Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Project 2: in the flesh - part 1
So, says John O'Donohue, there is this place somewhere deep within us humans that 'no created thing' can ever reach. A place where nothing, no words, no actions, no sound - no feeling, can ever penetrate, can ever touch.
If I get him right, this place is essential for our very human-ness, yet, by its' very definition, the fact that we are created beings means that it is somewhere that as long as we remain created, even we can never arrive at.
Maybe he was talking of a place that some call the 'soul'?
Maybe this place is located very close, if not even within, the heart?
Maybe even an imaginary place that keeps moving on a never-ending journey around and through and in-between the billions of tiny explosions and electrical impulses that pass through the human brain each second, that we have deemed to simply define as 'thought'........
Well, if you can even begin yourself to imagine that space, or to give it a name or location, please hang on to it for a wee while and as you read this, head towards that place with me, as I try to align myself on my own journey, as I follow this elusive 'non-entity'..... and try to make sense if it.
This journey begins, yes it must have a beginning, but most certainly it is not linear, and that beginning is clearly, for me at least, not singular. It is a beginning that has many invocations, and usually they are born out of the most ordinary everyday things. Things that can suddenly, or over a time, DIVERT one from the everyday and ordinary, and in that everyday-ness and ordinary-ness, transform and enlighten the space that was thus called ordinary into soul-space, heart-space, thought-space.......JUST space.
Here, right in the created, an unveiling of a layer that momentarily lifts the cataract of broken-ness from our human-ness, and in this, begins a process that may be defined as 'healing' whatever it is that broke you in the first place......
Something can set you towards that place - and space, and as the shroud falls away, opens you up to all kinds of possibilities and universal boundaries just become.... expanded. This something can be a piece of art, music, a conversation, an act of kindness or generosity. That something acts as a signpost, that suddenly illuminates, and is personalized, it lights up neon-fashion and reads clearly ' go this way now, go this way -> -> -> -> ->
(Ok, if you are still with me, thankyou! WTF is this ramble all about and leading to?You may well ask!).
My intention here is to try to write a review of a brilliant day I spent in the city of Edinburgh on Saturday, in the company of amazing and generous people at an event called 'the Project'.
Well, to give it its full title - The Project 2 - In the Flesh', which is part of (from the official spiel),
- ..an interim series of small, viral, organic events during 2009 & 2010, building to the possibility of a larger festival of arts, culture & faith in 2011, inspired by Greenbelt & others.
...for those interested in a deliberate exploration of the arts, culture and faith; a welcoming place of inspiration/ irreverence/ laughter/ tears/ questions/ arguement/ friendship/ thrills for insiders, outsiders and, maybe especially, those at the margins of the church...
What drew me to the event, (apart from the obvious invitation), was initially a delight and curiosity of something that was, (in some way at least), defined as Greenbelt-inspired, and as an advocate and supporter of anything that defines itself thus, I could not resist being drawn to attend. Also it helped that this was happening in the 'North' (just about anything north of me in the UK is otherwise known as Scotland of course...).
The event, (part of the aforementioned series of events), was well publicised via email, facebook and web-presence, and without being too pressurising for the subscriber to those emails and info links to get involved, kind of kept me informed and built the desire for me to want to be there....
The location was good for me (2 and a half hours drive not a big deal for me...though may be for some), but I think the intention was to initially cater for the 'need' for this kind of event for those good folk north of the border, who for whatever reason may never be able to make it to Greenbelt Festival, but would 'get' an event that was touched by the 'spirit of Greenbelt' itself......
And 'touched' by that very spirit it was indeed.....
The lineup reflected that, as does the organisational group that have put this thing called 'the Project' together.
On the bill was John Bell, Doug Gay, Beki Bateson and Iain Archer, amongst many fine others (full lineup here)..
So, my journey to Edinburgh is relatively quick (despite the evil eye A1 speed cameras), and my sat nav gets me quite close to where I need to be, almost in good time, though as per usual, 'quite close' means that it decided to give up trying to guide me as soon as I was near - (maybe it is trying to tell me something....)
I find myself trying to enter the gates of Edinburgh Castle....oops..... still driving... and park nearby (2 quid an hour!!!)
By chance I find I am parked not 30 metres from one of the venues (The Lot), and the main venue (St Coloumba by the Castle), is just at the top of steps (lots of!) and around the corner....
A huff and a puff (quick mini cigar) later, and I am descending into the bowels of St Columba and greeted with a smile and a wee peck on the cheek by Dot Reid (one of the organisers and GB trustee), and duly, hand over my 20 quid and receive my wristband for the day (and night event also) (add prices in here)
As I find a space the opening introductions are being done, beginning with singing.... don't get me wrong I like singing...... and as it turned out, this 'group singing wasn't as off-putting as it may have been (for the likes of me who is a very reluctant participator in anything group-related... at first...)
As it turns out, the singing was like a blessing I think, and thankfulness and invocation of that verbally with sound, for the fact that we were here, and ready to journey through the days' events and interactions.
I will pause here, and resume later in part 2, where it all gets rather good
at 2:51 am