Sharing really is caring




It’s a phrase that has been hammered into the malleable heads of millennials, a nail that drives instantaneous guilt into those that feel above and beyond the inclusion of others, whether it pertains to objects or ideas.

This lesson has never rung so true as it did during perhaps the most visceral weekend of summer, if not my life. Oddly, such base philosphies have snuck up on me as of late, wrapping their claw like hands around my neck, as if to strangle out the air that pumps selfish ideas into my sometimes narrow mind.

Sacred Earth, a music and art fest taking place in northern Wisconsin, was the setting of this life lesson. And what a setting it was. To say “you had to be there” makes me seethe. This is a statement only used as an excuse not to share a story with someone. However, in this case, nothing could be more accurate. As I flip through the various still frames of the event in my head, I sometimes wonder if it even occurred at all, for it was truly surreal. You almost actually had to be there for it to make any sense.

Going into this festival, I was blind to any expectations or implications, thinking of it simply as a fun weekend getaway where I could listen to music and wander around the forest, which was a fraction of the total experience.

Equipped with my humor, fanny pack, and a jar of Nutella, I gallantly strode into the camp ground, awaiting what was to happen next. My tent, an obsolete colored rag hailing from the 1980's, was not agreeable in being gracefully constructed, but surprisingly lasted the duration of the weekend.

I’ve never been an overly outgoing person, and it seemed only natural for that mindset to be thrown aside, as I slowly began to assimilate into a crowd that I had so dismissively judged prior to knowing. The word “friend” slowly began to fade into a less specific “human,” as I began to connect with anyone I crossed paths with. Collectively, the community was a brain, and each of us were a brightly colored axon, firing luminous neurons across a synapse as each new connection was made.

The art of sharing is not merely as simple as being able to share with others, but opening yourself up for others to share with you. I’ve always considered myself a jack of all trades, master of none. But with such a welcoming crowd, I was allowed the creative space to cultivate the various practices I had surrounded myself with, as well as learn new ones. At least 5 times I reiterated my most recent stand up bits, learned to (kind of) spin poi, learned to (kind of) flow, and found new tempos and breaks with my beatboxing.

It was truly a blessing to share not only my hobbies, skills and interests with others, but to have them share theirs in return, allowing me to see the simmering beauty of the multifaceted gems that I spent the weekend with.

Sharing was best manifested in the concept of the Giving Tree. Functioning on a free-market bartering system, anyone could place an object by the tree and then choose any of the many others already surrounding it. Ranging from Toyota user manuals to art supplies, the Tree was always ripe with fun and friendly people to share with. No one regulated the trading, as it was merely assumed that a certain sense of integrity was to be exercised there.

There’s something mesmerizing about a group of other humans that’s devoid of judgement or criticism. It was an almost jarring contrast to what the rest of the world experiences on a daily basis. Although it was tragic to see an end to that weekend, it’s my hope that I can bring back that light to the “default world,” allowing myself to share with others as well as be shared with.

Because sharing really is caring.

-M

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