I Remember: Camp Now, Myself, and the World at Large

Hey Happy Campers,

Ayla here, checking in from New Lebanon, NY on this sunny June day. This summer, I have returned as Camp Now’s Content/Artist/Studio Assistant Manager, where I continue to build my own Legend. To follow my Evolution, check out my first, second, or third blog.

Right now, I am sitting at a white wicker table outside the rusty red house that currently serves as the CNP headquarters. Yesterday was the summer solstice, and it shows. The sun is beating down, though I am tucked away safely under the porch roof, and life is moving in the fields all around me. I take a deep breath and pick up my pen.

Today, Maze has asked me to play the Remembering Game with you all. If you are new to the Crealitation story, you might ask yourself "Ayla, what is this Game?"

Well, dear friends, allow me to share the process with you. Although it may sound like a handy way to remember where you left your keys (which I could certainly use, believe me), it is, in fact, much more. In the world of Crealitation, remembering serves as a healing practice. This three-step game challenges each of us to realize what we want for our future, and provides an avenue by which to create that dream for ourselves.

To play the Game, first choose three moments for your reflective process--one in the present, one in the past, and one in the future, respectively. Use your six senses to see, hear, taste, touch, smell, and know each experience. Give thanks for each moment in time. When you remember your future, it is important to remember it as you wish it. Use your past and present reflections to formulate exactly how you want this futuristic moment in your life to be. 

A beautiful day on the Kal-Haven Trail in southwest Michigan [Ayla Hull].

A beautiful day on the Kal-Haven Trail in southwest Michigan [Ayla Hull].

MY PRESENT
As I sit at this white wicker table, writing to you all, I feel the temporary nature of everything around me, including my own being. The wind tugs at my hair, and with it comes a whiff of the sweet, hot breeze. I inhale deeply and taste the banana bread muffins I had for lunch, still lingering on my tongue. The breeze forms goosebumps on my legs and I feel a sense of peace as I listen to the cars whizzing by. I laugh as Maze’s dog Willow runs up to me, licking my face. Sufjan Stevens sings through my headphones, "The things you want in life you have to really need… this is a matter of life."

In this moment, I feel the importance of the Remembering Game as a sort of catalyst for Crealitation, myself, and the world as we know it. I give thanks for the turning of our Mother Planet and the change that she brings (#saveourmotherplanet).

MY PAST
It is June 2016, one year ago, my very first day on the job at Camp Now. I am stationed outside. The sun’s rays beat down, lighting up the Art Farm, though I am safely shaded underneath a pinwheel umbrella above the splintered table where I work. The words “Camp Now” pop in black paint on the vibrant yellow sign behind me. It is a breezy day, and all around me I hear the swaying grasses, breathing in the smell that only a summer day in these woods can bring. One year later, I still remember the taste of coffee on my tongue, strong and bitter.

As I sit, typing away on my computer, I attempt to unravel the intricate web introduced to me by my new boss--an artist who, although I met her as Lizzie West, has told me she now goes by Cassidy A. Maze or "Maze" for short. She is a very busy woman, always on the move, her curly blond hair and a distinct air of otherworldliness trailing behind her. I am not quite sure what she means when she says things like “create your reality” and “grow the ball of peace”, or who she is referring to when she talks about “our friend G.E. Fox”. But it doesn’t matter--I’m content in the shade, steeping in this interesting new workspace. Sitting here, in this world of fairies and gnomes, I begin to learn the ever-evolving Crealitation story as told by Maze.

I give thanks for my entrance into the Happy Story on that sunny summer day under the pinwheel umbrella. 

An afternoon spent painting by the pond with two of my dear friends [Ayla Hull].

An afternoon spent painting by the pond with two of my dear friends [Ayla Hull].

OUR FUTURE

Realizing these present and past moments in my Crealitation journey, I seek to understand what the future can hold, both for the organization, myself, and for "the world at large". I should note that "God bless America and the world at large" is an iconic sign-off of Maze's in the "Dear You..." Letters that make up the Crealitation series.

Maze's teaching shares that by remembering, "You're training your brain to believe that this future is as real as your present or past. It is a relationship between body and 'sol'. Like a horse and a rider, instead of forcing, you are convincing your body to want to go with your sol's direction." Her usage of 'sol' here refers to the world of Crealitation, which plays as if the whole universe is a University and we're all students of life.

In the future, I remember visiting the Camp Now Media Farm. Maze's horse, cat, dogs, and chicken roam the land safely, without fear of cars. Students from all walks of life traverse the Farm, taking refuge for the summer. The space holds plenty of resources to empower my generation (18-25) to be the change it wishes to see. Everyone there is working to #saveourmotherplanet. Everyone is working to vote Trump out of office. With Maze's formula, they actively work to take back our democracy, to reject our unsustainable society, and to rewrite our story.

This summer, we are in the process of moving the Media Farm unexpectedly. Despite the recent aches and pains of transition, the beautiful Camp Now crew pushes forward, and evolves this pain to become a part of the Happy Story. As Maze would say, "the truth is always beautiful" and there is something very beautiful about allowing room for sorrow.

Over the course of my year on the crew, my understanding of the work has deepened immensely. I have watched crew-members bust their butts to curate and share the Crealitation story, day in and day out. As Camp Now approaches its four-year mark, I foresee expansion, slowly but surely. As an organization, we work to finalize our current content, in order to share it with the world on a larger scale. This will take a lot of time and energy but I believe that it can be done, because Crealitation has a way of drawing in its audience. Time and time again I have found that you do not find Crealitation--Crealitation finds you. While It is uncertain whether Camp Now Productions will continue to reside in New Lebanon, one thing is for sure: regardless of location, this work will continue to find those who need it. As Stevens sang to me this morning, "The things you want in life you have to really need… this is a matter of life". 

Within my own story, I sit here and remember my upcoming journey to Madrid, Spain, where I will be studying abroad for five months. I cannot yet know where this journey will take me, I can only know how I want to be as I travel through it: open, outgoing, excited, aware. I look forward to relearning my own rhythm and continuing to remember my new journey as it evolves.

As I write, I assume that many of us feel the applicability of this Game to "the world at large". Since I began at Camp Now, this country has entered into a period that many may argue highly uncertain--an outcome that was actually prophesized in Maze's private blog, the "Dear You..." Letters, where she publishes her latest work. Reflecting on this transitionary time period, I find myself remembering that, although we cannot individually change entire systems, we can disrupt them, whether that be through opposition or through self-care. We must remember how we want our world to be, and create that reality for ourselves. Each one of us plays a role and it is up to each of us to decide what that role will be. We must go within to understand how to safely and sustainably seek change.

In this moment, I give thanks for my present. I give thanks for my past. I give thanks for whatever reality my future may hold, and I give thanks for the chance to crealitate it. 

This photo was taken on June 25, at the grad party of a lifelong friend of mine. After giving her a photo from years and years ago, our dear friend Jane Feldman re-created it [Ayla Hull].

This photo was taken on June 25, at the grad party of a lifelong friend of mine. After giving her a photo from years and years ago, our dear friend Jane Feldman re-created it [Ayla Hull].

I look forward to my continued growth during my final month here at Camp Now for 2017. In the meantime, I welcome you to play the Remembering Game for yourself, explore our new websites, and subscribe to our semi-private, and private blogs to delve into the world of Crealitation!

Until next time,
Ayla