Story of a Successful Gathering

Woo hoo, we hung out at Moonshine Farm!

I wanted to create an event that I would have needed a year ago, when I first started hovering around Enspiral. An anecdotal Loomio thread showed that most people truly connected to Enspiral after retreats and parties! So the goal of the 2016 Enspiral winter gathering was to create a space to forge stronger bonds amongst the network. Sam O’Sullivan and I took on the challenge together.

Every year, we attend a festival called Kiwiburn, a local version of Burning Man — this event reminded me of that. People were so open and welcoming toward each other!

But unlike kiwiburn, it didn’t seem like that magic feeling disappeared when the party was over. I think this was because people attended this event as part of their normal, everyday lives, and brought their full stories with them. (Also, no one got naked)

We opened by learning the history of Moonshine farm, the gathering location. It was lovely to hear the story from Pete’s Mum, Christine, and learn about how the family had regenerated the land, bringing back the first Kereru in living memory.

After that, we had casual introductions by forming an appreciation circle, saying our names and anything we were thankful for at this moment. Everyone appreciated the glorious sunshine! Me especially, because I had planned an outdoor exploratory scavenger hunt!

I cherish playfulness in my life. I’m so happy that another bunch of people share the same values. I find it amazing that a bunch of adults are just excited about scavenger hunting as me!

All participants were told that they were newcomers to this bluegreen planet. They became ‘Shukrarians’, inhabitants of the distant planet Shukra, the second closest planet to the sun. After performing a traditional Shukrian handshake, they then separated into mission groups, and conducted a scientific exploration of Moonshine farm. They also engaged in patriotic activities, such as designing a flag, and singing their national anthem. All information gathering was photographed or filmed.

As we presented our scavenger hunt slideshows, I felt overwhelmed by the group in front of me. Here was a bunch of laughing, open, welcoming adults, all having fun together after running around a farm singing, drawing and exploring. My heart was so full of love!

It’s easy to get lost in Enspiral. I’m lucky that I haven’t, and I hope that this event was a way for new faces to make that connection to old hats. A 4 year long Enspiral member said he saw 11 faces he didn’t know, we had a great variety of contributors.

We all hung out the rest of the evening, sharing delicious potluck food, chatting, playing board games, and winding down the night with some chill techno and rainbow lights. People arranged their beds around the house, and we went to sleep.

The next day started with a breakfast of eggs, hash browns, beans and salad. It was very festive and cosy being nestled in the farmhouse as it drizzled outside. After another bush exploration, and lots of help cleaning, people said their goodbyes.

Sam and I made the time and space for people to come together, and it was really everyone that came that made it magical. I know that whenever I host Enspiral events, people will come bringing enthusiasm and creativity. It’s pretty reassuring to have that guarantee!

Thanks to everyone that came, and also the good vibes on Loomio from the people who couldn’t come! I felt encouraged and supported along the way. Also, Jonathan and Cam for especially helping out, and the Jacobson family for opening their home.

Can’t wait for the summer retreats!

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