Monday, September 07, 2009

a privileged punter on a pilgrimmage at the Greenbelt Festival.

On many levels, the Greenbelt Festival felt like a reunion even though I had never attended the festival before or travelled in this area of the UK. Most of the people I had the heartwarming pleasure to have connected with, I met there for the first time. It should've felt more like a crashing of a party....of feeling like an outside observer. Instead, there was a sense of homecoming the moment I met up with Pip and together joined a group of like minded people, veterans and devoted Greenbelters for dinner the night before the event.

Perhaps because I had read so much about it, captured in emotional descriptives and pictures on websites and on friends' blogs.....people I had always felt a kinship to, there was a sense of homecoming to a place of familiarity. One of the most comforting observations shared with me on the Friday morning during a walk through the site before the festival even began was that I fit right in. Thank you my Harbour friend for settling me in and sharing your beloved place. Your smiling kindness and words reinforced the driving intuition I had internally maintained whenever I pictured myself there. Deep down, right to my toes, I knew this odd little misfit me would fit. Your kindheart helped me feel this right from the start.

Greenbelt is an experience unique to every single individual who attended. Given the vast array of options, no two people would've walked away from the Festival with the same pocket of souvenir moments. 20,000 hearts and minds arrived, ready to take part in the feast on some level, and left with their own personal perspectives, their own "Greenbelt moments..."

Our eyes, ears, hearts and minds may have the fundamental sameness to their functionality, but are wired so very differently because of personal needs and interests. How we were touched, what we reached out to touch and most strikingly what we tasted in an attempt to quench our particular thirsts was uniquely blended. Then, there was a level of kinship, a place set in the twinkle of eyes and in the upward curve of smiles where two festival goers was a bonding place of knowing and understanding. It was also an sole pilgrimage amongst a sea of others.

Since returning home, I have tried to describe what it was like, what it meant, what impressions were left on me, how it impacted my thinking and how it seeped into my feelings and it seems to me that every single explanation has been different. It's like I settle into an angle of repose only to have another handful of sand added to my positioning. And I am moved again. My perspective changes within the shifting sands inside me.

Despite that, there were moments which took me up beyond the concreteness of what I can put into mere words that are as crystal clear to me as the brightest star in the night sky but whether I will ever be able to lasso them for others to understand remains a mystery. Breath takingly thin feelings too delicate to touch with worn hands need to be nurtured and handled with care. Those moments .... the thin air ones, however were the key to being able to say to any other Greenbelter..... I get it. I totally get it. I have been moved forever.

This morning, I sit here still wrapped in many layers of contemplation because of having the privilege of attending Greenbelt and meeting so many beautiful people, many of whom touched me with their kindness and interest, and with their ability to share some of their selves with me.....good deep stuff. Sometimes it happened late at night after a long day experiencing so many feelings during the events or simply walking around the site. Sometimes it happened with strangers whom I met at a talk or in line waiting for the next concert.

But, when I stop all other thoughts and focus on the heart of my experience at Greenbelt, I picture myself standing amongst new friends who welcomed me into their space and kept an eye on this punter on a pilgrimmage at the back of the Performance Cafe, feeling loved and included. No matter how busy they were volunteering and creating a space so welcoming for so many, I was always, always greeted with interest and enthusiasm. Sarah, Katie, Anderson, Roger and Paul..... you are all angels for giving me a place to catch my breath as well as to have it taken away. xx Thank you.

Greenbelt is a sense of belonging like no other......... I feel blessed to have experienced it through my own ever changing lens..... my gaze is beautiful.


Sarah Brush said...

awwww! V touched :o)

Anonymous said...

I'm so very happy for you that this odyssey you've been longing to take was as wonderful as you'd hoped. I look forward to hearing more about it as time goes on.

Gilly said...

You know I am so pleased for you!

Awareness said...

hey Sarah... You touched me first!

Gypsy....I think I'm feeling a little more uncorked after posting this one. I look forward to incorporating what I've learned into other pieces of writing. It was wonderful, and it was difficult too.... Comfortable and uncomfortable.... I'll be in touch. x

Gilly.... thank you. It's all good, even when it hurts.

Anonymous said...


Been reading along and keeping quiet for a few days. happy to hear your expectatons were met and exceeded.
Happy to know you are home also, I missed knowing you were within reach.


Awareness said...

Mavis....good to see you....i'm never far away, as you are never far away from me. it did meet my expectations and also twisted them inside out too. It was exactly what I needed and where I needed to be, but it was difficult too personally. I didn't expect that. I didn't expect it to be a breeze, but I was floored at times with how much I was processing. I think I've been going through major transitional stuff for about 5 years, and it was all there in my heart and head for me to reflect upon and resolve. All good stuff, but difficult. Most of this stuff I won't be writing about here. It's too public.