We met Robert Roskind at the Mountain Sports Festival in Asheville, a few weeks prior to the One Love Festival. He had a booth there selling his books and handing out information on the Gathering of the Peacemakers. I was drawn to the energy of his tent and immediately picked up the book, "Memoirs of an Ex-Hippie: Seven Years in the Counterculture" with its peace and love vibe and bright blue bus on the cover, it kinda called to me ;). I was a child born in the seventies and have always felt a connection to those hippie days, as if my old soul lived those adventures. A lost hippie on a spiritual journey that never got to finish the great work of art called life. And, then I was born, awakened to the call to take over the quest and continue on this path.
So, upon reading the book, I was immediately taken. I felt connected to this tribe, my elders. My mom has always said that she was a hippie at heart, just couldn't go off and explore the world like the rest as a single mama. So, my gypsy ways probably stem from this. And, I could relate so well to Robert's account of his soulful journey during this time. Traveling in a bus across country, making friends along the way, living simply and in community, searching for a path, all feel natural to me, too. And, after years of living conventionally in the suburbs, I have now taken my family into this nomadic state of mind. A bit different, living on the fringe with a family in tow, but still so real and purposeful. So, after reading Robert's book cover to cover, I knew we just had to go to his One Love Festival. Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Grandfather Mountain Campground is spectacular. Beautiful views of the mountains, a huge meadow to romp in and lay down to enjoy the stars, woods to hike through, a creek rushing over rocks with small waterfalls and paths to explore, as well as a river to meander, next to a stocked trout pond for fishing, oh my, we were taken. But, it was more than just the setting, it was the state of mind. Everyone that came to the One Love Festival was open to a loving experience. There were smiles and laughter, easy friendships formed, dreams shared, and a sense of community among otherwise strangers. We met lots of wonderful people, some alone on a quest to find peace, some with family trying to connect with other like-minded souls, other musicians and artisans creating and sharing in a safe space of open hearts. We enjoyed live Reggae music and tunes from several local bands. We also enjoyed learning about Earth Skills and took a few workshops on primitive wilderness skills, learning to make a fire with what you find in the woods, build a lean-to for shelter, and all about edible and medicinal plants. We even taught a workshop teaching people about going veggie, all about how to convert to run on wvo and simple and sustainable living. We especially enjoyed time with our vending neighbors, Green Mother Goods, talking about running a small family business. A mix of learning and relaxing, food and music, a bit of outdoor acupuncture, painting with the kids, hooping to some live bands, and meeting so many loving souls.
One of our favorite memories of the weekend had to be the drum circle. Late Saturday night, after the music ended, we hiked up the mountainside, through the forest, over broken bridges (no kidding), with kids and drum in tow, following the sounds of drums in the distance and fellow festival goers along the way. We made it just as the music was full beat and joined right in, Papa Bear on his drum, and me nursing our youngest to sleep. Funny, our kids can stay awake forever it seems, but our little girl felt so at home at that drum circle, and I am sure so exhausted from the day running across the meadow and dancing and hooping it up, that she nestled snug in my arms and let the drums lull her to sleep. The boys stayed awake and enjoyed the magic of it all. And after just a few minutes of holding my babe in my arms, I began drumming on my leg, on a rock, on anything I could find. I couldn't help it but to feel the music inside me. Then, after taking the last sip of my Buchi, and picking up a rock to rhythmically hit it against the bottle, I found my instrument. I played that Buchi bottle as if it were meant to be an instrument, and enjoyed every moment. Oftentimes completely in tune with the guy with the cowbell across the way, other times setting my own beat with the drums. We were all in sync, yet completely in tune with ourselves and our own connection to the music, it became us and we became one. We ended up staying for awhile and didn't make it back down the hill and to our RV site at the campground until about 12:30am. The kids all awake at this point and engaged by the pull of the midnight forest and the hum of drums. As soon as we got home, they all fell peacefully asleep.
Our time at the One Love Festival was nothing short of magical. And, we can't wait to connect with these souls again. But, what it taught us is that these loving souls are all around us if only we are open to it, and the open community spirit is there as long as we welcome it. I just finished reading Robert Roskind's "Rasta Heart: A Journey Into One Love" and have just started "2012: the Transformation from the Love of Power to the Power of Love" and feel even more connected to this global consciousness awakening. We are in a time of positive transition, from a dual society driven by power to a rising evolution toward universal love. And, while most predictions of this time are coated in fear, there really is a change going on from an oppressive rule of the few to that of community tribes sustainably living as one. So, go ahead, trust your intuition, live with intention, follow what guides your heart! The changes you have been seeking, the path you feel pulled toward, trust it, and know that together we can all be fueled by love and peace! And, even veggie grease, too ;)!