Friday, August 12, 2011

☺ Inspirational: My Shambhala Experience!☺

I have had a super busy weekend! Life in general has been pretty busy and fabulous. I blabbered my mouth off in my latest Video Blog but I thought I would share a bit in writing as well about my Shambhala experience for those who don't or can't watch the video blogging. 

Shambhala 2011... 

Let me take you on this magical adventure to the massive music event that becomes home to 10,000-20,000 people every August, running as early as Wednesday (if you want to pay extra for early entry) until Monday morning. Welcoming you as you enter the gates, after the long drive up a dirt road, is the heavy bass of talented DJs and Dubstep music drumming all day and night, resonating throughout your entire body and becoming the new rhythm to your heart.  This annual event takes you to a farmland encased by forest and alongside a river close to Salmo B.C. (about 40 minutes from Nelson where I live). But you wouldn't know you were on a farm by the mass amounts of tents set up in various themed camps, flags, VW campers, stages, vendor and food booths, and a ferris wheel spread out across the land. Only the piggies and cows before the gates give you any indication of a farm at all. 

The trees are decorated with lanterns, artwork, decorations of wondrous and vast kinds. A labyrinth within the forest winds between the five stages, each with it's own theme and unique and elaborate decorations and details. The entire place is like some fantasy land where people walk about dressed like woodland creatures, adorned in furry hoods, fairy wings, pixie clothing, and even crazy costumes like Mario Nintendo characters, the Flintstones, and Bert and Ernie. Anything goes. As the weekend goes on there are also more and more girls walking around forgetting their tops altogether. Freedom celebrated and embraced, and who can complain about boobies? 

This Shambhala was my first year, which may seem strange for a girl who grew up in Nelson where just about everyone makes their excursion to the event every summer. To most, Shambhala is an experience of freedom but also of experimentation... and by that I mean a whole lot of drugs. This is the reason I had never been. Call me lame, "boring" or whatever you'd like, I just never got into drugs. Perhaps it had something to do with certain experiences about my family. Or perhaps even because there was a point in my life where I was either going to go down a very negative road (where I would abuse drugs as a method of self-destruction) or else allow myself to climb back up with my knight in shining armor. I chose the latter and so perhaps I always viewed drugs of any kind as self-destructive. But hey, this is just my opinion, formed by my own experiences and circumstances. I know for most Shambhala is an opportunity to do all the drugs you want and not have to look over your shoulders. And everyone is just out to have a fun and have smiles on their faces and do some self- and life-discovery. It is liberating for most attending. For myself, it was the thing intimidating me from ever going. 

This year--my first summer back in Nelson, having left for almost four years after high school--I was back facing the desire to go to this magical land. I always loved the idea of it all; dancing all night, sharing love and community, dressing up and prancing around like a fairy, enjoying the company of friends and strangers, peace and no judgement, and escape from society. But again, I had that nagging in the back of my mind about the drugs. I debated going, and after getting excited about it all I decided I wanted to go. Plus, I'd met some amazing new friends who I wanted to share the experience with. My friend, Talia, also had the same ideas as I had, and she had experienced a bad time four years ago when she had first been to Shambhala. We decided this would be the year where we both got to go and have an amazing positive experience. And we did. 

The power of the mind is a crazy and powerful thing. And this is where I feel the need to share my little story about just that...

The Power of Manifestations! 
I had decided that I wanted to go to Shambhala, but there was another road block. Tickets were $300.00 and I wasn't comfortable, or really had the money, to spend that much to go. I wasn't ready to let that stop me from going. I started pondering over all the help Positive Affirmations and Manifestations had already done for me. Of course, they seemed like smaller things, but I had been reading and hearing more and more about the Law of Attraction and Manifesting all your wants and desires into reality. I was really beginning to believe it to the upmost that I could and so I was ready to place my faith once again into it. 

