A few weeks ago, a post on our Facebook wall caught my attention. The post was by Josh Crocker. This is what it said:
I thought this was an amazing idea – the good deeds people have shared so far are super awesome. And hopefully we see more before the end of the month!
I wanted to chat with Josh to find out a little bit more about him, and what inspired this challenge for our Farmily to be “Everyday Shambassadors” out there in the world.
Britz Bitz: So Josh, how long have you been coming to Shambhala?
Josh Crocker: This would have been my third Shambhala. So just the two years. I intend to make it a life long pilgrimage. I was actually in the process of getting on board with ANKORS (Harm Reduction) for this year but unfortunately had to bow out during the application process. Hopefully they’ve got room for me next year, I was super excited about being a part of such a cool organization and bringing what knowledge I have to offer for the Shamily.
BB: That’s so great that you were looking into volunteering! I hope we can have you on the crew next year.
So, we’ve all heard, “Shambhala changed my life” (in fact, it changed my life). Did it change yours? How would you describe that change?
JC: Yah, it definitely did. I mean realistically every experience changes your life but some things have a larger impact than others and Sham has had a fairly sizable impact on mine.
There’s a Greek word “agape” (ah gop eh) and it basically means unconditional and unrelenting love. That’s what Shambhala is for me and it’s the first and only place I’ve ever seen such a thing to exist on any sort of large scale. Just knowing that exists and being able to hold on to it as best you can when you come home is amazing. The mutual compassion and understanding so prevalent in the Shambhala culture is definitely the thing that stuck with me most and affected me in the largest way. It’s so hard for me to hate on someone these days and I really think I owe a lot of that to Shambhala. So I’d have to say that’s probably the biggest way Sham has impacted my life.
BB: “Agape”, I love that. What you’re saying totally resonates with how Shambhala changed my life, too.
So, what inspired you to give your ticket away instead of selling it to a friend (or something like that)?
JC: Well when I knew I wouldn’t be able to go I almost immediately decided to give my ticket away. I bought my ticket the day they went on sale and found out I couldn’t go almost six months later. I wasn’t missing the money so I figured, “Why not give it to someone?”
At first I was thinking of giving it to a friend because I’m always telling my friends they gotta go and I figured a ticket might convince someone on the fence to go. After thinking about who among my friends I should give it to I decided not to because anyone that knows me knows that they should be going to Shambhala. So I was like, “Hmmm, I should give it to a stranger, that would be awesome.”
Once I was settled on that I decided I wanted to get something done with it, and after some thought I came up with my contest and yah, that’s about it! I was really happy reading all the replies, being a part of some of the awesome stuff that was done definitely hit me right in the feels and in a really good way!
BB: The terms of your contest are pretty simple – go make the world a better place for someone else. Is this something you incorporate into your everyday life?
JC: Yah I’d like to think so. I mean we all have lives and goals and what have you, and it’s hard to remember that we live in a world surrounded by others doing the same thing. It’s really easy to get caught up in your own stuff and ignore the needs of those around you and we’re all guilty of this.
It’s an active process though, and it’s something I do my best to work at. Keeping conscious of others leads to a lot of opportunities to make the world a better place and it’s usually something really easy and kinda small and it’s immediately rewarding too which is awesome.
Like holding the door, smiling at someone, chatting up the bored gas station attendant, little things like that are super easy and can really boost someones day. And they probably are gonna make you feel better too! I don’t really know if Karma’s a thing or not but the more positivity you put out there the more there is for everyone to have including you!
BB: I love that outlook. 🙂 What is your favourite personal story of making the world a better place for someone else?
JC: This is definitely one of my favorite stories, I’m happy you asked.
On my birthday last year I spent the early part of the day by myself just kinda walking around the river valley listening to music and having a little sunshine day. I came up after a while and I was sitting in a park on a bench smoking and this guy came up to me and asked for a smoke so I gave him one. He was pretty dirty and scarred up, the guy obviously had seen a lot of hard times. Turns out he was pretty OG, with the scars and ink to prove it. He stood for a while so I invited him to join me. We talked for a while and he told me about his life.
Hard times indeed, guy had some crazy stories. Anyways he had some tall boys on him so he cracked a beer and gave me one and we polished off the sixer he had and I was like “Well, we are gonna need some more,” so we walked down Whyte Ave just chatting. It was pretty fun. We stopped in at Macs got some dinner and ate and then started to walk to the beer store.
On the way we met some of his friends hanging out on a bench so we stayed with them for a while. I’d just introduced myself and in seconds one guy had a tall boy in my hand. It was crazy because they had next to nothing but what they had they gave to me, when I tried to give them some cash they basically told me to get lost. So we chilled and drank with them for a while then left once the beers were empty and hit up the store to pick up another sixer.
After that I put some tunes on my phone and we just sat in the parking lot drinking and smoking. During the hour or so we spent there a bunch of his friends came and went.
Every single one offered us something be it beers or whatever else, they were really good people, despite what the people walking by thought!
I don’t think I’ve ever seen more “judgmental eyes” than I did that afternoon but it was definitely the best pre-drink I’ve ever had.
Anyway, eventually my friends started to show up to hang with me for my birthday so our time came to an end. I left him with some money, thanked him for his time and we parted ways. I haven’t seen him since, but I really hope I run into him again some day. I doubt he’ll remember me because by his account he was 12 tall boys deep when we met but who knows? I keep my eyes peeled.
BB: What a great story. Very “Shambhala” – one of our core values is definitely non-judgement and you really see it at the festival. I always love seeing people from “different subcultures / backgrounds” chillin’ on the beach or tearing up the dancefloor and just having a great time together.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to your Farmily who’ll be missing you on the dancefloor this year?
JC: There’s not too much I want to say, I love all my friends but they know that. I do know I want them all to meet whoever I send my ticket to, or conversely to whoever gets my ticket. I have some awesome people you gotta meet! I guess if I had to say anything it would have to be the advice I always give party goers: Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!!
BB: Sounds good to me! Thanks for your thoughts, Josh!
If you want to get in the running for Josh’s ticket, you have until April 29th to get your “Everyday Shambassador” on and perform some random act of kindness… Post what you did in response to this thread and get your friends to like it!
A chance to win a Shambhala ticket by doing something good for others… does it get any better than that? Even if you don’t win, you’ll feel awesome!