Carolyne DeBlois

Turn Cellphones Off, for a Better Connection

Photo by Mario Miotti

Last year I attended Lighting in a Bottle Music & Arts Festival in Bradley, California, for the very first time. I was a Coachella veteran and thought I knew everything about festivals and what they could offer. Truth: I could not have been more wrong. A random speaker series on the first day drew my attention, it was titled “The Art of Letting Go”. It sparked something in me. I felt I had so much clutter in my life. After this talk, I recognized the clutter was in the palm of my hand.

That’s right. I’m talking about how much I learned from doing the impossible act of actually disconnecting for 5 days under the Lightning sky. I turned off my phone after hearing that speaker and I left it off. I still took photos on a disposable camera and hijacked a bunch of memories; but with the phone off, I learned more than I could ever have imagined.

It’s critically important to take time to truly be alone

In order to curate change and growth in our lives we must make the space by cleaning out old baggage. This can be literally taking the clothes you’ve had since high school to the donation box or shutting off the constant murmur of social media for a few hours. How are we supposed to hear all the important messages our psyche has for us if whenever we are alone, we reach for the friends waiting in our pockets. Our phones allow us to constantly connect with other people; but, when we do this we avoid critical conversations with ourselves. That is why mindfulness has exploded in the last few years. We are realizing that connecting with that inner voice is crucial to the communication of our authentic self into the world.

Louis CK said it best on an episode of Conan back in 2013: “You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something. That is what the phones are taking away. The ability to just sit there. Like this. That’s being a person. You gotta check, because, underneath everything in your life there’s that thing, that forever empty— that knowledge that it’s all for nothing and you’re alone. It’s down there. And sometimes when things clear away, you’re not watching anything, you’re in your car and you start going “Ohhhhh no. Here it comes…” that I’m alone, like it starts to visit on you, just this sadness. Life is tremendously sad just by being in it. That is why we text and drive… but people are willing to risk taking a life and ruining their own because they don’t want to be alone for a second.”

I get it being alone sucks, at one point at Lighting last year I danced off from all my friends and I didn’t have my phone. At first I thought, this sucks. I have to be alone at this festival? But as I danced around, a lot of stuff started to come up, and I realized I was having this intense conversation with my psyche that I had been stalling for way too long. I danced beneath the lights and trees of the Woogie Stage finally saying hello to myself again, not the person I was for everyone else, but the true self and the person I wanted to be. In some ways this was hard. I didn’t like all the parts I saw, but I realized I was ready to look.

Photo by Mario Miotti

You don’t need anything more than what you can fit in your pockets

The week before heading out to Bradley, California (the location for Lighting in a Bottle), I had moved across Los Angeles. This move had made me realize how ridiculously materialistic I was. I soooooo relied on all of my things. Letting them go released me to see how little I needed in order to be truly happy. All I had with me at any given time was: my water bottle, light-gloves (I mean, I AM at a music festival and it was cold at night), $20 in case I got hungry, and a lighter- which is the best way to make a new friend because someone ALWAYS needs one (plus then they might smoke you up); oh yeah and a little green to share. Living this way was extremely liberating: it allowed me to ‘notice’ people. It was partially through this realization- of how much I loved observing and experiencing people, that I grew into the writer I am today.

Maintain an adventurous spirit

The festivals I had been to before were massive: Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival, and Hard Summer. I had never been to something like Lighting in a Bottle before. At music festivals I was always obsessed with keeping track of the time, ensuring I made it to my favorite sets: I was constantly checking my phone. It wasn’t until last year at LIB that I realized how much this was hurting my experience of the music. I would get pulled into my phone and text people to meet up. I was blind to all that was going on around me in real time.

Photo by Mario Miotti

On the first day at LIB, my best friend and I went off together and climbed up to the meditation lookout to watch the sunset over the dried up lake. Others were already perched atop this small cliff and some came up to join us as we sat there. It was quiet. No one was on their phone. Murmured conversations hushed as the sun dipped below the western mountains. The last tendrils of golden light reached upwards and a young man behind me began howling at the moon as it rose in the other direction. We immediately all began to howl together: a pack of wolves present to nature, to each other, to this moment. I will never forget how alive I felt; and I will always carry that with me, that sense of presence and adventure.

Music knows no judgement and is the most connective tool

The times I felt most connected at LIB, both with myself and my friends (old and new), was, of course, when experiencing the music. Without my phone, I was hyper aware of exactly where I was: screens are addictive and distracting.  I may not have remembered every track played, but I remember the feeling of those moments much more intensely. I think we lose that connection when we are snapping pictures to share with our friends.

