Where will the gathering be?

We will gather peacefully for silent meditation the morning of July 4th, 2017 from dawn until noon; and a peaceful assembly of free speech and expression from July 1st through the end of Vision Counsel; in the state of Oregon. For directions, click here.

To find out how to get into the gathering without getting a mandatory court appearance ticket, click here and check out the right side-bar. To reach a human being, email Karin.

Monday, August 29, 2016

It's an Experiment Folks

The social media world is full of criticisms of the gathering, arguments over who shoulda, woulda, coulda. There are people who think the gathering is full of criminals because they hear a rumor about something that happened, there are people who don't understand why we don't always walk our talk. Did I mention internet rumors? 



I hear rumors about all sorts of things that never happened - and sometimes about things that maybe happened but have been blown out of proportion on-line. Have you ever heard of the Telephone Game? If you are not familiar with living in a non-hierarchical, direct-democracy community with no one in charge, the entire situation can be very scary.

You may be wondering what is this experiment and who is involved.

The way I see it, the gathering is an experiment in creating temporary community. The values we talk center on creating a peace focused egalitarian community that intends to create a safe and peaceful gathering and a safe and peaceful world. The values we talk include deep care and respect for mother earth and the land upon which we gather.  This means that everyone contributes according to their ability and their desire. We provide free food, free medical care, and if you came without a tent or sleeping bag, sometimes folks have extra to share.

Does everyone come with this intention?  Of course not.  This is not a perfect world in which we live, nor is everyone who attends the gathering perfect. Although even the roughest, meanest folks who come home, are probably searching for something better then the culture in which they normally live. Does that mean that when we come home we are instantly transformed into kind loving people?  Of course not.

So what's the truth?  I can't speak for the truth as there is no "one" truth. Different people come home with different baggage and needs. We try to address issues like poor behavior,  unequal access, differential abilities, and capacity to contribute from a place of love and compassion. Does that mean that every problem is met with love and compassion?  Of course not. Does that mean that every situation is met with actions that you personally feel are appropriate?  Of course not.

What it means is that the majority of individuals at the gathering are trying to help others from a perspective they feel is loving and caring.  It might not be your perspective of love and care, but it is someone's perspective.

Can we do better?  Of course we can.  The more we teach and learn from each other, the better we get at this experiment.  The more we remember to engage from a place of compassion, the more loving our actions become.  Sometimes we focus on harm reduction -- preventing an individual from hurting her/himself or others. Sometimes we focus on triage. Sometimes we spend hours or days trying to diffuse a situation and nothing seems to change. Sometimes the relationship between cause and effect is not clear. The person you spent days trying to help may not change their behavior today or tomorrow. Maybe the change happens in six days or six months.  I've seen plenty of situations with  lots of kind loving energy put into them fall apart without any obvious effect. Then days later, the behavior problem suddenly resolves itself and the problem behavior has been transformed into wood chopping.

This is a love based endeavor. Sometimes love is keeping a two year old from putting a dangerous object in her/his mouth. Sometimes love is being strict with acceptable behavior. Sometimes love is taking care of someone when they are down.  Sometimes love is food.

If you don't like to learn and grow as a human being, then this probably isn't the place for you. Every gathering I go to I learn more about how to be a loving and compassionate person while still creating peace and having boundaries. I am student of the gathering and the gathering is a tough teacher -- sometimes the lessons you learn are ones you have been trying to avoid. If you are looking for something that is already perfect, then this probably isn't the place for you.  However, just cause this isn't the place for you, doesn't mean it's a bad place.


20 comments:

  1. It is what you make of it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes yes yes! Thank you!
    Teresa

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for the well-articulatd and insightful observations. I agree with them all.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I like the bit about "no one truth".

