Lucid Days and Dreams: An Exercise in Balance

2015 has been a whirlwind already. A big storm last weekend that knocked out power for 36 hours here on the Mendocino coast forced me to slow down and realize just how much I’ve been doing every day this year. It also made me realize how sadly dependent all five of my jobs, and thus my life, is on electricity and internet! I have been playing catch up all week after being off-grid Sunday night through Tuesday morning. But somehow even though nearly every hour of my day is now scheduled, I fully embrace this chaos of my own making and enjoy being busily involved in so many exciting projects.

36 hour power outage means pretty candles

I have always kept myself pretty busy, but this year I am taking it to a whole new level. Late last year I received a message from someone I’d worked with at Forever Everland who mentioned that Lucidity Festival had some positions opening up that I might be a good fit for. I had been planning to really hunker down this winter and focus on work, getting as many billable hours in as possible so I can pay stuff off and save up to hopefully move into a bigger place this year. So the opportunity arose at a great time, and I submitted a resume and started talking to the Marketing department as they began to gear up for 2015. Lucidity is a Southern California transformational festival that has been on my radar since it began in 2012, but I haven’t been able to get down there for the early April event yet. This year that will be changing, and when April finally rolls around I will be more than ready to experience the fruits our labors!

I started as the Marketing Operations Lead for Lucidity Festival’s marketing department in early January – adding another part-time contract to my pile. And now that I’ve been here a minute and am starting to feel a bit more caught up with everything going on in the bustling Lucid universe, I’m beginning to feel quite at home. I mean, how rad is it that their contracts include The Four Agreements (one of my favorite books) and their core values sound like something I could have written? Pretty rad. 🙂

Lucidity Core Values

  1. Participation and Immersion in the Artistic Process
  2. Personal Growth and Global Healing
  3. Awake and Aware Consciousness
  4. Environmental and Social Responsibility
  5. Family Fun and Creative Play
  6. Communal Reciprocity
  7. Transparency

The team I work with is inspiring and awesome, I am learning a lot and taking on a lot that is new to me, all good things! And though increasing my workload has been a bit overwhelming at times, it is teaching me to manage my time better, work more efficiently, plan ahead and it reminds me that I need to make time for a social life and relaxation too – it feels a bit like juggling but I’m moving towards balance. Work hard, play hard!

This job is giving me an opportunity to push my growth edges and gain valuable experience in new areas. I have to process and keep up with a lot of projects, e-mails, phone calls, meetings, documents, and people. My role is more of a management role than any I’ve held previously, but I also get to use my design and communication skills, knack for organization, and my love of multitasking and having lots of variety in my work life is definitely coming in handy! AND I am also still working for PETA part time as well as spending a few hours a week helping with social media management for Forever Everland and Enchanted Forest, and a few hours a week as a Personal Assistant for my friend Amae Love.  It’s a lot of hours, but it feels less like work to me when I am doing a variety of things for a living rather than having one job. That 9-5 life is far too bland and boring for this weirdo, even if I end up working my little booty off trying to avoid working for people and organizations I don’t align with. Maintaining an “alternative” lifestyle sure can be exhausting, but I’m certainly enjoying it. I am grateful that I have 5 jobs and I can say that I truly love, enjoy, and feel good about my work with every single one.  What a blessed, busy life!

We don’t have any festivals on the radar this year other than ones we’re working or learning at (FireDrums, Forever Everland and Enchanted Forest most likely), so Lucidity will be a nice “working vacation” for me (not sure that James can join me unfortunately) and a wonderful chance to experience a new event and hang out with some good friends who moved to SoCal from Mendo a few years back, Pal and Ottie! It will also mark the end of a very busy few months, as the start of 2015 is shaping up to be.

I’m really excited that I’ll likely be in Santa Barbara for a week surrounding the festival, which means I can participate in some Community Action Days with The Polish Ambassador since Lucidity is partnering with him to make that happen! And… the lineup is pretty freaking epic as well. Getting giddy just thinking about it… and also about the fact that this is all part of my job now. Doesn’t really feel like work when I think about it that way… 🙂

If you’d like to join us at Lucidity this year, get your tickets ASAP! It’s getting close to selling out and I want you there! Use my discount code “meganpru” at checkout to receive $5 off Lucidity tickets! 