This is why I am so excited to see Lane 8 perform this year under the lighting sky. His new tour concept “This Never Happened” is about exactly this: the release of our constant virtual interconnection, into a connection with the present moment. As he tours he asks fans to dispense of their devices. “Somewhere along the way, we as a society have lost the ability to experience those special moments. On the rare occasion that they do happen, we scramble to grab our phones in time to capture them – but those moments cannot be truly captured – and they don’t need to be broadcasted or recorded. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is fully appreciate what is happening in that room, at that moment, with those people around us.” – Daniel Goldstein (Lane 8).

See also: Mix #204 By Lane 8

He is asking one of the oldest philosophical questions- in a new way. Instead of,  ‘If a tree falls in the woods, does anyone hear it?’ He forces us to question, ‘If I don’t post this to social media, does that mean it didn’t happen?’ Our lives have become tied to these ‘likes’ of approval, this constant validation. If we don’t post something does that make it any less real? You don’t need a video when the melody of the moment is etched on your heart. This may sound cheesy as hell, but we all know its true. I have heard so many people, including myself, wish we had the same scene that underground ravers had in the 90s. Back then it was about deeply connecting through the music and making new friends, maybe trading phone numbers on scraps of paper to call someone on their landline to meet up for the next party. Now we’re all flakes. We can text 10 minutes before a meet up to cancel. Lane 8 is asking us to remember this phone-less feeling, that intimacy. His newly released “Fingerprint” captures this: as the song slowly builds you rise to meet the melody. I cannot wait to be 100% present to his music this year at LIB.

This sense of weightlessness can extend beyond the festival grounds

My experience at Lightning last year changed the way I wanted to behave in the world. Sitting beside the pagoda one night in an Adirondack chair, gazing at the stars and watching people climb into teapots, I contemplated connection. I watched others wander off from groups and stages to take a moment alone with this spectacular view. I had the feeling Louis CK described, that immense sadness. It came from nowhere and I wept. As I wept I released all this tension I had been holding onto. Suddenly, joy began to creep in. I may be alone, but I was undeniably myself. I stood up feeling this sense of empowerment in my discovery. I could be alone completely, and that was totally okay, in fact it was necessary.

Photo by Mario Miotti

I went off to end the night to some bass at the Thunder stage and made a decision. I was going to continue this healthy habit of letting go of my phone. No, I am not crazy. I still have a cell phone, they have become a part of our world and we cannot ignore them. We can, however, choose not to let our addiction to them control us. Last weekend at Further Future, Eric Schmidt, head of Alphabet Inc, spoke on the problem with distractions and he described phones as the new cigarettes: like cigarettes, phones are an object we can hold in our hands which make us look “cool” to a crowd. It’s become a cultural habit to senselessly scroll through our feeds whenever we are in line or at a red light or just bored. He explained to us that to deal with his addiction he turns off his phone every evening while he enjoys his dinner with friends or family.

That is exactly what I have expanded into doing since Lightning last year. I begin every day with my phone off. I set an alarm for two hours and after that I turn it on. For me, this helps me begin my day without distractions and allows me to remember what is truly important: the present. I challenge you to dispense of your phones this festival season, whether you will be joining me at LIB or any festival around the world. These events are so much more than just a chance to escape your job and get away for the weekend and party. Allow yourself to grow through the experience in new ways. Then later, share how awesome it was; but give yourself the opportunity to be fully present at that time. My guess is that you will find a way to connect even deeper, both in reality and through technology, once you make the space to self-reflect.

Carolyne DeBlois @carolyne_deblois

Her article, titled ‘Lighting in a Bottle: 5 things I Learned Last Year’, was originally published in Deep House Amsterdam.

BIO- Carolyne DeBlois is an actress and writer currently living, writing, and dancing in Los Angeles, CA. For more of her writing please follow her on Instagram @carolyne_deblois

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Valen Lambert

Working for Fun

Photo by Jess Bernstein

Indentured servitude is a lot more exciting than it sounds. Nearly every festival provides the opportunity to work on different volunteer teams in exchange for a ticket, food, and showers. This provides a perfect platform to travel, make friends, create new experiences,and to get a behind-the-scenes understanding of the work that goes into creating a festival.

