On Embracing Hippiness
[ Re: Feature, "Somewhere Under the Rainbow," July 16-22] As a child of "hippy" parents, I have always felt the dichotomy of the hippy label: substance abuse and laziness on one side; on the other, sustainability, creativity, healing and spirituality. I hide my colorful side sometimes, not wanting to be judged by those darker qualities. I went with some trepidation to the Gathering because of this duality. Immediately on arrival, I relaxed into appreciation. As we lugged five cases of Thai Baby coconuts in, strong guys came running up to help us. I began to feel at "home": Here were other creative, generous and loving people! Exploring with my 3-year-old proved the magic of the Gathering; we found many positive scenes to dip into. We relied on intuition and connection to plan and find the right place/time; much better than cell phones! We stayed cozy under beautifully constructed shelters in rain, then enjoyed the warm sun, soft earth and bug-free fresh air. We marveled at exquisite meals: raw "pizza," sushi, Thai curry, pancakes ... . We enjoyed heartsongs, yoga, contact dance and met amazing people from all over who are contributing to our society positively. Life felt simple and loving, knowing that the artistic earth ovens, healing treatments, permaculture workshops and jazz brunch weren’t just for profit but inspired by a common vision. I avoided some of the wilder areas, though we met a reporter whose article on homeless Rainbow teens filled me with compassion toward the very folks I’d been avoiding. I’m sorry to read Maren's accounts; in life, we attract our experience based on our perspective. Though hard to leave, on returning I am embracing hippiness; I feel more willing to shine. We left refreshed, renewed and ready do our work in the world. I like this definition I heard there: Happy Intelligent Person Pursuing Infinite Enlightenment.