    ReplyDelete
  5. The child in me smiles at the child in you

    ReplyDelete
  6. The child in me smiles at the child in you

    ReplyDelete
  7. I suggest a location be found as soon as possible. The exact directions as soon as possible. The idea of magically revealing the mystery directions one month before the gathering does not make sense. I will be traveling a long way by Greyhound bus but this needs much planning months ahead of time. The ticket is much cheaper if bought 4 months ahead of time rather 4 weeks. I want to be able to be within walking distance from the closest local bus stop. I do not want to buy $100s of gear for preparation, then learn I have a unreliable way to get in there and out. I do not agree with gatherings being unnecessarily further in the woods than needs to be. Having a gathering a half mile or 2 farther in the woods means much more stress on all people also. There are many people that need to prepare for a long trip. Many people can not go or decide not to go because the directions are posted weeks before the gathering. Having the directions available by Jan 1 2017 would help MANY people in MANY ways. So as of now, I could be planning an exact safe trip to Oregon and back, but any possible preparation is on hold due to the long drawn out process of taking much longer than necessary. Please pass this on and post comments. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Making the most sense would be to hold the 2017 Gathering in the EXACT same place as in 1997. Way easier and most logical. Prineville and Mitchell are both Greyhound bus stops and for local buses. http://www.welcomehome.org/rainbow/sites/1997oregon.html

      Delete
    2. As I look at the map again I believe the exact 1997 location appears to be a hostile 7 miles from Mitchell. Too far for me. I would need to hitchhike on the questionable local roads to get near and I am not going to do that. I must be within 3 or 4 miles of a local bus or Greyhound bus stop or I won't go. Which may be better anyway. I refuse to hitchhike with a random stranger. Rainbow Gathering are not safe places to be in my opinion but that is another story.

      Delete
    3. 2 miles from a city seems sufficient to find. Water source near a large town can not be that difficult. Google maps will give many options. I do not agree with the rely on hitchhiking with quotations 'FAMILY?' in order to attend.

      Delete
    4. Bend Oregon has Deschutes River South West of the city, it appears 2 or 3 miles which would be in the federal land.

      Delete
  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow...if one does not want to attend for whatever the reason is cool but not nice to then turn around and say ugly things! Many things go in to planning gatherings and a little bit of what one or two people consider a hardship is minute in the big picture. Be Well

    ReplyDelete
  12. For those of you who may not know how home is found each year, here is the high level explanation http://oregongathering2017.blogspot.com/2016/07/where-will-gathering-be.html

    As to how close to town - my personal preference is 30 miles or so. The farther we are from town, the more we commit to being at the gathering and the distance seems to discourage a daily trip into town to buy things.

    ReplyDelete
  13. A question that should be discussed is how many people over the years do not want to hitchhike? Have had bad experiences or prefer to do without it all together. A 30 mile trek is long enough to cause issues. Such as pay for gas! No room so we will put you in the trunk. There is the unknown number of people who have been assaulted or killed. How many people have really died associated with a Rainbow Gathering? The Marie Hansen lady a few years ago was very suspicious at the least. It's like there are a few people who tend to direct planning discussions that do not consider reality. Such as some that have gone to a few over the years and have money, criticize new comers for not preparing and not having money. We hear the slogan, 'oh you do not need money, you do not need to 'prepare' it will work out'. Which is obviously ridiculous unless you actually believed that, which I did one year. Having the Gathering on the border of the national forest, river, SW of Bend would be my preference, for one reason is it is much easier to buy watermelon and other foods. Also many more people would participate.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I had a bad sentence. I meant to say the time I did not prepare and had to rely on others was basically unnecessary stress for myself and others, especially when you are dealing with strangers. I finally found a guy that drove the 45 minutes to bring me from the gathering to town. The whole time I'm thinking what if this guy has a gun holy shit. The entire landscape was black and tall pine trees. I'm thinking this guy could rape me, kill me, toss me off the road and I'd never be found. How many people live off the grid and if they did go missing not too many people would care. There are so many issues involved. If I am the only one that is bringing these issues up, then fine I will skip. I'll go some other time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow I can't believe that anyone expects a gathering to be easy to find or have a problem trusting brothers or sisters for a ride. In the old days we had to rely on word of mouth and then the adventure began. Namaste grandmother morningsong of the great and loving rainbow family. Love and walk lightly.

      Delete

I look forward to comments that avoid racist, sexist, homophobic, and/or other 'ism' language that does not advocate violence.