            Volunteers are the reason you get to have so much fun at festivals. Without green team,traffic control, box office, greeters, hospitality, build, and tear down crews, events wouldn’t be as organized as you see them today. Being on a volunteer team is like being in a family of like-minded people with the same passions and interests. Some are traveling nomads who use the work-exchange as an opportunity to travel, eat, and have a place to stay, others are just looking for a free ticket. No matter the reason, volunteering brings diverse populations of people together under the common interest of community, love,and not spending money on expensive festival tickets.

            One volunteer team in particular has a huge role in festival management. The dirty but passionate work of the Green Team is one of the main reasons festivals can comeback to the same location next year for more good times. In a world where waste is often ignored and overlooked, green-teamers, also known as trash pirates, are there to make sure festivals leave absolutely no trace on the land.

When I first started volunteering on the Green Team, I had no idea about the family I was about to be apart of. All the members have a close bond over waste-reduction and sustainability.These people are serious about their trash. We get down and dirty, plundering through people’s waste, finding ground scores and other trashy treasures. We sort through trash for recyclables and compost to make sure the festival leaves the smallest trace possible. We use our passion of sustainability to educate and excite festival goers on what they can do to reduce their waste and eco-footprint. It can be a tough job when you’re dealing with the waste of 20,000+ attendees, and even more frustrating when they didn’t follow the guidelines of the pack-it-in pack-it-out event they’ve just attended, so there are mountains of trash bags next to the campground porta-potties stacked in front of signs that say “Take Camp Trash Home”.

Our passion for the environment fuels us through the frustrating, labor-intensive, and grimy work that we do. Somebody has to do it! Once you catch the green team bug, there is no going back. Your work starts branching outside of the festival. You will never resist the urge to pick up every piece of trash you see ever again. You’ll start bringing your own utensils, food containers, and cups out to eat to reduce your waste. You’ll always have reusable bags for grocery shopping. You’ll start yelling at all your friends for not doing all this either. We are trying hard to spread the bug because the world needs more trash pirates. The world is ready for change and we are the catalyst.

Next time you plan on attending a festival, look into volunteering. The abundance of friends you’ll make, money you’ll save, and unique experiences you’ll have is worth the work. If you’re not interested in missing any sets during the weekend, pre and post event shifts are available as well. Either way, you are helping make beautiful things happen.

Valen Lambert @chagurl

BIO- Trash pirate and boogie bunny; I’ll see you on the d-floor my friends 

Cheyenne Puil 

Somewhere between Nudity and a Onesie

Illustration by Tiki Jay One

I

try to stand up but I cannot find my balance. My happy place has become a nightmare. The main stage at Bass Coast Festival this year is an explosion of huge wooden tentacles reaching into space, reminiscent of the Kraken. I was visited by the Kraken last night. Her name was Lucy. She dragged me, unwilling, into outer space. I saw all the atoms in the world as individual pricks of fire burning around me and within me, if that makes sense. It doesn’t. It did last night. Oh yes, Lucy, that cruel mistress. It was like absolute silence meets the first moans of an orgasm meets stumbling through the dark. Yeah, those. That’s what it feels like to be trapped within the spiral of Lucy’s tugging hand. If only I had known it was going to be so fucked up. I’m in a dance troupe, and our biggest performance of the year is tonight. But I can’t do it.

I’ve waited too long to break the news. I need to face reality, to the other members of my team. “I don’t think I can do it,” I start, “I just…fuck I don’t know…” I trail off, hoping for them to respond with magic, with some incredible idea that will alleviate my inner-chaos. They remain still, a complete obverse of my spinning world. No words, no movement. I have never felt more uncomfortable. Lucy’s lurching tentacles begin to creep in once more. I fear for my dear eyes as I feel them shriveling up, retracting backwards in sheer discomfort from the sight of this world. You gotta love flashbacks, eh? I need to sit down.

Finally, Tara pipes up, “Okay, don’t stress. It’s still early in the day. Take it easy, drink loads of water and remember the Mobile Sauna Society is beside our campsite.” I have no idea what she’s talking about but her confidence in me is inspiring.  

Usually, I’m the one leading the warm up, getting everyone psyched, blasting a myriad of drum and bass, Beats Antique and Beyonce. But today, I struggle to stand up. My onesie is suffocating me. I can’t bear to watch them warming up without me, so I make my way to the sauna. Cleanse me please.

I reach a bright red school bus with a wooden sauna in the rear, complete with lemongrass scented steam wafting out of the windows. It burns my nostrils, and I like it. I walk inside. Slowly, I peel off my velvet onesie. Without my second skin, I feel vulnerable. I open the door with trepidation. Heat envelops me, and I feel Lucy’s tentacles return, smothering. No. No! I refuse to be overtaken! Lucy is no longer with me, this sauna will heal me- what is happening, fuck!

