Monday, June 04, 2007

Finally Relaxing

Yesterday I had a busy and full day. I was riding on the energy of nearly 1,000 people happily connecting and learning about Buddhism. It was hard work, and we had few volunteers doing the major planning. I was the major planner. For several weeks I've been very busy making sure this could happen without a hitch, small interlude of very busy birthday prep, birthday party, then back to the busy organizing. I was nearly floored by allergies, possible cold, but this could not go on without me. It was an incredible success, more people came than the three previous years.

Here I am captured being busy. And here with Maia from BPF's home office. She happened to be visiting Oregon on vacation. I was happy the whole day, especially happy to see Maia. A very few people were cranky over things not being quite right: we didn't have water available for them (there was a water fountain right there in the park); one woman was adamant that I was not clear about the "no donations may be accepted" rule (I don't know how many times I repeated that in email). Legitimately, we did not have enough restrooms. Only one of the two park restrooms was unlocked for us. We were counting on that...not enough groups gave us enough money to have the money to rent porta-potties. At the end of the day, we have enough money for seed money for next year: our one food vendor donated all her proceeds to the festival. Portland folks, be sure to visit Sawasdee Thai.

Most people were delighted and happy with our offerings. Some people came especially for the blessings of people and pets, others for the Burmese dancers. At least one even brought her cat. Visit that photo, I just love it. Actually I love all the photos that Jan took. I overheard some people talking about bringing their dogs, but they didn't think a cat could handle it. Mine certainly couldn't.

Eugene Wong also took some nice photos, found here. I didn't have the time to take photos myself.

Thanks to my raw allergy-ravaged throat, I was not hungry all day. I was also riding high on the positive energy all around. I ate very little. I knew that wasn't the best idea, but I couldn't bring myself to eat something when the food was there. Finally I ate an almond snack bar that was in my backpack. Later I shared some chocolate from that same backpack with my BPF compadre Aaron. 2006 photo:



He hadn't eaten either. Even later I snagged and we shared a croissant from an earlier activity in the children's pavilion.

At the end of the day, I realized I never really stepped back and partook of the festival for myself. I enjoyed stepping away from duties as coordinator when I went to the children's pavilion, but I was still giving, not receiving. The kids just loved our little lesson on altars, and my clay art project of making their own tiny statue. (Just as I'd done in Dharma School, found here. That reminds me, I have another Dharma School lesson still to write up...I've just been too busy with this.) I croaked my way through a storytime, a couple of kids listening attentively while I used the microphone connected to my Sponge Bob Squarepants karaoke boom box.

When I did wander the booths, it was still with my duties as coordinator in mind. Were people taking donations or selling things when they shouldn't? Did I get a brochure from that group? Mostly Aaron and I busily sold items as one of the three vendors allowed under the terms of our permit. We sold some few things for other groups under consignment. We had to be careful to mark the invoices when we sold things.

That's ok, though. I did this willingly. I did this happily.

At the end of the day though I was left holding the bag. The garbage bag that is. Somehow almost all those Buddhist communities that were so happy that we few volunteers arranged this were gone, cleared out, already packed up. And there were mounds of garbage that still needed to be packed out. Steve had dropped me off in the morning, helped unpack the car, and gone to work. He came back at the end, and packed most of the car. We added the large sign that now needed to be stored at my house.


We didn't have the room for giant bags of garbage. I began to melt down. Nobody to help with the packing up. Fortunately one indefatigable volunteer loaded her truck with chairs going back to a neighboring temple. One group that was still there took a couple bags of garbage. I was beginning to feel the sting of sun on my face.

Steve and I went home, unpacked, and he returned to the park for the remaining garbage while I foraged at home for food. I looked over feedback forms, feeling the sting of the negative comments, giving them more weight than they deserved due to my drop in energy, a drop that continued today. Today I was dog-tired, depressed tired, loss-of-momentum tired. Poor Steve got the brunt of my resentful feelings, and he began to feel I should quit if I was going to be so unappreciated. Later I told him, "it helped to be witnessed, and get out the negative thoughts so they weren't rattling around lonely in my head anymore." Because really the positive outcomes and the positive comments far outweigh the few complaints.

I avoided my urges to send more emails, planning emails for post-event debrief planning. Post-event thoughts on how we could improve things. Post-event thoughts on how to respond to the "needs improvement" comments. I forced myself to relax. I finally took a shower. I watched bad TV. I ate boiled beets and their greens from this week's farmer's market. I think I needed that iron. I finally felt some energy coming back, and happier about the festival.

Later perhaps I will write a post about the organizer types apparently everyone encounters when they try to organize democratically like this. It may be a snarky post. Hopefully I can be light-hearted about it. Today I was not so, and I had to explain to the one who sees my naked heart that he gets a skewed view. He's the one I am able to melt down with. He's the one I'm safe to do that with. That it wasn't as negative an experience as he was getting from me.

I got caught up on some blogs I read. And while I read I found Talk Sex with Sue Johanson on the TV. (That's not the bad TV...that was, dare I say it...C.S.I) I love her, but some of the questions can be pretty ignorant. This is what abstinence sex ed gets us. At least I had one thing better than kids these days. I may not have had cell phones and computers, but I did have good sex ed in school. I tuned in just as a caller was asking about having sex as a larger person. Sue adamantly recommended a book called Big Big Love. I promptly ordered one, easy enough since Steve got Amazon Prime. Watch for a review sometime soon.

I got a couple sweet comments on older posts from Adrienne in California. I spent some of that time reading backwards through her blog. I admire her criticism of sex-phobic therapy trends, and she herself is a sex-positive, alternative relationship-friendly therapist. And I am smitten with her sweet face and beautiful hair.

1 comment:

Adrienne Parker said...

Enjoyed reading this post, and hey, thanks for mentioning me and your sweet comments. This post reminded me of our own, newly established Sky Creek Dharma Center (several different sanghas) which is an incredibly beautiful place located on a creek. They need to raise money soon or lose their lease/option coming up.

My friend Edrid lives in Portland and you might be interested in his Dogzen work. I link to him on my site.

I used to live in Puddletown USA back in the late seventies. I was there for the crazy ice storm in 1979.

I wish you relaxation and naked awareness for your naked heart.