When I went off to college, my older sister imparted to me a long list of tips and advice. The one that I remember, that still sticks with me to this day, was: “Walk a different way every time.” On a big campus, there are many different ways to get from one point to another. So, I tried to follow her words – to go around different buildings, down different paths, around other ways. It brought variety to my life, and exposed me to little aspects of campus that I never would have seen otherwise.
As life gets bigger, and the campus of the world expands under our feet, this advice gets more and more important. As children, the desire to explore and to learn is encouraged, demanded even. Our parents and teachers strived to give us new experiences so that we could learn and become better, more knowledgeable, more interesting human beings. But somewhere along the way, knowledge was more encouraged so that we could “get a job,” “make a living,” “support ourselves and our family.” All of that is good, but while striving for those goals, some of the magic of exploration was lost . Much of the joy of trying and experiencing new things – giggling just because we rolled over, gasping when the wind blows, perking up to the notes of a piano – turns to chore – depositing a paycheck, paying a bill, buying groceries.
Do you remember the first time you fell in love with a band? Hearing something you have never heard the likes of in your life. Knowing they were speaking to you. Singing at the top of your lungs and dancing your butt off. Is it still your favorite band? Do they still bring you something you’ve never known? Try walking a different way. Music will bring you back to that thrill of experiencing new things if you let it. Exploring art, letting it move you, feeling all that it has to offer, is like opening your mind again, learning more about yourself when you thought you knew it all already. It is what brings us back to ourselves, excites us, and breaks us out of our “everyday,” and also makes us new.
We get stuck. We do what we’re supposed to do. We listen to what the advertisers and station owners want us to hear. We walk – and drive – the same paths to and from, every single day. We even begin to fear the new, the unknown, we fear getting lost should we stray from the known sidewalks and roads.
So, here is my challenge to all of you – the challenge, the adventure of the Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival…walk a different way. Get up and follow the music, let something new sink in. Read over the artist biographies, pick one that you wouldn’t normally pick and go find them, hear what they have to say, feel what they are trying to share with you, let your feet and body move to their story, I think you will be better for it. I think you will want to do it again.
Always learning, constantly exploring, ever-changing, and sharing with those around us. That is how we become who we are and who we are meant to be.
Love and Peace,
Shakori Hills GrassRoots Co-Coordinator