I don’t know what comes first, the sweat or the tears. They mix, covering my body in a salty wetness. I breathe deeply and begin to let go. Sweating, crying, breathing, releasing. I’m not sure how long I stay like this. One hour, two? With each exhale, Lucy’s grip on me loosens. Finally, I step outside of the sauna, continuing to focus on my breath. The cold air slams into me, a refreshing release.

I repeat this routine all day: jump in the sauna, breathe, step outside, breathe. An entire day of self-care, healing, and reflection. I cannot remember ever having done that before. It feels really good. Where has this been my whole life? It is my fifth year performing at Bass Coast. My troupe has always camped in the same spot, and so has the mobile sauna, yet I’ve never noticed it before. Reminiscing about past festival seasons, I realize how busy I have always been. Performing has become more of an obsession than a passion. No time for self-care. No time to explore or to sit with myself. I have been pushing myself too hard, always going-going-going and now I can’t enjoy dancing, the thing I love most.

My body has given up on me and I simply break down.

Illustration by Tiki Jay One

In the midst of my sobbing, a man opens the door, and a rush of cold air sweeps in disrupting the thick stale air. Before he notices me, he changes his mind, closing the door and leaves me in peace. The cold air settles into the sauna, cooling the space, calming me. 

And then I realize, in a moment of clarity. It’s all about balance. Days off are okay. Self-care is crucial. Reflection is important. Healing is necessary. I am glowing, and it’s not because of the heat. I am amazed with my luck at having the sauna to myself for hours, and smile for the first time today. I zip up my onesie half-way – a little covered, a little naked. I feel strong, yet completely relaxed, a feeling I realize I have been yearning for years. I have faced reality, and I am ready to connect with my team.

I make my way to the stage and am greeted by the Kraken once more, the wooden tentacles seek me out but not as an enemy. Now she can’t get to me. I take hold of her tentacles and hoist myself onto the stage, with her, a part of her. Together we rise high above the crowd and I unleash her strength, her unyielding grip in my performance, in dance.

Cheyenne Puil   @festivalbeings_

BIO- ‘Imagine galloping on a horse, wild as can be. Endless possibilities on the horizon. That exhilarating feeling is known by Tibetan Buddhists as Windhorse and that is the feeling Cheyenne craves. When performing, travelling and experiencing music festivals, Cheyenne embodies Windhorse. At the moment she can be found in the northern most tip of South America; about to embark on a desert journey. If she survives she’ll be returning to Canada for festival season where she’ll be interviewing the quirky individuals found in @festivalbeings_’

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5 TIPS FOR SHOPPING ETHICALLY THIS FESTIVAL SEASON

Excerpt from Haulternatives by Fashion Revolution

Despite its huge role in our everyday lives, the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world. And yet that fact is rarely talked about in the festival community and default world alike.Opening up this conversation is essential if we are going to strive for eco-friendlier and ethical business practices within the fashion industry. At Lightning in a Bottle 2016, the High Love Vitality Elixir Lounge hosted a panel on ethical fashion where I learned some great tips on how to buy more responsibly.

“The only way to change something is to do it from the inside. Everything you consume is a vote,” said Jillian Black of Ritual, a brand dedicated to creating sustainable wearable art.

“The number one thing is awareness. Think about how many people read the ingredients on their food now, but most people don’t think about their clothing at all,” said Cassidy, also of Ritual.

These following brands are just a few examples of companies making a conscious effort to create and source ethical fabrics and materials, while giving back to their communities along the way.

Here are a few ways you can purchase amazing festie (and regular) clothing and accessories that reduce harm to our beautiful planet.

1. Inspect Your Fabric

Be conscious of what fabrics are used to make your garments and be mindful of where they are made. There are now a multitude of brands using P.E.T. fabric made from recycled plastic bottles. The process of making this fabric also uses 90% less water than the creation of polyester fabric. Teeki and  Wolven Threads are just a few of the festival brands utilizing this technology.

“Sustainability has always been our foremost core value. Wolven Threads began as a line of organic cotton, hand-stitched clothing. When we started creating active wear and swimwear, we chose P.E.T. fabric to help keep plastic out of landfills. Beautiful clothing should not be created at the expense of our ecosystem,” said Will Ryan, Designer at Wolven Threads.