Lucidity 2015 Lineup

Creative Recycling in the Kitchen: Veggie Broth from Scraps

Perhaps I’ve internalized my hippie methods enough by now that it is second nature for me to throw my veggie scraps into a bag in the freezer, or into my worm bin or compost failing that, but I think it should feel weird and wrong to throw perfectly useful things away. There are some very simple ways to make our lifestyles less wasteful and more sustainable, and many of them are as simple as asking “what would my grandma or great-grandma do?” Saving veggie scraps to make vegetable broth is one of those things that I am pretty sure would make my granny proud. Plus, homemade broth is SUPER healthy and nourishing.

Free food makes me happy. Reducing food waste and using every last bit of every resource you have does too. So when I realized how easy it was to make veggie broth from little leftover bits of vegetables, I kinda wanted to kick myself for not starting the habit sooner.

Here’s how it works: get a big gallon freezer bag or two. As you cook, save the ends and skins of onions and garlic, pepper innards, tough ends of broccoli stalks, root veggie peels and ends, ginger and carrot peels, celery ends, parsley and cilantro stems – any clean but unused plant matter that would add good flavor to broth. Add these odds & ends to the bag as you’re cleaning up from cooking and throw them back in the freezer. Once the bags are getting too full to close easily, empty them into your largest stock pot and add filtered water until it reaches the level of the veggies, leaving a few inches of space for it to boil. I usually throw in some healthy additions at this point: dried seaweed, a bay leaf or two, a few chunks of fresh turmeric and ginger, peppercorns, a handful of flax seeds, maybe some dried mushrooms or hot peppers, and whatever spices I feel like adding. Stir it all into the water and let it come to a rolling boil before turning the heat down a bit.

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Boil your veggies for a good 20-30 minutes at a low simmer, stirring occasionally and adding water if necessary. I usually cover my pot with a lid but make sure it doesn’t boil over. I rarely have a timer on, I just let the veggies simmer while I am home and busy for an afternoon, and check on them every so often, turning the heat down a bit more as they start getting mushy and faded in color. Once everything looks pretty mushed out, I turn off the heat, cover it tightly and let it all cool completely, sometimes letting it sit overnight.

Once the pot is cool, it’s time to strain. This is where it gets tricky. If you have a large ladle, you can ladle broth over a strainer into jars for storage. Or you can pour the broth from the stock pot into a large bowl or pitcher, and then into jars. I freeze a few jars (make sure to leave an inch or two of space) and put the rest in the fridge to use within a couple of days. Great for soups, risotto, or just drinking hot by the mugful as a cleansing and nourishing tonic. Every batch is a little different and it’s easy to adjust the seasoning to whatever purpose you had in mind.

So don’t throw those veggie peels and scraps away when you can save them and suck their vital life force out! After you’ve strained out all the liquid, you can compost the leftover solids, rinse out your bags, and let the cycle begin again. And now you’ll be rewarded from cooking with fresh veggies at home with delicious vegetable nectar! Mmmm. Perfect winter project if I do say so myself. I just made the batch pictured above yesterday! 🙂

Strides Forward for Animal Rights in 2014

I began working with PETA about nine years ago doing web design, and at times it can be challenging and heart-wrenching having to see footage of undercover investigations in industries that use and abuse animals or to put up with trolling and hate on the internet when I mention where I work. But it is also one of the most rewarding parts of my life. I may not play a large role in this very dedicated, hard working, and compassionate organization, but I am proud to be a small part of an amazing team. The people I work with inspire me every day. The video below shows some of PETA’s accomplishments on behalf of animals in the past year. 2014 marked many strides forward in animal rights, but we still have a long way to go.

Endless Gratitude

This time of year makes me quite sappy. I am currently listening to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Pandora station, taking a break from making Christmas cookies. To my left is a small pile of colorfully wrapped gifts addressed to James and I, and behind me is a well-fed cat cuddling into a fuzzy blanket on the couch. I have a roof over my head, food in my fridge and cupboards, plenty of work to keep me busy and secure, and a life full of people I love. And I am wondering how it could be possible that I got so ridiculously lucky.

Holiday Cheer - our tiny tree for our tiny house.
Holiday Cheer – our tiny tree for our tiny house.

