This last post of the Y-Top Gathering 2018 Blog comes from my home, the Netherlands. Just as all 59 other participants of the gathering this year, I feel time is needed to recover (in a positive way, indeed) from those 12 intense days in Finland. The process of going forward home* differs for everyone - participants coming for the first time this year might find the experience very overwhelming, whilst more experienced participants have more ease (re)finding their own, unique way of reflecting on, processing and settling their memories, acquired skills and experiences from the gathering.
* "Going forward home" is our redefinition of going back home: we have invented this to say that all of us have gained during the Y-Top, whether in regards to new great insights, friendships, experiences or a couple of kilos in bodyweight due to all the good food... There is therefore no "going back" in going home, as we take these things with us and carry them forward in our lives, in ourselves and towards our loved ones.
The last day (the Day of Evaluation) was a full, but smooth day. It all revolved around helping all of us in giving a place within ourselves to our experiences and feelings of the previous days: reflecting on all we had done, the good and more challenging moments, and sharing between us ways in which we can bring those sentiments forward home. We reunited in the families to reflect on all the days, the famous t-shirt ceremony was held, and after our last dinner we sat on the beach together: huddling around the campfire, singing songs in different languages, watching the sunset over the lake, and of course constant hugging and crying. Goodbyes in the Y-Top are kind of indescribable for those who have never experienced it, but I tried.
That night we had a couple of missions:
Firstly, finishing as much food as possible which we still had left, which is quite easy with 40 teenagers around.
Secondly, having everything packed and collecting all personal belongings lying around, which was quite difficult with 40 teenagers around. We are still amazed by the amount of ownerless towels, underwear and shirts which accumulated in such a short time.
Thirdly, and optional, was the traditional "all-nighter", which was also achieved by many.
The next morning at 05:00, the last tents were packed, and at 06:30 we waved goodbye to Metsäkartano and started our journey to Helsinki.
For the participants: remember that it is okay to feel this "hole" of overwhelming space after spending 12 days with people that have constantly inspired, befriended and entertained you. It is okay to lie in bed for a week, not knowing what to do with your life exactly, or what to do without physically having the amazing environment of the Y-Top around you that you got accustomed to for 12 days! We all have, trust me.
But, as we have learned during the Forward Ceremony, the Y-Top consists of all of us and therefore lives in all of us. It is up to you now to find a way to locate that within yourself and find ways to recall it, whenever you need it: reading the messages on your shirt, reading the blog, looking at pictures, or even planning trips to visit your Y-Top friends are just a few examples I can give you that might help!
From the Trying Team: I think I can speak on behalf of the entire Trying Team to say that this Y-Top was really a rebirth. All the puzzle pieces of the country being Finland, the possibilities in the accommodation, the team, and all the nature around us fall neatly together and point at two sentiments that I think perfectly define this year's gathering: space and balance. The fresh Finnish air allowed us to breathe. The spacious nature and endless lakes allowed us to move freely. And our decision to focus especially on leaving the programme open this year left room for everyone (ourselves and participants alike) to fill in this year's programme freely and exactly as was felt necessary in every new moment, in stead of having a full-to-the-brim pre-established programme. All of this contributed to a Y-Top gathering that, simply, flowed! It flowed from moment to moment and brought us to processes and experiences that we could not have planned beforehand - which were created by all of us. Again, the blue element of flexibility and calmness has proven to be present throughout the entire gathering. It all resulted in a gathering that was perfectly balanced in depth, structure, freedom and fun.
Indeed, the fact that our approach of this year's content was well-being, was greatly reflected in the Trying Team: instead of feeling physically and emotionally drained, or half of us being too sick to stand like last year, we felt fresh, inspired and very content at the end of this gathering. And moreover, this well-being of the Trying Team was reflected in the well-being of all the participants, which meant that (in my opinion) we have seen a more healthy "going foward home" (in all aspects of well-being) than in many of the previous years.
Thank you all for reading the blog!
Y-Top Gathering: Blue Seeds for the Future