Saturday night, I arrived in Topanga Canyon for an ecstatic dance gathering. I was asked to paint and set up my easel under a shady tree between the dj and a speaker. After an opening circle where we shared our names, vision for a future and our intention or motivation for the evening, the dj kept the beat grooving as bodies loosened, a cycle of giving and receiving energy. The music swept us around, ecstatically throwing our hands, hoops and fire in the air.
As the sun set behind the mountains, Jameson Hubbs serenaded us in a sound bath with his Genius Drums. It was a bit breezy, but we squeezed in a circle next to the fire, warming our hands as the music warmed our souls and we slipped off into the night.
The next morning, I awoke in Joshua Tree to a blue sky filled with fluffy white clouds and a strong wind. I was attending a small festival called Portal to the New Earth; bringing conscious individuals together with our earth to share in a movement to shift society and a better future for our mother Gaia.
I attended a medicine ceremony where we celebrated the difference between the masculine (air/ sky) and the feminine (earth). Songs about water, life, love and gratitude were sung as we joined hands in varying movement and circles. Afterwards we spun around to acknowledge our ancestor’s spirits and exchanged thank youse and big enveloping hugs, recognizing the sameness of our individual selves. Many healers were present, many humans from very different cultures were there, and a underlying feeling that we are all the same, we are all children of our mother earth and we must revel in the greatness, thanking her for all the offerings we have.
At one point, I came upon Humanatree, an art installation that helps people feel grounded to the earth. People are “planted” by standing in a plant container, buried with soil to their knees and flowers are placed in the dirt. They are then watered and hugged. A girl named Zarah was being planted, so I joined the merriment while filming. They explained the process, drawing attention from other attendees and a big group hug surrounding a thoughtful mantra was exchanged. The intention is love, bringing together human and earth, so we can understand how to take care of each other just a little bit better.
Shortly after, I fell in conversation with an elder woman named Esther, or as she initially introduced herself Estheroid. She and I were just as present, and I had the sense she was my future self. Awestruck at the wealth of knowledge she seemed to possess, I stated I wished I could write it all down. Placing a hand on my shoulder, she encouraged me to continue on my individual path, she told me I didn’t need to remember anything she said, for it is already within me, ready for me to access whenever I choose.
Even though I had taken a nap that day, I went to bed early. The land holds many healing qualities and after sleeping for a combined 16 hours, I felt much better the next morning. After packing up my tent and car, my friend David gave me a short tour. I was wearing a dress from Nepal, made from an organization called Danfe. They employ marginalized women from the earthquake, teach them tailoring and give them access to further education. I bought a handful of clothes designed with my input, hoping I could help bring their wares stateside.
After a quick photoshoot, we took turns jumping and studying the rock formations. Joshua Tree is filled with nooks, each turn is a new and interesting rock formation asking for a label; is it a fish, a bunny, a stampede of turtles or a mother holding a child, abstractedly reminding us of home. I couldn’t help thinking of my transitions in my current life, I’m taking a giant leap of faith, though I know the ground is beneath me. My lesson of the weekend, trust in the journey no matter where I may roam. Mother earth is always filled with beauty, light and love, always waiting with a perfect place for me to sit and revel in it all.
On the drive back to Los Angeles, a familiar name came into conversation, a friend named Drew who had an open invitation to visit his home. We called just as we were about to pass his exit. We took it for fate and picked up beer and snacks before arriving at his place. We weren’t the only ones and greeted three other friends with a similar story. We were given a tour and settled in for a night of laughter, music and fire. Some of the best nights seem to come from spontaneous truth, and beauty in shared wealth. An example of sharing in abundance and forthcoming open hearts, a mixture that can only breed love and acceptance, of both community and individual selves.
I had a camera for the first time on my weekend adventures, while it was difficult to find balance in remaining present while also capturing my experience, it creates a new angle to my musings and I think in the future this will enable me to capture more in depth the experience of being human on this earth.
Thank you for joining with me on my journey, to paint the world pink.
If you would like to see the video version, please visit PRMusing- Vimeo