About 3 months ago, we decided to do a ‘sleep-out’ on Winter Solstice, to raise goods e.g. pantry / personal items for those doing it tough and in much need (as opposed to the raising of $ in the usual way). We later chose to share it as an event (combining a zoom session) for others to join in, if they felt it was something they aligned with.
We gathered a few volunteers to share their knowledge and help us feel the energy of the night and learn the meaning behind the actual winter solstice, as part of a zoom gathering. We invited people to be involved in different ways; join in the zoom session, perhaps sleep out and feel the night air, raise pantry items, or perhaps learn to ‘plarn’ and repurpose plastic to make a mat. The night was lovely. The zoom session brought a wonderful connection to the earth and the stars above, and it gave us the time to feel and set intention for the growth phase to follow.
The wonderful 1 hour gathering brought an incredible grounding and true understanding of the winter solstice, particularly the notion of review, reset, revitalise (thank you Dorothy, Fang and Kay). We then continued with the ‘sleep-out’ part of the event. And here’s where the magic of the night unfolded – our real learning, a turnaround in our thinking from new realisations… and here we were able to experience being still, in nature, under the stars.
During the zoom session, we had discussed the concept of empathy from lived experience… and this had been our intention from the beginning.
And here’s where the realisation happened
While lying outside on mats made from discarded plastic bags (thanks Kathy Bryker) and warmed by the clothes on our back, it didn’t take long to feel that actually sleeping out for a night, was nowhere near knowing what it would feel like for others doing it tough. Actually what were we doing by sleeping out for the night?
We felt cold, yes, however, we have felt cold outdoors before, so what was this about? We realised it was another of the ‘gestures’ that we tend to do in our society to ‘show we care’, but what does that really mean and how much does it feel like being cared for those needing care? Is it more about us and our need to ‘prove or display’ something or is it about the cause? Is it real support or did we get sucked in to believe we were doing something meaningful?
What we realised is, it can no longer be about gestures… the only real way to help is to bring our best selves each day, in moments and situations towards a more caring world. It’s actually about doing, in small ways, what we can, to connect and listen… If we are telling ourselves that $ and food fare is important, then… do it anyway.
We can notice and; acknowledge people rather than walk past them, advocate to government, tackle things differently and create ways to care for people, no matter who and where they are.
So that’s our next step…to grow in how we notice, learn and live from our hearts as we connect with others in our day to day.
So, our intention for the next winter solstice event…is a night of learning and celebrating, sharing, caring, expressing and connecting with earth and others… a night to review, reset and revitalise.