Love Festival In honour of ourselves.
We came together in honour of ourselves. In honour of the love that is possible when we close our eyes and feel the deep beauty within us. For 4 days (or more) we came together and celebrated our own beauty. This is what the Love Festival meant for me. Yes the initial movement of conception was born of a marriage, between 2 beautiful souls and they were celebrated within the happening. However there was something about what happened that carried me beyond the original trigger for the festival, to a place of experiencing a deeper marriage within myself to my deeper self. A deeper love for who I am and a deeper willingness to share my gifts with the world. Thank you to all of you who came so honestly and shared yourselves so openly, I felt often touched by you and your presence. I let myself be touched. Maybe for the first time in my life I really let myself be touched by people, of course I have felt touched before but this experience of beauty felt deeper than I had ever allowed before.
For me this Love Festival began on the evening of Aslinur’s women’s celebration, when we men also met together in a nearby park and sat together in a sharing circle. The moment this festival started was on hearing Marian share about his beautiful and supportive relationship with his father & then hearing his father, in a kind of emotive poetry telling how proud he is of his son. These moments were like an echo of something long lost to me, in these moments I embraced this witnessing and gave it a true place inside of myself, for what I could not experience with my own father I give it a true place inside of myself right now, that is my power. Thank you to Marian and his father for the love they shared with us in these moments, it is not a small thing, so much strength is born of this. For so long I have been lost in the brokenness of my forefathers hearts and finally I stand strong like a tree, roots deep in ground and branches reaching for the stars..
As we walked up the steep dusty driveway to the land, to our right the open expanse of beauty bled out before our eyes, pink and orange displays of dancing light beams filling the sky with joy and welcome. I drank in this colour and stumbled like a drunken fool onto the land, greeted at the edge of the land by animals and dust, warmed by smiling bearded faces and beautiful flowing blonde Sufism. I sat with my drum under the tree, looking out at the world, the ocean sang its welcome and my drum replied, we have arrived, we are here, we have arrived.
The moments we all sat in a circle before the official festival began, Marian asks me to facilitate, my heart smiles. The first of many smiles. So often in my life I have wished for people to not rely on me, to not trust me because this way it is easier for me to stay out, to be the outcast, doing what I want rather than what life is asking of me. Now I surrender to life, in service of love. I belong in the light. In the light is where we all belong, together, in an everlasting forever. Thank you to Marian and Aslinur and everyone else for trusting me in my holding space. I feel fed by the light of stars, nourished by long awaited rains, relieved that the sun now rises and nothing stands between me and the sunlight. Only sky.
The moment Gerhard (The Big Bear) reminded me to spend some time resting, just sitting and enjoying. I came back to myself.
The moments when people so afraid in the past to show themselves feel safe enough to step onto the open stage and let themselves be seen in the light of our hearts, priceless, like a painting that shows you your own soul or a song that carries you home, like a lived poem.
Love festival was like a lived poem. Smiling faces, smiling out of their hearts. I remember so many beautiful smiles and I remember each one including me in myself, including me in the present moment, reminding me I am here, together with others and that everything is OK. Your smiles meant so much to me. I sometimes wish I could really say this to people. So I say it now. Your smile means so much to me. It brings me in touch with something unexplainable, unreachable, so valuable, the essence of beauty, purpose, my reason for existing. To smile and be smiled upon. What if this is our only reason for existing? To smile and be smiled upon? How much unnecessary suffering and trying would we give up in our lives to realize this. To smile and be smiled upon, to sing and to hear the song, to receive and to gift the poem, to pass it on. This road we are walking is long, along its way we will experience many and diverse days, we will be challenged, we will be loved, there will be triumph, there will be loss, it is moments like these at this Love Festival that will remain etched into my being for an eternity, for here I am reminded that nothing else matters. Nothing. There is only smiling and being smiled upon. To be carried by the wind and washed by the tides to places where our smile is needed, to places which are strong enough to hold us in loving embrace as our tears sink into the earth, the universe is breathing us like air and we travel within her. Like a beating heart our footsteps marching towards a beautiful nowhere.
This drum beat marks my presence, sparks my essence and asks you to dance yourself into a melting expression. This is who you are. Simple and true. What more is there? There is only this…
The moments when I hit my shaman drum constantly for an hour in the light of the moon, supported by other drummers, with GG and Yumina dancing endlessly until silence came over us like the veil of night, like the question what is beauty? And the beautiful conversations that ensued.. Speaking real, honest and true, no smoke or mirrors, just a burning flame of reality and truth, until 3:30am. In this conversation something inside me changed for good. I realized again something I had long lost since my early 20’s, my thirst for movement, to be carried by the wind, drawn by tides, given birth by the unknown and moments unexpected, what more is there? I tell you there is only this…I ask what more is there?? The answer echoing around my heart is clear and true, there is only this….!!!
