What stood out for me was the impact of having 100+ visitors come through Spirit House to create and celebrate community. For 3 days, the atmosphere exuded a peaceful energy, loving-kindness, joy, and openness. The festival became an invitation to experience what it feels like to be supported and embraced by a community of individuals who live into the true meaning of the word "namaste": that which is sacred in me sees and honours the same one within you.
I think that feeling a part of a community is important to awakening in this time we are living - awakening to our inherent Oneness with all things. Ever notice that "unity" is embedded in the word community? Connecting with something that is larger than oneself, yet is an integral part of one's own being is the elixir for so much of what ails our society - depression, stress, anxiety and dis-ease. Finding your "tribe", individuals who you resonate with, who reflect back to you your highest potential, who offer non-judgmental support, who help you to remember who you are and what your purpose is here, this is the real gift of community.
As a yoga teacher, it is necessary for me to have an understanding of yoga as more than just a physical exercise. I try to find ways to communicate to my students that yoga (meaning "unity" - there it is again) is both a journey and a destination itself - that stretching the body is a way of stretching the mind and the heart, opening more and more to the discovery that our essential nature is Love, and Love is always right here. The gathering at the festival was a vehicle for this discovery. Hearts were opened. Minds were awakened. Spirits were nourished.
I was reminded that what so many of us long for is the opportunity to stand simply as our pure authentic selves. When I witnessed the outpouring of emotion at the end of the festival, I knew that we had created a sacred space for personal healing, and a respite for weary minds. It was impossible to leave this communion of souls unchanged in some way, and I believe that each person received exactly the tonic they needed. For me, the yoga and music, as uplifting and beautiful as it was, was secondary to the experience of communion. It is right community that answers that silent yearning within us for healing, connection, purpose and fulfillment.
As Dr Martin Luther King Jr said:
"Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls, and a quantitive change in our lives."