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Saturday, 20 August 2016

Beautiful But Confusing - Dancing the Summer Away

As I stated in my previous blog, my string of recent adventures have spiraled positively into the most beautiful summer of my life. My spirit is soaring and my heart has opened up, simultaneously filling up and gushing forth with loving energy. One area of self discovery that has given my spirit flight is my embrace of music and dancing, and the magical convergence of the two at music festivals.

At this point, some of my readers shall be cautioned: all of these experiences I am about to share have occurred while using psychedelics, and I dare say would not be possible without them. I have expanded on this in previous blogs, and my hope is to slowly chip away at your armour through my storytelling, without sounding like I've lost my marbles (if I haven't already done so by now).
Tribe Festival - meditating with singing bowls
Astral Harvest festival - cool workshop space
Interstellevator, main stage at Astral Harvest
In other words, my goal is cultural deconditioning. Because we are taught, no, conditioned, to believe that these substances are bad for you, when in reality they are proven to have strong healing potential. Yet political and economic interests at a high level serve to keep them prohibited and out of the public's hands. Anyway, back to dancing, before I really lose you... please read on with an open mind.

Last New Year's Eve in Vancouver I had my first spiritual dance experience, when I saw the universe floating up and out of the swirling tiles of my living room, into my 3-D space, and I danced among the stars. The synchronicity of the dance was unforgettable. My curiosity piqued.

In May I attended the first year running of Tribe Festival, near Calgary, where I met a bunch of cool cats and realized that there was a community of alternative thinkers in my old city, just waiting for a festival to bring them together. An appearance of the Northern Lights made this festival really special. I later attended Astral Harvest near Edmonton and had another amazing time. At both festivals I attended yoga, art and intellectual workshops, connected with unique individuals, and danced the night away.

And then there was Shambhala - a fabled and magical 4-day festival set on a farm near the hippie outpost Nelson, British Columbia. At the beginning of August I left cherry picking early to volunteer in exchange for a free wristband. Two spiritual dance experiences left me forever changed.
Shambhala - the pinnacle of music, dance and free expression
On the grounds with my friends Spark and Jeremy (middle)
This is a normal sight at Shambhala
Shambhala at night transforms into a totally different world filled with mystery and intrigue, a sensation of sound and light intertwined with the mysterious but protective forest canopy. There is a neverending flow of Shamb-aliens - festival-goers dressed like hippies, fairies, dressed down or dressed up in onesies or other outrageous costumes. Shambhala at night sets the stage for magic to happen.

On Thursday night I was feeling the music and dancing while moving between stages, looking for my friends. I came across two guys who were doing poi and devil sticks, their equipment lit up with LED lights. Captivated, I stopped to observe, my dance moves flowing to their movements. They see me and come over, and our movements synchronize. We engage in a connected dance - time stops, everything else disappears, it's just the three of us and the music. We barely realize it, but 20 minutes pass by. We compliment eachother and move on.

Three nights later I ran into them again, and we greet excitedly. They told me they talked about me everyday! Noone had flowed so well with them without equipment as I did, using only my body. Humbled, I expressed that I thought about them everyday too and kept looking for them. Our connection through dance was an unforgettable experience. We planned to find eachother again that night but failed... I was disappointed in the missed connection, but it's a sign that we are meant to find eachother next year at Shambhala.
Fractal Forest - my favourite stage because... it's a stage set right in the forest
That same Sunday night, the last one of the festival, my friends and I started off with weird vibes, due to some unexpected setbacks earlier in the day. We hit the stage The Grove and saw a captivating fire spinning show. After the fire show, as we were leaving the stage, I came across some friends who were just entering. At that moment, I felt a compulsion to stay but was conflicted about abandoning my friends. I froze, not knowing what to do.

Then the French DJ Clozee started her set and I was instantly hooked, and began moving. Her sound completely took over my spirit and body until there was nothing but the music. As I danced I suddenly felt all the confusion and negativity that built up over the summer being purged from inside me, as each cell of my body shook to the bass. Overcome by the gravity and indescribable synergy of the moment, I cried, but kept dancing.

If this summer was a movie, that moment was the catharsis. I danced in this trance-like state for at least half an hour. I felt at one with the music, my body, and the universe, like never before.

I left Shambhala feeling transformed. I have traveled a lot in my life and, in this way, discovered the meaning of freedom. But Shambhala showed me a different kind of freedom, and expanded my definition of it. It showed me the freedom to express who you are, to reveal the real beauty inside you in a judgment-free, loving environment.
Thank you Shambhala! See you next year.

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