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Long Strange Trip

Wow, life can be bouncy.  Most of you know that I buried my brother this week.  I’m packing up to return to Albuquerque today, and I’m really ready to be home, to get back into some of the routine of my “normal” life.

But my head is spinning.  I expect that I’ll be unpacking feelings and meanings from this trip for quite some time.  I’m not yet clear what Sunday’s talk will be about.  Probably, it will be about this very lack of clarity — feeling spun out, juggling the complexities and ambiguities of life and death, finding moments of honesty and connection to ground us so we don’t whirl right off the planet… something like that.

My brother Lynn never married and had no children, so my siblings and I were the ones to empty his apartment, wrap up his affairs, begin the convoluted process of administering his estate, prepare a memorial and committal service, while at the same time attempting to deal with our own grief.  It’s been a lot.

Though this wasn’t anything like a vacation, we did manage to steal away for a day to visit the Woodstock Museum in Bethel, the site of the original festival in 1969.  I was born three months before Woodstock, and grew up about an hour and a half from where it happened, but I’d never been before.  It was terrific! 

I learned about the “Freak-Out Tent,” which is something to which I think we should all have access. 

The Freak-Out Tent at Woodstock was a place for those having bad psychedelic experiences to gently be held and guided back to a shared reality.  Some amount of Thorazine was available to instantaneously zonk someone out of a bad trip, but the Freak-Out organizers didn’t use it — they believed that it was much better to help someone through their trip, rather than to abruptly stop it.  Once a tripper had made it through her worst, she was expected to step up and become the caregiver for others in need.

What a beautiful model for spiritual community, for any community, right? 

  • Not to shut down an experience, our own or another’s, but gently to hold and reconnect.
  • Not to stop a trip but to honor each other and move through it all together.
  • And as we make it through our own rough patches, we can embrace the responsibility and see the opportunity to support and love those who are struggling.

I can’t wait to be with you again.  I’m so grateful for what we’re creating together.   Happy Interdependence Day — discovering our individual freedom through our deep belonging to everything and our collaborative relationships within it all!   XO, Drew

© 2018 Drew Groves

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