The Experience of Seva

Brie does an amazing job of keeping calm while multi-tasking and tracking large numbers of volunteers.

Introduction by Nicky Lafleur
Reflection by Persepsion

Volunteers form the lifeblood of festival organization. From highly specialized tasks like electrical engineering and first aid response to the vitally important skills of welcoming guests at ticketing and assisting build crews, festivals could not happen without the hundreds of people dedicating their time and talents to a collective vision and experience. Lucidity Festival relied on 398 volunteers in 2013, each committing 16 to 20 hours of work (and sometimes offering far more) in exchange for full attendance to the festival. This resulted in an estimated 7,164 hours of support for all aspects of the festival. This year we’re planning on welcoming close to 500 dedicated passionate souls to help bring Lucidity AWAKE!

These hundreds of volunteers, while managed by team leaders and sphere coordinators, are primarily organized by volunteer coordinators. Lucidity was blessed to have two outstanding individuals filling this position last April. Much love goes out to Brianna Bates, our multi-tasking volunteer wrangler pictured to the left. Our other coordinator Persepsion is returning this year to ensure all volunteers get assigned to the multitude of tasks and projects it takes to make a festival.

We’re very pleased to have her offer her own perspective as a volunteer at the Awaken Visionary Leadership Retreat  in the Spring of 2013.

Lucidity Volunteer Coordinator Badass and guest blog editor, Persepsion

“You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world.”

Woodrow Wilson

 Standing amongst the ferocious tranquility of the redwoods, I inhaled a long, slow breath and felt a deep calm settle into my being. I had come to this gathering with a two-fold intention: to experience fully whatever was offered and to find consistency within, seeking to cast aside judgments and the standard operating procedure of humans to understand things by basis of comparison in the world around them, and rather to accept and react from open-hearted love.

Having been asked to assist in volunteer coordinating for Awaken Gathering, I at once felt honored to be able to offer my borderline addiction to organization and spreadsheets and a simultaneous resoluteness in my desire to be fully engaged in the programming offered. This was a marked contrast from my typical proclivity to actively coordinate on-site, running around to the point of sheer distraction from what is actually happening at an event, in some senseless attempt to quell the raging unrest I often feel on a daily at not doing enough, not helping enough, not being enough of the change I wish to see in the world around me.

volunteer tobin
Serving many mouths requires many loving volunteer hands!

Volunteerism for Tribal Convergence Network’s event Awaken is slightly different from the events and festivals I had previously coordinated for; everyone in attendance is expected to perform at least four hours of “seva.” The entire culture of the event is one of “selfless service.”

With the wind whispering softly through the trees, I welcomed the tranquility moving through my body, reflections of the weekend transpiring beneath my closed eyelids. Having full engagement in the multitude of workshops, presentations, and delicious meals offered by Awaken, I was left with fortuitous moments to gift spontaneous selfless service including clearing dinner dishes for attendees on the last night, beyond any schedules or requirements, so that juicy conversations could continue and be furtive without people feeling the distraction of dirty dishes still in front of them. I was able to move beyond schedules and spreadsheets which had previously offered so much comfort in knowing exactly what needs to be done and ensuring that there are enough hands to do it all, and instead trust the love and graciousness inherent within each of us, the desire to be a part of something greater than ourselves, a community, a family, each doing what they can to fill themselves, and by extension guaranteeing the fulfillment of everyone. There is a story, The Kin of Ata Are Waiting for You, which describes a tribe that when hungry feeds another, rather than themselves, and in this all the members of the tribe are always full.

We have the power and the blessed opportunity to have some seriously incredible effects on the world around us, beginning with how we care for ourselves and each other for a more sustainable and empowered co-created future.  I now feel fully Awakened to THIS reality.

Kristen ‘Persepsion’ Jen is passionate about the world as our collective canvas, and also as our giant jungle gym. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Burning Man Regional, Co-Orchestrates YOUtopia: San Diego’s Regional Burn, and Volunteer Coordinates for several transformative festival including Lucidity and Enchanted Forest. There are very few things she wouldn’t consider hanging upside down from and believes that most things can be organized with some spreadsheets and a dirty chai latte.  She can be reached at  vo*******@lu**************.com">vo*******@lu**************.com 

One thought on “The Experience of Seva

  1. Thank you for the chance to Volunteer again. This is my third year volunteering at LUCIDITY. Its been a blessing to meet wonderful thinkers, artists, dancers, musicians and over all amazing human beings. Much love to the folks who work year round to make LUCIDITY the special place it is. It is an honor to volunteer and help co-create Lucidity in what ever way.


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