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On The Path by Bob Czimbal

On The Path by Bob Czimbal

"Forty men and women attended the third Annual Prom Dress Disaster Party. All were required to wear a prom dress of some sort."

The year 2000 has been full of amazing co-created parties, celebrations, rites of passages and ritual events. The New Year's Eve Millennium Celebration was a peak experience as we danced around the wheel of time to honor its passage. The midnight invocation was a magic parade of giant puppets and ten archetypal floats which rolled out of a wall of smoke, dazzling the crowd.

Valentine's Day guests brought a video clip of their favorite movie love scene cued up to play. Categories included comic, tragic, romantic and sexy. Selections were intimate and revealing. It was great fun making comments and laughing together, behaviors that would be forbidden in a darkened movie house.

In March a couple hosted a Rites of Spring party. Their home was transformed to delight the senses. Hundreds of candles lit the room, as fruits and chocolates glistened. We feasted and dressed each other up with glitter and tattoos to the backdrop of music and incense. We danced and chanted as a means of discovering the divine in ourselves. The evening promoted new friendships and deepened old ones.

Forty men and women attended the third Annual Prom Dress Disaster Party. All were required to wear a prom dress of some sort. Finding a dress was half the fun. This was the first prom for some and the first time in a dress for many. My wife gave me a lovely wrist corsage to complement my dress. Being brave enough to wear prom dresses, the men were richly rewarded by women fussing over them all evening long. The Prom King and Queen were selected by the volume of applause & laughter of the group.

One sunny day in May, we assembled to honor the death of one of our community members. Dozens of family and friends worked hard for days to create an artistic funeral befitting the man. People were invited to share thoughts about how this being had touched their lives. I reminded myself that not one of us standing there knows how long we have left above ground.

The 22nd Annual Summer Solstice Healing Retreat at Breitenbush was a delight for anyone lucky enough to attend. Our multicolored tents sprouted in the meadow like mushrooms. Tribes come together to celebrate our connection to each other and the Earth. Saturday night's talent show provided home-grown entertainment at its best. The kids' parade and giveaway circle characterized the peaceful culture we invent here. The world needs more gatherings like this. The community blossoms, then scatters, like seeds, to the four winds to take root again elsewhere.

I was invited to a wedding this July that was hand-crafted and symbolized what the couple valued most: honesty, integrity, family and community. For many who attended this was their first "new wedding." Unsure of what to expect, most were moved by the beautiful service. We all felt honored to witness the couple's commitment to each other and to their community.

As the abundance of each summer comes to an end, a group of us likes to have one last party at the beach. We paint our bodies, dance and have a parade. The human body is a great canvas for color and designs. Art class was never this much fun.

I was invited to a close friend's birthday party in September. The birthday "child" specifically requested our presence, but no presents. We honored her by sharing how she had made a heartfelt difference in our lives. She was glowing inside and out by the time forty people had spoken.

Of the four Halloween parties I attended, I especially enjoyed the "Day of the Dead" ritual. We were each asked to bring a token that reminded us of an ancestor. We evoked the name of the dead relative and told a story about them. I could feel that we were all linked together through those who lived before us.

Thanksgiving was the best ever this year. Eight of my Kindred Spirits, family of choice, lived together for four days of slowing down and enjoying the simple life. Story time, cuddling by the fireplace and savoring the pleasure of each other's company was even better than the delicious food we had carefully prepared.

For the Winter Solstice ritual we darken the room, then light a single candle. Each person in turn makes a wish and lights the next person's candle. When the circle is complete, the room is ablaze with bright faces & good wishes for a return of the light.

We'll continue to gather through the next four seasons, in small groups and large, to hold the intention for an even brighter future. I asked a friend, Erica, what she thinks makes these gatherings so special. She said it best: "The love!"

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