The third Empathy Festival in ZEGG took a look at the nature of change, centred on the question: "What sort of R:EVOLution could happen because of me now?" 350 people took up the Whitsun invitation and strolled, tripped and danced in the tracks of empathy for five days, together with their inner selves, other participants and the world.
What happens if we let our everyday mask drop and share our deeper fears and worries with others? Humorous sketches, inspired talks and enlivening music charged up the participants in the Big Top in the morning and they then took a more intensive look at their personal issues in one of 14 different smaller groups in the afternoons. Led by an eclectic variety of workshop leaders, they encompassed an equally wonderful variety of methods, including contact improvisation, non-violent communication, deep ecology and much more. Although the methods used were very different, they all shared a common quest for the authenticity of the present moment.
"We'd rather abandon our plans if they aren't right and tolerate the joint experience of not knowing what to do next." This was the unusually radical approach adopted by the young festival organisers: "After all, in a time of crisis and change, sticking to predetermined plans won't help us adapt to the future as much as the ability to listen to the moment in a judgement-free way and let new answers develop out of what we hear together." With this in mind, the festival was conceived as a learning field for a new form of R-Evolution, borne out of Love – as illustrated in the festival logo. Unfortunately, love seems to have been forgotten in previous societal upheavals.
The festival's judgement-free, loving attitude helped many participants to find their next personal steps, which they shared in the small groups' closing sessions. And celebrated together in a large party with live music on the last evening.