Greetings fellow earthlings! Skye and I have been at the Quiet Valley Ranch volunteering for the Kerrville Folk Festival since Saturday. We are bronzed, sweaty, bug-bitten, a bit ripe, and I’ll speak for myself here, so full. My stomach is full, my heart is full, and the wellspring of my soul is overflowing. To not only witness, but also be part, of turning an empty meadow into a village overnight, which will exist for almost a month before disappearing just as quick, is incredible. The expression, “It takes a village” could not be more true. The fest runs for 18 full days, plus the time to set up and break down, and it requires massive amounts of work and organization. Trash crew, potty patrol, parking lot security, theater security, campground security (my crew!), instrument check-in (Skye’s crew), office staff, ticketing…the list goes on, and to feed such a large staff, the volunteers staff the roasting kitchen all day long to fuel the fire that burns in the heart of the festival. It is a remarkable undertaking that has been growing and evolving for 42 years now, and I am honored to be part of the Kerrville family. It is amazing how quickly deep, intimate relationships form when a community of people come together quickly, live together, and work together, not for selfish purposes, but for one another and for the collective wellness of the whole.
And like any community, there are edges that rub and challenges that present themselves, often elevated by the large amounts of alcohol consumed at such festivals. That has certainly been painful for me to witness and take part in, and I am grateful for the opportunity to hold space for my brothers and sisters when they are not living out of their hearts, just as so many do for me when I forget where my center is. To Be present in the midst of unwellness is powerful stuff. The temptation for me when I see members of my human family hurting themselves and each other, be it through substances or violence or anger, is to judge. Make myself separate, and therefore “above.” But that is some ego-driven bullshit if i must say so myself. Because there is no such thing as separation. John Muir said, “Tug on one part of nature and you find the whole world connected.” We are an interdependent web of energy, this Universe/galaxy/planet/species/continent/country we call home. So when I see what resonates for me as “unwellness,” that is the opportunity for me to get real humble and accept and acknowledge that everything and everyone is a mirror for me, reflecting myself back. It may seem that it is maybe a bit more enjoyable to simply cast judgement and carry on, but in fact, taking responsibility for the unwellness that currently lives in our human family feels a lot closer to freedom and true wellness. If any of us are numbing ourselves, we all are. If any of us are hurting ourselves, we all our. We are connected, and we are responsible for ourselves, but we are also responsible for one another. That is what family is about.
I am grateful that there is a secluded and breathtaking river only about a 15 minute drive from the ranch. It is there where I go when I need to step away from the village for a bit and cleanse myself of all I hold onto that does not feed me and my community. It is where we are headed now, in fact. And then, we get to return to a village that welcomes us home with open arms and hearts and smiles. We get to sit in song circles and share our musical gifts and our stories with one another. We get to make new friends and learn about pieces of ourselves we weren’t as familiar with. And we get to serve. We get to serve one another. We get to serve Life as she flows into this world in so many crazy beautiful forms.
There are signs posted about the ranch that say, “It could be like this always.”
When I am grounded in my breath and I am Here…and I mean REALLY Here…I can see that is already is like this always.