The bridge between technology and fashion is an important one. Teeki recently discovered that broken fishing nets can be re-purposed to create new nylon fabric. Lenzing Modal fabrics, made from beach wood tree pulp, save energy by sourcing the raw material and creating the textile fibers at the same site.

Heather from Teeki mentioned that consumers can also look for a Blue Sign certification certification on fabrics to know they are made ethically. Blue Sign’s goal is to link chemical suppliers, textile manufacturers, and brands together to foster a healthy, responsible, and profitable textile industry.

Excerpt from Haulternatives by Fashion Revolution

2. Buy Items Made from Recycled Fabric

Another great way to reduce waste is to purchase and create garments from fabric that already exists. Sahara Rose, founder of Eat Feel Fresh, was inspired to create Saraswati Couture during her travels in India. She came across a young girl who had never gone to school but spoke perfect English, despite being unable to read or write. She spent the day talking to her and her mother, about the danger they are in and how often young girls are kidnapped and sold into prostitution.

She bought some pants this young girl was selling on the beach, took a picture with her and left. The rest of the year, Sahara could not stop thinking about the young girl, her story and her beautiful smile. She felt she had to help this girl somehow, and the many others just like her. She decided to return to India and do whatever it took to find her again.

After showing her picture to hundreds of people, she found the young girl and asked her to take her to her village to see where the pants were made. Turns out, the village was buying unused high-end sari material to create these elegant pants. In that moment, Sahara knew she had to help spread this story, and Saraswati Couture was born.

Noralina Freedom, based in San Francisco, also uses recycled silk saris or surplus fabric to create all of their designs.

Catherine Andersen, designer of Cata’l (formerly Catoure) has created wearable art in the festival scene for years. Inspired by her own roots (part Viking and part Middle Eastern), her love for indigenous and ancestral arts, early 90s hip-hop, and the rave scene, which allowed “the break through of my inner freak at a young age,” her creations are truly one of a kind.

Impressed by the caliber of quality she found in vintage wares and methods that have been lost over time to the hands of mass production and industry-wide cost-cutting, she began selling dead-stock vintage. After attending Burning Man in the late 2000s, she began incorporating indigenous textiles and other components into her re-purposed garments.

 “As much as I respect newly made clothing, I have also seen the effects of globalization and mass production. There’s a documentary, The True Cost, that exhibits this most effectively. Clearly, we have enough “stuff” in the world so recycling and reconstructing vintage has been huge in my art,” said Cat.

Cat was inspired to create drop-crotch pants out of vintage sweaters after jokingly trying on the sweaters upside down with a girlfriend one night. Using old sweaters from the likes of Coogi and Pendleton, these old-man leftovers became dope one-of-a-kind wearable art.

 “I have been modifying the design as well as slowly making time to work my way into crocheting them in their entirety, drop crotch, butt flap, kangaroo pocket onesies, and all things great,” exclaimed Cat (email Catourecollections@gmail.com for custom orders).

3. Look for Ethically Sourced Fur and Leather

If you are going to wear leather or fur, make sure it is being sourced ethically.

Every piece from Ritual  uses natural goat leather that is the byproduct of the meat industry in Indonesia.Every piece of the animal is used. Ritual also has an incredible waste exchange program where they will buy back your jacket (if you ever want to give it up) and give you store credit in return.

Ethical fur is also making waves in the mainstream due to Petite Mort Fur, a company that solely sources its fur from roadkill to make bespoke creations.

You can also always hit up your local thrift store to score vintage furs at deeply discounted prices.

4. Support Brands That Give Back

Companies that support causes in relation to their ethos and vision can really make a difference in the world. For example, it’s hard to go to a festival without spotting a Third Eye Pinecones booth and hundreds of participants sporting their wares. Along with this company’s beautiful designs, its energy and passion for the community runs deep.

Founder Carl Weiseth found a pinecone on a mountain top in Big Sur. That pinecone lived on his windowsill for over a year before he finally cut it open, and discovered the elaborate sacred geometry hidden inside. “The more I learned about the symbolism of pinecones throughout history [and] around the world, the more important it felt to share this offering with the conscious community,” said Carl.

For every pinecone pendant sold, a tree is planted. The company has an ongoing partnership with American Foreststhe oldest tree-planting nonprofit conservation organization in the country. Since 1990, American Forests has planted more than 45 million trees! The nonprofit restores watersheds to help provide clean drinking water, and replants forests destroyed by human action and by natural disasters.

