Day seven started off with me being woken by, like always, another camper who has graciously volunteered to provided us with our wakeup call for the day. Opening my eyes to the world once more, I was greeted by the ambient sounds of camp and the miscellaneous smells that accompanied them.
I could see my cabin mates preparing themselves. Getting dressed, grabbing supplies, and preforming their morning routines. All with the intent of securing themselves for the oncoming onslaught of compassion, joy, fatigue and wonder. I personally found the morning to be presenting its own challenges that I alone was made to combat. Namely, my own ensnaring mind. Which held me to my sleeping place as I contemplated the various arduous facets of the world I existed in.
After I had freed myself from the impound of my own making, I made my way to the washrooms. While bathing I was once again helplessly held captive by my own daydreams. An impound I’m too often made to face.
As I finally entered myself into the lodge, our common room, I became aware that I had missed check in. And thus, I had broken our admittedly feeble streak of perfection. And in addition, missed the presentation of the song I was to help lead. So I hastily made my way to the front of the room and thankfully managed to make it in time to sing the song to which I had been tasked.
After check in, I walked over to Forest Dell to meet with my advisee group. Whilst with my group, I spoke to them about how I had been feeling lonely. About how I had been feeling as though I was alone in my singular need for companionship. And in addition to this, I proposed a theory. The theory was that I was not alone in my loneliness. That I was not the only one seeking more meaningful connections. Not just with the other campers, but in my life outside of camp. I talked about how in the past, camp events like trust circle and bonding night had created this environment of friendship that I’d been seeking ever after. And that my feelings of loneliness did not stem from me simply needing more companionship than others of my kind, but from the fact that those around me had not allowed themselves the vulnerability normally experienced at those events. So it was then I came to the conclusion that those around me were also feeling the same loneliness I was, but were not able to show it. It then dawned on me, like it had so many times before, the importance of humility. And the ability to bare one’s own soul.
After advisee, I continued to the project I was assigned to. We were crafting “Tape torsos”. Or “Duct tape maché” as I like to call them. We were recreating our own torsos with duct tape. So that we could sew clothes onto a model of ourselves to get accurate measurements. But alas, I was stuck in my own imaginings. The song I was earlier tasked with singing had resonated with me. It played a large part in my being late to check in. I kept imagining a sort of ‘re telling’ of the song. One supposedly sung from the perspective of slaves.
The lyrics were taken from a Leonard Cohen song, but with a different melody. The words were “Forget your perfect offering. Just ring that bell that you can ring. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” In my my daydreams, “Forget your perfect offerings” represented the grim realization slaves were made to face. Giving up on the hope of an easy way out. “Just ring that bell that you can ring.” To me that sounded like someone just doing whatever they can to keep their head up. Also the slamming of mallets on the bolts that held down train tracks. “There is a crack in everything.” No system is perfect. The institution of slavery will end if you keep fighting. “That’s how the light gets in.” We will prevail. In my version it was to be sung in the style of the late Michael Jackson.
I do not remember much of what happened during lunch and siesta so it is beyond my abilities to give an accurate recollection of them.
The next period was the workshop previews. I presented to the group my workshop which was a lesson in music theory. All levels welcome.
The next period was a workshop slot. During which I attended a workshop led by a friend of mine. “Heart Healing,” it was called. We discussed different types of stones and their connection to specific chakras. Wether I believe in such things I cannot say. I am certain there is an infinite amount of knowledge that is unavailable to me. What I am not certain of however, is whether or not any of that knowledge contains proof of the validity of such things.
The next period was dinner. After giving advice to one of the camp leaders about the presentation of the Seeing seen circle, I contemplated my own sense of superiority. It isn’t uncommon for me to begin to see those around me as inferior. What with my musical, physical, and linguistic talents. So I did my best to remind myself of my numerous shortcomings.
While presenting Seeing Seen Circle Grace, the camp leader, stressed that we should primarily share things that we believe could benefit others or ourselves by being shared. Or that we sincerely want people to know about us. So I thought a lot about what I would share. And whether or not I should share at all. And I eventually came to the conclusion that sharing would fit with my philosophies of openness. And that in the spirit of furthering the bonds and understanding between myself others, I sincerely wanted the other campers attending Seeing Seen Circle to learn what they could about me during this event.
During the first portion of Seeing seen, I stepped into the center of the circle for every statement I empathized with. And during the second, where we were supposed to make our own statements, I let everyone know how much I loved them. And how much they meant to me. I let them all know that I am always open to this level of openness and vulnerability.
After hearing the other campers confess their various secret feelings, my theories on the emotional hiddenness of those around me were confirmed. I firmly believe, that with complete understanding, conflict in the world can melt away.
I feel an immense amount of love. For everyone and everything. I believe that a summarization of this day illustrates well these feelings. I very much hope that anyone needing a voice to lift them up can find one in this blog post. And I hope that this was at least somewhat thought provoking. And resonant with you. So to finally close this post I ask, please see camp as the loving place that it is. Please see the potential it has. Please know that the world is not without hope, and please know you are loved.