4 highlights from 3 dusty days at Firefly Gathering

Last night I returned dirty and inspired from Firefly Gathering – a three-day festival near Flagstaff built on art, yoga, music, workshops, and community. Basically, it’s Burning Man if Burning Man were contained to just three days and 1,500 dirty hippies.

Firefly was my first “conscious gathering” and I went all in. No smartphone. No bathing. No reservations. Just love. And dust. Lots and lots of dust. Here were the highlights …

1. “This isn’t about paternalism or machoism. We’re not here to talk about our cocks,” Jaymin explained as he kicked off a masculinity workshop which brought timeless lessons from coming-of-age initiations to modern men. Rather than discuss our cocks, we talked about masculine qualities like integrity and courage. We explored classical male archetypes like the warrior, king, wizard, and lover and how each lives within ourselves. And we engaged in man-to-man exercises that let us express ourselves authentically as men among other men. Powerful stuff.

2. A meditative journaling workshop reinforced the power of the written word. Apollo prompted us to meditate on the universe’s lesson for us and then write a poem on the answer. Earlier, I’d journaled about the fear I felt over a social situation. Reflecting again a few hours later, I went deeper. I recognized that the fear stemmed from childhood rather than the current issue. I also saw that the fear had hounded me for months! It was a powerful reminder that a single journal entry is often not enough. We uncover deeper truths by peeling back layers.

3. Firefly wasn’t all serious. It was a lot of fun too! Much of the fun was scheduled. I took two great yoga classes with Boulder’s Alec Rouben and Phoenix’s own Rebecca Lammerson and enjoyed hour after hour of live music ranging in style from hip hop to stoner jams to electronica (sorry, I’m from the 90s). Other highlights were spontaneous. I lounged in Hammockville, watched the sunset reflect off San Francisco Peaks, and stumbled into a 40-person group hug that formed when a guy carrying a FREE HUGS sign wandered through a workshop on loving touch.

4. And finally there was the true purpose of Firelfy – community. I met a few people, but my introversion mostly kept me contained to my group. And that was fine by me. I deepened my relationship with four members of my yoga community plus four likeminded souls who joined us in our camp. I was especially grateful that three of our men made a point to join me in the masculinity workshop. As a small community of our own, we shared deep conversations, killer dance moves, and healthy snacks around our circle of dusty lawn chairs.

After three days of playing in the volcanic soot of Flagstaff, we were all Fireflies.

spiritual people at Firefly Gathering in Flagstaff

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