While enjoying a Thanksgiving weekend with extended family in the Portland area this year, I was struck by this deep sense of gratitude a few times. When my dad’s side of the family gets together (The Pru Crew, and then some) we top out at well over 30 people. I met three new babies in my own family and one belonging to a good friend from high school on my trip. I marveled as I shared food, games, small talk, and stories with my family how amazing it is that we all get along relatively well, enjoy seeing each other, and are all relatively healthy and happy functioning humans doing amazing things (like raising twins – holy cow, my cousin just had the second set of twins in the family and I thought one baby sounded like work; two at the same time of the same age?!?! Yeah, parents are superheroes, and parents of twins are super-duper heroes). I’m not sure what I ever did to deserve to be born into a happy, healthy family support system like this, but I sure am grateful. Call it privilege or an “original birthday gift” (in my sister’s words, more on that later), I am a very lucky girl. And I am very thankful that I have such a loving, supportive, and pretty damn functional family and family of friends.

Pru Crew assembling on Thanksgiving.
Pru Crew assembling on Thanksgiving.
Braxton and Koleson, my cousin's twins and two of the four new babies I got to meet on my trip.
Braxton and Koleson, my cousin’s twins and two of the four new babies I got to meet on my trip.

After being stuck in Portland waiting for car repairs (which VW ended up paying for due to it being a known issue – yet another reason to be grateful!) for four days longer than expected, I made the very long drive home. That night I put on my onesie footie pajamas and watched Adventure Time while snuggling with my man in his onesie and our cat on the couch in our cozy tiny house. I may feel like I am struggling at times, but it’s simple little moments of bliss like these that make me realize just how great life is, and how very blessed I am to have the life I do. Especially at this time of year, the warmth and goodness that fills my life seems at sharp contrast with those whose struggles are far more burdensome than mine. As hard as it is, I urge you to open your eyes and your hearts and do whatever you can to support the less fortunate, oppressed communities and those in poverty. We all have something we can give… like perhaps a donation that could help improve an orphan’s life in a third world country, or one that could give cold neglected dogs shelter this winter?

Onesie snuggles, pizza, and Adventure Time right after getting home. Ahhh this is home and it is SO GOOD.
Onesie snuggles, pizza, and Adventure Time right after getting home. Ahhh this is home and it is SO GOOD.

And on that note, I leave you with some very inspiring words from my sister, Rachel Prusynski, who may be my little sister but is also one of my heroines. I have always loved this speech (and admired her bravery for being able to deliver it so eloquently) that she gave at the high school graduation ceremony of the high school we both attended, only 5 years after she had graduated from there, in 2010. I re-read and remember these words whenever I am feeling the weight of my own problems that seem to eclipse the rest of the world. Reading this helps me to put things in perspective and realize just how lucky I am with what I already have in life.  I realized the only place I could find the text of this speech was on her Facebook page, so I am sharing the speech here to give this inspiring message a bit of a wider audience. Hope you don’t mind, sis, but I just have to share this brilliance with the world. <3

Rachel Prusynski’s Bishop Kelly High School Graduation speech 5/30/2010

Thank you and good afternoon. I feel very honored to be here.
But I do have a confession to make. When I was thinking about what I wanted to talk to you about today, I realized that I don’t remember the subject of the speech, or even who the speaker was, five years ago at my own graduation from BK. I apologize to whoever that person is, but I figure either I was too preoccupied by my itchy graduation gown to pay attention, or maybe the speaker just didn’t make enough of an impact on me. So I decided that while I can’t do anything about that horrible polyester tarp that you’re wearing, if nothing else, even if I can’t inspire you or change your life in my allotted 5-8 minutes, at least maybe I’ll say something that will strike you enough that you’ll remember it five years from now.

But first I have a second confession. I’m barely twenty-three years old, just graduated high school in 2005, and I have no idea what I’m doing here. What could I have possibly done in the five short years that are separating me from you that gives me enough infinite wisdom to qualify me to send you off to the next stage in your life? It could have something to do with the fact that Mr. Coulter sat in the audience when I spoke to my college graduating class and he liked what I had to say. But more likely it has to do with the fact that I’ve seen and lived through things in places around the world that not many twenty-three year olds have been fortunate enough, but also unlucky enough, to experience.

But here’s where I want to start with you. Guess what? High School is nothing like real life. No matter if that realization elicits feelings of excitement, gratitude, or remorse and panic, it’s true. Everything is about to change. Everything. Even the part of your brain, called your orbital gyrus, that determines your beliefs, personality, morality, and behavior hasn’t stopped developing. That fact may have just made some parents in the audience breathe a massive sigh of relief, but it’s true. Everything could change starting today, but only if you allow it to.

