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Getting to Lucidity early has been a gift. I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing what it takes to put on a festival of this capacity, over 3500 people will be here.

I arrived on Monday afternoon around 5 pm. The sun was out, but things were up in the air. I had had less than 12 hours in my apartment that included a couple of haircuts, so I was feeling unorganized and frustrated with waiting on answers. The friend who I had driven was working a shift at the box office and he promised to find me a shift in exchange for a ticket. While in transition, I’ve decided that if an opportunity arises, I’ll take it. Experiencing the open loving community that collects during festivals has opened my eyes to a new way of living mindfully. Every single person I’ve met along this path has not only taught me a new approach or reinforced a loving idea, but they have all been overwhelmingly supportive and excited for me in each endeavor in which I’ve expressed interest. I gained a wristband and set up camp in time to settle in for the evening.

I’m not live painting at this one, I’ve discovered I get too distracted by music and dancing, but I’ve finally set up my website and I plan to hand out Strawberry Propaganda, love notes and write my musings on Lucid Dreaming. Already, my stickers of faces have been a hit, giving me the idea to start taking orders and creating more people’s faces on stickers. I was even given a bit of inspiration about China having their own Positive Propaganda Department, changing it a bit for a Positive Propaganda Brigade, which promotes any fruit that grows from the seeds of love, or Strawberry Propaganda.

My first shift as a volunteer was to meet at 6am with a crew to go and pick 300 lbs of swiss chard. It took awhile to get going and figure out carpools, but I left around 8am in a car with Aaron and Violet, listening to reggae and chatting about how we found out about Lucidity. We drove 20 minutes to a farm where we met up with a couple of Sams, a guy named Bear and a few others. I shared a knife with one of the Sam’s; taking turns cutting and sorting the leafy vegetable while we shared funny puns. We were done in no time, back at camp by 11am, taking our leisure on the drive back to stop by a grocery store; picking up beer, milk, cereal and bacon. The rest of the day was spent writing and meditating, riding out the last of my recuperation from a short turn around. I went to bed early, knowing I’d be grateful for the sleep once the festival started.

Next day, early arrivals started to sprinkle in and I wandered around helping set up other people’s camps and meeting some early arrivals and vendors. I had a free meal card and sat down for a yummy lunch at commissary of lettuce, chicken, carrots and a tamale pie; possibly a mistake that became delicious.

In the afternoon, I sat and chatted with Aries, a girl who lives on a big green bus, we came to discuss the strong feminine energy we have both felt here. It’s warming and friendly walking through camps and the dining hall, seeing so many female faces mixed in alongside the men. I am hugged in a way that really forces one to receive and love right back, to feel our bodies against each other and celebrate that we are all humans working for greater love and the possibilities that exude from all forms of love. We still have another day before the festival starts and it already has that positive party love vibe in the air.The next couple of days, I worked the box office volunteer shift. I checked in people wanting to drive up to unload their gear, then return and park their car in the lot. I met so many vendors, artists, musicians that I can’t count, and it gave me a jumpstart on getting to know the people who make this community. Afterwards, I was able to walk through the camps and reacquaint myself with those whom I had already met briefly, talking more in depth as I would with old friends. At the gate, we asked for jokes in exchange for a map-bandana, and I heard some good ones; lawyer jokes, dead baby jokes, knock-knock jokes, jokes about fruits and animals. I was excited to further meet and know these quirky aliens, grateful for the opportunity to witness and spread the positive, friendly energy that surrounds this event.

Before I left Nepal, Chris had given me some sound advice and knowledge about festival life, however, nothing compares with the real thing. At night I wandered back to my tent, seeing the progress from the hard day’s work. They were building a city. A city that comes for a few nights, people who want to gather for an experience, a love mission. You see, Lucidity is not just a music festival, it’s been a six year journey of growing in humanity. This year’s chapter is Eudaimonia, and the explanation is posted for all to understand:

Eudaimonia means “having a good indwelling spirit.” And as it signals a communal happiness rooted in the virtues of inner connected awakened individuals. It is the culmination of all we’ve been striving for. Our expanded family is overflowing with optimistic yet grounded utopian joy that has risen through many long years of searching, contemplating, delving, climbing and centering. One family, together as one tribe, one community, one humanity, one universe, one consciousness, we shift to the light and live in love forever.

My next shift at the box office was registering minors. I haven’t been to many festivals, but this was the first that allows children. Actually, they don’t just allow them, there is a whole section dedicated to families, they even got their own wristbands corresponding to their parent. I took pictures, received more jokes and I witnessed beauty in each child and adult. Anticipation was building, I couldn’t wait to wander around and experience each camp, built mindfully around creating a feeling. The more I learned about the event, the more I noticed just how much thought and effort was put into each detail. Everywhere I walked, something was happening, people were talking, connecting, laughing, singing, drumming, dancing, sipping tea, painting, hugging, looking at art and learning something new. What was this world that I was in?

After my Friday night shift, I wandered with Divinia, another volunteer and we came to a fire close to the entrance, it wasn’t just the heat from the flame that caused us to stop, but the free singing and rapping that was intimately shared while others clapped and encouraged free expression by those who were just beginning to use and know their voices. The love and support was palatable. Emotion and fire was brimming in my soul, and I couldn’t wait to see more.

My next musing will cover what I experienced through the weekend, but being in the campground for the preceding week helped me adjust and witness the heart and planning that goes into creating this world. Sadly, I understand why we can’t live forever in a place such as this, but it’s a good reminder of the goodness of humanity and the compassion and empathy for our existence. I was continually brought to understand that each person might be here for a different reason, but the underlying arch that encompasses us all is the same. A safe place for anyone to explore and unlock a level of understanding inside themselves, a place where everyone is accepted no matter of extenuating circumstances or the past where one may have come, and a place to feel included and to gain the knowledge of whatever one might be searching for.

For me, I’ve been searching for a community. A place that I can be free to express and love and grow with no restraints. Lucidity gave me that sense immediately, I was welcomed with open arms and included as family, even though I showed up with no ticket or money. After many conversations about my festival history, I was told over and over I am a breath of fresh air, I fit and I am now more than family, these people are my community and I’ll be seeing them, not just as festivals like this, but anywhere I place my feet.