? Do you still feel something? Who have you loved since... me? I make a remark hoping she still remembers our inside jokes; the lightheartedness with which we used to communicate. Waiting for the right moment, or what I think is the right moment, I reach out... hoping for -- longing for -- connection.

Here we are, trembling as we teeter on the sharp edge of the unknown, wondering which way we will fall.

Oh god, I missed you.

I could cry for the relief of being with her again, as if the whole time we were apart I was holding my breath. And now, standing before her, I can breathe again.

"Shall we?" my Artist says. I nod, unable to speak, though my mind swirls with words, jilted sentences and half-finished stories. I collapse into her arms, overcome with emotion. She holds me, firm and forgiving, and we make... art.