I know that the next four years, no matter where you’re headed, will offer a ridiculously overwhelming amount of options for you. But coming from the same seat you’re all sitting in, here’s one thing that I wish somebody had told me. No matter what your plans are, I encourage you to leave. Go. As far away as possible and as many times as possible. Leaving, going anywhere else at some point in college or the next stage of your life, is probably one of the best ways to allow all sorts of changes to happen. And don’t think that even if you’re headed out of state or across the country for college, that that necessarily counts. Realize that an idyllic ivy-covered college campus in New England can be just as sheltered of an environment as staying at home with your parents. Speaking of parents, when I asked my mom what she thought I should say today, she told me not to forget about speaking to the parents. Even though my own mom and dad almost lost me to a collapsed building in Haiti, my mother still said I needed to tell you to not be afraid to let your children leave. Because there are things in this world that just don’t exist here. And these things need to be witnessed firsthand, encountered at close range, for the true magnitude of the experience to be felt and any sort of real lesson to be learned.

So I want to share with you some of my own firsthand painfully close-up experiences that I allowed to change everything for me. As a disclaimer, I will mention that what I’m going to say is similar to what I spoke about last year at the University of Portland’s commencement ceremony. That’s not because I didn’t have time to write a new speech, but because even after the earthquake in Haiti changed everything; after it turned my world upside down; after it made me question some of the most fundamental beliefs I had carried with me, not only did what I am about to share with you survive the upheaval that Haiti brought to my life, but it was strengthened by it. The thoughts I shared with my own graduating class a year ago were fortified by my experience in Haiti, and when you can ride a seven-story building to the ground and be trapped under rubble and get evacuated by helicopter to Cuba because of injuries, and when your best friend who gave a year of her life to work with orphans and kids with mental disabilities dies in that same rubble you were pulled from, when all that can happen and you still believe in something, when that something is all you have left and you are able to rebuild off of that foundation and pick up the pieces and live on, you know the foundation is good.

My foundation is something I call the original birthday gift. And I’m about to tell you what that means.

I’ve spent some time in the two poorest countries in the western hemisphere; Haiti and Nicaragua. They are beautiful, but also terrible. Traveling to these types of places is not a vacation, it is not relaxing, it is not even pleasant half the time. But what I brought back with me, my foundation, was a million times worth it.

In Haiti I held babies that at three and a half months old were only about the size of a grapefruit, I hugged children born with AIDS who never knew the mothers that gave them their death sentence, I did physical therapy with kids stricken by entirely preventable diseases like meningitis and malnutrition. In Nicaragua I drove through a massive landfill called La Chureca and watched thousands of people dig through mountains of burning garbage looking for food or something valuable enough to sell. The young girls who lived in the dump would be sold as prostitutes to the garbage truck drivers so their families could eat. The little boy I saw climbing over a pile of trash would never have an education, much less a full stomach.

And that’s when I realized something. Something so important that if you have not listened to a word I have said so far, if you are like me and won’t remember this speech in five years, please listen now. Haiti and Nicaragua and all of my travel experiences have taught me one essential thing. I did nothing, absolutely nothing, to ensure that it wasn’t me that was born into that garbage dump or born with AIDS to a mother that abandoned me. None of us chose to be born into these lives where we have food and clean water and families that can afford to send us to BK and maybe to college. We did not earn this incredible blessing. It was a gift. An original birthday gift.

You are here through no fault or effort of your own. You are probably healthy and full from breakfast and you have a high school education and a future, all stemming from your original birthday gift.

But there’s a bit of a catch. It’s as if your original birthday gift made you start your life already in the red and in debt to the world. As potential future college students figuring out student loans and how to pay for school, you’re probably thinking “great, more debt. The last thing I need.” But original birthday gift debt isn’t monetary, it just comes with some responsibilities. All you have to do is try to start deserving your gift. And the great thing is, every morning you wake up, you have a new chance to do something extraordinary. And please don’t think that you have to be a valedictorian or a world traveler or someone rich and famous to do it. My friend Molly that died after deciding to move to Haiti to work with orphans had an average grade point average, slept til noon, ate copious amounts of Taco Bell, and had an unhealthy obsession with Diet Dr. Pepper and America’s Next Top Model. She is the perfect example that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. I can’t tell you how to give back, or which of your talents to use to pay back your debt. But I know you’ll find your way to give back to the world in exchange for your original birthday gift. But know that you have the power to turn your life into one big thank you note. But the last thing I want to say is that Molly is also the perfect example that you have to start writing that thank you note now because you never know what might happen, so please wake up tomorrow and start paying back your debt. Don’t let today be the best day of your life.