The moments I am trusted by those in tears and struggling to realize their next steps, what can I do? Just remind them it will pass, be present in my heart, for what more is there??? There is only this…
The moments when we all sat watching lanterns being released by other members of our group on far away boats, the lights mingling with stars, Gerhard (Big Bear) singing and playing guitar, beautiful Yumina and the soothing spacious spirit silk sounds of her flute dancing slowly in and around the silence and darkness as we sat watching lights rising, our spirits rising, our hearts opening, what more is there??? There is only this…
The moment when I felt that organizing the program was feeling too heavy and that I would like the experience of dropping deeper in myself and with others, then the next moment when Kamyar offered that the collective organize the last day and I was challenged to let go of my pre-planning for the last day, I was challenged to trust that the group would include me, I took up the reigns of the challenge and I was included! So healing!!! Such an important moment for me learning to trust the group!
The moment after running a workshop when Abed approached me with such positive enthusiasm about my work and the direction of my work, I felt held by something much greater than all of us, touched by the soothing words of an earth angel…
Moments of tears, smiles, sharing food, laughing at the moon…
Meeting all of the people at this festival, every single one of you touched me in some way. I felt something beautiful and true in all of you and I am very happy to of met you. In time I will learn to deepen in intimacy and love with groups, what else is there??? There is only this…
The moment I sat with Yumina and her flute by the water, I wrote this poem as she played…
Delicate like the touch of forgotten winds,
Soothing like silvery silk sliding around my skin,
I am called, I bow deep down,
You are calling me oh divine wind of woman’s wilderness and welcome,
I am called, I can no longer bury my head in the sand,
The sound of your sun rays echoing through my heart’s chambers,
As I throw into the raging fires of love all plans,
There is only this, Following of bliss, A never ending kiss,
A slow breath and a smile, A floating lotus, the smell of Jasmin and a slowly blooming sunrise,
There is only this sentence burning like sage, cleansing the day and making way for this simple this,
The way of the heart, yesterday gave birth to now and tomorrow we’ll see,
Oh divine goddess carried to me by an unexpected breeze,
Take me into your heart and cry me out through your eyes,
On every out breath wish me goodbye and on every inbreath may we burn in the eternal fire,
Fighting, flickering, licking and dancing in orange, yellow and blue,
This smokes signals an open heart new born,
A path of welcome to the heart of the earths soul,
There is a storm coming and it all starts with this poem.
Dear heart, I surrender myself to follow you where-ever you wish to go..
During the ‘Remembering The Light of The Earth’ ritual I offered, Parastoo represented ‘the Light Of The Earth’. Throughout the ritual she prayed Surya Hamd quietly to herself. When she shared this prayer in the final circle, it hit my heart like a slap from the hand of Allah, I asked her to repeat it, evertime I heard it, it dropped deeper into my heart, I realized that the light of the earth and the light of Allah were the same light only we had forgotten this. My heart grew wings in this moment.
Light of the Earth says,
“Bismillaah ar-Rahman ar-Raheem Al hamdu lillaahi rabbil
‘alameen Ar-Rahman ar-Raheem Maaliki yaumid Deen Iyyaaka
na’abudu wa iyyaaka nasta’een Ihdinas siraatal mustaqeem Siraatal
ladheena an ‘amta’ alaihim Ghairil maghduubi’ alaihim waladaaleen Aameen”
The moment Yumina knew that if my heart was a fluffy white rabbit its favourite food would be strawberries…
The closing ceremony. I asked Marian if I could facilitate a short meditation, he agreed. My heart smiled. Sitting in the closing circle we all take hands, the drum is banged loud, we have called people to circle. Now we all sit in silence as the winds whirl around us inside this beautiful dome. I say, “The winds have to come carry us on to the next place”. Let us take a moment to walk around and bow in honour of one another. So many flowing tears, so many soft open movements, like an orchestra playing whispers of the heart.
The Zikr. Women in the centre. Where they belong. Singing this beautiful prayer Surya Hamd which carries us to the beautiful nowhere. I bow, I cry, my heart swells, oceans tides, my forehead to ground. Women are the true heart of Islam. I know this now. Women are the true heart. Men lining up around the outside supporting the power and beauty of the inside. What more is there??? There is only this… To remember the true deep beauty of women. To remember our own true deep beauty as men. What more is there?? There is only this…This is LOVE. This is LOVE FESTIVAL.
Marian and Aslinur.
May you live this love,
this unknown beauty, this tidal song of gathering light beams, forever more…When there are hard times, remember this beginning, together,
remember this love….
remember our lives are just one long love festival…blessings upon you eternally..
I was touched by
Gerhards guitar, his voice, his warmth.
Yumina’s flute, her smile, her heart.
Sean’s considerate nature, his lending me his towel..
GG’s whirling, her courage..
Aslinur’s beauty and capacity to be so human with everyone,
her willingness to support..
Marian’s openness to the unknown and scaling back his need to control what happens..
Christian putting up with my snoring in Yoga Nidra..
Yagmur’s softness of heart and her dramatic way of being..
Samira’s willingness to look inside..
Lara’s enthusiasm for life..
Francesco’s willingness to look..
All of the animals, donkey, horse, dog, cats, ducks, geese, frogs and insects!!
Everyone touched me in some way, just naming a few here!!
With all my heart totally.