Uvita, Costa Rica
The human experience…
In a world blended with old and new world technologies, are we satisfied with what we know about human awareness? Who writes our human experience? Do you hold the pen that scribes your unique story?
Last September, at the Oregon Eclipse Festival 2017, where over 30,000 people attended, I experience a beautiful moment with a girl whom I never ended up meeting, and who’s name I never asked. She caught my attention by standing 6 feet behind me until I felt her presence and turned around. Our eyes met, she stepped back and began a beautiful dance with her hula-hoop. That exchange was a deep and meaningful connection that by my mistake only, did not then blossom into an amazing friendship on the spot.
Since that time, I have thought about that moment over and over. What had held me back from saying hello? And did it even matter. Perhaps the fact I remember the moment as I did, was exactly the way it was meant to be. Serving to show me that even in hesitation, something that special should never be undervalued in memory. And so that is how I chose to believe the outcome.
5 months later, deep in the tropical jungle of southwestern Costa Rica, on the first day of Envision 2018, I saw the very same girl. This time, there was no hesitation. Her name is Mac Kenzie. And she is one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met; and a supremely talented hula-hoop flow artist.
So it left me wondering… as this was such a personal experience, surely it was just an example of experiences many have had over and over again when attending transformational festivals around the world. Sparked Magazine defines transformational festivals as ones having a programming that encapsulates more than just music and celebration of life, but that also dive into knowledge of health, preventative medicine and an encouragement towards tuning your body and mind towards the earth’s ‘a priori’ vibrations in the search of balanced emotion, wellness, and peace of mind. And do we not seek the same thing? Moving away from pain and towards pleasure to find in ourselves the love we can share with those for whom we care?
Our migration to the tropical jungle where Envision Festival 2018 took place was our third visit in as many years. There is something special about the number 3. It’s a lucky number for some, a tiebreaker for others, and in numerology, as the third of all numbers, 3’s symbolism is the exuberance of life; the spiritual being having a human experience. Attributions aside, we knew from the first time we arrived years ago to this event that there was something truly special happening here. Our 3rd Envision has simply helped cement it as one of the best festivals we’ve ever covered and truly one of the most visually and intrinsically beautiful phenomenon’s in the world.
Festivals are generally not easy to attend in terms of comfort, and Envision challenges even the most experienced of festival veterans. The heat, the distance, the remote location, it all makes it a challenge. But with good preparation, proper packing and an unwavering positive attitude, this festival is exactly the kind of adventure that will change your life. When you go through all that you will have gone through to make it to the entrance of Rancho La Merced, you will feel like you truly earned it. And I believe that dynamic can be felt in the community that comes together over the weekend. The memories we create feel like they were possible because those who came ‘chose’ to come.
You do not ‘stumble’ onto Envision, you ‘arrive’ at it. Read more about our magazine’s overall opinion of Envision here: WHY ENVISION IS ONE OF THE BEST FESTIVALS IN THE WORLD.
If the festival in 2018 could have possibly been any more beautiful, it was. The Village Witches environment, with the combination of the workshop area, the Elixir Bar, and the Healing Sanctuary, all formed a wonderful new triangle of flow as you rounded the corner from the Info Booth area, just south of the Sol Stage, to enter the Envision Village from the top. At the center of the structural triangle was a gorgeous flower installation designed by Tanis LunaLove, which hung suspended over a bench area that populated the clearing. Walking out southward from this space brought you to the main grove that formed the Village: the Global Fashion Mercado extending down to the left and the food vendors extending to the right, where on the opposite end you could view the Village Stage, whose live-plant frame is still one of my most favorite designs to look at.
Also new this year was the Super Hero Academy: a stage at which speakers spoke on a range of useful, worldly topics, including a complete afternoon of crypto currency and block chain discussion. The underlining philosophy: to stimulate the super hero in us all, showing us that the knowledge that can turn our dreams and ideas into powerful world movements is at our fingertips. We are ALL super heros: on a quest to better ourselves and help those around us. The smash-hit stage was nestled just up from the yoga tents, inside an environment curated and furnished by Selina Hostels, which included the wonderful Mystical Tea Lounge, one of my most favorite places to spend down time.
