It’s Good to Try Different Things Even — Maybe Especially — When You Feel Judgemental
Ok, well I haven’t bought a Volkswagen beetle bus yet but I am going to Stonehenge for the Winter Solstice.
When I first moved to Brighton, England, I was amazed to discover an entire community of hippies — really! They call themselves that and they are: they go to silent retreats and ayahuasca ceremonies and play kirtan on the beach. They wear gold eye sparkle bought at Lush and volunteer at Bestival on the Isle of Wight and camp out at the Glastonbury music festival for all four days, unfazed by the rain and mud.
My entree to this community was my friend Hamy. She loves the story of how we met so here goes:
I was new in town, didn’t know people and I saw a flyer for something called “Laughter Yoga.” Well, I could’ve used a bit of both so I went along. I found the address but there was a small pool on the ground floor and the business was called Baby Swim.
I went up the stairs to see if there was anything else, never imagining this could be the right place, stuck my head through a door and apparently with my New York attitude and a hand on my hip, as I was told later by Hamy, asked, “Are you the friggin’ laughter people?”
It was this woman named Hamy that led the group. We played fun and silly games, did nothing that I would call yoga and at the end lay down on mats, cuddled up with blankets and pillows and did some group giggling. It was bizarre, lovely and fun.
Hamy and I hit it off and became friends. She introduced me to fried Halloumi cheese, charity shops, and tip diving for kale on Wednesdays when Infinity Health Foods threw out their produce. She was funny as hell and talked about being in the “flow”.
She regularly attends the Summer and Winter solstices at Stonehenge. It’s quite the mecca. I’ve heard it described as magical, life-changing and “grounding.” While some of it sounds interesting, generally, I found it all a bit weird.
But then I would think: why is it weird? Because I haven’t done it, it’s weird? Be more open-minded, Ter!
I started to go to some house parties of people in this community and people were lovely and yet so not of my world.
But then I would think: why is that so not of my world? Be more open-minded, Ter.
I’ve since moved to London where the hippie community is less obvious and I no longer see them day-to-day as one does when one is in Brighton.
But recently, here in London, I went to the party of a friend that I met on a comedy course. There were a number of people there who don’t identify as hippie but as pagan. Huh? They have druid mentors. Say, what? I mean that’s funny, isn’t it? I don’t know how to take having a druid mentor seriously. Is it possible to poke fun of something and still respect it? I mean I want to be open-minded but stuff makes me giggle.
A few of the people there know each other from a priestess course (!). I met a woman who is a shaman (!!) and she leads cacao rituals (!!!). These people are kind and interesting, so why do I feel some underlying discomfort? Is it because I still find it funny?
At one point I confided to a woman who reads tarot cards that I’d been going through a hard time. She looked at me and said, Go to Stonehenge for the winter solstice. It will ground you. There’s that word “ground” again. And I thought, oh yeah sure.
And then I thought: why am I thinking “oh yeah, sure.” Be more open-minded, Ter!
So, fuck it, I’m going. Getting up ridiculously early, wearing a lot of clothes and as Hamy advised me, sticking a hot water bottle under my coat. I convinced a fairly straight-laced pal to go with me. She wants to jump out of her comfort zone as well. And I think she wants a bit of that grounding crap as well.
And — get this!! — next weekend, I’m going to see a medium. Ha! I’m gonna try to talk to my Dad who passed away nearly 10 years ago! Mwah haha! Is that hilarious or what? And I hope it works.
I don’t know what the hell is happening to me. Am I becoming a bit of a hippie? (Definitely not a pagan.) Or maybe it’s just to try different things even — maybe especially — when you feel judgmental.
I shall report back.