Here we are celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Woodstock. Those who attended were derisively called “hippies,” “tree-huggers,” environmentalists,” “peaceniks,” and “weirdos.” Today, the values of those hippies and their kind are heralded as the values all Americans need to embrace if we are to save our planet. How ironic!
Whether or not there is a Woodstock baby is inconsequential. The essence of Woodstock is that at any moment in time, people can choose to live in either the positive or negative universes. Those who attended Woodstock chose to live in the positive universe, despite inclement weather, claustrophobic crowds, and under any other circumstances (like Altamont) could have lead to a mob mentality with disastrous consequences. Instead the consequences created a model for living in harmony that really never died, and in fact is today a quickly rising tide.
A baby or not, Woodstock brought out the best in people. They acted upon their realization that we are all indeed connected. They shared their food, clothing, and shelter. They cared for each other. Giacco and Jon camped with the Hog Farm and Wavy Gravy, and helped cook and serve food to thousands of people. At the time it it seemed miraculous that the food was never ending. But no biblical miracles here. It was because of the hard work of many volunteers and the generosity of everyone.
It proved to a half million people that if everyone were willing to share, there was enough to provide healthy food, shelter, and basic needs FOR ALL in an environment of NO FEAR!
Fear tactics are now being used to divide the country at a time when we need to come together to solve our problems. But those who experienced the three days at Woodstock, know that in the absence of fear and paranoia, “miracles” can and will happen.
In Book One of the Hunga Dunga trilogy, Leaving the Earth’s Atmosphere, Giacco, our “guide” throughout the book, drops out and begins his search for enlightenment. His journey leads him from one adventure to another, and one of those adventures is his experiences at Woodstock. If you weren’t there, this may give you an accurate and detailed vicarious experience of what it was like.
Book Two, Orbiting the Planet, is Giacco’s search for a guru by spending a year in Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal. The exodus of so many hippies to sojourn in South Asia was almost directly due to the influence of Baba Ram Dass, formerly Richard Alpert, Timothy Leary’s colleague when they were researching the effects of LSD at Harvard. Ram Dass, author of Be Here Now, opted for exploring inner space without the use of LSD or other psychedelics, but through meditation under the tutelage of a guru.
Book Three, Down to Earth, concerns itself with the “back to the land” movement. Giacco concludes that if one can achieve enlightenment it will happen without overtly and selfishly seeking it. He decides, along with many others, that good works lead to more substantial results, and that if one is meant to be enlightened, it will happen. Desirelessness is moksha, or liberation. And that means even the desire for enlightenment.
It was a time when living the truth was far more important than just knowing the truth. It was an attempt to act in ways which reflected what we knew to be true. To incorporate into our daily lives those truths and behave accordingly. Woodstock validated all of it. All of what we had learned was made manifest at Woodstock. Woodstock proved it wasn’t just a bunch of nice words, but when everyone acted out of love, it was, for a brief moment in time, heaven on earth.
While touring the west coast, reading excerpts from my book and doing signings, I found myself uplifted by the realization that the spirit of Woodstock and the values we tried desperately to live by, only went into remission for a while. They did not die. They have been resurrected by a new generation and by those who never lost faith. That is why I believe my book is being embraced by not only people who experienced that time, but by the generations which followed and who yearn for real change and want to learn from we, who were/are trying to live the Woodstock ideals.
I urge you to leave comments or feedback here on my blog.
I wrote Hunga Dunga not to become rich or famous, but to vindicate the values of those times, and to share with as many people as possible, the essence of what it meant to be a hippie, a term that has been unjustly disparaged by the media and Madison Avenue.
I found Makower’s article very important and very much in tune with my interpretation of what Woodstock represented. I thank him for that. But there is still a part of me that wants to yell, “We told you so… 40 years ago!”
No matter. I optimistically choose to believe that our society, and perhaps the world, is catching up. Slowly, perhaps, but inevitably. It is the young people I meet who make me so hopeful. A new generation of incredibly beautiful brothers and sisters are continuing the cause.
An interesting note: Book Three of Hunga Dunga (Down to Earth,) takes place in the small town of Twisp, WA in the North Cascades. Back then it was as redneck as a town could be. Today it is one of the most liberal, tolerant, and progressive towns one can find. Even at the local pub, a same sex couple were displaying their affection for each other as if it were a non-issue.
But most telling, is that the Woodstock Reunion Tour chose the Methow Valley (in which Twisp is located) to have their anniversary concert as close to the original dates as possible. The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Starship, Canned Heat, and many other bands that played Woodstock are celebrating its anniversary this weekend in this small, but incredibly beautiful valley. Simply amazing! Another “full circle.”
The evolution of Twisp into what it has become, is a model for towns and cities across the country. The people truly understand the meaning of community, compassion, tolerance and respect for the earth.
And there was a baby born at Woodstock. The baby’s name is LOVE!
Be well, and peace to all beings! Keep the Woodstock spirit alive!