Thank you.

All I can think of to say after that is: Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you, for my original birthday gift. I strive to keep trying (and trying harder) to live my life as one long thank you note. I hope you’ll join me. 🙂

Reflecting on an Amazing End to Festival Season

Almost a month has passed already since Foreverland, which marked the end to our festival season this year. Since we started off early with Envision in February, it felt like a really LONG season. We only went to seven festivals, but with a couple back to back festival weekends and street teaming, volunteering, and working at over half of them, it was a very busy festy season. And a seriously amazing year in general… wow.

It has been hard to come up with the words to describe the past couple of months – they have flown by and the only way to summarize is to say that I’ve been overwhelmed (in a good way), extremely busy, and of course, overflowing with inspiration and ideas to keep me very very busy through the winter and into 2015.

One thing I must say is that I am in complete and utter AWE at some of the people I have been working with and surrounded by lately. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming because of how amazing life is. The transformational festival community, and especially the flow arts community, have recently opened up even further to me, filling me with a massive dose of inspiration, creative energy, and motivation to hustle my ass off and share this magic light we are co-creating with the world.

It’s kinda blowing my mind that I don’t just go to festivals any more, I help create them. As someone who has been going to barter faires, festivals, gatherings, burns, etc. etc. for about a dozen years now, this represents a pretty massive shift for me. And makes me ridiculously excited.

I am now helping the marketing & media teams for Enchanted Forest and Foreverland, wearing many hats and assisting however I can, but mostly maintaining social media accounts, creating marketing materials, and working with some very talented people to get the word out about these beautiful events. I have learned a LOT from some of the masterminds involved in events like Envision and Lucidity, and it has been a great way to gain experience in marketing and social media management. I get to build upon my design skills and learn new ones, all while helping the production team and getting a peek at how some of my favorite festivals are created. But I don’t just see events being created here, this community is building a new paradigm, testing out new ways of life, creating an amazing variety of art, circulating ideas, and bringing many divergent communities together to create something beautiful. This experience has made it even more clear to me that the transformational festival community can and is changing the world and shaping a more healthy and whole way of being. It’s electrifying watching this all take shape, and even more amazing playing a small role in making it happen. Like I said, wow.

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We finished off festival season with our only flow festival this year, Pacific Fire Gathering, on the Oregon coast, followed by Foreverland the very next weekend. We got to have a fun little flowmily sleep over at our friends’ house in Eugene before and after PacFire, and in addition to getting to spend time with friends we haven’t seen much of lately, we met many more spinner friends. Oregon was good to us and we didn’t want to leave! We worked at the fuel depot, took tons of workshops (I got to take two from the very inspiring Mary Jane Schroeder – such a badass!), watched all kinds of mind-blowing performances (and a very silly renegade show), spun fire all night, brought mega hoop out to play on the beach, got some new toys, learned a lot, and laughed so much our faces hurt. So much silliness, spinning, and love!

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I have never felt more at home among a group of people as I have at flow arts festivals. FireDrums and PacFire are definitely both on the must do list next year. These are our people and we were so tickled to be welcomed into our Oregon spinner crew at Camp Lookout at PacFire. FLOWMILY!!!

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The above poster was in the lodge at PacFire. It was my favorite. ONE OF US! If by “us” you mean this crazy family of circus freaks, fire benders, ninjas, jugglers, spinners, dancers, performers, object manipulators, and clowns that I am lucky enough to have stumbled into – then yes, I am in the cult. Sign me up. PacFire was one of those life-affirming weekends that will be fueling my flow practice all winter and then some. Lots to work on!

We were home for a couple of days, just enough time to do laundry but not enough to catch up on sleep, before it was time to head to Foreverland. After working on the event for six weeks, I was really excited to see everything we’d been envisioning manifest. Plus we had a pretty awesome crew gathered to camp with,  friends from our various summer adventures all setting up camp together for one last hurrah of the summer.

I headed to Foreverland with our friend Kolby, and we found a spot to camp and got situated before James and a bunch more friends rolled in. We arrived just in time to catch a beautiful sunset Thursday evening over the lake, and witnessed domes going up, stages being built, and a dusty lakeside being transformed into a pirate’s playground. It was quite an impressive collaboration, and the vibe and atmosphere reminded me a lot of Burning Man, though on a much smaller first-year-event scale, and with a lake, albeit a depressingly low and muddy one due to severe drought.