“These guys are highly-rated by all the non-profit watchdog organizations, which makes us feel great about giving to them and confident that each dollar we contribute goes directly to planting a new tree, rather than a bunch of bureaucratic overhead,like some of the other nonprofits we looked into when we were first starting this business,” said Megan, festival leader at Third Eye Pinecones.

Wolven Threads also donates 5% of each sale to UpRising Yoga, an organization that strives to bring yoga teachings to incarcerated youth and underserved communities, as well as young women who have been victims of human sex trafficking and domestic violence.

“The beauty of yoga is that you don’t need anything other than yourself, your mind, and your body to practice. Regardless of whatever painful circumstances life may present, yoga is a tool that will always be there to help you feel at home within yourself,” said Kiran Mukunda, founder and designer at Wolven Threads.

10% of proceeds for each pair of pants from Saraswati Couture go towards helping victims of sex trafficking, sexual abuse and rape in India.

5. Shine Responsibly!

In the last couple months, the use of glitter and face decoration has skyrocketed at festivals. Beautiful as it is, it’s unfortunately a massive problem for our environment, similar to microbeads. Glitter is polyester coated in aluminum with added pigments. Millions of pounds are sold annually and because it’s so fine, there is no way to responsibly dispose of the glitter – until now.

After witnessing the power of glitter brighten people from the inside out, Saba Gray has been on a mission to create biodegradable glitter that doesn’t harm the environment. Three years later, BioGlitz was born.

 “Glitter is all inclusive, it brings people together. Passing the shine on is a beautiful thing. When you catch eyes with a stranger across the dance floor and you’re both wearing Glitz, you’re not strangers at all. You share something without having spoken a word,” said Saba.

Cosmetic BioGlitz is a glitter produced from a special biodegradable film that is certified compostable. The biodegradable element of the glitter is derived from sustainable sources, does not contain materials that are genetically modified, or materials obtained from genetically modified organisms. The trees used to create the biodegradable film are all sourced from The Forest Stewardship Council –certified suppliers.

 “Even if you may not be an outwardly[eclectically dressed] person, you can appreciate some glitz. It could inspire you to dance a little harder, shine a little brighter, become more participatory and less observatory,” said Saba.

Find BioGlitz at Gratitude Migration Beach Festival  in New York offering glitzy demonstrations, a panel on sustainable cosmetics, and BioGlitz products. You can also find the Glitz team at Symbiosis Gathering in “The Movable Boutique” – an Airstream trailer boutique focused on handmade artisan goods, jewelry, amazing one-of-a-kind sequined jackets, and artifacts made by women makers from around the world.

With these tips,dressing ethically this festival season and beyond is a snap.

Article written Tessla Venus Goodwin @glitterspies

Originally published June 8, 2016 on Fest300 

Tessla is Fest300’s Senior Fashion Correspondent, see Fest300 link for more of her writings

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Amy Rose LaPrairie

What’s all this Spirituality stuff about, and can I do it too …?

Photo by Mario Miotti- Envision 2016

An open letter to the straight-laced person who is on the verge of becoming a free-loving, hippie convert … 

You may have noticed a slight change in fashion lately. You may have noticed people wearing crystal necklaces and feather earrings – which you have a feeling they, of course, made themselves or supported a local artist at a grassroots craft fair.  And what’s with the colorful, paisley patterned lounge clothes with tassels and so many guys with long hair and full facial hair? … And gee, those farmer’s markets are starting to look like a lot of fun… And wait, is that a drum circle, too?  And why do they always carry a metal water bottle around with them as if it were a token of membership to their secret club?  Part of you wants to judge them, but another part of you is incredibly INTRIGUED.  Everyone just looks so vibrant, happy and healthy.   Yeah, you’re right, something’s definitely up.  You might even feel a slight change in the air… not quite perceptible.  You just can’t quite put your finger on it…

Well, get used to it.

The hippie trend is back in full force and this time, it’ll go full circle. Like the LOVE movement that started in the 60’s & 70’s, this one has all the same components…. Psychedelic drug use, open expression of love,expressive dancing, long hair, nudity, trippy music, and pssst…. even the 70’s bush is coming back (hallelujah ladies! Sorry Fuzz Wax Bar with your 5 locations, it’s okay, it’ll be a neatly manicured one, so you’ll still remain in business) Though all these similarities exist, this time around, the movement seems more intentional.

This crowd is intelligent, talented and well-informed. They work hard and party smart. Progressive ideas spread like wildfire between them.

