Last weekend I went along to the Seven Sisters Festival in Mount Martha. It’s a 3 day gathering of women in a beautiful bushy area where there’s all sorts of cool stuff going on, including a variety of workshops, live music, market stalls, roving performers, healers, amazing food and lots of other cool stuff.
Firstly, I feel like I should tell you I didn’t get paid to write this article, even though as I write that I want to giggle. Imagine that! Ha. PS: I so would. I enjoy writing and if someone was willing to pay me to do it that would be pretty awesome. Hasn’t happened yet but you never know.
But anyway. So, I was kind of nervous about going. I figured it would be pretty ‘out there’ but my auntie had arranged for a group to go, including my mum, my other auntie, my nanna and my cousin so I really wanted to go just for the lovely experience of hanging out with those awesome chicks.
Here are a few things that I found either cool or surprising or both about my first ever time at Seven Sisters. I don’t know if there are actually going to be 17, but let’s just see how we go.
1. The whole thing had a bit of a ‘medieval’ vibe to it. It felt like some other realm, like I had stepped back in time. I was almost waiting for someone to start playing a jovial tune on a flute or a fiddle. Walking along the dirt roads with people in all sorts of funky costumes and lovely decorative tents just gave it the feel of a little village that was a day and night by horseback from the next town. As I explored I found myself feeling quite delighted, a little disturbed and at times a bit amused. It was certainly different and I decided the best thing to do was just go with it and embrace the novelty of it all.
2. Hippy fashion is generally nicer in summer. It was pretty cold at first and a lot of people were really rocking the ‘bag lady chic’ look – all fingerless gloves, woollen ponchos and layered leggings+pants+socks+boots. On the third day though it was warm and people were in beautiful flowing skirts and all the gorgeous jewellery came out. There were also lots of boobs out and some ladies even had lovely flowers and patterns painted on them. It was very cool. Boobs are awesome for so many reasons, obviously.
3. My nanna is super cool. I sat next to her while a lady across the table had her boobs painted. And one time nan headed off for a workshop and came back with flowers painted on her face to match her beanie. She was a bit chilly one afternoon so she went and sat in a tee pee and did her crosswords. Of all the weird and wonderful things we came across, nothing phased her. She’s 80 and she went camping at a hippy festival. What a legend.
4. It took me back to my Reach days. It’s amazing how you can create a beautiful space and atmosphere no matter where you are by draping lovely fabrics around, putting cushions on the floor and stringing some fairy lights around. Reach does it brilliantly and so does Seven Sisters. Loved it.
5. I didn’t spend the whole time doing yoga and African dancing like I thought I would. In fact I did almost none of that. Once I was there I found myself drawn to a lot of ‘life skills’ sessions, all around personal development. I love that stuff. Each of us are into different things. Nan was all about the singing. My cousin did every bit of craft she possibly could. And surprisingly although my mum and I are quite different I spotted her across the room (well, tent) in several of the sessions I was in, funny that. Well, not that funny when it’s a topic you don’t really want to be exploring with your mum in the room. Awks!
6. It was a brilliant professional development exercise. Part of my career vision is all about running workshops for women and helping them smash their goals, so it was really beneficial to attend sessions run by other different types of coaches and consultants. I learned a whole heap about what makes a great group session. What to do and what not to do to really engage and resonate with a group of people like that. It has helped to shape me and my vision of what I want to do and how I hope to do it.
7. I got a whole other perspective on my ‘inner critic’. You know that voice that says ‘what the f*ck do you know about anything? Everybody is going to laugh at you. Why bother when there are so many people doing it way better than you’. I attended a session by Liz Scarfe about how this voice can actually be a gift if you just re-frame it and flip it around. Rather than argue with it, talk to it, interview it and tell it how you’d like to be spoken to. I pretty much fell in love with Liz, as I do when I meet brilliant people who say really cool insightful stuff that makes a heap of sense. I posted a link on my facebook page to a 1 day workshop she’s running in June if you want to check that out.
8. There were lots of babies there and it was breaking my heart a bit. It was the longest I have ever been away from my daughter and I missed her a lot. Every time I saw a mumma with her kidlet in a carrier I felt an ache in my chest. I saw a 2 week old newborn all snuggled up with his mum and I got overwhelmed with the desire to have another baby. It passed though. Phew. That’s crazy talk. Not ready. Not one bit. I did get a bit of retail therapy though and bought my little poppet some awesome outfits.
