Every year I load up the van or car with camping equipment and drive out to a dusty wind-cursed plain to jump around with thousands of others at the five day Rainbow Serpent festival. For the first time last year, I didn’t really enjoy myself. I couldn’t see myself going back many more times. So this year, I was determined to make it something different. I was going to drink much less alcohol (drugs being as always a strict no-no), eat much more and attempt a quieter camp-site with far fewer human trash-bags. I was also going to try to dance in a different way. All of this I hoped would make for a more connected experience.
On the whole, it worked.
I was much closer with my partner; previous Rainbows had generally seen me drift away into the dance-mob. I was much more at one with my body: I rested, slept and ate when I needed to and hardly felt that I was missing out on when I had to do those things. And I had space to connect with other people – not being lost the dance-floor and being pretty much in my right mind off it meant that I could bring a lot more when talking to my friends and camp-mates. I made, I hope, some good new friends from that.
But the dance-floor lost much of its allure. Being unable to match its manic energy, I was often repelled by the dust, the madness and the noise. The times that I managed to rise to it, however, did make up for it. On Sunday, using the internal focusing techniques learnt through some expressive dance classes last year, I moved and danced at a level I’ve never reached before. That single afternoon made Rainbow fresh again.