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Ubud, Bali March 29 - April 5, 2020

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My Experience at BaliSpirit Festival: About Love and Gratitude.

My journey started the first festival day, a harmonious Monday morning. I had banana bread for breakfast and the roads were relatively empty. Me going to BaliSpirit Festival was quite the last minute decision, I packed a little tote bag with my notebook, water bottle, and an open mind. I drove there, realizing I had been taking the marvelous nature surrounding this area of Bali for granted. I have been living here for eight months now and even though it has in fact never lost its charm, my eyes just stopped seeing it. That was one of many realizations I’ve had this week. It is easy to start taking things for granted simply because they become normal to you. The more time I spent at Bali Spirit Festival, the more I fell in love with it, myself, and humanity. I rediscovered gratitude for the simple, everyday things.

Creative Spaces & Vulnerability

Maybe that one Monday morning felt so harmonious because the rain had washed all our troubles away during the night. It did turn the festival’s peculiar jungle roads a little swampy, but no one seemed to really mind. Vibrant decorations and heaps of excitement had come out on top anyway. We were all just happy to be there.

According to my experience BaliSpirit Festival cares about and stimulates a community kind of vibe. But don’t be fooled, the development and discovery of the individual are also one of its core powers: taking long walks in your own mind through meditations, and comfortable spots created to harbor yourself afterward. Especially the dance and movement workshops left a lot of room to translate your own identity to your externals. And that can be scary. To some of us, creativity like this comes natural, others need a little bit of a push. It requires being vulnerable, and really opening up your soul. But as Brené Brown once said: Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.

Later that day I peeked in at Alfred Kendrick’s Fit Arts. His classes are the outcome of fusing Afro-Brazilian capoeira, acrobatics, yoga, and martial arts. At the end of the class, all participants and himself formed a circle. He encouraged every single individual to perform a little freestyle in the middle. A girl stepped forward and dropped into a perfect handstand without any hesitation. She moved around, laughing and flowing, every movement fitted to the music. I was impressed and asked myself the question if I would still dare to dance in that circle after her.

I had a talk with a professional dancer earlier that morning. I explained to her that I love to dance by myself but as soon as there are a lot of people around, I get less expressive and artistic. She told me she had struggled with that same problem, even when she was already dancing professionally. “Choreography’s are controllable, it’s all per-determined and you just have to follow instructions. They are nice to look at of course, but the moment you start being true to yourself and add your own personal touch to it, even the most simple choreography becomes magic” she explained to me.

Love Conquers

An older woman got pushed to the middle of the circle by her friend. They both laughed and all other participants started clapping and cheering. I was seated near the Spirit Bar, overlooking the Main Stage area, and even there I could feel the love that their little, newfangled community was giving off. Love as a tool of support. Love as a means to encourage each other to open up. The woman shrugged her shoulders and moved her body closer to the ground. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the energy that was sent to her and that was clearly giving her the confidence to shamelessly move her body to her own rhythm. It was absolutely fascinating. I realized the space between this woman and the flexible girl that danced before her, was used to get inspired rather than to get demotivated.

When positive energy is moved and put in the right place, everything can be created. BaliSpirit Festival is the poster image of this concept. Individuals from all over the world, coming together with nothing but kind intentions: to help themselves and to help others strive and prosper. This beam of love reflected everywhere, ranging from the empowering Afro-Brazilian Roots Rhythm dance to the Expressive Group Painting Workshop for the little ones. Everybody got challenged to tap into their limitless potential and to let their own souls speak. This is what makes BaliSpirit Festival truly unique. It shows us how vibrant the world can be if we all open up a little more. It teaches us how important it is to take your hands off the steering wheel from time to time. Creativity created vulnerability and vulnerability got supported by love.

My Experience About Simple Things

Back to gratitude. Just like how I reminded myself that first Monday morning of the everyday beauty that surrounded me, BaliSpirit Festival reminded me of the genuine beauty of humanity. It costs nothing to be a kind person. When we are being nice to one another we all feel more comfortable and connected, and eventually, we allow for creativity to flow more freely. That is why the only essential you will need to enjoy BaliSpirit Festival is a big-hearted dose of love. The good news is: you already have it in you, we all do.

By: Iris Louwerse
Recent Communications graduate from the Dutch countryside, following her dream to become a journalist. Constantly mesmerized by her infinite curiosity and passion about people. Lover of oceans, dramatic sunsets and all languages her ears can’t discern.

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