9. The feminine energy was full on. You could feel it in the air. There was so much of it I was worried I might get my period. Apparently that happens . It didn’t though. Phew again. Feminine energy is a powerful thing. I don’t get too caught up in that whole vibe but it was a nice feeling how everyone was calling each other sisters. I cant imagine how the male version of it would be. If 2000 men were worshipping their willies like this group were embracing their ‘sacred yonis’. Makes me giggle to think.
10. Tantra is not about kink. At all. It’s totally about connection. With yourself and with your partner. It’s about harnessing energy and it’s all quite fascinating. I went to a workshop about it and I’m keen, albeit terrified, to learn more. You may or may not hear more from me on that one. We’ll see.
11. There’s a thing called a Jade Egg which is like hand weights for your vagina. You pop it in and do your pelvic floor exercises. There was a whole workshop about it called ‘Yoga for the Vagina’. As someone who has given birth and crosses my legs when I need to sneeze because I’m worried I’ll wee, I’m thinking I might have to get me one of those babies. The chick who ran the workshop was totally cool and you can check her out at http://www.gettingnaked.com.au if you too have sneeze/wee concerns.
12. I really value my personal space. More than I thought. At one point my cousin very sweetly said to me ‘I don’t think you’d be very good at being a hippy’. And she’s so right. There were lots of big group hug/embrace things going on that made me feel claustrophobic just looking at them. And I found it a bit excruciating when I had to stare into someone’s eyes for like 4 minutes. I think that’s actually the idea. (So, so, Reach) But it did make me realise the importance and power of being present with the person in front of you. So that was very cool.
13. I had to work quite hard to quiet the cynical old mole in me at times. At one point when I was in the ‘Jade Egg’ session a young lady asked whether she should cleanse her egg with the new moon like she does her other crystals. I found myself doing a full Julie Bishop eye roll and thinking ‘Oh dude, come on’. I realised that some of this stuff is just not for me and reminded myself that that’s totally ok. It’s not an ‘all in’ kinda deal. I’m a ‘show me the science’ type of girl, but not everyone is and if cleansing their crystals with the new moon makes them feel happy or peaceful or whatever then that’s absolutely what they should do and that’s awesome.
14. We are all just doing the best we can with what we’ve got. Someone said that in a session I was in and it stuck with me. Even the people who do really bad stuff. They are just doing their best with what they’ve got. Maybe they haven’t been given the resources or experience or knowledge on how to do better. I realised that’s how I want to make my mark. I want to give people tools that they can use on their journey so they can have a really awesome life. It also hit me as a really cool way to help process guilt or regrets from the past. I was just doing my best with what I had at the time. I didn’t know what I know now, about life, about people, about myself. It was a really powerful realisation and one I know I will draw on throughout my career.
15. Apparently you can just decide you don’t want to get pregnant, and you wont. There was a whole workshop around the power of the mind and body in regard to natural ‘birth control’. It was fascinating and I love the idea of that however I am not so sure how much I would trust it. You’d have to be pretty certain. Like if you have that niggling little ‘oh it’d be kind of ok though if we did’ in the back of your mind then it just doesn’t work. So I’m out. Dammit. I did like the message that our whole reproductive function is not a passive receptacle though, it’s a power centre. So true, the way babies get made is such a miracle and very beautiful. Except for the huge nipples and the belly hair and the birth and.. oh don’t get me started. All those things happen for a reason and it’s all a bit magic and I honestly love it.
16. I never had a ‘these are my people’ moment. I feel like I’ve always been waiting for a moment like that to happen. I have never really found that I ‘fit’ that well in a big group but I think maybe that’s just because I’m actually quite introverted. I did expect to get all caught up in the vibe and come home all ‘earth mother’, but I didn’t. I did have a really nice time and learn some cool stuff and spend time with my family so all in all it was pretty great. Some people in my life think I’m a bit ‘out there’ because of my food habits and parenting choices, but it was good to put some of that into perspective. I learnt that I’m actually pretty mainstream. Like everything, there’s a spectrum and I’m somewhere along it just like everyone else. Seven Sisters was very much about inclusiveness and authenticity and there was no judgement and the thing I noticed about that was that it was SO refreshing, which means I need a little more of that in my everyday life. I brought home a token that will continue to remind me of that. On the last day I went into a little area called the ‘Wise Owl’s Nest’ where people share wisdom with one another. You write a note and leave it there for someone to find. I picked this one out as a nice reminder to just always be me and that it’s quite lovely to be vulnerable and embrace who you are.
Ok, so that’s 16 things. There’s more but I actually feel like that’s enough.
Will I go again next year? Maybe. But if I do, and if you come along I hope you’ll see my name on the program delivering some totally fabulous yet-to-be-named-or-created workshop. How awesome.
Right that’s me signing off. I hope you enjoyed my little recap. Much love to you xx