It’s a Festival!

This is a new word for this American blogger, but clearly “festival” means something to my European friends this week, here at Ångsbacka, a spiritual or heart center in central Sweden. I’m here in week two of the No Mind Festival, seeking to support and extend openness, acceptance, love and compassion into the world. Some bits of the scene here, mostly observed as I walked across the central lawn space yesterday afternoon…

…day four of the second week… sunny blue sky and bright sun continue… rolling green meadows bounded by forest… couples sitting together in practice, or lying together on blankets… parents with little kids napping… some kids perpetually fascinated with the small fountain and goldfish pool… some of the wee ones naked and painted, running and giggling… some adults painted too… one old guy comes to lunch wearing nothing but blue paint, but doesn’t stay very long…

some meditate in the grass… or trade massages… a wild-looking viking sort of guy journals quietly… a young woman sketches in a diary in the shade of a small fruit tree… blankets and a few tables scattered around, a big family picnic… the pulse of african drumming comes from one corner of the festival space… spiritual music and chanting from another direction… somebody yells powerfully, releasing something into the forest… heart music from the big barn “may i take peaceful steps upon the earth… i bow to you a flower… i love your fear… walk slowly… i want to be your lover baby…”

…a woman knits a fuzzy orange scarf in the cafe… the wind lifts long brightly-colored satin pennants from the tops of 20ft sticks… long blond hair and loose frilly skirts… chocolate covered ice cream on sticks… a guitar strummed for some at the fire circle… the ashes of yesterdays food boxes whipped into the air… conversations a light buzz over cups of tea on the deck… a meadowful of tents, one of cars, trailers and housetents in the parking lots, other packed into small dorm rooms… volunteers cooking and cleaning and smiling… two guys with boxing gloves sparring in the parking lot…

…at campfires, i’ve heard mostly beatles and bagpipes, and almost no dylan, denver, or other folk tunes… some bicycles, a nearby lake beach, small village, a creativity space full of paint, fabric, plaster and more… kids on swings and dipping in an inflatable pool… open stage, drumming, dancing, healings, tantra, concerts, and a wee bit of open space technology growing into the mix this year for the first time… and absolutely no one appears to be “in charge” of anything but the organic vegetarian kitchen… so perhaps the chef rules all… for now.

the thing that stands out is the spirit of love, the steady flow of music, the freedom of movement, the quality of smiling, openness in so many faces… open hearts and open eyes everywhere, it seems.

more on how we took over the kitchen and changed the world in my next posting.