Serendipity and spontaneity. Last month I went off to a two-week event in Florida with the expectation that I’d be in a hotel, with one roommate, and eat in hotel restaurants. The serendipity of a delayed flight led me instead to a three-story towne house about a mile away with 13 friends.
We were all at an international Avatar course, several thousand of us from 37 countries, with the sizeable goal of working toward creating an enlightened planetary citizenship. It’s hands-on work, and it wasn’t easy (though we laughed a lot). It also made me insatiably hungry.
This household formed spontaneously, over casual conversations among strangers and friends standing in various lines the first day. We bonded quickly. The 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s were all represented, though what was common among us transcended our age differences.
First line of order was shopping, where we got a fridge full of fruits and veggies (we went through $90 worth of avocados in one week!), plus 50 lbs. of carrots and pounds of ginger. Ancha had brought a juicer; Chery and Rich, a Vita-Mix. Acorn made rice pancakes for breakfast. Avery made somosas and chutney from scratch one night. Someone was always making tea. Ancha juiced gallons of carrots, kale and celery. Chery sprouted sunflower seeds and literally whipped up nutritious raw soups. Rich made almond butter. Felicia was on a raw food diet and ate her burgers raw. Natalie sauteed veggies. Sandra amazed us with mountainous microwaved eggs. Olivia sang and danced and made crepes. Come to think of it, almost everyone sang and danced and made something. Eo, the baby, was consistently delighted and delightful.
Household meetings using the tools we had come here to hone kept communication flowing and issues handled. Becca, Sandra and Lotus, early risers, did t’ai chi. Rollerblades, a skateboard, a couple of bikes—our neighbors had Razor scooters—alternative transportation took on new meaning here. It was a pleasure to walk in the wind-scrubbed, humid air.
For some of us, this was their 10th year at these gatherings. For others, their first. Everyone applied themselves diligently. Still, there was this spaciousness. Perhaps that’s just what comes when life’s requirements are reduced to inner work, bodily nourishment and contentment among equals.
None of this was “officially” part of what I went to Florida for. And, had it been orchestrated, it probably wouldn’t have been the same. But it’s a large part of what I brought home. Friendship, food, caring for each other, laughter, and music and dance—this is how you can make the world sane. This is one way to create peace. Teatime, anyone?
Greta Belanger deJong is editor and publisher of Catalyst.