The CALM events, are a bit of a first, at least for me. I've never executed a creative project collectively before. I'm finding that these are taking more, not less, strategic planning. There is the usual devising how something will look, followed by working out how on earth this might be executed by 20-30 people. How do you make something easy for people, not only to engage with, but also to feel at ease with their differing levels of skills and confidence? This week, everyone was cutting out the stencils, next week its the spraying into position. All done within a Buddhist ritual framework. The first part went well, so I'm feeling more confident that next week will also be fine.
The ritual was structured around the
Dedication Ceremony. It was loose and rough around the edges, and that was OK, almost how it should be. That seemed to be what helped it work. This has led me to reflect on planning, as a way I reduce the chance of chaotic, unpredictable elements disrupting the desired result. Despite careful planning, the raw, un-mediated, the unexpected will inevitable erupt into it. I've almost come to expect, even relish its arising, because these raw, rougher elements seem to be what bring a ritual to life, and bring life to life too. At some point me and my desire to be in full control, has to step out of the way. A ritual needs to have space for these 'soulful' earthy anarchic elements to be present, it can't just be forcibly strained through a spiritual Buddhist sieve. The desire for a perfect ritual intercourse or transcendent climax, can simply end up castrating it, produce a premature ejaculation, or worse a still born child. To over extend the sexual metaphor, but you get my drift.
Modern life experience is excessively mediated through a desire for order and control, and this is also present in me too. Imagining that by taking charge of forming the experience, the happier, safer and more satisfied I will be with the result. But this pursuit of the perfect artifice, can merely make my life feel constrained and dull. Managing experience, prevents one from being fully with it in the moment, and less alive to it. Hence I can find anxiety about anarchy breaking out, paralyses me for days before an event. Its all so unnecessary, but I appear unable to do much to change it at present. The fear of being bitten by my experience, remains almost worse than the actual bite.