The Zen of Parties

"The party in the house reached her ears as a chorus of incoherent conversations, supported by a solidifying stratum of rock music which gathered everyone there – all the different shapes and sizes and colors and personalities – into one dance. The many-layered music wove its web of rhythm and the crowd moved with it, choreographing themselves into a party that was a dance or a dance that was a party.
Conversations ran at just the right speed, jokes appeared on cue, and the responding laughter rippled like a right-on riff from a lead guitar. Brief quips of dancing broke out, as two people met on their way to someplace else, took an inspirational turn or two, and then went on their way, laughing and feeling warm and close to that other, as if they had just kissed." The Year of the Crow, Barbara Stoner

That party took place 33 years ago half a continent away with an entirely different cast of characters, but the zen of parties remains the same. I have seen it time after time everywhere from a house to a bar to a Dead lot. It can't be planned. But I think it can be facilitated.

I've been lucky. Most of my parties over the years have captured some of the essence of the best of zen-ness. And the best recipe I can think of to facilitate it is this: Clean the house and yard, set the table, string the lights, and cue the music. Invite people you enjoy. Welcome them in. Introduce strangers. Don't manage anything. Make things comfortable. Make things possible. Enjoy yourself.