The Saturday before Shambhala, while vending at the Cottonwood Market, I was talking to a lot of people about Shambhala--it being the common topic of discussion as everyone gets excited as the event draws closer. I was telling people that I had decided I was going, but that I wasn't sure how I would be getting there yet, just that I knew that I was indeed going. One new acquaintance told me about changing my wording from "wanting" to "choosing" and another lovely had told me about all the things she had accomplished simply through "choosing." So, I told my self that I was "choosing" to go to Shambhala. The next day, I told myself that I was going to Shambhala, but not only that; I had it set in my mind that somehow someone was going to give me a ticket. I had no idea the how or why, just that it was going to happen. And I believed it with upmost faith. I told my girlfriend, Andrea, about this as well who I spent a lovely day at the beach with. That night I got a phone call from her and she told me "Bianca, you're not going to believe this but... I have a ticket for you." As it turned out her friend could no longer make it out, a last minute change--which was unfortunate for her and my lovely friend as she had been looking forward to seeing her. But suddenly I had my ticket. And so I could no longer doubt the power of manifesting your life. 

We manifested Talia's ticket as well, although hers wasn't free. Our request for her ticket wasn't quite as clear I suppose, a sprinkle of doubt had ran us about a bit. But we ended up with a cheap ticket and it all came together really well in the end. 

The whole weekend worked out brilliantly and perfectly for that matter....

My Shambhala Weekend...
Talia and I got in Friday night. By the time we got there it was starting to get dark out. Our bags were super heavy with our tent and sleeping gear (and costumes of course!) so we were fortunate to be granted the kindness of a staff member who gave us a ride further up the fields to a better camping area. At first we were going to settle for a camp-spot in a more open area of the field, although we felt a bit uncomfortable with our location it being just the two of us, when a guy from Nelson came up to us and told us we should go and camp up with his "group" which turned out to just be him and a friend. But the spot was perfect, right in the shade of a tree (and near bushes to pee in) so we were grateful for yet another act of kindness within our short arrival. The shade of the trees would be greatly appreciated in the morning as well so that we could actually sleep in too! 

We set up camp, ate some food, and had some awesome girl-talk and bonding. After getting ready, and having a few drinks and more girl-talk, we headed down to explore the stages and music. The place was amazing, again, like some magical land, with food vendors set up late and a ferris wheel lit up to look out upon the land. It was hard to know exactly where we were with it being dark already, even with lanters hanging from trees and the lights from stages, so we headed to the most obvious stage we could find. The light shows were amazing! The stages were epic! The music was LOUD! And we danced the night away! 
We wandered about a bit, discovering a couple vendor booths still open, the first being "Bolli" where we discovered... the furry hoods!! I have been eyeing up the furry hoods by SpiritHood foreverrrr and have been really wanting one. Before even going to Shambhala I had thought to myself that I would have loved to have had one to wear there but I was obviously too late to order. So when we stumbled upon this booth I knew I was in trouble. It just so happened they had one furry hood left with the ears and not too outrageous (as in brightly colored or anything)that I knew I would wear even after Shambhala. It had to be mine, and so I made my first purchase. It's not so bad spending money every so often, it was something I really wanted and I certainly enjoyed it all weekend long! Not to mention the guy, Andrew, who ran the booth was super nice and had some great words of wisdom and I enjoyed meeting him. 

We checked out another tent with some of the most dazzling artwork I've ever seen. Absolutely breath-taking and mesmerizing. Afterwards it was time for some more dancing. 

It must have been about 4:30 in the morning by the time we decided to head back to camp. We had no way of knowing what time it was which was incredibly liberating, so we couldn't know for sure, but the sky was getting light out. It was beautiful. 
We tried to sleep on our yoga mats and sleeping bags on the ground. Fortunately the ground was much softer than I had thought it would be and it was warm enough out that we didn't have to worry about the cold. Still, we didn't sleep much. It's difficult when you can hear the music no matter where you are and when people are still wandering and stumbling about at all hours of the day and night. 

