Initiating the Shift. Symbiosis Gathering '16.

Well, I'm back from the most incredible and transformative week I've had in a long time. 

Curious as to how this story will reveal itself. 

I guess, I'll begin at the beginning!

Curtis and I planned to go to Symbiosis Gathering 2016 after having an incredible experience last year. This festival is full of yoga immersions, health workshops, speakers, and panels. Families have been on the rise at these wellness festivals, so many can have incredibly healing experiences, it provides a great platform to gather, connect, and celebrate individuality. 

I'd been secretly apprehensive and full of internal judgement about going to this festival for a few months. I felt a bit of reluctance, because the dates of the festival would keep me from being able to attend Annie Carpenter's Viveka 300 hr yoga teacher training. I also had this feeling that my yoga practice had been feeling a bit stifled and I didn't want to go to this festival to party and be surrounded by people doing drugs and losing themselves, when I really felt that I needed healing. There were plenty of yoga and healthful workshops, but while I yearned to commit myself to that type of experience, I knew my companion, Curtis, would want a less chill vibe. And I'd rather be with him, in stifling agony, than at these healing classes, alone.

What I was doing was creating fear and resistance and an entire story of how the festival would be. It's something a lot of us do, especially rapid thinkers or anxiety ridden peeps. 

We had a friend coming to the festival with us, Skhye, who I didn't know very well, and was also a little anxious about that. We'd connected a bit on social media, but kept missing each others calls and I didn't want the gesture for connection to seem too strained. 

Curtis, Skhye and I drove to Oakdale, CA, shared in some great talks, set up camp, and had a great first night. This was the day before the festival started. On night 1 of the festival we went to one of the tents that was playing a house set and I danced a bit. I started having a very internal experience, becoming incredibly aware of my body and feelings. Usually, I stifle this, and go with what everyone else wants, not wanting to disrupt the night and ruin anyone's experience. I went to sit with Skhye, who wasn't vibing with the music very much and after about 20 minutes, asked Curtis whether we could go roam around and check out the rest of the venue. He was happy to oblige. We walked around the various art installations for a while and enjoyed the area. I finally decided that I wanted to head back to camp, and felt like a total grandma about it. 

It was definitely strange and VERY unlike me to follow my intuition on this. I told the group I'd see them back and camp and to have a great night, my fiance was a little leery at my walking back to camp alone, it was about a 45 minute, mile long walk. And I NEVER separate from him and go places alone. But I couldn't have been happier with everything that followed. 

About a minute after leaving the group I started panicking. This festival had about 25,000 people in attendance, it was late at night, and my mind started filling with worry, fear, and doubt. In an instant, I was thinking about how I was likely to get lost, never find camp, get kidnapped, mugged, carried away, and my internal world started caving in. A million terrible scenarios began playing in full focus in my head, my heart rate sped, and my breath became short.

For those of you who have never dealt with anxiety, this is what it's like to begin experiencing an anxiety attack; it has the ability to effect my vision and make me feel completely delirious, and beside myself. 

In the next moment (literally, this all happens over a course of seconds), I realized what was happening and refused to ruin my night like this. When you paint yourself an ugly reality, that becomes all that can happen. I took a deep breath and told myself 'You're an intelligent, strong woman. You're NOT going to get lost, you HAVE a map, and you can always ask for some help with directions along the way, if need be.'. And that became my mantra, as I began the journey back home to camp. 

It was one of the greatest moments when I took the turn onto the little makeshift avenue separating the water from our camp. I walked up the little hill, into the cozy sitting area we'd created, and whispered to myself 'I made it back to camp BY MYSELF!'. By then, I was so tickled, my nightly routine was a total joy. I changed for bed, cleaned my face, applied my delicious frankincense infused night cream, and tucked myself into a sleeping  bag, under the stars, and began recalling the night. 

Skhye wandered back to camp after a little while, and asked how my night had been. I shared the revelatory experience, and she told me she'd had a fantastic night as well. We got into talking a lot about the chakra system, and she called to attention that what I was describing about myself (about the irrational fears, and anxieties I've always had) may be an imbalance in my root chakra. 

I think it may be easier to share this video that I recorded describing our conversation that night.