Imagine a place where everyone wishes you well.
Imagine a place with no negativity or hate.
Imagine a place with no cell service and no water bottles.
Imagine a place without shame.
(Unless, of course, you are talking on your cell phone or carrying a plastic water bottle.)
In this place, there is no make up, no meat, no reason for a blow dryer.
In this place, there are no luxuries. Your room is big enough to hold a twin cot, one night table, a folding chair and a fan.
There are, however, more feather earrings than there are birds. The air is filled with peace, love, serenity and joy.
There is meditation, yoga, environmentalism.
This place exits. It's in Rhinebeck, New York. It's called Omega Institute, and I imagine it’s what a hippie commune in the 60's must've have been like — a place offering community, hope, support. And composting!
I was too young to be a hippie; but they were around me as I grew up.
We need them now.
Our kids need them now.
Where are all the hippies?
According to Merriam Webster, a hippie is "someone who advocates a non-violent ethic."
Is that outdated or a thing of the past?
I write this in light of what happened last summer while I was away at Omega. Omega's mission is to provide hope and healing for individuals and society through educational experiences that awaken the best in the human spirit.
Isolated, in the woods, I hadn’t heard the news. My husband informed me, as I stood in the one designated spot for cell service, that police officers had been gunned down at a non-violent protest, in retribution.
The starkness of this reality in contrast to what I'd been experiencing at Omega, left me sad.
On the last night at Omega, drummers preformed. The drummers had taken a class, The Transcendent Power of Drumming, which focused on the primal power of drumming and how it touches the heart and moves the spirit, shifting consciousness into inspiring states of being.
The audience was invited to dance. As I watched people of all ages, colors, body types and sexual preferences dance their individual dances in unity -- moving their bodies fluidly, without concern of judgment, or expectation -- I thought at first of all the people I knew back home, who would never participate, who would find this weird, and awkward.
We’ve been socialized to be more comfortable with violence and death than we are with expressions of love.
But then as I continued to watch, I thought: If only we could spread this.
Whatever this is.
Maybe this is a carefree spirit and an open heart.
Maybe this is how we were meant to be, how we would all be if given love and support, if encouraged to play, explore and be creative.
I think hippies were on to something.
They knew that love and acceptance were essential human needs and that those desires are what unite us.
It’s what makes us one.