After several attempts at sleep, we finally got up and got something to eat before heading back out to explore--this time under the light of day. I can't put into words just how amazing this place was and the amount of work that must go into setting it all up. Epic and magical. It's all I can think of. 

We wandered through the vending booths where there was an insane amount of talent! It was very hard not to buy everything there. Next year I am hoping to take part in the vending area to show off Alter-Eco Clothing. 

We both spent some money and met some really amazing and wonderful people. And we got to prance around in our fairy wings under the heat as well. That is one thing I should say... it was ridiculously hot all weekend long so we were careful not to stay out in the direct sunlight too long. We also checked out the beach area since we hadn't got to the night before, where more reggae beats played. And we also found the "Wishing Tree" filled with all sorts of positivity and randomness, and even some sadness. Most of the wishes were about love which, one way or another, was incredibly beautiful. 

From lack of sleep, and because Talia had to work Sunday, we debating going back home for the night. She is a server and two nights of no sleep would likely result in many trays on the floor. Not such a great idea. We were both tired and the day I was most looking forward to was Sunday anyway so I wanted to make sure I was alive enough to enjoy it. I don't know how people stay out there all weekend long... maybe it's all the drugs... but I am glad that we went home that night. We packed up only what we needed and headed back along the dirt road to hitchhike. Along the way, we stopped to play with the piggies and it totally reenforced my longing to one day have a pet pig. They ran to greet us at the fence and fought for attention and pets, oinking away and gnawing on our hands. They were adorable!! 

We went back to the road and stuck out our thumbs. We were nervous about hitchhiking with it getting late but we were also both confident and set on something safe and positive coming along. As it happened, the people who picked us up couldn't have been more perfect. A small camper with a lovely friendly couple and their two children invited us up and were fortunately even heading all the way to Nelson. They were so kind and welcoming. Once again, the power of manifestations and a positive attitude.

It was a relief to shower away all the sweat, dust, and dirt, and sleep in my own bed. And see my loving husband. So thankful!! 

Sunday morning, I decided I would head back out before Talia, as she wouldn't get off work until about 10 pm. I was ready to hitch but something told me to check my facebook first. A good friend of mine, Kristin, and her boyfriend just so happened to be heading out there at just the right time. Another perfect event for the weekend, their company always something I greatly enjoy. 

Go with the Flow...

Once we got back into the massive festival, I attempted to find my friend Andrea. Trying to find anyone at a place like Shambhala is pretty near impossible, especially with little cell reception and I didn't have my own phone so was harassing poor Kristin to use hers. After a while I gave up, at least for the moment, and went to enjoy the only metal show that  weekend. I will admit it was a nice break from all the dubstep and DJ music! I also ran into another friend there. She gave me some good advice too; that you can't waste your time trying to find people at Shambhala, and that instead you have to do what you want to do and things will just come together regardless. I took her advice. 

Later on I ended up splitting off and wandering by myself. I'm not sure why, but it makes me uncomfortable to be by myself in a huge crowd like that. I think it has something to do with my childhood but that's another story altogether--and something I hadn't realized or thought about until this weekend, yay for epiphanies! After taking a moment, and a deep breath, I let it go and told myself to enjoy my solitude and be comfortable with it. And so I was. And it was fantastic. I explored the labyrinth and all the stages, which I hadn't realized were all connected until doing so. I did a little self-exploration and loved it! It was also along this journey that I ran into a wonderful friend that I hadn't seen in a while. So we caught up and it just so happened that Kristin was at the same camp as her so I found them again too. I met some new people and shared some great laughs! 

No more Drinking!

