This past weekend I attended Hillside for the 3rd year in a row. (My post about my inaugural Hillside experience is here if you're curious!).
I was lucky to be Hillsiding with and around Kate McMurray, Chris Kay Fraser of Firefly Creative Writing, Elizabeth Fraser of 52 Projects: A Year from Scratch, the talented singer/songwriter Alex Hickey, my delightfully joyful Nia colleague Sarah Butler, the skilled photographer Alexandra Collas, Erica Ross of Dance Our Way Home, and Zahra Haji of YogaGoddess. What a collection of brilliantly creative and spirited women who are offering their gifts to the world!
I was at Hillside to present Nia workshops as I have done now for 3 years. This year's experience helped me realize that, not only does Hillside offer great music, workshops and a magnificently convivial atmosphere, but it teaches more about who I am right now.
Each year Hillside gives me a marker of where I'm at personally and professionally.
When I started workshopping at Hillside in 2008, I was only a year into my Nia teaching and a year and a half into my life with Bipolar Disorder.
Because I can compare the experience year to year, I can see my personal growth (as I continue to live with Bipolar Disorder), and my professional growth (as I move into my 4th year of teaching Nia).
This, of all the years, was the year I felt deep soul strength. I'm not sure I have the right words, but it was more than "fun" this year. It was more than a feeling of "wow, this is great, these are my people". On top of all of that, I felt my joy, confidence and power as I taught. And I 'hillsided' with a similar deep contentment, poise and self-assurance as I participated in workshops, listened to the music and interacted with fellow festival-goers.
Oh, what a feeling.
Now it could be that the people differed, or the weather differed, or the music differed or.....no. I'm pretty certain that I differ. (Yay for me!)
Oh, and I made a robot at a workshop entitled "Super Happy Fun Robot Time." He's made out of metal/electronic scraps.
He doesn't have a name.