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We enjoyed perfect weather at Foreverland, hot days good for chilling and floating on the lake, and mild cool nights perfect for dancing and taking in all kinds of art and magic. I worked a bit over the weekend, posting updates to our Instagram and Facebook pages, participating in media team meetings and taking photos. We got to see some great music and performances, hang out with friends, spin some fire on stage, and even go up in the Space Wench pirate ship stage at the lake’s edge. It was an epic weekend and really satisfying to see the event we worked so hard on go so smoothly.

James and his buddies played an Acacia Beats set on a floating stage on the lake Saturday during the day. Their tunes brought out plenty of people to dance on the lake’s edge or float and swim in the water. I rode a floaty out to the stage, carefully taking my camera with me to get some photos during their set.

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Foreverland is a collaborative effort put on by various production companies, Burning Man camps, and other groups such as Enchanted Forest, Fractal Planet, Hookahdome, Sacred Spaces and more. It was a mix of the spiritual new-age hippie crowd, the rowdy pirate party people, local first timers and festival regulars, folks from all over and all walks of life, who came together to celebrate art, music and life harmoniously and beautifully. By the end of the weekend, the local cops were partying with the attendees on the dance floor and holding “Give Thanks” signs for photos at the top of the pirate ship stage… mind blowing stuff and a wonderful way to break new ground for the festival community. It is an absolute honor to be involved with such an inspiring group of people at Foreverland!

We have been slowly winding down over the past month as we clean up and pack away the festival gear, get back into a regular spin jam schedule, and make the most of the autumn abundance here in Mendocino.

I started canning with a friend in Comptche recently, and have been spending afternoons and long nights out there making jam, picking grapes and apples, sharing homegrown food, trying new jelly recipes, and even making salsa and pickles. I’m keeping up with the fermented foods swap group and just started taking belly dance classes again.

James and I have had plenty to practice after PacFire, and hosting regular spin jams and fire practice sessions. James made a Facebook page for his fire and DJ performance and got fire performer insurance. He’s been practicing with his new fire staff and recently got hired for his first professional gig as an insured performer at a birthday party last weekend. I am following suit with insurance soon and we will both be performing on Halloween at a local street party event. Super excited to be leveling up our involvement in flow arts and performing, and I am so proud of my amazingly talented man for taking big steps towards making a living from spinning fire. Wow.

Lots of good things to come as the rains return and our social schedule slows down. I have been enjoying the time at home to work, save money, make delicious food, and go out and about locally. Hibernation  & work made: engaged!

Setting Sail for Foreverland

Summer is always busy, but WOW has this one been a doozy! Between hosting spin jams, keeping a variety of fermented foods going, gardening and the usual summer BBQs, river days and beach trips, it’s been a lot of fun, too. I am happy to say that I recently picked up a couple new “jobs” to keep me even busier, and more financially stable. I am now a personal assistant for a local couple and have joined the production team for a transformational festival. And this is, of course, in addition to my day job and the occasional freelance design work. My weekdays especially are tightly booked, but I am loving having more billable hours and several projects that I’m excited about working on.

I am working with my friend Amae to help manage her etsy shop, Amae Love Designs, filling and shipping orders while she’s performing, traveling, and festivaling, and helping with marketing, social media, and optimizing her business. It’s a nice variety of work, which is perfect for me!

Amae’s partner Tulku is lead of production for Enchanted Forest, one of my favorite local festivals. He and a team of festival producers and Burning Man sound camps are throwing a new festival in just five short weeks, a fun mix of the more spiritual, faerie tale Enchanted Forest vibes with some rowdy pirate party energy, with 24-hour world class music on multiple stages, workshops, amazing art and performances, a lake to swim & float in, and hopefully all of YOU! It’s called Foreverland and it’s going to be AWESOME. It’s kinda like my favorite local festival and some of my favorite Burning Man camps had a love child who became a Lost Boy in Foreverland. 🙂

Foreverland Poster

I was lucky enough to be brought in by Tulku to assist with the Foreverland web content, marketing, social media, and basically to help the production team in any way I can to create a top-tier event that’s accessible to broke hippies at the end of an epic festival season. Check out the web site to apply to get involved!

