Every year yogis gather in the foothills of the Jemez Mountains in Northern New Mexico for an event called Summer Solstice. I have been attending this gathering since about the age of two. Although it wasn't until I was about six that it was held in today's location.
It was at this early age that my spirit began to dance in the wind through the high desert trees; that I fell in love with the smell of the earth after a rain; that my understanding of beauty expanded beyond anything I could ever imagine as the sunsets painted pictures of grandeur and wonder across the sky; and then as I dared to dream when the night sky allowed the stars to shine so bright I would forget all of my worries. Then it was only in the morning as we sat chanting with over a thousand yogis with the sun rising above us that I did not want anything anymore...I was totally and completely satisfied.
It is not, shall we say, a "cushy" event. It is full-on camping, full-on yogic diet, and a full-on experience of the elements which can be anything from blue sky sunny days to pounding rain storms. But there is this thing that happens. One gets totally transformed, purified, and well, for lack of a better word, happy. Yes, totally happy.
You may wonder how this happens, and the formula is simple. Here are the ingredients:
And this is what you do when you experience the ingredients in this formula:
Every morning there is a sadhana, a meditation, yoga, and chanting experience that goes from 4 am to 7 am. It is literally the most liberating time for me—to sit and meditate with so many like-minded people is awesome!
One of the most healing experiences at this camp is the opportunity to serve. It is through service that we can really break through to a new level of happiness and joy. Everyone who comes to camp is asked to sign up for a service duty (karma yoga) in one of the following areas: yogi tea prep, meal prep, meal serving, meal clean up, and many other areas that I cannot remember. The yogi tea group alone has something like 50 people.
What happens is that you meet people from all over the world and totally bond with them as you do your service work. I see so much joy coming from people who take part in this work and there is a deep satisfaction as you see how your work is helping to support everyone else.
Summer Solstice is my yogic and meditative vitamin B12! If you are feeling a little low energy, a little sad, a little run down, a little hopeless, or maybe even a lot, come to Summer Solstice! I can say with full confidence you shall be healed.
Side note: If you do come, please bring good sunscreen, a water bottle you can carry with you everywhere (!), a good sun hat, and electrolytes, and meet me in the foot washing station where we can eat some watermelon together and chat.