Back from the Michigan woods

I just returned from a trip out east, where I spent 6 days in the woods in Michigan (for those Michiganders among you, I was in Hart, about an inch in from the bottom of my pinkie on the hand-map of Michigan). I participated in the 36th annual Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, an amazing creation wherein I and around 3,000 other women went to hear music, attend workshops, eat vegetarian food, camp, and be in the vast power of  woman-only space.

I like to spread the word about MichFest, as few people have heard of it. It began in the mid ’70s, the glory days of the feminist movement. Over the years, there have been up to 8,000 women who came to “the land” to experience life through a female lens. Far from being about exclusion, the spirit of this time together is about what life looks like when it’s up to women. Not conflict-free, by any means, but certainly different. There’s a palpable experience of collaboration and cooperation, of optimizing connection and relationship. Predominately  lesbian, MichFest is a place where female connection and power is front and center. I cherish the images of women scurrying up the sound system scaffolding, repairing the plumbing, belting out a rap song or riffing on an electric guitar.

I had the opportunity of teaching about catalyzing conscious relationships throughout the festival. Imagine groups of 25-60 women, sitting around the fern-filled sandy soil in their beach chairs, excitedly jotting down these new ideas in their notebooks. As I demonstrated skills with brave couples, I could feel the energy surging, as people discovered that what they thought of as reasons to leave relationships were actually signs of energy blockages that could be easily cleared.

I started each workshop by saying that I believe lesbians are at the cutting edge of creating conscious relationships, and that it is such relationships that will transform the world. This is not a slam against heterosexual or gay male relationships. Instead, it is a recognition of something that anyone in the self-help movement will tell you: Women are the ones who are learning the skills of consciousness. Men are, too, of course, but the typical 75% female attendance at just about any human potential gathering points to how women are taking the step into a new way of life, one that focuses on connection, communication, and valuing relationship. Perhaps we have a head start because of our experience in the ’60s and ’70s of crashing through socialization strictures, while men are still bound by the cultural chains that insist their job is to produce, produce, produce. Regardless, put two women together in an intimate relationship, and you very often have two people who are willing and motivated to use relationship as a vehicle for personal, and ultimately global, transformation.

So I tip my hat to my sisters and send you all gratitude for your commitment to a revolutionary way of being in the world, one that will ultimately save us all, as it values all beings, including Mother Earth. And to my brothers I say–come join us, we’re happy to show you what we’ve learned.


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