My Confest was a delightfully relaxing experience. I gave two workshops, attended two and did some work as a volunteer. Beyond that I was able to completely let go of the need to organise, facilitate, coach, or be switched on to all that was going on around me other than to be a good friend to my friends, connect with new people and have great conversations.
As much as it had been described to me by friends who knew I’d want to go, I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t expect such density. I expected a bit more nudity, and a few more outlandish costumes (maybe that’s a different festival) but I didn’t expect so many tents so close together.
I mentioned to a friend that I went to the bush to get away but usually there aren’t that many humans around. I experienced having far more people around than I’m used to, especially working for myself and spending lots of time working from home. Perhaps that’s what had me go into a bit of introvert mode. A bit overwhelming, not in a bad way, lots of lovely things and people to see and experience but taking it all in, well, that’s a feat I’ll leave to my subconscious!
Hanging Out With an Amazing Toddler
I had an opportunity to spend some time with little Diddle, the daughter of a friend, for a couple hours as her parents spent quality time together at the massage tent. I got to be on the edge of the love bestowed upon her as she went around melting hearts with her adorable self. She’s 20 months and very independent.
I was super impressed when we came back from our walk (where she completely forgot about her parents absence) and she helped me pack down my tent. She took the pegs out of the ground (knowing she was capable after seeing her pull up the solar lights stakes the day before) put them in the peg bag, took things out of my tent that I asked for and when I handed her an empty biscuit tray and asked her to hang on to it for recycling, she took it over to the bag I’d put other recycling in and put it in there on her own volition, she’s not even 2 yet! Smart one!
Self Organised Chaos
It felt like a real see saw of letting go and self organisation. There were lots of dirty dishes left in the communal kitchen waiting for someone else to do them or when the person who put them there got back to them, eventually.
People came to let go and be free to be themselves, express parts of themselves they feel inclined to. It could be their nature loving self, magical self, yogi self, primitive skills self, mud tribe self, conspiracy theorist, peacenik, nudist, masseur, drummer, dancer, fire tender, tarp erector, gate keeper, the list is endless but you won’t find much in the way of the corporate self, the suit wearing, conformist, duty bound, obliged employee. This is what many people come to Confest to escape. Some, strictly based on appearance and stereotyping, it appears, that was never their world. I noticed myself looking at them, wondering how they earn a living. And then, told myself to let go of assumptions and judgment. But I still wonder.
What else did I learn. Oh yes, when i was so chilled and relaxed a few people asked me if i was ok, my response was that this is what being relaxed looks like. I didn’t feel compelled to fit into social norms about polite conversation and engagement, I simply allowed myself to be. To be introverted, to be with out an agenda and wander around the site checking out the various spaces, meeting random people, many of whom I hadn’t seen in years. It was lovely to connect with people and share with them that it was my first time at Confest.
Many looked at me with disbelief. Many expected I’d be a seasoned Confester. And it’s true, there’s a big part of me that is an earth loving hippie that craves community beyond the confines of normal society.
And there’s a part of me that has made assumptions that once I go to Confest, I won’t be able to re-discover that corporate suit wearing part of me. Oh, do I even want to find that part of myself? Well, there’s a place for it, as much as there’s a place for the self organised chaos of Confest, there is a place for the office towers of disengaged workers and occasional pockets of innovative and creatives businesses.
I do want to work with them, I do want to help the disengaged workers alter the culture of their workplace, and inspire new ways of doing business. So I don’t need to let that go, and I can put on the suit (like the women at FOW) if it feels like the thing that will help me support a company to change the culture that will help bring some of the self organising creativity that confest is known for. Even if it’s only a drop, as we know a single drop of oil can significantly alter a bucket of water.
Will I return next year and let my freak flag fly, you can count on it.