So needless to say, I will be VERY busy in the next five weeks. It’s probably a good thing I’m not going to the burn this year, because I’ll have plenty to do on Foreverland production team, helping Amae get orders for fabulous playa wear sent out, and keeping up with the endless bounty of zucchini and other goodies from my garden! Plus, we are going to our first Pacific Fire Gathering, our only flow arts festival this year, and I am very much looking forward to learning new things and leveling up in hoops, flow wand, fans, and performing in general!

See you in October when festival season is over… Whew! Now back to work… anchor’s away!

Just Another Reason I Love Our Festival & Flow Community…

Bring Back Our Flow Campaign

At Raindance last month, James discovered that his LED contact staff was missing from our camp on Monday morning. He had leaned it up against a pole inside one of the canopies covering our camp’s common area, and when we woke up it was gone. It was swiped by some asshole thief who probably knew how much it was worth monetarily but could never understand how much it meant to us.

A flow artist’s props become an extension of their body, a tool for finding the meditative flow state, for learning and growing, and for sharing their light with the world. This staff was something James had saved up for and bought in bits and pieces for the past year or more. I had given him extra lights for it for his birthday and new end caps for it for Valentine’s Day. He always let others use it at spin jams and festivals and taught others with it as he learned the art of contact staff. To find it missing that morning made our hearts sink, especially because Raindance is a festival very dear to his heart and one he’s been going to longer than any other. In all our years at festivals, neither of us had ever had something of this much value stolen, we have always felt safe bringing our expensive flow props with us to events like this.

What’s worse, we found out that we weren’t the only ones robbed at Raindance. Several other stories emerged in the days following the festival – everything from LED props to computers to jackets were stolen, mostly out of people’s personal camps and tents. Our friend Becca, who was teaching a contact staff workshop at Raindance, had her staff stolen (one very similar to James’s) out of her camp the night before her workshop was scheduled! Like James, she had saved up for months to buy that staff and hadn’t even had it very long.

Mercury went into retrograde the weekend of Raindance, and brought with it all sorts of turmoil as usual. Before we left Raindance, we looked everywhere we could think of for the missing staff, and brainstormed with our friends in camp how we could replace such a precious item in time for James to be able to take contact staff workshops at the only flow festival we plan to attend this year, Pacific Fire Gathering. We decided to wait until Mercury went direct again, and collaborated with Becca to put together a fundraising campaign to replace both of their stolen staves.

I have witnessed the power of crowdfunding in some of my friends’ projects, but had never personally tried it. We researched our options and decided to create a campaign on GoFundMe. A crowdfunding campaign seemed like the best way to allow our spread out festival and flow arts community to help easily and quickly. But I never expected such an instant and amazing response.

Within hours, donations began trickling in. The first few came from the friends we camped with at Raindance (Camp Higher Porpoise, represent). Family, friends, and anonymous donors pitched in, and in only a few days the campaign has been shared 125 times and counting. We are only trying to raise enough to cover the two staves, shipping, and fees ($600) and after only a few days, we’re already at $530! Wow. Needless to say, we are in awe and very very grateful.

We all decided that any leftover donations would be given to flow arts related causes chosen by Becca and James, such as Flow Arts Institute and Give Props, a documentary some of our fellow flow artists are working on. Today I found another worthy cause, helping to save the life of The Nom Noms, a fantastic feline loved by many in the flow arts community who belongs to Marvin and Jennifer Ong. We are already so blown away by the generosity of our family, friends, and community, so we will definitely do our best to pay it forward and share any extra love we receive with causes that are helping further the flow arts and this beautiful community.

It’s always disheartening to be robbed, and even though a staff is just a thing, its value to James was immesurable. The quick success of this campaign has restored our faith in humanity, humbled our hearts and filled us with gratitude. We can really feel the love, guys, and it means a lot. Every little bit helps and we feel very grateful for the outpouring of support we’ve received so far. Seriously, you all rock. My sad tears from losing the staff are definitely happy ones now!

So let’s keep this momentum going! We don’t really have a deadline for this campaign, but once it’s fully funded and it seems like it’s been up long enough for everyone who wants to participate to have that chance, James and Becca are going to be able to spin staff in style again, and continue spreading their love of the flow arts throughout our local and international festival communities.

Support “Bring Back Our Flow!” and help us replace these staves. Because the FLOW must go on! Thank you all so much for the shares, donations, and support. We love you!!!