The majority of the other festival architecture held the same space it did years before, majestically interwoven within the Playa Hermosa seaside jungle, creating a seamless integration of function and nature that truly felt like you had arrived at a world born out of imagination. If you’d felt pain, this was your pleasure. If you’d felt depression, this was your euphoria. Whatever trouble you felt you had, it become suspended, because your arrival began the writing of a new story, amongst people who were doing the very same, in a dedicated effort to present a context to a better way to live, a happier way to live, where self-love is encouraged and supported, and where your connections care as much about your welfare as they do their own.
Here, in the remoteness of the southwestern Costa Rican coastline, between Dominical and Uvita, we are changing the world by writing our story in a new way. Mac Kenzie taught me this, and I’m sharing it with you.
Hula-hoop flow artist MacKensie, for whom it was her first time this year at Envision, said she would not change anything about the world, she would instead change… “the story told of the world, because this world is perfect and when you fall in line with that belief then everything truly is perfect. And we are doing it, we are changing the story: tell yourself a different story, and that is what’s real. It’s so important that people are getting this exposure, and that Envision creates that space for them to experience themselves and others in a truly different way than the life they come from.”
She went on to say: “Envision has a spot for every person from any walk of life. Whatever you do, wherever you are: if you have a job, or a family; if you are a businessman or a performer, any type of human being has a place here. There are so many people waiting to connect, and waiting to connect with you and to share their message with you.” And when referring to the Envision core team and the alumni attendees… “They are so conscious here; they are taking initiatives to change their story, and it’s catching on. The music, the artists, the kind of energy that this place attracts is life changing and is ‘literally’ changing the world, so if you want to be a part of that amazing change, then come here.”
And THAT’S THE POINT! They are changing ‘their’ story, not yours. You come to join and write your own story, which is then shared with those you connect with. Together, with the individual chapters we create for ourselves, we become an interwoven tale of give-and-take that will exist in each other’s memories forever, constantly influencing and inspiring us every time we recollect what we lived through, learned, and experienced while at the festival. Walking away from your experience at Envision prepares you to shine through life like a super hero, full to the brim with energy, purpose and direction.
And perhaps the elements and comforts will affect your enjoyment at first, as it is certainly a difficult arena to live inside of for 5 days. So take baby steps and learn as you go, or go as hard as you want. The end result will be as instructive to you as you are ready to accept.
As an example, we overheard that there was a segment of the attendees of the festival who wished to preserve a certain degree of serenity for themselves in their experience of Envision. They wanted to rise early for yoga, and go to sleep early after their full days activities. To help them with their experience, the yogi campgrounds were orchestrated to be near the yoga temples, in the hope that that area of the festival was peaceful and quiet at the right times. This made a lot of sense, and we believe it worked well. However, that did not help them on the dance floors where there was liberal smoking of cigarettes by a segment of the attendees who had not yet attained a complete practice and true appreciation for their overall health. So therein lies the rub… we want people to come to festivals to change, but they are not going to come here changed people.
In our opinion: they came, and for us that is more important than how we feel about them smoking in our face. We would rather they keep coming and continue taking their baby steps towards the people they want to become, while hoping that the story they see us write for ourselves, and which the festival strives to write for itself, becomes such an attraction that they cannot help but assimilate it into their lives.
Watching people blossom, opening up to new ways of thinking, of being, writing a new story to describe how they perceive the world: this is the magic of what happens at Envision. Because in the end, this is what this is all truly about. A festival is a festival. We come to have fun, to dance, to live, to express. But what happens to us inside that festival is what matters the most. It can bring us joy, love, epiphany, self-discovery, or just simply a good time with friends. And it leaves us invigorated, like a good night of laughter would do, with the glow of happiness on our cheeks.
I believe these kinds of experiences change us. These kinds of settings, with people from all over the world, with intentions to be better, to do better, seeking to learn something that they can use to help themselves and their neighbors, they are what make our world stronger. We are the change we want to see, and every single one of us had a part in it at Envision 2018. Keep paying it forward to our future. Write the story from a place of wonder, and love and genuine optimism: like a child would.
If you believe that, you will find your trust rewarded. For me, this year’s Envision was particularly powerful for that reason. We hope yours was as well.
See you on the dance floor. Together we go far.
And finally, we want to send out a deep, heartfelt thank you to the core Envision executives, all the builders, fabricators, artists, organizers and volunteers who showed up early each an every day before we even all got there, to give their time and energy in creating what was a truly beautiful experience for us all. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Without you, we would only wonder what could be possible. With you, we wonder how we can help you make it even more amazing.