I would have one more great revelation and learning experience before the night was done. And that was my final decision to never drink again. You may or may not know, but I have told myself a couple times that I don't want to drink anymore. I just don't see the point. I have a perfectly amazing time without it and don't need it to have fun or to be myself and "loosen up." However, I also still get influenced by the social aspect of it. Everyone else is doing it so why shouldn't I? Which I realize is pretty silly coming from me--the ecoholic healthy vegan who is all about positivity, activism, health and being comfortable with yourself. Which is why I have said time and time again I am going to quit... not that I drank much to begin with, maybe a couple times a month, often months without it altogether. Regardless, I am not one to get totally wasted and a mess. I have always known my limit. But I'm getting off topic as usual...

I gave in to having one drink. Well, a shot, and had a drink in hand, and then we all headed down for the night to enjoy more music. Now, I had been waiting to hear back from Talia so that I could meet her when she was off work and back at Shambhala--I didn't want to leave her alone in the chaotic crowds as we had decided beforehand that we would keep to our "buddy" system so we could look out for one another. Again, cell reception was poor, and I was still using Kristin's cell phone. When we went back down to the stages, I split off from her to a different stage with my other amazing friend who I was excited to go dancing with. But then I decided I should keep an eye out for Talia. We just so happened to be at the most confusing stage again--the Fractal Forest. I was tipsy, teetering on drunk, and had wandered by myself to go see if I could find her at our meeting spot. I got disoriented and I got a bit lost and certainly overwhelmed. I had a moment of panic and realized I didn't want to drink, shouldn't be drinking, and never want to drink again. I felt silly not knowing where I was and having a hard time telling where I was and where I was going, with everything a blur and unclear. I realized in this instant just how bad it was to not be able to think clearly, but more so be in that complete control of your senses and be so disoriented. I threw out my drink, took another deep breath, and somehow sobered up really quickly. I kept my head clear and found my way back to where I needed to go. And I just so happened to run back into Kristin, with a text message from Talia with a clear meeting time and place for later on. All worked out well once again. 

Wrapping up the Night...

I was high on life once again and felt amazing! We wandered off to watch Dub FX--who I was ridiculously excited for and one big reason that influenced my decision to go to Shambhala this year. My friends didn't stick around the whole show, which was all good, as I forced my way to the front of the stage anyway and danced with the crowd and met more random lovely people. 

Later I met back up with Talia and we danced the night away once more, going to the show she was most looking forward to, Skrillex. We began our leave at about 5am, packed up the tent and lugged our heavy bags to the car she was borrowing to miss the mass chaos and lines to get out that would ensue the following morning. She was nervous that the car wasn't going to start, the battery being finicky and giving her a lot of trouble when she had drove in earlier. But I told her that it would start as everything had been so perfect and that there was no point in worrying. Once again, it all worked out and the car started and got us home safely by 7am. 

I can't say how wonderful the entire experience was. I got to meet amazing people, spend time with friends that I don't see very often, mingle, dance, laugh, and have a ton of fun! Everything was amazing. Even my moments of uncomfortableness were amazing lessons and I am very glad that I got to experience them. Life is beautiful. You have to trust yourself and have faith that everything will work out. Have faith that the Universe is an amazing place and that it is on your side.  

And here is that Video Blog of my Shambhala Experience...

Peace & Love as always! Manifest your life!!!!


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  1. It's always amazing how keeping positive can help with everything!

    Glad to hear you had a fantastic experience!!

  2. I know! Positivity is a good cycle to get into and if you consciously maintain it some pretty magical and awesome things happen! :)

  3. "boobies make me happy!"

    i just said that the other day to my bf, that boobies make everybody happy :) i think it has to do with the comfort and nurturing and food we all got from them early on in life, it's just ingrained that boobies = happyness.

    i didn't know you could come and go from shambhala like that, go home and shower, awesome. looks like you had an amazing shambhala experience! :)

  4. Awesome video, awesome blog. Glad you enjoyed your first Sham experience! You'll be back every year now haha. And btw, I was completely drug free as well. Loved every minute of it.

  5. You should come again !! I remember watching your vblog a little while back about your story and bugged you about coming again. Said it wasn't in the cards for last year but maybe this year if you think it ;)

  6. LOL have spare ticket if u do ...


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