This crowd likes to keep it light on the booze … Maybe a little high-end, Reposado tequila, but that’s about it.  After all, too much alcohol dehydrates you and doesn’t help with those challenging yoga poses. It also“lowers your vibration” and “deadens your spirit” as the hippies say. They prefer green juices and well-thought-out virgin drinks when they go out … And they’ll pay a pretty penny for them too, THAT IS, if the bar owners can catch on to this quick enough before they go under, wondering why no one’s ordering$8 vodka sodas anymore. “Too acidic” their conscious consumers will say, and order a $2 bottle of water.  Pay attention fat cats, it’s key to stay on top of the trends here.

Start offering apple cider vinegar, wheat grass and cacao shots, Chagatea, Kombucha on tap, or shots of sour cherry juice which you can buy at ANY health food store and it relieves joint pain naturally and tastes like heaven! (You should just go buy a bottle and see).

Your new hippie haven bar should look like a hybrid between a cozy tea house and night club with colorful, low-light lanterns, comfortable lounging nooks with fun, patterned pillows and psychedelic tapestries. Time to get rid of those sharp, stylish coffee tables and replace them with shabby chic re-purposed, mismatched tables. Basically, you want to encourage a space where they can rest, converse between dancing and maybe have a few bottle-service, I mean blender-service superfood shots.

This crowd prefers to dance hard and not smoke cigarettes. Instead, they bring fresh-cut veggies with them everywhere – cause they’re so damn refreshing after a full day at a festival.

Just look around at ANY vegetarian restaurant … They are‘out-of-their-mind’ busy. Getting a table in there is similar to trying to get likes on Instagram for a duck face pic… It’s just not happening (Full toothy smiles are better, k babes?).

They want good, healthy food choices with lots of greens and vegetables.  Even if they’re not full-blown vegetarians or vegans. They might identify with the trendy term “Reduce-tarian” whereby they eat meat once or twice a week depending on what their body needs.  They are well aware of the environmental impact of factory meat production and they’ve seen those heartbreaking images too… but it’s moved them to change.

These new-agers are even getting serious about supplementing. You’ll hear the phrase, “you know, we’re all deficient in magnesium” echoed among them in excited conversation about what new self-optimization techniques they’ve heard about on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.   After all, if you’re going to survive partying for a week in the desert at Burning Man, you’re going to have to take care of your body… the vessel that allows us to have all this fun.

These non-conformists are also finding great healing and self-awareness from psychedelic drug use. Just make sure not to call them ‘drugs’ around them.   The preferred term is ‘plant medicines’… but they’ll be happy to gently correct you with a smile if you do.  Where pharmaceuticals are failing, psychedelics or plant medicines are swooping in to pick up the slack.  The modern hippies advocate that the introspection that these experiences allow for, has helped them quit tough addictions like smoking, shopping, junk food, excessive drinking and more. They’ve even helped them get over anxiety and depression and release FEAR to live life in a more meaningful way.

Caveat: This crowd, however, knows when to pull the reins in, unlike some of the greats who went a little too far with psychedelics like Jim Morrison or Janis Joplin (RIP).  This new generation is adept at using the knowledge gained from travelling into the realms of the unknown, and applying it in their lives to become the best versions of themselves.  There is so much promising research being done in this field, I believe it’s only a matter of time before these medicines are offered to the masses in a controlled, therapeutic and safe setting with professional therapists.  It is an exciting time to be alive to witness such great healing taking place.

This new generation knows when it’s time to PLAY, time to WORK, time to VOLUNTEER,time to LOVE and time to be a badass ACTIVIST for a worthy cause.

I like to think this is the best trend that could ever happen. It’s cool to be sober, it’s cool to be CONSCIOUS. It’s cool to have meaningful, un-slurred conversation.  It’s cool to be a change-maker.  It’s cool to be yourself.   It’s cool to call it love-making instead off**king. It’s cool to be a bright, positive, contributing part of the Shift that is taking place.

The young ones will catch on fast. They’ll start wearing the crystals,the feather earrings and show up to the conscious parties… not quite understanding everything just yet.  In the beginning, they’ll front… But THEN one day, after a few good book recommendations from the older ones, they’ll get it and learn how wonderful it is to be free.

So, do you have to quit your corporate job, change your name to Rainbow Bear and go dance naked in the forest to reap the benefits of spirituality?  No, definitely not.  You can be a modern hippie and start exploring some of their practices right now while still maintaining your modern life.   Meditation and yoga is a great place to start.  I know what you’re thinking, “I don’t have time to meditate”.  But hang on, before you dismiss this completely because “it doesn’t seem like an effective use of my time”, I invite you to think about it a different way.

