It’s a pleasure to introduce you to our newest contributor Katherine Therese Whaling. In a letter to her fellow organizers, she offers a heartfelt reflection on her experience organizing last year’s Muizenberg Festival, a week-long celebration of community-led development in the seaside town of Muizenberg, South Africa. We were struck by how beautifully her reflection illuminates what it means to live an event as a process rather than simply plan it as an outcome. We were happy that she accepted our invitation to print it as a blog post.
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I would like, for a moment, to implore us to acknowledge what for me is a very important aspect of the festival process, the microcosmic workings of our greater vision.
What I feel is of most importance is how we conduct ourselves in every interaction within and with others, over and above what we do and what we achieve. If we as individuals and the core team, for example, cannot communicate and relate to each other clearly, considerately, openly and compassionately, then we fail to implement our vision from the start.
We need to endeavour to embody our ideals. If you look at individuals throughout time who made a real difference, it was not what they did but how they moved through the world that had real impact. The quality of their being radiated their vision and their vision lived in their words and deeds.
I am not suggesting we all become holy men and women, but if you could, engage your imagination and take the essence of what I am saying, and pull it over into the festival context. I am feeling called to highlight the subtleties of how we operate, the energetic, the invisible. And I am feeling called to express how important it is that we honour these details of human interaction and even thought, with purity and truth, above all else. Our work starts here, in our own being, in our own back yard.
May we respect each other’s wisdom, for we all hold pieces to the puzzle, and let us make sure we do not try to force ourselves into spaces that were not shaped for us. Let us match our own passions and talents to the different needs in an energetically sustainable way.
Masculine and feminine energies balance each other and work together only if each is heard and respected for their equal worth and wisdom. Diversity in outlook is a strength and a gift; together they paint a whole picture, and with this, real sustainability can be achieved.
May we not force anything into creation before its time. We do this by removing our own will and making ourselves empty, open to hearing the real call of ‘the community’, of Muizenberg. It may not always be what we previously thought or even what we personally want. What then? May we not take ourselves too seriously, but rather take seriously the quality of every interaction and how we influence the space around us in every moment.
May we not presume and assume ourselves a necessity in the community, but rather a joy, a celebration, a vibrant, inspired presence. May we not carry the egotistical weight of trying to change the world, the neighbourhood, people, but act from a bounding urge to give of our abundance, our love, our time, our resources and ideas, as a response to what is naturally flowing from us and what feels right in our hearts.
Muizenberg does not need us. Life would go on without us. We are doing this because we choose too, because we believe in other ways, and in our intention which is to amplify and inspire positivity, love and community, among other things. I am not saying it must always be easy, but I clearly feel there is no need to exceed our personal and group capacity at any point for any reason. A strong tree grows slowly and in a harmonious way with its environment.
We have revolutionary ideas and dreams. May we also truly continue to revolutionise the ways in which we work together, the way we communicate, the ways we interact with the community and each other, the way we structure ourselves and the way we move forward. And let us not be to hasty in walking down old roads just because they are there.
We have created something new, amazing and beautiful here. Let us sustain the newness and continue to be brave in the forging of paths through the unknown, even though it takes more time, patience and trust. At times we may feel lost, but it will all be worthwhile and is necessary if indeed what we are seeking are new horizons of consciousness and new ways of living and being.
Photo credit: Home page photo from https://www.facebook.com/MuizenbergFestival2014/)