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Archive for May, 2020

Wanna hear a funny joke?  In February, I was really stressed because I was planning out all of my travel for the year and was wondering how I could do it financially, getting time off work, finding a place for Buddy to stay, etc.  I even had to turn down an instructor position at yoga camp because it was too close to two other trips I had already planned.  Man, that sure was some wasted anxiety.  Now, every single one of those plans is cancelled.  But hey, I’m saving a ton of money.

And yes.  I realize this is all very privileged thinking.  But I’m really working on not feeling shame for this pain of mine.  Because a wise woman once told me “pain is pain is pain.”  And this is my pain.  Or more accurately, travel is my tool for moving into a place of joy.  And not having that joy is painful.  In the past, I’ve been able to pull myself out of some dark places by having these little adventures to look forward to, urging myself along with the hope of a really cool concert, a trip to the beach, new sights for my tired eyes, travelling to see friends that are far away.

The other day I was talking to a friend about how sad it made me to think of not seeing any live music this year.  I had three music festivals planned to attend between May and August.  And I started thinking about what I loved so much about the experience of a music festival.  Yes, the music is awesome.  But that’s only part of it.  The other part of it is a term that I heard about seven years ago—I love the collective effervescence of music festivals.

Collective effervescence is what happens when a bunch of people get together in the same space and they’re all getting spiritually fed by the same thing.  It happens at concerts, yoga festivals and sporting events.  It happens in churches and happy hours.  It happens anywhere where you feel joy and you look around and you see other people made joyful by the same thing.  Because that just makes you feel understood, your joy is validated by all the little bubbles radiating off of those around you.  Collective effervescence, knowing that all of our souls instinctively want to lean towards joy and we feel as if we have all worked together to find a way to get there.  We lift each other up further when this experience is shared.

So here’s the other side.  In the same conversation with the same friend where we were talking about the live music, we also spoke of the dark energy we had been feeling of late, the general malaise that hung humid in the air around us.  It was the second of such conversations that I’d had that day, finally opening up to friends telling them of this spiritual, emotional funk I was swimming in and them telling me that they felt the same.  We blamed the new moon, we blamed covid, we blamed the weather.

But alas, it’s kind of in the same vein as collective effervescence.  Knowing that others shared my experience, even though it was far from those sparkly little joy bubbles, made me feel known….validated.  I hated that my friends were feeling this way, but it got me out of the loop of my own brain when I voiced my emotions to them and they expressed that I was not alone.  And I hope that it worked the same way for them.

In collective effervescence, we are experiencing joy and the people around us say “Me too!” and we know we are on the right path.  In darker spaces, we are feeling pain and if we open up, we might hear others say, “Me too” and realize that perhaps we are not so much on the wrong path, but rather just in the process of finding our way to better paths instead.  And we find the people who are willing to walk beside us to get there.

In either case, allowing the ‘me too’ moment requires vulnerability, the showing of our true selves.  It’s throwing our arms into the air and dancing around, moved by the music and not caring whatsoever how it looks to others.  It’s stripping down past the masks and the walls, baring your soul and your tears and your fears, and not caring whatsoever how it looks to others.  Your people will find that in the crowd and dance with you.  Your people will find you in the dark and cry with you.

The times that surround us seem to lean more towards that icky stuff.  Joy is not in the places we are used to finding it.  We have to learn to look in more creative places these days.  And we can still comfort others without wrapping them in an embrace.  But it’s all still there, the little bubbles of human experience rising up to meet ours.

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