Meditation is one of the only activities that actually REFUNDS YOU BACK the time spent doing it in the form of added years onto your life.  We all have a chronological and a biological age. Your chronological age advances once every 12 months and your biological age speeds up or slows down depending on how much stress you have in the body. So using meditation to relieve stress and quiet the mind, keeps you young.  Starting to make sense now, isn’t it?

Another idea would be trying a float session in a sensory deprivation tank instead of watching TV after work to unwind.  There are float studios popping up everywhere nowadays.  Speaking of TV, ponder this…. A desire to watch excessive TV is a signal that you want to avoid feeling your feelings.  It’s like numbing pain. Even something as simple as unplugging and going out for a walk into nature can be highly effective.  It’s also very beneficial to practice gratitude, patience, generosity, and forgiveness whenever possible.  These practices get you in touch with what you truly want, what your body wants and the kind of person you truly want to be.

Meditation or ‘going within’ is like exploring every little dusty corner of your mind and your heart.  It’s like clearing away the cobwebs and turning over empty boxes to see what’s underneath: Is it fear? Is it anger? Is it sadness?  Is it resentment? Is that resentment festering and causing the foundation to mold?  Better address that before the whole house caves in.

This path is definitely not easy… it IS work.  But the work is rewarding.  When you know yourself, and I mean REALLY know yourself, your life becomes the opposite of lackluster.  You’ll find yourself surrounded by friends who are incredibly inspiring and the right opportunities and things will arrive on your doorstep simply because you are constancy aligning your thoughts and actions with your truth.

You’ll also have to become proficient at self-education.  We are blessed to live in an age and country where knowledge is available on the internet and for the most part, is not censored.  So throw out your TV(responsibly) and get out there on the web and start digging. Reset.me is a well-spring of information and it’s exactly where I started 2 years ago.

One final point I’d like you to ponder, is this.  Consider that each and every single thing in our lives can be categorized and compartmentalized into one of the 7 boxes below.  Family, partner, work, hobbies, health, self, and leisure.

If you don’t have a Spirituality box/path, how do you deal with the inevitable existential questions that crop up?   Like ‘why are we here’,or, ‘what does it all mean’ and ‘what is my purpose’?  Adding the ‘Spirituality’box/path can have profound effects on your life.  It can bring balance by acknowledging that we don’t know everything about our existence and that it’s perfectly okay.  It also helps address the question… “Was I really born to work, pay bills and die?”.  Heck no you weren’t.

So why do I think spirituality and the hippie movement is not only around to stay, but about to gain momentum?  Because deep down, we all want to feel free. We are yearning to express ourselves.  We are yearning to be exactly who we ARE and be accepted for it.  I consider myself a modern hippie and am proud to call myself one. I like thinking about the magic of the world and the meaning of life. I feel as though it makes our present world a little easier to live in… and if that means ‘hippie’, then so be it… it’s just a label.  It doesn’t mean, however, that I am apathetic.  I feel deeply for what’s going on in our world and am working to become a contributing member of society by sharing ideas about how we can heal and improve ourselves,by becoming a conscious consumer and by getting involved in worthwhile causes.  Everything we do and say, no matter how small, has a ripple effect and one idea and change millions of lives.

If we have a chance at getting our sh*t together as individuals… Then maybe we have a chance at saving ourselves and the planet.  As many great shave said, change starts with you as an INDIVIDUAL.  Then and only then,can it reverberate out to the rest of the world.

Subscribe to my blog ‘Back to The Ground’ for more content, tips and ideas about how to integrate a spiritual path in your life.  Easy on the ‘woo-woo’ guaranteed.

So get onboard, because…

I believe in the good things coming,

BIO- Amy Rose LaPrairie is a world traveler, yacht-y, scuba diver, musician, flow arts performer, avid festival goer, writer, philosopher and spiritual warrior.  Her self-proclaimed biggest accomplishment thus far, has been crossing the Atlantic ocean with a crew of ten on a 150 foot boat. Favorite mantras include, ‘Everything is in perfect alignment’ & “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for”. Hailing from the quaint lake town of Port Dover, Ontario, Amy is presently living and writing in the thriving, multi-cultural city of Toronto, Canada.  

Check out Amy’s blog, Back to the Ground for tips and content about how to integrate a spiritual path into your life…. And about her personal journey back to love spirit and purpose @amylaaaaaaa 

Here are some helpful links to get you started:

http://reset.me

http://www.collective-evolution.com

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