Man’s being is like a vast mansion, yet he seems to prefer to live in a single room in the basement. Colin Wilson
It was quite a celebration! And Joy Center was alive with it all, a solstice evening event that honored the outer light that lasted well into the night in these northern woods, and honored our inner light as well on this day that beckons in the high holy time of summer in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. There was the bustle of people arriving, the welcoming and the visiting and the voices that rose to a fevered pitch as the crowd grew and the laughter flew up into the loft and the kids who flung the doors open with adolescent gusto and the mosquitoes that buzzed with their own summertime gusto and the air that buzzed with an energy that would not have been possible six months earlier in the quiet of the snowy dark winter solstice. And then there was the quiet, as one of the event’s leaders rang a bell and we, now sitting in a circle in Joy Center’s main room, drew ourselves inward, drew all that longest-day-of-the-year energy into our beings, and found in the process our inner quiet and our inner light and that connection we have with this humming drumming sun-giving universe. And that’s what happened next, we hummed and we drummed and we chanted, and the kids, they found fallen branches and they played their thrashing and bashing games on Joy Center’s outside stage. And then there was the outside inaugural fire in Joy Center’s new fire pit and the offerings by the three leaders of their gifts of energy treatments and horoscope readings in loft and lower level, while more laughter and more mingling and stick-thrashing took place.
And I, on that solstice evening, slipped easily into the holding-the-space role, into the role of witness and host and overseer of the Big Picture. It’s not like I wasn’t involved. I mingled and I meditated and I moved to the drum’s beat. And I ate my share of snacks, too, but I also made sure that the snack plates were filled up and that there were napkins and glasses and tea on the stove. And I peeked out the window, every once in a while, at the enthusiastic kids and the fire that was blazing and there was a part of me throughout the evening that was scoping the scene. It is a role that I sometimes play at Joy Center — willingly, joyfully. And how fun it is to play at a role that I truly enjoy. And how fun it is to recognize that it is just a role. And that there are plenty of other roles out there that might also be a fit. In fact, on that solstice evening, if I wasn’t so invested in my scoping-the-Big-Picture role, I might have tried my own hand at thrashing the branches on the outside stage or giggling my way up into the Joy Center tower or giving or receiving an energy treatment. And aren’t we all that big?!? Don’t we all have an adolescent inside of us who is a forward-focused motion of gregarious gusto?!? And aren’t we all givers and receivers of energy, sometimes quiet and sometimes loud, sometimes reverent and sometime profane?!? Don’t we all have rooms inside — maybe a tower like Joy Center’s — that we rarely explore?!? And maybe we can’t do it all at once, but we, as host of our own inner mansions, can recognize that our lives are massive and our inner homes are welcoming us to move in more fully.
And now I’m taking on that overseer role again, scanning the Joy Center schedule for Summer 2015 and finding myself stirred up and excited. It is a good one. It is a schedule thrumming with creative expression, a schedule that invites us all to play more fully in our inner homes. And to have fun with each other as well. There is the yoga that relaxes our shoulders, deepens our breath, stretches and strengthens our bodies, and reminds us that we are magnificent in these inner mansions of ours. And there is Out Loud, too, the monthly opportunity to share our stories and poems and art and songs and whatever else strikes our fancy on that particular evening — and the Out Loud after-party around the fire pit for anyone who would like to extend the story-telling and experience the magic of a summer evening in the northern woods. There is another magical evening with Josh Brown, singer of soulful tunes, who will lull you to a peaceful inner place of well-being with his pure voice, and another a week later, a fashion show with eco-designer Taylor Ehle, who inspires us with her creative designs and her passion for the earth. There are two evenings of Book Art with Amber and Raja, always high vibe fun and productive, too, and an opportunity, at a workshop with Stacey Willey, to create a fabulous gemstone bracelet perfectly aligned for each of us. How fun it all is! Full Moon Celebrations with astrologer Jen Howell, opportunities to revel in the glory of the full moon, to connect with the wisdom the cycles provide, to drum and to dance our hearts out on summertime evenings. And a Joy Center anniversary party that brings us a taste of all of this sweet and savory goodness.
So let’s go for it! Let’s be explorers! There are so many inner rooms beckoning us to enter, and there are so many outer opportunities that just might make our inner adventure that much more fun! Let’s savor it all! Happy Summer!!!!!!!!!