How attending a festival can heal, inspire and connect you

Heading to festivals at 38!

Glastonbury Festival has been on my list of places to visit since the summer of 2016 when my husband and I were in the process of divorcing. I was sat at home watching Glastonbury when the Killers came on. I had first seen them performing back in 2002 at a small venue in Manchester. There was maybe 50 of us there. It was small but awesome. Seeing them perform at Glastonbury I danced around the room singing Mr Brightside. I posted on facebook asking if I was too old to go. No came the resounding reply.

Fast forward to 2019 and I was gifted a ticket, last minute, by a friend of mine. Did I want to go? Hell yeah! The Killers were headlining. I arrived at the festival with no idea of what it would be like. In my 38 years on this planet not once had I ever felt the urge to go to a festival. But this was Glastonbury! I had to go. It was hot when I arrived, and I hadn’t realised it would take me a good 45 minutes to the tent from my car. I was hot, sweaty and had heat exhaustion by the time I arrived at the tent. My friend had already arrived and kindly put it up for us. I was extremely grateful for this. We quickly met and off I headed with a small map in hand. No idea really where I was going. I located the main stage, found some shade and sat down to listen to Janet Jackson. Personally I wasn’t feeling it so headed off on a wander.

As a newbie to festivals I loved it! I had no idea who Stormzy was, or Lizzo or even Slim Thai ( I think that was his name, a rapper who recently was nominated for a Mercury Prize Award. Even though I didn’t know the songs the messages from these guys were soooo powerful! Stormzy had a way of bringing people together through the content of his music, his passion and his drive. Lizzo was all about self love and self beauty. In the crowd we were all telling ourselves I love me, then turning to our neighbours and telling them I love them. Slim Thai organised a mosh pit and at the end told everyone we never leave anyone behind.

I told my friend that I liked how he was channelling his anger in a productive way and that I was pleased our younger people had some inspiring role models. When I said this it did make me feel old! There were so many people there though, different ages from babes in arms to those in their 70’s. They were all connecting through the music at this festival. Not only is it a showcase for musicians and talented artists but it is also a space where you can leave your life behind and escape into a magical world of love, peace and music.

Dawnlight Festival 2019

Fast forward a few months and I was lucky enough to attend the very first Dawnlight Festival in North Yorkshire. Nam Prakash Kaur had a vision of bringing people together. Working alongside her four sons, this festival had a completely different feel to it. I can imagine this is what someone who attended the first Glastonbury Festival might have felt. It was magical, special and something that I had never experienced before. There was maybe 100 people there. With workshops on through the day, time for reflection with sharing circles, stunning food and a cafe serving amazing chai lattes, singing and dancing, sometimes impromptu, you felt as if you were part of a loving and supportive community of like minded people.

I arrived on the Friday and instantly felt relaxed with a nice cup of chai latte. Some people had arrived the day before but that didn’t stop them from welcoming me in. The standard greeting was a hug. And sometimes long ones. I attended a Moon Energy Centre workshop held by Nam Prakash. I had never even heard of these before. Men have 1 located on their chin. Women have 11 and we move through these centres every 2.5 days. We did an internal check in as to how we were feeling. I felt sunny and sociable. Later on when I checked which centre I was in, it turned out I was in the clitoris energy, which is sociable! Going through these energy centres every 2.5 days can explain why we can feel so up and down at times.

I didn’t feel as if I needed any healing or massage whilst I was there but if you wanted it there was some on offer. The tantric speed encounter workshop was amazing. It made me realise how little I dance, and I love dancing! We danced silently for the most part, connecting with people and looking in their eyes. Making great eye contact can be a struggle for some at times, but the more we practise the better we get. We paid compliments to others about what we noticed in them and how it made us feel. We learnt to set boundaries by saying no when others asked if we wanted to connect with them.

The atmosphere was extremely energised, especially at the end when it was freestyle dancing to some very energetic music. I bounced on a trampoline with a couple of other ladies until I finally ran out of energy and headed home at 830pm. When I got home rather than checking my phone and switching on the laptop I sat outside under the stars. I saw a shooting star and a baby hedgehog scuttled by.

Dancing at Dawnlight Festival 2019

Spartan Warrior training!

Unfortunately I had prior work commitments on the Saturday but headed back on the Sunday. I bumped into my buddy from the sharing circle on the Friday so we had a cup of tea together. I had spotted on the timetable something called Spartan Warrior Training. After the softness of the workshop on the Friday I felt like I needed something more intense. I wasn’t disappointed. We started off running on the spot. 12 men and 4 women. We then did a short visualisation where we imagined carrying a sword and shield. Tools in life to defend ourselves. We made warrior style sounds coming from deep within and the grunts resonated around the tent. We were split into 2 sides and we had to run towards our partner on hands and feet and back again. Being fairly unfit I adapted my particular posture, mine was more like a monkey running. Whenever the chap in charge shouted Spartan we had to sprint out to a field, bang a drum and back again. There was lots of squatting and hi fiving.

I can imagine these workshops going down well in the workplace to bring everyone together. To say it was intense would be an understatement. My thighs are killing me today. At the end we were hosed down, much needed after an hour session in the heat. Thinking it was finished I grabbed a cup of tea. Some of the guys started wrestling so I sat down to watch. A couple of the ladies had a go. I thought I have never done that before, I’d love a turn. I was paired up with Sarah. Before we started we gave each other a hug. Then…she took me down! I did try as hard as I could to get out of it but she had me. I was exhausted after all this so went and lay in the cool shade of the trees to chat and relax.

After a fairly busy morning I thought I would head to a meditation class led by Jonny and Olivia. It was a beautiful class but I was very distracted in my own mind and kept wanting to laugh at the geese in the next field which sounded as if they were laughing.

When Lisa came to visit

I then attended Ryan’s Playful Mindfulness session. My mind again was distracted but this time I got a shock. A very close friend of mine, Lisa, passed away on my 36th birthday in 2016. I’ve heard very little from her except when she turned up once in a circle and told me off. As I was sat listening to Ryan’s voice I could feel her next to me. She was a very playful character anyway. She brought up some memories and told me some stuff I needed to hear. I left the tent as Ryan was still talking. I knew I couldn’t sit in the space any longer. I walked away sobbing. Thankfully I bumped into Kitty, a beautiful soul, who took me into her tent and calmed me down. For me this was one of the things I loved about this festival. There were a lot of tears, a lot of releasing and processing ‘stuff’ going on in the camp. If you wanted someone to hold you, be present for you, hold the space for you there was plenty of people there to do that.

The closing ceremony involved singing, music and everyone standing together holding hands. A few words were said by Nam Prakash. The connections that were made at this festival, the openness, the honesty, the fun, the laughter, the tears, the authenticity, the friendships will truly stay in my heart and in my soul forever. This festival started with a vision and the reality was in my words? Awesome. Can’t wait for next year!

For more information on the Dawnlight Festival and the Rising Dawn Sanctuary head to their Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/TheRisingDawnSanctuary/

To join a group of like minded individuals I do run a Facebook group called Consciousness Arising which you can find here https://www.facebook.com/groups/ConsciousnessArising/

I’d love to hear if you have been to any festivals this summer and how you found them?

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