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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The First All Night Dance Party

There's nothing like a weekend long music festival to help you reconnect with your ancient roots, especially when your tent gets flooded by rain on the first night ... and after 12 hours of  psychedelic music, even I began to see visions of times past.

I saw nomadic tribes of humans; I saw the first tribe large enough to have elders with saving wisdom, musicians, children, and mothers.   I could see the evening starting with the elders sitting around the camp fire.  You see, they know before anyone else that a rain storm is coming.  They know that the children will soon be frightened by a distant thunder, and they  know to build the main fire up extra warm this night.

Having pitched a tent myself the night before, making new friends, sharing food and drink, I easily imagined the routine of all the families.  Many of them, like me, were unprepared for a change in the weather.  Still, what a wonderful way to spend the evening, laughing with new friends, high in the mountains.  Even off at their own little camp sites, everyone can hear the steady beat from the drums at the main fire.

As word of the approaching storm makes its way around camp, some know to take a nap while the napping is good.  Others head up to the main fire for stories, chants, drums, and dance.  The night is still normal save for the fire is warmer, the winds stronger, and the drums louder.  At Pangea Pt. 6 "The New Age of Atlantis," I was one of the nappers ... that is until the rains came through my tent.   When the beds get wet, and all the little fires go out, that is when the whole tribe joins the dance party!

It's warm there around all the other people.  Everyone joins in, young and old; well, everyone with wet beds joins in the dance.   The dancing keeps us feeling alive and the trance like state from the drums makes us feel oddly rested when the morning light comes.  New friendships become stronger and the fear of cold and hunger fade away.  

It was funny watching certain members of my new tribe and how instinctively they acted at dawn.  I can only imagine that throughout time there were always a few who dropped everything at dawn to tidy the main camp.   Others, less inspired like me, joined in simply because of the good example that was being set.  And so a new day begins with a new set of toils and dangers.  Those of us who danced all night are better prepared to face it than those who grew sick in their cold wet beds.

If the sun comes up, we dry our tents and sleep, but if the rains stay; we do it all again.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

How to tell if giving someone money is the right thing to do

Suppose your child, or friend, or a stranger on the street asks you for some money.  What do you do?  What do you ask yourself?  How do you justify either giving them money, or denying their request?

Some of the questions that swirl through my head are: "Why did they let themselves get into this position?", or "Why does this person always need help?".  I'm fixated on the person and their need and how if they took better care of themselves, then they wouldn't be bothering me right now.

I find myself giving the bum a $1 because I think he needs it, and I give it grudgingly because I think he shouldn't need it.  Surely this is a warped way to view an experience of giving and receiving.

So, I've decided that there is a better way to think in this situation.  I will change my focus from the requester's need, to the requester's ambition.  If the beggar has any ambition, I simply ask myself: "is the ambition good, and will this gift help enable that ambition?"

Of course, there are those folks who just don't seem to have any ambition at all.  Perhaps the question for that is, "Which action will stir up the most ambition in this person, giving money, or withholding it?"